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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011

Thousands protest in Homs as monitors visit

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Indian tycoon has tons of cash, nowhere to invest

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SAFAR 3, 1433 AH

Doctors look to treat sick children in virtual worlds

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www.kuwaittimes.net

Ten-man Wolves frustrate Arsenal

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Tribes defy crackdown on illegal primary elections 32 bedoons freed on bail • Qallaf stung by Diwan rebuke

Max 19º Min 07º Low Tide 08:38 & 20:31 High Tide 01:03 & 15:05

By B Izzak

Iran threatens to stop Gulf oil TEHRAN: Iran threatened yesterday to stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz if foreign sanctions were imposed on its crude exports over its nuclear ambitions, a move that could trigger military conflict with economies dependent on Gulf oil. Western tensions with Iran have increased since a Nov 8 report by the UN nuclear watchdog saying Tehran appears to have worked on designing an atomic bomb and may still be pursuing research to that end. Iran strongly denies this and says it is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Iran has defiantly expanded nuclear activity despite four rounds of UN sanctions meted out since 2006 over its refusal to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment and open up to UN nuclear inspectors and investigators. Many diplomats and analysts believe only sanctions targeting Iran’s lifeblood oil sector might be painful enough to make it change course, but Russia and China - big trade partners of Tehran - have blocked such a move at the United Nations. Iran’s warning yesterday came three weeks after EU foreign ministers decided to tighten sanctions over the UN watchdog report and laid out plans for a possible embargo of oil from the world’s No. 5 Continued on Page 13

KUWAIT: HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah looks on as the captain of Al-Arabi football club lifts the Crown Prince Cup yesterday at Al-Kuwait football stadium in Kaifan. Al-Arabi won the final against archrivals Qadsiya in a penalty shootout after a goalless draw. — KUNA (See Page 20)

KUWAIT: The interior ministry said yesterday it had supplied the public prosecution with five cases of outlawed tribal primaries with solid evidence but more such primaries started late yesterday in the fourth constituency. The ministry said in a statement that it will continue to monitor the situation in a bid to ensure fair and transparent general elections and was awaiting any decisions by the public prosecution to implement. The public prosecution confirmed yesterday that it had opened an investigation into a number of alleged tribal primaries which are illegal under the Kuwaiti election law. But the Mutairi tribe still went ahead with its planned primary late yesterday with the intention to elect four candidates to represent the tribe in the Feb 2 elections. The Rasheedi tribe meanwhile decided to postpone its primary which was planned for yesterday. No new date has been set. Most of the Mutairi and Rasheedi ex-MPs from the fourth constituency have already announced they will not participate in the tribal primaries because they are illegal. Ex-MPs Musallam Al-Barrak, Mubarak AlWaalan, Mohammad Hayef and Dhaifallah Buramia - all Mutairi - and Ali Al-Deqbasi and Shuaib Al-Muwaizri from Rasheedi tribe have decided to boycott the primaries. All the six ex-MPs are members of the opposition bloc. A number of youth activists meanwhile called on the government to take curbing measures against the tribal primaries and to prevent tribes from holding them. In a statement, the activists called on the government to Continued on Page 13


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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011

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Thekra Al-Rashidi

Abdelrahman Al-Anjari

Hassan Jouhar

Hassan Al-Ajmi

Talaf Al-Shemmari

Zaid Al-Hamli

Awatef Khater

‘New assembly, new methodology’ NA election campaign heating up By A. Saleh KUWAIT: Former MP Hassan Jouhar, who is running in the first district, called for new legislation related to development, disabled affairs and women. “We need a new assembly and a new methodology” he said, calling upon all nationals to keep in mind the development of Kuwait. He said “We have a comprehensive agenda for national action in the coming period, and have numerous laws related to exposing financial worth, judiciary independence and the formation of the Constitutional Court.” He said he hopes the Prime Minister and the MPs learn from previous crises. He added that “what we lack in the coming period is credibility, and how to differ among each other.” Former MP Fahad Al-Khana, a member of the Salaf Islamic Forum who is running in the second constituency, said “the Late Sheikh Abdallah Al-Salem built the state of institutions

and took Kuwait from an Emirate to a Constitutional state”. He said: “We need a state that is built on citizenship,” adding that development does not come with corruption and corruptors. He said there are influential corrupt powers that received a slap from the Kuwaiti people when the Assembly was dissolved and the Government was ousted. Concerning the events of last year, Al-Khana said the first indication of optimism is ousting those who were installed during previous elections that received bribes. He said he will be running as an Independent, away from the Salaf forum, “though I have no differences with my Salaf brothers”. Al-Khana said he is sorry for the presence of by-elections, because they are against the state and violate the law. He said a tribe is not an attribute of a civilized country. Former MP Abdelrahman Al-Anjari said, after registering

for the elections, that the challenges the people are facing are economic reforms, and passing anti-corruption proposed laws. He said if the Government is looking for a Parliament majority, then there should be visions that materialize through a Prime Minister who is impartial. Al-Anjari said Kuwait is the only country in the world where the voter votes for a person, not a party. He said Kuwait is in need of political reform. He said Kuwaitis vote for individuals according to their tribe and sect. “I believe this is political backwardness,” he said. “It is impossible to have a democracy without parties, and Kuwait has parties but they are not legal. Those parties should be open so that we know where they obtain their funding.” He said Kuwait’s general budget needs restructuring, because we are facing a bomb, which is unemployment. Former MP Ahmad AlShuraian, who is running in the fourth district, hopes for

more cooperation between the two authorities, so that the atmosphere of reformation reaches the desired result. He said: “We ask voters to vote for those who represent them, not play games with them.” Al-Shuraian appealed to H.H. The Amir to pardon youths whose goal is reform, as he spoke about the storming of the National Assembly. Thekra Al-Rashidi, a fourth district candidate, said corruption is a danger that threatens Kuwait society, adding that she will be ferocious in fighting corruption of all types. AlRashidi said she is confident about winning, referring to the results of 2009 as an indicator. She said she supports the introduction of political parties to boost democracy in Kuwait. Former MP Mohammad AlHuwailah, who is running in the fifth district, said he hopes that candidates who are able to fulfill the ambitions of citizens win, as the previous period was below par and did not achieve much. Al-Huwailah

Neema Al-Hai expects 60 percent change in the Assembly. He said the performance by women in the Assembly was not good, and hopes women who can stand up for women’s affairs are elected. Abdallah Al-Shilahi, a first constituency candidate, said “we strongly believe in the Constitution and the law, and hope Kuwait becomes one constituency”. He said corruption was destroyed by the ouster of the Government, and the people should know that they are partners in ruling and revenues.

Fatima Al-Shaiji Awatif Al-Majed, a first constituency candidate, said she is for Kuwait, without differentiation between any person. She said the previous Assembly was all wrong, which prompted youths to take the street encouraged by some MPs. She said the four former women MPs did not make any achievement. “All we saw was screams and it reached a point where foreigners were laughing at us”. She said, “I am running to reveal the corruption in the Interior Ministry, and everything they hide from the

Mohammad Al-Huwailah Minister. Fatima Al-Shaiji, a third district candidate, said “I am running for the sake of the country and I would like to participate in its development”. She said “the millions deposits case is now in court and it is something we reject”. She said she has strong support from her family and there must be change in the coming Assembly. The registration of candidacy for Parliamentary elections closed yesterday with the registration of 26 candidates, making of total 276 nominees of both genders.

MoI refers five unlawful primaries to attorney general KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior (MoI) announced yesterday that it has referred five unlawful primaries in the fifth constituency to the Attorney General together with relevant evidence and proof gathered. The Ministry said in a statement today that this resulted after rallies for unlawful primaries were spotted in areas between Sabah Al-Salem and Al-Nuwaisib. The evidence includes photographs of organizers, cars and their license plates. Security services are awaiting a decision by the Public

Prosecution Department for further investigations and necessary research on these issues. The MoI stated that security services are also monitoring and following up other unlawful primaries that are scheduled to be held tonight in the fourth constituency. The MoI has information on other primaries that are due to be held soon. The MoI warned of the consequences of committing electoral crimes as it endeavors to maintain transparency and the integrity of the electoral process. —KUNA

32 stateless released on KD200 bail By A. Saleh KUWAIT: The Public Prosecution Department released 32 stateless residents (bedoon), on a bail of KD 200 each. The residents were jailed after participating in

banned demonstrations. Sources said the stateless resident cases will be sent to court. They will not be pardoned, as rumored by some former MPs. The stateless residents are charged with participating in illegal gatherings and resisting police arrest.

KUWAIT: Interior Ministry Undersecretary Gen Ghazi Al-Omar made a visit yesterday to the headquarters of election affairs to check on the Ministry of Interior readiness for the upcoming parliament elections, which is scheduled to be held on Feb 2. He was received by the Assistant Director for Legal Affairs for Elections Ali Murad, and the Director of Election Affairs Col Mohammad Al-Adwani and Maj Saleh Al-Shatti.

Expert questions procedures against primary elections KUWAIT: The Public Prosecution received several complaints against citizens who participated in criminalized tribal primary elections that took place recently in the Fifth Constituency. According to acting Attorney General, Dherar AlAsousy, investigations in these cases were set to go underway soon. However, a constitutional expert’s opinion suggests that all suspects accused in the case will eventually be freed due to the lack of concrete evidence provided to support the charges. “In flagrante delicto means that a suspect must be caught in the act of committing an offense”, explained constitution-

al expert and Kuwait University professor Dr Mohammad AlFeeli. “In the primary elections case, the act of polling itself serves as the condition by which the offender can be caught redhanded”. Dr Al-Feeli wondered on that regard why police officers failed to raid locations where primary elections were held in order to collect concrete evidence while the elections were in progress, especially that there isn’t a law that prevents police from doing so. And while he did not say for certain that all cases in primaries will end up being dismissed, Dr Al-Feeli said that unless the Ministry of Interior somehow collected concrete evidence

Traffic diverted on First Ring Road KUWAIT: The General Traffic Department announced partial closure on the First Ring Road towards Dasman roundabout starting from Tuesday 27 December. The traffic diversion is in preparation for the opening at dawn on Saturday 31 December, of the First Ring Road from the Sheraton roundabout in both directions, between Riyadh Road up to Ali Al Salem Street Justice Palaces. Entry to the First Ring Road will be through the traffic lights at Riyadh Street with the First Ring Road. An entry and exit to Farwaniya Hospital has been made at the Sixth Ring Road from the west side of the hospital, and was open to traffic starting last Monday 26 December.

they can use in court, chances of suspects being convicted are in fact very slim. Primary elections aren’t the only serious challenge facing the Ministry of Interior during the current elections, but they are also required to tackle vote buying activities which, according to sources, have already gone underway in certain constituencies. The Kuwait Transparency Society, assigned by the government to monitor the 2012 elections, announced earlier this week that they detected a number of individuals accused of working as ‘brokers for vote buying’, adding that they provided the interior ministry with a

list of their names. But sources who recently spoke to Al-Qabas daily on the condition of anonymity said that candidates in some constituencies, especially the fourth, have already offered to buy votes of potential vote sellers for KD150 to KD250 per vote. They further indicate that this price is poised to increase to KD500 and as much as KD1000 a few days before election day which falls on Feb 2, 2012. Moreover, the same sources gave hints about candidates “who assigned multimilliond i na r b ud ge t s t o b uy v ot e s from citizens lured by middlemen hired exclusively for this purpose”. — Al-Qabas

MEW to review solar panels tender KUWAIT: The Central Tenders Committee (CTC) has reportedly been approached by a number of companies who challenged a Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) recommendation. The MEW recommended awarding a certain company a tender for a project to supply the MEW and the Ministry of Public Works building with solar energy via solar panels, to be built on the roof of their headquarters. According to sources with knowledge of the issue, the CTC already contacted the MEW to provide answers to inquiries of the companies appealing the KD1.278 million contract before it is signed. This project is one of a series of similar projects to be applied to buildings of all

state departments, with an estimated total cost of KD20 million. It is part of the MEW plans to rationalize electricity consumption rates by using renewable energy to feed public facilities with power, instead of depending on energy generated by fossil-fueled power plants. Meanwhile, the same report quotes other sources who indicate that the MEW is set to sign a KD24.2 thousand contract with the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) to evaluate the electromagnetic field around electricity substations near homes and schools in residential areas. The evaluation will help the ministry provide safety measures to the population in those residential areas. —Al-Rai


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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011

local

‘Green Business’ concept gaining ground in Kuwait Nine companies honored By Nawara Fattahova

PM accorded title of ‘His Highness’ by Amir KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, accorded the Prime Minister, Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, the honorary title of “His Highness the Prime Minister”. The decree is effective as of today and will be published by the official gazette, Kuwait Today (Kuwait Al-Youm). —KUNA

School catering - for health or profit? KUWAIT: A disagreement between the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ministry of Health (MoH) has erupted over the mechanism by which the former plans to run cafeterias in public high schools around Kuwait. According to knowledgeable sources, senior MOH officials are strongly against a recommendation by the MoE to assign the catering to school cafeterias to co-operative societies or restaurants. The MoH prefers the MoE provide staff to prepare suitable food according to nutritional standards. These plans are part of a comprehensive agreement to make sure that Kuwaiti students have access to healthy food at their schools. The project is already in place at ele-

mentary schools, which are catered to by food supplying companies. These companies signed contracts whereby they are required to cook food according to standards stipulated by the MOH regarding healthy nutrition and to tackle obesity among children. MOH insiders, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the MOH is concerned that the MOE will not ensure the nutritional quality of food catered by co-op societies or restaurants. The sources echoed the desire by the MOH to “keep the project focused on providing healthy nutrition to students” instead of an opportunity for restaurants to profit. —Al-Qabas

KUWAIT: The Environmental Academy and the Institute for Green Business Certification held a press conference and awarding ceremony yesterday at the JW Marriott to award nine companies and institutions that have obtained the Green Business Certification. EPA’s Head Dr Salah Al-Mudhi noted that EPA is encouraging the environmental initiatives in different sectors of the country including the private sector and the NGOs, and to provide the technical and material support to these institutions since it was established in 1995. “Joining the private sector in protecting the environment has positive impact in spreading the environmental awareness,” he said. “The Green Business concept is a model that should be followed in both the public and private sectors, as it strengthens the environmental concept of the employees. It also spreads the environmental culture in the community. This brings benefit on the environment through saving energy, preserving water, recycling, and other environment friendly works,” added Al-Mudhi. From his side, Sadegh Jafar, the Regional Manager of the Institute for Green Business Certification in the Middle East (IGBC) stressed the mission of IGBC, which aims to deliver the environmental message to community. “Through this message we help companies that aim to benefit from the increased interest in environment friendly activities. We also work on spreading awareness of the green business through highlighting the role of these companies. This will lead to a build model of more

green Middle East,” he pointed out. He provided some information about the IGBC. “The IGBC was founded in 2006 by a group of environmental experts and in the United States. It’s one of the first if not the first in the world to set a certification program which controls the companies to provide them a certification continues practices and environment friendly,” highlighted Jafar.

Dr Salah Al-Mudhi “The Environmental Academy is a leading institution in the field of HSE (Health, Safety, and Environment) training and consulting with focus on the oil and gas sector. We are based in Kuwait, and covering all GCC countries and the Middle East. We are proud to be the first Kuwaiti-based company to gain internationally recognized associations and accreditations in the HSE domain, allowing us to deliver worldclass training and solutions in our areas of expertise.,” he further said.

In order to acquire the Green Business Certificate, the companies have to meet certain environmental criteria. “The environmental inspection that we do includes different categories including the elimination of waste, recycling materials, decreasing paper consumption, saving electrical energy, refer from using polluting materials, eliminating the usage of chemicals, decrease emissions produced by vehicles, buying the recycled and environment friendly materials, and saving water,” stressed Jafar. “This complex coverage of the previous categories and the serious field environment inspection is what gave the Green Business Certificate this international credibility. The certified companies will then gain various benefits and privileges, such as decreasing the operational cost and general budget, improving the image of the institution in public, strengthening clients’ loyalty, gaining new customers, and giving the employees more reason to be proud of the institution where they work. In addition the certified institutions will be listed in the guide of the environment friendly companies in the Middle East,” he added. “We believe in developing nationals into HSE professionals and qualifying employees and the workforce in general to play an active role in implementing sound HSE practice in their organizations. That is the social responsibility that we have defined for ourselves. The Environmental Academy strives to create a brighter future for our national workforce, especially in the HSE field, as we believe that they are the ones to lead the change to a healthier nation, safer workplaces, and a better environment,” concluded Jafar.

MCI to appeal ruling KUWAIT: The Minister of Commerce and Industry (MCI), Dr. Amani Bouresli, held an important meeting yesterday with a ministry consultant to determine how to respond to a ruling of the Money Markets court. The ruling stated that the Council of Ministers is not authorized to end the services of stock market commissioners, and considers that the decision made by

Council of Ministers is void along with all results of that decision. Sources at Ministry of Commerce and Industry revealed that the ministr y intends to contest the court decision. The ministry contends that the court is not an authority in this case according to an Amiri decree issued to organize work in specific establishments. —Al-Anbaa

Dr Al Mudhi (left) and Sadegh Jafar awarding one of the certified companies. (Right) The audience. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat


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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011

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0p-ed

in my view

Long live the necktie!

Of culture and national heritage

By Fouad Al-Obaid By Sajeev K Peter fouad@kuwaittimes.net Twitter: @Fouadalobaid

sajeev@kuwaittimes.net he other day, I was listening to a personality development trainer who was lecturing on how to avoid necktie-induced health hazards and accidents. He explained with the support of a PowerPoint presentation that the necktie, if not worn properly, could cause accidents, serious health hazards and even fatalities. While wearing a tie one must refrain from making unwarranted moves, one should not wear it near an elevator or escalator and avoid tying the tie so tight that it will increase the risk of glaucoma. Tight neckties may constrict the veins in the neck area, which can result in an increase in blood pressure to the eyes and cause irreparable damage to the delicate eye nerves leading to blindness. A tight necktie can compress your neck and interfere with your breathing. It can even cause fainting due to lowblood pressure. The trainer went on and on as his words sent shockwaves across the hall. The attendees stared at the seemingly harmless piece of clothing hanging from his neck, as if it was a ticking time-bomb. A young man, hitherto ardently listening to him, mustered up his guts and asked, “If it is that dangerous, why the hell are you wearing this goddamn piece of cloth?” The trainer, stunned by the blunt query, fumbled for a moment and defended; “Well, the necktie epitomizes the male personality. And it is in accordance with convention”. However, his reasoning as to why people must wear a necktie and voluntarily strangle themselves every waking hour in the name of ‘convention’ was beyond everyone’s comprehension. I for one who never liked ‘this tail from the neck,’ always hoped that one day humanity will overcome the necktie. My aversion does not stem from any geopolitical reason, as is the case with many people across the world. People say neckties originated in Croatia in the 17th century. It is hard to draw a line between the necktie’s precursor and its modern version. It is immaterial whether the present day tie is an American or a British creation. History tells you that the barometers of fashion change with the times. Remember even the Chinese overcame the fashion of wearing pigtails introduced by the Manchu dynasty in the 17th century. It is logically and rationally hard to reason how this ‘little piece of clothing around our neck’ survived the test of time. Even people who live in desert or tropical regions with hot and humid climates wear neckties religiously, enduring severe physical discomfort. I groped in the dark for a credible rationale. My friend, who is a physician, unraveled the mystery. It served as an eye-opener for me. The necktie is a noose around the neck acting as a switch that splits the head and the body. In other words, a necktie serves as a ‘disconnect’ between the mind and the body. By wearing the necktie, we can act independently of our mind, liberate our spirit and lead a fanciful and merry-golucky life. Trust me, with the doctor’s enlightening explanation, my anti-tie sentiments evaporated. Now, I don’t look forward to a tomorrow without neckties. On the contrary, I have become a champion of it. Because, it is not a tormentor, but a liberator that disconnects your brain from the body and frees up your mind. Long live the necktie!

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kuwait digest

kuwait digest

So-called privileges By Aisha Al-Awadhi ewspapers and television stations every now ly implement the entitlements to stateless residents and then publish reports mentioning the has seriously damaged their credibility in being able eleven privileges that the Government of to find a final solution. Kuwait provides to stateless residents (bedoons) The Central Agency keeps saying the door is through the state-run body assigned to find solu- open to anyone who has any query concerning their tions to end their problem. work. Since the body was established, many people Saleh Al-Fadhalah, Chairman of the Central have entered through that door but the answers Agency, almost never misses a chance to repeat they receive every time are not convincing. It is like these eleven privileges the agency keeps over and over again p re s c r i b i n g The Central Agency keeps saying the every time he is interpainkillers to a seriviewed. ous illness that they door is open to anyone who has any What Al-Fadhalah do not try to find a query concerning their work. Since the cannot realize is that cure for. body was established, many people the eleven aspects he Sometimes I cankeeps calling ‘privileges’ not help but ask have entered through that door but are actually basic myself why people the answers they receive every time human rights that every should take Central are not convincing. It is like the agency individual is entitled to Agency answers for enjoy. They cannot be granted when they keeps prescribing painkillers to a sericonsidered otherwise, are asked to assess ous illness that they do not try to find a because a privilege is their own work? cure for. something that a perSince its establishson obtains in addition ment, the Agency to basic rights. has been working So when Al-Fadhalah, or any one for that matter, completely independently and assessing its own says that the stateless are granted eleven privileges, work. I believe that now is the time for an independit gives the impression that these residents already ent body to be assigned, in order to monitor the enjoy full human rights and that the Government Agency, and make sure that it is true to its promises decided to grant them additional privileges! of working to end the dilemma of the stateless. Until What is more important to ask is whether or not then we are probably going to hear more about how stateless residents actually benefit from the so- stateless residents are granted with many privileges, called privileges? Or have these regulations met the yet we will continue to see them struggle to register same fate as other Government promises, which in schools, find treatment in public hospitals, apply have not seen their way to realization? for jobs or driver’s licenses, or obtain identification The fact that the Central Agency has failed to ful- papers or passports. — Al-Rai

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The devil comes and goes

kuwait digest

Identify types of corruption By Saud Al-Sabeie hings are comfortable in Bahrain, unreliable in Iraq and disastrous in Syria. In Kuwait, the devil comes and goes. There are some who say that Iran is the one who ‘weaves’ the problem similar to their weaving a carpet. Some say watch the Arab Spring, because it only brings American rain and grows regimes who are good followers of the White House gardens. So, what shall we do? We do not want spring with foreign rain. If we run away from Iran, we shall fall into the hands of America. What does Iran want and what does America want? And who is the enemy and who is the friend? Both show liking and good intentions, and both exchange roses and gifts with us. But we see fire under the ash, and wolves teeth behind the smile, and we do not know from which one of them the cheating will come. Thus we should put an end to these doubts. We are fed up with analysis who repeat “the wolf is coming” and it seems that Gulf rulers are fed up with fears. The Gulf states are rich and have money, and thus the strong will definitely have an eye on who takes a first step. The Summit meeting in Riyadh was a meeting of those who knew that danger is at the door, and there must be unity. The leader agreed that each state study the proposal and report back on suitable findings. In my view, the matter does not need much study or thinking. For sure each state has its own social, political and economic aspects, but security should be a priority. If Gulf security is penetrated, then nothing will be good enough, neither Constitution nor consulting council, nor anything. Each invader has his tools, reasons and modern occupation, but via a national agent, he will achieve the required result without any cost. Even the costs of modern occupation are paid from the treasury of the occupied state. Thereafter the faces of the new regime will look national, but will be run by foreign heads that speak our language and pray our prayers. Everyone in the Gulf states is aware of that, but every one of us is waiting for the initiative to come from someone else. It might be that each of us is waiting for orders from some occupier, considering him to be a friend and consulting with him as if he wants nothing from us. France, the Arab friend who was singing outside the European Community and against American and British policies, finally returned to American laboratories after it discovered that dividing investments require so. The French remembered that the ‘Sikes -Becho’ agreement could be redrawn. Then the Arab Spring will be more loyal and more obedient. Each and every new Arab regime definitely has foreign ‘genes’ even if he grows a beard or portrays that he is liberal. So, Gulf states, unite at your own desire before you divide by force. —Al-Anbaa

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could not help but notice that a dangerous and immoral global trend is picking up pace: the increase in international acceptance, and in some cases encouragement, of sexual deviance. All major religions explicitly shun homosexuality and travesty. Certainly Islam is no exception. Several verses touch upon the issue such as the following verse that mentions the People of Lot a tribe known for their sexual transgression and homosexual preference; “We also sent Lot: He said to his people: Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds. And his people gave no answer but this: they said, “Drive them out of your city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure!” (Quran 7:80-82) This trend of open sexuality, that can trace its origins to the sexual revolution of the 1960s, is one which has opened the door to the collapse of morality. It is common sense that in the natural order of things females attract males, and females are attracted to males. Such is the natural and normal human and animal sexual preference. As a friend stated, God Almighty created ‘Adam and Eve’, not ‘Adam and Steve’! However, a growing community of individuals seem to be pushing a new global agenda of sexual acceptance to help ease the stigma on individuals who would like to

By Dr Mohammad Al-Muqatea he case of the suspiciously inflated bank accounts because there are numerous types of corrupt activities of some MPs was used strongly by the opposition that former MPs have been involved in. in the previous parliament as a fair argument to If we take all these types in mind, we can reach the press for achieving their goals. The self-proclaimed conclusion that almost forty of the fifty elected memopposition used this pretext to declare a refusal to chair bers in the previous Parliament are in fact corrupt. Here the parliament building with the so-called ‘bribed MPs’. are some of the activities that corrupt MPs usually pracThey vehemently pressed for the dissolution of parlia- tice: ment. During the process, they opted against joining 1Bank deposits obtained illegally as political parliamentary committees, and led mass demonstra- payments. tions at Flag Square calling for the cabinet’s resignation 2Political embezzlement, or deals made and a dissolution of parliament. All these actions were between MPs and ministers by which the former agrees considered by many to be politically legitimate, since to drop grilling plans in exchange for gratuities, favors they were used in the or certain privileges. Today, almost a month since parliaopposition’s stance against 3Each MP who a suspected huge bribery refuses to pass the wealth ment was dissolved, there is an imporscandal. Today, almost a disclosure law, which comtant question that needs to be raised: pels a candidate to prove month since parliament How will the opposition react if the their clean hands upon was dissolved, there is an important question that suspected ‘bribed MPs’ are re-elected being elected. needs to be raised: How 4All candidates in the upcoming elections? Are they who reject the prospect of will the opposition react if going to open a new page and accept wealth disclosure as a necthe suspected ‘bribed MPs’ are re-elected in the sharing the parliament with them essary condition to upcoming elections? Are become a member of parthen? Are they going to run for mem- liament. they going to open a new bership in parliamentary committees? page and accept sharing 5Former MPs who the parliament with them I am only asking because I hope the failed to question ministhen? Are they going to ters over mismanagement opposition will keep these questions in issues, which suggests run for membership in parmind as they run for re-election. liamentary committees? I they benefited in some am only asking because I way from keeping silent. hope the opposition will keep these questions in mind 6Former MPs accused of breaking as they run for re-election. Constitutional laws, or failing to act against a violation Meanwhile there is a more important question that I of the Constitution. would like all voters to keep in mind: As voters are asked 7Former MPs accused of obtaining permission today to avoid voting for corrupt individuals, how can from state departments to send citizens for treatment we tell which of the former MPs are corrupt and who is abroad in deals to gain popularity among voters. not? Names of suspected former MPs involved in the 8Candidates participating in primary elections. graft scandal might be known to the public, but a forCitizens are urged to identify these characteristics in mer MP completely clean from involvement in this case candidates, and avoid voting for any one detected to might yet still be called corrupt? Yes, this can happen have any of them. —Al-Qabas

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In the West, the standards of public morals and conduct is slowly withering. All sorts of transgressions are not only common, but are now being enshrined in laws. Some countries are more tolerant than others. Some go so far as to allow ‘gay’ marriages and adoptions, all in the name of human liberty and freedom. ‘live their sexuality’ in any way they see fit! In the West, the standards of public morals and conduct is slowly withering. All sorts of transgressions are not only common, but are now being enshrined in laws. Some countries are more tolerant than others. Some go so far as to allow ‘gay’ marriages and adoptions, all in the name of human liberty and freedom. Such societies not accepting these developments are akin to being retarded. In open societies it is taken for granted that everyone can seek their happiness in whatever way and means available and possible to them! What used to be tolerated behind closed doors in the past is today being projected out in public, on the streets, in movies and on TV. Today certain popular TV shows project the normalization of homosexual practice, making it seem okay. Their subliminal message is that it is okay to be different; go ahead and live your sexuality! The indoctrination of such an ideology is gaining grounds in the Middle East where we are, like the rest of the world, being encouraged to accept sexual deviancy and openness. We have been reading about the many unofficial ‘gay’ weddings taking places in desert camps amongst other places. More generally if we look at the morals being portrayed on TV, and within various multimedia platforms, we can see the growing tendency of sexual perversion, not in the least like on shows that are being aired on the most holy of months ‘Ramadan’. Like Christmas, it is being transformed into a irreligious feast with non-religious traditions being the norm as opposed to the proper celebrations. As the beacon of all three monotheistic religions, we should guard against the dangers of sexual perversion and travesty in our part of the world. We should fight those who are trying to spread immorality in our region and country in the name of modernity, for modernity has nothing to do with sexual deviation. We ought to protect and uphold our culture and heritage and seek to guard our image in light of a growing global agenda of ‘gay parades’ and the like. To those who would like to point the finger towards genetic predisposition, much degeneracy can be blamed on genes. To them I would ask; “Would it be okay to see your parents murdered because the killer had genes that made killing an uncontrollable urge?!” To others that would argue that even some animals have been known to show homosexual tendencies I say; “Do you see yourselves as animals void of brains? Or are animals today to be our moral leaders? Are we to ask dogs and monkeys for direction? Are they to become our modern day guru’s?” May God protect us from all evil, and those inclined on spreading it...


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Walkathon to raise funds for cancer-stricken children By Nawara Fattahova

KUWAIT: His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah received at Seif Palace yesterday, Chairperson of the Kuwaiti Association for the Ideal Family Sheikha Fareeha Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and members of the society. Sheikha Fareeha, also head of Al-Fatat Sports Club, and her delegation, briefed His Highness about results of their recent official visits to Lebanon and Cyprus.

New study on private medical prices KUWAIT: The Ministry of Health (MoH) is currently conducting a comprehensive study on the prices of medical services in the private sector. The survey includes private hospitals, medical centers, clinics, dental clinics and laboratories, health sources revealed. The study evolved following complaints to the Ministry about inflated prices for services and surgery in the private sector. In some cases hundreds of

dinars are charged. High prices are found in dental clinics, and for plastic surgery. Sources said that the MoH is studying the application of a policy that sets fixed prices for services in private clinics, hospitals and dental clinics. The MoH may also place a ceiling on fees to doctors in the private sector, according to their position and the services or type of surgery they provide. —Al-Anbaa

KUWAIT: Photographers in Kuwait City enjoy smoking the hubbly-bubbly. — Photo by Joseph Shagra

Ban on hubbly-bubbly? KUWAIT: Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Municipal Affairs, Dr. Fadhil Safar, stated on Monday the need to adopt regulations to prohibit the smoking of the hubbly-bubbly in public places, including restaurants and cafes. While attending the 12th meeting of the Higher Committee for Planning in Kuwait Municipality, the Minister said smoking and hubbly-bubbly constitutes negative aspects to society and is harmful to public health. Abdul Karim Al-Zaid, Head of the follow-up office of the Minister of State for Municipal Affairs, said that the committee commissioned the Technical Office of the Minister of State for Municipal Affairs to study the possibility of banning hubbly-bubbly immediately. Al-Zaid said the High Commission has reviewed and discussed the report. He said it recommended joint coordination between the Technical Office and the Legal Department to implement sanctions on smoking. — KUNA

MoH on the right track KUWAIT: The Minister of Finance, Mustafa AlShamali, described the agreement made by Ministry of Health and John Hopkins University as an achievement for the ministry. He said the agreement lasts for five years and provides direct medical services, supervision and training and many other requirements to the medical sector in Kuwait. The cost will be distributed over five years, and is a fraction of the cost of treatment abroad. This means that the MoH is on the right track, he stated. The contracting agreement has been reviewed by technicians who are familiar with John Hopkins University, which is very famous. The university is well-known for its experience in medical services. AlShamali concluded that whoever confirms information about anything true, should present that information in person and not make declarations in the media. —Al-Anbaa

Mixed reactions to Twitter suspension plans KUWAIT: Twitter users in Kuwait had mixed reactions upon knowing about the Ministry of Interior’s recent request to the Ministry of Commerce, by which they asked them to suspend Twitter accounts used by anonymous users to attack individuals, families or groups. While some people responded sarcastically to the news, others were more concerned that it could be a way for the government to put restrictions of freedom of expression. Many Twitter users in Kuwait suggest that the Interior Ministry must be impaired when it comes to understanding how things work in the online technology field. — Al-Qabas

KUWAIT: As a part of its corporate social responsibility program, the Reborn Education Academy plans to organize a walkathon on Feb 18, 2012 to raise funds to help children suffering from cancer. By hosting this event, the school aims to bring students and their families together. “It’s nice to have students, their parents and families participate in this event. The children like to participate collectively and will be excited when their families are with them. We like to teach children about fitness and the importance of sports in their lives. The school held this event last year and it was successful,” Sherry McMahon, Principal of the Reborn Kids Education Academy in Rawda told the Kuwait Times. The event will be held with assistance of Dr Mustafa J Hayat (Spor t Medicine) between 10 am and 1pm. The walk will begin from the school’s location, progress toward the co-operative society and return to the finish line again at the Reborn Education Academy. The walkathon will cover an approximate distance of five kilometers. Participants will need to pre-regis-

ter and will be placed into one of four age groups. Categories begin from ages 10 to 15, 18 to 29, 30 to 50, and over 50 years old. “All categories will be walking together. The participants will be given different colored arm bands in accordance with age groups. We know that in this culture, people do not like to walk together. We tried to focus to bring fathers and mothers to school. Children will know they have two parents and can walk with both mom and dad or grandfather and grandmother,” added Sherry. All participants must submit permission letters signed by physicians at the time of registration. The Police and ambulances will be stationed at the location along with Dr Mustafa. As Reborn Education Academy believes in quality family time. Men, women, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters will all walk together. There will be prizes awarded to the first five winners from each category and something for every child,” she added. The proceeds of this event will go to charity. “At the pre-registration event, participants will have to pay a nominal amount in fees that will go to charity. Refreshments

will be served to participants to make sure that they are well-hydrated. People should start training now,” she pointed out. The school is in the process of choosing a sponsor. “We are presently accepting sponsors. The chosen sponsors will be announced when Marathon Walk Brochures are released. Anybody who likes to sponsor this event is most welcome. We aim to have the list of sponsors by the second week of January. They may want to come and advertize or promote businesses focused on children. The money raised will go to the charity,” explained Sherry. “We will be offering games, face painting for young children and teachers. Staff members will look after the children. Also rescued dog Snoopy will be present at the venue,” she pointed out. Sherry concluded by saying that the event aims to teach children responsibility and community awareness. “We teach some children who are not fortunate like other children. Some children don’t have a place to sleep. There is responsibility. This money will help the community. The children like to know what things can help other children,” she concluded.

Fire Directorate opens account on Twitter By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Kuwait Fire Ser vice Directorate (KFSD) has opened an account on Twitter under ‘official_kfsd’. Capt Salman Al-Jaidi, head of the Information Department, said the account is necessary to keep in touch with Fire

Department employees, citizens and expatriates. The account was established to provide availability to the latest news and instructions. The KFSD Public Relations and Information Department visited the Security Center in Jlaiah area to ascertain safety procedures there.

Awareness booklets and brochures were distributed, in order to increase awareness among those who frequent open areas. The booklets speak about preventive measures, such as possessing fire extinguishers, in addition to being careful while riding bikes etc.

Capt Salman Al-Jaidi


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MoI brothers netted for drug trafficking No party for teens, escort

KUWAIT: Ahmadi Governor, Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Al-Duaij Al-Sabah, received a framed verse of the Holy Quran written in traditional Arabic-style calligraphy. The verse was prepared and presented by ninth grade students of the Al-Riqqa Middle School for Girls in Ahmadi.

Kuwait to launch new state-run university KUWAIT: Minister of Education, Minister of Higher Education and Minister of Justice Ahmed Al-Mulaifi announced on Monday the launching of a new staterun university. “The project is an initial step in the government plan to launch new universities to meet the growing demand, and tap into the huge human resources of the country,” he told reporters at the Ministry of Higher Education. Al-Mulaifi made the remarks ahead of the first meeting of the Executive Board of the new university project, noting that vision and targets of the planned university will be separate from Kuwait University (KU). “The university will not only address the problem of KU’s occupancy, but also provide a model for higher educational institutions in the Gulf region in terms of curricula, teaching staff and hi-tech equipment,” he revealed.

Listing the tasks of the Executive Board of the new university, Al-Mulaifi said they include outlining regulatory frameworks, a vision, message and objectives of the new institution. The required faculties, specializations, curricula, semesters and the degrees also need to be determined. The Board is mandated to outsource foreign academics and administrative experts if it deems it necessary for its mission, he added. The Board is made up of Dr Fadhel AlMusallam, Dr Mohammad Hadi, Dr Bader Al-Bedeiwi, Dr Anwar Al-Fzei’e, Dr Abbas Al-Shemmeri, Dr Esam Al-Rubei’an, Dr Fahima Al-Awadhi, Dr Zahra Ali, Dr Maytham Safar, Dr Mohammad AlAthma, Dr Adel Ahmad and Dr Mohammad Ahmad. They are all currently KU teaching staff. Mohsen Al-Muallem, advisor to the Minister, is also on the board. —KUNA

Saudi youth stabbed to death By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A 16-year-old Saudi Arabian national was stabbed to death by another Saudi juvenile during a fight in Sulaibiya. A security source said the boy, who disappeared for a short period, was arrested and said he did not mean to kill the victim at all. Investigations are underway. Road accidents A 39 year old Egyptian sustained various bruises and lacerations during a car accident on the Fifth Ring Road near Surra. He was taken to Mubarak Hospital. A 26 year old Kuwaiti broke his right foot during a motorcycle accident on

Second Ring Road near Qadisiya. He was taken to Amiri Hospital. A 25 year old Kuwaiti was bleeding from his nose and suffered leg pain, while a 26 year old national injured his back during a car accident between Adan and Sabah Al-Salem areas. They were taken to Adan Hospital. A 20 year old stateless resident and a 16 year old Saudi Arabian sustained various injuries during a car accident in Abdaly area. Both were taken to Jahra Hospital. A 19 year old Egyptian suffered hand injuries and back pain during a car accident in Jahra. He was taken to Jahra Hospital.

NBK unveils new headquarters KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) unveils its new environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art headquarters. NBK’s new headquarters will be located in the heart of Kuwait’s financial district, Sharq and will serve as a new architectural landmark for Kuwait. NBK held an exhibition to present to staff the bank’s new headquarters. Isam Al Sager, Deputy Group CEO for NBK, welcomed members of the Kuwait Fire Department in order to view a scaled model of the new building’s conceptual design as well as renderings of the building. A presentation during the exhibition also included a live feed from the construction site and a talk about the building’s unique design features. The new 300m-high headquarters will have 60 floors. It will house NBK’s new archive museum, which will showcase historical items from the bank and Kuwait. NBK enjoys the highest credit ratings in the region by international rating agencies Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings.

KUWAIT: A police officer and his brother, who previously served in the Ministry of Interior (MoI), were recently arrested for drug trafficking and abuse. They were also charged with assaulting police officers on duty after they resisted apprehension. They were stopped suspiciously at an open area in Julaiah. The two then drove away in their vehicle when they were approached by a patrol car. The suspects were eventually forced to stop. They were placed under arrest following a scuffle that started when they violently resisted apprehension. The two were under the influence of drugs at the time of arrest. Drug pills were found in their possession during a search. Investigations revealed that one of the suspects is a Lance Corporal in the Coastguard General Department while his brother served in the Facilities Security Department, before he was released from duty. They are currently being held pending legal action. Martial arts attack A man was left unconscious with a broken nose at a public place in Salhiya, after he publically insulted a woman who turned out to be an expert at martial arts. According to eyewitnesses, the Bangladeshi man reportedly made an ‘obscene hand gesture’ towards the Filipina woman. He did not know she is a Tae Kwan Do expert who is not afraid to use her skills when necessary. Following a number of swift kicks and punches, the man fell to the floor unconscious with a bloody nose. After being hospitalized, the man was escorted to Salhiya police station, where the woman had already reported him. The man was charged, after he admitted that he insulted his foe. She was

charged with physical assault. The two are set to be sent to the Public Prosecution Department for further action. Three in custody Two teenagers and a middle-aged woman are currently in custody for investigations after they were caught sharing a car where a bottle of alcohol was found. Patrol officers grew suspicious of a car driving in Salmi desert. It was carrying two youths, both aged 18, accompanied by a much older woman. Soon after the car was pulled over, all three were arrested when a bottle of imported liquor was found inside. During investigations, the two teenagers claimed that the woman is a prostitute who agreed to join them for KD30. However the woman, who is in her forties, insisted that she is a dancer. She said that she was under the impression that she was accompanying the teenagers to a dance party they had invited her to. All three were taken to the relevant authorities for further investigation. Attempted murder A fugitive wanted in an attempted murder case was arrested by the officers during a routine patrol in Salmiya. The suspect was reportedly ordered to pull over, after raising the patrol officers’ suspicions. He was immediately put under arrest after his criminal history was revealed through an inspection of his identity. The man was then taken to the Criminal Investigations General Department for further action. Rapist at large A search is currently ongoing for a male suspect accused of sexually assaulting a

teenager he kidnapped at knifepoint in Hawally. The 16-year-old Kuwaiti victim told Hawally police that he was forced at knifepoint by a friend who took him to a remote location where the assault took place. The victim provided information and a description of the suspect, which police are using in their ongoing investigation. Allegations unproved Investigations were launched by Jahra investigators after a woman insisted on pressing charges against another woman. She accused the other woman of taking pictures of her behind her back during a wedding. The complainant further told Jahra police station officers that the woman could use the pictures in mudslinging. The woman failed, however, to provide any proof or evidence to support her claims. She admitted that her accusations are based on suspicion, but still insisted that a case is filed for investigation. Policeman insulted Police issued a warrant to arrest a female driver who reportedly insulted a traffic officer. The officer had asked for her identification at a checkpoint in Al-Sulaibiya. The woman reportedly refused to cooperate and rudely rebuffed the officer before driving away from the scene. The suspect was reportedly accompanied by a female member of the ruling family. She argued that this should have made the officer allow her to pass the checkpoint without having to reveal her identification. Sulaibiya police station officers identified the suspect through the license plate number of her car, and called her to report for investigation. —Al-Rai, Al-Anba, Al-Watan

KIB opens branch in West Jahra KUWAIT: Kuwait International Bank (KIB) has announced the official opening of a branch in West Jahra under the patronage of Governor of Jahra Sheikh Mubarak Hamoud Al-Sabah. The branch is the second to be opened in the Jahra area and is the 18th in Kuwait. Sheikh Mohammad Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, Chairman of Kuwait International Bank, said “The Jahra branch is the second one we officially open this month, following the opening of our Fintas branch.” “The new branch is fully equipped with integrated systems and well trained employees dedicated to providing corporate and retail customers with the highest quality of services that are compliant with Islamic banking requirements,” he said. KIB expects to open further branches throughout 2012 as part of its expansion strategy and its accessibility to new as well as present customers. “The more branches we open, the more we can serve our customers best throughout Kuwait. These branches are considered to be part of the Bank’s expansion strategy in strengthening its position as a pioneer in the Islamic banking sector in Kuwait,” added Sheikh AlJarrah. The bank will continue presenting its portfolio of innovative Islamic-compliant banking products and services throughout its branches.

KUWAIT: Inauguration of Kuwait International Bank’s branch in West Jahra.

Local political events affect real-estate market KUWAIT: The national real-estate market posted decline in November as a result of domestic political events namely resignation of the government and dissolution of the parliament, according to a report released by Emaar Al-Ahlia Real-Estate Company yesterday. Prices of plots rose in November, coinciding with drop of trading in the sectors of housing and investment properties, the report said, forecasting prospected hike in the commercial units deals in December. Recent government decision

allowing divorced women to seek banking loans would impact positively on the sector, possibly in the third quarter of 2012, and might lead to rise of prices of land plots. Repercussions of the financial crisis in Europe and the United States was one of the major causes of the drastic fall of the indexes of the property trades at the national level, in November. As a remedy, the company proposed promoting housing ventures, within the framework of the overall national development scheme, for meeting mounting

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior has announced that they have filed five cases of primary elections in the Fifth Constituency which included areas starting from Sabah Al-Salem to Nowaiseeb. All cases were sent to the public prosecutor supported by evidences that primary elections were held in those areas. The proofs include photos of the cars and its plate numbers and the people who participated in the elections which is against the law.

demand for residences. Total value of trades reached KD 144 million in November, at a rate of 566 plots, with a 102 percent drop in contrast to October, when the overall value of the deals reached KD 289 million. Trades in housing plots reached KD 93 million in November, at a rate of 473 transactions, falling 61 percent compared to October, when the deals value was recorded at KD 169 million. The report said that the commercial units’ sector posted noticeable hikes due to the rise of rents. It

also called for scrutiny while granting construction permits to ensure builders would secure parking lots and other affiliate services to help in alleviating the thorny problem of traffic. Value of traded investment plots reached KD 48 million in November, at a rate of 89 units, the reported elaborated further. Moreover, commercial real-estate posted dramatic fall in November, due to declining status of some companies that sought to sell some properties to secure funds for paying dues.— KUNA


WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011

Street fights hit Yemen as US mulls letting in Saleh

Ethiopia jails Swedish journalists for 11 years Page 9

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CAIRO: Syrians living in Egypt rally in support of anti-government protesters and the Arab observers delegation, near the Arab League headquarters in Cairo yesterday. — AFP

Syria pulls tanks from Homs Tens of thousands march as Arab monitors visit BEIRUT: Syria’s army suspended days of punishing attacks on the restive city of Homs and began withdrawing its tanks yesterday just as Arab League monitors visited the area, activists and officials said. Huge crowds poured into the streets shortly after the pullback, shouting defiantly that they will not be cowed by the crackdown. Amateur video showed tens of thousands flooding the streets of the city, which had been under siege for days, to march in a funeral. They carried the open casket overhead with the exposed face of an older man with a white beard. “Listen Bashar: If you fire bullets, grenades or shells at us, we will not be scared,” one person shouted to the crowd through loudspeakers. Many were waving Syria’s independence flag, which predates the 1963 ascendancy of President Bashar Assad’s Baath party to power. About 60 Arab League monitors - the first Syria’s regime has allowed in during its nine-month crackdown on an anti-government uprising - began work yesterday. They are there to ensure compliance with the League’s plan to halt violence against mostly unarmed, peaceful protesters and the pullback in Homs was the first tangible sign Assad was implementing any of the terms. After signing on to the plan early last week, Assad’s regime had only intensified the violence, rather than easing up, and it was condemned internationally for flouting the agreement. Government troops killed hundreds in just

the past week. On Monday, security forces killed at least 42 people, most of them in Homs. Amateur video released by activists showed residents of Homs’ tense Baba Amr district speaking to the Arab monitors. “We are unarmed people who are dying,” one resident shouts to an observer. Seconds later, shooting is heard from a distance as someone else screams: “We are being slaughtered here.” In another exchange, a resident tells a monitor: “You should say what you just told the head of the mission. You said you cannot cross to the other side of the street because of sniper fire.” The observer points to the head of the team and says: “He will make a statement.” The resident the repeats his demand, and the monitor, smoking a cigarette, nods in approval. The British-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said as the monitors visited Homs, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in some neighborhoods to “reveal the crimes committed by the regime.” Later, the Observatory said some 70,000 protesters tried to enter the tightly secured Clock Square as security force fired tear gas and later live bullets to prevent them from reaching the city’s largest square. The Local Coordination Committees, another activist group, said security forces were shooting at protesters trying to reach the central square. The Arab League plan demands the government remove its security forces and heavy weapons from city streets, start talks with opposition leaders and allow human rights workers and journalists into the country. Before Tuesday’s redeployment of at least some tanks, there had been no sign that Assad was implementing any of the terms, much less letting up on his brutal crackdown. Homs, Syria’s third largest city, has a population of 800,000 and is at the epicenter of the revolt against Assad. It is about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of the capital, Damascus. Many Syrians refer to Homs as the “Capital of the Revolution.” Opposition activist Mohammed Saleh said the heavy bombardment of Homs since Friday stopped in the morning and tanks were seen pulling out. Another Homs-based activist said he saw armored vehicles leaving early on a highway leading to the city of Palmyra to the east. He asked that his name not be made public for fear of retribution. “ Today is calm, unlike pervious days,” Saleh said. “The shelling went on for days, but yesterday was terrible.” The British-based Obser vator y said some army vehicles pulled out of Homs while other relocated in government compounds “where (they) can deploy again within five minutes.”—AP


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Israeli girl’s plight highlights Jewish extremism BEIT SHEMESH: A shy 8-year-old schoolgirl has unwittingly found herself on the front line of Israel’s latest religious war. Naama Margolese is a ponytailed, bespectacled secondgrader who is afraid of walking to her religious Jewish girls school for fear of ultra-Orthodox extremists who have spat on her and called her odd names for dressing “immodestly.” Her plight has drawn new attention to the simmering issue of religious coercion in Israel, and the increasing brazenness of extremists in the insular ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. “When I walk to school in the morning I used to get a tummy ache because I was so scared ... that they were going to stand and start yelling and spitting,” the pale, blue-eyed girl said softly in an interview with The Associated Press Monday. “They were scary. They don’t want us to go to the school.” The girls school that Naama attends in the city of Beit Shemesh, to the west of Jerusalem, is on the border between an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood and a community of modern Orthodox Jewish residents, many of them American immigrants. The ultra-Orthodox consider the school, which moved to its present site at the beginning of the school year, an

encroachment on their territory. Dozens of black-hatted men jeer and physically accost the girls almost daily, claiming their ver y presence is a provocation. Beit Shemesh has long experienced friction between the ultra-Orthodox, who make up about half the city’s population, and other residents. And residents say the attacks at the girls’ school, attended by about 400 students, have been going on for months. Last week, after a local TV channel reported about the school and interviewed Naama’s family, a national uproar ensued. The televised images of Naama sobbing as she walked to school shocked many Israelis, elicited statements of outrage from the country’s leadership, sparked a Facebook page with nearly 10,000 followers dedicated to “protecting little Naama” and a demonstration was held yesterday evening in her honor. As the case has attracted attention, extremists have heckled and thrown eggs and rocks at journalists descending on town. “Who’s afraid of an 8-year-old student?” said Sunday’s main headline in the leading Yediot Ahronot daily. Beit Shemesh’s growing ultra-Orthodox population has erected street signs

calling for the separation of sexes on the sidewalks, dispatched “modesty patrols” to enforce a chaste female appearance and hurled stones at offenders and outsiders. Walls of the neighborhood are plastered with signs exhorting women to dress modestly in closed-necked, long-sleeved blouses and long skirts. Naama’s case has been especially shocking because of her young age and because she attends a religious school and dresses with long sleeves and a skirt. Extremists, however, consider even that outfit, standard in mainstream Jewish religious schools, to be immodest. Thousands of people attended yesterday evening’s demonstration. Ahead of the gathering, President Shimon Peres urged the public to attend. Protesters held signs reading, “Free Israel from religious coercion,” and “Stop Israel from becoming Iran.” “The demonstration today is a test for the people and not just the police,” Peres told a gathering of Israeli ambassadors. “All of us ... must defend the image of the state of Israel from a minority that is destroying national solidarity and expressing itself in an infuriating way.” The abuse and segregation of

women in Israel in ultra-Orthodox areas is nothing new, and critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye. The ultra-Orthodox are perennial king-makers in Israeli coalition politics - two such parties serve as key members of the ruling coalition. They receive generous government subsidies, and police have traditionally been reluctant to enter their communities. The ultra-Orthodox Jews make up 10 percent of Israel’s population and are its fastest growing sector because of a high birth rate. In the past, they have generally confined their strict lifestyle to their own neighborhoods. But they have become increasingly aggressive in trying to impose their ways on others, as their population has grown and spread to new areas. “It is clear that Israeli society is faced with a challenge that I am not sure it can handle,” said Menachem Friedman, a professor emeritus of Bar Ilan University and expert on the ultraOrthodox, “a challenge that is no less and no more than an existential challenge.” Most of Israel’s secular majority, in cities like Tel Aviv and Haifa, is not directly affected, but in a few places like Beit Shemesh - a city of 100,000

people that include ultra-Orthodox, modern Orthodox and secular Jews tensions have erupted into the open. Last week, a young Israeli woman caused a nationwide uproar when she refused a religious man’s order to move to the back of a bus. In Beit Shemesh, parents in Naama’s school take turns escorting their daughters into school property to protect them. The parents, too, have been cursed and spat upon. Hadassa Margolese, Naama’s 30-year-old Chicago-born mother, an Orthodox Jew who covers her hair and wears long sleeves and a long skirt, says, “It shouldn’t matter what I look like. Someone should be allowed to walk around in sleeveless shirts and pants and not be harassed.” City spokesman Matityahu Rosenzweig condemned the violence but said it is the work of a small minority and has been taken out of proportion. “Every society has its fringes, and the police should take action on this,” he said. For Margolese, the recent clashes and the price of exposing her young daughter - boil down to a fight over her very home. “They want to push us out of Beit Shemesh. They want to take over the city,” said Margolese. — AP

Street fights hit Yemen as US mulls letting in Saleh Over 20 injured in clashes in Sanaa

GAZA: A Palestinian artist paints detail on a mural to mark the third anniversary of the Israeli offensive on Gaza in 2008, in Gaza City, yesterday. — AP

Egyptian court bans military ‘virginity tests’ CAIRO: An Egyptian court yesterday ordered the country’s military rulers to stop the use of “virginity tests” on female detainees, a practice that has caused an uproar among activists and rights groups. The virginity test allegations first surfaced after a March 9 rally in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that turned violent when men in plainclothes attacked protesters, and the army cleared the square by force. The rights group Human Rights Watch said seven women were subjected to the tests. The ban came a week after public outrage over scenes of soldiers dragging women protesters by the hair, stomping on them and stripping one half-naked in the street during a fierce crackdown on activists. “This is a case for all the women of Egypt, not only mine,” said Samira Ibrahim, 25, who was arrested and then spoke out about her treatment. Ibrahim filed two suits against the practice, one demanding it be banned and another accusing an officer of sexual assault. She was the only one to complain publicly about a practice that can bring shame upon the victim in a conservative society. A small group of women gathered outside the court building, holding banners. One said, “Women of Egypt are a red line.” The ruling “is incredibly important not only because it comes after scenes of sexual assault and battery of women by military troops,” said Heba Morayef, an Egypt researcher with Human Rights Watch. “It is also important because it is the first time a civilian court acknowledged and criticized abuse by the military.” At first the military denied administer-

ing virginity tests. Then last week, the military prosecutor said one army doctor is on trial for abuse. Yesterday, after the court decision, military prosecutor Adel el-Morsi said the tests are not condoned by the military, calling the abuse “an individual behavior” that is before courts. Rights groups have said some officers have explained the tests as a way to clear their names of possible charges of abuse by the protesters. Women protesters said they were threatened with prostitution charges before they were subjected to the tests. Hossam Bahgat, a human rights activist who was involved in the case, said the court ruling restores some justice to the abused women and is a first step toward holding military officials accountable. “It is also very symbolically important because it is a crack in the wall of impunity the (military rulers) have built around their personnel and their conduct” against protesters and women in particular, he said. He said the lawyers will try to upgrade the charges against the army doctor to sexual assault instead of the current indecent act. Ibrahim, who covers her hair in the style of conservative Muslims, told a private TV station Monday that she filed the suits because she wanted to spare others what she went through. Ibrahim said her family, from the conservative southern Egyptian city of Sohag, was supportive of her going public. “I was devastated,” she told the private ONTV network. “I was hurt, and sad, and didn’t expect that from them (soldiers.) The first thing dad said is...only the law will help you.” — AP

CAIRO: Egyptian women protest against the military council violations and virginity tests on women, outside the State Council court in Cairo yesterday. An Egyptian court ordered the Egyptian army to stop forced virginity tests on female detainees. — AFP

SANAA: Foes and backers of a plan to ease Yemen’s president out of power fought each other with stones and clubs yesterday, deepening the country’s chaos as Washington said it was considering a request from the leader to fly to the United States. Youth activists, who have led months of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33year rule, were split on him leaving the country - saying it might ease the conflict but could also let him escape justice. President Ali Abdullah Saleh bowed to months of protests and international pressure by agreeing last month to a deal that would grant him immunity from prosecution over his violent crackdown on the uprising but see him hand over power to his deputy. Far from resolving the crisis, the settlement has sparked further tension between groups who opposed the immunity deal, and groups who backed it - many of whom have since joined an interim government. Activists said least 20 people were injured in the clashes in the capital Sanaa yesterday between supporters of the Islah party, which backed the immunity deal, and the Houthi movement, a Shi’ite rebel grouping in the north of the country. Washington and top oil producer Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen, both fear continued chaos would allow al Qaeda to build on its already strong presence in the country, which lies close to key oil shipping lanes. After another bout of violence on Saturday - when protesters said Saleh’s forces killed nine people who had joined a mass march against the immunity deal - the president vowed to give way to a successor and go to the United States. A White House spokesman late on Monday said the US government was tr ying to decide whether to allow Saleh to travel to the United States, adding that the president had requested medical treatment. Anti-Saleh

SANAA: Yemeni anti-government protesters shout slogans during a demonstration calling for the trial of outgoing Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa yesterday. — AFP protesters said they were in two minds about the possible US trip. “We are at a loss, between our desire to see Saleh go and avoid Yemen sliding into civil war, and the desire to see him tried for his crimes,” said Samia al-Aghbari, a protest leader who was detained briefly after Saturday’s violence. “If he (Saleh) is away and forbidden from being part of the political atmosphere in Yemen, it may help, I see the point of that. But he still has money and weapons in the country and if this doesn’t change, nothing will change at any level in Yemen,” said activist Hamza Shargabi. Any suggestion that Saleh is taking up sanctuary in the United States would be highly controversial among activists and opposition figures who have accused Washington of backing Saleh as an ally in the campaign against al Qaeda. “He has this relation with the US, its war on terror, and torturing people in the name of that

war, and putting people in prison,” said Shargabi. “Anything can happen in the name of the war on terror.” Hostility against the United States was fanned by Yemeni media reports that Washington’s envoy in Sanaa described Saturday’s march as a provocative act, shortly before Saleh’s forces cracked down on the protest. In a statement on Monday, a group of protest organisers demanded Washington recall Gerald Feierstein, whom they called an “advocate and defender of Saleh’s ruthless oppression of his people, almost from the start of his assignment in Yemen.” Al Masdar Online, one of the publications which attended a briefing with Feierstein, cited him as saying, in Arabic translation: “Being peaceful isn’t just about not carrying weapons. If 2,000 people decided to march on the White House, we wouldn’t consider it peaceful and we wouldn’t permit it.”

The US embassy in Sanaa did not respond to requests for comment on the remarks. The top “counter-terrorism” official in Washington - which wages a campaign of drone strikes against alleged al Qaeda members in Yemen and assassinated Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen, that way earlier this year - urged Saleh’s deputy Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Sunday to show restraint with protests. A ny s u cce s s o r to S a l e h would face multiple, overlapp i n g co n f l i c t s i n c l u d i n g renewed separatist sentiment in the south, which fought a civil war with Saleh’s north in 1994 after four turbulent years of formal union. Islamist fighters have seized chunks of territo r y i n t h e s o u t h e r n A by a n province. Fighting there has fo rce d te n s o f t h o u s a n d s o f people to flee, compounding a humanitarian crisis in a country where about half a million people are displaced. —Reuters

Sadrists call for new elections in Iraq BAGHDAD: The political party loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for the dissolution of Iraq’s parliament and new elections in another move that could escalate the countr y ’s growing sec tarian crisis. The antiAmerican Sadrist bloc is a partner in the Shiitedominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Bahaa al-Aaraji, the head of the Sadrists’ bloc in parliament, said Monday that the elections are needed because of instability in the country and problems that threaten Iraq’s sovereignty. “The political partners cannot find solutions for the problems that threaten to divide Iraq,” he said. Iraq plunged into a new sectarian crisis last week, just days after the last American troops withdrew at the end of a nearly nineyear war. The new political crisis has been accompanied by a new wave of attacks on the Iraqi capital by suspected Sunni insurgents linked to al-Qaida. A suicide bomber set off a car bomb Monday at a checkpoint leading to the Interior Ministry, killing seven people and injuring 32, officials said. Police and hospital officials said the bomber struck during morning rush hour, hitting one of many security bar-

riers set up around the ministry’s building. Al-Maliki is in a political showdown with the countr y ’s top Sunni political figure, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, after the government issued an arrest warrant for al-Hashemi on allegations his bodyguards ran hit squads targeting government officials. The prime minister threatened to form a government without al-Hashemi’s Sunnibacked political party, Iraqiya, which is boycotting parliament and mulling whether to pull out of the ruling coalition. Iraq was dominated by the minority Sunnis under Saddam Hussein until the US-led war that began in 2003 ousted him. Majority Shiites have dominated the government ever since, though Americans pushed hard for the inclusion of Sunnis with a meaningful role in the current governing coalition. Bitter sectarian rivalries played out in 20062007 in violence that took Iraq to the brink of civil war and the latest tensions have raised fears of a resurgence of Shiite-Sunni violence. The political crisis taps into resentments that are still raw despite years of efforts to overcome them. The Sunnis fear the Shiite majority

is squeezing them out of their already limited political role. Shiites suspect Sunnis of links to militants and of plotting to topple the Shiite leadership. The Sadrists have played an important role in maintaining Shiite domination over government - their support last year catapulted al-Maliki back to the prime minister’s office for a second term. For the proposal to dissolve parliament to gain traction, it would take the consent of at least 1/3 of parliament, the president and the prime minister or a simple majority of lawmakers. Al-Maliki, who only secured his position after nearly nine months of political wrangling after the last elections, would likely be loathe to go through the process again and risk an unfavorable outcome. Al-Aaraji said the proposal first needs approval of the larger coalition between the Sadrists and al-Maliki’s alliance, the two most powerful Shiite parties. A Shiite lawmaker loyal to al-Maliki, Kamal al-Saiedi, said the proposal should be studied. “Forming the current government was not an easy issue, therefore going back in the direction of new elections would be more difficult,” he said. — AP


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Northern Nigerian Christians warn of religious war ABUJA: Northern Nigerian Christians said yesterday they feared that a spate of Chrtistmas Day bombings by Islamast militants that killed over two dozen people could lead to a religious war in Africa’s most populous country. The warning was made in a statement by the northern branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), an umbrella organisation comprising various denominations including Catholics, Protestant and pentecostal churches. The Boko Haram Islamist sect, which aims to impose sharia Islamic law across Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the blasts, the second Christmas in a row it has caused carnage at Christian churches. Saidu Dogo, secretary general for the organisation in Nigeria’s 19 northern provinces called on

Muslim leaders to control their faithful, saying Christians will be forced to defend themselves against further attacks. “We fear that the situation may degenerate to a religious war and Nigeria may not be able to survive one. Once again, ‘enough is enough!’,” Dogo said. The attacks risk reviving tit-for-tat sectarian violence between the mostly Muslim north and the largely Christian south, which has claimed thousands of lives in the past decade. Dogo said the CAN was calling on all Christians to continue respecting the law but to defend themselves when needed. “We shall henceforth in the midst of these provocations and wanton destruction of innocent lives and property be compelled to make our own efforts and arrangements

to protect the lives of innocent Christians and peace-loving citizens of this country,” Dogo said. The most deadly attack killed at least 27 people in the St Theresa Catholic church in Madalla, a town on the edge of the capital Abuja, and devastated surrounding buildings and cars as faithful poured out of the church after Christmas mass. Security forces also blamed the sect for two explosions in the north targeting their facilities. Officials have confirmed 32 people died in the wave of attacks across Nigeria, though local media have put the number higher. But the church bombs are more worrying because they raise fears that Boko Haram is trying to ignite a sectarian civil war in the nearly 160 million nation split evenly between Christians and Muslims, who for the most part co-

exist in peace. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has come under pressure to do more to fight the growing security threat which risks derailing economic gains in the OPEC member and Africa’s top oil-producing nation. Nigeria’s main opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner and former military ruler who lost a presidential election in April to Jonathan, accused the government of incompetence on Monday, saying government was slow to respond and had shown indifference to the bombings. The CAN said in the statement that it was concerned that the perpetrators and their sponsors “are well-known to government and no serious or decisive actions have been taken to stem their nefarious activities”. — Reuters

Ethiopia jails Swedish journalists for 11 years Jailed for supporting terrorism, entering country illegally

MOSCOW: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, talks to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a Cabinet meeting in Moscow, yesterday. Putin said that the March election, in which he will seek to reclaim presidency, should be transparent and fair, but rejected demands from swelling numbers of protesters for a rerun of the fraud-tainted parliamentary election. — AP

Putin says he wants clean presidential vote MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said yesterday that the March election, in which he will seek to reclaim presidency, should be transparent and fair, but rejected demands from swelling numbers of protesters for a rerun of the fraud-tainted parliamentary election. Putin’s United Russia party barely retained its majority in the Dec. 4 election despite alleged vote-rigging in its favor. Tens of thousands have protested since, urging an end to Putin’s rule, including a Moscow rally last weekend that was the largest show of discontent since the Soviet collapse 20 years ago. Putin, who served as president in 20002008 and remained the country’s most powerful figure after switching to the premier’s seat due to a term limit, has responded to the protests by offering to ease his rigid controls over the political field. At the same time, he has sought to cast protesters as Western stooges working to weaken Russia. Yesterday, during a meeting with supporters he dismissed the opposition as lacking a goal beyond fomenting turmoil, accused its leaders of trying to delegitimize elections and said they haven’t proven their worth. “The problem is they lack a consolidated program, as well as clear and comprensible ways of achieving their goals, which aren’t clear either,” said Putin, who became

prime minister after term limits forced him to leave the presidency. “They also lack people who are capable of doing something concrete.” Putin again flatly rejected the demands for a rerun of the parliamentary vote, saying that “there can’t be any talk about reviewing it.” At the same time, he urged his supporters to ensure fairness of the presidential vote to prevent any possible criticism, and discussed details of his proposal to put web cameras at all polling stations. He also suggested that all ballot boxes be made transparent. “As a candidate, I don’t need any voterigging,” Putin said. “I want the election to be maximally transparent. I want to rely on people’s will, on people’s trust, and it makes no sense to work if it’s missing.” Putin and his protege Dmitry Medvedev, who succeeded him in the presidency and is expected to switch to the premiership after March, earlier rolled out a set of proposed political reforms intended to assuage public anger. They include relaxing registration rules for political parties and restoring direct elections of provincial governors abolished by Putin. But opposition leaders have rejected the government proposals as window-dressing, pointing out that they would only affect the next election cycle years away and vowing to continue street protests. — AP

MADRID: New elected mayor Ana Botella (L) walks with her husband former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar after her swearing in ceremony at Madrid’s town hall yesterday. — AFP

Spain ex-PM’s wife becomes Madrid’s first woman mayor MADRID: Outspoken right-leaning politician Ana Botella took office as the first female mayor of Madrid yesterday, vowing to cut the capital’s 6.3-billion euro ($8.3 billion) debt. Botella, the 58year-old wife of former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, said creating jobs was her top priority and that she would deepen efforts to cut the debt, at a time when national spending cuts are biting. “We have already managed to substantially limit our budget and reduce the debt,” which will reach 6.377 billion euros by the end of 2011, she told the city council after her televised swearingin. “Through this path of budgetary discipline we will achieve a balance between revenues and spending in the coming year,” she added. “We will cut the debt burden by a further 3.112 billion euros by 2016.” Botella inspires sharply divided reactions among Spaniards and is known for

some controversial remarks. She declared in 2004: “Homosexual marriage will never be equal to heterosexual marriage in the same way that two apples produce another apple, but an apple and a pear will never produce another apple.” Botella added yesterday that a bid by Madrid to host the 2020 Olympic Games was still viable since most of the necessary investment had already been made. “Among our aims, Madrid’s effort to be an Olympic city has an important place-a commitment that we are renewing with our eyes on the 2020 Games,” she said. “To accomplish it, no new spending is needed until the International Olympic Committee’s decision, because we have already built 80 percent of the necessary infrastructure.” Madrid and five other candidate cities are due to submit their 2020 Games plans by February 25 to the committee, which will vote on the host city in September 2013. — AFP

ADDIS ABABA: An Ethiopian court yesterday sentenced two Swedish journalists to 11 years in jail for supporting terrorism and entering the country illegally, after a trial criticised by rights groups. “The sentence should be punishment of 11 years imprisonment,” Judge Shemsu Sirgaga told the court in the Amharic language through a translator. “This sentence should satisfy the goal of peace and security,” he added. Reporter Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson were arrested in Ethiopia’s Ogaden region on July 1 in the company of rebels from the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) after entering Ethiopia from Somalia. Both Swedes showed no emotion at the sentencing, as if in shock, according to an AFP reporter in the court. A defence lawyer patted Schibbye on the arm as the sentence was read out. Defence lawyer Abebe Balcha said they would decide later in the week whether to appeal. “I am not satisfied, as a lawyer for the defendants, I do not agree with the decision,” Abebe said outside the court. The Swedish

Union of Journalists condemned the jail term as a “political sentence” and called on Sweden to intervene. “The Swedish government has the heavy responsibility of resolving this at the political level,” union president Jonas Nordling said in a statement. Sweden has asked the United States and the EU for help “to ensure their liberation as soon as possible,” state secretary for foreign affairs Frank Belfrage told the TT news agency. Judges had initially sentenced the pair to 11 years and three months for supporting terrorism and a further three years and three months for entering the country illegally, the court heard. “The court has actually passed 14 years six months first, and then mitigated it down,” Abebe said, noting the sentence was reduced “because of the reputation of the defendants and also that they have never been involved in crime before.” Johan’s father, Kjell Persson, told AFP on the phone from Sweden that the trial had been difficult on the family. “It was a tough time for us, but we met Johan four or five

times and he’s taken it well, it’s good for us to see that,” he said. The two men were convicted last Wednesday and prosecutors had called for a maximum sentence of 18 years and six months in prison. Their sentencing drew heavy criticism from rights groups, with Amnesty International calling for their immediate and unconditional release. Reporters Without Borders (RSF - Reporters Sans Frontieres) said the sentence was “deplorable” and claimed it was a threat by the government to deter “potentially embarrassing” reporting. Human Rights Watch slammed both the “sham convictions” and Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law, which it said was used to “suppress the legitimate work of the media.” It noted that 29 Ethiopian journalists and opposition members were also on trial under the same law. However, after yesterday’s sentencing, Ethiopian government spokesman Bereket Simon said: “We live by the decision and we fully accept the decision,” dismissing the concerns of rights groups. — AFP


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I N T E R N AT I O N A L Carter hopes for normalization of ties between Cuba and US

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rleen Rodriguez: Hello! A greeting to all of those who are watching Cuban Television right now. I welcome all of you, along with the former President of the United States, James Carter, who just moments before leaving to return to his country has graciously agreed to give us an interview, and an exclusive statement for our television broadcast. Welcome. Thank you for accepting our invitation. Jimmy Carter: It’s a great pleasure to return to Cuba, to Havana. Rodroguez: It’s a great pleasure to have you here as well. You told me that you’d like to say something to the Cuban people before our interview. Carter: Yes. Rodriguez: The camera is yours. Carter: To the people of Cuba I would like to say that I am very grateful for the chance to return to your wonderful country once again. My wife and I enjoy being here with the Cuban people, to meet with the government leaders, to meet with some of those Cuban citizens who disagree with the government. We met with all of them. We are very excited about the prospects for the upcoming Congress that will begin next month. We also had a chance to meet with the parents of the socalled Cuban five, with two of the mothers and also with the wives. My hope is that in the future we will see normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States. I would like to see at the time all the restraints on travel from the United States to Cuba and Cuba to the United States lifted, and also have freedoms in both our countries, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom to travel as you wish, these are very important for the entire world and for the people of Cuba. We had meetings with the foreign minister, with the President of the National Assembly, with President Castro, with the former President, Fidel Castro, an old friend of mine, to learn all we can about the economic changes in Cuba. I was also able to meet with Mr. Gross, who has been sentenced to a long term in prison in Cuba, and we believe he is innocent of any crime. I hope in the future we’ll see his freedom along with the freedom of the so-called Cuban Five who have now spent 12 years in prison in the United States. In the future I hope that we can see unimpeded trade and commerce as well as travel back and forth between our two countries and I’d like to see the economic embargo lifted completely...it doesn’t just affect the government but it hurts the people. My views on the Cuban American relationship are that it needs to change. When I became president I immediately lifted the travel restraints between both my country and Cuba and I have worked very closely with your former President Fidel Castro to establish diplomatic exchange through Interests Sections. Now the United States and Cuba have about 300 people employed in the Interests Sections, both in the United States as well as in Cuba, and there are Cubans who work in the Interests Section in Cuba and vice-versa, and I think that this can contribute to normal diplomatic relations between the two countries. This has been a good opportunity that I’ve been given by Cuban TV to address you and say how marvelous your country is. Rodriguez: Thanks. I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to ask you a few questions. First of all, I’d like to congratulate you for the respect and sympathy that you’ve generated as the only US President in 50 years to do something to normalize relations. You recalled some of the important steps. Also for the fact that you have come to Cuba twice already, and for doing so with your hand extended and with respect. The Cuban people, who have a lot of pride and dignity, receive such visitors sympathetically. I believe that, getting down to the substance of this interview, you’ve relieved me of having to do an introduction, by expressing once again your desire and willingness for the blockade against Cuba to be lifted. It’s known that there’s a majority consensus in US society on this, even among the Cuban community in the United States, and that, furthermore, the international community has overwhelmingly demanded this for the last twenty years, the same way that its efforts are supported by a vast majority in Cuba and the United States.As you yourself acknowledge, the blockade remains in place, and the Cuban people know, furthermore, that it remains in place as stiffly as ever, sometimes even more rigorous than before. I ask: What prospects do you see for relations between Cuba and the United States and for this blockade, that the whole world opposes? Carter: As you know, the majority of Cubans want to have normal relations with the United States, and the overwhelming majority of North Americans also want to have normal relationships with Cuba. Unfortunately there are a few radical leaders in my country, some in prominent positions in Congress, mostly Cuban Americans, who insist on keeping the relationship between our two countries separate, these representatives of the old Cuban American community, whose main goal was to over-

throw the Castro regime; even among the Cuban Americans now in my country they are a small minority now, but they’re very powerful, in our political circles. I believe that in the last few years, I’ve seen public opinion polls even inside Miami ... testifying that the younger members of that community want to move the economic blockade against Cuba and want to have normal opportunities to travel in both directions: from the United States to Cuba and also from Cuba to the United States. This is a change. In my opinion, it’s a change that is going to continue into the future and I hope that my small voice, and the opinion of many American, can make this a reality. Rodriguez: Mr. Carter, I was very moved as I listened to you in the press conference, and here in your statement, when I heard you also ask for, demand, freedom for the Five Cuban Heroes imprisoned in the States, who Cuba considers heroes, because they faced terrorist groups and were able to prevent the list of 2,099 wounded and 3,478 dead from terrorist attacks on our country from growing any larger. I don’t know how aware you are of how deeply the Cuban people feel about the demand that the Five be released. However, I didn’t hear you say they should be pardoned. You said that according to U.S. law you expected that they would be freed. They have appealed to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear their case, despite the fact that more than 10 Nobel laureates and hundreds of political personalities and intellectuals around the world had demanded it. In other words, all the legal steps have been exhausted. The process has been extremely arbitrary, as you said, judges have acknowledged this, and two of them have been subjected to the additional punishment of being denied regular visits from their wives, as well as having the visits from their family members made very difficult. To arrive at this point with the Supreme Court and not allow even for the review of such a complex case is what made these Nobel prizewinners and political personalities demand that Obama grant a pardon. You were the President of the United States. You exercised the right to pardon, as a humanitarian gesture, that I tell you - as a Cuban - the Cuban people would deeply appreciate a pardon. Are you inclined to add your name to the other Nobel prizewinners who are asking Obama to pardon the Five? Carter: As you know, I’m not only a former president, but I’m also a Nobel laureate. Rodriguez: That’s why. Carter: Well, in my private talks to President Bush and also with President Obama, I have urged the release of these prisoners. I recognize the restraints within the American judicial system, and my hope is that the president might grant a pardon, but you have to realize that this is a decision that could only be made by the president himself, it would be presumptuous of me to try to tell another president what to do; but the presidents, now and before this, have known that my own opinion is that the original trial of the Cuban Five was very doubtful, it violated standards, and also some of the restraints on their visitation were extreme. Now I know that all of the people have been able to visit them in jail, and it is my wish in the future that before a pardon might be granted is that there could be more access by these families to these prisoners . I have been informed by officials, for instance, that the shooting down of the small plane[s] over Havana, that caused the death of two pilots, was done after the President of the United States informed Cuban leaders that no more flights would take place. And I was informed by Cuban officials that they notified the President of the United States very clearly, that they could not permit a plane to fly over their capital city...dropping leaflets...but that they would protect the sovereignty of Cuba. So even those more serious allegations, in my opinion, are very doubtful, about their need or cause of the extensive sentences that have been granted to one of the prisoners. So in every way, in my private report with Obama when I return to the United States, in my public statements like today, in my previous conversations with American leaders, I’ve called for the release of the Cuban Five. One of the reasons is that, guilty or not, they’ve served a long prison sentence already, more than 12 years, and the fact that they’ve been punished adequately, even if they are guilty. Rodriguez: I’m very grateful for your time. Thank you. Every time you come to Cuba, hope is awakened, although the blockade continues to make relations so difficult. Carter: Espero que podemos volver otra vez, muchas veces. En la oportunidad traer toda mi familia. Hay muchos de nuestra familia. Tenemos treinta y seis miembros... [I hope that we can return again, many times. I’d like to bring all my family. There are a lot of us. We have thirty-six members...] grandchildren, great grandchildren, spouses, children, we’d like to have all of us come to Cuba. Thank you very much. Rodriguez: Thank you, Mr. Carter, very much. * Arleen Rodriguez Derivet is Cuban Television journalist.

Republican hopefuls rumble through Iowa Launch bus tours through Iowa’s small towns WASHINGTON: Republican presidential candidates have one week to convince Iowa voters that they are the best prepared to defeat President Barack Obama next year. The Midwestern state holds the country’s first nominating contest on Jan. 3 - statewide precinct caucus meetings. They likely will winnow the seven-person field and shape the coming six-month string of state-by-state primary elections and caucuses leading up to the Republican National Convention that officially names a candidate in August. Obama is vulnerable because of national dissatisfaction with the wobbly economy that has been extremely slow to pull out of the Great Recession. But the tangle of Republicans vying for the nomination to challenge the president in November - and fundamental splits over ideology - have left the party divided. National front-runner Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is disliked and not trusted by conservative Republicans who have thrown their support behind a series of other candidates whose policy promises are more palatable to them. But each of those candidates, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former businessman Herman Cain and now former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich have all grabbed support and quickly risen in the polls before losing steam under closer scrutiny by voters and the news media. Many of those expected to take part in the

Iowa caucuses remain undecided. And while Romney appears stronger in the state than he had earlier, polls show his biggest rivals are Gingrich and the libertarian-leaning Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Romney, who finished second in the 2008 Iowa caucuses in his first run for the presidency, released a new television commercial for the state in which he touted his background as a conservative businessman and cited a “moral imperative for America to stop spending more money than we take in. It’s killing jobs.” He returns to Iowa today after a quick stop in his long-established stronghold of New Hampshire, which holds its first-in-thenation primary on Jan. 10, exactly one week after the Iowa caucuses. Romney has a wellfunded and well-organized campaign nationally and in Iowa, as well as allies who are spending heavily on television advertisements through an independent organization known as a super PAC, or super Political Action Committee. He has recently invested more time and resources in Iowa, hoping to eke out a victory in the caucuses at a time when the party’s social conservatives have yet to coalesce behind a single candidate. But Romney hasn’t excited many of the party’s staunchest conservatives for reasons that include his past support of abortion and gay rights and enactment of a Massachusetts health care plan that’s often compared to Obama’s overhaul that was pushed through Congress and into

law early in his first term. Bachmann, Perry and Gingrich, each claiming to be the truly conservative alternative to Romney, are launching bus tours through Iowa’s small towns. Each campaign has also tried to gauge the level of enthusiasm for Paul. The libertarian favorite has built a strong organization in Iowa and recent polls suggest he is peaking, a rise that has him tied with or even ahead of Romney - and drawing more scrutiny for his views - particularly newsletters that appeared under his name two decades ago with comments about “race war” and deriding the influence of the pro-Israel lobby. Paul was set to return today for a late push ahead of the New Year’s holiday in which he planned to meet with supporters he has kept in touch with since his unsuccessful run in 2008. “There’s really three primaries going on here,” former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum told reporters in Adel, Iowa, where he went hunting for pheasant and quail. “There’s the libertarian primary, Which Ron Paul is going to win. Then you’ve got the moderate primary, which Gingrich and Romney are scrumming for. And you’ve got three folks who are running as strong conservatives.” Santorum, who has invested more time in Iowa than any other contender, included himself, Bachmann and Perry in that conservative camp. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman signaled early on he would not compete in Iowa and instead plans to start his campaign in New Hampshire. — AP

Missing girl found dead, babysitter charged

STAMFORD: Rubble lies on the ground, Monday, in background, after the demolition of a house where a fire left five people dead on Christmas Day, in Stamford, Conn. A commercial construction van also sits parked, foreground, behind the rubble. — AP

Pirates hijack Italian ship with 18 on board off Oman ROME: Pirates hijacked an Italian cargo ship with six Italians, five Ukrainians and seven Indians on board at dawn yesterday off the coast of Oman in an area known for Somali pirate attacks, officials said. The enrico Ievoli, which was carrying 15,750 tons of caustic soda from the United Arab Emirates to the Mediterranean, was boarded by pirates at around 0400 GMT, the Naples-based owner of the ship, Marnavi, said on its website. “There were 18 people on board. We are in close contact with the foreign ministry,” Domenico Levoli, the director of Marnavi, told AFP. “As far as we know, the Ievoli is currently in movement towards an unknown destination. We presume it’s Somalia,” he said. Levoli said the ship’s Italian captain, Agostino Musumeci, had told him: “The pirates are on board but we are all fine.” A foreign ministry spokesman said the Italian Navy, which thwarted a pirate attack against the same ship in 2006 near Yemen, had been alerted. “Together with the crisis unit, I am closely following the hijacking of the Ievoli,” Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said in a message on Twitter, calling for “strict discretion to ensure a positive outcome.” The Enrico Levoli, which measures 138 metres (453 feet) in length, is the first Italian vessel to be captured after two others were released in November and December, reportedly following ransom payments. The Savina Caylyn, an oil tanker with five Italians and 17 Indians on board, was freed on December 21 after more than 10 months in captivity. The foreign ministry denied that the government had paid any ransom and said the liberation was the result of “constant pressure” on Somali authorities. In November, the Rosalia D’Amato cargo ship with a crew of 21 was also released after seven months in the hands of Somali pirates. Also in November, British and US commandos freed another Italian vessel, the Montecristo, with seven Italians, 10 Ukrainians and six Indians on board. According to the International Maritime Bureau, there were 352 reported hijackings worldwide between January and September-more than half of them carried out by Somali pirates, who often operate far from Somalia’s shores in the Red Sea or the Indian Ocean. The EU’s anti-piracy mission NAVFOR said earlier this month that Somali pirates were holding 199 people hostage as part of their ransom business. Since the start of the EU NAVFOR mission in December 2008, 2,317 seamen have been held hostage for an average of nearly five months. “This humanitarian tragedy is especially pertinent over Christmas, a time when families normally gather to celebrate,” NAVFOR said in a statement. It said many hostages were tortured and abused and some killed by hijackers. According to Ecoterra International, an environmental and human rights NGO that monitors regional maritime activity and also includes smaller vessels in its tally, pirates hold at least 43 ships and more than 400 seamen. — AFP

FORT WAYNE: The neighbor who was babysitting a 9-year-old Indiana girl when she went missing last week will be formally charged with murder yesterday, a heartbreaking turn for the girl’s relatives who considered him a family friend. Authorities said Monday night that Aliahna Lemmon had been found dead and Mike Plumadore, who was watching Aliahna and her two sisters when she went missing Friday, was being held on a murder charge. He and Aliahna’s family lived in the same mobile home park in Fort Wayne. “He was a trusted family friend,” Aliahna’s step-grandfather, David Story, told The Associated Press late Monday, saying he was surprised by the arrest. Plumadore, 39, is scheduled to appear in court today morning. Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries said Plumadore told investigators on Monday where the girl’s body could be found, ending the hopes of authorities that Aliahna would be found safe. “It did come to a horrible conclusion,” Fries told WANE-TV. “We have somebody in custody now who can pay the price for it.” Investigators said Aliahna’s body was found in the northeastern Indiana county, but no details were released. On Monday, FBI agents descended on the rundown mobile home park where Aliahna lived and was last seen. It’s a known haven for registered sex offenders, though Plumadore is not on Indiana’s registered sex offenders list. He has a criminal record in Florida and North Carolina that includes convictions for trespassing and assault. No active search was done Sunday for Aliahna, though more than 100 emergency workers searched for her Saturday around the mobile home park. Allen County sheriff’s spokesman Cpl. Jeremy Tinkel said the same size search could not be sustained because of the Christmas holiday. Aliahna’s mother, Tarah Souders, told The Journal Gazette on Sunday that her daughter had vision, hearing and emotional problems and suffered from attention deficit disorder. Aliahna and her sisters were staying with Plumadore because their mother had been sick with the flu and Aliahna’s stepfather works at night and sleeps during the day. Plumadore told the newspaper Sunday that he left the three girls in his mobile home about 6 am Friday and went to a gas station about a mile away to buy a cigar. Authorities have said the store’s surveillance video shows him there about

that time. “I had dead-bolted the door,” he said. “When I got back, all the girls was here.” He said he smoked his cigar and went back to sleep, then woke up about 10 am when Aliahna’s mother called. After that call, he realized the door to the home was unlocked and that Aliahna was gone. He said Aliahna’s 6-year-old sisters told him Aliahna had left with her mother. Plumadore said it wasn’t until he talked with Aliahna’s mother about 8:30 pm that they realized she was missing and police were notified. Souders said the miscommunication caused the delay in determining that Aliahna had vanished. “She’s never wandered off,” she said Sunday. The sheriff said Plumadore was arrested after being interviewed by detectives for several hours Monday - and was also questioned Friday and Saturday. “The story just didn’t make sense to our investigators or to me when I first heard it,” Fries

Aliahna Lemmon said. “I thought this is the guy we needed to focus on. If we are going to find her, he’s going to be the one who has the answers for us.” Elizabeth Watkins, who lives nearby, said residents are cautious and keep to themselves in part because of the number of sex offenders living in the mobile home park. According to a state website, 15 registered sex offenders live in the park that numbers about two dozen homes. Watkins and she didn’t know Plumadore and was shocked when told of the girl’s death. “I’m numb, I’m totally numb. I don’t know what to think,” she said. — AP

ARLINGTON: The casket team carries the coffin of US Marine Staff Sergeant Vincent Bell during a full military honors burial at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia yesterday. Bell, was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom at the time of his death in Afghanistan. — AFP


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UN says its Afghan refugee strategy a ‘big mistake’ KABUL: The head of the UN refugee programme in Afghanistan yesterday described its strategy in the war-wracked country since 2002 as the “biggest mistake UNHCR ever made”. Almost a quarter of the population of Afghanistan is made up of refugees returning from Pakistan and Iran. Many find themselves homeless, or living in slums under tarpaulin. But Peter Nicolaus, UNHCR representative in Afghanistan, said the international community had failed to help returnees find a means of earning a living and therefore reintegrating into society. “We made a big mistake, the biggest mistake UNHCR ever made,” he said of the strategy which was implemented in 2002. “We thought if we gave humanitarian assistance then macro development

would kick in.” Nicolaus said only now, 10 years after the US-led invasion and with 5.7 million refugees having returned to Afghanistan since 2002, was the UNHCR focusing more fully on the issue of sustainable reintegration. An international conference involving Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and the refugee agency is to be held in April to present the new long term strategy. “It’s the income that counts, the livelihood. In very simple terms we need to find jobs for the people coming back,” Nicolaus said. “You can build five roads to a village and the farmers will benefit because they can go to the next town to sell their vegetables. “But the returnee doesn’t benefit at all. He has nothing to sell at the market.” Nicolaus was speaking at a distribu-

tion centre for vulnerable returnees, who were gathered on the outskirts of Kabul to receive a package of blankets, clothing, tarpaulins, wheat and coal. The UNHCR is set to help 34,500 families, or 200,000 individuals, around the country as the freezing winter sets in. But the difficulty of working in Afghanistan was underlined when the Afghan Minister of Refugees and Repatriation Jamaher Anwary stormed out of the centre because there were UNHCR banners on display but no ministry logo. Hundreds queued for assistance outside the walled compound, clutching the necessary papers that proved they were designated as being in need of help. “My husband is old and I don’t have money to take him to the doctor,” said Parveen Shah, 56, from beneath a blue

burqa, her hands stained with dirt. “We live in a mud house and during the night it’s very cold. My son is working washing cars but we don’t have enough to eat.” Mohammad Tahar, 30, is one of the 3.7 million who have returned from Pakistan. “I’m glad to be back in my own country but we are 20 in my family and we live in two rooms without electricity or drinking water,” the shopkeeper said. “This assistance is nothing for us.” UNHCR provides cash grants for returnees of $150. The money covers transport home and is supposed to help them survive the first few months of their new lives. Three million registered Afghan refugees still live in exile, but the lack of jobs, food and shelter and the volatile security situation in many parts of the country makes it difficult for those

who want to return. Although the rate has slowed considerably, another 66,500 people came back in 2011. But the UNHCR estimates that 40 percent of all the returnees it has helped since 2002 are “not at all reintegrated”. “In Afghanistan a quarter of the population are returnees,” said Nicolaus. “This is what the donor community constantly forgets. This has been overlooked and it’s still overlooked. Nobody has taken this seriously. It’s a tragedy. “We are now-for the first time-bringing this up in the spring conference.” As he spoke dozens of boys lined up with their wheelbarrows. Armed guards were stationed at the gate and on the roof. The boys hefted the coal into the barrows in a cloud of dust. They piled the package of blankets and supplies on top and wheeled their goods away. —AFP

Zardari supporters rally at wife’s grave Pakistan ‘memo’ crisis grows

MUMBAI: A supporter receives blessings from Indian anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare during the first day of Hazare’s hunger strike, in Mumbai, India, yesterday. The activist began a three-day hunger strike yesterday even as the country’s Parliament prepared to debate legislation to create an anti-corruption watchdog. —AP

India lawmakers fiercely debate anti-graft law NEW DELHI: Indian lawmakers fiercely debated sweeping anti-corruption legislation yesterday while a protest leader began a three-day hunger strike demanding Parliament adopt his tougher proposals. The legislative showdown is the culmination of months of angry political debate and public protests that brought tens of thousands of middle-class Indians fed up with rampant corruption into the streets and put a government battered by scandals deeper on the defensive. Hoping to defuse activist Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption crusade, the government initiated debate yesterday on a bill to create an anti-graft watchdog. But that failed to satisfy Hazare, who began his fast in India’s business capital, Mumbai, demanding the proposed ombudsman be made more powerful. After close to six hours of debate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rose to defend the government’s bill, saying that the powers of the proposed watchdog needed to have checks in place. “Let us not create something that will destroy all that we cherish all in the name of combating corruption,” he said. “I urge all my colleagues in Parliament to rise to the occasion and look beyond politics to pass this law,” Singh said. Hazare has called the government’s antigraft legislation an attempt to fool the country. Hazare’s main complaint with the anti-graft bill now before Parliament is that the proposed corruption ombudsman would not have authority over the country’s top investigative agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation. He says the ombudsman position would be too weak without that authority. In New Delhi, India’s Parliament began its debate with the government saying that the legislation maintained the “fine balance” between the powers of the legislature, the judiciary and the executive branch.

Sushma Swaraj, the leader of the main opposition, right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, however, said that as the country waited for a “strong and effective” anti-corruption watchdog, the government was offering a bill that was “so full of holes and flaws that it has disappointed all of us.” Swaraj’s party has thrown its weight behind Hazare’s protest. At the Mumbai fairground where he is fasting, Hazare told supporters that the proposed bill was a “fraud perpetuated upon the people by the government” and that they would teach lawmakers a lesson. He said his supporters would travel across the country to campaign against all those political parties who did not support his version of the bill. He has also asked his supporters to court arrest after he ends his fast on Dec. 29. Hazare, who claims inspiration from Mohandas K. Gandhi, has called his protest against corruption India’s second freedom struggle and has fasted three times already to garner support for his demands. Thousands of people, many waving Indian flags and wearing the trademark white cap made popular by first independence leader Gandhi and now Hazare. As of yesterday afternoon, the crowd was thinner than the tens of thousands Hazare drew to an August protest in the Indian capital. Hazare is not without critics who say his populist campaign attempts to vilify all politicians and hold elected officials hostage. Dozens of those critics also came out on the streets yesterday, waving black flags and shouting slogans as Hazare’s motorcade passed through the city. Eight hours were set aside for the debate in Parliament’s lower house on Tuesday. The government has said it will tr y to pass the legislation by Thursday. —AP

Indian student shot dead in UK LONDON: British police arrested a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of murder yesterday after an Indian student was shot dead in Manchester, northwest England, officials said. Anuj Bidve, 23, from the western Indian city of Pune, was murdered early on Monday as he walked with friends from his hotel in Salford, an area to the west of Manchester, towards the city centre. “The 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of murder after a warrant was executed in the Salford area the early hours of today,” a spokesman for Greater Manchester

Police said. “He remains in custody for questioning.” Police said on Monday when asked if the murder could have a racial motivation that they were “investigating every possible aspect.” Bidve, who was studying for a micro-electronics postgraduate qualification at Lancaster University, around 40 miles (60 kilometres) from Manchester, was enjoying a short break in the city with eight Indian friends. The group was stopped by a man who spoke to them before shooting Bidve at close range. Bidve’s family in India has been informed. —AFP

GARHI KHUDA BAKSH: Supporters of embattled President Asif Ali Zardari gathered at the grave of his wife Benazir Bhutto on the fourth anniversary of her assassination yesterday, two days after a rally staged by rivals threatened to upend Pakistan’s political order. Zardari, who became president after the former prime minister was killed in 2007 following her return from self-imposed exile, is facing perhaps the greatest threat to his government. “Her (Bhutto’s) assassination was ... a conspiracy to rob Pakistan of its best hope to establish a fully functional democracy,” Zardari said in a statement yesterday. He urged “all the democratic forces and the patriotic Pakistanis to foil all conspiracies against democracy and democratic institutions”. Members of Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party say opponents are working with the Supreme Court and the army to bring down the government. The death anniversary came the same day the Supreme Court began deliberations on whether it could open its own investigation into the socalled “memogate” scandal. It also came two days after cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan brought at least 100,000 people into the streets of Karachi in a rally that increases pressure the government and cements his standing as a political force. The memogate hearing, which was adjourned without any decision, is likely to be front-page news today, reflecting the intense interest in incremental developments in the crisis. It involves the publication of an unsigned memo seeking Washington’s help to rein in the military after US forces found and killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May. Pakistan’s then ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, has been accused of writing the memo on behalf of the government. He denies involve-

ment but has resigned pending an investigation. Chief of Army Staff General Asfaq Kayani has called for an investigation into the memo, which has set off a flurry of speculation of a rift between the government and the army which has ruled Pakistan for almost half of its 64-year history.

Afghanistan. The army has denied planning to take power but Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has added to the intrigue and confusion. Last week he surprised many by implicitly suggesting the military was a “state within a state” before reversing himself on Monday night

trying to explain that the civilianmilitary imbalance would not be solved overnight. “The prime minister tried to make the people realise that the imbalance is still there and there are certain things that are beyond our control,” the assembly member told Reuters. Party members were

ISLAMABAD: Women supporters of Pakistan’s slain leader Benazir Bhutto hold her posters at a ceremony to mark the fourth anniversary of her death, in Islamabad, Pakistan, yesterday. Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi on Dec. 27, 2007. —AP The political crisis also comes as ties between the United States and Pakistan drop to their lowest point in decades following a NATO crossborder attack on Nov 26 that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. A US report on the incident blamed both sides for poor communications and bad maps. The incident infuriated Pakistan’s army, which is demanding an apology from President Barack Obama, and led to the closure of supply lines for coalition forces fighting in

and saying he was “happy” with Kayani and would not fire him or the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, as some media reports claimed. “You have seen that in every era there have been attempts to somehow create rifts between institutions,” he told reporters as he stood beside Bhutto’s grave. “Every institution should work within its constitutional space. I’m talking about all institutions.” One member of the National Assembly said Gilani was

still upbeat, however, the lawmaker said, and the ruling coalition enjoyed strong support from its partners in parliament. Local supporters echoed that sentiment. “The army or the Supreme Court can do nothing to the government and our party,” said Ali Gohar, 45, a PPP worker from the town of Sukkur who has come to pay homage to Bhutto. “The PPP has the blood of martyrs in its foundations and we will support it as long as we live.” —Reuters

Japan’s PM in India on economic mission NEW DELHI: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda arrived in New Delhi yesterday, for a visit that is expected to unveil a currency swap deal and reopen talks on a civil nuclear pact. Coming hard on the heels of a trip to China where the main talking points were geopolitical-particularly in the aftermath of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il-Noda’s visit to India will be heavy on business. In a meeting Wednesday with Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, the two are expected to sign a dollar-swap accord worth up to $10 billion, through which Tokyo would provide capital when the rupee falls against the US unit. The Indian rupee has plunged about 15 percent against the dollar this year, making it the worst performing currency in Asia, “Emerging economies overall are being shaken by the eurozone sovereign debt crisis,” said Tsuyoshi Ueno, a senior economist at NLI Research Institute. “Currencies in emerging economies get volatile when European banks pull out capital. A dollar swap arrangement can help emerging economies as it promises a supply of dollars in an emergency.” Japan, which already has a similar accord with South Korea, has seen its exports tumble for two straight months to November, with sales to the key European market floundering as the debt crisis grips. “India, as much as South Korea, is a very significant market for Japan. Such a dollar swap accord is ultimately aimed at stabilising Japan’s own economy,” Ueno said. Shortly before he left Tokyo, Noda said he hoped to talk about beefing up Japan’s ties with the rising Asian economic power, ahead of the 60th anniversary of bilateral ties next year. “With Prime Minister Singh, I would like to discuss political, security, economic and human

exchange, particularly Japan’s readiness to help infrastructure projects in India,” Noda told reporters. Japan is trying to widen and deepen its trade and financial partnerships as it looks to catch up with export rival South Korea, and after China overtook it as the world’s secondlargest economy.

NEW DELHI: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (C) waves as he stands with Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur (L) and Japanese First Lady Hitomi Noda (R) during the Japanese top diplomat’s arrival at the Palam Air Force Station in New Delhi yesterday. — AFP

Noda’s predecessor Naoto Kan met Singh in October last year and stressed the warm ties linking two of Asia’s biggest democracies at a time of high diplomatic tensions between Japan and communist China. Relations between Tokyo and Beijing sharply deteriorated last year following Japan’s arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain near a disputed island chain in the East China Sea. Beijing reacted furiously, cancelling high-level talks and civilian exchanges while suspending exports of rare earth minerals, which are crucial for Japan’s high-tech products-from computer components to hybrid cars. Japan has since tried to diversify rare earth supplies, more than 90 percent of which are controlled by China, and is looking to jointly develop rare earth mineral deposits in India. Noda and Singh are also expected to discuss a Japanese loan for a mega project to build a freight railway between New Delhi and Mumbai and a key deal on civilian nuclear cooperation. Japan and India launched talks in June 2010 on a nuclear cooperation pact that would allow Tokyo to export its cutting-edge technology to the energy-hungry South Asian nation, a hotly contested market for atomic plants. Japan is worried that nuclear-armed India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, while the Fukushima nuclear accident triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami has clouded the future of the deal. Nevertheless, Ueno said India would continue to be an important market and partner for Japan. “India has a big population and great potential for growth in the next decade or two,” Ueno said. “It is a reasonable policy for Japan to further strengthen its ties with India.” —AFP


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Floods derail iron-ore train in Australia SYDNEY: Heavy flooding following a tropical cyclone in northern Australia swept a 20-carriage freight train off a bridge yesterday, injuring the driver, as the storm system threatened to intensify. The iron-ore train derailed following torrential rain in the Northern Territory caused by Grant, a tropical cyclone that triggered heavy flooding in some areas, swamping roads and stranding scores of people, police said. Its two crew members both managed to escape and were assessed by medical staff who were sent by helicopter to the scene, with the driver later airlifted to hospital with spinal injuries, according to local media reports. “ The ATSB (Australian Transport Safety Bureau) has been notified of the crash and will take carriage of the investigation,” Northern Territory police said in a statement. An ATSB spokesman was unable to

confirm media reports that some carriages bore hazardous chemical warning signs. The Northern Territory’s environment department, NRETAS, said it was examining whether any material from the train had leaked into the floodwaters. “It’s still unclear exactly what the components were on that train,” a department spokeswoman said. “We will definitely be sending down investigators who will do an environmental impact and check it all out, but it’s inaccessible at the moment because of the floodwaters. “All I can say is (we are) investigating. It is of concern.” The railway’s operator, US-based Genesee and Wyoming, said a number of containers carrying “domestic consumables and copper concentrate” had derailed and 50 metres of track had been washed away. Copper concentrate is consid-

ered a class nine environmentally hazardous substance. Managing director Bert Easthope said the company had determined it was safe to resume operations after the cyclone was downgraded on Monday night and blamed “unexpected and isolated rainfall” for the accident. He could not comment on whether anything had leached from the containers because the company had only been able to do an aerial assessment. “We cannot determine the full extent of the damage until we undertake a more detailed ground assessment,” Easthope said, adding that it will commence an investigation once “it is safe to do so”. Genesee and Wyoming has contracts with local manganese, iron ore, copper and gold mines and runs two dozen services a week between mine sites and Darwin’s port. Its trains run

up to 1.8 kilometres (1.1 miles) in length and weigh as much as 4,500 tonnes. Local government official Willem Westra Van Holthe said there was an “enormous amount of water flowing across the road” at the scene of the accident, describing the damage as “quite shocking.” “It’s what I’d describe as a scene of devastation here,” he said. Westra Van Holthe said freight carriages were being carried downstream and “there’s sheets of bitumen that have been lifted off and carried away”. “I’ve lived in the Territory for 27 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” he told the Northern Territory News. Police said two people who were swept from the roof of their stalled car on a nearby bridge in the hours before the train derailed and managed to survive by clinging to a tree were “lucky to be alive”.

Grant was downgraded to a tropical low on Monday but the weather bureau said it could hit cyclone strength again on Thursday as it moved off land and across the warm waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Heavy rains and high tides were expected in the meantime, with minor flooding likely in some areas. Cyclones are common in northern Australia during the December-February summer. A series of storms unleashed record floods across Queensland state last January, killing dozens of people and battering the economy. Forecasters have warned of another exceptionally wet summer in 2011-12 due to a La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific Ocean. La Nina is characterised by unusually cool ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific and has been associated with strong rainfall in Asia and Australia. — AFP

N Korea prepares huge send-off for late leader ‘North appears to continue policies of its late leader ‘

TAINAN CITY: Supporters wave flags to greet Tsai Ing-Wen, chairwoman of Taiwan’s major opposition Democratic Progressive Party, as she campaigns through the southern Tainan city yesterday. Tsai is campaigning for the January 14 vote, taking on the incumbent Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang party. — AFP

China to face more Wukan-style protests BEIJING: A senior Communist official who helped defuse a rare revolt by villagers in southern China said the country should be ready for more protests as people demand their rights, state media reported yesterday. Zhu Mingguo compared the situation in the village of Wukan, where residents angered by years of illegal land grabs drove out their Communist leaders, to an apple that appears healthy but is “rotten to the core”. “In this area, there were a lot of problems that were not found out in time, and once violence erupted, the aftermath was serious,” the state-run Guangzhou Daily quoted Zhu as telling a meeting on social stability Monday. “It is like an apple rotten to the core, on the outside the skin is red, but once broken open the mess can’t be cleaned up.” The Wukan protest became a symbol of rising public anger over a plethora of perceived injustices, from corruption to income disparities, that analysts say will bring growing difficulties for China’s leaders as economic growth slows. The village is in the wealthy southern province of Guangdong, China’s manufacturing heartland, where thousands of factory workers have gone on strike in recent months as slowing export demand forces manufacturers to cut pay. The Wukan residents ended their standoff with the local government last week after Zhu, deputy Communist party secretary for Guangdong, called their complaints “reasonable” and said three detained protest leaders would be freed. Hours later, the residents tore down the protest banners and removed road blocks set up around the village. The three detained protest leaders have since been released, and a local government committee tasked with investigating the villagers’ complaints has been dispatched to Wukan. On Monday Zhu said the protests,

which attracted worldwide media attention, resulted from local leaders’ failure to address the villagers’ complaints and refusal to consult them on decisions about collectively owned land. And he warned of further unrest in China if such problems were not addressed. “The public’s awareness of democracy, equality and rights is continually getting stronger, and as a result their demands are growing,” he said at the meeting. “The task of managing the masses is becoming more and more difficult.” China’s ruling Communist party lays great emphasis on the need for stability and social harmony, and analysts say its paramount concern is to be seen to be able to manage unrest. Authorities launched a crackdown on dissent this year following anonymous Internet calls for protests in China sparked by the political upheaval in the Arab world. In recent days, two veteran activists with a history of criticising China’s one-party government have been given long jail sentences for subversion, drawing criticism from the United Nations. On Thursday, activist Ni Yulan and her husband Dong Jiqin, both detained in April, will go on trial in Beijing for “inciting a disturbance”, after years of of activism opposing government land grabs. Concerns over unrest are running particularly high ahead of a generational leadership transition that will start next year, when President Hu Jintao steps down as head of the Communist party. The new party head will take over Hu’s state presidency in March 2013, when Premier Wen Jiabao and his government will also step down. Last week China’s security chief, politburo member Zhou Yongkang, urged authorities to resolve conflicts swiftly, saying 2012 was a year of “special significance” to the country’s development. — AFP

Thai policeman kills six fellow officers BANGKOK: A policeman in southern Thailand shot dead six fellow officers before turning the gun on himself after a drinking session in a police canteen turned sour, local police said yesterday. The incident, which also left one policeman severely wounded, took place late on Monday in a border patrol police camp in Phatthalung province, some 840 kilometres (520 miles) south of the capital Bangkok. “Seven men were found dead including the gunman and one man has critical injuries,” Phatthalung police investigator

Lieutenant Colonel Prasit Singhapol told AFP by phone. Prasit said the motive was still unknown but the eight men had been drinking together in the canteen where six of the bodies were found. “At this stage we think it’s a personal conflict,” he said. The gunman’s body was found some 200 metres (yards) from the scene after he killed himself with the same assault rifle he used against his colleagues, Prasit said. Police were unable to confirm local media reports that the group was celebrating the promotions of some of the men. — AFP

SEOUL: North Korea was yesterday preparing a massive ceremonial farewell to late leader Kim Jong-Il as it strove to strengthen a new personality cult around his youthful son and successor JongUn. The secretive state has so far given no details of today’s funeral for its “Dear Leader” of the past 17 years and has not invited foreign delegations to the ceremony. But analysts say the regime, as it did in 1994 when Kim Jong-Il’s own father died, will use the event to shore up loyalty to the new leader and will likely mobilise hundreds of thousands of people. The untested Jong-Un, aged only in his late 20s, has been thrust into the world spotlight since his father died suddenly on December 17 aged 69. Official media has added several titles to his flimsy CV, declaring him “great successor ”, supreme commander of the world’s fourth-largest military and head of the ruling party’s powerful Central Committee. The son, who has not yet been formally appointed to the party and military posts, has been the central figure in scenes of mourning at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, where his father lies in state in a glass coffin. On Monday he met the leaders of two South Korean delegations at the palace, expressing thanks for their presence. While Kim Jong-Il had 20 years to prepare for the communist world’s only dynastic succession, Jong-Un has had barely three. The South’s Yonhap news agency quoted head of Seoul’s National Intelligence Service, Won Sei-hoon, as telling lawmakers that the North appears likely to continue the policies of its late leader. Analysts will closely watch the funeral for clues about who will most influence him. South Korean media, basing predictions on arrangements for the 1994 funeral, said the obsequies would likely begin at 10:00 am (0100 GMT) today, with JongUn and senior officials paying final respects at the memorial palace. They said the military was expected to fire a 24-gun salute

DANDONG: A man brings a condolence wreath for the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il at the North Korean customs office in Dandong, China, which borders with North Korea, yesterday. — AP and troops would march through central Pyongyang, accompanying a limousine carrying Kim’s coffin and another car with a giant photo. Military marching bands would play funeral music while convoys of motorcycles and cars carrying flowers and senior officials would follow the coffin as hundreds of thousands looked on, the media forecast. Mourning will officially end Thursday with a nationwide memorial service including a three-minute silence at noon. “Mourning shots will be fired in Pyongyang ( Thursday) and all provincial units across the country, and three minutes of silence will be observed by people across the country,” the North’s official news agency said, although it gave no information regarding the funeral itself. Trains, ships and other vehicles or machinery would sound their hooters. State media reported more grieving by Mother Nature for Kim, with a dove-like bird brushing the snow off a statue of

the late leader and owls weeping daily since his death. Last week official media reported the case of a Manchurian crane that bowed its head in grief, and said ice cracked around Kim’s supposed birthplace at the revered Mount Paekdu with a thunderous sound. Under Kim Jong-Il the North tested long-range missiles and two atomic weapons, earning international sanctions. Diplomatic efforts to revive stalled six-nation nuclear disarmament talks had seemed to be making headway before his death. The South’s nuclear envoy will visit the United States this week to discuss ways to resume the dialogue and the aftermath of Kim’s death, Seoul’s foreign ministry said. Lim Sung-Nam was to meet Glyn Davies, the US special representative on North Korea policy. South Korea, which has remained technically at war with the North for six decades, has responded cautiously to the developments in its neighbour, which it blames for two deadly

border incidents last year. Unlike in 1994, the Seoul government expressed sympathy to the North’s people and made other conciliatory gestures. But it authorised mourning visits to Pyongyang by just the two South Korean delegations, a restriction that the North termed “inhuman”. Lee Hee -Ho, widow of late South Korean president Kim DaeJung, and Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jung-Eun paid respects Monday to the late leader and expressed condolences to Jong-Un. Kim Dae-Jung and Kim Jong-Il held the first-ever inter-Korean summit in 2000 and Hyundai pioneered cross-border business projects. On Tuesday the South Koreans met the North’s de facto head of state and parliament chief Kim Yong-Nam before crossing back across the heavily fortified border. A spokesman for Lee said they received “warm and respectful treatment” and delegation chiefs talked to Jong-Un for about 10 minutes. — AFP

Reward offered for fugitive Philippine ex-general MANILA: The Philippine police are offering a 500,000-peso ($11,600) reward for a fugitive ex-army general a week after a court ordered his arrest on charges of kidnapping two female student activists five years ago, the national police chief said yesterday. The reward hopefully will prompt former Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan to surrender, Director General Nicanor Bartolome said. He said authorities have received “surrender feelers” from the northern, central and southern Philippines, indicating that Palparan is still in the country. Palparan tried to leave for Singapore a day before the regional trial court in northern Bulacan province ordered his arrest. Palparan has denied involvement in the disappearance of Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan on June 26, 2006. The two remain missing. “The surrender feeler is one thing. The actual surrender is another, that is why we have initiated the release of the reward money,” Bartolome said. “This will hasten

either his surrender or information from individuals interested in the reward money. Hopefully, hopefully, he will surrender very soon.” Palparan, who became a congressman after retiring in 2006, is one of the highest-ranking army officers to face arrest for alleged human rights violations. He lost in last year’s senatorial elections. Rep. Teddy Casino of the leftwing party Bayan Muna whose members were among those targeted by alleged anti-communist hit squads said “it would be good for them increase the reward.” “We hope that it encourages people to report Palparan,” he said. Raymond Manalo, one of several witnesses, has testified in court that he met Empeno and Cadapan while the three were in the custody of army officers under Palparan in 2006. He said military authorities suspected they were communist guerrillas or sympathizers. Manalo said he later escaped from military detention. A fact-finding commission that

MANILA: A woman passes by posters of a fugitive ex-army general placed on a wall by a militant group in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines yesterday. The Philippine police are offering a P500,000 (about US$11,600) reward for former Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan a week after a court ordered his arrest on charges of allegedly kidnapping two female student activists five years ago, the national police said. — AP investigated extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations particularly targeting left-wing activists has named Palparan as

one of the military commander who could be held responsible. Palparan has called the allegations communist propaganda. — AP


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NEWS

CHITWAN, Nepal: Nepalese mahouts guide their elephants with grass across the Rapati river before the eighth International Elephant Race at Sauraha, some 150 km southwest of Kathmandu yesterday. The three-day-long elephant festival is celebrated with elephant, horse, and bullock cart races as well as elephant football and an elephant beauty pageant. — AFP

Iran begins trial of alleged ‘CIA spy’ TEHRAN: Iran put a US citizen of Iranian descent on trial yesterday on charges of spying for the CIA, with the prosecutor calling for the “maximum punishment” - presumably the death penalty - if he is convicted, the Fars news agency reported. Confessions extracted from Amir Mirzai Hekmati “have made it clear that the accused cooperated with the Central Intelligence Agency and acted against (Iran’s) national security. Therefore I ask for maximum punishment,” the prosecutor was quoted as saying. Hekmati, a 28-year-old former US Marine born in the United States to an Iranian immigrant family, was shown on Iranian state television mid-December saying in fluent Farsi and English that he was a CIA operative sent to infiltrate the Iranian intelligence ministry. The US government says Hekmati has been falsely accused and has demanded his immediate release. It also said that the Swiss embassy, which represents US interests in Iran, had not been given access to him. Hekmati’s trial opened against a backdrop of heightened tensions between arch foes Washington and Tehran. The United States is leading a Western push to ratchet up sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear program. Each side has accused the other of conducting clandestine operations. The United States alleged in October that Tehran had a hand in a thwarted plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, while Iran this month showed off a CIA drone it said it captured through cyber warfare. Fars said Hekmati’s trial started with the prosecutor saying Hekmati was charged with cooperating “with the

hostile US government and the US espionage services of the CIA”. It said Hekmati had admitted to trying to infiltrate Iran’s intelligence services for the CIA, and quoted what it said was a confession by the Iranian-American. Hekmati allegedly admitted to having a first interview with the CIA in 2009 and being trained for five months before being sent to Iraq, where he said he spent nine months. After Iraq, the CIA hired him - on a promised payment of $500,000 - to infiltrate Iran, according to the presented confession. “I was fooled by the US intelligence services. Even though I entered Iran with the mission of infiltrating the Iranian intelligence services to become a source of information for the CIA, I did not want to personally hurt Iran,” Hekmati was quoted as saying, according to Fars. “I had the intention of living in Iran and of not returning to the United States,” he reportedly said. Iran’s intelligence ministry said Hekmati’s cover was blown by Iranian agents who spotted him at the US-run Bagram base in Afghanistan. The lawyer appointed to defend Hekmati criticised the accusation, Fars said, adding that the prosecutor rejected the lawyer’s comments. The judge handling the trial, Abolghasem Salavti, said he would deliver his verdict after hearing the defence lawyer’s counter-argument. US media quoted Hekmati’s family as saying he had worked as an Arabic translator for the US Marines and had gone to Iran months ago to visit his Iranian grandmothers. “My son is no spy,” Hekmati’s father, Ali Hekmati, a teacher in the state of Michigan, told the US television network ABC last week. — AFP

Tribes defy crackdown on illegal primary... Continued from Page 1 arrest the participants in the primaries and to prevent those candidates elected through them from contesting the general elections in February. The number of candidates rose to 276 at the end of the seventh day of registration after 26 new candidates filed their nomination papers while two others withdrew. Four new women hopefuls registered yesterday, raising the number of female candidates to 17. Among those who registered were three members in the dissolved National Assembly - Hassan Jowhar, Abdulrahman Al-Anjari and Mohammad Al-Huwaila, while two former MPs in previous assemblies, Fahd AlKhanna and Ahmad Al-Shuraiaan, signed to run. Khanna’s candidacy proved fears of dissent within the ranks of the Islamic Salaf Alliance. It was reported that the Alliance refused Khanna’s candidacy and instead selected four candidates in three districts: Mohammad Al-Kandari in the first, ex-MPs Khaled Al-Sultan and Abdullatif Al-Ameeri in the second, and ex-MP Ali AlOmair in the third. Khannah is running as independent in the second constituency like other Salaf leader Adel Al-Damkhi, who registered yesterday to contest from the first constituency. Khanna’s registration could considerably dampen the chances of Islamist candidates in the district with at least five leading candidates from the Salafists and the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, running. The number of Sunni Islamists in the first electoral district is also large and could equally harm their chances of winning more than one seat. Leading ex-Shiite MP Hussein Al-Qallaf meanwhile said he was contemplating to withdraw from contesting the forthcoming elections following a strong-worded statement by the Amiri Diwan against controversial statements Qallaf had made. After filing his nomination papers earlier this week, Qallaf told reporters that former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad AlAhmad Al-Sabah, who resigned last month, will return to a higher post, without naming it. The Amiri Diwan issued a statement on Monday in which it strongly denied Qallaf’s statements and cautioned anyone to make statements on behalf of the Diwan or the leader-

ship. Qallaf yesterday appeared upset from the Amiri Diwan reaction and said he was contemplating not to contest the elections. Separately, the public prosecutor released 32 stateless people on bail yesterday after holding them for nine days for taking part in a protest to demand citizenship, their lawyer said. “The prosecutor has just ordered their release on bail of KD 200 each. We are currently undertaking the necessary procedures to free them,” Ali Al-Sabri said. The men were arrested on Dec 19 during a massive rally by thousands of bedoons to demand Kuwaiti citizenship and other rights. Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd. Sabri said the men were questioned on charges of participating in an illegal assembly and assaulting police. Fifty-two other stateless people are on trial on similar charges after they took part in protests in February and March. Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humud Al-Sabah said in comments published on yesterday that he had received instructions from “higher authorities” to grant citizenship to stateless individuals who fulfilled certain criteria. He told the Alam Al-Youm newspaper that legislation would be issued shortly to naturalise stateless people in the army and police force; those who were recorded in the 1965 census or had ancestors who were; relatives of Kuwaitis; and children of Kuwaiti women divorced from foreign husbands. The minister gave no further details on numbers or any timeline for the proposed action. Saleh Al-Fadhalah, head of the central agency for illegal residents, a government authority dealing with the stateless, said the state may grant citizenship to 34,000 out of an estimated 105,000 stateless in the country. The bedoons claim the right to Kuwaiti nationality, saying that their ancestors failed to register for citizenship when the government began registration five decades ago. Kuwait has long said that most bedoons or their forefathers destroyed their original passports to claim the right to citizenship in order to gain access to the services and generous benefits provided to citizens. In a bid to force them to produce their original nationality papers, Kuwait has denied them essential documentation, including birth, marriage and death certificates, according to a report in June by Human Rights Watch.

Iran threatens to stop Gulf oil Continued from Page 1 crude exporter. “If they (the West) impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz,” the official Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi as saying. “We have no desire for hostilities or violence... but the West doesn’t want to go back on its plan” to impose sanctions, he said. “The enemies will only drop their plots when we put them back in their place,” he said. EU ministers said on Dec 1 that a decision on further sanctions would be taken no later than their January meeting but left open the idea of an embargo on Iranian oil. Countries in the 27-member European Union take 450,000 barrels per day of Iranian oil, about 18 percent of the Islamic Republic’s exports, much of which go to China and India. China, the biggest buyer of Iranian crude, has warned against “emotionally charged actions” that might aggravate tension in the nuclear standoff with Iran. Russia for its part has warned against “cranking up a spiral of tension”, saying this would undermine the chances of Iran cooperating with efforts to ensure it does not build atom bombs. About a third of all sea-borne oil was shipped through the Strait of Hormuz in 2009, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), and US warships patrol the area to ensure safe passage. Most of the crude exported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq - together with nearly all the liquefied natural gas from lead exporter Qatar - must slip through the Strait of Hormuz, a 6.4 km wide shipping channel between Oman and Iran. Iran has also hinted it could hit Israel and US interests in the Gulf in response to any military strike on its nuclear installations - a last resort option hinted at by Washington and Israel. However, some analysts say Iran would think hard about sealing off the Strait since it could suffer just as much economically as Western crude importers, and could kindle war with militarily superior big powers. Iran is currently carrying out navy exercises in international waters to the east of the Strait of Hormuz. Ships and aircraft dropped mines in the sea yesterday as part of the drill, according to a navy spokesman. Although Iranian war games occur periodically, the timing of these is seen as a show of strength. Industry sources said yesterday No. 1 oil exporter Saudi Arabia and other Gulf OPEC states were ready to replace Iranian oil if further sanctions halt Iranian crude exports to Europe. Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi had said that

Saudi Arabia had promised not to replace Iranian crude if sanctions were imposed. “No promise was made to Iran, it’s very unlikely that Saudi Arabia would not fill a demand gap if sanctions are placed,” an industry source familiar with the matter said. Gulf delegates from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said an Iranian threat to close the Strait of Hormuz would harm Tehran as well as the major regional producers that also use the world’s most vital oil export channel. “If the sanctions take place, the price of oil in Europe would increase and Saudi and other Gulf countries would start selling there to fill the gap and also benefit from the higher price,” said a second industry source who declined to be named. Brent crude oil futures jumped nearly a dollar to over $109 a barrel after the Iranian threat, but a Gulf OPEC delegate said the effect could be temporary. “For now, any move in the oil price is short-term, as I don’t see Iran actually going ahead with the threat,” the delegate told Reuters. The industry source said that in the case of EU sanctions, Iran would most likely export more of its crude to Asia, while Gulf states would divert their exports to Europe to fill the gap until the market is balanced again. A prominent analyst said that if Iran did manage to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, the ensuing spike in oil prices could wreck the global economy, so the United States was likely to intervene to foil such a blockade in the first place. “First, the US will probably not allow Iran to close the Strait. That’s a major economic thoroughfare and not just for oil. You shut that Strait and we are talking a major hit on many Middle East economies,” said Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks in New York. “Second, there is no way that the Saudis (alone) have enough oil or quality of oil to replace Iranian crude. Figure Saudi spare capacity is 2 to 4 million at best. Of that spare, about 1-2 million is real oil that is comparable out of Iran. Lose Iran, lose 3.5 million barrels per day of imports. No way.” French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed hitting Iran with an oil embargo and won support from Britain, but resistance persists within and outside the European Union. An import ban might raise global oil prices during hard economic times and debt-strapped Greece has been relying on attractively financed Iranian oil. Iran’s seaborne trade is already suffering from existing trade sanctions, with shipping companies scaling down or pulling out as the Islamic Republic faces more hurdles in transporting its oil. — Agencies

GURGAON, India: An car rests on its front end after a high speed collision with a tree yesterday. The driver sustained minor injuries, according to a local newspaper report. — AP


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Nigerian attacks pose new risks for divided nation By M J Smith hristmas bombings in Nigeria blamed on radical Islamists - the worst of which killed worshippers as they left mass - marks a dangerous escalation in violence and risks inflaming the country’s sectarian divisions, analysts said. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south, had already grown weary from years of violence claimed by the Islamist group Boko Haram. But Sunday’s attacks, also claimed by the group, have sparked fresh fear and anger. At least 40 people died nationwide, with 35 confirmed killed at St Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, near the capital Abuja. “The violence is increasing both in scale and sophistication,” northern-based human rights activist Shehu Sani said. “The attack on churches is to nationalise the crisis. It will instigate hitherto neutral people into the crisis.” As a result, he said, Christians may try to take revenge on Muslims. “This is dangerous for the country,” Sani said. The government blamed the attack on Boko Haram, which has existed in varying forms since as far back as 2004. But serious questions remain over how to define the group and its aims, as well as over who supports it. It is believed to be comprised of several factions with varying demands, including those with political links and a hard-core Islamist cell. Conspiracy theories abound, including whether enemies of President Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian who faces strong opposition in the north, have backed the violence. Analysts, however, point to Nigeria’s deeply impoverished north. With so many young people out of work, distrustful of the government and without hope, it is fertile recruiting ground for such movements. Deeply rooted corruption and a huge gap between the country’s rich and poor have also fed sentiments. Nigeria is the continent’s largest oil producer, but infrastructure remains woefully shoddy and most people live on less than $2 a day. The government has been unable to stop the group, despite heavy-handed military crackdowns which analysts say only worsen the problem, causing civilians who may not otherwise sympathise with the extremists to do so. “That is precisely the problem,” said Chidi Odinkalu of the Open Society Justice Initiative. Such crackdowns in hard-hit communities end up “driving them away from the security agencies and into the embrace of the people perpetrating this stuff”, he said. Many have suggested dialogue as a way out, but the government faces the problem of deciding with whom to talk. Boko Haram has no clear command structure and a variety of people have claimed to speak on its behalf. The group was initially believed to be domestically focused, targeting symbols of Nigerian authority, but a suicide attack on UN headquarters in Abuja in August that killed 24 raised further concerns over its ambitions. Whether it has ties with foreign groups, such as AlQaeda’s north African branch, has been endlessly debated. Diplomats say there have long been reports of Boko Haram members receiving training abroad, but that there has been no proof of operational links with outside organisations. On Monday, the influential archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan, attended a mass in memory of the victims at St. Theresa and called on Islamic leaders to take a more active role in seeking to end the violence. He called the attacks a national tragedy. “They should help us to identify them and help the security agencies to deal with them because they are not giving anybody a good name,” he said. “I don’t even consider them Muslim fanatics since the Islamic community has told us they are not. Whatever they are, they are criminals. They are killing innocent people.” Odinkalu said the risks are many, particularly the potential to exacerbate sectarian divisions. “This affects everybody,” he said. “There is a sense of alarm in the country.”— AFP

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Soufian, the other side of Lionel Messi By Sebastian Fest here is another side to Lionel Messi, one that hides behind the goals, the striking performances on the pitch and his trademark shyness. Few get to see that other side, but it is there, and perhaps no one knows it better than Soufian Bouyinza, the boy with no legs who has heard the Argentine striker say he admires him. “I admire you a lot because you are fighting everyday for your goals,” Messi told Soufian in a documentar y that Catalan TV channel TV3 is set to broadcast on Jan 2. The comment is laconic, just like Messi. And it fails to tell the story that has moved a man who is arguably the world’s best footballer. “I have a special connection with him,” Messi says of Soufian. The boy, a Spaniard of Moroccan parents, has suffered from Laurin-Sandrow syndrome since he was born in Barcelona 11 years ago. It is an extremely rare genetic disorder that can join all fingers in one hand in just one nail, lead to leg malformations and even to the amputation of both legs,

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which was the case for Soufian. “It was him, at age 8, who asked his mother to have his legs cut off,” documentary film-maker Xavi Torres told dpa. Torres has made the documentary Soufian, The Boy Who Wanted To Fly. Messi’s first meeting with the boy happened earlier this year. Together, they did something virtually unthinkable: passing each other a ball, which went backwards and for wards between the world’s most admired left foot and the youngster’s prosthetic limbs. But that meeting was followed by others, including one, on May 15, when Barcelona got the La Liga trophy after a goal-less draw with Deportivo La Coruna. “We got them together in the changing-room area, and there is an incredible hug between them which gives you goosebumps,” says Torres. He notes that Messi is shaken to the core by Soufian’s story. “When he saw a little bit of the documentary his eyes were watery, he was swallowing hard,” Torres says. The footballer and his family saw the film before it premiered. Over all those meetings, the Barca striker promised to dedicate a goal

to the boy. Soufian loved the idea, but the two of them had trouble finding a gesture that made it clear it was his goal. Just lifting one’s arms to the sky, as Messi usually does, would not do. And then Soufian had an idea. “When you score, touch your legs.” It was a done deal. The gesture came on Sept 17, in Messi’s first goal in Barcelona’s 8-0 win over Osasuna. Usually silent, not very eloquent when he has no choice but to speak, Messi was in shivers when Diego Maradona made him Argentina captain ahead of a match against Greece in the 2010 World Cup. Thinking that he had to encourage his teammates in the changing-room, before going out to play, just seemed like too much. That may be why Messi feels so comfortable among children. With them, contact sometimes does not even require talking, and at worst it certainly does not take sophisticated discourse. Between Messi and children everything is simple and complex at once. Just like the question that Soufian asks his mother Ouafae at one point dur-

ing the documentar y. “Messi says he admires me. But how can that be, when it is I who admire Messi?” —dpa

Union chief stands between Monti and reform By Gavin Jones formidable battle is taking shape over the future of Italy’s labour market between Prime Minister Mario Monti, a detached, professorial economist and Susana Camusso, the pugnacious, chain-smoking leader of the country’s largest trade union. After years of division the three main union confederations appear to have united against reforms Monti says are vital to regain financial markets’ faith, and analysts say he must move fast while his popularity is high and the sense of emergency over Italy’s debt crisis is acute. Led by Camusso, the unions not only have the ability to put millions on the streets but also have a powerful lobbying presence that may shake the parties Monti depends on for his parliamentary majority as the scale of changes become clear. The prime minister has yet to give details of his reform program, but he has made clear that at the top of his agenda is re-writing outdated labour rules that hamper employment, productivity and investment. “We have to get away from a dual labour market where some are too protected while others are totally without protection or insurance in the case of unemployment,” Monti said in his maiden speech to parliament. However, the blonde, husky voiced Camusso, the first female leader of the left-wing CGIL, rejects his claim that only by easing firing restrictions for regular, salaried employees can he give rights and job prospects to the young and unemployed. “Monti is the only one who is too protected,” she told Reuters in an interview this month. “I would like him to introduce me to these ‘too-protected’ workers.” The three main union confederations - Camusso’s CGIL and the more centrist CISL and UIL - launched a spate of strikes against an austerity plan raced through this month to head off soaring borrowing costs, but their opposition to labour reform is likely to be much tougher. This is because it threatens the interests of the unions’ core membership which, along with pensioners, is made up of middle-aged or elderly workers in medium sized to large companies. They are often accused of defending those already protected while neglecting the young, so-called “precarious” workers who have neither rights nor representation. Nine out of 10 first jobs in Italy are now taken under a temporary contract offering no employment protection, whether the worker is an unskilled labourer or a graduate. Real starting salaries are at the same level as in the 1980s. “Italy is an elderly society and the unions are strong because they represent the median voter, who is over 50 and is looking at his retirement of he’s already retired,” said Francesco Giavazzi, a former Treasury official and now economics professor at Milan’s Bocconi University. Around 30 percent of Italians are members of a union, down from 43 percent at the height of union power in the 1970s but still well above the 20-25 percent in Britain, 15 percent in France, and less than 10

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percent in the United States. The CGIL (Italian General Labour Confederation) has almost 6 million members, over half of whom are pensioners, compared with 4.5 million for the CISL and 2.2 million for the UIL. With Monti supported by the main parties across Italy’s political spectrum the unions are, for now, his only real opposition. Camusso, 56, who worked her way up from the CGIL’s hardline metal-workers’ branch, told Reuters that Italy risked a “social explosion” over Monti’s austerity measures, and warned him not to try to abolish the controversial article 18 of Italy’s labour statute. Adopted in 1970, this norm obliges firms with more than 15 employees to re-instate salaried workers ruled to be wrongfully dismissed, with full payment of lost salary. It has become a symbol of Italy’s “dual” labour market, because no such protection exists in small firms or for the growing legions of young people on temporary contracts. Union clout has declined in recent decades, undermined by unemployment, the diminishing weight of large industrial firms where they thrived, cheap immigrant labour and companies that are increasingly able to move output abroad. This process has been exacerbated by chronic disputes within the movement itself, with the smaller unions often coming to terms with employers’ efforts to decentralise wage bargaining and leaving the hardline CGIL isolated in its opposition. Yet Monti’s determination to tackle the pension system and the labour market seems to have united the three confederations and given them a new lease of life. Paolo Feltrin, a union expert and political science professor at Trieste University, said the unions’ room for manoeuvre was limited by Italy’s critical debt situation, but it would be wrong to consider them a spent force. “They have lots of money and influence, their membership is still high and they can still mobilise workers,” he said. Having replaced the scandal-plagued Berlusconi as Italy’s debt crisis span out of control, Monti still has high popularity ratings and the political parties feel obliged to back him. Yet their support is already becoming more grudging and qualified, and if Monti’s popularity wanes the unions may be able to exercise their powerful lobbying influence to block him. “The unions can hijack labour market reform not by strikes directly, but through their ability to influence the political balance,” said Giuliano Cazzola, a former CGIL official and now a lawmaker with Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party. The CGIL holds huge sway over the largest opposition Democratic Party (PD), which Monti depends on for his parliamentary majority. PD Leader Pierluigi Bersani has said changing article 18 is “not on the government’s agenda”, yet ministers have conspicuously declined to confirm this. Feltrin said the union’s capacity as “political lobbyists” was at least as important as their ability to organise strikes and sometimes huge demonstrations.

“If Italy’s debt crisis fails to improve, the sense of emergency will remain and Monti will have a better chance of pushing through reforms,” he said. “But he will be wrong if he thinks he can do it without coming to terms with the unions.” Already, insults have been flying between Camusso and Labour Minister Elsa Fornero, a 63 year-old university professor who will lead the labour reform effort and who this month broke down in tears at a news conference as she announced pension cuts. Camusso was unmoved by the tears and said she was “very surprised to see such an attack on workers conducted by a woman”. Fornero accused the union boss of raising the temperature to levels not seen since the 1970s and ‘80s, decades plagued by political terrorism in Italy. “The unions will stay united and we will see very strong protests,” forecast Giavazzi. — Reuters


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analysis

What to look for at Kim funeral By Jean H Lee ailing and sobbing mourners beat their chests and dropped to their knees as North Korean President Kim Il Sung���s hearse, draped with a red flag and bedecked with white magnolias, crawled through the streets of Pyongyang in 1994. But even as they cried out on a hot summer’s day for the leader they called “Father”, they began pledging their loyalty to his son, leader-in-waiting Kim Jong Il, who cut a solemn and somber figure in a dark blue suit, a black band wrapped around his left arm. Same setting, different season: Similar shows of grief are expected when North Korea lays Kim Jong Il to rest in a winter chill during two days of funeral ceremonies on Wednesday and Thursday. As in 1994, the events will be watched closely for clues to who will gain power and who will fall out of favor under the next leader, his son Kim Jong Un. This state funeral, however, is also likely to bear the hallmarks of Kim Jong Il’s rule, including more of a military presence for the man who elevated the armed forces as part of his “songun”, or “military first”, policy. Kim, who has been lying in state since he died Dec 17, celebrated major occasions with lavish, meticulously choreographed parades designed to show off the nation’s military might, such as the Oct 2010 display when he introduced his son and anointed successor to the world. “A display of weapons may also be a way to demonstrate that the military remains loyal to the succession process,” said Ahn Chan-il of the World Institute for North Korea Studies in South Korea. “There may even be a small-scale military parade involving airplanes.” Like his father was in 1994, Kim Jong Un has appeared stoic in a dark blue Maostyle suit in appearances at Kim Jong Il’s bier - but so far without the black armband that Kim Jong Il wore at the funeral to mark him as head mourner. Kim Jong Un would have been a boy when his grandfather died, and there’s no sign of the young Kim in footage of the 1994 funeral. But it’s clear from footage of him during the mourning period for his father that he is well-schooled in the behavior expected as heir to the nation’s leader. The 1994 funeral is likely to be the template for this week’s events. At the time, details about the funeral in a country

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largely isolated from the West were shrouded in mystery, revealed only after state TV aired segments of the events in what was the world’s best glimpse of the hidden communist nation. Most foreigners aside from those living in North Korea were shut out, and the same is expected this week, though Rev Moon Hyung-jin, an American citizen and son of Seoul-based Unification Church founder Rev Sun Myung Moon, is planning to attend today’s funeral, according to church officials. The

hall where his father worked for 20 years into a public place of mourning - and then, a year later, into a permanent shrine where Kim Il Sung’s embalmed body still lies. Kim Jong Il’s biography also gives him credit for breaking tradition by picking a smiling image of the late president taken in 1986 instead of the somber image typical for Korean funerals. To this day, the portraits that hang in every building and on the lapels of nearly all North Koreans show a smiling Kim Il

In this July, 1994 file photo, citizens line up as a hearse carries the body of late North Korean President Kim Il Sung on the main street of Pyongyang. — AP Moon family has business ties with the North. In 1994, the formation of the funeral committee was examined closely for signs of who was expected to rise in power in the post-Kim Il Sung era; observers likewise dissected the 232 names on last week’s list. When Kim Il Sung died, it was unclear whether North Korea would hew to traditional Korean mourning rites or follow rituals seen elsewhere in the communist world. According to the official account, what appeared to the world as North Korean ritual was a highly personal response by Kim Jong Il, who is credited by his official biography with choreographing every detail of his father’s funeral. The biography says it was the son who proposed turning the massive assembly

Sung. And since Kim Jong Il died, pictures erected at mourning sites across the nation show him beaming as well. The official biography says Kim Jong Il picked one of his father’s neckties for the body and ordered the portrait bedecked with magnolias, the national flower, not traditional black ribbon. After the closed-door funeral, Kim was seen in the footage leaving the hall and standing on a dais sheathed in red, surveying the scene alongside top party and militar y officials as the black Lincoln Continental bearing his father ’s body departs the palace grounds to a military salute. A car with the massive portrait ringed with white magnolias led the motorcade, followed by the hearse bearing

the president’s body, and then a phalanx of police in white helmets riding on motorcycles in a “V” formation. Kim Jong Il and other members of the funeral committee followed slowly in sedans. Soldiers in jeeps flanked the procession. North Koreans lined the streets and filled the air with theatrical wails, many of the women in traditional black dresses and with white mourning ribbons affixed to their hair. The procession reached the central square that bears Kim Il Sung’s name, where hundreds of thousands of mourners were waiting. The hearse circled the square before returning to the assembly hall for a gun salute. A similar procession may be in the works for today, but with the late leader’s trademark red “kimjongilia” begonias replacing the magnolias, and snow and frost as a backdrop. State media said a national memorial service for Kim Jong Il would start midday tomorrow and include an artillery salute, three minutes of silence and locomotives and vessels blowing their sirens. Footage Tuesday from Associated Press Television News in Pyongyang showed long lines of people carrying wreaths and bunches of white flowers toward a building with a huge picture of a smiling Kim Jong Il on its facade. They piled flowers beneath the photo, bowing and crying as they stood in the cold. Some pledged their loyalty to Kim Jong Un. Light traffic flowed through Pyongyang’s streets, people drinking hot tea at makeshift tents set up on the sidewalks. The funeral for Kim Jong Il, who made it state policy to revere his father as North Korea’s “eternal” president, will likely be similar to Kim Il Sung’s but probably not outdo it, said Prof Jeong Jin-gook of the Daejeon Health Sciences College in South Korea. “Kim Il Sung still remains the most respected among North Koreans,” he said. Kim Jong Il may have put his personal stamp on his father’s funeral, but so far Kim Jong Un is sticking to tradition. From the blue suit to the solemn bows before the begonia-bedecked bier, the young leader-in-waiting has closely followed his father’s cues. Still, he is credited with one directive that seems likely fodder for his official biography: According to state media, he instructed the city to keep mourners lined up in subzero temperatures warm with hot water and tea. — AP

Violence creeping into Mexican capital By Ioan Grillo n a nation wracked by drug violence, this sprawling capital city of more than 20 million has been an oasis of relative peace. But the key to that calm - an informal truce among rival gangs - may be cracking. On a sunny afternoon this month, a group of gunmen drove into a slum in the nor th of Mexico City, the streets packed with shoppers and children leaving school. In plain sight, the killers lined three crack cocaine dealers against a wall and shot them in the head with AK-47 assault rifles. They then forced another two men into a black van and drove away past terrified onlookers. The killings, allegedly carried out by the bloodthirsty La Familia cartel of the central state of Michoacan, were the latest sign that the drug violence raging across large swathes of Mexico is creeping into the capital. The drug lords have long kept a lid on turf wars in Mexico City. But a generation of upstart gangsters has this year carried out a series of massacres and decapitations on the city edges. Cells of these newer cartels have also become more active in kidnapping and shaking down local businessmen. In the greater Mexico City area, police have reported more than 300 gangland killings this year. The carnage includes the massacre of a family of five in the Tlalpan area, a decapitation close to the wealthy business district of Santa Fe, and two headless bodies hanged from bridge in Huixquilucan in the west of the city. The death toll is up from last year, when 260 murders in the area were blamed on rival gangs. Mexico City includes the inner Federal District, home to almost 9 million people, and another 12 million in outer suburbs and slums governed by the State of Mexico. “A cartel crime wave here would be catastrophic,” says Luis de la Barreda, head of ICESI, a Mexican think-tank on crime. “Mexico City is not only the home of all the country’s major institutions, it is an image that is constantly in everyone’s minds.” The capital, to be sure, remains one of the safest parts of the nation. Ciudad Juarez on the US border was last year the most murderous city on the planet. The tourist resort of Acapulco has been hollowed out by violence. Even the affluent business city of Monterrey has been ravaged. But the Federal District boasts a lower homicide rate than many US cities. Many wealthy Mexicans have retreated here from violent enclaves, setting up new businesses and helping to boost property prices. Poorer families have fled from the bloodshed around the country to shantytowns on the city edges. But there are signs the capital could go the way of other regions. The Guadalupe Victoria neighborhood - where gangsters shot dead the three alleged crack dealers in broad daylight - is typical of the slums the new cartels are moving into. It is in the far north of the metropolitan sprawl, beneath shanty towns that spiral up dusty hills, a two-hour commute from the heart of the capital. The victims represented a problem relatively new to Mexico - a growing population of addicts and dealers who sell rocks of crack cocaine for

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as little as 30 pesos ($2.15). Although the gunmen shot the alleged dealers right in front of a row of shops, store owners are too scared to talk about it. Most denied seeing anything, saying they were busy or their view was blocked. Truce Until a few years ago, when kidnappings and armed robbery were the biggest threats, Mexico City was seen as one of the most dangerous spots in the country. But it has enjoyed a relative calm while other regions were engulfed by turf wars triggered when President Felipe Calderon went after the cartels in late 2006. The cap-

become major players, radicalized amid the fury of the drug war. Many kingpins of these new cartels were once assassins and use violence as a basic form of communication instead of a last resort. The three groups have been fighting over turf in states surrounding the capital for years. Recent violence shows they may be spreading this war into the periphery of the city. Police have hit back by raiding dozens of safe houses, busting gangsters holed up with guns, drugs and money. In some of these houses, usually rented properties in residential streets, agents have rescued terrified kidnap victims. In one case, detectives arrested 14 men and

Members of the Mexican army escort Felipe Cabrera Sarabia aka “El Inge”, an alleged member of the Pacific drug cartel led by Joaquin Guzman Loera known as “El Chapo Guzman” during his presentation for the press in Mexico City on Monday. – AFP ital even seemed to be a safe place for the families of gangsters. Vicente Carrillo Leyva, son of the Juarez cartel founder, was arrested in 2009 as he exercised in the park of a plush suburb wearing an Abercrombie & Fitch jogging suit. Vicente Zambada, an heir to the rival Sinaloa cartel, was nabbed the same year driving through the upscale district of Lomas de Pedregal. While cartel leaders kept money, houses and families in the capital, they were extremely cautious about unleashing violence on its streets. Security analysts say gangsters had a tacit understanding not to set off alarm bells in the heartland of Mexico’s political power. The murder rate tells the story. In the last three years, there were between 8 and 10 homicides for every 100,000 residents of the Federal District, police figures show. That is about half the national rate and much lower than US cities like New Orleans, Baltimore and Detroit. Meanwhile, Sinaloa state, the cradle of the drugs trade, had 81 murders per 100,000 last year. Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, had a horrifying rate of 272 homicides per 100,000. The truce in the capital is now threatened by the intensity of turf wars elsewhere and the emergence of three cartels of a new ilk: La Familia, the widely-feared Zetas and a criminal cell called Mano con Ojos - or Hand With Eyes. These groups have all

women who allegedly formed a cell carrying out kidnappings for the Zetas cartel in the northern parts of the city. Detectives say the gangsters always demanded ransom payments in dollars and collected them at passenger bridges. One victim was a pregnant woman. The criminals cut off two of her fingers and sent them to her husband, in a box to pressure for the ransom. Another gangster arrested in Mexico City was a leader of the Mano con Ojos gang called Oscar Osvaldo Garcia, nabbed by police in August. Garcia, a 36-year old former Mexican marine, allegedly spent many years working as a hit man for older kingpins of the Sinaloa Cartel. But his bosses were taken down as part of Calderon’s war on drugs and he began to head his own operations, recruiting young men from the Mexico City area to sell drugs, kidnap and kill. Trained Killers His career path underlines a central problem with Calderon’s offensive. As the older kingpins are captured or killed, bloodthirsty lieutenants have risen up to fight over their empires. “I was trained to kill,” Garcia told police in videotaped testimony. He acknowledged murdering not only rival gangsters but dozens of witnesses. “They were innocent but they had seen too much. They had seen too many faces,

and they had to go.” The attorney general of Mexico State, Alfredo Castillo, concedes the gangsters extort businesses in the area, a tactic of increasing concern across Mexico. Rather than going after big companies or foreign ventures, they hit local vendors - taco stands, hardware stores and clothes stalls on the edge of the capital. Police arrested four such extortionists on Dec 12, alleging they were members of La Familia and shaking down businesses for 500 pesos ($36) a week each in the Cuautitlan area in the north of Mexico City. Most of the affluent neighborhoods have not been affected. In trendy areas such as La Condesa, residents enjoy cappuccinos, sushi restaurants and Irish pubs with no sign of gunmen or soldiers. Hugh Carroll, an offshore investment banker from Scotland, has lived here almost 10 years and hasn’t felt any personal effect from the drug war. “I tend to operate in business areas, which are all very safe,” Carroll says. “The worst thing that ever happened to me is that I was mugged a few years ago, but that can happen anywhere in the world.” Mexico’s biggest security company, Multisistemas de Seguridad, still considers Mexico City a relatively low risk area. “In places close to the border such as Tamaulipas, there are real warlike conditions, but we have seen nothing like that here,” says company spokesman Gabriel Avalos. “The incursion of these cartels is worrying, but it hasn’t yet had a major effect on violence in the city.” Avalos says the Federal District’s government, led by Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, has helped keep wealthier neighborhoods safe. After visiting London, Ebrard set out to install 8,000 cameras by 2012, when he leaves office. These eyes in the sky are on many street corners in plush districts and have been used to catch muggers and other criminals. The Federal District’s police officers are more effective than those in much of Mexico. While the rest of the country has different state and municipal police forces that often fight each other, the Federal District has a unified force. “If other Mexican police forces were to follow this model it would be a positive development,” says Jon French, a former US State Department official who runs a Mexico City-based security consultancy. With the city still relatively secure, Mexicans continue to take refuge here. Diego Viloro moved from his native town of Uruapan, Michoacan to settle here in February. Uruapan was the scene of one of the first high-profile atrocities of the war when thugs rolled five severed heads onto a nightclub dance floor in 2006. Viloro owned a grocer y store but fled when gangsters threatened to kill him in a row over extortion payments. He left a big house and decent living, he said, to rent an apartment and get by driving a taxi. “It worries me a lot when I see news about La Familia and Zetas on the edge of this city. That was how it started in Michoacan and it just got worse and worse,” Viloro says. “I don’t want my children growing up around that fear and bloodshed. That was why I moved here.” — Reuters

Focus

A kinder, gentler Hamas? By Mohammed Najib s there a new Hamas in the making, one ready to put down its arms and live in peace with Israel? Or is it the same old Islamist movement putting on the airs of moderation as it abandons its old friends Syria and Iran and makes new ones in Egypt, Turkey and Qatar? Anyone following the movement’s latest steps has a lot of evidence on which to base their pick. On the one hand, Hamas has resumed talks about ending its fouryear split with the more moderate Fatah movement and joining the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). On the other hand, Hamas took the opportunity of its 24thanniversary to emphasize its intention of staying the course of violence and the denial of Israel’s right to exist. “Resistance is the way and it is the strategic choice to liberate Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea and to remove the invaders from the blessed land of Palestine,” the Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told the crowd, which chanted: “We will never recognize Israel.” The two Palestinians movements have been vowing to re-form their old national unity government since last spring, with little progress to show for it. But Palestinian sources told The Media Line that a significant rapprochement over the last four weeks has finally been made between Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal and Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, which is controlled by the Fatah movement. The two held a Nov 24 summit meeting in Cairo where they reportedly agreed on main three points: a Palestinian state will be established in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; non-violent resistance will be the tool for achieving this goal; and legislative and presidential elections will take place on May 4, 2012. The first point tacitly acknowledges Israel’s right to exist and the second would align Hamas’ strategy with that of Abbas, who is committed to seeking a negotiated peace with Israel. Jane’s Defence & Security Intelligence & Analysis was the first to report Hamas’ acceptance to give up armed resistance. At their latest summit Dec 21, the two paved the way for Hamas to join the PLO, the Palestinian umbrella organization that to date has been dominated by the Fatah movement. Many observers took that as yet another signs that Hamas is moving to come closer to the Fatah position. Hamas has good reasons to change its tune because the Arab Spring has shaken up the bold political order in the Middle East. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, who has served as junior partner to Iran in an axis that includes Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, has failed to quash a nine-month old rebellion and his prospects of staying in power are growing dimmer. Unlike Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas has refused to support Al-Asad publicly, which has reportedly angered Iran. Meanwhile, in Egypt, Islamists led by the Muslim Brotherhood - Hamas’ progenitor - seem all but assured to be coming to power through ongoing elections. That means a government that will be friendlier to Hamas and more hostile to Israel than Egypt was under ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Qatar and Turkey, two rising regional powers, are also trying to make their influence felt. Mashaal, the chief of Hamas Damascus-based political bureau, has already packed his bags and is looking for a new office in Cairo or the Qatari capital of Doha. But the change of headquarters and allies Hamas comes at a price, namely that the movement adopt a more moderate stance. Hamas officials told The Media Line that the Muslim Brotherhood has urged them to cut their remaining ties with Iran because such they threaten to alienate voters angry that Tehran has backed Al-Assad even as more than 5,000 Syrians have died. “Iran can’t be pro-Bahrain Shiite revolution and anti the Syrian revolution,” said a senior PA security source in Ramallah who spoke to TML on conditions of anonymity. Hamas’ military wing, the Izeddin Al-Qassam Brigades, counts 22,000 well-trained fighters and armed with various kinds of small arms, short- and mediumrange surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles. A PA military official in the West Bank told The Media Line that Hamas is going to keep its military wing and paramilitary groups to control security in Gaza -not necessary to fight Israel. But publicly Hamas is not owning up to any change. Its foreign minister, Osama Hamdan, for instance told the Quds Press news agency that the decision to join the PLO leadership did not signal Hamas acceptance of the peace process with Israel. “Anyone who thinks Hamas has changed its stance and now accepts the PLO’s defeatist political program is living in an illusion,” Hamdan was quoted as saying. “Hamas cannot make the mistake of joining a process that has proved to be a failure over the past 20 years.” That is why some observers say Hamas leadership is adopting a Janus-faced strategy - one side directed to the West, Abbas and its new allies, which portrays the movement as renouncing armed resistance against Israel, and another directed toward its rank-and-file, asserting that it will stick to armed resistance. Hani Al-Masri, a Palestinian political analyst, said Hamas’ current strategy is simply a continuation of a line it adopted as early as 2003, namely to effectively suspend violence against Israel but never admit to it in order to keep the fires burning - both among its followers and in Israel. “Hamas learned from Abbas’ mistake when he abandoned armed resistance and adopted negotiations as the sole method to overcome the conflict with Israel. It didn’t work,” said Al-Masri told The Media Line, a reference to the fact that talks between the two sides have stalled for close to three years. With Islamists winning elections in Egypt and Tunisia, Hamas has its eyes set on an election win next May against Fatah, he said. But a victory at the polls will do it little good if its leadership isn’t accepted by the US and other Western powers. “Hamas’ adoption of the non-violent resistance ... is a message for the West that it hopes its rule in Palestine will be accepted if it wins in the coming May legislative and presidential elections,” said AlMasri “Hamas’ growing moderation is scaring Fatah. [because of ] the growing power of the Islamists in the region confirmed In fact, Hamas itself may not know yet which way it will go. Senior Hamas sources told The Media Line that tough internal deliberations inside the movements, coalescing around Mashaal and his rival hardliner Mahmoud Zahar, have yet to lead to a final policy decision. Zahar is unhappy with Mashaal’s rapprochement with Abbas and with the idea of renouncing military resistance. The sources said that Mashaal is powerful enough to dictate policy but that he may face a bruising battle in internal Shura Council elections expected to take place in late February. — Media Line

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sp orts Cubs add 2 right-handers FLORIDA: The Chicago Cubs bolstered their bullpen by signing righthanders Manny Corpas and Andy Sonnanstine to one-year contracts, the Major League Baseball team said yesterday. Sonnanstine, who spent all or parts of the last five seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, has a career record of 28-31 with one save and a 5.26 earned-run average. His best season was in 2008 when he was 13-9 in 32 starts helping Tampa win the American League Championship. Corpas, who missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010, has spent his entire career with the Colorado Rock ies posting a record of 12-16 with 34 saves and 51 holds in all or part of five Major League seasons. — Reuters

Olympic champ indicted TOKYO: Japan’s retired double Olympic judo gold medalist Masato Uchishiba was indicted yesterday on charges of raping a teenage girl at a Tokyo hotel. Uchishiba, 33, who won the 66kg title at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and retired from competition last year, was arrested three weeks ago. He has acknowledged that he had sex with the unnamed girl, but has insisted it was consensual, police have said. The Tokyo public prosecutors office said in a statement that Uchishiba had sexual intercourse with the girl in a hotel room on September 20 when she was “unable to resist as she was in a profound sleep due to intoxication.” Uchishiba was hailed as a hero at home when he became the first

Japanese to win a gold medal in any sport at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when Japan won just two medals in men’s judo, an alltime low. He was sacked nearly a month ago by a provincial university where he had been coaching its women’s judo team since April 2010. He became a visiting professor at the school last January. Kyushu University of Nursing and Social Welfare has accused Uchishiba of sexually harassing a teenaged member of the team after getting her drunk at a hotel in September during a training camp. According to media reports, quoting police sources, Uchishiba had a drinking session with the girl and other people at a Japanesestyle pub near the hotel before the alleged incident. — AFP

Injured Human sidelined TOULOUSE: Toulouse prop Daan Human will be sidelined for the second time this season after being diagnosed with a fractured bone near his left eye socket, the South African said yesterday. Human fell victim to a blow by Thibaut Privat during Toulouse’s 45-25 win at Montpellier at the weekend. The South African had only resumed competition at a European Cup match against Harlequins two weeks ago following a four-month lay-off with a left arm injury. He now expects to be out for around a month. Toulouse manager Guy Noves said the club had not yet decided whether to cite Privat over the incident. “ We haven’t ruled out the possibility of citing Privat for hitting out needlessly at a player who had only just returned,” from injury, Noves said, adding that the blow had “come from behind”. Human joins compatriot Gary Botha on the French champions’ injury list. Hooker Botha, who suffered a bone fracture in his right leg in the same match, was later ruled out for the rest of the season. —AFP

Kuwait’s shooters and officials pictured at the Kuwait International Airport.

Kuwait shooting team receives hero’s welcome By Abdellatif Sharaa KUWAIT: Shooters returning from Qatar were warmly greeted by Kuwaiti officials, family members and a large crowd, following their successful par ticipation in the Arab Games held in Doha, where Kuwait’s shooters collected 17 medals. The Kuwait team was received by the President of Kuwait and Asian Shooting Federation and Vice President of ISSF Sheik h Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah, President of the Arab Shooting Federation, Vice President of KSSF

and member of ISSF Administrative Assembly Eng Duaij Al-Otaibi and board members at Kuwait International Airport. Al-Otaibi said “Kuwaiti shooters performed at their best and collected a good number of medals - keeping the prominence of Kuwait’s name in this important event”. He dedicated the outstanding achievement to HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah, HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the government and people of Kuwait. He thanked the Qatari Emir HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khaleefa Al-Thani

and Crown Prince Tamim bin Hamad and all officials of the Arab Games and the Qatari people for their hospitality. Meanwhile, the Secretar y General of the Arab and Kuwait Shooting Federations lauded the results made by Kuwait shooters, adding that Kuwait will continue its hard work to ensure good achievements in all events. “The focus now is on the Asian Championship to be held in Qatar in January,” he said, adding that the championship’s importance comes from the fact that it qualifies winners to the London 2012 Olympics, “and we are very opti-

mistic to gain a qualification during this championship.” Kuwait’s Olympic Shooter Fuhaid Al-Daihani, who won the gold of the Double Trap singles and silver for the team, said the competition was particularly strong and heated because of the high technical standards of the shooters. “Gulf Shooters are the world champions, and that is why competition was really strong for the Arab title. Experience made it possible for us to compete and hit the clay targets better,” Al-Daihani said. The Golden Girl Mariam Irzouqi who won two gold and two bronze

medals was ver y happy for her achievements. “I had to concentrate. Continuous training enabled me to win,” she said. Irzouqi thanked Sheikha Naeema Al-Ahmad and Sheikh Salman for supporting her. Meanwhile Afrah bin Hussein, who won the skeet teams gold medal said they were so confident as they targeted for the best. Shooter Khalid Al-Subaie urged the chairman of Kuwait Olympic Committee Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahaf to reward the shooters for their outstanding achievements as they prepare for the Olympic qualifications.

Mariam Irzouqi (right) seen with her mother and sister Heba (left)

Nets overpower Wizards Youthful Kings reign over slow-starting Lakers WASHINGTON: New Jersey’s Kris Humphries finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds to help the Nets overcome a big deficit and beat the Washington Wizards 90-84 on Monday in the NBA season opener for both teams. Deron Williams had 23 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for New Jersey, which trailed by as much as 21 points in the second quarter, but began to turn things around with a 16-2 run. Backup shooting guard Nick Young led Washington with 16 points in just 18 minutes. He missed a large part of the second half with a foot injury but returned. KINGS 100, LAKERS 91 In Sacramento, Marcus Thornton scored 12 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter as Sacramento opened its season in grand fashion, beating the Los Angeles at home for the first time in more than three years. Tyreke Evans added 20 points for the Kings, who had lost nine of 10 to the Lakers and five straight at home. Kobe Bryant scored 29 points and Metta World Peace - formerly known as Ron Artest - added 19 for the Lakers, who opened the season with consecutive losses for the first time since 2002-03, putting a damper on the start of new coach Mike Brown’s tenure. WARRIORS 99, BULLS 91 In Oakland, Stephen Curry had 21 points and 10 assists as Golden State beat Chicago,

giving new coach Mark Jackson his first victory. Monta Ellis scored 26 points for the Warriors, who lost their opening game on Christmas Day. Luol Deng, whose block sealed Chicago’s season-opening win over the Lakers, had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who trailed by as much as 19 before making a late surge to get within five points with 36.3 seconds remaining. BOBCATS 96, BUCKS 95 In Charlotte, North Carolina, Charlotte erased a 14-point deficit to beat Minnesota by the narrowest margin. DJ Augustin scored 19 points while rookie Kemba Walker added 13, including two free throws with 9.9 seconds remaining. Brandon Jennings had 22 points for the Bucks. MAGIC 104, ROCKETS 95 Ir Orlando, Hedo Turkoglu scored 23 points to lead five Magic players in double figures as Orlando beat Houston. Orlando got 13 points from Turkoglu and eight points from J.J. Redick in the fourth quarter to help the Magic stave off a handful of second-half charges by the Rockets. Kyle Lowry had 20 points and 12 assists for Houston, which closed within four in the fourth quarter, but the Magic were able to hit some timely 3-pointers late to help secure the victory. PACERS 91, PISTONS 79 In Indianapolis, Roy Hibbert had 16 points

and 14 rebounds to help Indiana defeat Detroit. David West, Indiana’s big free agent addition, had 11 points and 12 rebounds, even though he made just 3 of 12 field goals. The Pacers shot just 37 percent from the field, but got away with it because they outrebounded the Pistons 53-40. Indiana had 18 offensive rebounds and 14 second-chance points. Jonas Jerebko and Rodney Stuckey each scored 17 points for the Pistons, who never led. RAPTORS 104, CAVALIERS 96 In Cleveland, rookie Kyrie Irving scored just six points and hardly played like the No 1 draft pick as Toronto spoiled the Cleveland guard’s NBA debut. Irving, who played just 11 college games before turning pro, finished just 2 of 11 from the field he made a meaningless 3-pointer in the final minutes. The Cavs are counting on the 19-year-old to turn around a team that won just 19 games last season. Toronto, which went only 22-60 last season, won its first game under coach Dwane Casey. THUNDER 104, TIMBERWOLVES 100 In Minneapolis, Kevin Durant scored 33 points to lead Oklahoma City to victory over Minnesota. Russell Westbrook added 28 points, six assists and six rebounds for the Thunder, who have started off a season loaded with expectations at 2-0. Kevin Love

had 22 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Timberwolves, who hung with the Western Conference favorites all game long. NUGGETS 115, MAVERICKS 93 In Dallas, Ty Lawson scored 20 of his 27 points in the first half for Denver, which faced little resistance on its way to victory over Dallas. The reigning champions were drubbed for a second straight game, routinely giving up easy baskets in both. They allowed Denver to score 20 unanswered points in the second quarter and were down by 33 late in the third. Denver, playing its season opener, scored on 19 of 25 second-quarter possessions. The Nuggets made only 12 baskets in the second half, yet still cruised to victory. Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 20 points, and didn’t play in the fourth quarter for the second straight game, yet another indication of how badly things are going for the Mavs. HORNETS 85, SUNS 84 In Phoenix, Eric Gordon made a 20-footer from the top of the key with 4.2 seconds to play in his New Orleans debut to give the Hornets a victory over Phoenix. Gordon, who came to New Orleans in the trade that sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers, gave his team its only lead since the first two minutes of the second half. Suns rookie Markieff Morris threw the ball away on Phoenix’s final

possession. Gordon scored 20 points and Carl Landry added 14 for New Orleans. Robin Lopez scored 22 points, more than he had in any game last season, for the Suns. SPURS 95, GRIZZLIES 82 In San Antonio, Manu Ginobili scored 24 points as San Antonio got some payback after its stunning playoff collapse last season, beating Memphis. Tony Parker added 15 points and seven assists for the Spurs. The Grizzlies remained winless on opening night since the franchise left Vancouver in 2001, and this blowout was a disappointment for last season’s most improved team. TRAIL BLAZERS 107, 76ERS 103 In Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and seven rebounds as Portland opened its season with a win over Philadelphia. Gerald Wallace added 21 points and nine rebounds for the Blazers, who let an early lead slip away but regained the upper hand in the second half by going small and picking up the pace. Reserve Lou Williams had 12 of his 25 points in the second quarter and two clutch 3-pointers at the end for the Sixers, who open the season with a five-game road trip. The Sixers shot 48 percent from the field, but the Blazers took 97 shots to Philadelphia’s 83. — AP


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Missouri beat North Carolina in Independence Bowl SHREVEPORT: Missouri made sure its final football game as a member of the Big 12 conference was decided early, easily beating North Carolina 41-24 in college football’s Independence Bowl on Monday. James Franklin ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as Missouri (8-5) ended the season on a four-game winning streak for the first time since 1965. The Tigers will join the Southeastern Conference next fall and showed one reason they should be a factor immediately: Franklin, who generally did as he pleased in both the running and passing games. Franklin, named the game’s offensive Most Valuable Player, rushed for 142 yards and threw for 132 despite less than ideal conditions in the cold and

rain at Independence Stadium. He led the Tigers to 31 first-half points - an Independence Bowl record. For North Carolina (7-6), a season that started with a promising 5-1 record ends with a lopsided loss. The Tar Heels lost five of their final seven under interim coach Everett Withers, who leaves to become defensive coordinator at Ohio State under Urban Meyer. North Carolina had the Atlantic Coast Conference’s second-best rushing defense, giving up just 106.2 yards per game. But the Tigers found plenty of running room with Franklin and Kendial Lawrence, repeatedly gashing the Tar Heels for big gains. Lawrence rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown as the Tigers racked up 337 yards on the ground. North Carolina’s poor defense wasted a

productive game by quarterback Bryn Renner, who threw for 317 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Missouri’s mascot - Truman the Tiger - shattered most of the original Independence Bowl trophy before the game started in a pre-game accident. The Tigers were more than happy to claim the replacement. North Carolina scored first, with Renner hitting Dwight Jones for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 12:12 left in the first quarter. That would be the high point for the Tar Heels. Missouri responded with a 40-yard touchdown pass from receiver TJ Moe to Wes Kemp after a lateral from Franklin. Moe hadn’t thrown a touchdown pass since his days as a high school quarterback in sub-

urban St Louis, and it was just his second complete pass of the season. The Tigers scored again on Franklin’s 2-yard run to take a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter. The touchdown was set up by Franklin’s 16-yard pass to L’Damian Washington that put the Tigers at the 2yard line. And Missouri just kept piling on. The Tigers scored two touchdowns and a field goal during the second quarter to take a 31-10 halftime lead. North Carolina had a glimmer of hope late in the third when Jheranie Boyd caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Renner to pull the Tar Heels to 34-17. But Missouri responded minutes later with Franklin’s second touchdown run of the night and the rout continued. —AP

Saints win NFC South Brees breaks Marino’s record

VANCOUVER: Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks gets rid of the puck before getting checked by Tom Gilbert #77 of the Edmonton Oilers during the third period in NHL action on December 26, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. — AFP

Blues outshine Stars 5-3 ST LOUIS: St Louis’ Adam Cracknell justified his recall from the minors earlier in the day by scoring the goahead goal as the Blues beat the Dallas Stars 5-3 in the NHL on Monday. St Louis, which won its sixth successive home game, scored two rare power-play goals and improved to 7-1-1 in its past nine. The Blues have thrived under Coach Ken Hitchcock, who took over Nov. 6 after Davis Payne was fired. Chris Stewart scored twice for St Louis, including an empty-net goal with 50 seconds left. Evgeny Grachev, Chris Stewart and Jason Arnott also scored for the Blues, who had lost their previous five against Dallas. Mike Ribeiro, Eric Nystrom and Michael Ryder scored for the Stars. RED WINGS 4, PREDATORS 1 In Nashville, Valtteri Filppula scored a pair of goals to lead Detroit over Nashville. Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary also scored for the Red Wings, who netted twice in a span of 13 seconds during the second period. Jonathon Blum scored for sole goal for the Predators, who slipped five points behind Detroit in the Central Division. AVALANCHE 4, WILD 2 In St Paul, Minnesota, Jan Hejda scored the goahead goal in the third period as Colorado snapped a nine-game road losing skid by beating Minnesota. The Avalanche won on the road for the first time since October and extended Minnesota’s winless streak to seven games. Ryan O’Reilly, Gabriel Landeskog and TJ Galiardi also scored for Colorado. Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Cal Clutterbuck scored for the Wild. CANUCKS 5, OILERS 3 In Vancouver, Andrew Ebbett scored twice to lead Vancouver over Edmonton. Daniel Sedin, Alex Burrows, and Ryan Kesler also scored for Vancouver, which moved ahead of Minnesota for the Northwest Division lead. Jordan Eberle, Ryan Smyth and Corey Potter scored for the Oilers. Vancouver outshot the Oilers 26-21 overall and dominated a weary-looking Edmonton team in the first period, limiting the Oilers to only two shots in the first 14:30 of the game. KINGS 4, COYOTES 3 In Los Angeles, Willie Mitchell scored the tiebreaking goal early in the third period as Los Angeles broke an offensive slump to edge Phoenix. Rob Scuderi, Brad Richardson and Captain Dustin Brown also scored for the Kings, who scored more than twice for the first time in 15 games. Raffi Torres scored twice and Daymond Langkow added a thirdperiod goal for the Coyotes. RANGERS 3, ISLANDERS 0 In New York, Carl Hagelin scored twice for his second multigoal game in the NHL as the Rangers notched their fifth straight win by beating the Islanders in the all-New York clash. Hagelin, in just his 16th career game, scored in the second and third periods for the surging Rangers (22-8-4). The Atlantic Division leaders leapfrogged defending Stanley Cup champion Boston into first place in the Eastern Conference. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 28 shots he faced, recording his third shutout of the season and 38th in his career. Marian Gaborik sealed the win with his league-leading 22nd goal - an empty-netter with 2:28 left. Gaborik scored for the fifth straight game, netting seven in the span, and matched his goal total for all of last season. SABRES 4, CAPITALS 2 In Buffalo, Brayden McNabb capped Buffalo’s fourgoal first period with his first NHL goal as Buffalo cruised past Washington. Jason Pominville, Matt Ellis and Christian Ehrhoff also scored in the first period for the Sabres, who snapped a three-game skid. Matt Hendricks and Alex Ovechkin scored for Washington. BLACKHAWKS 4, BLUE JACKETS 1 In Chicago, Viktor Stalberg scored twice in Chicago’s win over Columbus. Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist, Patrick Sharp also netted while Corey Crawford made 37 saves for the Blackhawks, who are 9-1-1 in their past 11 games and lead the NHL with 50 points. Columbus defenseman James

Wisniewski scored the only goal for the visitors, who lost their fifth straight and are yet to win in regulation on the road this season. The Blue Jackets have a league-worst 22 points. HURRICANES 4, DEVILS 2 In Raleigh, North Carolina, Cam Ward made 23 saves and was credited with a bizarre goal, leading Carolina past New Jersey. Brandon Sutter had a short-handed goal, while Tuomo Ruutu and Anthony Stewart scored in the second period for the Hurricanes. Ward’s first career goal came at the end of a strange sequence, as an errant Devils pass from the end line wound up going the length of the ice and into an empty net with 29.4 seconds left. Officials initially awarded the goal to Sutter before a postgame review determined he never touched the puck. David Clarkson and Adam Henrique scored in the third period for New Jersey. DUCKS 3, SHARKS 2 In San Jose, Andrew Cogliano scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the second period that gave Anaheim victory over San Jose and its first road win in 14 attempts. Jonas Hiller made 36 saves while Luca Sbisa and Bobby Ryan also scored for the Ducks, who have earned 30 per cent of their few wins this season against the Sharks. Joe Pavleski and Jamie McGinn scored for San Jose, which had a four-game winning streak snapped.— AP

NHL results/standings Colorado 4, Minnesota 2; Buffalo 4, Washington 2; NY Rangers 3, NY Islanders 0; Carolina 4, New Jersey 2; St. Louis 5, Dallas 3; Detroit 4, Nashville 1; Chicago 4, Columbus 1; Vancouver 5, Edmonton 3; Los Angeles 4, Phoenix 3; Anaheim 3, San Jose 2. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTLGF NY Rangers 22 8 4 102 Philadelphia 21 9 4 118 Pittsburgh 20 11 4 114 New Jersey 19 15 1 97 NY Islanders 11 17 6 77 Northeast Division Boston 23 9 1 119 Toronto 18 13 4 110 Ottawa 17 14 5 111 Buffalo 17 15 3 96 Montreal 13 16 7 88 Southeast Division Florida 18 11 7 94 Winnipeg 16 14 5 96 Washington 17 15 2 100 Tampa Bay 14 17 3 90 Carolina 12 19 6 95 Western Conference Central Division Chicago 23 9 4 122 St. Louis 21 10 4 92 Detroit 22 12 1 115 Nashville 18 14 4 96 Columbus 9 22 4 86 Northwest Division Vancouver 22 12 2 120 Minnesota 20 12 5 88 Colorado 19 17 1 100 Calgary 17 15 4 90 Edmonton 15 17 3 96 Pacific Division San Jose 19 11 3 97 Dallas 20 14 1 95 Phoenix 18 15 3 95 Los Angeles 17 14 5 80 Anaheim 10 19 6 83

GA 72 99 91 103 111

PTS 48 46 44 39 28

63 113 122 103 101

47 40 39 37 33

98 104 105 116 123

43 37 36 31 30

103 77 79 103 121

50 46 45 40 22

88 86 107 98 96

46 45 39 38 33

80 101 96 88 115

41 41 39 39 26

Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L)

NEW ORLEANS: After Drew Brees broke an NFL passing record that stood for nearly three decades, his teammates called on him to make a speech in the Saints’ locker room. “This record isn’t about one person. There might be just one name that goes in ledger under the record, but it’s really about the team,” Brees told his teammates. “I want everyone to feel a huge part of this, that this record would not have been possible without them.” It was quite a night for Brees and the Saints - a record and a rout. Brees set the NFL mark for yards passing in a season, breaking a record Dan Marino held for 27 years, and New Orleans wrapped up the NFC South title with a 45-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. Brees nearly topped Marino three years ago, finishing with 5,069 yards passing. But that pursuit rang a little hollow because the Saints were 8-8. This time, Brees’ prolific passing has led New Orleans (12-3) to the playoffs and a legitimate shot at its second Super Bowl in three seasons. “We all want this (record) very badly,” Brees began, “but it’s all about winning and we know if we just focus on that, all that other stuff will take care of itself.” Brees threw for 307 yards and four touchdowns, the last a 9-yard strike to Darren Sproles that set the record with 2:51 to go. It was Brees’ final pass of the game and it gave him 5,087 yards passing - with one game left. Marino finished with 5,084 yards for the Miami Dolphins in 1984. Minutes after Brees broke the record, Marino offered congratulations on Twitter. “Great job by such a special player,” Marino wrote. As Sproles spiked the ball, Brees thrust his fist triumphantly in the air and started walking toward the sideline while the Superdome crowd went wild and his teammates chased him down. Offensive guard Carl Nicks was the first one to get there and tried to lift Brees onto his shoulder, but couldn’t do it as teammates swarmed around. “If I could have put him on my shoulders and paraded him around the whole stadium I would have done that. He deserves it,” Nicks said. “It’s like a movie, man. Just a movie ending. It’s beautiful. ... You could tell by everyone’s reaction after he did it how much people care about that guy. We all love him.” Brees pushed his touchdown total to 276, moving him ahead of Joe Montana (273) and Vinny Testaverde (275) for ninth on the career list. The former Purdue star is the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 5,000 yards twice. Brees’ first scoring pass went for 8 yards to Marques Colston and the second for 9 yards to Jimmy Graham. Graham’s TD catch was his 10th of the season, a franchise high for a tight end. In the third quarter, Brees hit Robert Meachem for a score from 24 yards to make it 28-10. The Saints (12-3) also had 463 total yards, giving them 6,857 offensive yards for the season, breaking the 2008 club record of 6,571. New Orleans continues to close in on the NFL record of 7,075 offensive yards set by the 2000 St Louis Rams. Brees might have broken the record in the third quarter if not for Sproles’ 92yard kickoff return, which set up John Kasay’s 29-yard field goal. Brees also threw two interceptions, but New Orleans was still dominant enough to take a big lead. The game became a romp when Julio Jones was stripped by Scott Shanle and Malcolm

Jenkins returned it 30 yards for a score to make it 38-16 in the fourth quarter. The Superdome crowd was in full celebration by then, but the play also meant fans would have to wait until later in the fourth quarter before Brees finally got his chance to break the passing record. The Saints can earn the No 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye with a win Sunday over Carolina and a San Francisco loss at St Louis, which is 213. Atlanta (9-6) is headed to the playoffs as a wild card. Uncharacteristically, Brees had only a yard passing during a span of a little more than 18 minutes in the second half. Fans howled, “Drewwww!” each time he took the field, and he finally gave them what they wanted after Atlanta failed on a fourth-down try at its own 33. That gave Brees, who needed only 30 yards for the record at that point, just enough space to work with. The Saints didn’t need another score, but Saints Coach Sean Payton said he thought giving Brees a chance to go for the

record was “appropriate.” Falcons coach Mike Smith diplomatically deflected questions about that, saying only, “It is our job to go out there and stop them. It doesn’t matter if they are running the ball or throwing the ball.” Matt Ryan had 373 yards passing and one TD, including an early 21-yard scoring strike to Jones. “We didn’t really play well enough in any phase of the game to give ourselves a chance,” said Smith, whose team came in with a chance to stay in the hunt for the division title. “It’s not the type of effort that you want to have with so much on the line with what the outcome could have meant to our team.” Pierre Thomas scored New Orleans’ first touchdown on a 4-yard run, after which he pulled a bow from his uniform pants, put it on the football and offered it as a gift to a woman with a parasol in the front row behind the end zone. The referees weren’t cutting Thomas any slack on his Christmasthemed celebration, flagging him for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty._ AP

NEW ORLEANS: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates with offensive guard Carl Nicks (77) and tackle Zach Strief (64) after throwing a touchdown pass and breaking the league record for single-season passing yardage, held by Dan Marino on Monday, Dec 26, 2011. — AP

NFL result/standings New Orleans 45, Atlanta 16. American Football Conference AFC East W L T OTL PF PA PCT N England 12 3 0 0 464 321 .800 NY Jets 8 7 0 0 360 344 .533 Buffalo 6 9 0 0 351 385 .400 Miami 5 10 0 1 310 296 .333 AFC North Baltimore 11 4 0 0 351 250 .733 Pittsburgh 11 4 0 0 312 218 .733 Cincinnati 9 6 0 0 328 299 .600 Cleveland 4 11 0 1 209 294 .267 AFC South Houston 10 5 0 0 359 252 .667 Tennessee 8 7 0 0 302 295 .533 Jacksonville 4 11 0 0 224 316 .267 Indianapolis 2 13 0 0 230 411 .133 AFC West Oakland 8 7 0 0 333 395 .533 Denver 8 7 0 0 306 383 .533 San Diego 7 8 0 2 368 351 .467 Kansas City 6 9 0 1 205 335 .400

National Football Conference NFC East NY Giants 8 7 0 0 363 386 .533 Dallas 8 7 0 1 355 316 .533 Philadelphia 7 8 0 0 362 318 .467 Washington 5 10 0 1 278 333 .333 NFC North Green Bay 14 1 0 0 515 318 .933 Detroit 10 5 0 0 433 342 .667 Chicago 7 8 0 1 336 328 .467 Minnesota 3 12 0 1 327 432 .200 NFC South New Orleans 12 3 0 0 502 319 .800 Atlanta 9 6 0 1 357 326 .600 Carolina 6 9 0 0 389 384 .400 Tampa Bay 4 11 0 0 260 449 .267 NFC West S Francisco 12 3 0 1 346 202 .800 Seattle 7 8 0 0 301 292 .467 Arizona 7 8 0 0 289 328 .467 St. Louis 2 13 0 1 166 373 .133

Wild Oats XI maintain lead SYDNEY: Wild Oats XI was leading the Sydney to Hobart yacht race yesterday after battling rough conditions overnight, with the fleet facing a gripping tactical dash to the finish due to a lack of winds. The supermaxi Wild Oats XI, hot favorite to take its sixth line honors win, was just 10 nautical miles ahead as fellow 100-footer Investec Loyal gathered speed in the 628 nautical mile classic from Sydney to Tasmania. The fleet had sped down Australia’s south

coast, helped by strong winds churned up by a storm system to the south and tropical cyclones to north, race organizers said, but was facing a lack of wind late yesterday. Cruising Yacht Club of Australia commodore Garry Linacre said the boats were still in the southerly stream, but it would soon die out and the yachts would struggle to maintain their pace. “(It) looks like it could be a lack of wind and some conditions which may and may not

AT SEA: St Jude sails south along the Australian coast during the Sydney-Hobart yacht race yesterday. — AP

provide some passing lanes and some catch up opportunities,” Linacre told reporters in Hobart. “That means it could be a really difficult night of sailing.” Weather forecasters had expected strong winds and high seas for the first night of the prestigious annual race, and the top 15 yachts reported winds of up to 30 knots late Monday. The event claimed the lives of six sailors in 1998 when catastrophic weather hit and sank five yachts. Four boats pulled out yesterdayAccenture Yeah Baby due to gear failure and line honors contender and supermaxi Wild Thing, first to Hobart in 2003, forced out by sail damage. Hong Kong-based Ffreefire 52 had to return to Sydney with mainsail problems while 52foot Duende retired to disembark a crewman with a dislocated shoulder. Celestial, a Rogers IRC 46, retired on Monday night after breaking its gooseneck, which connects the mainsail boom to the mast. That leaves 83 boats in the race, which starts every Boxing Day and sees yachts head down the Australian coast, cross the Bass Strait to the island of Tasmania, and sail up the Derwent River to Hobart’s Constitution Dock. As much as crews can expect dangerously rough conditions, the Sydney to Hobart is also known for the maddening calm of the final stages of the race, particularly the journey along the Derwent. —AFP


A

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e niv rsar n

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18

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011

S P ORT S

India ‘unbothered’ by dashed Tendulkar bid Tendulkar thwarted again in quest for 100th century

DURBAN: Dinesh Chandimal of Sri Lanka breaks the stumps of Imran Tahir of South Africa during their second five-day test in Durban, South Africa yesterday. —AP

Sri Lanka’s Welegedera sends S Africa crashing DURBAN: Left-arm opening bowler Chanaka Welegedera produced a careerbest performance to put Sri Lanka in the ascendancy on the second day of the second Test match against South Africa at Kingsmead yesterday. Welegedera took five for 52 as South Africa were bowled out for 168 on a good batting pitch, giving Sri Lanka a first innings lead of 170. It also gave Sri Lanka hope of gaining their first Test win of the year, in a complete turnaround from the first Test at Centurion, which South Africa won by an innings and 81 runs. Sri Lanka were seven for one in their second innings at the close, with captain Tillekeratne Dilshan falling to Dale Steyn before bad light stopped play. Welegedera, whose previous best Test figures were five for 87 against Pakistan in Sharjah last month, bowled an impeccable line, slanting the ball across the righthanded batsmen, with all of his victims caught behind or in the slips. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath took four for 49 as South Africa crashed to their lowest total against Sri Lanka. The tourists were earlier bowled out for 338. Thilan Samaraweera made a century and Marchant de Lange took seven wickets on his debut. De Lange’s figures of seven for 81 were the best recorded by any bowler in Test matches in 2011 and put him at the top of an extraordinary crop of eight bowlers who have taken five or more wickets in an innings in their first Test match this year. Samaraweera made 102 before he was last man out. He became only the second Sri Lankan to hit a Test century in South Africa, joining Hashan Tillekeratne, who made 104 at Centurion in 2002-03. Samaraweera and Herath frustrated the South African bowlers at the start of the

day, adding 46 to the overnight total of 289 for seven, with Samaraweera batting watchfully to reach his 13th Test century off 265 balls. After Samaraweera reached his hundred, Herath top-edged a slog against De Lange and was caught by wicket-keeper Mark Boucher for 30. The tall, strongly built De Lange quickly wrapped up the innings, having Welegedera caught at short leg fending off a vicious bouncer before Samaraweera was caught at deep cover. South Africa reached 22 for no wicket without Graeme Smith and Jacques Rudolph looking in any trouble before Rudolph played a loose hook against Thisara Perera and was caught at long leg by a diving Welegedera. Welegedera then struck twice, having South African captain Smith caught behind for 15 and Jacques Kallis caught at second slip without scoring. Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers added 76 for the fourth wicket before Welegedera made another double strike soon after tea to plunge their innings into terminal decline, dismissing De Villiers for 25 and Amla for a fluent 54. Amla hit ten fours in an 83-ball innings. Herath kept the pressure on the batsmen and it needed some bold hitting from tailenders Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir to enable South Africa to avoid the follow on. Only two South Africans have achieved better figures on debut than De Lange a late replacement for the injured Vernon Philander, who also made an exceptional start to his Test career, with four five-wicket hauls in his first three matches, including five for 15 on his debut against Australia. The best figures by a South African debutant are eight for 64 by Lance Klusener against India in Kolkata in 199697. —AFP

Scoreboard DURBAN: Close of play scores on the second day of the second Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Kingsmead yesterday: Sri Lanka, first innings (overnight 289-7) T. Paranavitana c Boucher b De Lange 12 T. Dilshan c Morkel b Imran Tahir 47 K. Sangakkara c Boucher b De Lange 0 M. Jayawardene b Morkel 31 T. Samaraweera c Prince b De Lange 102 A. Mathews c and b De Lange 30 D. Chandimal c Boucher b Morkel 58 T. Perera c Amla b De Lange 12 R. Herath c Boucher b De Lange 30 C. Welegedara c Amla b De Lange 2 D. Fernando not out 0 Extras (lb8, nb6) 14 Total (108.2 overs) 338 Fall of wickets: 1-35 (Paranavitana), 2-47 (Sangakkara), 3-84 (Dilshan), 4-117 (Jayawardene), 5-162 (Mathews), 6-273 (Chandimal), 7-289 (Perera), 8-335 (Herath), 9-337 (Welegedera) Bowling: Steyn 23-5-63-0, Morkel 21-3-61-2 (4nb), De Lange 23.2-3-81-7, Imran Tahir 32-3101-1 (2nb), Kallis 9-1-24-0. South Africa, first innings G. Smith c Chandimal b Welegedera J. Rudolph c Welegedera b Perera H. Amla c Chandimal b Welegedera J. Kallis c Jayawardene b Welegedera

15 7 54 0

A. de Villiers c Jayawardene b Welegedera 25 A. Prince c Jayawardene b Herath 11 M. Boucher c Dilshan b Herath 3 D. Steyn not out 29 M. Morkel b Herath 0 Imran Tahir st Chandimal b Herath 11 M. de Lange c Chandimal b Welegedera 9 Extras (nb3, w1) 4 Total (54.4 overs) 168 Fall of wickets: 1-22 (Rudolph), 2-27 (Smith), 327 (Kallis), 4-103 (De Villiers), 5-106 (Amla), 6118 (Boucher), 7-119 (Prince), 8-119 (Morkel), 9145 (Tahir) Bowling: Welegedera 16.4-3-52-5 (3nb), Perera 9-2-27-1, Dilshan 1-1-0-0, Herath 20-7-49-4, Mathews 2-0-11-0 (1w), Fernando 6-0-29-0.

MELBOURNE: Australia paceman Peter Siddle deflated a nation of a billion people when he bowled Sachin Tendulkar for 73 in the last over, but India’s fluent batting helped the tourists seize control of the first test yesterday. With Tendulkar gliding effortlessly toward his 100th international century, Siddle sent a stinging full-pitched delivery that swung in late and bowled the 38-yearold through the gate to break a 117-run partnership with Rahul Dravid. Ishant Sharma came in as nightwatchman and survived the last three balls of the second day to see India through to 214 for three at stumps in response to Australia’s first innings total of 333 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Dravid ended the day unbeaten on 68 alongside Sharma, who has yet to score, with the tourists primed to build a big total on a pitch that is offering little for the bowlers. Tendulkar and Dravid had resumed after tea on 99-2 and made hay while the sun shone, blunting an Australian attack that had been buoyed by their dismissal of Virender Sehwag for 67 shortly before the interval. The pair dominated the hosts in a bruising session with few genuine chances but Siddle’s late breakthrough was just reward for a bowler who thought he had removed Dravid for 65 a few overs earlier, only for the decision to be overturned on review. Television replays showed the paceman’s foot had crept over the crease, rendering it a no-ball, and after the fiery redhead from rural Victoria had displayed his anger by spitting on the field, he came steaming back with renewed determination. “It actually felt like he did come through five k’s (kilometres per hour) quicker after that which was good and I thought he showed a bit of character coming back after what happened to get Tendulkar late in the day,” wicketkeeper Brad Haddin told reporters. “It was a big blow for us to get him.” Having survived a tense few overs before tea, Tendulkar belted Siddle for six off the first ball of the final session with an uppercut over the slips to ignite the crowd of 52,000. By the time he trudged off the ground to warm applause, the “Little Master” had lofted another two deliveries over the slips cordon and stroked a pair of sublime cover drives among the eight boundaries he spread around the ground. Dravid reverted to type, playing the role of straight man in the double act, reaching his half-

century off 139 balls with a thick edge that fired past home captain Michael Clarke in the slips on the way to the fence. Tendulkar raised his 50 a few minutes later with a deft flick to mid-on off

spinner Nathan Lyon, sparking a roar from the crowd, where one of the many banners read: “We welcome His Excellency Sachin Tendulkar to the MCG.” SEHWAG SIZZLES India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who took 3-81, said Tendulkar would bounce back from another near-miss. The right-handed master batsman has been stranded on 99 international centuries since March. “It will eventually happen, so there’s no point in really bothering about it,” he said. Sehwag had

edge toward the end of his knock. Sehwag registered his 8,000th run in the seven-boundary, 83-ball innings before Pattinson had him play onto his stumps. Opener Gautam Gambhir was out for three when he feathered an edge to Haddin off recalled paceman Ben Hilfenhaus. Resuming their innings on 277-6, Australia’s tail-enders cobbled 56 runs for the final four wickets with paceman Zaheer Khan and Ashwin sharing two wickets apiece. Zaheer had Haddin caught behind for 27 to end a 72-

Ashwin ended a quick 19 from Hilfenhaus who was caught in the deep by Virat Kohli, and then bowled Lyon for six when he attempted an illjudged sweep. Zaheer, playing his first test in five months after a long injury layoff, took 4-77 to finish the best of the Indian bowlers. Umesh Yadav matched Ashwin’s haul of three wickets. “In the end we were happy with 330. India might be a little bit in front than us in the game but it’s evenly poised tomorrow if we star t this first session well,” Haddin added. —Reuters

Scoreboard MELBOURNE: Scorecard after the second day of the first Test between Australia and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday: Australia 1st innings (overnight 277 for 6) (Hilfenhaus), 10-333 (Lyon) E. Cowan c Dhoni b Ashwin 68 Bowling: Zaheer Khan 31-6-77-4 (1w, 1nb), Sharma D. Warner c Dhoni b Yadav 37 24-7-48-0, Yadav 26-5-106-3 (1w), Ashwin 29-3-81-3. S. Marsh c Kohli b Yadav 0 India 1st innings R. Ponting c Laxman b Yadav 62 G. Gambhir c Haddin b Hilfenhaus 3 M. Clarke b Zaheer Khan 31 V. Sehwag b Pattinson 67 M. Hussey c Dhoni b Zaheer Khan 0 R. Dravid not out 68 B. Haddin c Sehwag b Zaheer Khan 27 S. Tendulkar b Siddle 73 P. Siddle c Dhoni b Zaheer Khan 41 I. Sharma not out 0 J. Pattinson not out 18 Extras (w1, nb2) 3 B. Hilfenhaus c Kohli b Ashwin 19 Total (for 3 wkts; 65 overs) 214 N. Lyon b Ashwin 6 Fall of wickets: 1-22 (Gambhir), 2-97 (Sehwag), 3-214 Extras (lb21 w2 nb1) 24 (Tendulkar) Total (all out; 110 overs) 333 Fall of wickets: 1-46 (Warner), 2-46 (Marsh), 3-159 Bowling: Pattinson 15-3-35-1 (1w), Hilfenhaus 14-1(Ponting), 4-205 (Clarke), 5-205 (Hussey), 6-214 50-1 (1nb), Siddle 15-2-53-1 (1nb), Lyon 14-2-53-0, Hussey 5-0-15-0, Warner 2-0-8-0. (Cowan), 7-286 (Haddin), 8-291 (Siddle), 9-318

Basile to return to Racing Club BUENOS AIRES: As Diego Simeone arrived in Spain on Monday to take charge of Atletico Madrid, former Argentina coach Alfio Basile was stepping into the vacancy he left at Racing Club. Racing vice-president Rodolfo Molina said the club had ironed out minor issues with Basile, who won the Copa America twice with Argentina and will begin his fourth spell as their coach before the Clausura championship starts in February. “We talked through the differences we

Sri Lanka, second innings T. Paranavitana not out 0 T. Dilshan c Smith b Steyn 4 K. Sangakkara not out 3 Extras 0 Total (1 wkt, 2.1 overs) 7 Fall of wicket: 1-4 (Dilshan) Bowling: Morkel 1.1-1-0-0, Steyn 1-0-7-1 Match situation: Sri Lanka lead by 177 runs with nine second innings wickets remaining

strong contrast with his predecessor Manzano, a softly-spoken 55-year-old nicknamed ‘the professor’. Manzano’s six months in charge came to an end when Atletico were knocked out of the King’s Cup by third-tier Albacete last week, and they lie 10th in La Liga. Simeone is hugely popular at the Calderon, where he returns after two stints as a player. In his first spell he helped the side to a league and King’s Cup double back in 1996 and as he spoke yesterday a huge queue of fans waited outside the stadium to try and grab a glimpse of the Argentine. “I always had it as an objective to return to Atletico as coach,” Simeone said. “I’m going to bring the work ethic and enthusiasm I have always had. The responsibility is enormous but it doesn’t scare me. It excites me. I have always risen to challenges and this is just one more.” —Reuters

run stand with Siddle, but Hilfenhaus and Pattinson frustrated the tourists with a 27-run partnership for the ninth wicket before Lyon joined the latter to add another 15.

MELBOURNE: Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar (left) turns a ball to leg as Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin looks on the second day of the first Test match between Australian and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) yesterday. —AFP

Simeone vows to bring bite back to Atletico MADRID: Former Argentina captain Diego Simeone played to the gallery when he promised to put the bite back into Atletico Madrid at his presentation as their new coach yesterday. The 41-year-old, who was an uncompromising defensive midfielder often described as having played with a knife between his teeth, has been brought in to replace Gregorio Manzano following the Spanish club’s erratic start to the campaign. “I like an aggressive team,” Simeone told a packed news conference at the Calderon. “I want to see a team that is strong, committed and quick on the break. “ These are things which Atletico fans have always liked, it helps them identify with and love this shirt.” With his close-cropped hair and stubbled chin, Simeone looked every inch the grizzled warrior as he spoke, striking a

earlier put Australia to the sword, helped along by two dropped catches. Mike Hussey grassed a diving chance in the gully early in the hard-hitting opener’s innings, while Haddin later spilled an

Alfio Basile had and everything was resolved. We’re very happy to be able to start 2012 with a coach and now we must get down to work,” Molina told sports daily Ole (www.ole.com.ar). Basile, speaking on Radio Belgrano, said he was very optimistic about Racing’s title chances in the new year. “I’ve got a lot of faith in the squad, the players in it. I have the right ones. Next year will be

very good,” Basile, nicknamed Coco, said. Basile, who won both titles in the 2005-06 Argentine league season with Boca Juniors, has been out of work since January 2010 when he quit Boca to end his second spell with the club. The 68-year-old brushed aside criticism he was too old to still be coaching, saying: “Those comments are idiotic. Tell that to (Alex) Ferguson, (Luis) Aragones. I’m up to date.” Basile said he was keen to retain wayward but talented Colombia striker Teofilo Gutierrez, who has had a turbulent year at Racing and said on holiday in his home country that he did not want to return to the club preferring a move to Europe or one of Argentina’s two biggest clubs, Boca or relegated River Plate. “He is a guy I like, he’s fundamental for my system. I’ve got to convince him (to stay). It’s one of the things I have to discuss with the directors,” he said. Basile, who will be officially presented to the media later in the week, is a Racing man through and through having spent most of his playing career as a central defender with them, winning the Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup in 1967. He also played for Cesar Luis Menotti’s 1973 titlewinning Huracan side. With a gravel voice and slicked-back hair that give him the appearance of an aging tango singer, Basile is also one of only two coaches to have lifted a trophy with Racing since that pinnacle 44 years ago when he steered them to the South American Supercopa in 1988 during his first spell as coach. Tuesday is the 10th anniversary of Racing’s last title, the Argentine Apertura which they won under coach Reinaldo “Mustard” Merlo. Racing, based in the Buenos Aires suburb of Avellaneda, finished this season’s Apertura this month in joint second place, 12 points behind runaway winners Boca Juniors. Among Argentina’s “Big Five” clubs, Racing are the least successful of the professional era since 1931 with seven titles but they won nine league crowns in the amateur years including seven in a row from 1913 when they earned the nickname “The Academy”. —Reuters

China’s Evergrande eye Chelsea striker Drogba BEIJING: Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande could be planning an audacious bid for Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, after a rival club bought Nicolas Anelka, a report said yesterday. Shanghai Shenhua this month announced the signing of Drogba’s former Chelsea teammate Anelka in the most high-profile deal yet for the scandal-plagued Chinese league. Now Guangzhou Evergrande are looking to match Shanghai’s new firepower by possibly making an even more dramatic bid to bring Drogba to China, ahead of next year’s Asian Champions League, the Yangcheng Evening News said. The southern Chinese club, based near Hong Kong, had no comment on the report when contacted by AFP. Shanghai themselves, having also brought in French coach Jean Tigana, may have their own interest in the 33year-old Drogba, according to previous reports. Anelka, 32, will reportedly earn about 200,000 pounds (around $300,000) a week at Shanghai, although Shenhua dispute the figure and have not revealed the transfer cost. Guangzhou have spent $3.16 million dollars in recent days in signing four Chinese national players as they prepare to defend their Super League title and confront Asia’s best in the champions league, Xinhua news agency said. Guangzhou are in Group H, the so-called “group of death”, alongside 2011 Asian runners-up Jeonbuk Hyundai and Japanese J-League champions Kashiwa. Chinese football has long been mired in scandals like match-fixing and gambling, but clubs enriched by the country’s industrial boom last season began spending big on players. —AFP


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Title momentum still with Rangers Scottish Premier League Preview GLASGOW: Rangers manager Ally McCoist insists his side will be ready for today’s Old Firm derby with Celtic despite their defeat to St Mirren on Christmas Eve. The Ibrox side saw their lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League cut to just one point as they lost 2-1 in Paisley while Celtic won their eighth match in a row against Kilmarnock. At one stage Rangers held a 12 point advantage over their Glasgow rivals but a recent slump of form means Celtic could enter 2012 as the league leaders if they can come out on top in today’s crucial crunch. However, Gers gaffer McCoist denies the title momentum has now swung in favor of Celtic and said form counted for nothing in an Old Firm match. “We will be ready for the game, I can guarantee you that,” the Rangers manager said.”It’s going to be a tough game but we will be ready and the players won’t need lifted for that one because it’s a big, big game. “Celtic are on a good run of form at the moment in terms of vic-

LONDON: Fulham’s US midfielder Clint Dempsey vies with Chelsea’s French midfielder Florent Malouda (right) during the English Premier League football match at Stamford Bridge in London on December 26, 2011. — AFP

Chelsea’s Malouda drops exit hint PARIS: Unsettled Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda has hinted he could look to quit the club during the winter transfer market. Malouda’s bid to cement his place in the France team ahead of next summer’s Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine has been compounded by his lack of playing time under Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea. The 31year-old has started only once in the past nine games, in a League Cup tie against Liverpool, and the success of Spaniard Juan Mata has left Malouda sitting in frustration on the Chelsea bench. After coming on as a second-half substitute in Chelsea’s 1-1 Boxing Day draw at home to Fulham, Malouda told Canal Plus television he is starting to look at options elsewhere. “I can’t be satisfied with that, there’s a huge difference between the amount of time I’m playing and what my ambitions are,” Malouda told the channel according to L’Equipe sports daily. “So we’ll see what happens in the winter transfer

market. If I have to, I’ll go elsewhere because, looking back at the first half of the season, I just can’t be satisfied with that.” According to Paris daily Le Parisien, Malouda could be set for a move to Paris Saint-Germain. The current Ligue 1 leaders are on the lookout for established international stars in the January transfer window and their Qatari owners have the money to spend. Malouda could also team up with his former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, who is widely expected to be appointed as coach at the Parc des Princes in the coming days, replacing Antoine Kombouare, who was sacked last week. Chelsea, who have now drawn their last three games, are now 11 points behind both Manchester City and Manchester United. Villas-Boas said: “Maybe the Premier League is over for us at the moment.” Villas-Boas plans to strengthen his squad in January by signing a centre back, with Bolton’s Gary Cahill his main target.— AFP

Anzhi, Krasnozhan sign five-year deal MOSCOW: Big-spending Russian Premier League club Anzhi Makhachkala named Yuri Krasnozhan, fired by Lokomotiv Moscow this year, as coach yesterday. The 48-year-old replaces Andrei Gordeyev and Brazilian Roberto Carlos who took over in a joint caretaker capacity in September when the longserving Gadzhi Gadzhiyev was sacked. “The board of directors have appointed Yuri Krasnozhan as head coach of Anzhi Makhachkala,” the wealthy club from the volatile North Caucasus region said on their website (www.fc-anji.ru). “The Russian coach has signed a five-year contract.” Krasnozhan was sacked by Lokomotiv in June despite the club being among the league leaders at the time. The railway side said he was fired for “negligence in his job” following a controversial defeat by Anzhi. “I’m very grateful to the Anzhi bosses for entrusting me with these huge responsi-

bilities,” said Krasnozhan who made his name as a coach at North Caucasus rivals Spartak Nalchik. “Anzhi have become one of the more popular clubs in recent times, followed not only in Russia but also round the world.” The club, bankrolled by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, had been linked with several highprofile coaches including England’s Fabio Capello, Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho and former Russia boss Guus Hiddink. Russian Kerimov’s money helped lure Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o from Inter Milan during the last transfer window on a three-year deal. According to media reports, Eto’o is now the highest-paid player in world soccer with an annual salary of 20 million euros ($26.8 million). Asked if he could deal with Eto’o and Roberto Carlos, who still plays at left back, Krasnozhan said: “Anzhi are not just Roberto and Samuel. We also have a lot of other talented players, local guys. — Reuters

tories, but it counts for absolutely nothing. “The truth of the matter is I would rather be a point ahead than a point behind. Of that there is no doubt.” Rangers will be without centre-back Dorin Goian for the match following his sending off in the match against St Mirren. However McCoist will have midfielder Lee McCulloch available after the Ibrox club decided to appeal his dismissal in the same match. Meanwhile, Celtic boss Neil Lennon says his players will be looking for revenge in today’s showdown after losing the first Old Firm derby of the season 4-2 at Ibrox. “We didn’t do ourselves justice at Ibrox,” said Lennon. “So I am looking to my team to be highly motivated and play better and compete better than they did in the second 45 minutes of the first Old Firm game. “If they do that they will give themselves a great chance of winning the game. “Whatever formation we face today, they are the champions and have had a good mentality over the last

three or four years. “But we are in a good place and I want us to go out and stamp our authority on the game if we can.” Defender Emilio Izaguirre is fully recovered from an ankle break earlier in the season and was on the bench for Saturday’s win over Kilmarnock. And Lennon revealed the Honduran international and fellow stopper Kelvin Wilson, who came on as a second-half substitute against Killie, were in contention to start against Rangers. Elsewhere, third-placed Motherwell will be looking to get over their defeat to Hearts when they take on struggling Dunfermline at Fir Park. Hibernian, who are still waiting to win a point under new boss Pat Fenlon, welcome Inverness Caledonian Thistle to Easter Road, St Johnstone take on Kilmarnock at McDiarmid Park and St Mirren face Dundee United. Despite their financial problems Hearts are looking for their third win in a row when they travel to Pittodrie to take on Aberdeen.—AFP

Man United ready for new year title charge MANCHESTER: Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester United will be ideally placed to retain their Premier League title if they reach New Year ’s Day alongside Manchester City at the top of the table. Ferguson, who turns 70 on New Year’s Eve when his team entertain struggling Blackburn, saw United draw level with City on points after an emphatic 5-0 victory over Wigan at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. It marked a remarkable recovery from United who, as recently as December 10, trailed City by five points and 17 goals prior to a 4-1 victory over Wolves. Now, following consecutive 5-0 victories, all that separates United from the current league leaders are five goals in the goal difference column-the margin of defeat which United suffered at the hands of City in their historic 6-1 home loss to Roberto Mancini’s side in October. “As I say, it’s a long season,” said Ferguson. “If we get to New Year’s Day top, or joint top with City, then I will be happy. “I’ve been saying for a few weeks that somebody was going to suffer against us and we’ve really hit good form now and got a goal threat from all departments. “The clean sheet was a good part of the game for us and the consistency of the team is very good now. “But the injuries are mounting up for us now-Phil Jones was down ill, Chris Smalling was ill, Rio Ferdinand called off with a back injur y and Jonny Evans came off injured at halftime. We’re getting our fair share.” Those injuries will severely test United with Ferguson confirming that a calf strain will keep Evans on the sidelines for two weeks. “We will just have to wait and see,”

added Ferguson, with an eye on his team selection for the Blackburn game. “I’m hoping Smalling and Jones will recover. That will make a difference.” A single point against Blackburn will take United to solitary ownership of first place at the top of the table and place intense pressure on City, who visit Sunderland 24 hours later on New Year’s Day. However, for all their defensive injury concerns, there is no doubt that United seem to have found the answer to their goalscoring problems with Bulgarian forward Dimitar Berbatov, starting just his second league game of the season, claiming a hat-trick against Wigan. Berbatov, joint leading scorer in the Premier League last season with City’s Carlos Tevez, now has four goals to his name this term and Ferguson said: “It was the right game for him. “We needed his height to defense against set pieces. It helps his confidence. He has not had the best of starts to the season in terms of selection, with the options I have-in (Danny) Welbeck, ( Wayne) Rooney and Chicharito (Javier Hernandez).” United were also aided, in small part, by referee Phil Dowd who harshly dismissed the Wigan forward Conor Sammon after 38 minutes, with the score 1-0, when he caught defender Carrick in the face with a flailing arm, and even Ferguson leaped to his opponent’s defense. “I didn’t think it was intentional,” he said. “He is a big, aggressive lad, he throws his body around a lot. He caught Michael across the face, it is not intentional. “Michael has not made a meal of it, which was good, and the referee was left to make a decision.”

MANCHESTER: Manchester United’s Ecuadorian midfielder Antonio Valencia (top) vies with Wigan Athletic’s Spanish midfielder Jordi Gomez during the English Premier League football match at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England on December 26, 2011. — AFP Wigan, who also conceded sion,” said Wigan manager Roberto goals to Park Ji-Sung and Antonio Martinez. “Football is a contact Valencia, were justifiably furious sport and you need to measure with the performance of referee really well what is a red card and Dowd, who also handed Berbatov what’s not. “You know what Conor his hat-trick goal from the penalty Sammon and Michael Carrick did spot after awarding a spot kick for today is a normal action that hapAntolin Alcaraz’s trip on Park even pens time and time again. I was though the offence appeared to surprised when he gave a freetake place outside the area. “The kick. To see a red card, I was gobsred card was just a shocking deci- macked.”— AFP

KIFF League

Rodrigues lifts Navelim KUWAIT: Striker Cruzedio Rodrigues scored a brace against Sparx to help Navelim qualify for the knock-out, while former champions United Friends Club kept a ray of survival in the Kuwait Indian Football Federation (KIFF) League 2011-12 for JP D’Mello Memorial Trophy played at the MOH Grounds, Shuwaikh. The first match of the day between United Friends Club and Gulf Cable began on a frantic pace as both teams needed to win to have a chance to qualify for the next round. Both teams struggled to keep possession in the first half and no one had a clear shot on target. The match picked up momentum after Abudi scored a goal for United Friends with a strike from outside the penalty (1-0). A little later UFC scored again as Bilal sent in a cross which Joaquim Rodrigues headed

into the back of the net. UFC won the game 2-0 and now remain in fray. Young Abudi was adjudged man of the match. Man-ofthe-match trophies presented at the end of every KIFF league game are sponsored by Kuwait’s Al Muzaini Exchange Co. In the next match Kuwait Goan Association (KGA) and United Goans failed to entertain in the first half except for a shot from KGA striker Josse which missed the target by a whisker. KGA scored just 5 minutes into the second half with a cool finish from Merja Mohammed. KGA then immediately scored another one with Christovam Colaco slotting the ball into the back of the net after going one-on-one with the United Goans goalkeeper. United Goans scored a consolation goal in the last few minutes of the game. The match ended 2-1 in favour of Kuwait Goan Association.

DON BOSCO HOLD MIGHTY MAROONS 1-1 The Maroons-Don Bosco match was indeed a mouth-watering clash as was expected of both teams in this thriller. Don Bosco scored the first goal of the game in the first half and went into the break 1-0 up. GOA Maroons improved on their game in the 2nd half and got their reward as they scored to draw the game 1-1. Navelim were a stronger side in their encounter with FC Sparx in the last match of the day. In-form Navelim striker Cruzedio scored within the opening 10 minutes of the game to give the former champions an early lead. Navelim scored their second again off a fine combined move between Duarte Ferrao and Bernard Pires to go 2-0 up. After trying hard, FC Sparx did score

after Qusai hit a curling shot which hit the post, bounced off the goal line before Anwaar reacted first to put the ball past Navelim goalkeeper Britto Pereira. The teams went for a breather with the score at 2-1. In the second session Sparx fought for the equalizer but ended up conceding a third goal. Sparx did eventually score through Qusai after Kevin earned a penalty with excellent play. The youngsters in Sparx were charged up by the goal, stopper-back Praveen Kumar was a guiding force behind the team. Navelim increased the lead to put the game beyond doubt. The match ended 4-2 with Navelim the deserving winners. Navelim are still unbeaten in the league. Earlier, KIFF President Fidelis Fernandes got everyone gathered to participate in cutting of a cake as part of the Christmas celebrations. A

smart looking Santa Claus was also present with his sweets and balloons. All matches of the league are officiated by KIFF Referees. The KIFF league consists of 19 clubs affiliated to KIFF. They are AVC Sports & Cultural Association, CRC Chinchinim, Curtorcares United, DHL Sports Club, Don Bosco Oratory, FC Sparx, Goan Overseas Association, Gulf Cable Football Club, Indian Strikers, Kuwait Goan Association, Malabar United Football Club, Navelim Youth Centre, Real Betalbatim Football Club, Santos Football Club, Santos United, Skynet Raiders Soccer Club, United Friends Club, United Goans Center, and YRC Rising Stars. The teams are drawn into 4 groups; top 2 teams from each group qualify for the knock-out stage of the league. The final is scheduled for 15th June 2012.


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LONDON: Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie (right) is challenged by Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Karl Henry (center) during their English Premier League soccer match at Emirates Stadium yesterday. — AP

Ten-man Wolves frustrate Arsenal Arsenal 1

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LONDON: Arsenal missed the opportunity to climb into the top four of the Premier League after 10-man Wolves held them to a 1-1 draw at the Emirates Stadium yesterday. Gervinho gave the hosts the lead before Steven Fletcher levelled just before half-time, with Wolves holding on for a draw despite having Nenad Milijas sent off with a quarter of an hour remaining. Arsenal were frustrated by referee Stuart Attwell, who turned down a penalty appeal in the second half. The result also meant Gunners striker Robin van Persie only has one more game left to find the two goals he needs to equal Alan Shearer’s Premier League record of 36 in a calendar year. “It is very frustrating,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. “You won’t play many draws like that in a season but sometimes it can happen. “We still lack a bit

of maturity. What happened in the game can happen.” Delighted Wolves manager Mick McCarthy added: “I’m extremely proud. I think everyone has seen a real fighting performance from us today. We have had to defend and we did that for 20 minutes with 10 men. “Wayne Hennessey was fantastic. I think he is one of the best goalkeepers in the league and he proved that today.” Wenger’s men knew victory would take them back into the Champions League places after Chelsea had drawn against Fulham in the west London derby on Monday. Arsenal were, however, without Theo Walcott due to illness but Yossi Benayoun was rewarded with his first Premier League start for the club after heading in the winner against Aston Villa in his previous game. The Gunners again started with a makeshift defense, with Johan Djourou and Thomas Vermaelen at full-back. Djourou struggled in the opening exchanges, with Matt Jarvis getting behind him but having his shot blocked by Per Mertesacker rushing back. Arsenal broke the deadlock in the eighth minute with a counter-attack that started with Tomas Rosicky holding the ball up on

the right flank. The ball was shifted inside to Benayoun, who played through Gervinho and the Ivory Coast forward, played onside by Ronald Zubar, took the ball around Hennessey and beat the defender on the line with his finish. Arsenal could have extended their lead shortly afterwards when Gervinho slipped van Persie through, but the Dutchman dragged his shot wide with just Hennessey to beat. Van Persie then set up a chance for Mikel Arteta when he pinched the ball from Karl Henry, but Roger Johnson got back to block. Henry lost the ball again when van Persie raced through but Johnson brought him down on the edge of the area, earning the Wolves skipper a yellow card. Arsenal captain van Persie then went closer with a drive towards the near post that was well saved by Hennessey, but Wolves drew level seven minutes before the break when Milijas’s corner fell to Stephen Hunt on the edge of the penalty area. Hunt juggled the ball and got a shot away, which was deflected by Laurent Koscielny into the path of Fletcher, who headed into the bottom-left corner for his seventh goal of the season. Arsenal struggled to find rhythm at the start of the second half after the blow of conceding an equalizer.

Attwell turned down a penalty appeal when Koscielny’s cross appeared to be blocked by Christophe Berra’s arm, with Vermaelen receiving a yellow card for his protests. Wolves were reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes remaining though, with

Milijas dismissed for a tackle on Arteta. “What concerns me is we are being targeted as this dirty team but Nenad Milijas has not got a bad bone in his body,” McCarthy said. “I can’t for the life of me see why he has been sent off, his foot was on the floor, he made con-

tact with the ball and I can’t work out which bit of that makes it a bad tackle.” After that, Hennessey twice denied van Persie, and Vermaelen at point-blank range, as Wolves held on for a draw that left them two points above the relegation zone.— AFP

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SWANSEA: Jamie Mackie scored for the second match in a row to help QPR rescue a point in a 1-1 Premier League draw against fellow promoted side Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium yesterday. Scotland winger Mackie struck shortly before the hour mark after latching on to a misplaced defen-

sive header from Swansea’s Leon Britton and firing home. Swansea had taken a 14th-minute lead through Danny Graham’s sixth goal of the season, when the forward was given time and space to control a Wayne Routledge cross before beating Paddy Kenny, although QPR were convinced he handled in the build-up. Graham appeared to be denied a penalty late in the game when he went down in the box under a challenge from Armand Traore, with referee Lee Probert rejecting Swansea’s appeals to the despair of the home fans. The draw left both sides hovering above the relegation zone. QPR manager Neil Warnock was disappointed his side did not come away with victory and criti-

cized Probert for not disallowing Graham’s goal. “We got the stuffing knocked out of us,” Warnock told Sky Sports. “The referee saw it was handball but said it was not intentional. It was a crucial decision, a big decision like that. You’ve got to know the game.” Warnock, asked to comment on Probert’s performance, added: “He was consistent right from the first minute to the last.”Unsurprisingly Graham, whose goal was his sixth in 11 games, disagreed with Warnock and said he should have had a penalty. “It definitely was not deliberate (handball),” he said. “I think we had a good claim for a penalty in the second half, which we were unfortunate not to get.”— AFP

Tottenham blank Norwich 2-0 Norwich 0

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KUWAIT: His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (center) pictured before the match between Al-Arabi football team and archrival Qadsiya at Al-Kuwait Football Stadium yesterday. — KUNA

Arabi grab Crown Prince Cup KUWAIT: Al-Arabi football team won yesterday the final match of His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Cup, against archrival Qadsiya in a penalty shoot-out held at Al-Kuwait Football Stadium. The match, which ended in a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes of play, was less than average in terms of performance from both major clubs, but in the shoot-out, Al-Arabi goalkeeper was able to block two critical shots made by Qadsiya’s prominent players, Bader Al-Mutuwa and Talal Al-Amer. Regardless of a number of misses by Al-Arabi team, the two teams lacked the winning spirit, especially during playing final matches. After yesterdayís win, Al-Arabi equalizes the

number of times they won the cup with Qadsiya - each sides winning six times. Among high ranking officials who attended the ceremony were Mohammad Al-Noumess, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and Minister of State for Housing Affairs, Sheikh Dr Talal Al-Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Chairman of the Kuwaiti Football Association, Chairman and DirectorGeneral of the Public Authority Youth and Sports Faisal AlJazzaf, his deputies Jassem Yaaqoub Al-Bsara and Issam Jaafar, the deputy chairman Mohammad Al-Masoud, Chairman of Qadsiya Club Fawaz Al-Hasawi, the head of AlArabi Club Jamal Al-Kathemi. —KUNA

NORWICH: Gareth Bale grabbed a secondhalf double as third-place Tottenham cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win over Norwich to keep the pressure on the Manchester clubs at the top of the Premier League yesterday. The Wales winger revived memories of his performances in the Champions League last season with an impressive individual display at Carrow Road, capped by goals in the 55th and 67th minutes. While his first was a simple close-range shot after good work from Emmanuel Adebayor, his second was more memorable, bursting through the middle before supplying a deft finish over Norwichgoalkeeper John Ruddy. The win lifted Spurs to within seven points of Manchester City and Manchester United, with the London club still holding a game in hand - at home to Everton next month. It also moved Harry Redknapp’s team four points clear of Chelsea, which may have dropped out of title contention by drawing 1-1 at home to Fulham on Monday. Arsenal is a further point back after being held 1-1 by Wolverhampton earlier yesterday. Bale emerged as a potential superstar in a break-

NORWICH: Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale (left) celebrates scoring his second goal with his Togolese team mate Emmanuel Adebayor during an English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur yesterday. — AFP through 2010-11 season in which he won the English league’s Player of the Year award. His talent was already well known in Britain but fans worldwide were given a taste of his pace and power when he ripped apart the defenses of Italian giants AC Milan and Inter Milan in Champions League games. His displays this campaign have been slightly more subdued but he was unstoppable against Norwich at Carrow Road, where he could feasibly have scored four of five times. A 27th-minute shot deflected just wide before he ran clean through following a defensive blunder by Russell Martin, but blazed high and wide as he lost his balance with only Ruddy to beat. Bale then drew a smart save out of Ruddy in the 35th as

Norwich somehow reached the interval without conceding, despite having been given a footballing masterclass from the visitors. Spurs, who were unfortunate to only draw 1-1 with Chelsea last week, found their cutting edge in the second half through Bale. Adebayor, who was a menace to the Norwich defense all game, displayed some impressive close control when surrounded by a cluster of defenders before laying the ball off to Bale, who sidefooted past Ruddy from 10 yards (meters). Adebayor had a goal disallowed for offside in the 66th but Bale made it 2-0 a minute later, running onto a pass from Luka Modric, powering clear of Zak Whitbread before chipping Ruddy.— AP


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WAYNE: A line worker assembles an engine for a Ford Focus at the Ford Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan. The US economy will grow faster in 2012 - if it isn’t knocked off track by upheavals in Europe, according to a survey of leading economists. —AP

Euro-zone could derail US growth: Survey Year ends on upswing, job prospects promising WASHINGTON: The US economy will grow faster in 2012 - if it isn’t knocked off track by upheavals in Europe, according to an AP survey of leading economists. Unemployment will barely fall from the current 8.6 percent rate, though, by the time President Barack Obama runs for re-election in November, the economists say. The three dozen private, corporate and academic economists expect the economy to grow 2.4 percent next year. In 2011, it likely grew less than 2 percent. The year is ending on an upswing. The economy has generated at least 100,000 new jobs for five months in a row - the longest such streak since 2006. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits has dropped to the lowest level since April 2008. The trend suggests that layoffs have all but stopped and hiring could

pick up. And the economy avoided a setback when President Barack Obama signed legislation Friday extending a Social Security tax cut that was to expire at year’s end. But Congress could agree only on a two-month extension. The economists surveyed Dec. 14-20 expect the country to create 177,000 jobs a month through Election Day 2012. That would be up from an average 132,000 jobs a month so far in 2011. Dean Maki, chief US economist at Barclays Capital, says the US economy remains vulnerable to an outside shock. A big threat is the risk that Europe’s debt crisis will trigger a worldwide credit freeze like the one that hit Wall Street in late 2008. A shock to the US economy, he says, might not be as dangerous if it were growing at a healthier 4 percent to 5 percent annual pace. But when growth is stuck at 2 percent or 3 percent, a major global

crisis could stall job creation and raise unemployment. Beyond Europe, troubles in other areas could also upset the US economy next year, the economists say. Congressional gridlock ahead of the 2012 elections and unforeseen global events, like this year’s Arab Spring protests, could slow the US economy. Three economists said rising nuclear tensions with Iran are a concern. Even without an outside jolt, the economists expect barely enough job creation in 2012 to stay ahead of population growth and the return of discouraged workers into the labor force. “I just don’t know if it’s going to be enough to bring the unemployment rate down,” says Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers. The AP economists expect the unemployment rate to be stuck at a recession-level 8.4 percent

when voters go to the polls in November. Unemployment was 8.6 percent in November. A majority (56 percent) of the economists say the economy will get a lift from Federal Reserve policies. The Fed has said it plans to keep short-term interest rates near zero through at least mid-2013 if the economy remains weak. The central bank also has begun a campaign to try to push down mortgage rates and other long-term interest rates through next June. Those surveyed also think the economy is strong enough to withstand higher oil prices. At near $100 a barrel, oil prices are up 10 percent from a year ago. But only two of the economists AP surveyed expect the higher prices to slow the economy “a lot.” The economists expect the European economy to shrink 0.5 percent in 2011 - and fall into a recession. Europe is slowing as heavily

indebted countries slash spending and banks exposed to government debt curtain lending. Among the gravest fears is that a major country like Italy will default on its debt, wiping out some banks with large holdings of European government bonds. A worldwide credit crunch like the one that followed the 2008 failure of Lehman Bros could follow. Twenty-one of the economists listed Europe as a threat to the US economy next year. “If it were a big enough downturn, given the size of Europe, it could bring the world economy down into recession,” says Allen Sinai, president of Decision Economics. But overall, the economists see only an 18 percent chance that Europe’s debt troubles will cause a recession in the United States. The economists are divided over which one step European policymakers should take now to bol-

ster the 17-country euro-zone. More than one-fourth say the European Central Bank should aggressively try to lower the borrowing costs of the Italian and Spanish governments by buying their bonds. Nearly one-fifth say European countries should jointly issue “Eurobonds” to help finance weaker countries. And 17 percent say European governments should slash spending. Still, the economists expect European policymakers to find a way to prevent the crisis from escalating into a global financial panic. If Europe can stabilize its economies, the US stock markets would rally sharply, economists say, and prospects for US economic growth would brighten. “Europe appears to be the only real impediment to keeping this recovery from happening,” said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economics. — AP

Home prices down in most major US cities

Saudi Savola jumps but index slips after budget

Consumer confidence index surges

MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS

WASHINGTON: US home prices fell in most major cities for the second straight month, further evidence that the housing recovery will be bumpy and weigh on the broader economy in 2012. The Standard & Poor’s/CaseShiller index released yesterday showed prices dropped in October from September in 19 of the 20 cities tracked. Prices in a majority of cities declined for the second straight month, reflecting the typically fall slowdown after the peak buying season. Prior to that, prices had risen for five consecutive months in at least half of the cities tracked. Meanwhile, a monthly survey shows consumers’ confidence in the US economy in December surged to the highest level since April and is near a post-recession peak. The New York-based Conference Board said yesterday that its Consumer Confidence Index rose almost 10 points to 64.5, up from a revised 55.2 in November. Analysts had expected 59. The surge builds on another big increase in November, when the index rose almost 15 points from the month before. Economists watch the confidence numbers closely because consumer spending - including items like health care - accounts for about 70

percent of US economic activity. Home prices are softening despite some modest progress in the depressed housing market. Residential construction is likely to add to US economic growth in 2011, the first time that has happened in four years. Still, that’s mainly because apartments are being built almost twice as fast as two years ago - reflecting a surge in renting and weaker home sales. The Case-Shiller index covers half of all US homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The monthly data are not seasonally adjusted. Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis posted the biggest monthly declines. Prices in Atlanta and Las Vegas fell to their lowest points since the housing crisis began. Prices rose in Phoenix after three straight monthly declines. David M. Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee, said steep price drops in cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Minneapolis were particularly worrisome because their gains earlier this season were so strong. “Atlanta and the Midwest are regions that really stand out in terms of recent relative weakness,” Blitzer said. “These markets were some of the strongest during the spring/summer

WINTER GARDEN: A new home for sale in Winter Garden, Florida. US home prices fell in most major cities for the second straight month, further evidence that the housing recovery will be bumpy. —AP buying season.” Americans are reluctant to purchase a home more than two years after the recession officially ended. High unemployment and weak job growth have deterred many would-be buyers. Even the lowest mortgage rates in history haven’t been enough to lift sales. Some people can’t qualify for loans or meet higher down payment requirements. Many with good credit and stable jobs are holding off because they fear that prices will keep falling. Sales of previously occupied homes are barely ahead of 2008’s dismal figures - the worst in 13 years. And sales of new homes this year will likely be the worst since the government began keeping records a

half century ago. Prices are also certain to fall further once banks resume millions of foreclosures. They have been delayed because of a yearlong government investigation into mortgage lending practices. Home prices had stabilized in coastal cities over the past six months, helped by a rush of spring buyers and investors. But this year, prices in many cities, including Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tampa, have reached their lowest points since the housing bust more than four years ago. Foreclosures and short sales - when a lender accepts less for a home than what is owed on a mortgage - are selling at an average discount of 20 percent. — AP

DUBAI: Saudi group Savola climbed to its highest level in nearly 8 months yesterday after saying its old a property firm for $168 million, while most Gulf markets declined. Savola rose 2.9 percent to its highest close since May 9. It sold its 80-percent stake in Al-Mujamaat United Co for Real Estate to Knowledge Economic City. Savola also confirmed a report that it would buy the remaining 22 percent stake in pasta makers Al-Malika and Al-Farasha in Egypt. Saudi Arabia’s index closed 0.2 percent lower, slipping from Monday’s 21-week closing high. Construction stocks were mixed as investors booked recent gains in stocks which rallied ahead of the 2012 budget announcement. Saudi Steel Pipes fell 6.4 percent, down from Monday’s seven-month high. The government plans to spend 690 billion riyals ($184 billion) according to its 2012 budget. The finance ministry said it had set aside 250 billion riyals from the 2011 budget surplus to fund the construction of 500,000 homes. “Speculation on building, construction and real estate stocks will continue for the next two to three weeks, but the budget will have minimal effect on companies’ profits currently,” said Hesham Abo-Jamee at Bakheet Investment Group. “Most of the projects will go to companies that are not listed on the exchange like Binladin and Mabani.”Yanbu Cement rose 4.2 percent to a fresh all-time high. On Monday it reported restarting three of four production lines which had been closed for two months.

In Dubai, the index slumped 0.8 percent to a fresh seven-year closing low, hit by as a yearend trading lull. “Valuations-wise, the market is attractive but the problem is that there is virtually no investor interest,” said Shakeel Sarwar at Securities & Investment Co (SICO). “Until big institutional investors take the lead, I don’t think the market will recover in the short-term. Volumes have fallen, brokerages are shutting down, and it’s a sorry tale. There seems to be no investors willing to come in and commit long-term capital.” Drake & Scull shed 2.1 percent, while Union Properties dropped 5.6 percent. Shuaa Capital slid 6.9 percent, down 60 percent this year, in what traders called a falling-knife effect. The struggling investment bank said earlier in December it will lay off 29 of its employees in the first phase of a planned redundancy plan to boost profitability. Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties fell 2.4 percent to a fresh record closing low. The developer said the portion of its bonds converted into 1.2 billion shares last week by Mubadala Development Co will be listed on Jan 2. Mubadala converted 2.106 billion dirhams ($573 million) of bonds into shares at a price of 1.75 dirhams on Dec 15. In Qatar, blue-chips helped lift the index 0.2 percent, approaching Sunday’s 37-week closing high. Qatar National Bank added 0.5 percent, Barwa Real Estate climbed 0.8 percent and Commercial Bank of Qatar advanced 0.2 percent.— Reuters


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Sears to close 100 to 120 Kmart and Sears stores

Strength of Saudi growth surprising, says Alassaf Kingdom needs $74 oil price to balance budget DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s strong economic growth this year was a positive surprise, Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf said yesterday, adding that the government’s plans to build hundreds of thousands of homes aimed to limit future inflationary pressures. The ministry estimates that gross domestic product of the world’s top oil exporter jumped 6.8 percent in 2011, it said on Monday. This is the country’s fastest expansion since 7.7 percent in 2003. “In previous years, we used to expect higher growth but it came lower. Figures this year were a happy surprise for us,” Alassaf told Al Arabiya television. “Growth was higher than our expectations mainly in the private sector and industrial sector.” The ministry estimates the government sector grew 6.7 percent this year while the private sector expanded 8.3 percent. The non-oil industrial sector grew an estimated 15 percent, and the construction sector 11.6 percent. The ministry’s 2011 GDP growth estimate is well above the 5.1 percent forecast made by the central bank in its annual report released earlier this month. The Saudi government boosted expenditures to a record 804 billion riyals ($214 billion) this year, a 39 percent increase over its initial plan, to ease social tensions as a wave of unrest swept through the Arab world. Its initial plan is to

spend 690 billion riyals in 2012. Alassaf also said yesterday that the government’s plan to spend on building new housing units, announced earlier this year, should reduce price pressures in future. “Increases in spending sometimes aim to eliminate pockets of inflation or target the sources of pressure on inflation. In the case of

Monday, below 5.3 percent in 2010. Saudi Arabia will need a breakeven crude oil price of $74 per barrel to generate the funds required to meet its widening expenditure next year, Jadwa Investment said yesterday. The OPEC kingpin announced on Monday yet another expansionary budget with spending marked at

Finance Minister Ibrahim Alassaf Saudi Arabia, this has been for many years the increase in housing rental fees, and that is why we came up with the plan to build new units to minimize accumulating pressures,” he said. “The economy can withstand temporary pressures if pressures ease in the future.” Inflation is expected to average 4.7 percent this year, the ministry said on

690 billion riyals ($184 billion), and revenues reaching 702 billion riyals. But Jadwa, a respected Riyadhbased investment firm, said in a report that it expects expenditure to again overshoot the budget, reaching 733 billion riyals. “The oil price level necessary for revenues to balance our forecast level of government spending... is $74 per barrel for Saudi export crude,”

Aramco denies interested in US Frac Tech stake KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia: State oil giant Saudi Aramco denied yesterday it was competing for a stake in USbased Frac Tech International, a company that operates technology used extensively in North America to free up trapped oil and natural gas. “Recent media repor ts suggesting Saudi Aramco is competing for an interest in a US-based shale-gas services provider are completely untrue,” Aramco said in an e-mailed statement. On Dec 14, sources told Reuters Saudi Aramco and Chinese oil companies, Sinopec and CNOOC Ltd, are each in talks to buy a stake in Frac Tech International. The sources said Frac Tech was also in advanced talks with Aramco, Spain’s Repsol-YPF SA and Sinopec - as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp is known - to establish three separate fracking joint ventures in the Middle East, Argentina and China.

Aramco did not say in yesterday’s statement if talks to establish a fracking joint venture were also false. Fracturing is an oil and natural gas drilling technique that has sharply boosted North America’s energy output and is now spreading abroad. Saudi Aramco is keen to develop its unconventional gas resources to meet rising domestic demand but production prices are still too high, a senior executive at the company said in September. Aramco has started evaluating tight gas and shale gas where it would initially focus on the northwest and in the area of the world’s largest onshore oilfield Ghawar as gas infrastructure is already in place. In November, Saudi Aramco’s chief executive acknowledged that the use of fracking was set to shift the energy balance of power and US dependence on Middle East oil. —Reuters

Jadwa said, adding it would amount to about $70 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and $78 per barrel for Brent. The price of WTI hovers currently around $99 per barrel, but the oil-rich kingdom traditionally uses a conservative oil prices in its budgets, said to be currently around $60 per barrel. Jadwa calculated the figure on the assumption that Saudi oil production would be at 8.8 million barrels per day while domestic consumption would be around 2.4 million bpd. The report said that a price of $69 per barrel for Saudi oil is “consistent” with the revenue projected in the budget. Jadwa said the kingdom’s actual spending has averaged 24 percent higher than the budget during the past 10 years, with overspending surging 39 percent in 2011, due to commitments made by royal decrees. Out of the 2012 budget, 168 billion riyals ($44.8 billion) would be spent on education, 87 billion riyals on health, 29 billion riyals on municipal services, 35 billion riyals on roads and communication and 58 billion riyals on water, industry and agriculture. Saudi Arabia on Monday posted a budget surplus of 306 billion riyals ($81.6 billion) in 2011, as revenues turned out to be double the forecast, hitting 1.11 trillion riyals, compared with forecast of 540 billion riyals. —Agencies

Saudi Savola sells $168m property firm stake DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Savola Group will sell its 80-percent stake in a property firm to Knowledge Economic City as it focuses on its core food, retail and plastics business, it said yesterday. The sale of the stake in AlMujamaat United Company for Real Estate is valued at 631.1 million riyals ($168.29 million), according to a statement. Savola, which owns the Middle East’s biggest sugar refining business and is the largest shareholder in diary giant Almarai Co, will book a 231.4-million riyal capital gain on the sale during 2012. As part of the deal, Knowledge Economic City will get two parcels of land in Medina covering just over 2 million square meters. Knowledge Economic City, one of four economic cities the kingdom is building to diversify its economy, said the two plots are “a natural extension to KEC land in Medina” and are adjacent to the Haramain high speed train station. The high-speed Haramain Railway will link Islam’s holiest cities Mecca and Medina to the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah, a key entry point for millions of pilgrims, and to King Abdullah Economic City, currently under construction. —Reuters

NEW YORK: Between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores will be closed, the retailer said yesterday, after terrible holiday sales during what is the most crucial time of the year for retailers. Sears has yet to determine which stores will be closed, but there has been a clear shift in where the retailer will devote its resources. The company is moving away from its practice of propping up “marginally performing” stores in hopes of improving their performance. Sears said it will now concentrate on cash-generating stores. “Given our performance and the difficult economic environment, especially for big-ticket items, we intend to implement a series of actions to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base, and accelerate the transformation of our business model,” said CEO Louis D’Ambrosio. “These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers.” Sears would not discuss how many, if any, jobs would be cut. Sears Holdings Corp., based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, said that the store closings will generate $140 million to $170 million in cash from inventory sales. The retailer anticipates additional proceeds from the sale or sublease of real estate holdings. The company, which operates Kmart stores, Sears, Roebuck and Co and Land’s End, has seen rival department stores like Macy’s Inc. and discounters like Target Corp. steal customers away. But the economy is put a sustained financial squeeze on its most loyal customers, those in the middle-income bracket. The retailer had announced numerous closings this year, but this is the largest group of closings to date by far. Hoped for holiday sales to not materialize. Same-store revenue fell 5.2 percent to date for the quarter at both Sears and Kmart, the company said Tuesday. That includes the critical holiday shopping period, a time that most retailers depend on for a sales surge that will put them in the black. Sears Holdings said it also plans to lower its fixed costs by $100 million to $200 million and trim its 2012 peak domestic inventory by $300 million from 2011’s $10.2 billion at the third quarter’s end. Sears Holdings has more than 4,000 stores in the US and Canada. —AP

NEW YORK: Photos show signs of a Kmart store and a Sears Store (below) in New York. Sears Holdings Corp said yesterday it plans to close 100 to 120 of its Sears and Kmart stores as its holiday sales disappointed and it looks to reduce costs. —AP

Oman’s Renaissance okays $130 million capital hike near-term expansion, through its Topaz Marine and Engineering subsidiary, in the Gulf Arab region and the Caspian Sea, as well as to strengthen Renaissance’s balance sheet, it added. Renaissance said in November that it was looking to raise $380 million in the loan market for Topaz by the end of the year to help refinance existing obligations. Topaz, which pulled a $500 million London listing in March amid valuation concerns and regional unrest, uncovered fraud worth $2.9 million in August. Shares of Renaissance Services are down 50.7 percent year-to-date. —Reuters

DUBAI: Renaissance Services’ board has approved plans to raise new capital to help fund expansion, the Omani oil services company said yesterday. The new capital, which will be worth up to 50 million rials ($129.87 million), will be raised through a privately-placed quasi-equity instrument open to both new and existing investors, Renaissance said in a statement to the Muscat bourse. No timing for the issue, which still requires the approval of both regulators and shareholders, was given. Bank Muscat has been appointed as financial adviser for the offering. The cash will be used for

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

.2730000 .4260000 .3670000 .2980000 .2650000 .2720000 .0040000 .0020000 .0750520 .7312060 .3810000 .0700000 .7168150 .0040000 .0430000

.2800000 .4370000 .3770000 .3090000 .2750000 .2830000 .0072500 .0035000 .0758060 .7385550 .4010000 .0760000 .7240200 .0072000 .0530000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2757000 .2793000 GB Pound/KD .4310710 .4367000 Euro .3694380 .3742620 Swiss francs .3006870 .3046130 Canadian dollars .2679820 .2714810 Danish Kroner .0496560 .0503040 Swedish Kroner .0400710 .0405940 Australian dlr .2768440 .2804590 Hong Kong dlr .0353810 .0358430 Singapore dlr .2129620 .2157420 Japanese yen .0035470 .0035930 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 .0053970 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 .0024600 Pakistan rupee .0000000 .0031760 Bangladesh taka .0000000 .0036530 UAE dirhams .0750920 .0760720 Bahraini dinars .7315910 .7411440 Jordanian dinar .0000000 .3950500 Saudi Riyal/KD .0735400 .0745000 Omani riyals .7163830 .7257370 Philippine Peso .0000000 .0064500

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

ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.598 5.337 3.154 2.436 3.341 213.250 35.672 3.580 6.336 8.873 0.271 0.273

GCC COUNTRIES 74.150 76.402 722.230 738.540 75.715

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Egyptian Pound - Cash Egyptian Pound - Transfer Yemen Riyal/for 1000 Tunisian Dinar Jordanian Dinar Lebanese Lira/for 1000 Syrian Lier Morocco Dirham

ARAB COUNTRIES 47.500 46.282 1.272 189.860 392.670 1.865 6.003 33.814

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 277.950 Euro 370.650 Sterling Pound 431.930 Canadian dollar 268.420 Turkish lire 153.940 Swiss Franc 300.620 Australian dollar 277.000 US Dollar Buying 277.750

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

SELL CASH 286.700 741.200 3.860 276.600 547.400 44.500 49.900 167.800 48.040 368.500 36.510 5.650 0.032 0.211 0.242 3.670 395.800 0.189 90.440 46.600 4.290 219.100 1.806

47.700 723.930 3.260 6.690 77.100 74.410 216.450 36.750 2.655 439.300 41.500 301.500 5.100 9.310 198.263 75.990 279.100 1.330

723.750 3.130 6.385 76.670 74.410 216.450 36.750 2.446 437.300 300.000 5.100 9.080 75.890 278.700

10 Tola

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 437.300 276.700

Sterling Pound US Dollar

SELL DRAFT 285.200 741.200 3.434 275.100

216.500 46.282 367.000 36.360 5.275 0.031

Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro Sterling Pound Japanese Yen Bangladesh Taka Indian Rupee Sri Lankan Rupee Nepali Rupee Pakistani Rupee UAE Dirhams Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Jordanian Dinar Omani Riyal Qatari Riyal Saudi Riyal

287.56 277.35 302.65 367.32 438.28 3.63 3.427 5.266 2.446 3.308 3.127 75.85 741.20 46.29 396.43 724.19 76.84 74.40

288.00 278.00 305.00 37.00 439.00 3.70 3.820 5.600 2.650 4.000 3.310 76.25 741.00 48.20 395.50 725.00 77.20 74.95

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd 394.920 0.188 90.440 3.320 217.600

Rate for Transfer US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Bahrain Dinar

Selling Rate 276.850 268.505 443.300 374.970 303.055 733.125

UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupees Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Cyprus pound Japanese Yen Thai Bhat Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit

75.350 75.990 73.785 389.700 46.310 2.422 5.309 3.179 3.615 6.383 679.095 3.675 8.955 5.830 3.415 91.960

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co.

GOLD 1,671.720

UAE Exchange Centre WLL

GOLD 315.500 159.000 81.500

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

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

Currency Rate per 1000 (Tran) US Dollar 278.650 Pak Rupees 3.110 Indian Rupees 5.270 Sri Lankan Rupees 2.455 Bangladesh Taka 3.420 Philippines Peso 6.445 UAE Dirhams 75.955 Saudi Riyals 74.450 Bahraini Dinars 740.700 Egyptian Pounds 46.255 Pound Sterling 440.700 Indonesian Rupiah 3.190 Yemeni Riyal 1.550 Jordanian Dinars 395.800 Syrian Pounds 5.750 Euro 369.900 Canadian Dollars 278.600 Nepali rupee 3.690

Al Mulla Exchange Currency Transfer Rate (Per 1000) US Dollar 278.250 Euro 366.000 Pound Sterling 437.000 Canadian Dollar 274.800 Japanese Yen 3.575 Indian Rupee 5.284 Egyptian Pound 46.225 Sri Lankan Rupee 2.443 Bangladesh Taka 3.390 Philippines Peso 6.405 Pakistan Rupee 3.130 Bahraini Dinar 741.050 UAE Dirham 75.800 Saudi Riyal 74.350 *Rates are subject to change


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Despite woes, economists still see euro benefits PARIS: Ten years after it went into circulation, experts judge the euro to have helped cut inflation but say hopes it would boost growth were dashed by a lack of policy coordination. In the midst of a crisis that threatens the very survival of the currency, economists were somewhat pressed to find something to sing its praises about. “They (the advantages) don’t exactly leap out at the moment,” noted dryly Agnes Benassy-Quere, head of France’s CEPII institute on international economics. Despite the current pessimism, however, economists agree that the longer-term benefits of the euro have been real and tangible, even if some helped set the stage for the current crisis. The end of currency exchange risk and costs helped reinforce the integration of

European markets, boosting trade between those countries which adopted the common currency. New studies showed this benefit to be “not enormous, but on the order of six percent” said Benassy-Quere. Another benefit was in cutting inflation. While some businesses exploited the currency change to raise prices, leaving consumers with the impression of a euro-related rise in living costs, economists said overall the euro has been good for inflation. “From a point of view of price stability, the record is extremely positive” with inflation averaging at about two percent, said BenassyQuere. The drop was more significant for southern countries with historically high inflation levels, which nevertheless remain moder-

ately higher today than those of their neighbors to the north. The single currency also meant much lower interest rates, now set for the entire eurozone by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt-helping to sow the seeds of the current crisis. For countries like Spain the real interest rate-the nominal rate minus inflationbecame negative, which encouraged loans and caused a “real estate bubble”, said Joerg Kraemer, chief economist at Germany’s Commerzbank. The lower rates, thanks to being locked in the same currency with strong economies like Germany, also enabled successive Greek governments to go on a borrowing binge that resulted in today’s unmanageable debt. One benefit of the euro, in the view of

economist Francesco Giavazzi at Milan’s Bocconi University, is that it removed the ability of governments to use currency devaluation as an economic policy tool. “Italy finally abandoned the idea that it could artificially recuperate its loss of competitiveness by successive devaluations,” he said. Suddenly states and business had to face up to “their real productivity”, the economist explained, which should have led governments to adopt structural reforms to liberalize labor markets, though this was not always done. In France and some southern euro-zone countries, wages rose more than productivity gains, and without a currency depreciation to indirectly lower wages, competitiveness was further eroded. While market integration, low-

er inflation and interest rates are all positive for growth, “in the end, the results are mixed because the euro-zone is for some degree overstretched,” said Kraemer. Countries which did not fulfill the criteria set out in the euro-zone’s founding Maastricht Treaty, such as Greece and Italy, were allowed to join the euro. “This, to a significant degree, explains the current problems,” noted the German economist. For his French colleague, “if the euro did not bring all the expected benefits, that is in large part due to the governments” failing to coordinate economic policy, instead narrowly focusing on deficit reduction. “These first ten years were a failure for the coordination of economic policy, much more than for budgetary policy,” said Benassy-Quere. —AFP

Greek retail sales fall 30% during Christmas Country grapples with recession, debt trap HAMBURG: Sale goods are offered in a shop window at a department store in Hamburg, northern Germany yesterday. After Christmas, customers can look forward to discounts. —AFP

German industry mogul Werner Otto dies at 102 BERLIN: Werner Otto, the founder of the mail-order company that bears his name and a prominent figure in West Germany’s post-World War II economic resurgence, has died. He was 102. The company, Otto Group, said yesterday that he died in Berlin on Dec. 21 in the presence of his family. Otto opened a shoe factory in Hamburg in 1945, but it didn’t last long in the face of tough

Werner Otto, founder of the Otto Group, died on December 21, 2011 at the age of102. —AFP competition from southern Germany. So in 1949, with four employees, he turned to selling shoes by mail order the start of what became Otto Group, which now employs 50,000 people and has annual revenues of euro11.4 billion ($14.9 billion).

Its first, hand-produced, catalog appeared in 1950, offering 28 styles of shoes. The business then grew rapidly during the 1950s, expanding its range and establishing itself with the help of shoppers from outside major cities who didn’t have ready access to stores; in 1963, Otto introduced telephone orders and went online in 1995. Otto handed over the company ’s operational management in 1965 and founded another enterprise, ECE, which builds and manages shopping malls in Europe. He also set up Paramount Group, Inc, to invest in US real estate. Otto dedicated himself to a range of social causes, including his Werner Otto Foundation, founded in 1969, which supports medical research. Among other projects, his company said he also donated a new museum building to Harvard University, the Werner Otto Hall, to showcase expressionist art from the Germanspeaking world. Otto was born in the eastern German town of Seelow on Aug. 13, 1909, the son of a merchant. He is sur vived by his third wife, Maren, and his five children. His oldest son, Michael, is now Otto Group’s supervisory board chairman and his youngest son, Alexander, is the chief executive of ECE. —AP

ATHENS: Greek retailers said yesterday that sales fell an estimated 30 percent this Christmas, in the worst festive showing for shopowners in years as the country grapples with a debt crisis and a severe recession. Preliminary figures from the National Confederation of Greek Commerce, or ESEE, found clothes and shoe sales took the heaviest hit, falling 40 percent compared to Christmas 2010 - the second straight fall since the crisis broke out in late 2009. Consumption of food and drinks fell 15 percent,

while toy sales suffered least. “This is no longer remarkable, as nine in ten Greeks are less generous - out of necessity, not choice,” an ESEE statement said. Greece is heading for a fourth year of recession and has near-record high unemployment, which reached 17.5 percent in September. It has been kept afloat by foreign rescue loans since May 2010, after years of government overspending left the country unable to borrow from money markets and on the brink of bankruptcy. In return for the vital bailout

ty. The frustration of India’s business elite with corruption, political paralysis, log-jammed approvals, regulatory flipflops, lack of access to natural resources and land acquisition battles - to pick a few of the top complaints - has reached a pitch perhaps not heard since India began liberalizing its economy in the early 1990s. “If you are an honest businessman in India, it’s very difficult to start up anything,” said Jamshyd Godrej, chairman of manufacturing giant Godrej & Boyce. “Companies are going

BEIJING: China will start work on the world’s highest airport next year, in Tibet’s Nagqu county, state media said yesterday, which will be about 100 metres (328 ft) higher than the existing record holder in another part of the remote and restive region. Nagqu airport will be at an altitude of 4,436 metres (14,553 ft) above sea level, slightly higher than the airport in Qamdo town at 4,334 metres (14,219 ft), Xinhua news agency reported. The airport will cost 1.8 billion yuan ($280 million) and is expected to open in three years, Xinhua added. Tibet already has five civilian airports, at least two of which are only open for a few months of the year because of extreme weather which makes flying impossible the rest of the time. China has embarked upon a multi-billion-dollar program in recent years to revamp old airports and build new ones, especially in the country’s remote west, as a way of boosting the economy. The government has also poured billions of dollars into Tibet, hoping to win hearts and minds in a region the Communist Party has run with an iron grip for six decades. The government says that the new airports, roads and a railway to Tibet will promote development and help raise living standards. But Tibet activists say the new links will speed up the pace of Chinese migration there and dilute Tibetan Buddhist culture. —Reuters

say. Scandals in the staging of the Commonwealth Games, the pilfering of homes meant for war widows and the irregular auction of cellphone spectrum that cost the country billions has sent parliamentarians and even a Cabinet minister to prison. With Indians tiring of the incessant graft, tens of thousands of middle-class protesters poured into the streets and pushed an anti-corruption bill onto the floor of Parliament. Steelmakers can’t get enough iron ore because a massive mining scandal

Billionaire Indian tycoon Ajay Piramal speaks during an interview. —AP to operate where they see the best opportunities and efficiency for their capital.” Increasingly, that’s outside India. In 2008, foreigners poured roughly twice as much direct investment into India - $33 billion - as Indians plowed into businesses overseas. By 2010, that had reversed: Indians invested $40 billion abroad - twice as much as foreigners invested in India - a trend that’s continued this year. There is another, unspoken element to all the complaints. To the extent that business in India ran on corruption, some of the old, dirty ways of doing things are being disrupted, freezing India’s already glacial bureaucracy, business leaders

have received more than 2,000 complaints from employees over nonpayment of the seasonal bonus, which many consumers depend on for their Christmas purchases. The country’s main labor union, the GSEE, said the trend was worrying, and urged authorities to crack down on employers who flout the law. “During hard times for workers, who have already suffered dramatic pay cuts, nonpayment of salaries or Christmas bonuses aggravates poverty and insecurity,” GSEE said in a statement. —AP

China to start work on world’s highest airport

Indian tycoon has tons of cash, nowhere to invest MUMBAI: Ajay Piramal is sitting on a mountain of cash. Yet the billionaire Indian tycoon, working in one of the world’s fastest growing economies, is struggling to decide what to do with the money. The problem isn’t opportunity, he said. It’s India. “Every large investment, there was no transparency,” Piramal said. His dilemma is a worrying sign for India. With the country mired in corruption, bureaucratic red tape and unclear and changing government policies, many of the men who made their billions here are saying maybe it’s time to quit India. It’s got to be easier to do business elsewhere. In May last year, Piramal’s healthcare business sold its generic drug operations to US pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories for $3.8 billion. Piramal, a tall big man in a country that still measures prosperity by girth, was eager to set that cash pile to work. He wanted to expand one of his chemical plants, but was told it would take five years. “The same plant could be set up in China in two years,” he said. “I love India, but my customer is not going to wait.” India, still a beacon of relatively fast growth despite a troubled world economy, should be a magnet for capital. Instead, since the beginning of 2010, the amount that Indians have invested in businesses overseas has exceeded the amount foreigners are investing in India, according to central bank figures. In part this reflects the confidence and aptitude of India’s maturing companies and the current malaise in the global economy and financial markets. But it also reflects deep problems at home. India’s big coporations may be cash rich but the failure to invest that money domestically is bad news for a developing country that needs capital to build the roads, power plants and food warehouses that could help lift hundreds of millions out of dire pover-

cash, the government imposed severe austerity measures, including big cuts in pensions and salaries and increases in taxes and retirement ages. ESEE said the crisis has changed Christmas shopping habits, with two in five consumers opting for low-budget purchases this year. “There is a change in mood, in (financial) obligations, in priorities and habits,” ESEE said. Hit by dwindling demand and draining liquidity, more and more Greek businesses are failing to pay workers’ Christmas pay bonuses. Labor Ministry inspectors said they

in the southern state of Karnataka prompted a court to order the closure of illicit mines that account for a fifth of iron ore production in the country. The bureaucrats - even the honest ones - are reportedly so scared of being punished they are refusing to make the decisions needed to make the country run. Piramal is not unpatriotic. Each room in his executive suite is named after an Indian epic hero: Arjuna, the most pure; Dhananjay, acquirer and master of wealth. There’s a quote from the Upanishads scriptures on the wall. His office sits in a one-millionsquare-foot office park in Mumbai his family built. The buildings around him -

white with blue glass that flashes back the unforgiving sun - bear his own name in large black letters: Piramal Towers. Piramal had the will and the means to build power plants and roads. Instead, his Piramal Group’s largest investment to date has been in one of the office park’s tenants: the Indian subsidiary of the British telecom giant Vodafone Plc. Last September, when he got the first payout, of $2.2 billion, from Abbott, the phone started ringing. “Because people knew we had money, we had so many people approaching us for projects in the infrastructure sector,” he said. “These people had no experience and no knowledge and no track record of having built a business in any area. And yet they were coming to us saying we have licenses and approvals. That just didn’t sound right or smell right.” Each day, they paraded through his office: The investment banker who decided to build a 500megawatt power plant, the coal trader assured of a government coal allocation, small-time miners with pretty presentations promising land, licenses and financing. “They’d name politicians from the center and the state who had it all tied up for them,” he said. “It didn’t sound right. Obviously there were things going on in the system.” Road and port projects weren’t much better, he said. Piramal also looked at investing in engineering and infrastructure services companies, but couldn’t make sense of their books. “We couldn’t find anything,” he said. “People get greedy. In their desire to get good valuations they resort to, if I can say, creative accounting.” Today, India’s infrastructure companies are known as great wealth destroyers. “Infrastructure investment has become untouchable, a sure way of losing money,” said Jagannadham Thunuguntla, head of research at SMC Global Securities. —AP

India’s dalit entrepreneur Ashok Khade

India’s ‘dalit’ millionaires look to inspire others MUMBAI: On the face of it, entrepreneur Ashok Khade is just another one of India’s growing wealthy, heading a successful $27 million infrastructure and oil and gas business group that employs 4,500 people. But the 56-year-old is a rarity, as he belongs to India’s dalit, or “untouchable” classes, who for centuries have been anchored at the bottom of Hinduism’s caste system and remain among the most exploited and despised. The opening up of India’s economy has helped bring in some mobility in the rigid social hierarchy, leading to a gradual rise in jobs and opportunities for India’s poorest and even created a new breed-the dalit millionaire. Khade, a first-generation businessman who now drives a BMW, battled poverty and discrimination as a child in a village near Sangli in Maharashtra state, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) from India’s financial hub, Mumbai. After graduating in mechanical engineering, he came to Mumbai to work at Mazgaon Docks, a leading shipyard that makes warships and submarines for the Indian Navy. He acquired technical skills and, after a stint in Germany, came back to India in 1995 to set up the DAS Offshore group, which has built offshore oil platforms as well as worked on transport infrastructure projects. As growth opportunities improve across India’s hinterland, dalits are starting to seek senior jobs and set up businesses, said Khade. “ The biggest problem for dalits today is that they have no godfather,” Khade told AFP, citing the lack of role models in contrast to India’s Hindu, Jain and Parsi communities. “There is an opinion that dalits cannot take one step without others’ help,” added Milind Kamble, chairman of the Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI), a lobby group to promote the

cause and interests of dalits. “And we want to change that, show that we can do it,” he told reporters last week. DICCI held its first all-India trade fair last weekend in Mumbai, where dalit entrepreneurs from 200 companies met to discuss how to boost business opportunities for their community. Caste discrimination still pervasiveIndia has an estimated 165 million dalits, who are shunned by higher castes, often forced into the lowliest occupations and are the poorest in terms of income, literacy and land. Caste discrimination is officially illegal in India but still pervades many aspects of daily life, especially outside cities. However in recent years, several dalit entrepreneurs have emerged, setting up companies in manufacturing, engineering, and food processing, Kamble told AFP. Two of India’s prominent politicians, Mayawati, the chief minister of India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh, and Ram Vilas Paswan, a parliamentarian and former minister, both belong to low castes. The architect of India’s constitution, Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, remains a hero and an inspiration for millions of poor Indians for having risen above his lowly birth. India’s government is considering making it compulsory to buy a percentage of its annual purchases from units set up and operated by dalits and tribal people, which are both major electoral constituencies in India. But Kamble says the biggest hurdle for dalits is to raise collateral to obtain loans from banks and institutions. “They are thus unable to raise any equity,” he added. DICCI is planning to set up a venture capital fund next year with an estimated worth of five billion rupees (nearly $100 million) to help needy and potential dalit entrepreneurs. “We have to stop fighting capitalism and secure our share in India’s wealth,” Kamble said. -—AFP


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Kuwait mid and small cap stocks push indices down GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) indices closed lower yesterday following a weak performance from mid and small cap stocks. Zain balanced the weighted index and closed in green territory in the last four seconds before the market closed. Investors and portfolios are forcing the stocks to close high after traded in lower prices during the session. IFA Hotels & Resorts Company witnessed five deals in the last minute. The scrip was jumping 5fils in each deal and closed up by 2.13 percent by end of the session. Global General Index (GGI) ended the day down by 0.11 percent, at 177.86 point. Market capitalization was down for the day reaching KD29.09bn. On the other hand, KSE Price Index closed at 5,790.7 point, shedding 10.7 points (0.18 percent) to its previous close. Market breadth During the session, 103 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards decliners as 42 equities retreated versus 24 that advanced. Yesterday’s losses were accompanied by growing trading activity. Total volume traded was up by 8.71 percent with 118.15mn shares changing hands at a total value of KD21.19mn (6.04 percent higher compared to Monday’s session). Real estate sector was the volume leader. The sector accounted for 34.43 percent of total shares exchanged. Trading was intense on the counter of Abyaar Real Estate Development Company with investors exchanging 22.56mn shares, with a total value of KD0.66mn. Closing price of the stock was KD0.0295. (up 1.72 percent). The services sector was the value leader, having 32.97 percent of total traded value. In terms of top gainers, Al-Themar International Holding Company was the top gainer for the day, adding 5.56 percent to its share value and closing at KD0.095. On the other hand, Warba Insurance Company shed 7.46 percent and closed at KD0.124 making it the biggest decliner in the market. Sectors Real Estate stocks shouldered the losses

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with a 1.35 percent dip. Selling was heavy on the counter of Mabanee Company which shed 3.41 percent to close at KD0.850. National Real Estate Company also retreated by 4.41 percent to close at KD0.130. Al Massaleh Real Estate Company was the biggest loser in the real estate sector, shedding 5.81 percent to close at KD0.081. Food stocks declined by 1.17 percent as measured by Global Food Index. Danah Al Safat Foodstuff Company lost 2.06 percent as it shed 2.06 percent of its price to close at KD0.095. Heavyweight, Kuwait Foodstuff Company (Americana) closed down by 1.35 percent at KD1.460. Global Industrial index followed, declining by 1.11 percent. Kuwait Cement Company and Salbookh Trading Company decreased by 2.17 percent and 2.00 percent, respectively. Services and non Kuwaiti indices were the sole advancers yesterday, adding 0.38 percent and 0.31 percent, respectively. Zain closed up by 1.15 percent at KD0.880, while

Egypt Kuwait Holding Company closed up by 2.00 percent at KD0.255. Corporate news Kuwait Finance House (KFH) clarified on a media report regarding acquiring assets outside Kuwait and announced that it has acquired two properties for investment purposes. National Cleaning Company announced that its 90 percent owned subsidiary has been awarded the lowest price in a three year tender offer to provide cleaning services for Kuwait Ports Authority’s complex building. On December 27, 2011 the company announced that its 90 percent owned subsidiary has signed the three year, KD0.290mn tender offer. Kuwait Petroleum International (Q8) announced that one of its affiliate companies has inked a contract with Lufthansa to provide the German fleet at the Verona airport, northern Italy, with 8mn liters of jet fuel per year.

Brent above $108 on supply worries, US data supports SINGAPORE: Brent crude rose slightly to trade above $108 yesterday, supported by supply disruptions in Syria and Iranian naval exercises in a key shipping lane, while improved US home sales data and year-end shortcovering also supported prices. Brent, which rose to an intraday high of $108.30 per barrel, was trading up 14 cents at $108.10 at 0645 GMT. US crude eased 20 cents to $99.48 a barrel. “Syria could be a support factor for the time being, but we will not see a big climb or rocket high prices because of that,” Ken Hasegawa, a derivatives manager with brokerage Newedge in Tokyo, said. “So far, supply disruptions have not been a big issue because of some easing of demand in Europe. This has offset the disruption of supplies.” Syrian Oil Minister Sufian Alao said on Saturday that his country’s oil production had fallen by about 30 to 35 percent as a result of sanctions imposed on Syria over its nine-month crackdown on anti-government protests. Iranian naval exercises also added to supply worries. Iran on Saturday began 10 days of naval exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, raising concern about a possible closure of the world’s most strategic oil transit channel in the event of any outbreak of military conflict between Tehran and the West. But Hasegawa said the impact of the naval exercises on prices was limited for now as there was plenty of supply from OPEC countries. Kuwait produced more than 3 million barrels of oil in December and expects that rate to continue if demand exists, its oil minister Mohammad al-Busairi said on Sunday after a meeting of Gulf Arab oil ministers in Abu Dhabi. UK consultancy Oil Movements also said last week that Seaborne oil exports from OPEC, excluding Angola

and Ecuador, will rise by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to Jan 7, to reach 23.63 million bpd on average. The higher supplies come at a time when investors are worried about demand from Europe taking a hit given the region’s crippling debt crisis. Leaders of Germany’s major business and industry groups said they expect the country’s economy to lose momentum although there will be no recession in 2012. Industrial output at top energy consumer China is also expected to slow slightly, growing 11 percent in 2012, easing from an estimated 13.9 percent in 2011, China’s industry minister said on Monday. China’s foreign debt rose to $697.2 billion at the end of September from the $642.5 billion three months earlier, China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said yesterday. But few doubt that China, which sits on the world’s biggest pile of foreign exchange reserves worth $3.2 trillion, would fail to honor its foreign obligations. But amid the weak outlook for Europe, positive data came from the United States where new single-family home sales rose to a sevenmonth high in November and the months’ supply of houses on the market was the lowest in 5-1/2 years, adding to signs of a budding recovery in the sector. “I am not expecting big movements in the crude oil market this week, but there will be some upside due to shortcoverings. Brent is likely to be in the range of $105-$113 this week,” Hasegawa said. Tetsu Emori, a fund manager with Astramax Co. in Tokyo, also said that trade could be limited on Tuesday because of the year-end holidays. “It’s after Christmas and a lot of people are not back in the market,” he said, adding that investors will seek cues from US markets which will reopen after a long weekend. — Reuters


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Britain faces a ‘bleak’ start to 2012: Study Thinktank says euro-zone crisis could imperil UK

Ambani brothers Anil Ambani and Mukesh Ambani during a conference. — File photo

India’s Ambanis unite for father’s memorial MUMBAI: India’s billionaire brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani have come together to dedicate a memorial to their late father, in the latest sign of a thaw in frosty relations between the tycoons. The brothers, who fought a very public battle for the spoils of their father ’s vast business empire, are spearheading the creation of a memorial in his home town of Chorwad, in western Gujarat state, sources said yesterday. Both men and their families were attending a two-day event in the town starting on Tuesday to mark what would have been Dhirubhai Ambani’s 80th birthday. “A religious ceremony will be held at the Goddess Chorwadi temple on the evening of December 27,” a source at the tycoons’ giant Reliance group told AFP. Reliance Industries Ltd Group president Piramal Nathwani told the Business Standard newspaper: “It will be perhaps the first time in the recent past that the Ambani brothers will be seen together at a family reunion.” There have been increasing signs of a warming of ties between the brothers since their fight for control of Reliance after Dhirubhai died in 2002

without leaving a will. After a protracted court case that saw their mother, Kokilaben, act as peacemaker, the pair agreed to bury the hatchet in 2010, tearing up a non-competition pact that prevented them entering the same sectors. In November, Mukesh’s energy major Reliance Industries was reported to be in talks with several telecom players, including Anil’s Reliance Anil Dhirubai Ambani Group, to launch a broadband and Internet service. On Tuesday, Kokilaben gave the clearest sign yet that the enmity is over, telling reporters in Chorwad: “There is love among the brothers... We are all united.” The whole family last visited Chorwad in 1995. The memorial will later be open to the public, the Reliance source said. Dhirubhai Ambani spent his childhood in Chorwad and left to work as an office clerk in Aden, which was then a British colony and is now part of Yemen. He became a spice trader before returning to India to set up a cloth mill in Gujarat, which later expanded into a petrochemicals and energy giant. — AFP

EDF reaches deal to take over Italy’s Edison PARIS: French electricity giant EDF said yesterday it had reached a new agreement with Italian shareholders in Edison to take majority control of Italy’s second biggest power company. The new agreement signals an end to the 10-year pursuit of Edison by EDF, with the drawn out talks leading to sharp ratings downgrade of the Italian company to junk status. The agreement, subject to regulatory and corporate approvals, would increase EDF’s stake in Edison from around 50 percent currently, via direc t and indirec t holdings, to around 80.7 percent, EDF said in a statement. In exchange Italian shareholders would gain control of the electricity production unit Edipower, which will enter into an agreement with Edison to supply it with gas for half of its needs for six years, the statement added. “ This agreement will allow the emergence of two energy champions in Italy which thanks to their stabilized organization and a relaunch of their activity will contribute to the recovery of the growth of the Italian economy...” said EDF. It said the Italian shareholders would pay 800 million euros ($1.0 billion) to acquire the stake in Edipower, which is 100 million euros more than it will pay to acquire the stake in Edison. The new agreement follows months of difficult negotiations, with Italian

shareholders threatening last week to abandon talks if they did not get control of Edipower. Last week Fitch ratings agency cut Edison’s rating by three notches to junk status, from BB- from BBB- due to “the negative impact of the prolonged negotiation process” as well as weak liquidity. However Fitch said there was the possibility for positive movement to the rating if EDF won clear control of the company. EDF said it expected approval of the deal from the various holding companies by the end of Januar y with final contracts to be signed by February 15. EDF has been involved with Edison for a decade, buying a stake in its holding company in 2001 and teaming up with carmaker Fiat to take control, only to have the Italian government limit its voting power. In 2005 it teamed up with other Italian shareholders to jointly manage Edison, but disagreements over strategy led EDF to seek to take majority control. Founded in 1884 and based in Milan, Edison is Italy’s oldest electricity company and is currently in second place in electricity generation behind Enel, producing 41.8 terrawatt hours of electricity or 14.6 percent of the country’s total in 2010. Edison is also Italy’s number two gas company, with 19.1 percent of the market last year, behind ENI. — AFP

LONDON: The ongoing crisis in the euro-zone and sapped consumer confidence risk sending Britain into a new recession, a leading centre-left thinktank warned yesterday. Britain faces a “bleak” start to 2012 but any potential slowdown could be dampened by a fall in inflation, which would boost consumer spending power, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said. “As we enter 2012, it seems the word that best describes the outlook for the UK economy is ‘bleak’,” the think-tank’s chief economist Tony Dolphin said. “The euro-zone crisis is unresolved and country after country is being forced to adopt extreme austerity measures that will result in large falls in output. “As a result, the whole euro-zone economy is believed to be back in a mild recession.” After coming to power in May 2010, Britain’s coalition government announced cuts worth £81 billion ($131 billion, 92 billion euros) over five years in order to slash a record public deficit it blames on the previous Labor government. If the general mood of austerity deepened, it could affect the confidence to “such an extent that the economy drifts into recession,” cautioned Dolphin. The economist argued the only way to drag the country out of a double-

dip recession would be to loosen public purse strings in order to boost demand. Finance Minister George Osborne has consistently ruled out this policy change, citing Britain’s low borrowing costs as vindication of his plan. “With no prospect of tax cuts or lower interest rates, it is not clear what in the

Shoppers at the Harrods Winter sale, London yesterday. — AP

Asian shares ease in thin holiday trade TOKYO: Asian shares eased yesterday as investors squared positions in thin volume before US markets reopen after a long weekend and investors await fresh data that could offer clues about prospects for the world’s largest economy. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.3 percent. At this level, the index was set for a yearly loss of 17 percent, faring much better than a 50 percent plunge in 2008 when the collapse of Lehman Brothers roiled global financial markets. But this year, the pan-Asian index has underper formed the panEuropean FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares, which so far is down 12 percent. Yesterday, Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.4 in light trading. The benchmark was on track for a 17 percent decline this year. European and some Asian markets, including Hong Kong and Australia, were closed yesterday. “With US and European players in holiday mood, there is no incentive except for year-end position adjustments,” said Hirokazu Yuihama, senior strategist at Daiwa Capital Markets. “The markets are in a lull now due to holidays, but concerns about the euro zone debt will resurface early next year, with the focus on refinancing needs facing Italy and Spain, and whether sovereign yields of these countries would shoot above levels considered unsustainable,” he said. Bank of Japan minutes for its Nov. 1516 meeting showed yesterday BOJ board members were worried that unstable global financial markets were affecting Japan’s markets to some extent. The euro was steady around $1.3060, staying well above its 11-

month trough of $1.2945 hit earlier this month. At this level, the single currency was set for a quarterly loss of 2.4 percent, narrowing the decline from 7.7 percent in the third quarter when the euro came under heavy selling as fears of Greek default intensified. On Monday, when more markets were closed, Japanese and Indian stocks outperformed the rest of Asia in thin trade, with sentiment partly lifted by signs of US economic recovery. US holiday season sales were expected to rise 3.8 percent to a record $469.1 billion, the National Retail Federation said, slower than last year’s growth but stronger than its preseason forecast. The potential brisk sales could reinforce emerging views that the US economy is strengthening fundamentally, and follows recent data showing improvement in the labor market. The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits hit a 3-1/2-year low in the week shortly before Christmas while consumer sentiment reached a six-month high in December. Investors will be looking for more positive signs when reports are released about the S&P Case-Shiller house price index for October and consumer confidence for December . Sentiment has been underpinned by solid performances in US equities, and strong data could help global markets end the year with a positive tone. The broad Standard & Poor’s 500 Index on Friday broke through its 200day moving average after a four-day rally lifted stocks to bring the index into positive territory. The Dow Jones industrial average rose to its highest in five months, leaving it up 6 percent for the year. — Reuters

Lenders freeze $1bn Petroplus credit GENEVA: Europe’s largest independent oil refiner Petroplus said yesterday that lenders had frozen about $1 billion (765,000 euros) in credit lines, threatening its ability to purchase crude. The Swiss firm, which operates five refineries, said the $1 billion in uncommitted lines was “critical” to allow the company’s operating units to meet their obligations when due. Petroplus did not disclose the reason for the freeze but the action comes against the backdrop of the eurozone crisis and banks tightening lending conditions. The firm has $1.1 billion in committed credit lines, but with only half its credit facility available, it says the move will have a swift impact. “It is not a matter of weeks. It is something we need to solve in the coming days,” head of investor relations Fredrik Olsson told AFP. “If we can’t buy crude, then of course there will no crude for the refineries. It’s of course something that impacts quickly.” Petroplus owns and operates the Coryton refinery in Britain, the Antwerp refinery in Belgium, France’s Petit Couronne refinery, the Ingolstadt refinery in Germany and Switzerland’s Cressier refinery, with a combined capac-

ity of about 667,000 barrels per day. The announcement will be of concern to the company’s 2,500 workers. “We are no longer currently able to buy oil, when usually we buy 500,000 barrels per day,” chief financial officer Joseph Watson told the AWP financial news agency earlier yesterday. “We have a serious problem,” he said. “To maintain our activities we need all our credit lines.” The company said in a statement it would continue negotiating with the banks to get its credit lines restored and was looking at “additional strategic options to maintain operations in its European refining and marketing system.” Petroplus had discussed with lenders options “to reduce their risk” and had asked for time to put this into place, Olsson said. “Unfortunately they did not agree on this,” he said. “It’s of course something we regret.” The company’s shares plummeted following the announcement, dropping 36.4 percent to 2.18 Swiss francs towards 1130 GMT. “Today’s announcement is a serious issue,” said Vontobel bank analyst Andreas Escher. “We strongly advise investors to stay clear of the stock until sustainable financing can be restored.” — AFP

short-term the catalyst for more spending by the private sector will be,” Dolphin said. “In the short-term, economic policy has become a matter of hoping that something turns up-and that is why, for the UK economy, 2012 is unlikely to be a happy New Year,” he added. — AFP

China cuts 2012 rare earths export quota BEIJING: China announced a cut yesterday in its rare earths export quota as it tries to shore up sagging prices for the exotic metals used in mobile phones and other high-tech goods. China accounts for 97 percent of rare earth output and its 2009 decision to curb exports while it builds up an industry to create products made with them alarmed foreign companies that depend on Chinese supplies. In its latest quota, the Commerce Ministry said exporters will be allowed to sell 10,546 tons of rare earths in the first half of 2012. That is a 27 percent reduction from the quota for the first half of 2011. China’s export restrictions have strained relations with the United States the European Union, Japan and other governments that have called on Beijing to remove its curbs and make its intentions clear. Despite production and export curbs, rare earths prices in China have tumbled as US and European economic woes dent demand for its exports. The government ordered its biggest producer to suspend output for a month in October to shore up prices. But the restrictions have made rare earths much more expensive abroad, giving Chinese makers of products that use them a price advantage and foreign manufacturers an incentive to shift operations to China. In a sign of unusually weak demand, the Commerce Ministry said actual Chinese exports of rare earths in 2011 totaled 14,750 tons for the first 11 months of 2011 - the equivalent of just 49 percent of the total annual quota. In another possible move to tighten control over expor ts, the ministr y ’s announcement yesterday said only 11 companies will be allowed to sell abroad. That is down from 26 companies given licenses for the first half of 2011. Rare earths are 17 elements including cerium, dysprosium and lanthanum that are used in manufacturing flat-screen TVs, batteries for electric cars and wind turbines. They also used in some high-tech weapons. The United States, Canada and Australia also have rare earths but stopped mining them in the 1990s as lower-cost Chinese ores flooded the market. Surging demand has prompted companies in Canada, California, India, Malaysia, Russia and other countries to develop rare earths mines, some of which are expected to start producing by 2015. Prices in China have fallen sharply since August, declining by 45 percent for neodymium oxide, by 33 percent for terbium oxide and by 31 percent for lanthanum oxide, according to Lynas Corp, an Australian rare earths producer. Its figures showed an equally striking gap between prices in China and abroad, with lanthanum oxide costing triple the Chinese level on global markets, neodymium more than twice as much and terbium oxide near twice as much. — AP

Euro-zone banks park record amount of funds at ECB

HANOI: A woman sits selling low quality and cheap clothes at a roadside market in Hanoi yesterday. Low income people are the main costumers of cheap Chinese imported textile products or faulty garment products from local factories. — AFP

FRANKFURT: Euro-zone banks deposited a record amount of overnight funds at the European Central Bank on Monday, official data showed yesterday as banks remain extremely wary of lending to each other. Banks put 411.8 billion euros ($535 billion) on deposit for 24 hours at the European Central Bank, beating the previous record of 384.3 billion euros seen in June 2010. The level of deposits at the ECB bank is an indicator of the reluctance of banks to lend to each other on the pivotal interbank market. The money deposited earns an interest rate of 0.25 percent, which is less than the rate available on the interbank market. Banks become reluctant to lend to each other notably when they are concerned about the capacity of the borrower to repay the loan. Last week, 523 banks borrowed a record 489.2 billion euros from the ECB in a brand-new three-year lending facility, a move which the European Systemic Risk Board said would ease funding pressures on banks. The ECB agreed to make the cash available so as to avert a possible credit crunch, charging just 1.0 percent interest. But the deposit data suggest the banks are now simply parking the cash with the ECB. — AFP


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business

Mission Impossible

BMW on the white screen with Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol KUWAIT: From Hollywood to Kuwait; Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive, the exclusive BMW Group importer in Kuwait, last night held an exclusive viewing of the long-awaited Paramount blockbuster “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol” for customers one day before the movie opened to the general public. As the film’s main automotive partner, BMW Group provided the long awaited blockbuster movie with its BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car, which has been recognized as having the most sophisticated technology and the most striking design among the current concept electric supercars. In addition to that, the BMW 6 Series Coupe and Convertible, and the BMW 7 Series also made an appearance in the movie, which was partly

filmed in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Held at Cinescape Laila Gallery, the movie launch was attended by VIP personnel, Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive staff, customers and media partners. The BMW importer held three different shows to accommodate customers who had expressed great interest in the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car, which features in the movie. The upcoming BMW i8, which was inspired by the BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics concept vehicle, will enter series production in the coming years, and is expected to redefine the concept of supercars, erasing the misconception that sustainable mobility comes at the expense of performance. Yousef Al-Qatami, General Manager of Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive, said: “As the exclusive importers of

BMW in Kuwait, It is an honor for us at Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive to be part of the success of this movie in the country. We are aware of the passion our customers have for the BMW brand, and are therefore keen to share this unique experience with them.” The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive, and our customers have already showed interest in the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car which was presented in the film. With its futuristic design and large glass surfaces, the car offers a fascinating perspective on the future of sheer driving pleasure - in combination with maximum efficiency,” he added. “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol”, directed by Brad Bird, opened in cinemas in Kuwait on December 15th.

Oman Air appoints new GM, Customer Services KUWAIT: Oman Air has announced the appointment of Saleem Bin Amanullah Bin Abdul Hussain to the new role of General Manager Customer Services. He will be based at the airline’s headquarters in Muscat and will spearhead Oman Air’s drive for the highest quality in all direct customer contact. Amanulla was appointed following a 23year career in aviation, most recently as Chief Executive Officer - Cargo for RAS-ENT, a Canadian GSA based in Toronto. Prior to this, he held a number of positions with Gulf Air, including Head of Airports. In addition, Amanulla holds Airline Pilot and Flight Dispatch certification from AFDTC in Dallas. On taking up his appointment, Amanulla said: “I am delighted to be joining Oman Air and to be taking on such an important role at a time when the airline is attracting such widespread acclaim. Effective Customer Services are a vital part of any successful organization and this is especially the case for airlines. “I look forward to bringing my extensive experience of the aviation sector, my commitment to delivering a seamless passenger experience and my dynamic approach to management to Oman Air and to playing a role in the airline’s continued and growing

success. Having travelled the world and worked in so many different locations over the years, I am also looking forward to once again working in Oman - it is great to be

Saleem Bin Amanullah Bin Abdul Hussain coming home!” Don Hunter, Oman Air’s Chief Officer Airport Operations, added: “We are pleased to be welcoming Saleem to the Oman Air team and to be benefitting from

his knowledge and proactive approach. His long experience, both within the Gulf region and beyond, together with his commitment to the highest standards of customer service make him a great choice for Oman Air.” Saleem Bin Amanullah Bin Abdul Hussain’s appointment comes at the end of a 21-month period in which the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman has received 21 awards, including ‘Best Business Class Seat in the World’ and ‘Service Excellence, Middle East’ (World Airline Awards), ‘Airline of the Year’ (Laurier d’Or du Voyage d’Affaires) and ‘Best Luxury Airline, Middle East (Business Destinations Awards). Oman Air’s focus on the quality of its passenger experience has been accompanied by the introduction of new Airbus A330 and Embraer E175 aircraft, the pioneering of complete inflight mobile phone and wi-fi connectivity and the expansion of its network to include 41 destinations worldwide, the latest of which, Zurich, was launched on 2nd December 2011. Don Hunter concludes: “This is an exciting time to be joining Oman Air and Saleem Bin Amanullah Bin Abdul Hussain will, I am sure, contribute to ensure that we continue to offer superb value and unrivalled service for every customer.

Yousef Al-Qatami with Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive staff

Burgan Bank grants Premier and Visa platinum credit cardholders free valet parking at Salhiya Mall KUWAIT: Burgan Bank announced yesterday that it has launched a new initiative for its Premier and Visa Platinum credit cardholders, which allows them to receive free valet parking at Salhiya mall. The new value added service is effective from today and valid until December 2012. The new free valet parking service has been introduced as part of the bank’s wide range of valuable benefits that are aimed to ease and enhance its customers’ daily routine experience. Premier and Visa Platinum credit cardholders can now save on time, and shop comfortably without the worry of searching for parking spots. Haneen Al Rumaihi, Head of Marketing at Burgan Bank said: “We continue to ensure that our customers receive a distinct experience, not only while banking, but during their daily routine lives. Customers need to only present their Premier Debit as well as the Visa Platinum credit cards, and enjoy the benefits of free valet parking. Our latest offer has been developed to cater to the

needs of our customers in every way.” Hussein Fakih, Marketing Manager of Hamad Al-Wazzan Group stated: “This service, which has been offered by Hamad Al-Wazzan co., aims to provide added value customer centric solutions, which ensures the delivery of luxury services by saving customers’ time, effort and trouble. Burgan Bank’s Premier customers are ideal to this, and the segment is synonymous to our new program, which reflects the result of a fruitful cooperation between Burgan Bank and Hamad Al-Wazzan Co.” Burgan Bank’s offers and promotions continue to raise the bar of banking excellence. The bank’s strategy has carefully been developed to cater for its customers’ needs, and provides an extensive array of added value benefits that go beyond banking. For information on Burgan Bank’s latest offers, products and services, customers are required to visit their nearest branch, contact the bank’s call center on 1804080, or log onto Burgan Bank’s official website www.burgan.com .

Holiday season gives birth to new shoppers Four new types of American shoppers emerge here’s the bargain hunter who times deals. The midnight buyer who stays up late for discounts. The returner who gets buyer’s remorse. And the “me” shopper who self-gifts. It’s the latest shift by consumers in the fourth year of a weak US economy. Shoppers are expected to spend $469.1 billion during the holiday shopping season that runs from November through December. While it won’t be known just how much Americans spent until the season ends on Saturday, it’s already clear they are shopping differently than they have in years past. “We’re seeing different types of buying behavior in a new economic reality,” says C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group.

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THE BARGAIN TIMER Cost-conscious shoppers haven’t just been looking for bargains this season. They’ve also been more deliberate about when to find those deals. Many believe the biggest bargains come at the beginning and end of the season, which has created a kind of “dumbbell effect” in sales. For the week ended on Nov 26, which included the traditional start of the holiday shopping season on the day after Thanksgiving, stores had the biggest sales surge com-

pared with the prior week since 1993, according to the International Council of Shopping CentersGoldman Sachs Weekly Chain Stores Sales Index. The cumulative two-week-sales drop-off that followed marked the biggest percentage decline since 2000. Then, stores had another surge in the final days, as retailers stepped up their promotions again. “Shoppers are budgeting their money and time,” says Paco Underhill, whose company, Envirosell, studies how consumers behave in stores. “They’re focused on being opportunistic bargain shopping vultures.” Kalilah Middleton, 30, of Queens, is one of them. Starting late on Thanksgiving night, she spent five hours and $400 at Wal-Mart and Target. She bought a TV and clothing at 50 percent off. Then, she waited until Christmas Eve to shop again because she believed she’d get better deals later in the season. THE MIDNIGHT BUYER Used to be, bargain shoppers would wake up at the crack of dawn to take advantage of big discounts on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. This year, some shoppers instead stayed up late on Thanksgiving night to get deals.

This behavior was in large part due to retailers’ efforts to outdo each other during the traditional start to the holiday shopping season. Stores like Macy’s, Best Buy and Target for the first time opened at midnight on Thanksgiving night, offering deals that once were reserved for the next day. Twentyfour percent of Black Friday shoppers were at stores at midnight, according to a poll by the National Retail Federation, the industry’s biggest trade group. THE RETURNER Shoppers who were lured into stores by bargains gleefully loaded up on everything from discounted tablet computers to clothing early in the holiday season. But soon after, many of them were rushing back to return the items they bought.For instance, Elizabeth Yamada, 55, of Fort Lee, NJ, says she got caught up with the shopping frenzy over the Thanksgiving weekend and picked up a $350 coat that was marked down more than 50 percent off at Macy’s. She ended up returning the item one week later. “It was nice, but I didn’t need it,” says Yamada, who works part-time as a waitress and a hospital aide. “It was impulsive shopping. But I am doing more reflecting.” It’s all about buyer’s remorse. For

every dollar stores take in this holiday season, it’s expected they will have to give back 9.9 cents in returns, up from 9.8 last year, according to the a survey of 110 retailers the NRF. It would be the highest return rate since the recession. In better economic times, it’s about 7 cents. Stores have themselves to blame for the higher returns. They lured shoppers in with deals of up to 60 percent off as early as October. THE “ME” SHOPPER One for you; one for me. After scrimping on themselves during the recession, Americans turned to shopping for themselves. It’s a trend that started last year but became more prevalent this season. — According to the NRF, spending for non-gift items will increase by 16 percent this holiday season to $130.43 per person. That’s the highest number recorded since it started tracking it in 2004. “This season, the consumer put herself ahead of the giving,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with market research firm The NPD Group. Betty Thomas, a health care coordinator at a hospital in Raleigh, NC, says she spent $1,700 on a ring and bracelet for herself and a rug for her home during the holiday season. — AP

Gold around $1,600; US data, Europe eyed SHANGHAI/LONDON: Gold hovered around $1,600 an ounce yesterday, as investors stayed on the sidelines in the final week of the year, subdued by lingering concerns about the euro-zone debt crisis. Recent US economic data spurred a rally in riskier assets including equities and industrial metals, and sent gold prices up about half a percent last week. Investors will look for more signs of recovery in the United States from data this week, including consumer confidence for December due later yesterday. “Gold prices may be under pressure from a strengthening dollar in the next few months as the brightened economic prospects in the United States are likely to further boost the dollar index,” said Li Ning, an analyst at Shanghai CIFCO Futures. The dollar index traded steady

yesterday, and was on course for a second straight quarter of gains, as fears about the worsening euro zone debt crisis drove investors to seek safety in the greenback. Spot gold fell to a one-week low of $1,591.09 earlier and recovered slightly to $1,594.96 by 1225 GMT, down 0.7 percent. US gold dropped 0.68 percent to $1,595.30. Silver and gold speculators cut their bullish bets for the third consecutive week in the week to Dec. 20, with silver net long positions down by more than half, said the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Market participants are also watching Italy’s last bond auctions of the year later this week, after the 10-year Italian bond yield broke above 7 percent, seen as an unsustainably high level. — Reuters


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TECHNOLOGY

LG glasses-free 3d Smartphone knocks OUT 3D CAMERAS LG’s 3D technology has once again caught the attention of global consumers through its collaboration with National Geographic to showcase the world’s first 3D image gallery at

this year’s IFA. After shooting, all six artists testified to LG Optimus 3D’s excellent image quality while eliminating the burden of heavy equipment and praised it to be the 3D device of choice.

Justin Guariglia, one of the participating photographers, mentioned that the technology is just amazing in such a small device. Ever y photographer would love to have the power of a great camera in a little phone. This is clearly a step in that direction. The key deciding factor has become the level of convenience between a 3D smartphone and a 3D digital camera, which one to choose? 1) No need to worry about dizziness If the degree of convergence is not set correctly, users may experience dizziness due to the ‘crosstalk effect’. LG has thus succeeded in preventing the ‘crosstalk effect’ through an auto convergence technology. This technology provides maximum level of depth and eliminates possible dizziness. 2) Misalignment correction technology Mist, excessive heat, humidity as well as slight bumps can cause misalignment of the two cameras, resulting in negative effects on the 3D image quality. LG’s Optimus 3D sets itself apart from 3D cameras as the only 3D device installed with a self-correcting technology on a real-time basis. It therefore provides its users with optimal 3D image quality without the hassle or inconveniences of other devices. Image and video resolution Furthermore, the LG Optimus 3D is the only 3D phone that can take 3D photos with 3.2 megapixel qualities. In comparison, the 3D resolution for HTC’s EVO 3D and Sharp’s Aquos SH-12C is only 2 megapixels. Display size The display size that influences the degree of 3D effects is a significant factor since consumers frequently enjoy their photo and video content directly on their phone screen. The LG Optimus 3D’s 4.3-inch LCD screen has a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels to offer great 3D effects.

Share with a wider audience Users can browse the existing 3D contents on Youtube as well as share self-created contents with a wider audience through a preloaded YouTube application based on its exclusive partnership. Transformation between 2D and 3D The LG Optimus 3D is the only 3D device that allows users to freely transform their 2D content into 3D, and vice versa. Users are able to switch images and videos from 2D into 3D. Moreover, LG’s upcoming “3D Game Converter” will advance the 3D content environment and lead the 3D industry with the world’s first 3D game converter on a smartphone platform. Overall: LG Optimus 3D is the clear winner After comparing two recently released 3D smartphones and two 3D cameras, LG Optimus 3D’s superior qualities with exclusive 3D features makes it the clear winner. The device’s auto convergence and misalignment calibration technologies help users create high quality 3D content without the need for extra equipment. Moreover, the wide 4.3 inch display allows users to seamlessly enjoy and share their self-made 3D content. Brian Skerry, another photographer who joined the LGNational Geographic collaboration, commented on his great experience with the LG Optimus 3D by saying, “What wowed me about the phone and the 3D experience was that the images would have been compelling in 2D but in 3D they were just better.” All in all, 3D smartphones are more convenient than 3D digital cameras thanks to the ‘mobility’ features, such as sharing capability and instant web-access. The LG Optimus 3D is considered to be the most optimal 3D device that provides incomparable convenience and cutting edge 3D features.

CANADA: Photo dated July 2, 2011 courtesy of Societe des Arts technologiques (SAT) shows a child following the movements on screen of an avatar during a demonstration of a new therapy designed to treat anxiety and social behavior with the help of new video technology at the St Justine Hospital Center in Montreal, Quebec. —AFP

Doctors look to treat sick children in virtual worlds MONTREAL: Doctors in a domed laboratory in Canada are designing a virtual world where they hope to one day treat traumatized children with colorful avatars using toy-like medical gadgets. Sensory stimulation could be used to make a burn victim feel she is encased in a block of ice. Three-dimensional images of a child’s bedroom at home could make him forget he is in a hospital. “You could take a child suffering from burns and put him in a polar environment, crossing the threshold of reality, to dull his pain,” said Patrick Dube, who is leading a team of medics from Montreal’s Sainte-Justine hospital and software engineers at the Society for Arts and Technology. “We know that cognitive illusions have an effect on the perception of pain,” he said. At the Satosphere, an 18-meter-wide (60-foot) dome originally designed to provide spectators with a 360-degree view of art projections, the team has set up a hospital room, or “living lab”, to try out new treatment ideas. The dome, touted by Satosphere president Monique Savoie as a “cinema for the 21st century,” is a scion of the Circle-Vision theatre unveiled at the 1967 International and Universal Exposition’s Bell Pavilion in Montreal. “We can, through multiple projectors, create immersive environments that integrate not only walls, but also the furniture in a room,” Dube said. Another tool being tested by the doctors would allow them to give medical

gadgets the appearance of fantastical, non-threatening toys. Children would in theory be able to familiarize themselves with “scary” medical instruments, like syringes, easing common fears over medical tests and treatments. In the hands of a little girl, a syringe is transformed into a storybook rocket. “I’m no longer scared of injections,” said Maxime, 11, the daughter of one of the researchers. The researchers are also looking into avatars that could one day allow doctors and nurses to communicate with children traumatized by sickness or a crippling accident, who may not be comfortable opening up to an adult. Such high-tech puppetry might be used to build a child’s confidence or help re-socialize them. The person controlling the avatar from another room could ask a child to mimic its movements as part of physical rehabilitation. The ultimate aim is to apply the technology to help the children “overcome their fears and discover things about themselves,” said Patricia Garel, head of Sainte-Justine’s psychiatry department. “There’s enormous potential in our discipline, but we’re still at a very early exploratory stage.” Virtual communication and video games are known to sometimes have a negative impact on the socialization of children, particularly the most emotionally fragile, who might shut themselves in. But Garel insists that if the tools are used correctly they could carve a virtual path back to normal life. —AFP

Facebook unwelcome in Vietnam, but Zuckerberg OK

HA LONG: This picture taken on December 25, 2011 shows Facebook’s founder and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg being greeted with flowers by two unidentified local tourist officials aboard a tourist boat before he and his girlfriend Priscilla Chan (not pictured) tour Ha Long Bay in northeastern province of Quuang Ninh. —AFP

Serbian Orthodox Church launches prayer app BELGR ADE: S erbia’s staunchly traditional Orthodox Church yesterday announced the launch of a free mobile app allowing the faithful to access prayer books on their phones. IPhone and Android phone users will be able to download them from the website www.spc.rs. The program was developed with Russian programmers and Russian religious website www.pravoslavie.ru, it added. The prayer books will be available in so-called Old Church Slavic, Milos Antonijevic, who works at the Serbian Orthodox Church’s centre for new technologies, told the Politika newspaper. “The church at the moment does not have a Serbian language prayer app ... We have the possibility of mak ing an app that gives the prayers in Serbian but the church will have to decide on that,” he said. A large majority of Serbia’s 7.1 million population are Orthodox Christians and the church is very influential. —AFP

HANOI: Vietnam may block its citizens from using Facebook, but that didn’t stop website founder Mark Zuckerberg from spending his vacation in the communist country. Zuckerberg spent Christmas Eve in the popular tourist destination Ha Long Bay, local official Trinh Dang Thanh says. State-run media say Zuckerberg arrived in Vietnam on Dec 22. Zuckerberg spent Christmas Day at an ecolodge in the northern mountain town of Sapa and rode a buffalo, said Le Phuc Thien, deputy manager at Topas Ecolodge. Zuckerberg, Facebook’s 27year-old CEO, founded the popular social net work ing site in 2004. Vietnam’s aggressive Internet censors block access to Facebook and other websites, but young Vietnamese easily bypass the restrictions. —AP

Italy fines Apple for misleading consumers ROME: Italy’s anti-trust authority said yesterday it was imposing a 900,000-euro ($1.2-million) fine on US tech giant Apple for misleading consumers on assistance services and guarantees for its products. “Sanctions of a total of 900,000 euros have been imposed on the Apple group after it was found responsible for bad commercial prac tices that harmed consumers,” the agency said in a statement. Apple had given “unclear information on payments for additional assistance offered to consumers” and the company had not “fully implemented the twoyear guarantee by the producer,” it added. European antitrust officials earlier this month launched a probe to determine whether Apple and five international publishers struck illegal deals to fix the price of e-books in Europe. Apple has also come under pressure from a bitter global legal battle with South Korean electronics giant Samsung, which accuses the US giant of infringing four of its patents with the iPhone. Apple reported a record net profit of $6.62 billion (5.06 billion euros) in the third quarter of this year. —AFP

CHINA: Chinese workers unveil the new high-speed train, capable of reaching speeds up to 500 kilometers (310 miles) an hour, during a ceremony in Qingdao yesterday. —AFP

China unveils high-speed train despite safety woes SHANGHAI: China has unveiled a prototype train capable of reaching speeds up to 500 kilometers (310 miles) an hour, state media said yesterday, as the nation pushes ahead with high-speed rail despite a fatal crash. China has built the world’s largest high-speed rail system from scratch in less than a decade, but a collision between two high-speed trains in July that killed at least 40 people led it to suspend new projects. The new experimental train was unveiled in the eastern province of Shandong at the weekend by stateowned train maker CSR Corp, the China Daily newspaper said. The train, whose sleek design was inspired by an ancient Chinese sword, was built using plastic rein-

forced with carbon fibre and magnesium alloy to reduce weight and therefore increase speed, the report said. There was no indication of when the six-car train would be put into commercial use. China’s bullet trains routinely travelled at around 300 kilometers an hour, but the government reduced speeds after the July accident, which involved trains made by CSR. Initial reports suggested signaling problems were to blame for the crash, which sparked strong public criticism of China’s government, but the results of an official investigation have not yet been released. Separately, a new high-speed railway linking the capital of the southern province of Guangdong,

Guangzhou, to Shenzhen city on the border with Hong Kong went into service Monday, the official Xinhua news agency said yesterday. China plans to extend the route to Hong Kong by 2015 as part of the planned Beijing-Hong Kong high-speed line, it said. The latest moves come despite China saying last week it will cut spending on its railways next year. The railways ministry will invest 400 billion yuan ($63 billion) on rail infrastructure in 2012, down from an estimated 469 billion yuan this year and 700 billion yuan in 2010, state media said. The cash-strapped ministry is burdened by debt after borrowing to finance railway projects and some banks have stopped lending it money. —AFP


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H E A LT H & S C I E NC E

Abuse experts worried by powerful painkiller Patients could legally buy pure hydrocodone

KATHMANDU: An injured royal bengal tiger is seen inside an enclosure set up by park rangers at Kashara in Chitwan National Park, some 200kms southwest of Kathmandu, yesterday. There are some 125 Royal Bengal tigers known to roam the 932-square kilometre park. —AFP

Ulcer bacteria may act against diarrhea NEW YORK: People who harbor ulcercausing bacteria in their stomachs may be protected against some diarrheal diseases, according to an Israeli study. Some previous studies had suggested that being infected with the bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, increases the risk of diarrhea, while others have reported finding the opposite, said researchers from Tel Aviv University. “Our findings suggest an active role of H. pylori in the protection against diarrheal diseases,” wrote lead author Dani Cohen in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. The bacterium is especially common throughout the developing world, but only causes symptoms in a minority of those it infects. People with chronic H. pylori infections are known to have an increased risk of stomach cancer and related diseases. Cohen’s team studied 595 male Israeli soldiers, close to one-third of whom visited a base clinic for diarrhea during their field training. All of the soldiers had their blood taken before the start of training, which researchers used to

determine which men were chronically infected with H. pylori. It turned out that between 32 and 36 percent of soldiers who had diarrhea due to different types of bacteria than H. pylori, or from unknown causes, had been infected with H. pylori before training. By contrast, up to 56 percent of soldiers who had been infected with H. pylori before training reported no diarrhea. The researchers calculated that being infected with H. pylori meant solders were about 60 percent less likely to get diarrhea from Shigella bacteria. They also had a lower chance of having diarrhea caused by Escherichia coli bacteria - although statistically, that par ticular finding could be due to chance. An H. Pylori infection may affect how acidic the gut is, and high acidity is known to keep disease-causing bacteria from settling there, Cohen said in an email. Having an immune system in overdrive due to chronic H. pylori infection may also keep other bacteria in the digestive system at bay, the researchers wrote. — Reuters

2011 hottest year in France since 1900 PARIS: This year was the hottest in France since the start of the 20th century, Meteo France said Tuesday, with average national temperatures 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than the norm. The average national temperature in 2011 was 13.6 degrees Celsius, Meteo France’s Francois Gourand told AFP, 0.2 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous hottest year, 2003. This year’s spring was particularly warm, with temperatures an average 4.0 degrees Celsius warmer than usual in April. The “norm” is the average temperature from 1971 to 2000, Gourand said. Autumn 2011 was also exceptionally mild, with November the second hottest since 1900, 3.0 degrees Celsius warmer

than the average of temperatures from 1971 to 2000. Every month in 2011 was above this benchmark except for July, when temperatures were 1.3 degrees Celsius cooler than average. The year’s warm temperatures were accompanied by 20 percent less rainfall than usual, except in the southeast of France where heavy rain in November saw the average attained. On a global level, the World Meteorological Organisation said at the end of November that 2011 was at that point the “10th warmest year at a global level” since records began in 1850. Moreover, the world’s 13 hottest years since records began are all from the last 15 years, the UN weather organisation said. — AFP

French implant maker faced lawsuits in US NEW YORK: Breast implants made by troubled French firm PIP have been at the heart of multiple lawsuits in the United States, where they were sold up until 2000, documents filed with the US government show. Tens of thousands of women worldwide have been fitted with the implants, which were made from industrial rather than medical grade silicone. France’s health ministry recommended last week that the 30,000 women in the country with the implants have them taken out, saying that while there is no proven cancer risk, they could rupture dangerously. In the United States, PIP implants were sold through Heritage Worldwide until May 2000, when the US Food and Drug Administration launched a moratorium on silicone implants. At the time, the US market accounted for 40 percent of Heritage Worldwide’s revenues, or $4 million, according to corporate documents filed in 2009 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm posted significant losses in subsequent years, especially starting in 2007, as both users and distributors filed complaints against the company. Between 1996 and 2009, PIP was

the target of several dozen lawsuits in the United States, filed not only by women using the implants but also by its business partners, claiming breach of contract or unmet payments. A February 2009 document cites three complaints in Florida -filed in October 1999, June 2000 and July 2003 by five members of the Kwartin family against PIP, its affiliates and founder JeanClaude Mas. The plaintiffs said they were shareholders of PIP distributor PIP/USA, Inc. and were seeking unspecified damages from PIP and other stakeholders “arising out of alleged tortious and other purported wrongful acts,” the document added. The complaints were later consolidated into a class action lawsuit in 2005. Dozens of women began filing lawsuits against PIP, mainly for product liability, starting in 2003, including in Illinois and Texas. But as of 2009, no trial date had yet been set. Many of the lawsuits were later dismissed. The complaints cited defective merchandise not suited for its intended purpose and violations of local consumer legislation. PIP was once the world’s third-largest producer of silicone implants.— AFP

NEW YORK: Drug companies are working to develop a pure, more power ful version of a highly abused medicine, which has addiction experts worried that it could spur a new wave of abuse. The new pills contain the highly addictive painkiller hydrocodone, packing up to 10 times the amount of the drug as existing medications such as Vicodin. Four companies have begun patient testing, and one of them Zogenix of San Diego - plans to apply early next year to begin marketing its product, Zohydro. If approved, it would mark the first time patients could legally buy pure hydrocodone. Existing products combine the drug with nonaddictive painkillers such as acetaminophen. Critics say they are especially worried about Zohydro, a timedrelease drug meant for managing moderate to severe pain, because abusers could crush it to release an intense, immediate high. “I have a big concern that this could be the next OxyContin,” said April Rovero, president of the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse. “We just don’t need this on the market.” OxyContin, introduced in 1995 by Purdue Pharma of Stamford, Connecticut, was designed to manage pain with a formula that dribbled one dose of oxycodone over many hours. Abusers quickly discovered they could defeat the timed-release feature by crushing the pills. Purdue Pharma changed the formula to make OxyContin more tamper-resistant, but addicts have moved onto generic oxycodone and other drugs that do not have a timed-release feature. Oxycodone is now the mostabused medicine in the United States, with hydrocodone second, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s annual count of drug seizures sent to police drug labs for analysis. The latest drug tests come as more pharmaceutical companies

are getting into the $10 billion-ayear legal market for powerful and addictive - opiate narcotics. “It’s like the wild west,” said Peter Jackson, co-founder of Advocates for the Reform of Prescription Opioids. “The whole supply-side system is set up to perpetuate this massive unloading of opioid

product. The companies say a pure hydrocodone pill would avoid liver problems linked to high doses of acetaminophen, an ingredient in products like Vicodin. They also say patients will be more closely supervised because, by law, they will have to return to their doc-

Cephalon, a Frazer, Pennsylvaniabased unit of Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals, are conducting late -stage trials of their own hydrocodone drugs, according to documents filed with federal regulators. Hydrocodone belongs to family of drugs known as opiates or opioids because they are

SAN DIEGO: In this Dec 22, 2011 photo, the sun slowly sets on the empty parking lot at the Zogenix headquarters. The pharmaceutical maker is one of at least four companies working on purer, more powerful versions of the nation’s second most-abused medicine, hydrocodone, a trend that has addiction experts worried that it could spur a new round of abuse.— AP narcotics on the American public.” The pharmaceutical firms say the new hydrocodone drugs give doctors another tool to try on patients in legitimate pain, part of a constant search for better painkillers to treat the aging U.S. population. “Sometimes you circulate a patient between various opioids, and some may have a better effect than others,” said Karsten Lindhardt, chief executive of Denmark-based Egalet, which is testing its own pure hydrocodone

tors each time they need more pills. Prescriptions for the weaker, hydrocodone-acetaminophen products now on the market can be refilled up to five times. Zogenix has completed three rounds of patient testing, and last week it announced it had held a final meeting with Food and Drug Administration officials to talk about its upcoming drug application. It plans to file the application in early 2012 and have Zohydro on the market by early 2013. Purdue Pharma and

chemically similar to opium. They include morphine, heroin, oxycodone, codeine, methadone and hydromorphone. Opiates block pain but also unleash intense feelings of well-being and can create physical dependence. The withdrawal symptoms are also intense, with users complaining of cramps, diarrhea, muddled thinking, nausea and vomiting. After a while, opiates stop working, forcing users to take stronger doses or to try slightly different chemicals. — AP

The enduring mystery of snowflakes LOS ANGELES: Who hasn’t caught a snowflake in a mitten and marveled at its starlike detail, and then recalled that no two snowflakes are alike? But these crystals of ice are even more different than one might imagine - there are needle-like snowflakes, hollow-column snowflakes and flakes that look like delicate dumbbells, with two joined together by a column. Caltech physicist Kenneth Libbrecht, who studies the crystalline structure of snowflakes and has published seven books of snowflake photographs, talked to the Los Angeles Times about what we do, and don’t, know about them.

Q: Why is every snowflake different? A: As an ice crystal falls, it will move from one part of the cloud to another, and the temperature and the humidity will be changing as it falls. Every time there are these small changes in the conditions, the growth of the arms changes. So you get all these branches and facets and all these different shapes - and by the time it lands on the ground, it’s had a

magnifying glass and I went outside and looked and the falling snow - and there they were, capped columns all over, and these other shapes, too. You just don’t notice if you don’t pay any attention. That’s what got me into popularizing the science of it, because it seemed like if you live in snow country you ought to know a little a bit about what’s falling out of the sky.

very complicated history because of all these changes in temperature and humidity. And because no two crystals follow exactly the same path as they fall, they all look a little different.

Q: Are there advantages to studying ice crystals rather than other, perhaps more exotic, materials? A: Not only is the physics of ice crystals particularly rich, but experiments are pretty cheap and easy. As you can imagine, ice doesn’t have a lot of safety issues. For almost anything else you can think of growing, experiments are confounded by safety issues. Just about any chemical has hazards, so you have to spend a lot of money and time worrying about that. I just love the ability to be able to pour your experiment down the drain or just evaporate it into the air without any thought of safety. And the fun part is, in the end, it’s not like some esoteric thing that nobody ever sees. Most physicists study black holes or Higgs bosons - things that that never appear in ordinary experience. Whereas this stuff falls out of the sky, literally. So it’s kind of fun to think about the puzzles surrounding it. — MCT

Q: What’s so strange about snowflakes? A: If you grow ice crystals - snowflakes - just below freezing, then you get thin plate-like crystals. These include the canonical snowflakes, the star-like crystals. But if you get a little colder, (around 5 degrees C below freezing) then instead of plates, you get long thin columns - which is really almost the opposite of a plate. Think wooden pencils, little hexagonal columns, as opposed to a hexagonal plate. In the star type, the faces grow slowly and the edges grow quickly, and in the pencil type, the edges grow slowly and the faces grow quickly. And so in just a few degrees’ temperature change, the growth changes from plate-like to columnar. And as you go colder, to 15 degrees below zero, it changes back to plate-like. At even lower temperatures, below 30 degrees below zero, the shape changes back to columnar. So there are these transitions as a function of temperature, and that’s really hard to explain. It’s been a puzzle for 75 years, and it’s still really not known what causes this. There are also variations in humidity. And the higher the humidity in the clouds, the faster the crystals grow, and the more structure they develop and the bigger they get. So at low humidities, you get simple, small crystals and at high humidities, they’re more complex. Q: In your lab experiments, what have you been able to find out? A: What I found is that there’s what I call a “sharpening effect.” When the edge of an ice crystal gets sharp, actually the molecular structure of its edge changes, and it makes it grow faster, which makes it sharper, which makes it grow faster, and which sharpens it more ... so you end up with a very thin plate as sharp as a razor blade. That sharpening effect is why the crystals are so thin and flat. So if you change the temperature, all you’re doing is changing the way the sharpening effect works. If the sharpening effect goes in the edge direction, it’ll make a thin plate. If the sharpening effect goes in the upwards direction, you get a hollow column. A very small temperature change can make it flip directions. The sharpening effect amplifies that small change.

Q: So snowflakes come in more shapes than your garden-variety hexagon. Which is your favorite? A: One of my favorites is the capped column. That’s a crystal that first forms as a column and later on it changes, and has plates on the ends of a column. So it’s an odd looking thing - like two wheels on an axle. When I started reading the literature on the subject, I found pictures of these capped columns and just found them really interesting. I mean, I grew up in North Dakota - how come I’ve never seen one of these before? On a trip to visit family at Christmas time, I took along my


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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011

US cities struggle to control sewer overflows TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan: Twice in recent summers, visitors to parts of Michigan’s western coast were greeted by mounds of garbage strewn along miles of sandy beach: plastic bottles, eating utensils, food wrappers, even hypodermic syringes. At least some of the rubbish had drifted across Lake Michigan from Milwaukee, a vivid reminder that many cities still flush nasty stuff into streams and lakes during heavy storms, fouling the waters with bacteria and viruses that can make people seriously ill. Thousands of overflows from sewage systems that collect storm water and wastewater are believed to occur each year. Regulators and environmentalists want them stopped, and since the late 1990s the Environmental Protection Agenc y or state officials have reached legal agreements with more than 40 cities or counties - Atlanta, Los Angeles, Baltimore, St Louis and Indianapolis among them - to improve wastewater systems that in some cases are a century old. Costs are reaching hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars. But the price of progress is becoming too high for local governments, with the bad economy cutting into tax revenues and residents rebelling against higher water and sewer rates. Responding to pleas for leniency, the Obama administration is promising more flexibility as hard-pressed cities look for less conventional and cheaper ways to reduce overflows. “The current economic times make the need for sensible and effective approaches even more pressing,” said an October memo to EPA regional offices from Nanc y Stoner, who runs the agency’s water policy office, and Cynthia Giles, chief of enforcement. They said EPA staffers would work out details of the new policy. It won’t be easy, considering the costs and inflamed emotions involved. Carol Rodwell and neighbors carted away 18 bags of garbage from a 400-foot stretch of Lake Michigan frontage near Ludington after last year’s trash flotilla. She was shocked to learn that federal law lets cities discharge untreated sewage when their plants and storage facilities are flooded. “It was maddening that they had permission to do this and we had to live with the consequences,” Rodwell said. Kevin Shafer, executive director of the

Milwaukee sewage system, insisted it was only partly to blame, saying some of the rubbish probably came from trash cans or dumpsters swamped when the area got about 9 inches of rain in a single day. Milwaukee has spent $4 billion since the 1980s improving its sewer system, Shafer said. It now has 521 million gallons of storage capacity in underground tunnels. Since the mid-1990s, less than 2 percent of the water entering the system each year has been released without treatment. The ultimate goal is zero overflows, but officials don’t expect to get there until about 2035

because it will require being able to handle the kind of flooding that previously happened rarely but is becoming more common. “It gets a lot more expensive to get that last drop,” Shafer said. “The way the economy is today, you have to balance that cost with all the other needs we have. You don’t want to bankrupt a community.” One partial solution gaining popularity with cities is “green infrastructure” - natural and manmade features that enable more water to soak into the ground instead of washing into storm drains and creeks. Stoner and Giles of EPA instructed field staff last year to incorporate

LUDINGTON, Michigan: In this photo taken Aug 10, 2010, an unidentified Pere Marquette Township resident holds waste that has been washing up onto the shoreline near the Buttersville Peninsula beach. The waste contains a variety of items including medical waste, plastic and paper products. — AP

green features into storm water and sewer permits as much as possible. Examples would include requiring office buildings to cover flat roofs with plants, using permeable pavement on roads and parking lots, and increasing parkland and urban green space. Milwaukee is encouraging residents to use rain barrels and plant “rain gardens”, which have wildflowers and deep-rooted vegetation particularly suited to absorbing excess water. Indianapolis last year renegotiated an earlier deal with EPA that cuts the city’s costs by hundreds of millions through greater use of green features, Mayor Greg Ballard said. A new ordinance in Santa Monica, Calif., orders building developers to capture the first three-quarters of an inch of rainwater in a storm and encourages meeting the requirement with green infrastructure. Cleveland has pledged to spend $42 million over eight years on green projects, said Jennifer Elting, spokeswoman for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. An assortment of measures are required in Chicago under a deal struck with EPA this month that sets deadlines for completing a gigantic tunnel and reservoir project, which has lagged since work began nearly 40 years despite repeated sewer over flows. The US Conference of Mayors has pressured EPA to give cities more time and options for limiting overflows. Testifying before Congress this month, Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle said the agency’s embrace of green infrastructure was a welcome change from a heavy-handed approach that demanded big-ticket investments in conventional water treatment equipment. “Using enforcement actions as the default option sends the message via the mass media to our citizens that mayors are not trustworthy, and that they condone water pollution,” Suttle said. The federal government should help struggling cities pay for sewer improvements but shouldn’t let them off the hook for overflows, said Lyman Welch, water quality program manager with the Alliance for the Great Lakes, a Chicago-based environmental group. “Cities have had decades to deal with this problem,” Welch said. “We need firm deadlines and we need strong enforcement so it can finally be solved.”— AP


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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011

W H AT ’ S O N

Greetings Happy birthday to our dearest son Kabir Hussain, who celebrates his birthday today. May Almighty Allah bless him with good health and bright future. Best wishes come from parents Sania Asad, Malaika Asad, relatives and friends.

GUST hosts first ever health carnival

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his year marked a first in GUST carnival history. The Sports Club hosted a twoday “Green Light Carnival” that focused on raising health awareness as well as encouraging physical activity. The Sports Club organized an array of activities that got students and faculty alike interested in the importance of good health. The carnival hosted interactive day activities, a seminar and a nightly show that got spectators’ blood pumping. The purpose of the carnival was to illustrate to the students and faculty that taking care of our health is very important. It was not limited to just the concepts of weight loss

and fitness but to adopt an overall healthy lifestyle. The carnival hosted daily activities that began with offering check-ups, done by

weight, blood pressure and blood sugar. The doctors gave students and faculty the information they need about their health, and tips

the Kuwait Heart Foundation. A bus was set up by the Roman theater, where students and faculty went to check their height,

to help improve anything that needed to get better. Apart from the checkups offered, the Sports Club hosted a

Najla Al-Naqqi Forum celebrates school centennial

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ocial activist Najla AlNaqqi hosts an event at her forum in Salwa this Saturday evening to celebrate the Mubarakiya School Centennial, or the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the first school in modern Kuwait history. The event is set to be attended by Kuwaiti Writers Association secretary Saleh Al-Misbah, the Kuwait Heritage Team vice president Hani Al-As’ousy, and Kuwaiti heritage researcher Abdullan Nasser.

AIP Awards Nite 2011

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ssociation of Indian Professionals (AIP) will organize a mega event to award meritorious Indian students on December 29, 2011 (Thursday) at the auditorium of the Indian Community School, Salmiya. Awardees have been selected based on CBSE examinations results declared for the academic year 2010 - 2011 from all Indian Schools in Kuwait which are affiliated to CBSE system of education in India. For further details, contact General Secretary of AIP on 66616783 / 25644301 or yousees27@hotmail.com and / or Dr. Kamlesh Kumari on 24823875 or kamlesh02@gmail.com.

health and fitness seminar led by Dr. Ahmed Leri and Ahmed Al Majed. The seminar titled “Better Health With Every Step” talked about the importance of balancing a healthy lifestyle according to the rigor of activity that a person does. It was a seminar that focused on the concept of balancing proper eating habits (diet) and exercise (fitness) in a way that is beneficial and not harmful to one’s body. Dr. Ahmed Leri and Ahmed Al Majed then opened up the floor for questions from the audience. Another activity that took place was the Zumba classes for girls. Zumba instructor, Rana Y. Al-Omani was invited to offer

Happy birthday to our dearest son Showrove Ahmed Amin, who celebrates his 3rd birthday today. May Almighty Allah bless him with good health and bright future. Best wishes come from father Amin Rana, mother Marzia Amin, grandparents, uncle Mamun, Zamal, aunt Razia, Lia, Myra, Helal Ahmed, Abdur Rahimipoet, Jamel Hossan and all friends and relatives in Bangladesh and Kuwait.

Zumba classes to students to give students a taste of what it is. Zumba is a form of aerobic exercise that combines Latin and international music as well as Latin and international dance moves with aerobics. This work out offers a full cardio work out that is fun and challenging to do. Finally, the carnival offered students and faculty the chance to give back to those whose health is in need of help. The Kuwait Blood Bank was at GUST taking blood donations from all students who were willing and able to donate. Many students came enthusiastic to give back and was a wonderful success.

Kuwait Marriott offers packages to celebrate New Year’s Eve

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o ring in the New Year with joyous festivities, Kuwait Marriott Hotels has created exciting new offers and promotions to entertain its guests. Among the various specials is an opportunity for guests to wear party hats while welcoming the New Year with a fascinating upgraded buffet and live cooking station on 31st night at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel’s premier Atrium Restaurant. Those in search of those exotic Indian flavors to dazzle the taste buds can dine at the renowned Soul and Spice Indian restaurant which is set to welcome guests from 8pm onwards with live entertainment and an exclusive set menu on the cards. George Aoun, General Manager of Kuwait Marriott Hotels said, “It gives us great pleasure in sharing the most awaited time of the year with our guests. Our distinct packages are designed to suit everyone’s tastes and preferences with a unique twist to ensure a memorable experience celebration for your family and friends.”

To add to the New Year’s Eve festivities, the luxurious JW Marriott Kuwait City is set to be transformed into the trendiest place in town with a gala dinner for Kuwait’s

Brasserie restaurant promises an unforgettable time for its guests with an international buffet dinner and a fascinating ambience with glittering decor and custom-made

finest at the Terrace Grill restaurant from 8pm onwards on the 31st of December, complete with an enchanting jazz band and lots of prizes to be won, including a one night stay at the hotel. Not to be left behind, the popular La

party poppers. Cafe Royal, in the heart of the ever-bustling Salhia mall, will present its customers with delicious Yule log cakes, tantalizing mince pies, puddings and much more to take home to friends and loved ones.

Get ready get set - RunQ8

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egistrations are now open for RunQ8, the annual 10km charity race to be held on January 21, 2012. Organized by the Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute (FSRI) and Agility, the race route will run from Marina Crescent in Salmiya along the Gulf Road up to the Third Ring Road and back. The race is aimed at supporting health issues affecting our community and raising awareness around them. In its second year, RunQ8 is promoting road traffic safety. 2011-2021 has been named the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety with a goal to stabilize and then reduce global road traffic fatalities by 2021. In Kuwait, traffic accidents are the third leading cause of mortality and a large number of people and their families are affected by the debilitating effects of injuries caused by road accidents. Last year, the race raised over KWD 50,000 for the Kuwait University’s Community Eye Health Care Initiative that supports Vision 2020, a joint initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). RunQ8 invites all members of the community to join in this initiative and help support road traffic safety in Kuwait. To register contact the FSRI office 25720338 or visit the race websitewww.Runq8.org for more details. There are also pre-race articles and videos produced by FSRI’s specialized sports trainers, physiotherapists, nutritionists and psychologists to help get you ready for the race. Please see our website www.runQ8.org and our Facebook page for updates on our running and walking clinic, race events, and other initiatives.

Upcoming events Aware Center Arabic lessons The AWARE Management is glad to inform you that Winter 1 Arabic language courses will begin on November 20th, 2011 until January 12th, 2012. AWARE Arabic language courses are designed with the expat in mind. The environment is relaxed and courses are designed for those wanting to learn Arabic for travel, cultural understanding, and conducting business or simply to become more involved in the community. We cater to teachers, travelers & those working in the private business sector. Arabic classes at the AWARE Center are unique because students are provided with the chance to practice their Arabic through various social activities that aim at bringing Arabs and Westerners together. AWARE Arabic courses highlight: lIntroductory to Level 4 Arabic language basics lBetter prepare you for speaking, reading and writing Arabic lCombine language learning with cultural insights lTaught in multi-nationality group settings lProvide opportunities to interact with Western expatriates and native Kuwaitis/Arabs. For more information or registration, call 25335260/80 ext 105/104/0 or log onto: www.aware.com.kw. RAK Dance Academy new year hangama-2012 The RAK Dance Academy (RDA) Kuwait, is planning to put a charity event as celebration of its New Year Hangama 2012, on 31st December, 2011, from 6.00pm onwards, at Carmel School Khaitan. All participants are well known artists from Kuwait. The main purpose of this celebration is to collect donations and raise money for supporting handicapped children in India.  Advertisement will be published throughout Kuwait absolutely free of charge. We are expecting huge crowd for this event. The fund raised will be beneficial handicapped children. In order to make this event joyous and successful we are seeking kind contributions from you. Your attendance is your donation. Please join for an evening for a good cause. Darla Srinivasulu Achari, 99 692266; Mob: 65728740 K. Eswar Babu, Phone 99692266, Lashmeesha 65925730 Email: rakdanceacademy@gmail.com

Marafi Bilingual Nursery holds ‘Walk-a-thon’

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t was a terrific and memorable event; children and parents had a great time. Eman Marafi and Dr. Mahmoud Behbehani arranged the event. “Earn Health” Marafi Bilingual Nursery Shaab branch on December 10, 2011. Competitors walked in Shaab Leisure Park. Walkers started at exactly 1 pm. There were activity tables for both children and

parents. 1st activity table was color, cut and paste. 2nd activity table draw and color a square. 3rd activity table was 50 dot finger painting. Last activity table, parent had to face paint a square and a circle. We had numerous winners and parents informed us to create more activities. M.B.N. will have more activities keep in mind it’s open to the public, so come and have some Marafi fun.

A G Church holds musical evening

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ssemblies of God Church Kuwait held a musical evening programme which was performed by its youth wing Christ ambassadors. This programme will be telecasted in powervision TV on 30th December 2011 Friday at 1 pm to 1:30 pm. This event was inaugurated by Pastor P.K Johnson. The church choir and Sunday school chil-

drens sang many beautiful spiritual songs. Assemblies of God Church Kuwait Malayalam New Year worship service will be on December 31st from 9:30 pm in south tent at NECK. All are invited to come and be blessed. For details visit our website www.agchurchkuwait.com.


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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011

W H AT ’ S O N

Embassy Information EMBASSY OF BRAZIL The Embassy of Brazil requests all Brazilian citizens in Kuwait to proceed to the website www.brazil.org.kw (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

The Sunshine Kindergarten visits Kuwait Zoo

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uwait Zoo was the venue for The Sunshine Kindergarten field trip this week. All the children from the KG classes set out from TSK on their journey ready to learn about animals and their habitats. Of course, other than a safari or polar outing, we never get to see animals in their natural environment, but as an alternative, Kuwait Zoo was a real treat. The children from TSK are learning about animals

in their classes and had many questions for their teachers to answer, like; Why do elephants have long noses?, What does a tiger eat? and Why did the doctor tell the monkey no more jumping on the bed? When you work with very young children, they make you remember that the world is a stimulating and wonder ful place. All the children in Kindergarten came back from their trips brimming with excitement about the animals they had seen

and the knowledge they now had about each one. Classroom learning was enhanced and fun was had by all. As the photographs show, there is nothing more exciting that seeing an enormous bear prowling or lounging around, or even watching an antelope being fed a juicy leaf! Learning is always active and fun at The Sunshine Kindergarten.

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, Al-Mutawakel St., Block 4 in Da’aiyah. Please visit our website at www.Kuwait.gc.ca. The Embassy of Canada is open from 07:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. The reception is closed from 12:30 to 01:00 pm for lunch break. Consular Services for Canadian Citizens are provided from 09:00 until 12:00 on Sunday through Wednesday. 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 www.voyage.gc.ca. 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 www.UAE.gc.ca. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF GERMANY

Umm Al-Haiman Secondary School holds activities

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mm Al- Haiman Secondary School for Girls in Ahmadi celebrated World Food Day with staff and students participating in the event. It was celebrated with a display of food items to commemorate the World Food Day which falls in October every year. It was followed by celebrating hundred years of education in Kuwait with a lot of activities and an exhibition titled ‘Bid without Borders’ which included the presentation of different stages of education in Kuwait from the beginning of school years until the introducing of e-schools.

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kuwait wishes to announce that as of 1 May 2011, the external service provider Al Qabas Assurex is operating a Visa Application Centre in support of the German Embassy. Short-term visa applications for travels to Germany (e.g. for tourism, visits, business) are to be submitted to the service provider Al Qabas who for your convenience will ensure that all relevant documents are included in your application. Your personal appearance at the Application Centre is not required. Address of the Visa Application Centre: Al Qabas Assurex Sanabel Tower (AlBabtain) Mezzanine (M3) opposite Sharq Mall Kuwait 22924444 Fax: 22924442 Further information are available on the following websites: www.kuwait.diplo.de www.qavisa.com nnnnnnn

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

EMBASSY OF INDONESIA On the occasion of the New Year holiday, the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Kuwait will be closed on 29 December 2011 and will resume its activities on 2 January 2012.

Community service at KNES

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EMBASSY OF NIGERIA The Nigerian embassy has its new office in Mishref. Block 3, Street 7, House 4. For enquires please call 25379541. Fax- 25387719. Email- nigeriakuwait@yahoo.com or nigeriankuwait@yahoo.co.uk

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uwait National English School (KNES) in Hawally along with the “Top Team” from Starbucks for the Gulf Area are working together in community service projects. This project involved creating murals to further beautify the school. As it was on walls surrounding the covered basketball court, the students chose athletic themes for the murals. Part of our school mission of statement is to develop students’ awareness of not only their rights but also their responsibilities so we are very happy when our students from Kuwait National English School (KNES) show such interest in participating in events like this.

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EMBASSY OF PERU Peruvian Permanent Expo will be temporarily closed from December 2lst 2011 to January 21st 2012. The Expo will reopen on January 22nd 2012 and offer once again “Peruvian Private Gastronomy Tasting Lunches” and much more like Peruvian culture, tourism, trade and great possibilities of investment.

CASA hosts a ‘Day Out’

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he Centre for Advising and Student Achievements (CASA) at the Australian College of Kuwait organized a “Day Out” for students last week. The event aimed at familiarizing ACK students with the department’s services and interacting directly with them in the heart of the campus. Students were able to visit different booths to obtain information regarding the services CASA offers and to understand

more about themselves by completing a personality and learning style test. Moreover, they were introduced to the CASA team and notified that they are able to voice their inquiries and concerns whenever needed. CASA Day Out was also the launching point for the new student social network website titled 6ulab.com, a social networking tool for universities in Kuwait. This web-

site was created by an ACK student, Muhanad Habbal, and his goal is to bridge the gap between students and faculty members and allow them to interact on a more personal basis. ACK’s Director of Student Affairs, Dr Raghad Al Kazemi stated: “the main goal of CASA Day Out is to stress the importance of career advising, which includes resume writing and editing, job interview preparation

and internships. In order to overcome academic challenges, tutoring services are also available for students struggling to receive one-on-one support with course content. Students may raise their concerns or receive advice and support at CASA.” Overall, CASA Day Out was an event that generated a positive response from ACK students, as it combined an academic aspect with a fun-filled and relaxed environment.

EMBASSY OF RUSSIA Embassy of the Russian Federation invites all the Russian residents in Kuwait to visit the Consulate for registration and updating your database. This information is necessary for prompt notice, assistance and warning in case of emergency. The consulate reception hours: 10:00 - 13:00, Sunday - Wednesday. The Embassy is located in Kuwait City, Daiya, Block 5, Diplomatic campus, Plot 17. Tel: (+965) 22560427, 22560428. Fax: (+965) 22524969, e-mail: rusposkuw@mail.ru, consdepkuw@mail.ru Information also available on the website: www.kuwait.mid.ru nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF SOUTH AFRICA Please note on Tuesday, December 27, 2011, working hours will be from 8:00 to 10:00. The Embassy will resume its normal working hours on Wednesday, December 28, 2011, from Sunday to Thursday. Please note that the Working hours will be from 8:00 to 16:00 & the Consular Section operation hours will from 8:30 to 12:30. On the occasion of the New Year, the Embassy will be closed on Sunday, January 1, 2012. Please note on Thursday, December 29, 2011, working hours will be from 8:00 to 10:00. The Embassy will resume its normal working hours on Monday, January 2, 2012, as follows: Please note that the working hours will be from 8:00 to 16:00 & the Consular Section operation hours will from 8:30 to 12:30.


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

I’m Alive Animal Cops Houston South Georgia Into The Lion’s Den I’m Alive Dogs 101 Animal Cops Houston Miami Animal Police Monkey Life Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild Talk To The Animals Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife Breed All About It America’s Cutest... Dogs 101 Animal Cops South Africa Bondi Vet Wildlife SOS Animal Cops Specials 2009 Animal Cops Houston South Georgia Monkey Life Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild Talk To The Animals The Really Wild Show Dogs 101 Dogs 101 Bondi Vet Breed All About It Dogs 101 Zebras On The Move Wildest India Untamed & Uncut

00:30 Gavin & Stacey: Christmas Special 2008 01:30 Last Of The Summer Wine 02:00 The Weakest Link 02:50 Holby City 03:40 Doctors 04:10 Last Of The Summer Wine 04:40 Little Robots 04:50 The Large Family 05:00 Penelope K, By The Way 05:15 Buzz & Tell 05:20 Tweenies 05:40 Balamory 06:00 Little Robots 06:10 The Large Family 06:20 Penelope K, By The Way 06:35 Poetry Pie 06:40 Tweenies 07:00 Charlie and Lola 07:10 Balamory 07:30 Little Robots 07:40 The Large Family 07:50 Penelope K, By The Way 08:05 Buzz & Tell 08:10 Tweenies 08:30 Charlie and Lola 08:40 Balamory 09:00 Little Robots 09:10 The Large Family 09:25 Penelope K, By The Way 09:35 Buzz & Tell 09:40 Poetry Pie 09:45 Tweenies 10:05 Charlie and Lola 10:20 Balamory 10:40 My Family 11:10 My Family 11:40 The Weakest Link 12:25 Inside The Royal Wedding 13:15 Doctors 13:45 EastEnders 14:15 Holby City 15:10 Keeping Up Appearances 15:40 Keeping Up Appearances 16:10 Keeping Up Appearances 16:40 Inside The Royal Wedding 17:30 The Weakest Link 18:15 Doctors 18:45 EastEnders 19:15 Holby City 20:05 Inside The Royal Wedding 20:55 The Royle Family 21:25 The Royle Family 21:50 Doctors 22:20 EastEnders 22:50 Casualty 23:40 The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

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

Bargain Hunt Bargain Hunt Holmes On Homes Bargain Hunt Bargain Hunt Holmes On Homes What To Eat Now - Autumn What To Eat Now - Autumn Bargain Hunt Bargain Hunt What To Eat Now - Autumn What To Eat Now - Autumn Rick Stein’s French Odyssey Rick Stein’s French Odyssey Antiques Roadshow Bargain Hunt Bargain Hunt Holmes On Homes Rick Stein’s French Odyssey Rick Stein’s French Odyssey The Home Show Antiques Roadshow Antiques Roadshow Bargain Hunt

00:00 BBC World News America 00:30 Hardtalk 01:00 BBC World News 01:30 World Business Report 01:45 Sport Today 02:00 BBC World News America 02:30 Asia Business Report 02:45 Sport Today 03:00 BBC World News 03:30 Asia Business Report 03:45 Sport Today 04:00 Newsday 04:30 Asia Business Report 04:45 Sport Today 05:00 Newsday 05:30 Asia Business Report 05:45 Sport Today 06:00 Newsday 06:30 Asia Business Report 06:45 Sport Today 07:00 Newsday 07:30 Hardtalk 08:00 BBC World News 08:30 World Business Report 08:45 BBC World News 09:00 BBC World News 09:30 World Business Report 09:45 BBC World News 10:00 BBC World News 10:30 World Business Report 10:45 Sport Today 11:00 BBC World News 11:30 World Business Report 11:45 Sport Today 12:00 BBC World News 12:30 Hardtalk 13:00 BBC World News 13:30 World Business Report 13:45 Sport Today 14:00 BBC World News 14:30 World Business Report 14:45 Sport Today 15:00 GMT With George Alagiah 15:30 GMT With George Alagiah 16:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 17:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 17:30 World Business Report 17:45 Sport Today 18:00 BBC World News 18:30 Hardtalk 19:00 The Hub With Nik Gowing 20:00 The Hub With Nik Gowing 20:30 World Business Report 20:45 Sport Today 21:00 BBC World News 21:30 World Business Report 21:45 Sport Today 22:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 23:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 23:30 World Business Report 23:45 Sport Today

00:05 00:30 00:55 01:20 01:45 02:10 02:35

The Garfield Show Scooby Doo Where Are You! The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Droopy: Master Detective The Flintstones Johnny Bravo Duck Dodgers

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011

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

King Arthur’s Disasters The Scooby Doo Show Popeye Classics Tom & Jerry Popeye The Jetsons The Flintstones Looney Tunes Pink Panther & Pals Tex Avery Duck Dodgers The Garfield Show New Yogi Bear Show Bananas In Pyjamas Baby Looney Tunes Gerald McBoing Boing Jelly Jamm Pink Panther And Pals Puppy In My Pocket The Garfield Show Dastardly And Muttley The Flintstones Tom & Jerry Pink Panther And Pals Top Cat New Yogi Bear Show Puppy In My Pocket Jelly Jamm Baby Looney Tunes Bananas In Pyjamas The Jetsons Duck Dodgers Looney Tunes Scooby Doo Where Are You! Tom & Jerry The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Droopy: Master Detective Wacky Races Scooby-Doo And ScrappyDastardly And Muttley Tom & Jerry Puppy In My Pocket Pink Panther And Pals The Garfield Show Dexters Laboratory Gerald McBoing Boing Bananas In Pyjamas Top Cat Wacky Races Tom & Jerry The Scooby Doo Show Dastardly And Muttley Tom & Jerry Johnny Bravo Dexters Laboratory

00:15 Samurai Jack 00:40 Megas XLR 01:05 Robotboy 01:30 Squirrel Boy 01:55 George Of The Jungle 02:20 Cramp Twins 02:45 Chop Socky Chooks 03:10 Best Ed 03:35 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 04:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 04:25 Generator Rex 04:50 Adventure Time 05:15 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 05:40 Chowder 05:55 Powerpuff Girls 06:30 Ed, Edd n Eddy 06:55 I Am Weasel 07:20 Squirrel Boy 07:45 Cow & Chicken 08:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Challenge 08:25 Angelo Rules 08:50 Best Ed 09:15 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 09:40 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 10:05 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 10:30 Courage The Cowardly Dog 10:55 Cow & Chicken 11:20 I Am Weasel 11:35 Adventure Time 12:00 Ben 10 12:25 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 12:50 The Secret Saturdays 13:15 Samurai Jack 13:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 14:05 Codename: Kids Next Door 14:30 Skunk Fu! 14:50 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 15:15 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack

KING ARTHUR ON OSN ACTION HD

15:40 Ed, Edd n Eddy 16:05 Camp Lazlo 16:30 Chowder 16:55 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 17:25 Cow & Chicken 17:50 Courage The Cowardly Dog 18:15 I Am Weasel 18:40 George Of The Jungle 19:05 Codename: Kids Next Door 19:30 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 19:55 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 20:20 Generator Rex 20:45 Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders 21:10 Sym-Bionic Titan 21:35 Star Wars: The Clone Wars 22:00 Hero 108 22:25 Adventure Time 22:50 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 23:00 Ben 10 23:25 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 23:50 The Secret Saturdays

00:00 Connect The World With Becky Anderson 01:00 Backstory 01:30 World Sport 02:00 The Situation Room 03:00 World Report 04:00 Anderson Cooper 360 05:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 06:00 Quest Means Business 07:00 Erin Burnett Outfront 08:00 World Sport 08:30 Backstory 09:00 World Report 10:00 World Report 11:00 World Sport 11:30 Revealed 12:00 World Business Today 13:00 Backstory 13:30 Talk Asia 14:00 World One 15:00 Piers Morgan Tonight 16:00 News Stream 17:00 World Business Today 18:00 International Desk 19:00 The Brief 19:30 World Sport 20:00 Prism 21:00 International Desk 21:30 Revealed 22:00 Quest Means Business 23:00 Piers Morgan Tonight

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

Extreme Fishing Extreme Fishing How It’S Made Dirty Jobs Wheeler Dealers Fifth Gear Overhaulin’ How Stuff’S Made Mythbusters Cake Boss Border Security Scrappers Curiosity Mythbusters Coal Coal Cake Boss Border Security Scrappers How It’S Made How Stuff’S Made Cash Cab Us Penn & Teller Tell A Lie Mythbusters Curiosity

00:40 The Gadget Show 01:05 The Tech Show 01:35 Superships 02:25 Stunt Junkies 02:50 Sci-Fi Saved My Life 03:40 Tank On The Moon 04:35 The Gadget Show 05:00 The Gadget Show 05:25 How Stuff’s Made 05:50 Superships 06:40 One Step Beyond 07:10 Brainiac 08:00 Scrapheap Challenge 08:50 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 09:40 The Tech Show 10:10 Weird Connections 10:35 The Gadget Show 11:00 The Gadget Show 11:25 Brainiac 12:20 Sci-Fi Science 12:45 How Stuff’s Made 13:15 Sci-Fi Saved My Life 14:05 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 14:55 One Step Beyond 15:20 Stunt Junkies 15:50 Superships 16:40 Weird Connections 17:05 Scrapheap Challenge 18:00 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 18:50 Sci-Fi Science 19:15 The Tech Show 19:40 Weird Or What? 20:30 What’s That About? 21:20 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 22:10 The Gadget Show 22:35 The Gadget Show 23:00 Weird Or What? 23:50 What’s That About?

00:00 00:25 00:50 01:15 01:35 02:00 02:25 02:50 03:15 03:35 04:00 04:25 04:50 05:15 05:35 06:00 06:20 Cody 06:45 Cody 07:05 07:30 07:55 08:10

Kim Possible Fairly Odd Parents Fairly Odd Parents Stitch Stitch Replacements Replacements Emperor’s New School Emperor’s New School Stitch Stitch Replacements Replacements Fairly Odd Parents Fairly Odd Parents Hannah Montana The Suite Life Of Zack And The Suite Life Of Zack And Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place Phineas And Ferb Good Luck Charlie

08:35 09:00 10:45 11:35 12:00 12:25 12:45 13:10 13:30 13:55 14:20 15:00 16:35 17:00 17:25 17:50 18:15 18:45 19:35 20:00 20:25 20:50 21:15 21:35 22:00 22:25 22:50 23:15 23:35

Good Luck Charlie Wendy Wu Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place Shake It Up Shake It Up Fish Hooks Fish Hooks Suite Life On Deck Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Lemonade Mouth A.N.T. Farm Fairly Odd Parents Good Luck Charlie Fish Hooks Shake It Up A.N.T. Farm A.N.T. Farm Good Luck Charlie Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Suite Life On Deck Suite Life On Deck Shake It Up Shake It Up Sonny With A Chance Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place

00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 Young, Beautiful & Vanished 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 Married Away: Italian Wedding 11:10 Giuliana & Bill 17:55 E! News 18:55 Giuliana & Bill 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:25 Giuliana & Bill 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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

Extreme Forensics The Haunted Mysterious Journeys Couples Who Kill Deadly Women Extreme Forensics The Haunted Mysterious Journeys Mystery Diagnosis FBI Files Forensic Detectives Fugitive Strike Force Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? True Crime with Aphrodite Disappeared Fugitive Strike Force Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? True Crime with Aphrodite Disappeared FBI Files Forensic Detectives Fugitive Strike Force Real Emergency Calls Mystery Diagnosis Who On Earth Did I Marry? True Crime with Aphrodite Disappeared I Almost Got Away With It FBI Case Files

00:00 Reverse Exploration 01:00 Meet The Natives 02:00 Treks In A Wild World 03:00 Cycling Home From Siberia 03:30 Deadliest Journeys 04:00 Amazing Adventures Of A Nobody: Europe 04:30 Which Way To 05:30 Graham’s World 06:00 Reverse Exploration 07:00 Meet The Natives 08:00 Treks In A Wild World 09:00 Cycling Home From Siberia 09:30 Deadliest Journeys 10:00 Amazing Adventures Of A Nobody: Europe 10:30 Which Way To 11:30 Graham’s World 12:00 Reverse Exploration 13:00 Bluelist Australia 13:30 Word Travels 14:00 Cruise Ship Diaries 15:00 Pressure Cook 15:30 Pressure Cook 16:00 Around The World For Free 17:00 Nomads 18:00 Treks In A Wild World 19:00 Bluelist Australia 19:30 Word Travels 20:00 Cruise Ship Diaries 21:00 Pressure Cook 21:30 Pressure Cook 22:00 Around The World For Free 23:00 Nomads

00:00 Ticking Clock-PG15 02:00 The Descent 2-18 04:00 Legend Of The Fist: The Return Of Chen Zhen-PG15 06:00 Coach Carter-PG15 08:15 The Three Musketeers-PG15 10:00 King Arthur-PG15 12:15 Ip Man-PG15 14:15 The Three Musketeers-PG15 16:00 Rocky II-PG15 18:00 Ip Man-PG15 20:00 Outpost-18 22:00 Snow White: A Tale Of Terror-18

01:00 Swansong: Story Of Occi Byrne-PG15 03:00 The Boys Are Back-PG 05:00 The A-Team-PG15 07:15 Fly Me To The Moon-PG 09:00 The Last Airbender-PG 11:00 Winx: Secret Of The Lost Kingdom-PG 13:00 The Boys Are Back-PG 15:00 Paper Man-PG15 17:00 Chasing A Dream-PG15 19:00 5 Dollars A Day-PG15 21:00 Jackass 3.5-PG15 23:00 Blue Valentine-18

PREDATORS ON OSN MOVIES HD

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 American Dad 02:00 Neighbors From Hell 02:30 The Cleveland Show 03:00 Friends 03:30 Friends 04:00 Will And Grace 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Seinfeld 06:00 Two And A Half Men 06:30 Melissa And Joey 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Will And Grace 08:30 Friends 09:00 Seinfeld 09:30 How I Met Your Mother 10:00 Traffic Light 10:30 Melissa And Joey 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Two And A Half Men 12:30 Will And Grace 13:00 Friends 13:30 Seinfeld 14:00 Melissa And Joey 14:30 Traffic Light 15:00 How I Met Your Mother 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Happy Endings 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Friends 18:30 Friends 19:00 Friends With Benefits 19:30 Parks And Recreation 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 American Dad 22:30 Neighbors From Hell 23:00 The Cleveland Show 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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

Private Practice Royal Pains Covert Affairs Grey’s Anatomy The Cape Good Morning America The Glades Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Martha Stewart Show The View Private Practice Grey’s Anatomy The Cape Live Good Morning America The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street Once Upon A Time Terra Nova True Blood Covert Affairs The Glades

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

Drop Dead Diva Off The Map Royal Pains Grey’s Anatomy Private Practice The Chicago Code Drop Dead Diva Modern Family Marathon Coronation Street Law & Order: Los Angeles Off The Map Grey’s Anatomy Royal Pains Modern Family Marathon Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Law & Order: Los Angeles Drop Dead Diva Modern Family Marathon Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Law & Order: Los Angeles Once Upon A Time Terra Nova True Blood Off The Map The Chicago Code

01:00 Valhalla Rising-18 03:00 Legend Of The Fist: The Return Of Chen Zhen-PG15 05:00 Storm Warning-18 07:00 Echelon Conspiracy-PG15 09:00 Top Gun-PG15 11:00 Blue Crush 2-PG15 13:00 Wyatt Earp-PG15 16:15 Storm Warning-18 18:00 Double Impact-18 20:00 Shutter Island-18 22:30 Deadly Impact-18

00:00 50 First Dates-PG15 02:00 Renaissance Man-PG15 04:00 Valentine’s Day-PG15 06:00 Easy Virtue-PG15 08:00 All About Steve-PG15 10:00 Hanging Up-PG15 12:00 Everybody Wants To Be Italian-PG15 14:00 When In Rome-PG15 16:00 50 First Dates-PG15 18:00 Lower Learning-PG15 20:00 How To Be A Player-18 22:00 Friday-18

01:15 Karma: Crime, Passion, Reincarnation-18 03:00 The Thomas Crown AffairPG15 05:15 The Fantastic Water Babes-PG 07:30 Oceans - Into The Deep-PG 09:00 The Wronged Man-PG15 10:30 I Am Sam-PG15 12:45 Forrest Gump-PG15 15:15 The Last Song-PG15 17:15 Lost In Yonkers-PG 19:15 Strange Culture-PG15 21:00 The Associate-PG15 23:00 The Prince Of Tides-18 01:00 The Wolfman-18 03:00 Inside Job-PG15 05:00 Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief-PG15 07:00 Celine: Through The Eyes Of The World-PG15 09:00 Another Year-PG15 11:15 Sweet Home Alabama-PG15 13:15 Date Night-PG15 15:00 Planet 51-PG 16:45 Another Year-PG15 19:00 Predators-18 21:00 Paranormal Activity 2-18 23:00 All Good Things-18

00:00 Sabrina The Teenage Witch: Friends Forever-PG 02:00 Zorro’s Secrets-PG 04:00 Winner & The Gold Child: Part II-PG15 06:15 Queen Of The Swallows-FAM 08:15 The Nimbols: Part I-PG15 10:00 The Nimbols: Part II-PG15 11:45 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid-PG 14:00 Shrek Forever After-FAM 16:00 Ed-PG 18:00 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid-PG 20:00 Gladiators: The Conspiracy-PG 22:00 Queen Of The Swallows-FAM

00:00 The Spirit-PG15 02:00 Essential Killing-18 04:00 That’s What I Am-PG15 06:00 Africa United-PG15 08:00 A Trace Of Danger-PG15 10:00 Toy Story 3-FAM 12:00 That’s What I Am-PG15 14:00 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore-PG 15:45 A Trace Of Danger-PG15 17:45 The Lightkeepers-PG15 20:00 Cop Out-PG15 22:00 The Men Who Stare At GoatsPG15

00:00 00:30 02:30 09:30 10:00 12:00 13:00 20:00 21:00 22:15 22:45

Futbol Mundial Scottish Premier League Live Test Cricket Futbol Mundial Scottish Premier League Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Test Cricket Trans World Sport Intercontinental Le Mans Cup SPL Highlights Live Scottish Premier League

02:00 02:30 09:30 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 20:00 21:45 22:15 22:45

Futbol Mundial Live Test Cricket ICC Cricket World World Cup of Pool World Pool Masters US Bass Fishing Cricket Test Match Pro 12 Celtic League SPL Highlights Futbol Mundial Live Scottish Premier League

00:30 The US PGA Championship Official Film 01:30 FEI Equestrian World 02:00 World Cup of Pool 03:00 World Pool Masters 04:00 US Bass Fishing 05:00 Pro 12 Celtic League 07:00 Darts PDC World Championship 11:00 Golfing World 12:00 European Senior Tour Highlights 13:00 World Cup of Pool 14:00 World Pool Masters 15:00 US Bass Fishing 16:00 Live Darts PDC World Championship 20:00 Trans World Sport 21:00 FEI Equestrian World 21:30 SPL Highlights 22:00 Live Darts PDC World Championship

00:00 01:00 02:00 04:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 16:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 23:00

UFC 141 Countdown Speedway UFC Unleashed UFC 137 WWE Vintage Collection WWE NXT Speedway Le Mans Series Highlights V8 Supercars Championship WWE SmackDown Le Mans Series Highlights V8 Supercars Championship Speedway FIM World UFC 141 Countdown UFC 138 WWE Vintage Collection

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

The Universe Life After People How The Earth Was Made American Restoration Pawn Stars American Restoration American Pickers The Universe Life After People How The Earth Was Made American Restoration Pawn Stars American Restoration American Pickers The Universe Life After People How The Earth Was Made American Restoration Pawn Stars American Restoration American Pickers The Universe Life After People How The Earth Was Made Dead Men’S Secrets Soviet Storm: WWII In The East Gestapo

01:10 Shaft In Africa 02:55 Elvis On Tour-PG 04:25 Never Let Me Go-FAM 05:55 That Midnight Kiss-FAM 07:30 TCM Presents Under...-PG 08:00 36 Hours-PG 09:55 TCM Presents Under...-U 10:25 Les Girls-PG 12:15 Woman Of The Year-PG 14:05 The Opposite Sex-PG 16:00 Singin’ In The Rain-FAM 17:40 Captain Blood-FAM 19:35 The Twenty-Fifth Hour-PG 21:30 Live A Little, Love A Little-PG 23:00 Somebody Up There Likes Me-PG


Classifieds WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011

DIAL 161 FOR AIRPORT INFORMATION

Airlines JZR PIA JZR QTR ETH ETH THY UAE QTR DHX MSR FDB ETD GFA KAC THY DHX FAH JZR JZR BAW KAC RJA KAC FDB KAC KAC KAC KAC UAE ABY QTR ETD FDB GFA FCX IRA RBG KNE JZR RKM IRM MEA SVA KAC MSR JZR CLX KAC GFA MSR SYR FDB KAC UAL IRC QTR KNE SVA RJA ABY KAC KAC JZR KAC QTR JZR IYE JZR ETD UAE KAC GFA SVA RBG ABY JZR ALK JZR FDB KAC KAC JZR KAC KAC KAC AIC KAC KAC KAC FDB JAI OMA DHX KAC GRF MEA GFA QTR UAE JZR SAI JZR UAL AXB DLH

Arrival Flights on Wednesday 28/12/2011 Flt Route 185 DUBAI 205 LAHORE/PESHAWER 539 CAIRO 6130 DOHA 2620 ADDIS ABABA 620 ADDIS ABABA 772 ISTANBUL 853 DUBAI 138 DOHA 370 BAHRAIN 612 CAIRO 67 DUBAI 305 ABU DHABI 211 BAHRAIN 544 CAIRO 770 ISTANBUL 170 BAHRAIN 201 DUBAI 555 ALEXANDRIA 529 ASSIUT 157 LONDON 412 MANILA/BANGKOK 1180 AMMAN 206 ISLAMABAD 53 DUBAI 352 COCHIN 302 MUMBAI 362 COLOMBO 344 CHENNAI 855 DUBAI 125 SHARJAH 132 DOHA 301 ABU DHABI 55 DUBAI 213 BAHRAIN 203 DUBAI 603 SHIRAZ 3555 ALEXANDRIA 839 JEDDAH 165 DUBAI 310 RAS ALKHAIMAH 5066 MASHAD 404 BEIRUT 9439 JEDDAH 382 DELHI 610 CAIRO 201 DAMASCUS 792 LUXEMBOURG 672 DUBAI 219 BAHRAIN 621 ASSIUT 341 DAMASCUS 57 DUBAI 790 MEDINAH 982 WASHINGTON DC DULLES 6791 MASHAD 140 DOHA 745 JEDDAH 500 JEDDAH 640 AMMAN 123 SHARJAH 8033 KUWAIT 284 DHAKA 257 BEIRUT 546 ALEXANDRIA 134 DOHA 561 SOHAG 824 SANAA/DOHA 213 DEIREZZOR/ALEPPO 303 ABU DHABI 857 DUBAI 550 SHARM EL SHEIKH/SOHAG 215 BAHRAIN 510 RIYADH 3564 ASSIUT 127 SHARJAH 777 JEDDAH 227 COLOMBO/DUBAI 177 DUBAI 63 DUBAI 542 CAIRO 618 DOHA 787 RIYADH 786 JEDDAH 614 BAHRAIN 674 DUBAI 975 CHENNAI/GOA 166 PARIS/ROME 102 NEW YORK/LONDON 774 RIYADH 61 DUBAI 572 MUMBAI 647 MUSCAT 372 BAHRAIN 1782 JEDDAH 81 BAGHDAD 402 BEIRUT 217 BAHRAIN 136 DOHA 859 DUBAI 135 BAHRAIN 441 LAHORE 239 AMMAN 981 BAHRAIN 393 KOZHIKODE/COCHIN 636 FRANKFURT

Time 0:20 0:25 0:50 1:15 1:15 1:45 2:15 2:35 2:40 2:55 3:00 3:05 3:10 3:15 4:40 4:50 5:15 5:30 6:00 6:20 6:40 6:45 7:05 7:40 7:45 7:50 7:55 8:20 8:25 8:30 9:00 9:05 9:15 9:20 9:55 10:30 10:40 10:45 11:05 11:20 11:45 11:50 11:55 12:30 12:45 12:55 13:00 13:15 13:20 13:25 13:30 13:45 13:50 14:00 14:05 14:20 14:20 14:25 14:30 14:40 14:45 15:00 15:00 15:00 15:20 15:25 16:10 16:35 16:45 16:50 16:55 17:10 17:15 17:20 17:35 17:40 17:45 18:00 18:15 18:40 18:50 18:55 19:05 19:10 19:20 19:25 19:30 19:30 19:35 19:40 20:00 20:10 20:15 21:00 21:10 21:15 21:20 21:25 21:35 21:40 21:55 22:40 22:45 23:00 23:40 23:50

Departure Flights on Wednesday 28/12/2011 Airlines Flt Route Time UAL 981 WASHINGTON DC DULLES 0:45 AXB 390 MANGALORE/KOZHIKODE 0:50 BBC 44 DHAKA 1:00 AIC 982 AHMEDABAD/HYDERABAD 1:05 DLH 637 FRANKFURT 1:20 PIA 206 LAHORE 1:25 ETH 2621 ADDIS ABABA 2:15 KAC 283 DHAKA 2:40 ETH 621 ADDIS ABABA 2:45 QTR 6131 DOHA 2:45 THY 773 ISTANBUL 3:15 GRF 94 DUBAI/KANDAHAR 3:30 KAC 381 DELHI 3:30 FDB 68 DUBAI 3:45 UAE 854 DUBAI 3:50 DHX 371 BAHRAIN 3:55 MSR 613 CAIRO 4:00 ETD 306 ABU DHABI 4:00 QTR 139 DOHA 4:55 THY 771 ISTANBUL 5:50 JZR 164 DUBAI 6:55 GFA 212 BAHRAIN 7:00 JZR 200 DAMASCUS 7:30 FDB 54 DUBAI 8:25 RJA 1181 AMMAN 8:30 KAC 545 ALEXANDRIA 8:30 BAW 156 LONDON 8:40 JZR 256 BEIRUT 9:00 KAC 671 DUBAI 9:00 KAC 549 SHARM EL SHEIKH/SOHAG 9:15 KAC 789 MEDINAH 9:25 JZR 560 SOHAG 9:30 JZR 212 ALEPPO/DEIREZZOR 9:35 UAE 856 DUBAI 9:40 ABY 126 SHARJAH 9:45 ETD 302 ABU DHABI 10:00 KAC 117 NEW YORK 10:00 FDB 56 DUBAI 10:05 QTR 133 DOHA 10:10 KAC 177 FRANKFURT/GENEVA 10:35 GFA 214 BAHRAIN 10:40 RBG 3563 ASSIUT 11:25 IRA 602 SHIRAZ 11:40 FCX 204 DUBAI 11:45 KNE 840 MEDINAH/JEDDAH 11:55 KAC 541 CAIRO 12:00 JZR 776 JEDDAH 12:15 KAC 103 LONDON 12:30 RKM 311 RAS ALKHAIMAH 12:50 MEA 405 BEIRUT 12:55 IRM 5065 MASHAD 13:20 KAC 785 JEDDAH 13:40 JZR 176 DUBAI 13:50 MSR 611 CAIRO 13:55 SVA 2439 JEDDAH 14:00 KAC 8033 KUWAIT 14:00 GFA 220 BAHRAIN 14:20 MSR 622 ASSIUT 14:30 FDB 58 DUBAI 14:35 SYR 342 DAMASCUS 14:45 CLX 792 VIETNAM 14:45 KAC 673 DUBAI 15:05 KNE 746 JEDDAH 15:10 UAL 982 BAHRAIN 15:20 IRC 6792 MASHAD 15:20 ABY 124 SHARJAH 15:25 RJA 641 AMMAN 15:35 KAC 617 DOHA 15:40 SVA 503 MEDINAH/JEDDAH 15:45 JZR 786 RIYADH 15:50 KAC 1781 JEDDAH 16:00 KAC 613 BAHRAIN 16:20 KAC 773 RIYADH 16:25 QTR 141 DOHA 16:30 JZR 238 AMMAN 17:15 IYE 824 SANAA 17:35 ETD 304 ABU DHABI 17:35 JZR 538 CAIRO 17:40 QTR 135 DOHA 17:45 UAE 858 DUBAI 18:10 GFA 216 BAHRAIN 18:15 RBG 3556 ALEXANDRIA 18:20 ABY 128 SHARJAH 18:25 KAC 153 ISTANBUL 18:30 SVA 511 RIYADH 18:35 JZR 266 BEIRUT 18:45 JZR 134 BAHRAIN 19:05 ALK 228 DUBAI/COLOMBO 19:10 FDB 64 DUBAI 19:20 JZR 184 DUBAI 19:55 KAC 361 COLOMBO 20:20 FDB 62 DUBAI 20:40 DHX 171 BAHRAIN 21:00 KAC 331 TRIVANDRUM 21:00 KAC 351 COCHIN 21:05 JAI 571 MUMBAI 21:10 OMA 648 MUSCAT 21:15 KAC 543 CAIRO 21:55 DHX 373 BAHRAIN 22:00 MEA 403 BEIRUT 22:20 GFA 218 BAHRAIN 22:25 FAH 102 DUBAI 22:30 QTR 137 DOHA 22:35 KAC 301 MUMBAI 22:45 JZR 554 ALEXANDRIA 22:45 UAE 860 DUBAI 22:50 KAC 205 ISLAMABAD 23:00 JZR 502 LUXOR 23:35 KAC 415 KUALA LUMPUR/JAKARTA 23:45 SAI 442 LAHORE 23:50

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (www.kuwait-airport.com.kw)

ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available for two decent executive Muslim bachelor in Sharq near Amiri Hospital. Contact: 55238110 or tajtoyota@gmail.com New super deluxe apartment in Al-Fintas, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, living room with parquet floor, parking spaces. Furnished KD 360 per month, unfurnished KD 260 per month, rent covers internet service. Tel: 50167793, 55919978. Wanted villa for a foreign family. South Surra, Salwa, Bayan, Mishrif, Rumaithiya, Jabriya, Yarmouk, and all internal area. 66653402 Wanted villa for a small foreign family in Aqaila, Mangaf, Fintas, Abu Al-Hasaniya, Maseila, Qurain and internal areas. 66653402 Wanted a one floor flat, in South Surra, Jabriya and Surra, Yarmouk, Salwa, Shamiya and all internal areas. (3) months payment. 66653402 27-12-2011 Spacious single room attached with wardrobe available for executive Indian bachelor or couple, C-A/C flat in Kuwait City. Contact: 65707726. (C 3798) 26-12-2011 Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya with Indian family separate room with separate bathroom available, preferred single or 2 working ladies or small family from India. Contact: 99509436. (C 3795) One furnished room accommodation available for a decent Indian bachelor immediately in a CAC 2 bedroom flat with Indian family at Salmiya near Indian Community School, with Internet 24x7, rent KD 65. Contact: 97237934, 25658475. (C 3796) 25-11-2011 Separate room with separate bathroom available in a flat with African family in Abu Halifa near round about, rent KD 75 for single working lady or couple. Call 66971502, 2371683, 90033641. (C 3793) 24-12-2011

FOR RENT A park in Wafra animal pens, very clean, over an area of 2500m, very large fenced yard in front (5) rooms, saloons, separate diwaniyas and swimming pool, fountain, children games tent. 94426116

outstanding location, on main street can be sued by lawyer, consultations, clinics, health club, saloon, workshop, training center. 66980123 For rent in Salmiya, an apartment 3 rooms + 2 baths + saloon + swimming pool + DSL + Gym + Security + children games + other features. Rent start from KD 475. Foreigners and expats only. 66297171 For rent in Salmiya, an apartment 3 rooms + 3 baths + Saloon + Kitchen + Satellite. Outstanding location. Foreigners and expatriates only, no brokers. 66060299 For rent, basements in Jabriya and Hawally, good location, plastic floors, C-A/C, serious only call: 66980123 For rent or investment, complete floors with a basement in Salmiya, good location, licensed for clinics, no brokers. 66060299 For rent, flat in Bneid Al-Qar (2 rooms, maid rooms, 3 baths, kitchen) deluxe finishing good location. 55117226 For rent in Fahaheel. Complete building for companies (2 rooms, 2 baths, living room, kitchen) good location, car parking. 66233230 For rent, one floor in a villa in Salmiya, (3 rooms, 4 baths, large living room, maid room, driver’s room, diwaniya) parking. Centeral satellite. Rent KD 750. 67750024 A park for rent to families. 4 bed rooms + 4 bathrooms + living room + Diwaniya + rides in the garden + Isolated diwaniya. Fully furnished, A/C units, domestic help rooms. 99825160 For rent 1600m warehouse, can be used for ceramics, marble, electric or sanitary fittings, has electricity + 2 rooms + kitchen + bathroom. 99825160 An entire building for rent for companies, 30 flats in Kheitan (2 rooms, maid room, 2 baths + living room + kitchen) central satellite. 60658811 27-12-2011 State Life Insurance Policy # 633000165 Name: Maqsood Ali and Policy # 633001462 - 1471 Mumtaz Hussain has been lost. Anybody found, please contact SLIC office No.: 22452089. (C 3794) 23-12-2011

FOR SALE For rent in Farwaniya, basement 700m, car parking. 66920123 Flat in Maidan Hawally, one room, living room, bathroom, super deluxe finished kitchen, outstanding location. Rent KD 195. Foreigners and expatriates only. Central satellite, C-A/C and boiler. 66980123 A floor in Dasman, 300m,

Toyota Corolla 2009, white color, 77,000 km, Excellent condition, Price KD 3,150/-. Contact: 66729295. (C 3800) Underground Gold discovery device. New type, works by direct photography at a depth of 20 meters, determines the type, depth and size. Already tried with

guarantee. 66145558

writing. 97264100

A farm in Abdaly, covering 50 thousand meters squared, one street. Fenced with chicken wire, workers residence + electricity + treated water. 55555235

Female senior Mathematics teacher with more that 30 years experience in Kuwait, to teach secondary, intermediate and elementary stages. Religious and applied, communications and navigation institutions, special courses and secretariat institution. 97926737

Electric generator 3700 Watts, Astra brand, 2011 model, 1st grade Chinese made + pressure and gas gauges + 2 sockets, smooth noise, yellow, new in a carton. Price KD 85. 60066891 27-12-2011

TUITION

Mathematics teacher, Intermediate and secondar y Exams models, Easy method, Exams from past years with solutions. 97301901 English teacher (3) years experience, looking for a job and ready to start with all educational stages. 55963993 Mathematics teacher for Universities, Institutions, Foreign Schools, Administrative, American, English, Australian, Bahrain, Electric and Gulf Sciences, Algbra Prel, Mathematics, intermediate, gmat, sat college, math98, 110 pre calculus geometry. 97619261 Senior Biology teacher for secondary stage. Biology for University students and foreign schools, sciences of intermediate stage and 10th grade physics. A Syrian Arabic language teacher. Masters in methods of teaching and follow up of 10th grade and 11th grade students. 97934291 A Syrian Arabic Language teacher. Masters, for secondary, intermediate, religious institution, universities, and establishment of the elementary stage using the Aleppo method “the alphabet then the word”. 50513599 Islamic education teacher for elementary and intermediate stages. Experienced in Kuwait curricula. Easy explanation, and summary of the subject, training for exams. 66292985 Syrian Arabic language teacher for elementary and intermediate stages. Experienced in following learning difficulties, and those weak in reading and

Computer teacher for secondary and intermediate. Practical on laptop, power point projects, front page, visual basic data, universities and applied institutions. 50603063 27-12-2011

SITUATION VACANT Required cook for house, good experience, all kinds of food, professional cook, good salary + good accommodation + Air ticket, full time & part time. Contact: 23901053 / 55828597. (C 3802) 28-12-2011

TRANSORT Ready to transport employees for all areas and all times. Payment in advance. 66678633 27-12-2011

SITUATION WANTED Young girl, Physiotherapy B.P.T; (India) M.Sc (UK) degree is looking for job. Currently residing in Kuwait with 2 years Dependent Visa. Please call: 66330570. (C 3797) 26-12-2011

CHANGE OF NAME I, Mohamad Quaid s/o Baquar Contractor, holder of Indian Passport No. Z1479667 change my name to Mohamad Quaid Baquar Contractor for all purposes. (C 3799) 27-12-2011


34

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011

stars CROSSWORD 541

STAR TRACK

CALVIN & HOBBES

Aries (March 21-April 19) Being with others and working together should be particularly nice. Someone in authority may come to you with a plan for a particular job, because they are familiar with your managerial and directorial abilities. Being able to understand those around you almost assures you of a special time with someone you love. Good feelings and a sense of support and harmony makes this a pleasant time. Your charismatic behavior and eloquence in communication and speech should find others following your lead, wherever you go. Things are really unconstrained for self-expression, which works very well with your special ideas and thoughts. You are willing to lend a hand in some community project. Expect good things to happen when you volunteer.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Work of a collaborative nature is particularly favored this morning. Today finds you efficient and sharp-witted. Work-related discussions go very well today. Later, you could be looking deeper within yourself for some answers to spiritual questions that you have. This should be a good time for personal analysis, as you should be able to discover whole new areas of your inner self or mind that have heretofore been closed. Expect insights into dreams and ideals. Your inner resources and emotions are accented. Expect a sense of support and goodwill from those around you, especially family. Others may seek you out for your psychological insight and understanding. Tonight is a special night with loved ones and it is positive.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. An enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of many body compounds (e.g., epinephrine and norepinephrine and serotonin). 4. A South American river. 10. Experiencing or showing sorrow or unhappiness. 13. Any high mountain. 14. Any of various widely distributed beetles. 15. Electronic equipment that provides visual images of varying electrical quantities. 16. The function or position properly or customarily occupied or served by another. 18. Wet with dew. 19. The month following July and preceding September. 20. Summer cypress. 22. An attendant who carries the golf clubs for a player. 24. Harsh or corrosive in tone. 26. Used of a single unit or thing. 27. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret. 30. Minute floating marine tunicate having a transparent body with an opening at each end. 34. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 35. Open-heart surgery in which the rib cage is opened and a section of a blood vessel is grafted from the aorta to the coronary artery to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery and improve the blood supply to the heart. 38. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 39. Having nine hinged bands of bony plates. 42. A genus of Indriidae. 44. Mild yellow Dutch cheese made in balls. 45. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 46. The capital and largest city of Liechtenstein. 47. Surpassing the ordinary especially in size or scale. 48. The Tibeto-Burman language spoken in Sichuan. 53. Wild sheep of northern Africa. 57. Automatic data processing in which data acquisition and other stages or processing are integrated into a coherent system. 58. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 61. Predatory black-and-white toothed whale with large dorsal fin. 62. (meaning literally `born') Used to indicate the maiden or family name of a married woman. 63. Of or in or relating to the nose. 64. Trace the shape of. 65. Primitive predaceous North American fish covered with hard scales and having long jaws with needle-like teeth. 66. Performance of moral or religious acts. 67. A fencing sword similar to a foil but with a heavier blade. DOWN 1. A covering to disguise or conceal the face. 2. Of or being the lowest female voice. 3. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 4. A tricycle (usually propelled by pedalling). 5. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 6. A unit of absorbed ionizing radiation equal to 100 ergs per gram of irradiated material. 7. Goddess of criminal rashness and its punishment. 8. United States astronomer (1835-1909). 9. Of or relating to the former Indo-European people. 10. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 11. Wild sheep of northern Africa. 12. Formerly the chief magistrate in the republics of Venice and Genoa. 17. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 21. Aromatic bulb used as seasoning. 23. A potent estrogen used in medicine and in feed for livestock and poultry. 25. The capital and largest city of Bangladesh. 28. In bed. 29. A small cake leavened with yeast. 31. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 32. A Loloish language. 33. English illustrator of several of Dickens' novels (18151882). 36. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 37. Type genus of the Gavidae. 40. A primeval personification of air and breath. 41. Large family of important mostly marine food fishes. 42. A unit of absorbed ionizing radiation equal to 100 ergs per gram of irradiated material. 43. A tiny cavity filled with fluid in the cytoplasm of a cell. 44. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 49. The content of cognition. 50. Someone who copies the words or behavior of another. 51. Port city in northwestern Belgium and industrial center. 52. (law) A comprehensive term for any proceeding in a court of law whereby an individual seeks a legal remedy. 54. Flowing in drops. 55. The highest level or degree attainable. 56. A native or inhabitant of Denmark. 59. A coenzyme derived from the B vitamin nicotinic acid. 60. Thickening of tissue in the motor tracts of the lateral columns and anterior horns of the spinal cord.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) If you must work today, it will be of short duration. Children, lovers and other people, or the things that are dear to your heart, are accented at this time. Knowing that you are appreciated and esteemed for your gifts and talents is a powerful need. Assuming risks can bring you big rewards. Someone older may have different opinions from your own but it is easy to overlook the comments because of the age. You will need to pay more attention to what this older person says . . . his or her reasoning could prove an important factor in your life. Tonight you and a family member look around for ways to decorate the home. There will be lots of fun activity going on in your home this weekend and lots of old friends dropping by for a fond hello.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

NON SEQUITUR

Striving to be the very best that you can be is uppermost in your life at this time. You just want to expand your knowledge and that could have you delving into politics, law, travel, religion, to name but a few of the possibilities open to you now. Some of the things that you do now could be the result of longing to be the center of attention. You are a deep feeling, conscientious person who loves to give gifts; you like to feel appreciated for what you do. You have nothing to worry about—other people love to show you their appreciation. Dreams of some form of notoriety or fame and respect are granted . . . especially among family members. You may find this an intriguing, intuitive and possibly even a romantic time in which you will feel a lot of pride.

Leo (July 23-August 22) A question that had occupied your mind may be answered unexpectedly while you are at work today. Though you will be making progress with one business matter, you may encounter delays with another. This is not too unusual for this time of the year and if you take notes and keep track of the people you need to contact, the work can be quickly completed at the appropriate time. A sense of belonging to something bigger than the merely personal becomes a greater focus at this time. You attach a lot of importance to friendships and you enjoy being with them. Tonight there is an invitation to do just that—be with your friends. Now is the time for relaxation and fun talks with friends; no work talk this evening. You may find a new party food recipe for your files.

ZITS

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Enlarging your intellectual and spiritual horizon takes on a high priority. You are intent on seeing the big picture and getting to the point of whatever you become involved with. Travel and further education could be helpful in bringing this about. Keeping in touch with ideas and people on a large scale helps you keep your mind busy. You may come up with a new way to go forward with some plan or a decision with regard to a professional circumstance. This afternoon you may find yourself serving as a mentor to someone younger. Use care that you do not overdo in your work or in your volunteer programs . . . you are needed to be refreshed and positive in order to use your skills well. There is a sense of testing the limits somewhat.

Libra (September 23-October 22)

MOTHER GOOSE AND GRIMM

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You really use your head to your advantage when it comes to working and dealing with others. You seem to know just what to do and can act without hurry or worry. You are called on to make use of your natural abilities and commonsense. You may need to take the initiative today if you want certain things accomplished in the manner that you think they should be. You could feel great assistance from those around you—circumstances may dictate your taking action. You feel healthy and very capable of handling almost any situation. Intensive and penetrating analysis, especially with a group or in relation to your situation, may be in order soon. Some changes in your environment may be inevitable. A friend may ask you for assistance this evening.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

You should find no problem in communicating with regar You should find no problem in communicating with regard to groups and society in general, because of your demonstrated ability to understand and be sensitive to others’ needs just now. Your emotional stability and feeling of protection is due mainly to your friends, morals and social interaction. There may be a need for you to make some important changes in your life such as breaking with the antiquated trends of the past. There is a longing for anything new, different and unique. You are a very generous person, but you do like to be recognized for the efforts you put forth to help others. You may remember this as a widespread, aesthetic and possibly even romantic time, in which you will have a great deal of self-satisfaction and appreciation.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

To

Yesterday’s Solution

You would really like to be out and about and socializing with your friends today. A few things need tending to in the workplace first, however, and that is where people will find you—at least until early afternoon. You will extend the initiative and assume authority. You feel inspired and may have to be encouraged to step away from the office. This can become a fond memory as a time of pride—a comprehensive, creative and perhaps even romantic phase as well. An important relationship, possibly with a young person or someone in your near surroundings, may come into focus this afternoon. Home is likely to be the center of activity tonight. There is enough food to go around for all the neighbors but only your friends and family will join you this evening.

Think things through carefully, as it is a time when you could make some less than perfect choices or decisions in the workplace. There could be a tendency to become rushed, either from your own desire to complete tasks or from outside influences. Sometimes you do not feel you fit into the scheme of life that you are trying to fit into these days. Why not step back and look at what you have accomplished and where your talents are? Perhaps you are an artist and you have been working as an accountant. Keeping in touch with friends and being involved socially are what leads to your emotional nourishment. Make some changes in your life toward a life-style you think you might enjoy. This may take time but it is most beneficial.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Go ahead and let yourself dream this morning, these times do not come too often. You may be working today but you also may not have to report for work so early. You are in a position to help others that want to take a little time away from work and you are pleased to help. It is good to know that you can fit into most positions of responsibility and not have to ask about protocol. This action on your part may also either increase your business or put you in a better position with your supervisor. You and a loving friend are on the same pleasant wavelength this afternoon, perhaps a shopping spree or a visit over tea and a small snack. This evening there is plenty of time to relax and share a massage with a loved one.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

You may find your life’s direction or career putting some real pressure on your home and emotional life just now. Obviously you cannot live without both, so some kind of self-control on your part is indicated. Know that this process is temporary. You are making great strides in many areas of your life. Those around you may appreciate your ability to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and get work accomplished. You might want to take a little time this evening before you socialize to think about your goals for this next year. Everything points to your taking the initiative in many areas of your life today. You could feel great support from those around you today. You have a choice, if you decide to go on a dinner date this evening.


A

y

e niv rsar n

Years

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2011

i n f o r m at i o n

FIRE BRIGADE

112

Al-Madena

22418714

Al-Shohada’a

22545171

Al-Shuwaikh

24810598

Al-Nuzha

22545171

Sabhan

24742838

Al-Helaly

22434853

Al-Fayhaa

22545051

Al-Farwaniya

24711433

Al-Sulaibikhat

24316983

Al-Fahaheel

23927002

Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh

24316983

Ahmadi

23980088

Al-Mangaf

23711183

Al-Shuaiba

23262845

24812000

Al-Jahra

25610011

Amiri Hospital

22450005

Al-Salmiya

25616368

Maternity Hospital

24843100

Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital

25312700

Chest Hospital

24849400

Farwaniya Hospital

24892010

Adan Hospital

23940620

Ibn Sina Hospital

24840300

Al-Razi Hospital

24846000

Physiotherapy Hospital

24874330/9

Ministry of Interior website: www.moi.gov.kw For labor-related inquiries and complaints: Call MSAL hotline 128

Hospitals Sabah Hospital

POLICE STATION Al-Madena Police Station Al-Murqab Police Station Al-Daiya Police Station Al-Fayha’a Police Station Al-Qadissiya Police Station Al-Nugra Police Station Al-Salmiya Police Station Al-Dasma Police Station

Clinics Rabiya

4732263

Roudha

22517733

Adhaliya

22517144

Khaldiya

24848075

Keifan

24849807

Shamiya

24848913

Shuwaikh

24814507

Abdullah Salim

22549134

Al-Nuzha

22526804

Industrial Shuwaikh

24814764

Al-Khadissiya

22515088

Dasmah

22532265

Bneid Al-Ghar

22531908

Al-Shaab

22518752

Al-Kibla

22459381

Ayoun Al-Kibla

22451082

Al-Mirqab

22456536

Sharq

22465401

Salmiya

25746401

Jabriya

25316254

Maidan Hawally

25623444

Bayan

25388462

Mishref

25381200

W.Hawally

22630786

Sabah

24810221

Jahra

24770319

New Jahra

24575755

West Jahra

24772608

South Jahra

24775066

North Jahra

24775992

North Jleeb

24311795

Al-Ardhiya

24884079

Firdous

24892674

Al-Omariya

24719048

N.Kheitan

24710044

Fintas

3900322

22434064 22435865 22544200 22547133 22515277 22616662 25714406 22530801

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

PHARMACIES

AIRLINES

ON 24 HRS DUTY GOVERNORATE

PHARMACY

ADDRESS

PHONE

Ahmadi

Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

Fahaeel Makka St Abu Halaifa-Coastal Rd Mahboula Block 1, Coastal Rd

23915883 23715414 23726558

Jahra

Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622

Capital

Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967

Farwaniya

New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638

Hawally

Tariq Hana Ikhlas Hawally & Rawdha Ghadeer Kindy Ibn Al-Nafis Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop

Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Salmiya-Amman St Hawally-Beirut St Hawally & Rawdha Coop Jabriya-Block 1A Jabriya-Block 3B Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241

Kuwait Airways Jazeera Airways Jet Airways FlyDubai Qatar Airways KLM Air Slovakia Olympic Airways Royal Jordanian Reservation British Airways Air France Emirates Air India Sri Lanka Airlines Egypt Air Swiss Air Saudia Middle East Airlines Lufthansa PIA Alitalia Balkan Airlines Bangladesh Airlines Czech Airlines Indian Airlines Oman Air Turkish Airlines Aeroflot

171 177 22924455 22414400 22423888 22425747 22434940 22420002/9 22418064/5/6 22433388 22425635 22430224 22921555 22438184 22424444 22421578 22421516 22426306 22423073 22422493 22421044 22414427 22416474 22452977/8 22417901/ 2433141 22456700 22958787 22453820/1 22404838/9

PRIVATE CLINICS Ophthalmologists Dr. Abidallah Al-Mansoor 25622444 Dr. Samy Al-Rabeea 25752222 Dr. Masoma Habeeb 25321171 Dr. Mubarak Al-Ajmy 25739999 Dr. Mohsen Abel 25757700 Dr Adnan Hasan Alwayl 25732223 Dr. Abdallah Al-Baghly 25732223 Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Dr. Ahmed Fouad Mouner 24555050 Ext 510 Dr. Abdallah Al-Ali 25644660 Dr. Abd Al-Hameed Al-Taweel 25646478 Dr. Sanad Al-Fathalah 25311996 Dr. Mohammad Al-Daaory 25731988 Dr. Ismail Al-Fodary 22620166 Dr. Mahmoud Al-Booz 25651426 General Practitioners Dr. Mohamme Y Majidi 24555050 Ext 123 Dr. Yousef Al-Omar 24719312 Dr. Tarek Al-Mikhazeem 23926920 Dr. Kathem Maarafi 25730465 Dr. Abdallah Ahmad Eyadah 25655528 Dr. Nabeel Al-Ayoobi 24577781 Dr. Dina Abidallah Al-Refae 25333501 Urologists Dr. Ali Naser Al-Serfy 22641534 Dr. Fawzi Taher Abul 22639955 Dr. Khaleel Abidallah Al-Awadi 22616660 Dr. Adel Al-Hunayan FRCS (C) 25313120 Dr. Leons Joseph 66703427 Psychologists /Psychotherapists

Paediatricians

Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf

22547272

Dr. Khaled Hamadi

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari

22617700

Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed

Dr. Abdel Quttainah

25625030/60

Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar

23729596/23729581

Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari

22635047

Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan

22613623/0

Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe

23729596/23729581

Dr. Verginia s.Marin

2572-6666 ext 8321

Endocrinologist

25665898 25340300

Dr. Zahra Qabazard

25710444

Dr. Sohail Qamar

22621099

Dr. Snaa Maaroof

25713514

Dr. Pradip Gujare

23713100

Dr. Zacharias Mathew

24334282

(1) Ear, Nose and Throat (2) Plastic Surgeon Dr. Abdul Mohsin Jafar, FRCS (Canada)

25655535

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inead O’Connor has split from her husband after 16 days of marriage. The ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ singer - who has been wed three times previously claims people in her partner Barry Herridge’s life stopped the couple, who married at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, from being able to settle into their lives with each other but says they have parted “amicably”. Writing on her official website, she said: “From the moment myself and my husband got together not long ago, there was intense pressure placed upon him by certain people in his life, not to be involved with me. These were people who had never met me but had formed opinions of me based on what they

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read about ‘Sinead ‘O’Connor’ in the media etc. “He is a wonderful man. I love him very much. I’m sorry I’m not a more regular woman. I truly believe though it is painful to admit, we made a mistake rushing into getting married, for altruistic reasons, and weren’t aware or prepared for the consequences on my husband’s life and the lives of those close to him. “We part amicably. I wish him to be free and happy and loved and supported and for him to have privacy as that is utmost important for his job and for the children he treats as a therapist so I plead on theirs and his behalf for media to please leave him and his family alone. I really beg this.” However, the Irish star admits she is happy

with the decision and will continue to be herself and learn from the situation. She added: “I am in a very good and happy and strong place in life so I am doing fine. The marriage was 16 days. We lived together for 7 days only. Until Xmas eve. And we haven’t been awful to each other. So while I feel sad for my husband, and sad to be the cause of sorrow to yet another poor man, I’m also happy that I know we weren’t horrible to each other and he is better off free. And that I can be me. (sic)”

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Schwarzenegger spends Christmas with Shriver rnold Schwarzenegger reunited with Maria Shriver for Christmas. The ‘Terminator’ star and Maria separated after 25 years together in May but put on a united front over the festive period for their four children, Katherine, 22, Christina, 20, Patrick, 18 and Christopher, 14. A source told People.com: “They had a really nice time over the holiday.” Arnold - who Maria filed for divorce from after it emerged he had fathered a child with a housekeeper - visited their former marital home in Brentwood, California, and they also attended basketball team Los Angeles Lakers’ opening game of the season at the city’s Staples Center. Arnold and Maria have spent a number of occasions together since separating, including his 64th birthday just two months after they parted in May. However, the situation has not been easy for Maria and she has previously admitted she was left “down and confused” about the breakdown of her marriage. Speaking about a recent experience with a friend who has intellectual disabilities, she said: “When I was going through my own challenges this year; feeling down and confused, I got an email from him. He wrote me a note saying, ‘You’re my best friend Maria and you will never be left out.’ “When the world is so complicated, the simple gift of friendship is within all of our hands. Thank you to everyone who came up to me this weekend and wished me well.”

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hris Martin had to throw a Coldplay-singing intruder out of his garden. The band’s lead singer was shocked to find the man within the grounds of the house he shares with wife Gwyneth Paltrow and their two children Apple, seven, and Moses, five, but stopped to listen to a few of his renditions before kicking him out. He told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “I had a guy the other day who climbed over the gate of our house and started singing Coldplay songs to his friends on the street.” Instead of being too upset, the ‘Every Teardrop is a Waterfall’ star pointed out the man wasn’t hitting the right notes, telling him: “Listen, you’re just not doing that right.” He added: “He politely left. It was bordering on intrusion. Still, it’s nice that people like the songs.” Chris has had a great 2011, with Coldplay releasing their fifth album, ‘Mylo Xyloto’, and he’s hoping to get 2012 off to a clean start by cutting out his bad language. He said: “The only thing I am sure of is I won’t be swearing as much next year. My swearing has been terrible recently. I’m sorry to everyone. But we’re all very happy.” — Agencies

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atthew McConaughey got engaged to Camila Alves over Christmas. ‘ The Lincoln Lawyer’ actor proposed to the Brazilian model and TV star on Christmas day and celebrated her accepting by posting a picture of them kissing together on his twitter account. He wrote: “Just asked camila to marry me, #MerryChristmas (sic).” Matthew, 42, and Camila, 29, have been together for five years, and have two children together, son Levi, three

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lorence Welch thinks she will always be “slightly scruffy”. The Florence and the Machine singer has a keen interest in fashion but thinks she would find it impossible to ever look “polished”. She said: “I’ve always been interested in fashion and clothes, it’s all part of who I am. “I don’t think I’ll ever be polished. I’m just integrally slightly scruffy. You know you meet those women who are so cool? I’m striving for that so much. And I’m always too flustered.” Florence has been working with Karl Lagerfeld on his Chanel shows and the redhaired star admits she felt like a “jellyfish” alongside the catwalk models. She said: “Did you see the way I walked out with Karl? All the models were like these beautiful sea anemones and seahorses and there I was like a big jellyfish going bloob bloob bloob.” Florence impressed Karl, who thinks she is a “genius” and his current favorite musician. He said: “When she sings in public, her voice goes much higher than on CD. I think she’s a genius. She looks like a great English lady, but in fact is a very funny young girl. “She’s my favorite singer for the moment.”

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and daughter, Vida, 23 months. The actor has previously explained how he wanted Camila to feel secure in their relationship as soon as it became serious by buying new home for them, which she could add her personal touches to. He said: “Before this, I had a super home in the Hollywood Hills that I did by myself - landscaping, detailing pretty much everything. But that house was mine. And yeah, we coulda gone in there right away. Camila would have said, ‘Fine,

don’t change a thing.’ But I thought, I found the woman I wanna do it with, the woman I wanna make a family with, hopefully live our life out together. “She needs to have 50 per cent of that. I mean, it’s a lot easier for me to be at 100 percent. I’d always been 100 per cent. It’s braver for me at 50 per cent.”

Welch’s scruffy admission

oko Ono believes Bollywood has a lot to teach the world and says she will be looking for “inspiration” in India when she holds an exhibition here next month. The avant-garde artist, musician and widow of Beatles singer John Lennon will visit New Delhi for an art show that opens on January 13. The Japanese-born Ono, 78, told the Hindustan Times newspaper in an email interview from her New York home that she hoped to get more out of her coming trip than on a previous India visit she made with Lennon. “The visit in the past was just to appreciate and enjoy India’s land and culture-this time I am coming for encouragement and inspiration,” she said. All the Beatles had visited India in 1968 to attend a transcendental meditation course led by the mystic Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. “(After) the famous visit he made with his three friends, John and I later visited India just by ourselves, and loved it,” she said. Her art exhibition, “Our Beautiful Daughters,” is being hosted by the private Vadehra Art Gallery and runs until March 10. “It is a special new installation for India by Ms. Ono that is a homage to Indian women-their strength,” gallery director Parul Vadehra told AFP. The show will also include an archive of her music, movies and work with Lennon, as well as a performance by the artist herself. “I will be doing music as well. I am hoping that I can do it with Indian musicians,” Ono said. Last year, her Plastic Ono Band, formed in 1969 while Lennon was alive, performed with entertainers such as Lady Gaga, Eric Clapton and others. One area that Ono is keen to explore is Bollywood cinema. “Just as we learnt a lot of things from Hollywood films for ages, I think the world will learn many things from Indian films about truth, justice and freedom,” Ono told the newspaper.

heryl Cole carries a “Mary Poppins bag” with flat shoes in. The 28-year-old beauty has recently created her first range of footwear, and although she claims to be comfortable in heels she always has a bag with some flat shoes in just in case she needs them. She said: “I go out in huge heels but I always have to carry a bag with me, a big old Mary Poppins handbag with flatties in them “In my car I have a pair of slippers that I put on for driving, they are exactly like the Cosie Tosies I designed for the collection, because when you put them on after wearing heels for hours it’s the most blissful feeling. “On Christmas Day I’ll be wearing them from the moment I get up.” Cheryl also admits she has the perfect festive outfit in mind - including a pair of glittery shoes. She said: “I think you can make a real statement with shoes. The perfect party look for me this year is a black catsuit and really high, stacked, glittery shoes put some glitter on the eyes and you’re ready to go.”


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nbeknownst to many, Turkish diplomats on duty around Europe saved hundreds of Jews during World War II by giving them Turkish passports, enabling them to travel to safety in Turkey. This little known episode is told in an independent documentary entitled “Turkish Passport”, being promoted as finally revealing “a secret kept for 66 years”. The film recounts memories known mainly to 19 diplomats and the Jews they saved from German Nazi death camps. It is based on testimonies by witnesses and their relatives. “To remember and never to forget,” said Gunes Celikcan, 30, one of the producers, as he talked about why the film was made. “There is not much about what the Turks did during that period of history,” Celikcan told AFP, as Turkey remained neutral during World War II. He said the diplomats saved around 2,000 Jews from the Holocaust but the exact figure is unknown. “We wanted to show this for the very first time and commemorate those diplomats,” none of whom survive today, he said. The docudrama directed by Burak Arliel was first shown at the Cannes Film Festival in May. It has since been screened in Istanbul and other Turkish cities and made the rounds of festivals in the US and Europe. And though the buzz is quiet, it’s building-and not all is favorable. Its release comes at a low-point in relations between Israel and Turkey, after Israel’s refusal to apologize for a deadly commando raid on a humanitarian flotilla bound for the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip. The incident left nine Turkish nationals dead on May 31, 2010. In protest, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and froze military ties and defence trade deals. The Palestinians have widespread support in Turkey, where a wildly popular Turkish film series, “Valley of the Wolves”, has fuelled strains, blasted by Israel as having anti-Semitic content. Celikcan said the film has been six years in the making and “has nothing to do with the changing political spectrum”. But not all agree, including the chief political analyst for The Jerusalem Post, Gil Hoffman, and former Israeli cultural attache in Turkey Batya Keinan. In a recent article

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reprinted in several Turkish newspapers and websites, Hoffman said the movie was “rewriting history” with one of its “central messages-that the Turkish government was actively involved in saving Jewish lives in Europe.” ‘This is historical fact’ This “does not appear to be the case”, he wrote. “Historical records indicate that the diplomats acted on their own, despite orders to the contrary from Ankara.” Hoffman also quoted Keinan. “The Turkish press office is using the movie for propaganda,” she said. “They are trying to say ‘we are good people who protected Jews in the Holocaust and Palestinians now, and yet you shoot at us.’ Shame on you.” The comments have angered the movie’s backers. “This film is not propaganda. ... There is no state involvement,” said Asli Sena Genc, a representative for the Istanbul promoters. “This is a historical fact.” Celikcan said the Turkish foreign ministry gave the filmmakers access to official archives, but ministry officials told AFP the film was a private initiative and the ministry made no official contribution. The docudrama recounts how the diplomats, including ambassador to Vichy France Saffet Arikan, found a way out for Turkish and foreign Jews, sending them to Istanbul on 12 trains at different points during the war. Behic Erkin, Turkey’s ambassador to Paris from 1940-43, and Kudret Erbey, consul-general in the German city of Hamburg from 1940-45, were also involved. “Turkish diplomats did their best to save Jews amid the raging brutality against Jews during World War II,” said Naim Guleryuz, a historian and consultant on the film who heads a Turkish foundation that promotes the history and culture of Turkish Jews. “This part of the story is actually known by historians but we wanted to make it public knowledge through this documentary,” he said. Researchers went to the United States, Israel, France and Germany, tracking down survivors or their relatives, some of whose tales are told on the film’s official website. In one, Arlette Bules recalls when her father was arrested by the Germans and sent to the

internment camp of Drancy, outside Paris. “My mother immediately went to the Turkish Embassy and asked for help rescuing my father. Thanks to the letters written by the ambassador, my father was rescued,” she said. Celikcan recalls another testimony about a Jewish father who called his two daughters to his deathbed after the war. “He told them ‘never forget that it was the Turks who saved us’ and then died making a military salute.” “We did this film without any expectation,” Genc told AFP. “We only wanted to reveal a secret which has been kept for so many years.” Celikcan was philosophical. “If this film makes a positive impact to

recent subplot on “Glee” features an anguished dad trying to quash his son’s dreams of becoming a professional dancer because, he reasons, show business is so fickle. And indeed it is — as Fox has witnessed to its chagrin this fall. A rare TV/music double sensation just last year, “Glee”-an over-the-top romp about a highschool show choir filled with colorful characters-has officially entered its awkward middle years. Some of the stats are about as inviting as pimples and braces. “Glee” has shed 23 percent of its audience compared with last season even after DVR viewing is factored in, according to Nielsen. A 3-D movie tie-in was released in August and drew disappointing box office. Sales of the “Glee” albums — 13 in all, featuring the show’s signature, chorusstyle covers of pop hits-have plummeted lately compared with earlier efforts. The deflation has been “kind of surprising,” said Brad Adgate, an analyst at ad firm Horizon Media, given that the show is only in Season 3 and that for the rest of its schedule, Fox has seen big gains this fall compared with last year. But network and studio brass bristle at any suggestion that the show is hitting sour notes. “Across the board, network television has with many returning shows had sort of a slow fall,” said Dana Walden, chairwoman of the 20th Century Fox Television studio, which makes “Glee” as well as “The Simpsons,” “Modern Family” and many other shows. “There’s a very broad, healthy audience for this show.” Sales of “Glee” music sunk when the cast dipped into the Broadway songbook earlier this year, but the franchise just scored another huge iTunes hit with a mash-up of Adele’s “Rumour Has It” and “Someone Like You.” The track got 160,000 downloads its first week, according to Billboard-one of the biggest tallies ever for a “Glee” number. “Just when people were kind of suggesting that the show had kind of peaked on the charts, out comes this moment, this single that really catches fire,” said Keith Caulfield, associate director of charts and retail at Billboard. Overall, “Glee” has sold an astonishing 6 million albums and 30 million single tracks, according to Nielsen SoundScan-making the “Glee” kids one of the most successful musical acts of all time. Whether the TV ratings pick up or not, studio executives point out that the show is a virtual lock for a fourth-season renewal, thereby ensuring it the riches that await in syndication to local TV stations or cable networks. Walden said she was “not only optimistic-I feel confident” that “Glee” will be back next season. (Although the cast may look slightly different: Some characters will likely be graduated out of the series, although Walden said specific decisions will be made as this season winds down.) Back in February, Fox gave “Glee” the plum post-Super Bowl spot-traditionally reserved for a series that network executives believe can grow further with mass exposure. “Glee” drew more than 30 million viewers, by far its highest audience. Even so, there’s little question that the “Glee” phenomenon has hit a junior-year slump. The show is averaging 10.3 million total viewers this season, down 23 percent compared with last year. And in its all-important adults 18 to 49 demographic, “Glee” is off by 21 percent, which indicates young viewers-the ones who drive most cultural trends-are cooling on it. That may leave behind a smaller audience of “Gleeks,” the preferred term for hard-core fans.

mend fences between the two countries, we should only be happy for that”-a view also held by Israeli diplomat Keinan, who has worked for recognition in Israel of these Turkish diplomats’ wartime role. “Even though there are problems with the ‘Turkish Passport’, the aggressive promotion of the movie could end up helping the current efforts to improve ties between Israel and Turkey,” she said in The Jerusalem Post. — AFP

This handout picture released on December 12, 2011 shows a scene from the film ‘Turkish Passport.’ — AFP

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(From Left) Indian Bollywood actors Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Bipasha Basu and Niel Nitin Mukesh pose during a promotional event for their forthcoming movie ‘Players’ in Bangalore yesterday. The movie is based on the 2003 Hollywood blockbuster ‘The Italian Job’ and is amongst the most expensive films in Bollywood. — AFP

om Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol” topped the North American box office over the long Christmas weekend, raking in $46.2 million, industry estimates showed Monday. The action film, the fourth in the “MI” series, has thus far taken in $78.6 million, according to Exhibitor Relations-showing that Cruise can still draw a major audience after several box office disappointments. “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”-a sequel to the 2009 film “Sherlock Holmes” about the character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyleslipped from first to second place, taking in $31.8 million from Friday to Monday. In third with $20 million was “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked,” the third animated film about the singing chipmunks. The hotly anticipated “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”-the Hollywood adaptation of the wildly popular Stieg Larsson novel, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara-took in $19.4 million in its debut weekend for fourth place. Since its mid-week release, the film has grossed $27.7 million. “The Adventures of Tintin,” the story of the beloved Belgian boy reporter from director Steven Spielberg, came in fifth place with $16.1 million in US and Canadian ticket sales. Family film “We Bought A Zoo” starring Matt Damon finished in sixth place, taking in $15.6 million, followed by “War Horse”-also from Spielberg-in seventh place at $15 million. Thriller “The Darkest Hour” opened in eighth place with $5.5 million, and starstudded holiday romance “New Year’s Eve” earned $4.95 million for ninth place. Rounding out the top 10 was “The Descendants” starring George Clooney, which grossed $3.4 million over the four-day weekend. — AFP

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New Directions perform at sectionals in the ‘Hold on to Sixteen’ episode of ‘GLEE.’ — MCT

Fox-which launched “Glee” in 2009 with a painstaking series of marketing maneuversmay have overpromoted the show as a popcultural sensation, Adgate believes. “The show has been stretched, perhaps causing some fatigue,” he said. “The concert tours, movie, CDs, downloads, (a) reality show on Oxygen.” And then there’s the show itself. Popular as the distinctive “Glee” musical numbers have proven, opinion has always been sharply divided on the merits of the rest of the series. “Since the first season, I’ve been indecisive about ‘Glee’; the writing is inconsistent, the episodes are uneven, and enjoying ‘Glee’ always raises questions about whether or not the show is good or simply a shiny object,” wrote Elizabeth Wiggins on the entertainment site Popmatters.com. Other critics have found that “Glee” doesn’t quite pull off its mix of comedy, drama and music and that its characters are too over-the-top — including super-villainous coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) — to be believable. Last year the show gorged on special guest stars, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, and themed episodes, including a highly rated Britney Spears tribute. Such stunts may have brought in extra viewers, but sometimes they also irritated fans. Kevin Reilly, Fox’s entertainment president, told USA Today recently that “Glee” had “frayed creatively” due to excessive storytelling tangents. The comment irked Ryan Murphy, the show’s co-creator and guiding light, according to an insider who spoke on condition of anonymity. It’s a diplomatically volatile situation because Murphy, previously best-known for “Nip/Tuck,” is also behind “American Horror Story,” the new series for FX, Fox’s sister cable network. (Neither Reilly nor Murphy would speak for this article, according to spokespersons.) Fox TV’s Walden explained that the network and studio brass merely wanted a return to the basics. “What we asked Ryan to do this season, particularly at the start of the season, was to focus less on guest stars and to shine a very strong light on our core cast,” she said. “It was not in reaction to anything. It was looking at the big picture of ‘Glee’ and looking at the potential that this show has.” In the most attention-grabbing episode this season, entitled “The First Time,” the show teased viewers with the possibility of two consummated romances, one straight and

one gay: singing star Rachel (Lea Michele) and her sometime boyfriend Finn (Cory Monteith), and Kurt (Chris Colfer) and his boyfriend Blaine (Darren Criss). Although there was no nudity and the subject was handled discreetly by TV standards, some critics slammed the episode for what they said was promoting teen sex. CNN.com complained of a “brazen, ratings-boosting publicity” ploy. Walden replied: “Our core audience was very happy with that episode.” The irony, of course, is that “Glee’s” numbers are actually down. But a less-potent “Glee” still has much more power than the typical TV show. It’s not just Gleeks who say the series is nowhere near its final curtain. “As with any phenomenon, it’s going to sort of cool off,” Billboard’s Caulfield said. “‘Glee’ has probably just come down to normal popularity, as opposed to stratospheric popularity.” — MCT


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By James Lileks

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e took a cruise with 912 children, 911 of whom were not ours. For people who don’t like other people’s kids in quantities usually encountered at theme parks, or who believe that cruise ships are floating tubs of gluttony and indolence, this must all sound like a nightmare. There was a moment when the poolside noise level was enough to make Davy Jones swim up to the surface and tell us to hold it down, but Davy Jones was actually at the party. At least everyone went quiet when the ship launched the fireworks. Yes, fireworks. One cruise line has the right to blow stuff up at night: Disney. It was a Disney cruise, and it was magical! The ship was called the Magic, too! Everything was Magical!, since every Disney’s utterance apparently must use the word “magic,” as in “have a magical day,”“have a magical vacation,” “have a magical hamburger,” and so on. The relentless cheerfulness, the stable of licensed characters and the two-handed milking of every frame of every Disney movie might make you think the ships are gaudy monstrosities in primary colors-fun for kids, but a cartoon hell for an Adult of Discernment. I’ll say this: Pity the people who feel they have to have kids to take a Disney cruise. Sure, you’d feel left out if you didn’t. But the Magic is one of the finest, most elegant ships I’ve ever been on, and from the moment you step aboard and your family’s name is announced to cheers from the crew, to the moment you shuffle off to find your luggage in the Purple Minnie section, it’s ... well. You know. That word. The appeal is for families who don’t want to get lost, it seems. Disney vacations are hermetically sealed experiences. That can be a plus. When we arrived in Barcelona, fuzzy-headed and mute with jet lag, I found myself sitting in the baggage area, wondering what the devil we were supposed to do next. Strange country, don’t know the customs, where’s the port; then I spied three people wearing enormous Mickey Mouse hands. They gently guided us to plush buses, and the minute we pulled out, the Disney welcome video played, just as it does in the United States. Same narrator. Same movie. It could have been Fort Lauderdale, really. But it wasn’t. Obviously. If that town is gaudy, Barcelona is, well, Gaudi, and the tour guide points out all the interesting architecture and historical notes. We took a tour of the town while the crew frantically vacuumed and polished and restocked tons of provisions (the ships dock in the morn, disgorge their sun-kissed multitudes, reload in the afternoon and steam back out). Eventually we were dropped at the cavernous boarding hall with its echoing shrieks of giddy kids and faint perfume of salt and mildew, waiting for our number to be called. This was the worst part, but we knew it would all change the moment we started up the gangplank, entered the ship and-well, you know. That word. A few hours later the ship’s whistles blew the first few notes of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and we were off. Here are some back-of-the-envelope notes on the ship and its pleasures, if you’re considering a Disney cruise. (Shorter version: Go.) The ship itself The Magic is 964 feet long, and it holds 2,400 passengers, and apparently 94,297 crew, 14 of which materialize instantly if your child drops her ice cream. It has a sister ship, the Wonder, and a new ship, the Dream, was launched this year that is 40 percent bigger and, presumably, 40 percent more magical. Its twin, the Fantasy, is under construction, recession be damned. The Disney experience means different things at different ages: The tots want Mickey and Goofy, the older kids like the characters but know there’s someone in the costume; the tweens and teens want their own faves from the Disney TV shows. The adults just want a drink. So the top deck has three portions: a pool for the water-wings set with a big slide cradled in an enormous Hand of Mickey. In the middle, a pool for all with a stage and a Jumbotron-scale video screen. Near the bow-that’s the pointy part of the ship for you lubbersthere’s a pool for grown-ups only, as well as a civilized bar from which non-adults are banned. There are children’s clubs for each demographic, and you can leave your kid while you go ashore if you don’t want to push a stroller around Naples. Your first impression is enormity, but Disney’s skill at making everything a theater set makes almost every space feel intimate. You’re surprised how sparing they are with the characters. Aside from the statue of Mickey in the grand lobby, you can walk around most of the main deck without seeing a single character, except for the occasional piece of framed art, and more often than not it’s a drawing from a 1934 Sily Symphony. No characters in the rooms, either. Speaking of which: Comfortable beds, flat-screen TVs (with Disney movies! knock me over with a feather) and split baths, shower in one room and commode in the other. Any family that’s tried to get ready in half an hour using one bathroom will realize that this is the greatest innovation in maritime history Entertainment The shows are elaborate, highly professional, filled with music and special effects, hosted in a vast theaterand I didn’t see one of them. (After dinner I like to take long walks around the deck. Wife and child pronounced them Awesome.) Smaller venues have acts best seen close-up; wander into one cabaret, and there’s a fellow doing an elaborate routine with bubbles and smoke. Most ships have a movie theater, but the Magic’s Buena Vista is the size of a mall theater, and it’s all 3-D. The aforementioned loud party with Davy Jones was the conclusion of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” day. It took over the entire top deck, and included an enormous Wii-style motion-controlled game in which kids on the stage manipulated “Pirates” characters on the immense display above. Then, as noted, fireworks. That was as loud as it got. Walk by the pool at midnight the next night, and you’d see six or seven people floating in the water, watching “Wall-E.” If you know the movie, the sight of people on a cruise ship floating in chairs with enormous soft drinks, watching a movie about people on a cruise ship floating in chairs with enormous soft drinks, is a reminder that nearly everything about the company repels irony like a Scotchgard fabric sheds water.—MCT


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raditionally, we usher out the old year and welcome in the new with the old Scots song, “Auld Lang Syne.” At the stroke of midnight on Saturday, people gathered at parties to celebrate New Year’s Eve will sing the song, even if they don’t understand what the lyrics mean. The title is an idiom (style of speaking peculiar to a group of people) meaning “long, long, ago.” In the Scottish dialect, the words mean “old long ago,” and are derived from an 18th-century poem by Robert Burns partially compiled from an older song. “Old Long Syne,” printed in 1711 by James Watson, was set to the tune of an old folk song that predates the 16th century. In song and poetry, they all point to days gone by and advise that we should remember friendships and loves from the past. Scots traditionally sang the song during their New Year’s Eve celebration called Hogmanay and the tradition soon spread to nearby countries. As Scots, Welsh, Irish and English people emigrated around the world, they took the song and the tradition with them. Remembering the song today seems fitting. After more than 12 years, this is my final Kids’ Kraft column. I am putting away my sewing machine, closing down my craft room and dispensing with shelves filled with boxes of pipe cleaners and pompoms.

Ring in 2012 with a festive party hat. — MCT Thank you for sharing photos of your “creations,” in your emails, phone calls and letters throughout the past dozen years. I have always enjoyed reading about your favorite projects. Hopefully, I have helped kids ages 6-12 express their creativity with the crafts we’ve shared. But as they say, a closed door usually means a window opens somewhere else, and this is no exception. Not creating crafts each week will give me the opportunity to write about another one of my loves: the pets in our lives. There is no doubt that as Americans, we love our pets. We own more than 78 million dogs and 86 million cats, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Others own pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, ferrets, birds and any number of other creatures. Please use the email address at the end of this column to tell me about your pets, events and other ideas you may want to share. I can’t promise I can use them all, but I will enjoy hearing from you and will print as many as I am able. For my final craft, I made a hat for First Night celebrations with just about the same supplies I used when I did my first Kids’ Kraft column in 1999. To create those pompom critters, I used many of the same kinds of supplies that adorn this festive hat I found at one of my favorite online sources, Family Fun. Supplies you will need: Metallic poster board. Scissors. Double-sided foam tape and duct tape. Pencil or pen. Thumbtack. Soft elastic thread. Pompoms, pipe cleaners and stickers. To make a cone-shaped hat, cut a semicircle with an 18-inch diameter from the poster board. Roll it into a cone, adjust its size to fit your head and secure it with double-sided foam tape. To make a chin strap, use the thumbtack to poke a hole through each side of the hat near the bottom, thread one end of the elastic through each hole, and knot a few times to secure it. To decorate your hat, coil pipe cleaners around a pencil or pen to make spirals. Attach the spirals by poking a hole through the hat with a thumbtack, Push one inch of the pipe cleaner through the hole to the inside of the hat and duct-tape it down. Attach pompoms with double-sided foam tape. Randomly place stickers. — MCT


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Henri Bendel bracelets each at Henri Bendel. — MCT photos

Woolrich for Converse shoes, Urban Outfitters belt, and Camp socks at Urban Outfitters.

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e’ve all had our slip-ups with self-expression around the holidays. Maybe you doubled up with red and green scrunchies in the ‘90s or donned a pair of those flashing “ornament” earrings. Whatever your holiday fashion faux pas, there’s no reason to dress like a Christmas treeand no need to be overwhelmed with the prospect of having to buy a new outfit for the swirl of social events. By adding an accessory or two, a little black dress or brown v-neck sweater can be instantly transformed into something festive. For this holiday season think about rich fabrics such as velvet or satin, as well as things that shine and sparkle. And use these accessories-a clutch, a brooch, a belt-in small doses. You might start with the easiest (and perhaps least expensive) strategy: A classic red lipstick is one way to add a pop of color to your look. Red lips are big trend this season, and they always brighten up dark colors and heavier fabrics. A color called Le Rouge from YSL Beaute is a true red, and its shiny gold packaging makes for a handsome addition to a vanity. For a little bit of sheen to the eyelid and brow bone, try Bobbi Brown’s Sparkle Glamour Quad (which comes with four palettes of color), which gives a party-goer the option of creating a sexy smoky eye or playing it safe with a glittery champagne eye shadow. Literal touches of sparkle are easy to find this time of year, and a little really does go a long way. Try wearing sequins or glitter by way of a neutral colored scarf, such as the nude version from Tory Burch that features one side of solid wool and the other decorated with a smattering of copper-colored palettes. Henri Bendel offers stackable rhinestone bracelets that are fastened with a velvet bow, a piece that could dress up anything from a black suit to jeans and a sweater. Gentlemen, please ditch the reindeer tie and instead opt for a few dapper flourishes that can, in truth, be worn any time of year. Woolrich and Converse have teamed up for a holiday collection that includes a pair of rugged wool Chuck Taylors. They’re part lumberjack, part creative executive and can be worn with a pair of dark jeans and a solid sweater for work or a private holiday party. For something dressier, the oversized burgundy bow tie from the Lanvin for H&M collection is fun and looks great with a suit or under a V-neck sweater. And for

Deena & Ozzy glitter oxfords.

J Crew pink maribou wrap.

a festive but subtle approach to holiday dressing, try slipping on some bright colored or patterned socks, which can be worn with sneakers and jeans or a suit and oxfords. Paul Smith generally has a wide selection of colorful socks, including a pair in a red and gray harlequin pattern. Top it all off by lighting a scented candle while you’re dressing up at home-or wrap one for a hostess gift. Annick Goutal’s Noel candle and room spray is a subtle mix of citrus and pine and doesn’t overwhelm a room once lighted. So it’s not so difficult to get seasonal, is it? That Christmas sweater can remain in the bottom drawer another year if you follow our basic rule: It’s probably best to sparkle sparingly. — MCT

Stella & Dot multi strand pearl necklace.

Paul Smith socks and cufflinks; Asos scarf and fedora; and Lanvin for H&M bow tie.

YSL pur Couture lipstick in Le Rouge.

Vans plaid creeper sneakers.

Hugo Boss women’s velvet tuxedo jacket and J Crew jeweled gloves.

Tory Burch sequin scarf at Tory Burch.


28 Dec 2011