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NO: 15401

150 FILS

Kuwait National & Liberation Days

PM set to be grilled in open Assembly session Blasphemous tweeter arrested • Qallaf files to quiz info minister

Max 30º Min 17º High Tide 03:41 & 14:38 Low Tide 08:35 & 21:32

By A Saleh and B Izzak conspiracy theories

Better off without you By Badrya Darwish


gain and again and again I am forced to comment on the performance of parliamentarians. So far after many sessions, all the nation is hearing are threats of grilling for this and that reason. All we are hearing is about lifting or keeping the immunity of this or that MP and threats of grills. I admire Sheikh Jaber’s courage that today he will be appearing for the first public grilling of a prime minister. Sheikh Nasser was grilled before behind closed doors. The PM will challenge the MPs today. I can’t wait to see the results. The other interesting thing is MP Qallaf’s threat to grill the minister of information. As all of you know, the same MP gave an interview to Scope TV 10 days ago. In the interview he attacked Falah bin Jame Al-Azmi, the head of the Al-Azmi tribe. On the following day after the interview was broadcast, he was forced to apologize for what he said. In his apology he claimed that what he said was not something he meant in a bad way. If you apologized and felt you did wrong, why are you then grilling the minister of information who is merely doing his duties. Is it just to waste the MPs’ time and sessions? The information minister visited all the media and newspapers much ahead of that incident. He told us that he was here to warn us that anyone who insinuates hatred will be held accountable and might face charges. It is the duty of the minister of information to investigate Scope TV for that interview which insinuated hatred and caused disturbance and led the Azmi tribe to attack Scope TV. Are you trying, dear MPs, to insinuate hatred among each other - Sunni, Shiite, hadhari, bedouin? Did we elect you for these major issues? Are these the major issues in the country? We don’t need the parliament to insinuate hatred between each other. If this is the way the parliament will continue its four years’ mandate with grillings and immunity talks and not bother about our problems in the country, I think Kuwait will be far better off without a parliament. Like this there will be less publicity for these well-known celebrities. All they want to see is their pictures in the media giving threats to each other. There are no promises for Kuwait and Kuwaitis. Thanks a lot. Save us the headache. I am sorry that such a parliament forces us to think like that because a parliament is the pride of any country - it is a sign of culture and democracy. But our parliamentarians let us down so many times to the point that they made us feel that we are much better off without them.

Kazakhs still fuming over ‘Borat’ anthem

KUWAIT: Police hold back people protesting against blasphemous postings by a tweeter outside the state security department in Salmiya yesterday. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Economic talks open Arab summit Baghdad seeks debt forgiveness Kuwait spending is unsustainable: WB KUWAIT: Kuwait will probably struggle to sustain its level of government spending in the medium term because oil prices may fall, a World Bank official said yesterday, warning that the Gulf state’s economic development plans were also at risk because of the indifference of the private sector. Bassam Ramadan, country manager for Kuwait at the World Bank, said the average price of various types of crude oil could fall by 10-15 percent from current levels to around $85 per barrel by 2020. This would put pressure on the oil exporter’s state finances, especially given a series of public sector wage hikes over the past six months, he said. Kuwait’s Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali said Continued on Page 13

BAGHDAD: Drought and uprisings are threatening to undermine the Middle East’s economy, Arab officials said yesterday as they discussed plans to boost the region’s stability at the start of a key summit in Baghdad. For the first time in a generation, leaders from the 21 states are to gather in Iraq for the Arab League’s annual summit. Iraq is hoping the summit will better integrate its Shiite -led government into the Sunni-dominated Arab world, and it has deployed thousands of soldiers and police across Baghdad to prevent insurgent threats from upending it. “God gave us (Libya) victor y,” Libyan Economy Minister Ahmed AlKoshli said, opening the talks and referring to last year’s uprising which led to the killing of strongman

Muammar Gaddafi. “But we have to say that there is still a bleeding wound in a brother country, Syria, and I have to pray to God that he can ease the suffering and the pain in Syria, and grant them their wishes,” he added. Economic ministers tentatively agreed to cooperate on proposals for tourism and to deal with water shortages and natural disasters. The proposals, put forward at the summit’s opening meeting, still need to be approved by the rulers and heads of government on the final day of the gathering tomorrow. “We are suffering mainly from the lack of finance and some technical problems,” Arab League Secretar y-General Nabil Elaraby said at the economic ministers’ meeting. Continued on Page 13

BAGHDAD: Kuwait’s Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali attends an economic meeting yesterday ahead of a regional summit. — AFP

Syria accepts Annan’s plan, Assad tours Homs

ALMATY: Kazakhstan yesterday lodged an official complaint with the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) after a spoof national anthem from the comedy “Borat” was played at a medal ceremony instead of the real one. Showing no sign of wanting to forget the incident at last week’s world shooting championships in Kuwait, Kazakhstan’s sports chief also said that Kazakh officials needed to be more careful to avoid a repeat of the fiasco. “We lodged an official complain on the incident with OCA chief Sheikh Ahmad Fahd Al-Sabah,” the chairman of Kazakhstan’s national sports agency Talgat Emergiyayev told reporters. “The organisers of the event are responsible for the blunder,” he added.”They should ask us for the official anthem. Moreover, we have offered them the correct version anthem in various formats but they refused Continued on Page 13

BEIJING: Syria has accepted a proposal crafted by Kofi Annan that aims to end bloodshed in the strife-hit country, but the United Nations-Arab League envoy has cautioned implementation is key to peace. Monitors say over 9,100 people have been killed in Syria over the past year as President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime cracks down on protests, and the plan urges a UN-supervised halt to fighting, bringing hopes the violence will end. “The Syrian government has written to the Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan accepting his six-point plan, endorsed by the United Nations Security Council,” Annan’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said in

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KUWAIT: Police authorities yesterday arrested tweeter Hamad Al-Naqi and charged him with insulting the Prophet (PBUH), his wife Ayesha and his companions. But Naqi categorically denied the charges, alleging that his account has been hacked for some time and “there is no way for me to insult the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions”. Dozens of citizens gathered in front of State Security department to protest the insults against the Prophet (PBUH) and demanded maximum punishment against the culprit. Earlier yesterday, prominent Shiite MP Hussein Qallaf surprised all and filed a request to grill Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah over allegations of vioHussein Al-Qallaf lating the constitution and failure to apply the law on local press and television channels. The move came following high tension during a National Assembly session in which several Shiite MPs and their supporters - notably MPs Nabeel Al-Fadl and Mohammad Al-Juwaihel - walked out of the session to protest the Assembly’s decision to halt debate on lifting the immunity of several MPs. The action also came on the eve of a planned debate of the grilling filed by Continued on Page 13


a statement. “Mr Annan views this as an important initial step that could bring an end to the violence and the bloodshed, provide aid to the suffering, and create an environment conducive to a political dialogue that would fulfil the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people,” he said. Annan is currently in Beijing on a trip aimed at shoring up support for his sixpoint plan, which also calls for a daily two-hour humanitarian ceasefire and access to all areas affected by the fighting in Syria. The former UN SecretaryGeneral held talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who pledged his support for Continued on Page 13

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HOMS, Syria: President Bashar Al-Assad (center) is surrounded by supporters on his first visit to the Baba Amr neighbourhood in this restive city yesterday. — AFP

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Kuwait’s macro-economic policy proves to be resilient: Shimali Aim to create more economic activities By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: The macro-economic policy of the country has demonstrated its ability to face challenges in light of numerous threats and changes, both internally and externally, said Finance Minister Dr Mustafa Jassem Shimali yesterday. Speaking at the inauguration of ‘Euromoney Kuwait Conference’ held at the Arraya Ballroom, Shimali said that the policy has resulted Kuwait’s positive performance in light of several updates. Shimali stated that macro-economy achieved strategic goals of the state which began as part of comprehensive sustainable development of the country, based on some of the main pillars that aim to keep or sustain high economic growth rate, and also support the private sector’s role. “Our goal is to create more economic activities and upgrade the level of human, social developments, and also provide new opportunities to qualified citizens,” he said. “In addition to continuing the efforts aimed at diversifying economic activities, the state of Kuwait is seeking to meet HH the Amir to transform Kuwait into a financial and commercial hub,” he added. According to Shimali, Kuwait’s economic plan is a well-structured methodology that takes into in to consideration, the state future, consistent with the strategic goals for development, by focusing on the diversification of structure, product or the GDP of the country. “Achieving such goal requires collaborative efforts from various sectors/stakeholders, infrastructure and the development of the skills and human expertise,” he added. Concerning GCC countries’ economy, Shimali pointed out that volatility and speed of political and economic changes in the region from 2011 to today, affects the overall economies of countries. However, Shimali noted that

despite changes, GCC countries have been able to demonstrate their ability to resist all the implications and adverse reflections of such changes. “ The economic growth rate of GCC countries in 2011 is about 7.2 percent when compared with the economic

kets in 2011 at 31 percent, as the volume of oil export of the GCC countries have generally increases in 2011, compared with their prices in 2010. “Because of these facts, GCC countries have attained significant growth in the development plan, in achieving social and

Finance Minister Dr Mustafa Jassem Shimali

KUWAIT: A cross-section of the ‘Euro-money Conference’ attendees.

growth rate in 2010 which is only 5.4 percent.” GCC countries benefited from rising oil prices in the global mar-

economic goals, in addition to to making investment policies and strategies,” Shamali asserted. He underscored that GCC should not

depend heavily on such results, adding that the economies [of the GCC countries] experiences volatility regionally and internationally which might overshadow growth trends in the future. “It is expected that the average growth rate of the GCC countries will slowdown in 2012 to about four percent, influenced by the expectation of the slowdown or decline of global demand, and slowdown of economic activities globally,” he pointed out. However, he acknowledges that the world is changing rapidly. “The world is changing and governments all over the world continue to devise new strategies in terms of development, by revisiting the mechanism of addressing financial and economic changes. The overall basic indices of world economy prove that there was a lot of risk and changes that adversely affected the future vision for development and performance of global economy.” Shamali said that such changes have come in synchronization with an increasing risk that threatened financial stability globally, given the aggravation of debt in the eurozone and its implications on other international financial institutions and systems. “Despite the sincere and persistent efforts exerted by governments to come up with new legislation/policies to provide measures, these are not enough to restore trust in the economy. This means that attention should be paid to implementing or continue implementing measures to reduce the overall budget of the country, in addition to the provision of sufficient banking sector finances and services to allow for smooth flow of credits,” he said. Shamali emphasized that austerity measures taken by the Eurozone countries are considered to be very important and necessary. This will complement other policies and measures taken to promote financial stability.

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah receiving Speaker of National Assembly Ahmad Abdulaziz Al-Sadoun at Seif Palace yesterday.

Bedoons face trouble on first day of job application KUWAIT: Five government depar tments received job applications from stateless residents on Monday, the first day on which the government allowed bedoons to apply for work in the public sector. However, the Ministr y of Education (MoE) refused to accept any applications stating that it did not receive any official notice from the C i v i l S e r v i ce Com m i s s i on(C S C ) to authorize the process. According to news reports, nearly 200 stateless residents gathered at MoE building and were visibly frustrated at being informed of the difficulties that prevented them from applying. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MoH) accepted at least sixty applications from stateless residents on Monday, despite not having received a circular from CSC. MoH officials who spoke to Al- Qabas on condition of anonymity said that the ministry is to receive a letter from the CSC explaining the mechanism and conditions of hiring stateless residents. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL) reportedly accepted 50 applications from bedoon residents despite although it did not receive any notice as well. At least 30 applications were repor tedly made at the Ministr y of Public Works, and even fewer applied at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic

Af f a i r s , a nd M i ni s t r y of Communications. Ahmad Al-Abduljaleel Assistant U nd e r s e c re t a r y for I nfor m a t i on Systems at CSC, explained that MoE and MoH coordinators failed to inform the CSC about the notice which officials in their respec tive ministries demand as a pre-condition to accept bedoons’ applications. Al-Abduljaleel blames coordinators with failing to do their part properly “after the CSC finished training them on the new system (for bedoons’ job application) last Thursday.” In order to be eligible for applying to work in the public sector, a bedoon must be registered as holder of the 1965 census document in the database of the Central Agenc y for I llegal Residents. Applying for jobs do not guarantee a job opportunity in the public sector for a an applicant, as theirs is put behind nearly 25,000 applications for Kuwaiti candidates that lay pending at the CSC. However, stateless residents have better chances in professions that do not appeal citize ns. S i m ul t a ne ous l y, d oze ns of bedoon nationals gathered at Taima in protest of slow government proce dures to end their decade-long issues. The demonstration ended after police intervention.

Gulf Bank sponsors ACK 2nd Annual Motor Show Kuwait: Gulf Bank announced yesterday that it is to sponsor the Australian College of Kuwait’s 2nd Annual Motor Show, which will take place today and tomorrow on the college campus at West Mishref. During the show, the Bank will have a dedicated team available to explain the advantages of having a redTM account, Gulf Bank’s specially designed program for youth. Najla Al-Essa, Executive ManagerConsumer Banking Group at Gulf Bank said: “Gulf Bank’s sponsorship of Australian College of Kuwait’s 2nd Annual Motor Show is part of our long-term commitment to youth in Kuwait. Last year’s event was very popular, with thousands of students and other young people attending, and we are looking forward to an even bigger turn-out this year. Gulf Bank is committed to providing the ultimate customer experience

By Ben Garcia

to all its customers. Our redTM program offers a unique package for young people, as well as regular promotions and competitions. This year we have also teamed up with Audi to offer students at the show the chance to drive models from the company’s 2012 range.” Students who are aged 17 to 24 years can open a redTM account, which requires no deposit and is available for both current and savings accounts with monthly interest payments. To find out more about the red(tm) program, customers can visit any one of Gulf Bank’s 56 branches, or contact its Customer Contact Center on 1805805 for assistance and guidance. They can also log on to, Gulf Bank’s website, to find all the information they need regarding the red(tm) program and its benefits.

Najla Al-Essa

Filipina maid seeks help to leave hospital, Kuwait

KUWAIT: Sarah Lagaspi Tusara, 60, a Filipino domestic worker recuperating at the Sabah hospital, has been stranded for four days now at the Sabah Maternity Hospital, following a uterus removal surgery. She suffered from severe bleeding caused by overwork, and was diagnosed with a condition called ‘uterus displacement.’ She had to undergo a hysterectomy which required her employer’s consent. However, the sponsor refused to sign it because they wanted her to work. A widow, Sarah came to Kuwait eight years ago has not had a single day off. “My consolation throughout this period were my five kids,” she told the Kuwait Times from her hospital bed. Sarah says she has experienced mental and physical abuse, and right after surgery procedure, she refuses to return to her employer. Unfortunately, the embassy was hesitant in accepting her to its shelter. “The problem is that she is recuperating patient. She needs a place to rest. In the shelter, we have about 200 runaway workers. She is more susceptible to infection,” said Norlita Lugto, Philippine Embassy Welfare Officer. Following her sponsor’s refusal [consent], Sarah contacted a non-government Filipino organization named ‘Operation Tulong Kuwait,’ seeking assistance. “She contacted me personally to ask for assistance, since her sponsor would not allow her to be operated. I initially informed the embassy about her

case. With her personal appeal, a social worker from the Maternity Hospital allowed her to be operated even without the consent of the sponsor,” Tony Trono, President of Operation Tulong told the Kuwait Times. “Now, she needs help to be discharged from the Maternity Hospital, but the embassy refuses to do so. What kind of an embassy is this when they cannot help our suffering people,” he asked. Sarah underwent surgery in midMarch. Since then, she has been frequently coordinating with the embassy, but Lugto allegedly told her to leave [the hospital] by herself [alone]. She was assured that once she reaches the embassy premises, she would be helped. “At first, what they told me was that they cannot help because I am a patient and that I need a place where I can be properly cared for. Lugto told me that the best thing to do was to go back to my employer. I told her that I do not want to go back there anymore. Then recommended that I stay with friends. But I told them I don’t have a friend here,” a teary eyed Sarah said. “Where will I go, sir? My doctor here has been telling me that I can now be discharged. I already sought permission from the doctor to allow me to extend my stay till last Saturday. But Sunday, Monday and Tuesday passed already. Tomorrow [Wednesday] will be another day and no embassy staff has showed up yet,” she said. “When are they going to take me out from here? I am old and I do not want to

KUWAIT: Sarah Tusara in her hospital bed. —Photo by Ben Garcia work here anymore. I want to go home but I cannot easily get out from here. I need embassy help,” she noted. Sarah served as a domestic helper in Kuwait for over eight years. She never took vacation during that period. “I needed money. I am a widow, and all I want is to help my five children to go to college. I was able to do that over the eight years. I endured physical and mental abuse because of that. I am ready to do that again for my children. Now, one of my children works in Canada, I was able to help him finish his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science,” she said.



Majority of employees not aware of their rights Nursery at work place By Nawara Fattahova

KFSD receives compensation claim By Hanan Al-Saadoun

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Fire Ser vice Directorate(KFSD) received a cheque of KD 1,735,635.515 on March 27, from Agility Public Warehousing in compensation for direct and indirect damage incurred by the directorate on Jan 16, 2011, said Brig Khalid Al-Turkeet Deputy Director General for Financial and Administrative Affairs. Agility was

represented by Fahad Al-Omar y, Business Development Director, Musaed Al-Houly, Senior Business Development Director and Rathaan Al-Thaidi, Sales Manager. KFSD was represented by Lt Col Khalil Al-Amir, Director of Public Relations and Information, Colonel Saleh Al-Ansari Purchases and Warehousing Supervisor and Colonel Waheed Boland Director of Financial Accounts Supervisor.

KUWAIT: Most employees are not aware of their rights, so they don’t demand them. This is in the favor of the employer, who is not willing to apply the rules and exploits the lack of knowledge of his employees. The labor law introduced two years ago includes many additional benefits for employees, so much of it is not applied by the employer. Labor Law 6/2010 for the private sector was published in the official gazette on Feb 21, 2010. Article 25 of this law states that the employer is obliged to establish a nursery for children of their employees who are aged under four years. This is applied to companies that have more than 50 female employees or a total of 200 of both male and female employees. A call center of one of the mobile telecommunication companies denied establishing a nursery for their employees. An employee said there are more than 300 employees working at the call center, besides those in their many other departments. Two local popular banks, which employ hundreds and even thousands of employees, stated that they do not have any nursery for

Interpretation of law cuts teachers pay KUWAIT: A number of MPs expressed concern about cuts in teachers’ allowances, after the religious edict and legislation department supported a new explanation by the Civil Service Commission for the law. Such an explanation reduces many privileges granted to teachers. MPs expressed displeasure at the Government action in implementing the law in such a way that teachers have been offended. Teachers have become frustrated, which will reflect

negatively on the educational process if the matter is not resolved very soon. MP Dr Jumaan Al-Harbash expressed concern at applying the law, without omitting any of the privileges granted to teachers. He expressed his full support of teachers’ rights. Meteb Al-Otaibi, Chairman of the Teachers Association, said teachers are holding onto law 28/2011 with all privileges granted in it for teachers. He said the aim of the law is very

clear and grants teachers new privileges in appreciation of their role. He said the financial privileges encourage them to make more efforts for the benefit of the sons of Kuwait. Al-Otaibi said any call to reexplain the law is rejected. He said he asked the Chairman of the Education Committee, Dr Jumaan Al-Harbash, to hold an urgent meeting with Government to be attended by members of Kuwait Journalists Association to solve this problem once and for all.

Lawmakers demand tweeter’s arrest for blasphemy By A Saleh

KUWAIT: Some lawmakers threatened to stage protests if the government failed to arrest a tweeter who allegedly committed blasphemy by insulting Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), Ayesha, the Caliph Othman bin Affan and the companions of the Prophet (PBUH). MP Jamaan Al-Harbash said, “The nation should punish him if the government fails to do so. We are waiting for the arrest of the renegade so that calamity can be avoided.” MP Waleed Al-Tabtabae

said,” if the ‘barking dog’ is not arrested and legal measures are not taken against him, we will call gather at the Irada Square today.” Badar Al-Dahoum called for killing the irreligious man who insulted the Prophet, and asked for according the death penalty to those who insult Islam, Prophet and his companions. Usama AlShaheen asked the Interior Ministry to hold this person responsible. Writer Mohammad Al-Mulaifi said, “We will wait outside the State Security Building to submit a complaint demanding this person’s

arrest.” In other news, Iraqi member of parliament Adnan Al-Shahmani described MP Waleed Al-Tabtabae’s statement about Iranian forces controlling Baghdad Airport before the Arab Summit’s commencement as being ‘ridiculous.’ He commented that the restitution of Iraq Kuwait relations did not go down well with the Kuwaiti MP. “Iraq is a sovereign country and is independent. It is not logical to hand over parts of it to a certain country. Definitely there is no Iranian involvement here,” Al-Shahmani asserted.

Burgan Bank offers its clientele discounts with dental centers KUWAIT: Burgan Bank announced yesterday that it has entered into a new collaboration with New Abha and Abha Dental Specialty Centers to provide its customers a special discount on dental care services. This latest offering falls in line with the bank’s efforts to offer benefits and services to customers’ banking experience. Customers can use either their Burgan credit or ATM card to take part of the 15% discount on all dental services. Haneen Al-Rumaihi, head of marketing unit at Burgan Bank said: “Our partnership with Abha and New Abha Dental Specialty Centers reflects our continued commitment to offer our loyal customers a wide range benefits that cater to their lifestyle needs.” Abha and New Abha Specialty Centers are some of the most modern dental centers in Kuwait and provide professional, full-service dentistry services with outstanding patient care and state of the art facilities in convenient locations. New Abha & Abha Dental Specialty Centers are located in Farwaniya, Salmiya, Mahboula and Ras Al Salmiya. To find out more about Burgan Bank’s latest promotions, customers are required to visit their nearest Burgan Bank branch or contact the call center on 1804080. For more information, customers can log on to the bank ’s website on . Established in 1977, Burgan Bank is the youngest commercial Bank based

in Kuwait, with a significant focus on the corporate and financial institutions sectors, as well as having a growing retail and private bank customer base. Burgan Bank has four majority owned subsidiaries: Gulf Bank

Haneen Al-Rumaihi Algeria - AGB (Algeria), Bank of Baghdad - BOB (Iraq), Jordan Kuwait Bank - JKB (Jordan) and Tunis International Bank - TIB (Tunisia), (collectively known as the”Burgan Bank Group”). The Bank has continuously improved its performance over the years through an expanded revenue structure, diversified funding sources, and a strong capital base. The adoption of state - of-the -ar t ser vices and technology has positioned it as a trendsetter in the domestic market and within the MENA region. Burgan Bank’s brand has been

created on a foundation of real values - of trust, commitment, excellence and progression, to remind us of the high standards to which we aspire. ‘People come first’ is the foundation on which its products and ser vices are developed. Excellence is one of the Bank’s four key values and Burgan Bank continually strives to maintain the highest standards in the industry. The Bank was re-certified in 2010 with the ISO 9001:2008 certification in all its banking businesses, making it the only Bank in GCC to receive such accreditation. The Bank also has to its credit the distinction of being the only Bank in Kuwait to have won the JP Morgan Chase Quality Recognition Award, twelve years in succession. Burgan Bank won the prestigious “Bank ing Web Awards” prize in the commercial and corporate Category for Kuwait. In 2010 Burgan Bank was awarded with the “Best Internet Banking Ser vice award” from Banker Middle East Awards. Burgan Bank was recognized in 2011 as Kuwait’s “Best Private Bank”, by World Finance. The bank also won, in 2011, the coveted “International Platinum Star For Quality ” award from Business Initiative Directions, and “ The Best Technical Award” from Banking Web Awards. Burgan Bank, a subsidiary of KIPCO (Kuwait Projects Company), is a strongly positioned regional Bank in the MENA region.

the children of their employees. Abeer, a 28year-old employee at one of the banks, complained of no nursery at her workplace. She is the mother of a six-month-old baby boy. “In fact I did not know about this right, which would very much simplify my life. Now I am depending on my mother to take care of him while I am at work. But if she got sick, this would be a problem for me. I did not demand my employer to establish a nursery, as I am afraid to be fired. If I found more employees to submit a collective demand, I would do so,” Abeer told the Kuwait Times. According to attorney Khalid Al-Awadhi, the employees can complain about their employer to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. “The Ministry will force the employer to establish a nursery at the work place if an employee complains. In case the employer did not respond to the Ministry’s demand, the Ministry can take sanctions against the employer. They can close the file of this violating company so the employer won’t be able to do any commercial procedures or paperwork. The ministry may also refuse to renew his business license. If this employer asks to

increase the number of employees, his demand will be refused as his file will be closed at the ministry,” he explained. The employer is not allowed to fire the complaining employee. “Many employees are not aware of their legal labor rights. In case the complaining employee is terminated it would be considered an arbitrary termination, and the ministry may force the employer to return the employee to her or his work,” he added. “To avoid such cases, I advise employees to submit a collective complaint, as in this case the employer will most probably agree to this demand and will not terminate the demanding employees. I think we need more modifications to the law, as the MPs responsible for this matter are not qualified in my view,” concluded Al-Awadhi. Attorney Zainab Al-Ramzi advised female employees to submit their demands in the form of suggestions directly to the employer, rather than going to the ministry. “In case the employer decides to terminate any of the demanding employees, they can file a case in court and they will get their rights,” she stated.

Coast Guard arrests 26 Iraqis trespassing in 3 fishing boats KUWAIT: A Kuwait Coast Guard patrol arrested 26 sailors in three Iraqi fishing boats found on Tuesday in northern Kuwaiti territorial waters, 10 miles from southern Ras Al-Qaid area. The operation conducted by the Coast Guard included surveillance and arrest in cooperation with state authorities, Kuwait’s Coast Guard administration said in a press release. Three fishing boats were taken to Sabah Al-Ahmad Coast Guard base, prior to their transfer to the country’s naval security administration pending further investigation, the statement read. The operation comes amid relentless efforts by Coast Guards, who work against smuggling and illegal fishing practices, to impose full control over and stability in the country’s territorial waters, the statement concluded. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Japanese lecturers launched a special two-day training course dealing with radiation incidents yesterday for two groups of 50 participating trainees from the Ministry of Health, Kuwait Fire Service Directorate, the Ministry of Defense, the National Guard and the Ministry of Oil. —Photo by Hanan Al-Saadoun


LOCAL kuwait digest

kuwait digest

Revival of Islamists

Liberties’ challenge

By Dr Hassam Abdullah Johar

By Bader Al-Daihani


inally Al-Nahdha Youth Forum concluded its activities, which were mainly comprised of a series of intellectual and cultural lectures. They were delivered openly and peacefully without adding ‘a new non-believer’ to the number that already exists, as sarcastically put by Dr. Ghanim AlNajjar. Why, then, was all the fuss created about it? As if the country is tottering precariously on a steep precipice with threats pouring on the government’s head if the forum was ever held?! The problem as I see it is merely political stubbornness, with exaggerations and showing off to assume effectiveness and importance in political decision-making. Some MPs, who threatened to grill the interior minister, seem to be boasting of an imaginary victory and believe they have the upper hand in the local political arena. This is, of course, the result of the recent political movements which forced the former Prime Minister and his Cabinet to step down and increase the number of Opposition MPs winning the last parliamentary elections. In the meantime, the Graduates Society took advantage of the situation and defiantly hosted the Islamic-affiliated Al-Nahdha Youth Group in an attempt to score political gains for the Liberals, which have been missed for a long time. In fact, they succeeded in creating an attitude towards the principle of defending the freedom of expression. Regardless of the result of this recent ‘cyclone’, its mere occurrence reflected how fragile and polarized our political situation is. It showed how any group, no matter how small, can create public tension without a good reason and get on people’s nerves, although they know deep inside that such provocative moves are useless except to get at a rival politician. By doing this, they see no harm in involving the entire public opinion busy with their side and marginal disputes. However, it is the curiosity of Kuwaiti people and the speed at which news can travel nowadays that gives momentum to these incidents! My advice to fanatic stringent narrow-minded members of religious blocs is to learn the lesson from the Nahdha Group. They adapted Islamic political ideologies and after much experience opted to use dialogue and openness to others, namely with regards to Sunni-Shiite dialogue. I personally know some names in society who belong to both doctrines and used to be more stringent than MPs who fought fiercely to cancel their forum. They are now sharing a profound political, intellectual and cultural mission. So go ahead and maintain your inflexibility in fighting political corruption while, at the same time, clemently merge and accept others and march forward on the path of tolerance. Therefore, the shock of those against the Nahdha forum was greater for Islamists than for liberals themselves. Thus, we hope the Al-Nahdha experience can get the country out of the dreadful divisions and sectarianism! —Al-Jarida


e spoke several times in this column about the public and private liberties as the first and major challenges to face Islamic groups and powers that won the Parliamentary majority in most of the Arab Spring countries and Kuwait.

It is regretful that the rejection by the ‘Justice Bloc’ and some Islamic groups of the seminar encouraged the government to ban it without legal justification.

kuwait digest

Govt seems to be carrying water to Venice By Bader Boresli


he majority, if we ever have one, has no clear speech, terminology nor harangue by which the public can perceive their tendencies and ideologies. They have been using such a low profile, discussing in language that is full of defiance to Cabinet members or colleagues. They are being taken as role models by some weaker people, who imitate them in the belief that using such low profile speech is an expression of patriotism and defending public interests, which is fatally wrong. This category has no priorities, though everybody thought they would work hard for the best of the nation and all citizens. Unfortunately, nothing has changed so far. Take MP Musallam Al-Barrak, for instance. He is always seen threatening and waving his hands, shouting warnings whenever a tense situation is detected. He has been seen on the streets taking part in strikes more than he has been seen in Parliament. This makes one wonder. Each group or bloc of this majority is flocking alone. The minority, if we ever have one, has no unified ideas nor strategy to serve both the country and the citizens. Their words and actions are mere reactions. They are too bewildered to know what to do. They are so divided that each pair have separate priorities. That led to discussing an increase in MPs’ allowances, as if this and the endless flattery by Mohammed Al-Juwaihel to Al-Barrak were among the citizens’ gravest concerns. How on earth can we achieve any sort of development, improve educational and health services, and

randomly nationalize stateless residents in such a big mess while the government seems to be carrying water to Venice?! —Annahar

This category has no priorities, though everybody thought they would work hard for the best of the nation and all citizens. Unfortunately, nothing has changed so far. Take MP Musallam Al-Barrak, for instance. He is always seen threatening and waving his hands, shouting warnings whenever a tense situation is detected. He has been seen on the streets taking part in strikes more than he has been seen in Parliament.

The last was a column on March 7 titled “Islamic groups and the liberties’ challenge.” We ended it with a question on the stand of our Islamic groups towards liberties. We said the coming few months will answer the question, but it seems the answer will come faster than we expected. Its indicator is becoming clearer after the intention of the ‘Justice Bloc’ to submit a proposed law on ‘decency’. There is also a proposal to amend article 79 of the Constitution, and then its negative stand towards liberties, which was implemented last week through the strict stand expressed by its members towards the convening of the ‘Nahda’ seminar in Kuwait. The seminar was only an intellectual cultural dialogue, and was transmitted live on social sites and some satellite channels. It discussed some aspects related to the ‘civil society’ as seen by lecturers, and it was not necessary for everyone to agree upon it. It is regretful that the rejection by the ‘Justice Bloc’ and some Islamic groups of the seminar encouraged the government to ban it without legal justification. This means the responsibility for banning the seminar was not that of the Islamic groups, which have Constitutional rights as do all political parties to express their reservations or opposition to any conference or activity. It is also the right of political and intellectual groups to express their reservations or opposition to any conference or activity. Yet this right must not go beyond a freedom of speech and expression. It does not authorize the Government to take any unconstitutional decision, such as banning Nahda gatha few hours before it started its activities. If it is true that the bloc had a role in what happened, the responsibility for canceling the Nahda seminar is the responsibility of the Government. The Government is supposed to comply with the Constitution, which says in article 36 that “the freedom of opinion and scientific research is guaranteed, and each human being has the right to express himself and publish it by speech or through writing, according to the conditions laid down by the law.” Last but not least we wonder, when just holding a cultural seminar brings up all these political differences between Islamic groups, how it will be after amending article 79 of the Constitution. — Al-Jarida

kuwait digest kuwait digest

Falling behind in development and politics

Green buildings By Dr Wael Al-Hasawi


recently attended a two-day event held by the College of Technological Studies (CTS) at the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, which discussed the green buildings concept. It featured lectures by specialists from the United States, Germany, India and the Gulf. Many people do not realize what is meant by the term green buildings. It certainly does not mean painting a building’s walls with green paint. The term green building is used to refer to an environment-friendly structure that utilizes energy saving methods. According to official statistics, 40 percent of Kuwait’s electricity is used by buildings and 60 percent of electricity in homes is used on air conditioning. These figures should give us an idea about how much electricity is wasted in Kuwait, and how much we need to start adopting energy-saving methods in our homes. Most people in Kuwait do not appreciate the need for saving energy because we pay little to nothing for electricity and water that the Government provides. It is important, though, to realize how much our habits are hurting the environment. Have you ever wondered why the temperature usually remains high during summer nights in Kuwait - almost as high as the temperature would be during the day? It is because structures and streets release all the thermal energy they stored during the day as soon as night falls, not to mention the thousands of tons of car emissions released. Following the event, I had a lengthy conversation with German expert Dr. Klaus Fischer. He stressed the need for efforts led by academics and researchers to spread awareness about the importance of green buildings worldwide, instead of waiting for governments to do so. Dr. Fischer explained his country’s revolutionary efforts in utilizing renewable energy resources, including solar energy; a technology that the Germans pioneered despite the fact that many of their days are cloudy. According to Dr. Fischer’s estimations, Germany will produce 80 percent of its energy from renewable energy resources. He ended his talk by giving me some advice, which is that if the Government is not willing to adopt renewable energy projects in Kuwait right now, at least they should spread awareness among school students regarding energy saving. —Al-Rai

kuwait digest

Parliamentary showdown

By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


had chosen the title ‘freedom of expression is at risk’ for this column before I started writing it. Eventually, I realized that the title is not suitable because it neither goes well with the article nor does it reflect the actual problem in society. In order for freedom of expression to be threatened, it first needs to exist. In Kuwait, especially these days, this freedom doesn’t exist because you can’t express your opinion about something that is ‘protected’ by certain regulations. Not only are there regulations that control what is published in

In order for freedom of expression to be threatened, it first needs to exist. In Kuwait, especially these days, this freedom doesn’t exist because you can’t express your opinion about something that is ‘protected’ by certain regulations. Not only are there regulations that control what is published in the press and broadcast on television and by radio stations, but you can also find yourself facing criminal charges for making a criticism that others may find offensive.

the press and broadcast on television and by radio stations, but you can also find yourself facing criminal charges for making a criticism that others may find offensive. Many believe that Bahrain derived its democratic system from Kuwait, but added more restrictions to democratic practice. Yet Bahrain allowed the ‘Nahdha Youth Forum’ to be held there. Same as Qatar, that had no problem holding the event on its land despite barely having a constitution. Kuwait, that is considered a role model for democracy and freedoms in the region, meanwhile features a government decision to ban the same forum from being held on its land, in violation of the state’s laws and Constitution. What does that prove? It proves one thing. We have no true democracy or freedom as we claim we do. There are many dictatorships around the world where different communities suffer from oppression and restrictions on freedom. Kuwait has a democratic system, but freedoms are restricted. They are not restricted by the State law, but by social groups that put pressure on the government to object to anything that does not fall under their ideologies. Ironically, a person can actually criticize the Cabinet and Prime Minister in Kuwait, but would be prosecuted if they make the slightest bit of criticism towards what is protected by press laws such as religious, sectarian or tribal figures. A fellow journalist tells me that one of his articles was rejected by his Editor-in-Chief because it contained criticism of a tribal figure; which could have raised violent reactions from the figure’s supporters. This is how restricted the freedom of opinion in Kuwait has become. I believe that true efforts are needed to stop illegal practices which happen when someone is prosecuted for exercising their Constitutional freedom of expression. —Al-Qabas

By Thaar Al Rashidi


real political turn is facing the majority group in Parliament, in particular for the Islamist MPs in the majority. The honeymoon for the Islamist MPs (Salaf, Hadas and independent) is about to finish, and it will finish in a tragic unexpected way. What has happened between MP Dr Jumaan Al-Harbash and MP Mohammed Hayef is only a part of differences among the Islamists blocs, which started to surface in the media. First of all, the temporary political interests of the Salaf and Muslim Brotherhood is the reason behind the current coalition among them. But since each of their parties has its own agenda and different calculations, they will have to cross and collide sooner or later. That is what will happen to the Islamists within the majority group. The same thing will happen to the majority group as a whole, as the Popular Bloc has its own political agenda and its interests and the new born bloc “justice” also has its own political agenda. The Salaf and Hadas and independents also have their own political agenda. Those agendas vary, and might meet at one point, but are different. This difference will lead to a showdown in the end . Finally the majority in parliament will be split, and this is what the Government is hoping for, in the very near future. The expected show down and separation, will be more clear when the budgets are discussed at the end of the current term, and maybe by the beginning of the next term at the latest. This is if the current council remains sound until the next month of Ramadan (starting in July). History indicates that any attempt by a parliamentary committee to enter the Central Bank to discuss the millions deposits in MPs accounts case, will for sure lead to dissolving the National Assembly. (Historically the undisclosed reason for the 1985 dissolution was because a parliamentary committee was close to entering the

Central Bank, and not because of grilling the justice minister as announced. And that is a different story.) Note 1: The difference among Islamists and the separation of the majority in the National Assembly

History indicates that any attempt by a parliamentary committee to enter the Central Bank to discuss the millions deposits in MPs accounts case, will for sure lead to dissolving the National Assembly. Historically the undisclosed reason for the 1985 dissolution was because a parliamentary committee was close to entering the Central Bank, and not because of grilling the justice minister as announced. might be a reason for the council to continue, and stay away from dissolution. The Government is currently biding its time and is waiting to see what will happen. Note 2: The Liberals, or those who claim to be Liberals, are wishing that the national Assembly is dissolved today and not tomorrow. The problem is that in case an early parliament election is held, they will not reach the council anyway. They need 20 years to get rid of their political track, which is very far from citizens concerns but very close to merchants. — Al-Anbaa



CB governor testifies in foreign transfer case All accounts under the bank’s scrutiny KUWAIT: The Central Bank Governor Dr Mohammad Al-Hashel assured a parliamentary investigation committee on Monday that all bank accounts in Kuwait are under the bank’s scrutiny, denying that ‘verbal orders’ were given. The panel was formed to probe a case where former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah has been accused of siphoning off millions of dinars to foreign personal accounts. In its third meeting on Monday, Al-Hashel made his testimony one day after being appointed as the new governor of the Central Bank. According to sources, Al-Hashel asked for a

two weeks’ period to prepare all information sought by the committee. Its President MP Dr Faisal Al-Mislem announced that Managing Director of the Kuwait Investment Authority Badr Al-Saad, and Khalid Al-Bannai Undersecretary of the Prime Minister’s Dewan, were called to attend the panel’s Sunday meeting. Former Foreign Minister Sheikh, Dr Mohammad Al-Sabah and former Central Bank Governor Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah were invited to attend Monday’s meeting, AlMislem added. Sources close to the committee told AlQabas that Kuwait’s ambassadors in New York,

Geneva and London will soon be summoned for investigation, reported Al-Qabas. In related news, former premier Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah presented a document to the Ministers’ Court, denying charges pressed by attorney Nawaf Al-Fuzaia regarding the case. According to sources, Sheikh Al-Sabah argued that he had no responsibility over transactions conducted by the Foreign Ministry. The issue will be raised during Thursday’s trial during which Al-Fuzaia is expected to provide documents pertinent with the case which was previously exposed by MP Musallam Al-Barrak, reported Al-Jarida.

Omanis visit Kuwait autism center KUWAIT: A team representing twenty three rehabilitation centers for people with special needs in Oman visited Kuwait Autism Center recently to attend workshops and for training. The sultanate plans to establish an autism center in the near future. The two-week visit included workshops

and lectures, during which the Omani team received training on handling cases of autism and the best ways to help autistic children utilize their potential via activities suited to their condition. “The training course has been very helpful in providing us with enough experience to

help us run a specialist autism center in Oman”, said trainee Hind Nasser. Lectures during the visit were given by specialists with years of experience in the field. They demonstrated how to diagnose different types of autism and the best way to deal with each case.

Kuwaiti divers free fish trapped on Ahmadi seafloor KUWAIT: Kuwaiti divers freed a number of fish trapped 18 meters underwater at Ahmadi Port during a mission requested by Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC). “The Environmental Voluntary

Foundation received notice from KNPC about underwater cables that got damaged by qarqours, thrown by fishermen to the seafloor”, said Kuwait Dive Team leader Waleed Al-Fadhel, referring to a traditional half-spherical

Senior ministry official attacked By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Director of the legal department at the Education Ministry, Ruqaya Murad, was attacked by social workers Yousuf Al-Fadhly and Abdelmajid AlMutairi. Social worker, Yousef Al-Shimmary, was injured in the process and was taken to hospital. The attackers escaped, leaving their shoes behind, but were later caught. This is not the first time for such incidents since the director, along with others, submitted mass resignations in protest against corruption. ATM thief A female citizen told Reqqa police that an unknown person withdrew KD 800 from her bank account. She said her ATM card may have been stolen while at work. She discovered the theft after learning about her balance. Home alone Meanwhile a citizen told Um Al-Haiman police that his wife stole his furniture. He said they had a dispute, and when he returned from work the house was empty. The maid told him that his wife took the furniture. Road accidents Two Pakistanis in their 40’s suffered head injuries while a 32-year-old Indian, injured his hand during a car accident near South Sabahiya. They were taken to Adan Hospital. A 23-year-old Syrian sustained a head injury, a 24-year-old Syrian bruised his right leg, and a 47-year-old Egyptian suffered chest pains in a car accident. The Syrians were taken to Farwaniya Hospital. A 32-year-old Kuwaiti complained of leg pain while a 33year-old stateless woman suffered back, neck and shoulder pain in addition to head lacerations during an accident in Hawally. Both were taken to Mubarak Hospital. Three Egyptians were injured during an accident on the Fifth Ring Road. A 46-year-old broke his nose and was taken to Mubarak Hospital. A 54-year-old Filipino complained of pain in the chest and right foot after the truck he was driving flipped over. He was taken to Farwaniya Hospital.

shaped fishing cage made of wire mesh that is still used today in Kuwaiti waters. The divers retrieved the qarqours, which were attached to the electric cables, freeing the fish which were trapped inside

them. “The Kuwait Dive Team has been volunteering in annual missions to maintain the marine environment around oil exporting bases in Ahmadi Port since 1986,” Al-Fadhel said in a statement released yesterday.

KUWAIT: A team from Al-Maidan Dental Clinic visited the Commercial Bank of Kuwait headquarters recently to give free dental checks and medical advice to staff members. The visit was part of the CBK health care program it provides to its employees.

Lebanese envoy walks out of event in protest KUWAIT: The Ambassador of Lebanon to Kuwait, Bassam Al-Numani walked out of an event held to mark the sixth anniversary of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik AlHariri. Later, he described his action as an act of protest against “the biased nature of speech that did not touch upon the unity of the Lebanese community in Kuwait.” Ambassador Al-Numani inaugurated the event held at the Marina Hotel on

Monday and delivered a keynote speech, requesting attendees to refrain broaching issues “that negatively affect the unity of Lebanese citizens in Kuwait.” The ambassador specifically mentioned the Syrian issue as a subject that would not be discussed during the event “as it is a controversial issue. This is in order to protect the Lebanese unity.” Lebanese lawmakers affiliated with Al-Mustaqbal (future) Movement were present among the audience.—Al-Qabas



Bedoon teenager accused of molesting young niece Roommates’ vicious quarrel

ABK announces National Day competition winners KUWAIT: Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK) announced the winners of the National Day competition conducted for its customers in February. The draw was held at ABK Head Office and the winners were Mutlaq Watheer Al-Azmi, Fahaheel branch, Hammad Mohammad AlShamari, Fahaheel Branch and Falah Hadi Al-Dafeeri, Jahra branch. Ali Al-Baghli, public relations assistant manager said, “We organized a National Day competition since ABK, being an intrinsic part of our society likes to celebrate special occasions with

the national and expatriate community. It’s good to be a part of the national sentiment.” He added: “ We noticed enthusiastic participation among ABK customers this time, which is a good indication of the success of the competition.” Al-Baghli congratulated the winners and handed them prizes, and wished better luck to those who did not win this time. Winners were happy to participate in this contest that contributes in strengthening the national spirit and thanked the ABK management for this initiative.

KUWAIT: Investigations are currently ongoing into a case where a woman accused her former brother-in-law of molesting her threeyear-old daughter. According to a security source, a bedoon (stateless) woman pressed charges against her daughter’s uncle, explaining to officers that her child had been bleeding after returning home from a trip with her father. The child told her mother that she was assaulted by the woman’s ex-husband’s 15year-old brother. When summoned for investigations, the suspect denied accusations. He said that the claims were fabricated and pointed out that a case against her is pending in court. When confronted about the mother’s story, the teenager claimed that it could have occurred due to a case of constipation suffered from at the time. He remains in custody pending ongoing investigations. Khaitan attack A man who sustained a head injury after being attacked by his roommate was hospitalized. Police and paramedics reached an apartment in Khaitan in response to a report received about the vicious fight which took place between two Egyptian roommates. The injured man was admitted to Farwaniya Hospital while the assaulter was detained. Investigations revealed that the attacker lost his cool after discovering that his KD 500 sav-

ings, which he had placed in the AC vent, was missing. A case was filed at the area’s police station. Child survives fall In a miraculous turn of events, a child’s life was saved after he fell with a thud onto the hood of his father’s car, after slipping and falling from the second floor of his Ferdous home recently. Paramedics and police rushed to the scene as soon as his father reported the incident. The boy who sustained mild injuries was admitted to Farwaniya hospital. His father told officers that the victim was playing in the balcony when he suddenly lost balance and fell. A case was filed at the area’s police station. Wife battery Police are on the hunt for an Egyptian man who faces domestic abuse charges filed by his wife with Salmiya police. In her complaint, the Egyptian woman explained that her husband beat her up and forced her to leave their apartment after she refused to comply with his demand that she quit her job as a beauty specialist. She submitted a medical report showing the injuries sustained during the attack. Moreover, she pointed out that her husband had previously attacked her at her workplace. The suspect’s whereabouts could

not be traced as his mobile phone remained switched off. Policeman attacks colleagues Two police officers pressed charges against a colleague who reportedly enlisted assistance from three of his friends to attack them outside a police station in Kuwait City. The incident took place after the two lieutenants took disciplinary measures against the patrol officer for his continual absence. The suspect reportedly waited while the two men left the building, and was soon joined by three men armed with rods. The policeman-turned-perpetrator was detained but denied his friends’ involvement. A case was filed. Illicit relationship A domestic worker’s illegal relationship with her lover was exposed after the two were caught in a compromising position in her sponsor’s home on Monday night. The sponsor approached the Asian worker’s room after hearing strange noises. He opened the door, which allegedly was not even locked properly, and found the housemaid in bed with a stranger. He reported the incident to police immediately, and produced the couple before the area’s police station. They remain in custody pending legal procedures. — Al-Rai, Al-Anbaa, Al-Watan

Unstable weather in Kuwait KUWAIT: Kuwait is being affected by thermal air depressions associated with cells of thunder cumulus clouds, a senior weather official said here yesterday. Such thunder clouds cause active winds, dust and scattered rains, acting head of the Meteorology Department of the Direc torate General of Civil Aviation Abdul-Amir Al-Taho said. Th i s p e r i od i n Ku w a i t i s ca l l e d “Subbaq As-Sarrayat” season, namely thunderstorms that start ahead of midApril, and go on till the end of May, and are marked by unstable stints of weather, he said.

He added that it is also a period of warm spring associated with swiftly changingweather. The country is currently undergoing another state of unstable weather which lasts until the evening, with the region being affected by thermal air depressions attending periods of low visibility falling to below 1,000 meters owing to dust and southeastern winds which are predicted to flow at a speed of over 50 km/h, Al-Taho noted. On Tuesday, high temperature is expected to hit 29 degrees Celsius, while low temperature is likely to drop to 18 degrees Celsius, he pointed out.— KUNA

KUWAIT: Kuwait Fire Services Directorate yesterday held a special ceremony to honor Humoud Al-Fadhel, Financial Affairs Manager, on the conclusion of his tenure and retirement. The ceremony was attended by Major General Jassim Al-Mansouri, KFSD Director, and high ranking officers. —Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

Ansari, Kharyif greatly contributed to Arab poetic creativity KUWAIT: A number of academics specialized in Arabic poetry recalled the considerable contributions of Kuwaiti poet Abdullah Al-Ansari and Tunisian poet Muhyildeen Khrayif in the revival and creativity of the contemporary poetic scene. This came in seminars held as part of the fifth “Spring of Poetry Festival” organized by “The Foundation of Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain’s Prize for Poetic Creativity” Monday night. Dr Salem Khadada’s paper on the works of Al-Ansari noted that the beginnings of the poet in the 1940s were influenced by his living in Cairo and his exposure to the poetry of Fahad Al-Askar. This lent the work echoes of and relevant in different time periods, he said. The prose writings of Al-Ansari also bear echoes of and direct associations with his poetic creations. “The poet was the only Kuwaiti artist to celebrate the actual act of composition, both in titles and actual body of his

compositions.” The diversity of the structural format of his poems, he added, was also unique, and often reflected the current trends in poetic production. The overall nature of the works put the poet closest to the school of contemporary rather than classical poetry, the academic concluded. Dr Fadhil Khalaf meanwhile discussed the work of Muhyildeen Khrayif, noting that the poet’s upbringing was in Nafta where he learned Arabic and that he is a graduate of the prestigious Zaitouni institute. The poet started his career as a teacher in Nafta and later on in Tunis. He later worked in Radio presentation and production till his retirement. Throughout his life, the poet composed 19 Diwans, and he received several prizes and honors both from institutions in his homeland and Arab institutions, including Al-Babtain Foundation. He was known to have enriched the poetic scene in the Arab Maghreb for over half a century, till he

passed away last November. Dr Mohammad Salih BinOmar for his part addressed specific traits of the work of his poet countryman. He said Kharyif’s interest and passion for poetry from 1949 till 2011 yielded many compositions, some of which had been included in 12 Diwans published by the Babtain Foundation to date, out of an overall 19. The latest works by the poet had been kept in his own handwriting in possession of his family, and we hope to have them published soon, he said. The majority of articles addressing the compositions of the poet were rash impressions or impressions of journalists rather than specialists, and there is great room for thorough consideration of this wealth of creativity, he said. The ‘Spring of Poetry Festival’ is an annual event organized since 2007 by “The Foundation of Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain’s Prize for Poetic Creativity Babtain.” — KUNA

TEC staff attend skills training KUWAIT: The Touristic Enterprises Company (TEC) concluded a training course on enhancing staff members’ communication skills. The event was hosted at the TEC main building in Shuwaikh. Lectures were delivered by Dr Badr Sadeq from the Achievement and Creativity Company for Consultation and Training. Twenty TEC employees took part in the course in which explanations about the definition and types of communications, as well as methods on enhancing staff members’ skills were discussed. The course is part of TEC’s programs to improve staff members’ performance.


Nuclear summit seeks a safer world Page 12

‘Pimping case’ another headache for ex-IMF chief Page 9

World’s executions up, driven by Mideast Iran, Saudi, Iraq among leading executioners LONDON: The number of executions carried out around the world jumped last year, largely due to a surge in use of the death penalty in Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International said yesterday. The rights group said at least 676 people were executed in 20 countries in 2011 compared with 527 executions in 23 countries in 2010, a 28 percent increase. Confirmed executions in the Middle East rose by almost 50 percent last year to 558, it said in an annual report on the death penalty. Methods of execution used around the world included beheading, hanging, lethal injection and shooting. However, Amnesty said China executed more people than the rest of the world put together. Data on the death penalty in China is a state secret and Amnesty International no longer publishes a figure for Chinese executions, but it said they were in the thousands. Salil Shetty, Amnesty’s secretarygeneral, said that when Amnesty was launched in 1961 only nine countries had abolished the death penalty for all crimes, whereas last year only 20 countries carried out executions. “It’s a very important success story,” he said, adding that the downside was that “a few countries continue to practice it in large numbers.” At least 1,923 people are known to have been sentenced to death in 63 countries in 2011, down from 2,024 in 2010, Amnesty’s report said. At least 18,750 people were under sentence of death worldwide at the end of 2011, including 8,300 in Pakistan, it said.

After China, most executions last year were carried out in Iran, where at least 360 people were put to death compared with at least 252 in 2010, Saudi Arabia (at least 82 executions in 2011 compared with at least 27 in 2010), and Iraq (at least 68 executions compared with at least one), Amnesty said. They were followed by the United States, with 43 executions in 2011 down from 46 a year earlier, and Yemen, at least 41 executions in 2011 down from 62 officially reported in 2010. The United States was the only country in the Americas and the only member of the Group of Eight leading economies to execute prisoners in 2011, something Shetty described as “very shameful.” BELARUS ALONE IN EUROPE Belarus was the only country in Europe and the former Soviet Union countries to carry out executions in 2011 when it put two people to death. No executions were recorded in Japan last year for the first time in 19 years. Shetty said the two biggest practitioners of the death penalty in the Middle East, Iran and Saudi Arabia, were “yet to be touched” by the Arab Spring that has swept the region. Violence in countries such as Libya, Syria and Yemen made it particularly difficult to gather information on the use of the death penalty, the report said. In one country in the vanguard of the Arab Spring, Tunisia, Amnesty said it had been assured by interim President Moncef Marzouki, a former Amnesty “prisoner of conscience”, that

he was committed to abolishing the death penalty. Nobody has been executed in Tunisia since 1991, and last year, for the first time since 2008, no new death sentences were handed down. Amnesty said that in addition to the 360 executions officially acknowledged in Iran last year, information from credible sources suggested there were at least 274 other executions. More than three-quarters of executions there were for drug offences, it said. “Iranian activists have expressed their fear that the government may use the cover of its ‘war on drugs’ to execute political opponents,” it said. The Iranian authorities continued to execute political prisoners, and to use the death penalty as a tool against minorities, it said. The tripling of executions in Saudi Arabia last year reversed a downward trend of recent years, Amnesty said. “Hundreds more people are believed to be under sentence of death, many of them foreign nationals convicted of drugs offences. Most of the prisoners did not receive a fair trial conforming to international standards,” it said. In 2011 Saudi Arabia applied the death penalty to offences ranging from murder, rape, robbery and kidnapping to sorcery and drugsrelated crimes, the report said. In Iraq, most death sentences were imposed on people convicted of belonging to or involvement in attacks by armed groups, including murder, kidnapping, rape or other violent crimes, Amnesty said.—Reuters

SALEM: Photo shows the execution room at the Oregon State Penitentiary, in Salem, Ore.— AP




PARCHIN: Satellite image shows the military complex at Parchin, Iran, 30 km southeast of Tehran. (Right) Israeli soldiers walk next to the tank Merkava “Mark 4” in this file photo as they take part in a large military exercise at the Shizafon Armored Corps Training Base in the Arava desert, north of the city of Eilat, southern Israel. —AP

Sabotage may stretch Iran atom timeline, Israel says Iranians see Israeli hand in blasts, computer worms JERUSALEM: Israel yesterday played down the prospect of an imminent attack on Iran, saying its arch-foe’s controversial nuclear program could still be set back by sanctions and sabotage. Six world powers are expected to renew efforts next month to talk Tehran into curbing its uranium enrichment, which can yield fuel for atomic warheads as well as for civilian projects. Iran denies having any hostile designs. Israel, widely believed to have an atomic arsenal, sees a mortal threat in a nucleararmed Iran. It has caused international concern, and worried oil markets, by hinting it could resort to military strikes if it deems diplomacy, including mounting global sanctions, to be at a dead end.

Moshe Yaalon, a senior deputy to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the mid-April talks would show “if there is a chance that the sanctions are working or that the Iranians are continuing to maneuver and advance toward a military nuclear capability”. But asked during an interview with Israel’s Army Radio if this meant the Netanyahu government might be just weeks away from launching a war against Iran, Yaalon demurred. “No. Look, we have to see,” he said. “The (Iranian nuclear) project is not static-whether that means progress, or sometimes, retreat. All sorts of things are happening there.” “Sometimes there are explosions, sometimes there are

worms there, viruses, all kinds of things like that,” Yaalon said, suggesting that setbacks plaguing Iran over the past three years, including the assassination of several of its scientists and the Stuxnet malware that stymied core computer systems, could be repeated. AN END TO ENRICHMENT? Iran accused Israel of involvement in the past sabotage. Israel has not responded directly to the allegation, though it says it coordinates many of its efforts to tackle Tehran’s atomic ambitions with Western and regional allies. Netanyahu demanded, during a Washington visit this month, that any diplomatic deal with Iran end its uranium

enrichment and remove its stockpiles of the fuel. Iran has ruled that out. Speculation about a looming Israeli-Iran conflict has also raised the question of whether Netanyahu is bluffing in a bid to intensify pressure on Tehran by a war-wary Washington. Many independent experts, and the senior US military officer, General Martin Dempsey, have voiced doubt about Israel’s ability to deliver lasting damage to Iran’s distant, dispersed, and well-defended facilities. The sabre-rattling by some Israelis seems at odds with the secrecy that would normally attend a seriously planned attack. “What we journalists hear in closed rooms is staggering,” wrote Ari Shavit, a columnist with the liberal Haaretz daily.

Egyptian Brotherhood faces double backlash Ruling military issues a veiled threat CAIRO: Egypt’s powerful Islamists have faced a backlash on two fronts as they try to solidify their hold on the country’s politics and as liberal politicians quit a panel tasked with drafting a new constitution to protest its domination by Islamists. More ominously, the ruling military on Monday issued a veiled threat of a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood if the group persisted in demands to form a new government. The warning pointed to a growing possibility of confrontation between the Brotherhood and the military, which emerged as Egypt’s two most powerful institutions since the fall of longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak a year ago. For months, they have moved between cooperating and

If the military-Brotherhood quarrel escalates, the transfer of power from the military to a civilian president - scheduled for before July 1 - could be in jeopardy. Their dispute could also hand the liberal and secular groups that engineered the 18-day uprising that toppled Mubarak an opportunity to move back to center stage after months on the side. The independent Al-Shorouq daily said on Monday that several members of the ruling military council have expressed their disapproval of the makeup of the panel in a meeting with Brotherhood leaders. Brotherhood officials could not be reached for comment, but the report was the latest in a series published in the independent media suggesting

CAIRO: Egyptian protesters, including liberal and leftist activists and lawyers, demonstrate outside the administrative court in the capital Cairo yesterday, calling for the constitution drafting panel to be made up entirely of non-parliamentarians. Liberal and leftist parties have pulled out of a panel drafting Egypt’s new constitution, accusing Islamists of monopolizing the process that will deliver the country’s post-revolution charter. —AFP jostling for position. But the Brotherhood appears to be growing in confidence over its position. The group holds nearly half the seats in parliament, making it the largest bloc - and its strength grows even more on some issues in which it is backed by the second-largest bloc, the ultraconservative Islamic Salafis. Together they have been demanding the ouster of the military-appointed prime minister so they can form their own government. The military has staunchly refused. They have also used their strength in parliament to create a constitutional panel with an Islamist majority, giving them the strongest hand in writing the new charter. In response to the tensions with the military, the Brotherhood’s leader, Mohammed Badie, said in comments posted on the group’s website Monday that it was “quite possible” for the Brotherhood to reverse an earlier decision not to field its own candidate in presidential elections due in May.

that relations between the two sides have become so strained that a rapprochement may not be possible any time soon. Two prominent liberal Egyptian politicians - independent lawmaker Amr Hamzawy and Christian activist Mona Makram Obeid - were the first to announce they were pulling out of the 100-member constitutional panel on Monday. Lawmaker Emad Gad said 11 other liberal politicians have also decided to pull out and were due to formally announce their decision on Tuesday, a day before the body is scheduled to hold its inaugural session. The group include eight members of the panel and three “reserve” members, who would serve if a member bows out for any reason. Gad is one of the three reserve members pulling out. “The entire process is a show to conceal the intention to draft a constitution for a religious state,” said Gad, a Christian. “It’s a disgrace to the constitution,” Sherif Samir, a spokesman for

the secular Free Egyptians Party, said of the religious slant of the panel. The controversy surrounding the panel’s makeup drew a guarded reaction from the United States, which has over 30 years regarded Egypt as a key partner in the fight against Muslim militancy. “We want to see a new constitution for Egypt that upholds democratic values and universal human rights in all of their aspects and provides protections and assurances for the participation and the rights of all Egyptians,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington on Monday. She said the panel has an “obligation to uphold and defend and protect the democratic rights that brought them to power in the first place, including the universal rights of all groups.” Selected over the weekend, the panel includes nearly 60 Islamists and only six women and six Christians. The members were chosen by parliament’s two chambers, where Islamists have a comfortable majority of more than 70 percent. “I polled those who elected me and the majority of them said they preferred for me to stay on the constituent assembly,” Hamzawy wrote. “I gave the matter a great deal of thought and studied the makeup of the assembly. My conscience told me to pull out.” Obeid, a former lawmaker and a prominent women’s rights activist, said, “the religious nature and the absence of women are behind my withdrawal from the constituent assembly.” The new constitution will determine whether Egypt, a mainly Muslim nation of some 85 million people, will become further Islamized. The charter also will determine whether the decades-old system of a powerful president will be maintained, or instead, an empowered parliament under Islamist domination will set the tone. The Brotherhood’s spat with the military has its roots in the Islamists’ resolve to fire the military-backed government of Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri, a Mubarak-era politician who is nearly 80. “The (ruling) military council bears full responsibility for attempts to hinder the process of democratic transition and ... exporting crises to future governments,” said a statement by the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood’s political wing. The party also charged that the military might try to rig the presidential election to install a favorable candidate. The military hit back with a strongly worded statement on Sunday saying it was unacceptable to question its commitment to turning over power to a civilian government and to a fair presidential election. It also made a thinly veiled threat of a crackdown against the group by alluding to the mid1950s, when the Brotherhood was outlawed and its members detained after the group challenged the rule of the military. “We ask everyone to learn from the lessons of history so we avoid the mistakes of a past we don’t wish to return to,” the military statement said. But the Brotherhood appeared to dismiss the warnings. One senior Brotherhood figure, Essam Yassin, suggested times had changed and that the group had no fear of the military. “The hands of the clock never go back,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “Believers are never stung twice from the same snake pit.” —AP

“The officials talking to us seem to be genuine and earnest. The sources are topnotch and what they say is consistent with what we know of the preparations being made by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). There are no blunt lies here. There is no cheap spin.” Asked on Army Radio if Israel had decided to strike Iran, Yaalon said: “Even if it had, I would not share that with you.” Another Netanyahu deputy, Dan Meridor, said he opposed discussing the military option in public because this inadvertently shored Iran up against sanctions. “What it helps do, to my regret, is to raise the price of oil, and this compensates for the decline in Iran’s oil production,” Meridor told Israeli television on Saturday. —Reuters

Saudi religious police to cut undercover patrols RIYADH: The new head of Saudi Arabia’s notorious religious police has said he will cut back on the number of “undercover” patrols by his organization which enforces the kingdom’s strict Islamic rules. “The number of undercover vehicles will be reduced in all regions, and we shall reconsider their tasks by either regulating their work or cancelling it all together,” Abdullatif Al-Sheikh said, quoted by local media yesterday. He said that members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice will “stop chasing” violators and in the case of “minor breaches” will note down the culprit’s vehicle registration number and pass it on to regular police. “We shall not tolerate any mistakes,” he said referring to the behavior of his 4,000-strong force, after several incidents stirred anger among Saudis. The monarch, a cautious reformer, in January appointed Sheikh, a moderate member of an influential religious family, to replace Abdulaziz Al-Humain at the helm of the organization which ensures strict application of the country’s ultra-

conservative version of Islam. But the head of the Association for Civil Rights, Mohammed Al-Qahtani, downplayed the importance of the step, describing it as just a “cosmetic change.” “They are trying to convince people that they are doing something, but their job will not be regulated without political reforms,” he said. “It is an attempt by authorities to blame a former chief and appoint another... while authorities, especially the interior ministry, are responsible for the commission,” he added. In 2002, the force, known as the mutaween, reportedly prevented firemen from entering an all-girls school that was ablaze because of the segregation-of-sexes policy, and blocked the girls from escaping because they were not wearing the obligatory veil. Fourteen girls were trampled to death and 50 hurt in a stampede after the fire broke out. The religious police prevent women from driving, require them to be covered from head to foot in black, ban public entertainment, and force all commerce, from supermarkets to petrol stations, to come to a halt at prayer times, five times a day.—AFP

Khartoum bombs South’s oil fields JUBA: South Sudan said the Sudanese air force bombed key oil fields in a cross-border raid yesterday, one day after a rare direct confrontation between the two countries. Clashes broke out on Monday in several places along the poorlymarked border in some of the worst fighting between the two armies since South Sudan became independent in July under a 2005 peace agreement. The violence prompted Sudan’s President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir to suspend a trip to Juba to meet his southern counterpart Salva Kiir to tackle a long list of disputes, according to Sudan’s state radio. The two countries have been at loggerheads since the South became independent, taking away three-quarters of the oil production-the lifeline of both economies. Sharing oil wealth is at the heart of the bitter conflict. South Sudan yesterday accused Khartoum of sending Antonov warplanes to bomb the main oil fields in Unity state near the Sudan border. “This morning as you called I heard the Antonov hovering over Bentiu town because it has just dropped some bombs in the main Unity oil fields,” Unity state Information Minister Gideon Gatpan said. “It has now gone back, possibly for refueling, and may come back,” he said by telephone. Sudanese army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad could not be reached on his mobile phone but Asian oil group GNPOC - the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, a consortium led by China’s CNPC - confirmed the bombing. “The warplanes are hovering every-

where ... One bomb actually just missed Unity base camp but anywhere else so far there is no information,” said Vice President Chom Juaj. “They bombed the oil field but so far we are still waiting for the report from the field telling us if they are damaged or not,” he said. Both sides blamed each other for having started the fighting on Monday. Events in the 1,800 km (1,100 miles) long border area are hard to verify as much of the territory is disputed and not accessible for journalists. Sudan accused South Sudan of having attacked the Heglig border area where a large oil field is under Khartoum’s control. The South said its army had only chased Sudanese ground forces there in self-defense after they had launched an attack on southern territory. TALKS COLLAPSED? The new violence ends a recent rapprochement between the neighbors which had made some progress this month in talks sponsored by the African Union trying to end the bitter dispute. Both countries have been unable to agree how much the landlocked South should pay to export its crude through Sudan, prompting it to shut down its production after Khartoum started taking some oil as what it calls unpaid transit fee. Khartoum and Juba earlier this month had reached two agreements on free movement of citizens in each other’s territory, a step that had given hope that an oil deal was also possible during the presidents’ meeting. —Reuters



DSK under investigation in prostitution ring case LILLE: Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been placed under formal investigation on by authorities looking into a suspected prostitution ring in the French city of Lille, his lawyer said, following a day of questioning by judges in a closed courtroom. The investigation on suspicion of complicity in a pimping operation is the latest judicial headache for the Socialist ex-finance minister. The move could lead to a trial but it falls short of charging him. Strauss-Kahn, 62, who was a strong contender to be France’s next president until he was hit with sex-assault charges, now-dismissed, in New York last May, was allowed to leave the court after being questioned by three judges in the case. The Lille prosecutor’s office said in a statement he was required to post 100,000 euros ($133,300) in bail. He is forbidden to contact witnesses, the press, and others involved in the prostitution case, it said. Outside the courthouse, Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer, Richard Malka, said his client was innocent. “He states with the strongest firmness to be guilty of none of these acts and in particular to not have had the least awareness that certain women he met could have been prostitutes,” Malka told the press. “Having relations with an escort does not constitute a crime and is a matter of private behavior, perfectly legal among adults,” he added. The Lille case centers on allegations that a prostitution ring organized by Strauss-Kahn’s business associates supplied clients at the city’s Carlton Hotel. Already in the case, eight people, including two Lille businessmen and a police commissioner, have been arrested, and construction firm Eiffage fired an executive suspected of using company funds to hire sex workers. Judges had the option of putting him under investigation for having potentially benefited from misappropriated company funds if he knowingly attended prostitute sessions paid for by his executive friends using expense accounts. Instead, the investigation will focus on the pandering angle, and whether Strauss-Kahn was aware that the women at the parties were prostitutes supplied by pimps. In itself, using prostitutes is not illegal in France. The highly-anticipated hearing was origi-

nally scheduled for today but was moved up by two days for unknown reasons. Under French law, “juges d’instruction,” which are a cross between investigating prosecutors and criminal magistrates, notify the accused they are under investigation and can hold the person if they believe it warranted. It is they who later decide whether to send the case to court. Strauss-Kahn - who is now jobless

Dominique Strauss-Kahn and lives a life behind closed doors in Paris - previously has denied the allegations, arguing he was unaware women he met at parties organized by business associates in Lille, Paris and Washington were prostitutes. StraussKahn went from being a highly respected politician to being hounded in the world’s media after a New York hotel maid accused him of trying to rape her. The charges were dropped after prosecutors decided the maid’s testimony was unreliable. But StraussKahn, later was hit with a separate sexual assault accusation in France and today his lawyers will be in a Bronx courtroom fighting a civil lawsuit brought against him by the hotel maid. Strauss-Kahn has been seeking to restore his reputation as a top global economist by speaking at conferences, but cancelled an appearance at an event in Brussels yesterday following protests from European members of parliament (MEPs). —Reuters

Turkey’s ex-army chief refuses defense in trial Islamist-rooted govt tames once-mighty military SILIVRI: Turkey’s former armed forces chief said yesterday he would not defend himself against terrorism charges, describing the accusations against him as a “comedy” in a trial highlighting the fall from grace of the onceall powerful military. Such a trial of a top military figure would have been unthinkable before Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan reined in the armed forces with democratic reforms. Its image has since been tarnished by a series of investigations into alleged coup plots. Retired General Ilker Basbug, chief of staff in 2008-2010 and accused of involvement in a bid to overthrow the government, called for his trial to be heard by the supreme court and said he had no respect for the indictment. Wearing a dark suit, Basbug stood up and spoke in a slow and determined tone, occasionally raising his voice in the court, located in a high-security prison complex at Silivri west of Istanbul, where he has been held since January. “I regard it as an injustice to the Turkish Armed Forces and the rank which I held in it to make a defense in your presence,” he said to applause from around 40 spectators in the court. “Hence I will not defend myself and I will not answer any questions,” he said. Basbug is accused of being a leader of a shadowy network dubbed Ergenekon, behind a string of alleged plots against the government of Erdogan. Ergenekon is accused of

planning campaigns of disinformation, bombings and assassinations to stir panic and precipitate an army coup. The general was appearing for the second day in a trial among several target ting hundreds of secularist military and civilian figures accused of conspiring to topple the Islamist-rooted government. The armed forces have traditionally seen themselves as guardian of the secular system, envisaged by the republic’s founder, soldierstatesman Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Long the most popular institution in Turkish public life, the military staged three coups between 1960-1980 and pressured its first Islamist-led government from power in 1997. HONESTY AND COURAGE During a break in the hearing, Basbug got up and went to the back of court where he was congratulated for his “honesty” and “courage” by a group of smartly dressed people, including his daughter, son, former colleagues and their wives. He asked where the other former chiefs of staff were, apparently disappointed they had not come to give him support, and said he had surprised the judges with his comments. “I spent my life fighting terror. I am the 26th chief of staff of the Turkish Republic,” he had told the court. “For a chief of staff to face such allegations is a comedy of incompetency. “If there is to be a trial of me personally, it is clear that the place for this

trial is the Supreme Court,” he said. The military has generally viewed Erdogan, a man with roots in political Islam, and his AK Party with deep suspicion since it was first elected in 2002. Since then, the AK Party has built up a huge majority in parliament, reformed the judiciary and used authority bolstered by economic success to strip the military of the power it has enjoyed virtually to make or break governments. But critics say the AK Party after 10 years in power has filled the judiciary and police with loyalists who are now conducting a “witch-hunt” against political enemies, and that the former secular elite has simply been replaced by another. The AK Party rejects those charges and says the police and judiciary are fully independent of the executive. The case against Basbug features websites allegedly set up by the military to spread “black propaganda” against the government until 2008, including one titled “Islamic fundamentalism”. “The websites had exaggerated news headlines on the threat from fundamentalism in Turkey designed to provoke the people against the executive organ and create an atmosphere of chaos in the country,” the indictment said. During his pre-trial detention Basbug has shared a cell with two other generals at Silivri, where an extra-large courtroom has been specially built to hear Ergenekon cases and a separate alleged military plot dubbed “Sledgehammer”. — Reuters

British students turn human billboards to pay off debts LONDON: In their scruffy jeans and trainers, Ross Harper and Ed Moyse look just like any other British 22-year-olds-except for the words “Buy My Face” and “Sold” emblazoned brightly on their faces. Standing in the middle of London’s shopping mecca Oxford Circus, the two Cambridge University graduates attract more than a few curious glances from the hoards of passers-by. “How much?” a young man calls out from a gaggle of Spanish tourists, to which Harper, a former neuroscience student, replies that it’s £100 ($160, 120 euros) to hire the two faces as advertising

space for the day. “A hundred pounds?” The tourists throw up their hands in mock outrage before bursting into laughter. There may be no customers here, but others are queuing to hire the two human billboards. Harper and Moyse have made over £30,000 since setting up Buy My Face in October in a bid to pay off their student debts. The enterprising duo plan to launch the business, which works by directing online traffic to advertisers’ websites through their own entertaining site, on the international market in May. “We’ve had interest from places

like Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, the United States, and all over Europe,” Harper told AFP. With record youth unemployment of 22 percent in Britain, and even graduates from prestigious universities such as Cambridge struggling to find work as the economy stalls, theirs is an unusual success story. “ We were coming up with ideas for what we wanted to do after we left university,” said economics graduate Moyse. “And we thought, ‘The job market’s really tough at the moment. Why don’t we try a creative project for a year?’” The pair, who each bor-

rowed £25,000 from the government to fund their studies, came up with Buy My Face over a pot of instant noodles last year while brainstorming business ideas that required only minimal investment. “We’re £50,000 in debt-we didn’t want to invest thousands more into a business,” said Moyse, adding that they spent just £100 on face-paint. Since October 1, he and Harper have managed to “sell” their faces every single day-to large companies such as Irish bookmaker Paddy Power and accountants Ernst & Young, as well as smaller firms. — AFP



Immersed in race, Gingrich stays in despite setbacks Louisiana primary another embarrassing result NEW ORLEANS: Newt Gingrich’s Southern strategy to get back into the race for the Republican presidential nomination has collapsed, and his campaign is in the red, but the former US House of Representatives speaker is marching on. Surrounded by a tightknit team that includes his daughters and his third wife, Callista, Gingrich appears to be enjoying the campaign trail despite his dwindling electoral fortunes. Disliked by his party’s establishment, he still receives regular affirmation from die-hard fans and time in the national spotlight. “He is enjoying himself and it doesn’t bother him that a lot of people are spending time, money, and emotion trying to get him votes that are moot,” said Jack Glaser, associate professor at the University of California Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, adding that Texas congressman Ron Paul was in the same boat. “Gingrich and Paul may have convinced themselves that they are trying to save the country, while being less inclined to recognize or acknowledge that they’re enjoying the attention and perks. They both do seem to be having a good time.” Gingrich, hoping to become the

Republican nominee to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama on Nov 6, finished a distant third in Saturday’s Louisiana primary. It was his second big defeat in the South in two weeks, underlining the futility of his White House bid. Gingrich represented Georgia in Congress for two decades and built his campaign around expected strong showings in the conservative region. Rick Santorum, with seven state wins in March alone, has taken the mantle of the conservative alternative to front-runner Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. With even Santorum under pressure to end his campaign to further party unity, Gingrich’s White House bid looks even more quixotic. Yet Gingrich - who won only 16 percent support in Louisiana, one of the states he was supposed to do well in has vowed to stay in the race until the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, in August. Gingrich has embraced the role of spoiler whose goal is to thwart Romney’s chances of winning the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination before August, and instead attempt to force an open convention. There, Gingrich seems to

believe he could capture the nomination. “In a setting where I have grave doubts about Governor Romney’s ability to win the general election, I have a citizen’s duty to try to help us get to an open convention,” Gingrich told NPR radio last week. The presence of Callista beside her husband at almost every stop in the

campaign has done little to help Gingrich. A Public Policy Polling survey last week showed only 18 percent of people view her favorably, versus the 44 percent who see the former congressional aide as unfavorable. Gingrich, 68, has acknowledged having an affair with Callista, 46, while he was married to his second wife. Gingrich’s

KENNER: Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich talks to members of the Hispanic community at a private residence at Oakland Plantation Estates in Kenner, LA. — AP

pace of campaigning has slowed since January but he has stops planned this week in Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina and Wisconsin. “This is clearly still an open race. So, on behalf of the more than 176,000 Americans who have donated to Newt 2012, I will carry our solution-oriented campaign to Tampa,” Gingrich said after the Louisiana results were in. He pulled small crowds in Louisiana, a home state of sorts after his three years studying at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he received a PhD in history. About 20 people turned up on Friday in Port Fourchon, a remote oil services town where Louisiana’s land mass gives way to the Gulf of Mexico. They heard Gingrich talk about his plans to bring gasoline prices down to $2.50 a gallon from the current price of about $4 with a drill-more strategy. The size of his audience was roughly the same as the combined sum of Gingrich’s campaign staff, Secret Service detail and press corps. Indeed, the media - whom Gingrich routinely criticizes in speeches - is the campaign’s lifeblood now that free publicity from the many televised candidates’ debates has ended. — Reuters

Republicans rip Obama over caught-on-camera remarks Obama says he’s not ‘hiding the ball’ on Russia

SANTIAGO: The clergy arrives by foot for Papal Mass by Pope Benedict XVI in the Plaza de la Revoluci’n Antonio Maceo in Santiago, Cuba. — AP

Pontiff calls for ‘open society’ at Cuba mass SANTIAGO: Pope Benedict XVI urged tens of thousands of Cubans gathered for an open-air mass to “build a renewed and open society,” at the start of his visit to the Communist-ruled country. The pontiff-making the first papal visit to Cuba in 14 years-is seeking to bolster close church-state ties here while also urging authorities in the Americas’ only one -par ty Communist state to embrace change. Benedict, who arrived on Monday after a visit to predominantly Roman Catholic Mexico, also hopes to encourage new and renewed faith in the mainly secular island nation. “I appeal to you to reinvigorate your faith ... and armed with peace, forgiveness and understanding, that you may strive to build a renewed and open society, a better society, one more worthy of humanity,” the pontiff said at the mass in Santiago on Monday, beneath soaring white metal church arches. The 84-year-old Benedict was helped up to his seat and smiled as the crowd sang and chanted to welcome him. President Raul Castro-who had earlier greeted the pope at the airport in Santiago, Cuba’s second largest citywas seated in the front row, sporting a white guayabera tropical shirt. The crowd of an estimated 200,000 sang hymns, some raising their arms and joining hands. Others folded their hands in prayer, listening intently to the pope’s sermon. The pontiff is working to try to expand the flock in Cuba, which was officially atheist until the early 1990s. “I carry in my heart the just aspirations and legitimate desires of all Cubans, wherever they may be, their sufferings and their joys, their concerns and their noblest desires,” the pope said earlier in southeastern Santiago. “I am convinced that Cuba, at this moment of particular importance in its history, is already looking to the future, and thus is striving to renew and broaden its horizons.” Marxism “no longer corresponds to reality,” Benedict said last week as he set off on his first trip to Spanishspeaking nations in Latin America, calling for “new models” in Cuba. Cuba’s leadership, however, says democracy already exists here, and rejects the idea of a Western multiparty system. Before the mass, Benedict rode his white Mercedes Popemobile down the streets of Santiago, as enthusiastic crowds waved yellow and white Vatican and blue, white and red Cuban flags to greet him. “Cuba has good rela-

tions with all religious institutions in our country,” Castro said as he welcomed the pope. Authorities meanwhile have rounded up at least 150 dissidents in the past few days to thwar t any possible demonstrations during the two-city papal visit, the head of an opposition group said in Havana. Benedict did not directly refer to dissidents, but appeared to hint at their absence during the mass, saying: “I cannot forget all those who, for reasons of illness, advanced age or for other motives, are not able to join us.” Yesterday, Benedict visited the Our Lady of Charity shrine outside Santiago before flying to the capital Havana, where he was to celebrate mass in its sprawling Revolution Square today. John Paul II’s 1998 trip was the first papal visit to Cuba. Expectations were high then that the charismatic Polish pontiff might help spark change in Cuba after decades of centrally-run government, economy and media. He is credited with starting a steady thaw in relations between local Catholic authorities and the government. But more than a decade later, despite John Paul II’s calls for Cuba to “open up to the world,” the country remains isolated, its state-run economy feeble. Most Cubans earn less than $20 a month. The Catholic Church has nonetheless emerged as the most important nonstate actor in Cuba, even mediating prisoner releases. But it does not have its own media or school systems, as it would like. Benedict has no plans to meet with members of the Cuban opposition. The pope “knows the Cuban reality” and whether “he meets with the opponents or not does not mean he is unaware” of their situation, Archbishop Dionisio Garcia of Santiago Garcia said Saturday. “Pushing hard and insisting on (Benedict) meeting with the Ladies in White (or other dissidents) could complicate matters for the church,” added Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington. “It is very difficult. And they have to strike this balance. ... They don’t want to jeopardize the gains” the church has made in recent years, he added. Cuba’s Catholics account for about 10 percent of the country’s population of 11 million. Evangelical Protestants are making inroads here, but most Cubans identify with AfroCuban belief systems, such as Santeria and Palo Monte. — AFP

SEOUL: US President Barack Obama voiced doubt yesterday on the prospects for progress with Moscow on missile defense until after the November US election as he staunchly defended remarks caught on camera the day before with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Obama was overheard assuring Medvedev on Monday that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with contentious arms-control issues after the Nov 6 presidential ballot, drawing sharp criticism back home from his Republican foes. Speaking on the sidelines of a global nuclear security summit in Seoul, Obama sought to put the controversy to rest but made clear that his earlier comments reflected a political reality that “everybody understands.” “I don’t think it’s any surprise that you can’t start that a few months before presidential and congressional elections in the United States and at a time when they just completed elections in Russia,” Obama told reporters with Medvedev at his side. US plans for an anti-missile shield have bedeviled relations between Washington and Moscow despite Obama’s “reset” in ties between the former Cold War foes. Obama’s Republican opponents have accused him of being too open to concessions to Russia on the issue. In Monday’s talks, Obama urged Moscow to give him “space” until after the US election and Medvedev said he would relay the message to incoming Russian president Vladimir Putin, who takes over at the Kremlin in May. The unusual exchange came as Obama and Medvedev huddled together on the eve of the summit, unaware their words were being picked up by microphones as reporters were led into the room. It was a rare public admission by a US president on the world stage of electoral pressures he faced at home, and threatened to detract from his message at the summit on the need to do more to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism. Obama, responding to a reporter’s question yesterday during a break in the summit, said progress on complex arms control issues required dealings with the Pentagon and Congress to build bipartisan support and that 2012 was not a good year to get that done.

“The current environment is not conducive to these kinds of thoughtful consultations,” Obama said. “I think we’ll do better in 2013.” The Democratic president has faced stiff opposition from Republicans in Congress to his legislative agenda on everything from job creation to taxes. Republicans have already made clear they have no interest in cooperating on further arms reduction deals with Russia. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney seized on Obama’s earlier comment, calling it “alarming and troubling.” “This is no time for our president to be pulling his punches with the American people,” Romney said in a campaign speech in San Diego. But Obama pushed back, insisting he was not trying to “hide the ball” and had no hidden agenda with Russia over the planned missile shield. Obama, in a speech on Monday, vowed to pursue more arms-control deals with Moscow as part of his broader nuclear disarmament agenda. As he was leaning toward Medvedev

SEOUL: US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev (right) share a smile after their bilateral meeting in Seoul on the sidelines of the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit. — AFP

Colombia army kills 36 rebels in new offensive VILLAVICENCIO: Colombian troops killed at least 36 suspected FARC rebels and captured four in an army offensive in the east-central department of Meta, according to officials. President Juan Manuel Santos announced the raid in a meeting of his security council in Villavicencio, 110 kilometers south of Bogota, less than a week after troops killed more than 30 rebels in a similar operation. The Colombian president on Monday praised the “very good results” of the army, and said two of those arrested in the operation were women. One of those killed was a guerrilla, code-named Arcesio, who was a regional commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, Santos said. “ The offensive is continuing and I would like to congratulate the armed forces,” Santos said. “The armed forces will continue and persevere, faithful to their instructions.” Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said 36 rebels had been killed in the offensive, which struck a “major blow” against the rebel group and resulted in the seizure of a large arsenal of firearms and grenades. The renewed violence follows FARC overtures-thus far deemed insufficient

in Seoul on Monday, Obama was overheard asking for time - “particularly with missile defense” - until he is in a better position politically to resolve such issues. “I understand your message about space,” replied Medvedev. “This is my last election ... After my election I have more flexibility,” Obama said, expressing confidence that he would win a second term. “I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” said Medvedev, Putin’s protege and long considered number two in Moscow’s power structure. The United States and NATO have offered Russia a role in the project to create an antiballistic shield which includes participation by Romania, Poland, Turkey and Spain. But Moscow says it fears the system could weaken Russia by gaining the capability to shoot down the nuclear missiles it relies on as a deterrent. It wants a legally binding pledge from the United States that Russia’s nuclear forces would not be targeted by the system and joint control of how it is used. — Reuters

by the government-to make peace with Bogota. Air Force, army, police and navy personnel participated in the operation, Santos said. The FARC, Latin America’s last major insurgency, said through a mediator that it plans to start releasing 10 military hostages under a pledge announced last month. The rebel group announced in February that it would release the six police officers and four soldiers it still holds and would end the practice of kidnapping for ransom. But the plan later stalled and has been pushed to April. The FARC reaffirmed its commitment in early March to releasing the prisoners, who have been held in captivity for more than 12 years. The FARC has continued, however, to clash with army forces. The offensive comes less than a week after 36 guerrillas were killed in an offensive in Arauca, on the border with Venezuela. That offensive came after 11 soldiers were killed in a March 17 FARC ambush in Arauca. The FARC, founded in 1964, is Latin America’s oldest guerrilla movement, and is believed to have about 9,000 fighters in mountainous and jungle areas of Colombia, according to government estimates. — AFP

Men with US Army ties linked to drug cartels EL PASO: Two men with Army ties - including an activeduty sergeant - sought to work with a Mexican drug cartel in a murder-for-hire scheme in which they would kill rival gang members and recover stolen cocaine for $50,000 and drugs, according to a federal criminal complaint. Sgt Samuel Walker and former Lt Kevin Corley believed they were meeting with members of the Zetas drug cartel last weekend in Texas, according to the US Department of Justice. Instead, they were dealing with undercover federal agents who arrested the men along with another man, Shavar Davis, on Saturday in Laredo. A third suspect, Corley’s cousin Jerome Corley, was fatally shot during the arrests. Kevin Corley also is accused of selling military-grade weapons to the agents and offering to train cartel members. Walker is stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado, and Kevin Corley was stationed at the post before he was discharged from the Army two weeks ago. Investigators said the three men, along with Shavar Davis, were meeting Saturday with undercover agents posing as members of the Zetas to discuss details of the murder-forhire scheme. After agreeing on payment, federal agents moved in. Kevin Corley, Walker and Davis were arrested, while Jerome Corley was shot several times. He died at a local hospital. No attorneys were listed for the three men in court documents Monday, and it wasn’t clear where they were being held. The men weren’t at the jail in Laredo as of Monday. The men are facing drug, weapons and conspiracy charges. Four other suspects also were arrested in connection to the case in Texas and South Carolina. Kevin Corley’s mother declined comment, and other relatives did not return phone messages Monday. — AP


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Maoists attack kills 15 Indian policemen The deadliest attack since June 2010 MUMBAI: Indian Maoists killed 15 policemen yesterday in a landmine blast in the centre of the country, an official said, marking the deadliest attack by the left-wing rebels since June 2010. The strike, which occurred in Maharashtra state, is the latest incident in the lowintensity conflict that pits the insurgents against local and national authorities in the forests and villages of central and eastern India. “Fifteen CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) are dead. The attack happened around 11.30 am when the bus carrying them struck an IED (improvised explosive device),” CRPF spokesman BC Khanduri said. “The injured are now being taken to hospital. We don’t have an exact

estimate for the number of injured yet.” The attack occurred in Gadchiroli district, about 1,000 kilometers from the state capital Mumbai and close to the state border with Chhattisgarh, a hotbed of Maoist activity. The head of antiMaoist operations in Chhattisgarh, Ramniwas, who uses one name said that 12 were dead and 25 were injured-the latest victims in a decades-long conflict that has costs tens of thousands of lives. The attack comes in the same month that Maoists took two Italians and a local Indian lawmaker hostage in two separate incidents in the eastern state of Orissa, one of several areas where Maoists control much of the countryside. Before the kidnappings-the first to

target foreigners-the Maoists had been on a tactical retreat, according to analysts, but yesterday’s strike will reinforce suggestions that the rebels are swinging back into action. One of the Italians was released on Sunday, and the following day Indian government officials resumed talks with representatives of the rebels, who had issued a series of demands for the Europeans’ release. The guerrillas, who say they are fighting for the rights of tribal people and landless farmers, have a power ful influence over large areas of central and eastern India, collecting funds through extortion and protection rackets. The Maoist insurgency, which began in 1967,

Obama concedes strains between US and Pakistan SEOUL: Conceding strained ties, President Barack Obama yesterday welcomed Pakistan’s review of its relationship with the United States, saying it was important for the two countries to get their partnership right. Obama spoke alongside Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani before the two men held private talks. The meeting comes amid heightened tensions between their countries following a series of incidents that have marred trust. “There have been times - I think we should be frank - in the last several months where those relations have experienced strains,” Obama said of the dynamic between the US and Pakistan. The breakdown in the relationship followed the shooting death of two alleged Pakistani assailants by a CIA officer and the US Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May. The tipping point came in November, when US forces returned fire they believed came from a Pakistani border post, killing 24 Pakistani troops. Pakistan broke off ties with the US following that incident and launched a debate about new terms of engagement with the US, including on the sensitive issue of CIA drone strikes on targets inside Pakistani borders. Pakistan has rejected offers by US officials to give its spy chief advanced notice of the CIA’s drone campaign against Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and to apply new limits on the types of targets hit. Obama said it was important for the US and Pakistan to have candid and open talks. He said he expects Pakistan’s review will result in a “balanced approach that respects Pakistan’s sovereignty but also respects our concerns with respect to our national security and our needs to battle terrorists who have targeted us in the past.” Pakistan is a key US counterterrorism partner and its cooperation is essential for drawing down the American-led war in neighboring Afghanistan. Gilani, speaking at the start of his meeting with Obama, said he wanted stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan. And he said he appreciated Obama’s statements of respect for

Pakistan’s sovereignty. Obama and Gilani were meeting on the sidelines of an international nuclear security summit in the South Korean capital. During remarks at the summit earlier yesterday, Obama said the threat of nuclear weapons remains a potent challenge for the globe to confront, telling the more than 50 world leaders attending the meetings that “the security of the world depends on the actions that we take.” Obama said the international community had made progress in removing nuclear materials and improving security at nuclear facilities around the globe. But he warned “there are still too many bad actors in search of these dangerous materials and these dangerous materials are still vulnerable in too many places.” Action at the summit has been largely overshadowed by competing forces, including North Korea’s plan for a long-range rocket launch and Obama’s caught-on-tape remarks plotting strategy with Russia after the November elections. Obama himself brought North Korea into the discussions in Seoul, using nearly all of his appearances during his three-day trip to warn Pyongyang that it would face further isolation if it proceeds with the launch. The president also found himself trying to clean up a controversy created when an exchange with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that was meant to be private was picked up by a microphone. Obama was heard saying he would have more room to negotiate on missile defense after getting through the November election, presumably expecting to win and not have to face voters again. Obama’s Republican rivals back home pounced, accusing him of secretive plotting and dealing over American national security. Obama tried to put the matter to rest yesterday, saying there was no way to expect progress on the contentious issue of missile defense during the politics of an election year in both the US and Russia.— AP

has been described by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the country’s biggest internal security threat and has been targeted since 2009 in a government offensive known as “Operation Greenhunt.” But the often poorly-trained police have faced a series of strikes as they attempt to fend off the rebels. In Januar y, a landmine attack in eastern India killed at least 12 policemen and injured three others who were trapped by the Maoists in their vehicle in a forested area of Jharkhand state, according to authorities. In June 2010, the rebels killed 26 police officers in an ambush in Chhattisgarh, two months after an assault in the same state that left 76 policemen dead.— AFP

Myanmar elections highlight ethnic divide LASHIO: In Myanmar’s restive borderlands, home to ethnic minorities suspicious of the ruling elite, Aung San Suu Kyi’s popularity is no guarantee of victory for her party in weekend elections. The closely watched polls are expected to propel the National League for Democracy (NLD) leader into parliament for the first time, marking a dramatic return to mainstream politics for her party after years on the sidelines. But Sunday’s by-elections could also highlight the prodemocracy champion’s uneasy relations with restive ethnic minorities who bore the brunt of the generals’ repression during almost half a century of military rule. In Shan state, wedged between China, Laos and Thailand to the east and the rest of Myanmar to the west, the NLD’s main rival appears to be not the ruling “lions” but the “white tiger ” Shan Nationalities Democratic Party. “I will support the white tiger,” said Nann Muu, a 35-year-old farmer from a village in Lashio township. “I do not know Aung San Suu Kyi,” she said. The SNDP came second behind the NLD in a 1990 election whose result was never recognized by the then military rulers. It is now the second-biggest party in parliament, thanks to a strong showing in vast Shan state-home to six million people-in a 2010 election that was marred by complaints of fraud and by the exclusion of Suu Kyi. Its leaders are confident they can repeat their success in Sunday’s vote, which is to replace lawmakers who gave up their seats in parliament to join a nominally civilian government dominated by former generals. “Whenever we visited villages, people welcomed us gratefully and supported us,” said Sai Aung Sar, a senior SNDP official in Lashio. “We don’t worry that the NLD is participating in this election. “Aung San Suu Kyi has been travelling around the country with her kindness for the people. Whoever participates, it’s good if they work for the country and people.” With only two seats at stake in Shan, out of 45 available in Sunday’s vote, it is unlikely to be a pivotal battleground, and in any case the by-elections cannot threaten the ruling party’s majority in parliament. But a defeat for the NLD in Shan would make it harder for the party to claim to enjoy the support of the nation’s various ethnic groups, and would do little to soften the Nobel laureate’s image as an ethnic-majority leader. Civil war has plagued parts of the country formerly known as Burma since it won independence from Britain in 1948. An end to the conflicts and alleged rights abuses involving government troops is a key demand of Western nations that have imposed sanctions on the regime. “The extent to which minority communities feel discriminated against is often not well understood by the Burman majority,” said Jim Della-Giacoma, Southeast Asia project director at the International Crisis Group think-tank. Suu Kyi is well regarded in ethnic communities, but “many minority people see her first and foremost as a member of the Burman elite”. He said Sunday’s vote represented a “lost opportunity” for the NLD to join hands with ethnic minority parties in areas where they are strongest. “The decision by the NLD to run in all seats and the belief that it could win in all seats did antagonize some minor and ethnic groups. They probably have legitimate worries that their interests will be trampled on as the NLD tries to find its own place in the corridors of power,” Della-Giacoma said. It is a perception that NLD candidate Sai Myint Maung, a 65-year-old lawyer, is striving to dispel. “I’ve been telling voters that the NLD is not a Burman party or a Shan party. The NLD is the party of all ethnicities,” he said. There are signs that the efforts are bearing fruit, even though the local NLD candidates are not well known in Shan state, home to various ethnic groups and several rebel armies. “I voted for the white tiger in 2010. But this time, many will vote for Daw (Aunt) Suu. I hope she will work for us to have a better ethnic life,” said Sam Nap, a 46-year-old ethnic Wa who is a traditional doctor. The government has agreed tentative ceasefires with many of Myanmar ’s rebel ethnic groups, but ongoing fighting in northern Kachin state that has displaced tens of thousands of people has cast a shadow over the peace process. On Friday the authorities postponed the by-elections in three Kachin constituencies, citing security concerns, barely a month after Suu Kyi herself campaigned in the region. There has been speculation that if she wins a seat in parliament Suu Kyi could take on a role as mediator between the government and the rebels, but observers say the opposition leader is likely to tread cautiously. “She can’t be seen to be too close to ethnic minority political interests, nor can she be seen to be endorsing some of the policies that have been implemented in many ethnic minority areas, “said Nicholas Farrelly, an expert on Myanmar issues at Australian National University. The ethnic issue “strikes at the heart of the difficulties that Burma and its politicians are likely to face in the years ahead”, he said.— AFP

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Tongans bid farewell to visionary king

NUKU’ALOFA: Hundreds of pall bearers, all wearing black clothes and traditional woven ta’ovala mats around their waists, carry the royal standard draped casket of King George Tupou V on a black and gold catafalque from the Royal Palace yesterday. —AFP

NUKU’ALOFA: Tonga’s reformist King George Tupou V was borne to his final resting place yesterday by some 1,000 black-clad pallbearers in a solemn funeral ceremony steeped in Polynesian and Christian ritual. Renowned for his love of military uniforms and a jet-setting lifestyle, Tupou was seen as an eccentric but also a visionary during a short six-year reign in which he paved the way for democracy in the country of 100,000 people. The body of the 63-year-old, who died on March 18 during a trip to Hong Kong, was placed on a towering blackand-gold bier after locals observed an overnight vigil with his casket in the throne room of his palace. Hundreds of men, all wearing black clothes and traditional woven ta’ovala mats around their waists, carried the stately platform 300 meters to the royal tombs, some straining under its massive weight in the beating sun. A government official said the steel-reinforced bier, which was emblazoned with the king’s royal standard, weighed five tons, with the men taking turns to shoulder the burden. The monarch’s younger brother King Tupou VI, who will take over as head of state, and his wife Queen Nanasipau’u followed behind with other family members, some with mats almost blanketing them to

show their closeness to the deceased. As the bells of the Free Wesleyan Church bell began to toll, a 21-gun salute boomed and a military band leading the march struck up, their white and khaki uniforms and polished instruments flashing in contrast to the funeral black. Hundreds of Tongans lined the streets to pay their respects, in emotional scenes as the stately procession made its way past. “It’s very moving,” said Tafolosa Bloomfield as she witnessed the historic event, last seen in Tonga in 2006. “We feel for the king. Despite all the political differences when it comes to the king and our culture, nothing else matters,” she said. Daphne Manu, a Tongan visiting from the United States whose nephew was among the pallbearers, said the ceremony was overwhelming. “That was amazing,” she said, gesturing at the crowds of men and women in traditional dress. Children in their school uniforms sat heads bowed as the procession passed into the royal tombs area, where several thousand more students sat for the three-hour Christian service as the royal family and dignitaries looked on. The service was in Tongan and mourners were told that while the late king had the shortest reign of the Tupou dynasty, he achieved “the most momentous legacy

World leaders urge action against nuclear terrorism Nuclear summit seeks a safer world SEOUL: World leaders including US President Barack Obama called yesterday for strong steps to combat nuclear terrorism, wrapping up a 53-nation summit overshadowed by North Korea’s planned rocket launch. “Today we have set a new milestone in making the world a safer and more peaceful place,” South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak, who hosted the summit, said at the end of the two-day event. The leaders from 53 nations, including China’s Hu Jintao and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, called in a communique for steps to minimize civilian use of highly enriched uranium (HEU), which can be used to make bombs. They also called for safeguarding world stockpiles of HEU and plutonium, and tightening security of radioactive material that could be used to create a “dirty” bomb. “Nuclear terrorism continues to be one of the most challenging threats to international security,” the leaders said in the communique. “Defeating this threat requires strong national measures and international cooperation.” The North’s nuclear and missile ambitions were not officially on the agenda, but they were the focus on the sidelines, and for Obama throughout his three-day visit to South Korea, a close US ally. The North stole some of the limelight right up to the end, releasing a statement just before the close of the summit snubbing demands from

Obama and other leaders to scrap a satellite launch planned for April. Obama had repeatedly denounced the rocket launch, which is seen by the US and its allies as a disguised ballistic mis-

sile test. The US leader had stressed his country was not hostile to the North’s people but was scathing about its leaders’ record and urged them to “have the courage to pursue peace”.

SEOUL: Visitors look at a display featuring a mock North Korean Scud-B missile and other South Korean missiles at the Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul yesterday. —AP

North Korea responded by announcing it would go ahead with what it calls a peaceful satellite launch and told Obama to drop his “confrontational mindset”. “The US head of state said he had no hostile intention towards us,” said a foreign ministry spokesman quoted by the official KCNA news agency. “But if that remark is genuine, he should abandon the confrontational mindset that tries to block us, and should have the courage to admit that we have as much right to launch our satellite as other countries do.” Obama earlier yesterday focused on the nuclear threat from “non-state actors” and not the North. “The security of the world depends on the actions that we take,” he said in a speech to delegates at the start of the day. Obama in 2009 declared his vision of a world without nuclear weapons and the following year hosted a Washington summit, aimed at securing or destroying the world’s stocks of plutonium and HEU by 2014. “We are fulfilling the commitments we made in Washington. As a result, more of the world’s nuclear material will never fall into the hands of terrorists who would gladly use it against us,” Obama said. “What’s also undeniable is that the threat remains... it would not take much-just a handful of so of these materials-to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people.” But as a consequence of the Seoul summit, “more of our citi-

zens will be safer from the danger of nuclear terrorism”, Obama declared. Highlighting the threat, an Interpol representative told the session there was “lots of evidence” that Al-Qaeda would use nuclear weapons if it had them, according to German delegation sources. Interpol said there were 3,000 cases in 119 countries in which nuclear material had gone missing. China’s Hu, in his opening speech, noted good progress since 2010 but said the situation “remains grave”. He said his country would deepen cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog and help countries that want to convert reactors from HEU fuel to low enriched uranium. Lee said the world still has some 1,600 tons of HEU and 500 tons of plutonium-enough to make more than 100,000 nuclear weapons. Leaders also tackled the threat posed by loosely guarded radioactive material in hospitals and other sites. On Monday France, Belgium, and the Netherlandsthree of the world’s top suppliers of medical isotopesannounced plans eventually to phase out the use of HEU in the production process, under a deal with the United States. Experts said modest progress had been made in Seoul but cautioned many of the tough issues to fully solve the problem had not been addressed, with countries unwilling to make binding and transparent agreements. —AFP

US seeks missile-defense shields for Asia, Mideast WASHINGTON: The United States is seeking to build regional shields against ballistic missiles in both Asia and the Middle East akin to a controversial defense system in Europe, a senior Pentagon official disclosed on Monday. The effort may complicate US ties with Russia and China, both of which fear such defenses could harm their security even though the United States says they are designed only to protect against states like Iran and North Korea. The US push for new anti-missile bulwarks includes two sets of trilateral dialogues - one with Japan and Australia and the other with Japan and South Korea, said Madelyn Creedon, an assistant secretary of defense for global strategic affairs. Such shields could help counter perceived threats to their neighbors from Iran and North Korea and help defend the United States from any future long-range missiles that the two countries might develop, she told a conference co-hosted by the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency. The model would be the so-called “phased adaptive approach” for missile defense in Europe, Creedon said. This includes putting interceptor missiles in Poland and Romania, a radar in Turkey and

the home-porting of missile defense-capable Aegis destroyers in Spain. Moscow fears that such a shield, given planned upgrades, could grow strong enough by 2020 to undermine Moscow’s own nuclear deterrent force. It has threatened to deploy missiles to overcome the shield and potentially target missile defense installations such as those planned in NATO members Poland and Romania. China likely would be even more opposed to an antimissile shield in its backyard, said Riki Ellison, a prominent missile-defense advocate noted for his close ties to current and former US senior military officials involved in the effort. Beijing “would take much more offense to an Asian phased adaptive approach than Russia is doing with the European one,” he said, calling regional shields a good idea in theory but problematic in reality. GULF STATES In the Middle East, Creedon said Washington will work to promote “interoperability and information-sharing” among the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab

Emirates and Oman - as they acquire greater missile-defense capabilities. The biggest US missile defense contractors include Boeing Co, Lockheed Martin Corp, Raytheon Co and Northrop Grumman Corp. The Obama administration at the same time stepped back from an announcement this month that it was weighing the possibility of giving Russia certain classified missile-defense data as the price for winning its acquiescence to the European shield. “ We are not proposing to provide them with classified information,” Ellen Tauscher, the administration’s special envoy for strategic stability and missile defense, told the conference. Instead, she said, the Obama administration had offered Moscow a chance to monitor a flight test in international waters of a US Standard Missile-3 interceptor. This, she said, would let Russian officials see for themselves the accuracy of “what we are saying about our system.” The United States argues that the US system poses no threat to Russia’s nuclear deterrent. As recently as March 6, the administration had said it was continuing negotiations begun under former President

George W Bush on a pact with Moscow that could include sharing limited classified data, but said it was making no headway toward a deal with Russia. Obama’s administration was not the first “to believe that cooperation could be well-served by some limited sharing of classified information of a certain kind if the proper rules were in place to do that,” Bradley Roberts, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, had told the House of Representatives’ Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces at the time. The idea of such data-sharing drew sharp criticism from Republicans in the US Congress including a move to legislate a prohibition. The rollback on any such deal involving classified data exchange came after President Barack Obama was caught on camera on Monday assuring outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with contentious issues like missile defense after the Nov 6 US presidential election. Obama, during talks in Seoul, urged Moscow to give him “space” until after the vote, and Medvedev said he would relay the message to Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin.—Reuters

in terms of political reform”, government spokesman Paula Ma’u said. Tupou, who was not married, was the direct descendant of King Tupou I, who founded the dynasty in the 19th century. Oxford-educated and known to sport a monocle, he was sometimes criticized for his overseas travel, but he won support after moving to dismantle feudal rule after riots rocked the capital in November 2006. The funeral essentially brought normal activities in the capital of Nuku’alofa to a standstill. “It’s a major event that affects all Tongans,” said Sandra Fifita, acting director of the Ministry of Tourism, as she herself wiped away tears. The cause of death has not been released but the late king underwent treatment last year for cancer. Tonga’s monarchy can trace its history back 1,000 years and by the 13th century the nation wielded power and influence over surrounding islands, including Samoa, nearly 900 kilometers to the east. Tupou I, who converted to Christianity after coming under the influence of missionaries, was proclaimed king in 1845 after winning control of the monarchy from two other royal lines. By 1900 the country had become a British protectorate and only acquired its independence in 1970. It remains the only monarchy among South Pacific island nations.—AFP


in brief

‘No Sharia’ in constitution TUNIS: Tunisia’s governing Islamist party said it will not enshrine Islamic law in the new constitution and will maintain the secular nature of the North African state, putting it sharply at odds with hardliners. Ennahda, which emerged as the biggest party after Tunisia’s first democratic elections last year, said on Monday that it would keep the first article of the 1956 constitution in the new basic law now being drafted. “We are not going to use the law to impose religion,” Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the moderate Islamist party, told a press conference. The first article of the previous constitution stipulates that “Tunisia is a free, independent and sovereign state, its religion is Islam, its language is Arabic and it is a republic.” The Ennahda decision “aims to strengthen the national consensus and promote the country’s successful democratic transition by uniting the majority of political forces to confront the challenges facing the country,” added another leading figure in the party, Zied Doulatli. Petroleum aid to Yemen SANAA: Saudi King Abdullah has ordered the donation of petroleum products to neighboring Yemen that should cover the impoverished country’s needs for two months, the Saba state news agency said. King Abdullah “instructed his government to give Yemen a grant of petroleum products enough for two months, to help Yemen overcome its current difficult situation,” Saba said overnight on Monday, quoting unnamed sources. The announcement came as Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi concluded a brief visit to the oil-rich kingdom, his first foreign trip since being elected president last month, replacing veteran strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh. In December, King Abdullah gave instructions to provide Yemen with urgent aid, especially petroleum products, shortly after the formation of a unity government under a Gulf-brokered accord that paved the way for Saleh’s departure following months of deadly protests. Vietnamese pastor jailed HANOI: A Vietnamese court sentenced a pastor to 11 years in prison for undermining national unity through his links with “reactionary organizations”, state media said yesterday. Nguyen Cong Chinh, 43, was accused of sending documents to anti-government organizations in Vietnam and overseas. “He distorted the domestic situation, calumniating the government, the state and the army in interviews with the foreign media,” the English-language Vietnam News daily said, quoting the court. The one-day trial was held on Monday in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, where Chinh was arrested in April 2011. Rights group say dozens of peaceful political activists have been sentenced to long prison terms since Vietnam, a one-party state, launched a crackdown on free expression in late 2009. Vietnam is a majority Buddhist nation of about 86 million, where the government says it always respects the freedom of belief and religion. Kadima party votes JERUSALEM: Members of Israel’s Kadima opposition party began voting in primaries yesterday with pundits predicting a tight contest between current leader Tzipi Livni and her deputy Shaul Mofaz. The polls for the centre-right party’s new leader opened at 10:00 am (0800 GMT) when Kadima’s 95,000 registered members began voting at 104 polling stations around the country, officials said. They were due to close 12 hours later at 10:00 pm (2000 GMT) with the final results not due out until early today. Kadima is currently the largest party in parliament, holding 28 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, but a series of recent polls suggest the faction is likely to see that number halved in the next elections. Kadima’s current leader is a former foreign minister and one-time Mossad spy who has risen quickly through the ranks to become Israel’s most powerful woman.



US servicemen are seen inside a plane before their departure to Afghanistan from the US transit center Manas, 30 km outside the Kyrgyzstanís capital Bishkek, yesterday. — AFP

Syria accepts Annan’s plan, Assad tours Homs Kuwait spending is unsustainable: WB troops in combat gear, apparently to make the point that Continued from Page 1 his mediation efforts - as did Russian President Dmitry Medvedev when Annan visited Moscow over the weekend. According to Fawzi, Annan has written to Assad asking Damascus to “put its (plan’s) commitments into immediate effect”. He has also urged the release of people detained over the past year of the uprising against Assad’s regime. “Mr Annan has stressed that implementation will be key, not only for the Syrian people, who are caught in the middle of this tragedy, but also for the region and the international community as a whole,” Fawzi said. “As the Syrian government acts on its commitments, Mr Annan will move urgently to work with all parties to secure implementation of the plan at all levels.” As news of Damascus’ acceptance emerged, Syria’s opposition factions met for a second day in Istanbul to agree on common objectives for their nation’s future ahead of a weekend international conference on the issue. Syria’s fragmented opposition has struggled to remain united in the face of the regime’s deadly crackdown and the Istanbul talks are aimed at shoring up ranks and securing international recognition. On the ground, meanwhile, Syrian forces pressed their assault across the country with at least eight people, including three women, killed overnight in clashes with rebel troops, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. State television reported Assad had inspected troops stationed in the flashpoint Baba Amr neighbourhood of Homs city, site of a fierce battle between regime forces and rebel troops that has left hundreds dead. Syrian state television showed video of Assad, wearing an open-necked shirt with a blue suit, walking casually in the devastated streets of the Baba Amr district and talking to groups of supporters and

he can now tour the streets of the once bitterly foughtover district. Baba Amr was an emblem of opposition and rebel army defiance until it was reclaimed by government forces early this month after 26 days of heavy bombardment which opposition activists said was totally indiscriminate. “Life will return to normal in Baba Amr, better than it was before,” Assad said. Activists says hundreds of civilians and opponents of Assad were killed in Baba Amr in February by shelling and snipers. “He thinks he won and scored a great victory,” said opposition activist Saif Hurria, speaking by telephone from Homs. “He wants to show the world he defeated and put down a revolution. But ... it seems he can’t even release the video until he has left Homs. That is not control” Opposition supporter Abu Jaafar said Assad’s appearance in Homs was “giving the green light to kill like this again”. Beijing yesterday called on all parties in Syria to cooperate with Annan. His spokesman told AFP China’s position was that it would “continue to support this process and they will use whatever influence they have on the parties to ensure implementation”. China and Russia both allies of Syria - have provoked Western fury by twice blocking UN Security Council resolutions that condemned the Assad regime. Beijing opposes foreign military intervention or any attempt at regime change in Syria after Western efforts helped depose Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. And Medvedev yesterday said it was “short-sighted” to think that the crisis in Syria would be solved if Assad agreed to Western calls to step down. But both countries are permanent members of the powerful UN Security Council, and as such their support for Annan’s plan is seen as crucial. — Agencies

Continued from Page 1 yesterday Gulf Arab oil exporting countries are expected to see lower economic growth of around 4 percent this year due to a drop in global demand, “It is expected that the average economic growth rate of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries will slow down to about 4 percent in 2012,” Shamali told a financial conference. Asked whether he expected Kuwait’s growth would be higher in 2012, he told reporters: “We hope so. About 5 something.” The OPEC member country releases its gross domestic product data with a significant lag. “This country has put its development plan and its spending pattern basically at a price of $85 per barrel,” Ramadan told reporters on the sidelines of the Euromoney conference in Kuwait. “You have such a high price already and it is mostly recurrent spending, and then when you have an oil revenue windfall you are immediately leapfrogging salaries. The medium-term fiscal framework is not looking good if they continue at this rate of spending without putting much more systemic process into such salaries and compensations.” Kuwait’s government announced a 25 percent wage increase for public sector workers earlier this month, after a series of wage hikes for individual sectors last year. The government has been under pressure from increased union activity since last year’s Arab Spring uprisings in the region. Customs and airline workers walked out earlier this month, although they have since returned to work. The government’s wage hikes “are not

systematic, they are not done on a scientific basis. This is not just a Kuwaiti reaction to the situation in the region but a Gulf reaction,” Ramadan told a panel discussion. Kuwait’s draft state budget for next fiscal year envisages a spending increase of about 13 percent from the current year’s plan to KD 22 billion ($79 billion). That figure, however, does not include all of the recently announced wage hikes. Ramadan said Kuwait could tap its large reserves if it needed to keep up spending as the crude oil price fell. “This country is not going to go bankrupt,” he said. “What is happening is that the development plan - without being able to open the field for the private sector - will suffer.” Parliament passed a $110 billion development plan in February 2010, aiming to diversify away from oil and boost the private sector, but little has been spent so far, partly because of political clashes which prompted two governments to resign last year. “The development plan is based on creating half of the investments from the private sector. But you talk to the private investors here and they want to run away from Kuwait,” Ramadan said. He said trying to do business in Kuwait was a headache, from trying to find and register a property to enforcing contracts. Businesspeople were left traipsing from one government office to another, entangled in a trail of red tape. High public sector wages are hurting the private sector by creating wage distortions, Ramadan added. “A sense of entitlement of the Kuwaiti public sector workers is creating a disincentive to work in the private sector,” he said, echoing a concern of several senior Kuwaiti policymakers.

PM set to be grilled in open Assembly session Economic talks open Arab summit Continued from Page 1 another Shiite MP Saleh Ashour against Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, who has accepted to debate the grilling in an open session, thus becoming the first Kuwaiti premier to be grilled in public. Former premier Shiekh Nasser Mohammad AlAhmad Al-Sabah was grilled several times during his five-year tenure but all of them were debated in closed sessions at his request. Qallaf said “insulting the Prophet (PBUH), Ayesha and companions is totally unacceptable,” adding “I learned that the account of tweeter Hamad Al-Naqi is hacked and I hope to check on that to avoid further problems”. Fellow Shiite MP Adnan Abdulsamad asked the interior minister to quickly take legal action against the real criminal who insulted the Prophet (PBUH). He said it is necessary to make sure the true culprit stands trial as he wanted to spread strife in the society, but warned “those who accuse the innocent without evidence should be held to account”. MP Abdulhamid Dashti, also a Shiite, said “everyone knows that the circumstances are favorable for executing external conspiracies to take over Kuwait”, adding that the whole issue is fabricated and “we demand that the person responsible for this issue be charged with state security charges including treason”. Qallaf based his brief grilling against the information minister on two major issues, both related to the application of the audiovisual law by the ministry on local radio and television stations. The first and most important issue relates to the information minister’s action by referring local TV station SCOPE to the public prosecution in a swift move last week after the station aired an interview with Qallaf himself which was broadly criticized by large sections of the society. During the interview, Qallaf reportedly criticized the chief of Kuwait’s major bedouin tribe - the Awazem - Falah bin Jame, who is a highly respected personality in the country. Qallaf has categorically denied that he intended to insult the tribal chief and made a public apology if the interview was seen as critical of bin Jame. In the grilling, Qallaf accused the information minister of relenting to political pressure by MPs and activists that forced him to take his swift legal action against SCOPE “even before watching the interview to decide if it contained any abusive material”. Qallaf also claimed that the information minister violated the constitution by not applying the law in a fair way against all violators and took action only against media outlets critical to the parliamentary majority (which was the opposition in the previous parliament). The lawmaker cited the ministry action against Al-Dar newspaper, a leading Shiite newspaper, while the ministry ignored violations by other television stations and newspapers. Following the interview last week, a group of Awazem tribesmen attacked SCOPE offices and damaged some equipment in protest against the interview.

Regarding the other issue, Qallaf claimed that he has informed the information minister of a local television station that was engaged in money laundering, adding that he provided some evidence to the minister. He added that the minister failed to take any action against the station despite the gravity of the accusations. The new grilling is expected to be listed on the agenda of the Assembly after two weeks and could be debated immediately if the minister does not use his constitutional right by demanding a two-week delay, which will be granted automatically. It will be the second grilling in the new Assembly elected just less than two months ago. MP Mohammad Al-Juwaihel has also vowed to grill the interior minister over a variety of alleged violations but he did not set an exact date for filing the grilling. The grilling of the prime minister which is scheduled to be debated today will be the first grilling in the new Assembly. The grilling was submitted by MP Ashour more than two weeks ago on allegations that the government failed to take adequate actions on two major corruption scandals - illegal bank deposits involving 12 former MPs and Ashour himself and allegations the former premier transferred millions of dollars of public funds into his private bank accounts overseas. The debate will be given priority over all the issues and is expected to consume the whole Assembly session today. According to the Assembly’s internal charter, the griller will be given two hours to explain his arguments and the prime minister will be given an equal duration to refute the allegations. After that, each one will be given half an hour for further remarks and responses. After that, two supporters and two opponents of the grilling will be allowed to speak alternately for 15 minutes each. The premier will then be given time for closing remarks. The grilling can lead to a motion of non-cooperation against the prime minister if 10 MPs sign the motion, otherwise the grilling will end. Voting on the motion will take place eight days later. In yesterday’s regular Assembly session, minority MPs clashed several times with the speaker and some MPs from the majority over a variety of issues that at one stage led about eight MPs to walk out of the session. The problem began when several Shiite MPs besides Juwaihel and Fadl demanded to speak on requests by the public prosecution to lift the immunity of several MPs so they could be questioned and tried, mostly on press offenses. The speaker prevented them to speak as the Assembly voted to halt the debate on the issue. Then, they protested strongly and walked out of the session. Despite that, the session was one of the most productive so far as MPs voted to approve amendments on the antitrust law aimed at breaking monopolies, approved a law to set up a KD 50 million fund to provide interest-free loans to Kuwaiti students studying outside at their own expense and approved in the second round of voting a law on the annual program of the development plan.

Continued from Page 1 As in Iraq, where the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers are drying up, water resources also are strapped elsewhere across the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates and Jordan say their ground water is rapidly depleting, and the Dead Sea is drying up. Much of the problem is due to the failure of governments in the region to manage growth and use of the major rivers. In Libya, the fall of Gaddafi’s regime last year halted construction on a $25 billion project to pump water to the country’s north, said economic delegation official Giuma Rahuma. “Many farmers are in the north,” Rahuma said. “The (Libyan) revolution stopped the project. Maybe it will start again next year, or in two years.” Kuwaiti Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali said his country draws water from the Arabian Gulf but “it is very expensive” to convert it into drinking water. He said water was one of the economic ministers’ top concerns for the region. A State Department report released last week in Washington found a small risk of water issues leading to war within the next 10 years. But it concluded that water shortages certainly will create tensions within and between states, and threaten to disrupt national and global food markets. Beyond 2022, the report concluded, the use of water as a weapon of war or a tool of terrorism will become more likely, particularly in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. The report was based on classified US intelligence that said floods, scarce and poor quality water, combined with poverty, social tension, poor leadership and weak governments will contribute to instability that could lead the failure of numerous states. Iraq is spending at least $500 million to host the summit, and officials believe it’s an investment for the country’s future. Iraqi Finance Minister Rafia Al-Issawi said he is calling on Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Libya and Egypt to write off billions of dollars in debts incurred during former dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime. “It needs more cooperation from Arab countries regarding the can-

celling of debt,” Issawi said, thanking the UAE and Algeria for agreeing to cancel 100 percent of debts. Finding ways to end the yearlong bloodshed in Syria is the top priority for the League, which is considering a slightly more aggressive plan than the one suggested by UN envoy Kofi Annan and accepted yesterday by President Bashar Assad’s regime. A draft of the League resolution, obtained by AP, calls for the “immediate release of all prisoners detained” during the uprising against Assad’s regime, while Annan’s plan calls for the pace and scale of release of detainees to be speeded up. The League resolution also termed fighting in Baba Amr, a former rebel stronghold in the key city of Homs, as a massacre whose perpetrators must be charged with crimes against humanity. Baba Amr became a symbol of the uprising against Assad after a monthlong siege by government forces killed hundreds of people - many of them civilians - as troops pushed out rebel fighters. The resolution is expected to be discussed today by League foreign ministers in Baghdad. Iraq’s government has spared no expense in securing the capital for its visitors. Troops, SWAT teams and undercover police lined streets to protect dignitaries and journalists attending the meeting. Al-Qaeda has threatened to launch attacks during the summit to prove how weak Iraq’s security remains, and officials said a suicide bomber killed one policemen and wounded four others at a checkpoint yesterday afternoon. The attack happened in Baghdad’s western Ghazaliya neighborhood, across the Tigris River from the economic ministers’ meeting. Police and health officials confirmed the casualties. The summit has received a cool welcome from many Iraqis, who say they expect to gain little from it. About 150 demonstrators rallied in the Sunni-dominated city of Fallujah, located 65 km west of Baghdad, calling on the League to stop the bloodshed in neighboring Syria. The economic ministers did not discuss Syria yesterday afternoon. The demonstrators also demanded the Arab leaders to pressure Iraq’s government to give more jobs to Sunnis.— Agencies

Kazakhs still fuming over ‘Borat’ anthem Continued from Page 1 saying they already had the recording.” Emergiyayev also said that some of Kazakhstan’s sports officials would also be penalised for the incident. “Last year a similar incident has happened at the world weightlifting championships in Paris, where the anthem of Kazakh Soviet republic was played at the medal ceremony instead of the official one,” Emergiyayev said. “After that all the officials were warned to watch closely for correct usage of our national anthem.” The blunder took place last week at the shooting world championships in Kuwait as Maria Dmitrienko stood on top of the podium to celebrate her gold medal performance. But instead of the Kazkah national

anthem, Dmitrienko had to listen to the song used in the 2006 smash hit film “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”. The film, made by British comic Sacha Baron Cohen, portrayed the country as a hotbed of backward quasi-mediaeval racists who drink horse urine and was bitterly condemned by Kazakhstan’s top officials. Red-faced organisers in Kuwait apologised for the embarrassing oversight before restaging the medal ceremony, this time with the correct version of the Kazakhstan anthem. The president of Asian shooting confederation Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah has also brought his personal apologies for the incident at a special reception after the end of the championships. — AFP





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West waits on Myanmar vote to lift sanctions By Martin Petty estern countries desperately want Myanmar’s byelections on Sunday to go smoothly - and give opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi a seat in parliament - so they can start to lift sanctions and let their companies invest in the once-isolated state. Myanmar’s civilian rulers have astonished with a reform drive since taking office a year ago, freeing hundreds of political prisoners jailed by the former junta, holding peace talks with ethnic militias and opening up the economy. Western companies are lining up to get into the country, sandwiched between China and India and offering huge potential in energy, financial services, telecoms and tourism. Diplomats say some US restrictions such as visa bans and asset freezes could be lifted quickly if the election is credible, and the European Union may end sanctions that ban investment in timber and the mining of gemstones and metals. But the ballot needs the thumbs-up from the 66-year-old Suu Kyi, who is contesting one of 45 parliamentary seats after two decades in the political wilderness, much of it under house arrest. “If Suu Kyi and the democratic opposition basically give their blessing that the April 1 elections are ‘good enough’, there will be some sort of positive, reciprocal action on the part of the US government,” said Jennifer Quigley, advocacy director of the Washington-based US Campaign for Burma. The EU, Canada and Australia have hinted they will do the same. In a visit to Cambodia on Monday, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said its embargoes would be scaled back in stages, but he emphasised that “each removal of sanctions will be after consultation with the opposition”. But Nobel laureate Suu Kyi has a dilemma of her own. If she disputes the election result, even for valid reasons, and sanctions remain in force, some analysts say it could dent her image among millions of Burmese longing for change. “(Suu Kyi) views sanctions as leverage to get what she wants from the government. That is a very dangerous policy,” said David Steinberg, a veteran Myanmar analyst at Washington’s Georgetown University and a critic of the sanctions. “Why? Because it puts her in the position of being perceived to be in favour of poverty. Not that she is, but ... that could hurt her.” There are bound to be complaints come election day. After 49 years of isolation and army rule, Myanmar has limited experience of holding ballots. And a 2010 general election was widely seen as rigged to favour the militarybacked Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), now by far the biggest in parliament. Most diplomats believe Myanmar’s rulers are sincere: they want Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party on board to add legitimacy to parliament. But the NLD has already laid the grounds for a possible dispute of the result, with allegations of vote-buying and the inclusion of dead people on voters’ lists, plus claims the president, who is supposed to be impartial, has tried to influence the vote. The government has not done itself any favours by not allowing a proper monitoring mission. Last week it belatedly invited a team of five Southeast Asian observers and asked the United States, the EU and others to send in two people each. Regardless of the outcome, it is unclear how quickly sanctions could be lifted. It is impossible to scrap them all at once, frustrating Western investors who face a race against time as Asian firms snap up deals and business delegations pour into the country to scope out opportunities. The EU is well placed to relax its curbs on investment sooner than Washington as most of its “restrictive measures”, which also include asset freezes, are up for review on April 23. According to several diplomats from EU member states, those sanctions might be removed with a simple vote by the EU Foreign Affairs Council, as long as the election is deemed credible and Suu Kyi gives her blessing. What will remain is its arms embargo and its trade measures, which exclude Myanmar from the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences for poorer countries, including tariff-free imports under the “Everything But Arms” initiative. Reversing that is complex and could take at least a year, some diplomats say. Canada might also start to scale back sanctions if the poll is fair, a government official told Reuters. It bans trade and investment in the country by Canadian firms and denies Myanmar access to low tariffs, development aid and financial services. That could leave Washington playing catch-up. Its complex, overlapping web of sanctions would be extremely difficult to undo quickly, even though lawmakers say there is bipartisan support in Congress to move ahead on that.— Reuters


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North Korea: Odd man out, yet everywhere By Ben Feller he White House called North Korea the odd man out. President Barack Obama counted it back in. Billed as a trip about securing dangerous nuclear material, Obama’s mission here has morphed into a concentrated and calculated opportunity to warn, cajole and shame North Korea to change course. He has stared down North Korea from an observation post, lectured its leaders, pleaded for them to choose peace and belittled them as living 50 years in the past. Some of this was bound to happen. By holding a nuclear security summit in South Korea, the world was inviting the shadow of the uninvited neighbor to the north, whose nuclear weapons program, missile testing and murky intentions tend to seize attention. Then the North’s plan for a long-range rocket launch unnerved the leaders gathered here. Obama took it deeper, inviting a showdown rather than dismissing North Korea as distraction. In an imagery-filled visit to the demilitarized no-man’s land between North and South, in his comments with the South Korean president, in his appearance before reporters and in his lobbying with China, Obama pounded on North Korea’s behavior. Politically, Obama had little to lose by getting tough on North Korea, but plenty if he didn’t. Up for election at home, and promis-


ing friends in Asia they are a new focal point of America’s strategic interest, Obama’s leadership surely would have been scrutinized had he passed up the chance to take a stand while here. So he exploited the contrast between the surging South and the impoverished North as a symbol of his broader message: a new chance for North Korea to choose hope or oblivion. Yet this wasn’t exactly the story the White House promoted before the president arrived. The focus had been on the important if uninspiring work of getting more than 50 nations to secure or give up their nuclear material, so that it would not end up with terrorists bent on destroying a city. At the summit, which is the main reason Obama came at all, North Korea is not even directly on the agenda. “The point here is that president is going to the Nuclear Security Summit. The Nuclear Security Summit is not about North Korea,” Daniel Russel, Obama’s senior Asia adviser, said in a preview days ago when asked about the North’s latest provocations. “North Korea,” he added, “will be the odd man out.” Sidelined, yes, but hardly silenced. There was an entire parallel agenda across Obama’s three days here, both for him and other leaders. Only now, as the summit unfolds in earnest at the end of his stay, will Obama and his peers dive into the nitty-gritty of his goal of securing all nuclear material within two

more years. “It’s hard enough to keep attention on nuclear security, because there is disagreement on the threat and what to do about it,” said Sharon Squassoni, director of the proliferation prevention program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. And then throw in the distracting effect of North Korea. “A summit is a completely inappropriate venue for dealing with the North Korean threat,” she added. “A summit of 54 leaders is not a negotiating forum.” So instead, North Korea carried its own shadow agenda. The broad challenge for the United States and its partners has been how to sway North Korea to seek a better version of itself. The immediate dilemma? What to do about North Korea’s planned long-range rocket launch next month. The United States and other nations see it as a cover for testing long-range missiles that could be mounted with nuclear weapons. South Korea underlined the stakes by warning it might shoot down parts of the rocket if it violates its air space. Obama has been trying to prevent that launch and influence China to show more toughness toward its neighbor, North Korea. Yet he did not want to get drawn into a trap one more consuming episode -of-the moment with a country known for them. So he tried to swing bigger. “I want to speak directly to the leadership in Pyongyang,” Obama declared in a speech. He offered a

hand of peace and warned of the consequences of rejection. “Instead of the dignity you desire, you are more isolated,” he said of North Korea’s leadership. “Instead of earning the respect of the world, you have been met with strong sanctions. You can continue down the road you are on, but we know where that leads.” Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to Obama, said it was natural for the president to challenge North Korea’s behavior in the context of a broad trip aimed at stopping nuclear proliferation and keeping nuclear material secure. The White House also came into the trip figuring it was right not to celebrate an apparent breakthrough with North Korea just last month, when North Korea won a US pledge of food aid in return for nuclear and missile test moratoriums. The planned rocket launch scuttled that goodwill. And Obama has shown little desire to hide his impatience. He described North Korea’s governing leaders this way: They can’t feed their people, they don’t make anything of use, they have no exports except weapons, and they fail on all indictors of well-being. “You’d think you’d want to try something different,” he said. If they do, and they keep their word, Obama said no one will welcome them more than the United States. For now, odds are North Korea will remain the odd man out, but never out of the discussion. —AP

French gunman’s journey to terror By Jamey Keaten ohamed Merah grew up in one of the toughest housing projects of Toulouse, with his mother, two brothers and two sisters. At age five, his parents split up - and he took that hard. As a youth he turned to petty crime, landing in prison twice. How the young man described by one top official as a “little failure” went on to carry out France’s biggest terror spree since the mid-1990s is provoking anguished questions in one of the West’s most-seasoned terrorism-fighting nations. Merah’s weeklong motorcycle shooting rampage killed three French paratroopers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi, horrifying France and raising fears that Al-Qaeda had struck again in Europe. The 23-year-old himself bragged of affiliation to the terror network, but officials say no evidence has turned up of such ties. In some ways, Merah came across as an ordinary, if troubled, youth. A onetime auto body shop worker, Merah liked cars and motorcycles - and enjoyed spinning out in vacant-lot “rodeos” with any car that he got his hands on, said a French official close to the investigation. Merah partied and was seen dancing at a nightclub days before his first suspected shooting, on March 11. Behind the run-ofthe-mill image hid “a second personality”, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case. Bernard Squarcini, the head of the French police counterterrorism agency, told Le Monde newspaper that Merah had shown “psychiatric issues” in the past that may have contributed to his rampage. What tipped the balance, Merah’s former lawyer said, was his anger over what he saw as an unjust prison sentence and a failed effort to join the military. “That laid the groundwork from which he threw himself into this religious fanaticism, in a spirit of vengeance” against the French state, lawyer Christian Etelin said. While Merah enjoyed nightlife, the Frenchman of Algerian descent also moved in a crowd of ultraconservative Muslims. During the police standoff that ended Thursday with him being shot dead, Merah said he’d grown more radical in prison, often reading the Holy Quran alone. Unlike his fellow Salafis, however, Merah was not considered much of a thinker and displayed few outward signs of religious extremism, officials say. “He was seen more as a little failure from the projects,” Ange Mancini, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s top intelligence adviser, told France-24 TV on Friday. Sarkozy told French radio that Merah went “from the most ordinary criminal delinquency, starting as a minor, to the most brutal terrorism with no warning, with no transition”. In seeking possible accomplices, authorities have focused on Merah’s older brother, 30-year-old Abdelkader Merah, who is in custody and was handed preliminary charges for complicity in murder and terrorism Sunday for allegedly helping hatch the plot - claims the brother


denies, according to his defense lawyer. The older Merah reportedly became Mohamed’s mentor after their father returned to Algeria and the children went in and out of foster care. Abdelkader, too, was known to authorities: He was implicated but never charged in an investigation in 2007 of a recruiting network for jihadists to fight in Iraq. In recent years, he traveled often to Egypt - for sometimes months at a time - to attend Quranic schools. French police had known about Mohamed Merah since at least 2005 - when he was convicted as a minor for receiving stolen property. It was the first of what would be a total of 15 convictions: eight while a juvenile, and seven for misdemeanors as an adult, said Elisabeth Allannic, a spokeswoman with the Paris prosecutors office. He was sent to prison for 18 months for aggravated theft in Jan 2008, she said. But France’s highly reputed counterterrorism officials first learned about him in Nov 2010, when he turned up in southern Afghanistan - caught at a random roadway checkpoint by Afghan police and handed over to the US military, which alerted French military intelligence. That came at the tail end of a meandering road trip across the Middle East - Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, even Israel before he traveled to Egypt, where he met up with his brother in Cairo, the French official told The AP. Israeli

This undated and unlocated frame grab shows Mohamed Merah. — AP police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that Merah visited Israel for three days in Sept 2010, entering overland on his own passport via a crossing from Jordan. Merah then spent three weeks in Tajikistan before crossing over into Afghanistan. He was arrested in the southern city of Kandahar on Nov 22, 2010, nine days after entering Afghanistan, and was flown to Kabul by US forces. A European intelligence official told AP that Merah was questioned by Afghan intelligence, which then told the French Embassy in Kabul about him - but French authorities didn’t pick him up. Merah flew home early the next month, of his own accord. After his arrest in Afghanistan, the United States quickly put Merah on its no-fly list. But French authorities did not,

opting instead to put him under police surveillance after he returned home to southern France. Under watch in the spring of 2011, Merah drew little suspicion, the French official close to the investigation told the AP. He partied, didn’t go often to the mosque, was cordial with his neighbors and showed no violent inclinations. By Aug 2011, with French police believing that he was not a threat, he was off again - to Lahore, Pakistan. His mother had prodded him to go there to look for a wife, the French official said. During that trip, French authorities went to his home in Toulouse and posted a summons for him to report in so they could question him about his earlier trip. “Then he called us,” the official said. “He must have been alerted by someone in his family ... He was very polite, saying, ‘I’m busy, but I will call you when I get back.’” While on his trip, he caught Hepatitis A and returned to France in Oct 2011 for treatment. This time, Merah called police from Purpan hospital in Toulouse to again delay the appointment. When it finally took place in November, Merah brought along a USB key with photos he had taken, telling his interrogators that his trip was for tourism. “We weren’t fooled,” the French official told The AP. After further analysis, Merah was placed on a “wanted persons file” which would alert authorities any time in the future that he tried to use his passport to travel. Merah, who generally worked odd jobs for a month or so at a time, at one point appeared to have considered a military career. He spent one night in July 2010 at a French Foreign Legion recruitment center in Toulouse - as part of a standard information session, but left the next morning without an explanation, French army spokesman Col Bruno Lafitte said. Merah told police he received individualized training in Pakistan, according to Squarcini. He claimed to investigators that he was trained in Pakistan’s restive Waziristan region. But French officials have so far dismissed this theory. “For the moment, nothing shows he was at training camps in Pakistan. Nothing,” said Mancini, alluding to official “diverse sources” who keep watch on attendees of the Pakistani camps. Merah’s firearms - including a Colt .45 and an automatic Sten pistol - were unsophisticated and not uncommon in French housing projects. Prosecutors said that during the standoff, he claimed to have obtained €20,000 worth of weapons by theft - which investigators doubt. “ The weapons he had were obsolete for a real jihadist,” said Mancini. “Colt .45s - these weapons date from Prohibition era in the United States ... A Sten? Those weapons were parachuted in by the English during World War II! A miniUzi? It’s a relatively old style of weapon.” In the ethnically mixed Des Izards project where Merah grew up, residents said tensions grew palpably when they learned that the gunman was one of their own. A woman in a niqab recalled Merah driving past on his scooter, music blasting. Georges Baldachno, living there since 1964, lamented, “Now there is delinquency everywhere.” A group of young men threw a rock to scare reporters away. — AP


sp orts Twitter troll jailed for racist abuse of Muamba LONDON: A student who mocked footballer Fabrice Muamba on Twitter after the Bolton Wanderers midfielder collapsed during a match was jailed yesterday for inciting racial hatred. Liam Stacey, 21, provoked revulsion with comments made while the Bolton Wanderers star still lay on the pitch. The 23-year-old midfielder was left fighting for his life after suffering a cardiac arrest during an FA Cup tie against Tottenham Hotspur on March 17. Fans in the stadium and those viewing on live television watched in horror as Muamba fell to the ground during the quarterfinal clash that was abandoned.—Reuters

Pakistan plan to host Australia in Sri Lanka KARACHI: Pakistan plan to host their one-day series against Australia this August in Sri Lanka, a senior board official said yesterday. “In principle we have decided to hold the series against Australia in August in Sri Lanka but we are negotiating with the Sri Lankan board for a favorable deal,” Pakistan Cricket Board chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed told Reuters. Four one-day internationals and three Twenty20 games are planned. “The venues in Sri Lanka where we will hold the matches will be decided soon. The Australians have also not expressed any reservations

over playing in Sri Lanka,” Ahmed said. Pakistan have been playing their “home” series in the UAE venues of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah since foreign teams refused to visit the country after a 2009 gun attack on the Sri Lanka side. Ahmed said UAE had been ruled out of contention because the weather in August would be too hot. “In case we don’t reach a cost effective deal with the Sri Lankan board, South Africa is the other alternate neutral venue for us,” Ahmed said. The PCB has invited Bangladesh to break the mould and play a one-day series in Pakistan in April. —Reuters

Liu aims to improve times SHANGHAI: Former Olympic and world high hurdles champion Liu Xiang would rather concentrate on his own strengths than worry about his opponents in his bid to improve his times in the runup to the London Games. A foot injury thwarted Liu’s Beijing Olympics hopes and kept him off the track until late 2009 but the Chinese athlete is once again healthy and confident to overcome his 2008 disappointment. Speaking at an event to launch the Shanghai leg of the Diamond League meeting scheduled for May 19, Liu said he ran every time to improve his previous performance. “I feel that of course everyone who comes here are guests. But those who come to compete (at the Diamond League) will not be friendly and those who are friendly will not come here to compete,” Liu said. “But the main thing is that I am competing against myself. They have their strengths and I have mine. “Every time I compete, I feel that I can run faster than the previous competition. —Reuters

Red Wings top Blue Jackets DETROIT: Tomas Holmstrom scored two goals as the Detroit Red Wings earned a team-record 21st consecutive playoff berth with a 7-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. Detroit broke its team record of 20 straight seasons reaching the playoffs set from 193958. The playoff streak is the longest active run in professional sports. The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs are expected to extend their playoff streak to 15 years; the Philadelphia Phillies have been in five straight postseasons in baseball; and the Baltimore Ravens have been in the NFL playoffs four consecutive years. Holmstrom scored twice to help the Red Wings take a 4-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game. They had a 6-0 cushion midway through the second and a seven-goal lead early in the third. Columbus is in last place in the NHL with 55 points.

goal as Tampa Bay beat Philadelphia. Ryan Malone and JT Wyman also had goals to help the Lightning win their third straight game. It’s a little too late for Tampa, which is 11th in the East and seven points out of a playoff spot with seven games remaining. Wayne Simmonds, Matt Read and Scott Hartnell scored for Philadelphia. The Flyers lost for just the third time in 14 games this month. Dwayne Roloson stopped 35 shots, outplaying Ilya Bryzgalov. Senators 6, Jets 4 At Winnipeg, Manitoba, Daniel Alfredsson

scored two goals in the third period to send Ottawa over Winnipeg. Evander Kane gave the Jets hope at 17:03 of the third period after the puck went in off his arm as he was pushed into the net. The goal was reviewed, but stood to level the game at 4-4. Alfredsson scored his second goal of the game just 24 seconds later. Chris Neil, Kaspars Daugavins and Kyle Turris also scored for Ottawa, while Milan Michalek added an empty-netter. Ottawa is seventh in the East with 88 points. Winnipeg’s Antti Miettinen scored twice and Kyle Wellwood also scored for the Jets,

Canucks 1, Kings 0 At Vancouver, British Columbia, Roberto Luongo made 38 saves for his fourth shutout of the season as Vancouver blanked Los Angeles. Manny Malhotra scored the game’s only goal in the first period and Vancouver got its third straight win without injured scoring star Daniel Sedin, who is out with a concussion. The Canucks passed 100 points for the fourth straight season and moved within two points of West-leading St. Louis. Malhotra scored at 3:05 of the first when he fired in a Max Lapierre pass off the corner of the post and the crossbar. It was Malhotra’s first goal in 14 games. He had not scored since a Feb. 18 home win over Toronto. Lightning 5, Flyers 3 At Philadelphia, Martin St. Louis scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and Steven Stamkos notched his team-record 53rd

WINNIPEG: Ottawa Senators’ Daniel Alfredsson (11) puts the puck past Winnipeg Jets’ goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (31) during the third period of an NHL hockey game.—AP

Major challenge looms for Tiger ORLANDO: Now that Tiger Woods has ended his 30month victory drought on the PGA Tour, the question turns to whether the former world number one can win again where it really counts - in a major championship, starting with the Masters. If it seems a little dismissive of Woods’ victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday to immediately turn the focus to the April 5-8 Masters, well, that is a little bit how Tiger himself reacted on Sunday. Asked where his 72nd PGA Tour victory ranked, Woods said: “It’s not like winning a major championship or anything, but it certainly feels really good.” Woods has long judged other players by whether or not they have won a major, and with 14 to his name he knows all about what it takes to succeed in the ultimate tests for a golfer. But now Woods, who has not triumphed at one of golf’s four majors since the 2008 US Open, has to prove it all again. Sunday’s win at Bay Hill was an important step for

Tiger Woods tees off in this file photo

Woods as it ended a once-unthinkable barren spell and proved that he has the mental fortitude to keep his cool on a Sunday afternoon and make it over the finish line. After battling injuries, swing changes and the difficulty of coping with mediocre results, let alone the mental strain of a marriage breakdown and the accompanying negative publicity, “getting it done” mattered for Woods. The manner of his five-shot win was also important as Woods drove straight, found greens and putted solidly while runner-up Graeme McDowell never really challenged. Gusty and unpredictable winds, coupled with fast greens that proved tough for many players at Bay Hill, seemed unable to faze Woods, who shot four consecutive sub-par rounds in a tournament for the first time since the 2010 Masters. But the victory needs to be put in context. The tournament featured none of last week’s top six ranked players and came on very friendly terrain - it was Woods’s seventh at a venue which for years was practically a home course for him. Woods also feels at home at Augusta National, where he is a four-times winner, but the imposing course in Georgia poses many more challenges than Palmer’s Bay Hill. While the former world number one is now comfortable and in control with the new swing introduced by Canadian coach Sean Foley, his putting remains the part of his game that he has yet to get back to the high standards of his past. And nowhere tests a man’s skills on the green more than Augusta National with its complex slopes, tricky reads and an unforgiving speed. “I understand how to play Augusta National, and it’s just a matter of executing the game plan,” Woods said after his victory but he knows it is not going to be that simple. “I still need some work, and it’s going to be good to get a week off and work on a few things. I enjoyed the progression we made this week ... I was able to hit some really good shots the last two days, and that’s a very good sign going into Augusta.” Presuming the new swing, which some observers now believe to be more reliable than the one used in his prime, holds firm then putting will be the absolute key to whether or not Woods can, as the bookmaker’s believe, claim a fifth victory at the Masters. “He’s always a force to be reckoned with when he’s not playing his best golf, and obviously he’s playing a lot of good golf right now,” said England’s Ian Poulter. “The shots he’s hit, just looking at the highlights, he’s got a lot of his game back and when he starts rolling putts in, he’s dangerous so he’s going to be a force for everybody at Augusta.” Those at Augusta will include world number one Luke Donald, still seeking his first major win; number two Rory McIlroy, looking for a second major win as well as three-times Masters winner Phil Mickelson. It is perfectly set up for a memorable tournament and one where we should learn a little more about whether Tiger Woods really is getting back to his very best.—Reuters

who are six points behind Washington and Buffalo in the race for the final playoff spot in the East - and they only have six games remaining. Flames 5, Stars 4 At Calgary, Alberta, Mike Cammalleri had a goal and two assists as Calgary used a fourgoal second period to beat Dallas. Level at 3-3, Calgary took its second lead of the second period when Mark Giordano’s low slap shot eluded Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen for a power-play goal at 16:58. Steve Ott’s tripping penalty at 18:33 gave the Flames their fourth man advantage of the period. Cammalleri’s attempted dump-in caromed into the slot off the skate of Stars defenseman Trevor Daley. Alex Tanguay’s quick shot was partially stopped by Lehtonen, but still went over him and landed in the net at 19:32. Olli Jokinen and Blake Comeau also scored for Calgary. Jamie Benn had two goals, and Mike Ribeiro and Philip Larsen also scored for Dallas. Sharks 5, Avalanche 1 At San Jose, California, Joe Pavelski scored two goals to help San Jose improve its playoff chances with a victory over Colorado. San Jose jumped into the Pacific Division lead with 88 points after both the Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars lost earlier Monday. The Stars dropped all the way into a tie with Phoenix (87 points) for seventh and eighth place in the West. Andrew Desjardins, Torrey Mitchell and Ryane Clowe also scored for the Sharks, who won their third straight. Shane O’Brien scored for the Avalanche, who lost their third straight after going 7-1-1 in their previous nine games.—AP

NHL results/standings Tampa Bay 5, Philadelphia 3; Detroit 7, Columbus 2; Ottawa 6, Winnipeg 4; Calgary 5, Dallas 4; Vancouver 1, Los Angeles 0; San Jose 5, Colorado 1. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division NY Rangers Pittsburgh Philadelphia New Jersey NY Islanders Boston Ottawa Buffalo Toronto Montreal Florida Washington Winnipeg Tampa Bay Carolina St Louis Detroit Nashville Chicago Columbus Vancouver Colorado Calgary Minnesota Edmonton San Jose Dallas Phoenix Los Angeles Anaheim

W L OTL 47 21 7 47 22 6 44 24 8 42 28 6 31 33 11 Northeast Division 44 28 3 39 28 10 37 29 10 33 34 9 29 34 13 Southeast Division 36 24 15 38 30 8 35 33 8 35 33 7 30 31 15 Western Conference Central Division 47 20 9 46 25 5 44 24 8 42 26 8 24 45 7 Northwest Division 46 21 9 40 32 6 35 27 15 31 34 10 31 36 9 Pacific Division 39 27 10 41 30 5 37 27 13 37 27 12 32 33 11

GF 206 253 241 206 180

GA 168 195 213 200 224

PTS 101 100 96 90 73

244 236 197 217 197

184 227 209 239 211

91 88 84 75 71

186 205 205 214 202

206 214 223 255 228

87 84 78 77 75

196 137 219 230 177

147 187 199 220 250

103 97 96 92 55

230 201 191 159 206

187 207 212 207 223

101 86 85 72 71

210 202 200 175 191

196 203 202 165 212

88 87 87 86 75

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


sp orts

Tebow gets what he — and Jets — wanted NEW YORK: Say this about Tim Tebow: He’s excited to be with the New York Jets. He sure said so - over and over and over again. He started with it. He finished with it. He never allowed anyone to get him off message. It was a deft strategy for defusing those piranhas in the New York media, who surely came with snarling teeth, ready to rip him apart, but got nothing more than how utterly thrilled Tebow was to have been deposed by the team he led to the playoffs last season (that would be the Denver Broncos) and traded to Team Dysfunction (that would very much be the Jets). He looked questioners in the eye, throwing in the extra touch of bending ever so slightly in their direction from the podium, just to show how much he really cared about their queries. He smiled frequently and easily. It was all so disarming. Did we mention he’s excited? But let’s put aside that seven-letter word for a moment and cut to the chase: If the Jets are using Tebow to steal away some of the thunder from

their stadium-sharing rivals, the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, don’t view him as an unwitting pawn. He’s very much using the Jets right back. Turns out, for all those opinions of Tebow, which range from someone we’d want our daughters to marry to a religious zealot masquerading as a legitimate NFL quarterback, the real answer is not nearly as juicy. He’s a pragmatist, pure and simple, at least when it came to deciding his post-Denver future. After the Broncos signed Peyton Manning, Tebow weighed his options. He could return to his hometown of Jacksonville, Fla., just up the road from where he won a national title and the Heisman Trophy, to help resurrect the lowly Jaguars. Or, he could go to the nation’s media epicenter, to play for a better team that already has a starting quarterback, but is so starved for attention it threw out the possibility of significant snaps out of the wildcat. And - this is important - it would give him a much bigger canvas to add much bolder strokes to the Tebow brand,

which, to his credit, involves some very significant charity work and willingness to be a role model. While his most fervent fans probably thought the Jaguars were the logical choice, it appears Tebow had his eye on the bright lights all along, not unlike another Jets quarterback who came along before him, pushing a much different message. Broadway Tim, he’s not, but Tebow surely knows - as Joe Namath did - that being the Big Cheese in the Big Apple is a chance to become even more of a household name. Think Linsanity would’ve caught fire the way it did anywhere else? And don’t think a straight arrow like Tebow will necessarily be out of place in a city some view as just a notch above Sodom. Tebow seemed to get it all along, though he made every effort to pretend otherwise. That was the part that seemed insincere during a 35-minute news conference, which served as his introduction to New York. If you didn’t let all the “exciteds” dis-

tract you - the unofficial tally was somewhere around 40 - there was clear insight into how this whole thing came down. For instance, despite Tebow trying to paint himself as a player who just went where he was told, it’s clear the Broncos consulted him and dealt him where he wanted to go. “Ultimately, they had my contract. They had all the power,” Tebow insisted. Then, he conceded, “They listened to me and what I had to say. That was very gracious of them. They didn’t have to do that.” If one needed additional evidence this deal came with Tebow ’s full endorsement, think about how he went on about his close relationship with fiery Jets coach Rex Ryan - boy, is that an odd couple - and the incumbent quarterback whose job he’ll be trying to take, Mark Sanchez. Tebow said he had no such relationship with the folks in Jacksonville, where there’s a new owner, new coaching staff, and a rebuilding team. Fair enough. But it wasn’t exactly clear how Tebow became such fast friends with the guys in green, other

than sharing an agent with Ryan and an occasional promotional appearance with Sanchez. On Ryan: “Gosh, I’m trying to remember the first place we met.” On Sanchez: “Gosh, when was the first time we met?”The aw-shucks routine wasn’t quite so persuasive on a couple of other points, either. Tebow acted genuinely surprised that so many reporters, an estimated 200, showed up for his meet-the-New York-press event. “Blame the guys upstairs,” he quipped. “They wanted me to do it.” Asked whether he had instructed some of his endorsement partners to back off, notably Jockey, after it plastered a giant billboard above the Lincoln Tunnel displaying for millions of motorists Tebow’s determined mug and the message: “We Support Tebow &” oh, yeah - “New York.” Again, he pleaded no-contest. “I have not had a chance to talk to them,” he said, “but I guess they are pretty excited.” Ah, there’s that word again. Everyone, it seems, is excited. —AP

Sandoval hits game-ending HR as Giants defeat Royals

Meryl Davis and Charlie White

Davis and White happy to share same coaches NICE: Imagine John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors sharing a tennis coach or Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson being under the guidance of the same golfing mentor — chances are that it might get ugly. Yet it is a scenario embraced by world ice dance champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White as they share the same coaches as their closest rivals, Olympic gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. “Scott and Tessa are phenomenal and it’s great for us to see just how good they are (on a daily basis) - lest we forget,” a laughing White told Reuters in an interview ahead of this week’s world championships which start today. “That really spurs us to be at our best. We understand the level we have to be at to take on a team as talented as they are.” His 25-year-old partner added: “Training with your top rivals definitely makes you want to come in and give 100 percent every hour of every day. The rivalry has pushed us further then probably either team would be without the rivalry. It’s nice to keep a close eye on your closest compe-

tition.” Russian coaches Marina Zueva and Igor Shpilband enjoyed a hat-trick of success at last year’s world championships when all three ice dance medals were snapped up by their charges. In fact over the past couple of years, the two North American couples have captured every major title on offer - with White and Davis grabbing 10 successive golds before Virtue and Moir finally snapped the run at last month’s Four Continents. While having four top skaters training under the same roof day-in and day-out might have created an environment full of friction, Zueva and Shpilband have nurtured a harmonious atmosphere. “It would be nice to get so much (more) time with our coaches but the situation we have with so many talented teams (training under the same roof ) is actually more beneficial to us,” Davis said. White, who stands out with his distinctive mop of dishevelled blond curls, added: “We never feel we are getting short changed to any degree. Marina’s a brilliant scheduler of time and keeps things running very smoothly. — Reuters

So near yet so far for squash LONDON: Almost within sight of the Perspex box Nick Matthew used to parade his rapier-like racket skills and boundless stamina last week was the reason the world squash champion’s celebrations at yet another title were tinged with regret. The 31-year-old Briton’s triumph at the Canary Wharf Classic in the heart of London’s glittering financial hub, the latest stop on the PSA World Tour, was just a mile or so away from the heart of the Olympic Park that will welcome the world’s greatest athletes in 26 different sports this year. Sadly for Matthew, however, squash will not be at the party. Its last two attempts to persuade the IOC to add squash to London’s schedule, and to the Rio Olympics in four years, both failed, meaning Matthew’s dream of reaching “the pinnacle” of his chosen sport will never be realised. Optimism is high that the latest campaign, aimed at 2020, could succeed but it will be too late for Matthew. “It’s gutwrenching,” Yorkshire’s Matthew, who is being used as ambassador for squash’s latest bid for Olympic recognition, told Reuters at the Canary Wharf tournament, a slick event that highlights the innovations made in the sport such as glass walls, enhanced camera angles, video referrals and music. “We are devastated not to be at the London Olympics really. It will be hard to watch. My girlfriend is involved with the British cycling team, so it’s mixed emotions. “Squash is one of the sports in which Britain would have had great potential for gold medals. But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we have to concentrate on 2020 and beyond and look at the bigger picture, even if that will be too

late for me,” added the Commonwealth Games gold medallist. The World Squash Federation (WSF) is determined to make it third time lucky as it prepares to present its credentials to the IOC’s programmes commission in December. One sport will be added for the 2020 Games, with squash competing against the likes of baseball, softball, karate, rock climbing, rollersports and the Chinese martial art wushu. While the WSF admits previous bids lacked a little dazzle, current chief executive Andrew Shelly believes the sport is ready to showcase itself in whichever city hosts the 2020 Games. “We have taken on board the advice of the IOC,” Shelley told Reuters as Matthew and fellow Englishman Daryl Selby treated a sell-out crowd to a series of mind-boggling rallies. “We now have a really good bid. We’re the only racket sport in which both players are on the same side so it’s gladiatorial and made for TV. “Someone once told me that the Olympic movement is like a train that occasionally stops. We must make sure that when it does we are ready to jump on board.” No stone is being left unturned between now and the decision in Buenos Aires in 2013 and, significantly, squash’s campaign for Olympic inclusion is being overseen by Mike Lee, a veteran of winning campaigns for London 2012 and Rio 2016 as well as rugby union’s successful bid to get sevens into Rio at the expense of squash. “There is a long way to go,” Lee, who was also instrumental in Qatar being chosen to host the 2022 World Cup, told Reuters by telephone. “But I think squash has a very strong case. — Reuters

SCOTTSDALE: Pablo Sandoval gave the San Francisco Giants something to smile about with a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to defeat Kansas City 4-2 on Monday. Sandoval had three hits, including a double, and scored twice. But what occurred in the first 2 2/3 innings was even more important for the Giants. Ryan Vogelsong, expected to be a key part of the rotation, made his first Cactus League start after twisting his back at the start of the spring. Vogelsong, a right-hander who was 13-7 in 30 games (28 starts) in 2011, gave up a run and two hits and struck out two in 2 2/3 innings. He threw 39 pitches, one short of the team’s goal. “It wasn’t bad in the first inning (when the run scored), but it was definitely better in the second and third,” Vogelsong said. “It was good that I got to sit down, get back up, sit down, get back up, sit down, get back up for three innings.” He said he hasn’t been worried about his back this spring. “I was confident that I would be OK,” he said. “You guys (reporters) were more worried about it than anyone else. It has been a non-issue. “I had Tommy John surgery (in 2001), so I have been through the rehab process before. “I haven’t thought about it (back) at all. I just try to pitch. I don’t hear the crowd, I don’t hear the music, I just focus on hitting the (catcher’s) glove as much as I can.” He also was pleased that he was able to throw out of the stretch, and even fielded a bunt. The Giants might not be able to get Vogelsong into the rotation to start the regular season. With a little more than a week to go before opening day, it is likely he will start on the disabled list until he is able to log more innings. The team has some concerns about young right-hander Eric Surkamp, one of their top prospects. He has been experiencing soreness in his elbow and had an MRI earlier Monday. He had pitched in five games (three starts) with a 31 spring record.

Closer Brian Wilson, who had been out since March 17 because of arm soreness, pitched a scoreless fifth. Until Vogelsong and Surkamp are healthy, the rotation likely will be right-handers Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, left-handers Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito and perhaps right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, who will start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on

After being acquired from Texas in 2010, Mendoza was the Pacific Coast League’s Pitcher of the Year with the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate in Omaha, Neb., and the PCL’s postseason MVP. “I’m just doing my job. They (management) have the decision,” Mendoza said. “I have felt great all spring long. I am making my way, pitching with a purpose, trusting my pitches.”

SCOTTSDALE: San Francisco Giants shortstop Joaquin Arias gets airborne but can’t make the catch on a wild throw as Kansas City Royals’ Jeff Francoeur gets back to second base in the seventh inning of a spring training baseball game. —AP Wednesday. Kansas City’s rotation is expected to be bolstered by right-hander Luis Mendoza. He has not been officially selected by manager Ned Yost. However his efforts this spring, including the one on Monday, could make Yost’s decision easier. Mendoza gave up three hits in five innings, walked two and struck out four. His ERA is 0.54 and his opponents are hitting .180.

Notes: Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez had a cortisone shot in his right shoulder. He had surgery on it late last season, and is not expected to be ready for opening day. ... The Giants released pitcher Ramon Ortiz and reassigned pitchers Brian Burres, Shane Loux, Andrew Kown and Wilmin Rodriguez to their minor league camp. —AP

Confident Hoy on track for more glory in London MELBOURNE: Track cycling great Chris Hoy would be satisfied with one more gold at his home Games in London but the 36-year-old rates himself a firm chance to successfully defend all three of his Beijing titles should he win selection. Scotsman Hoy must first qualify to join an ultra-competitive British team at the London velodrome with his selection fate still hanging in the balance ahead of the world championships in Melbourne next week. Hoy will lock horns with sprint world champion Jason Kenny as he bids for the sole berths allocated in the individual sprint and keirin and one on the team sprint. Despite turning 36 last week, 10-times world champion Hoy appears to be peaking at the right time, having won the keirin and sprint at the London World Cup last month, but remains wary of Kenny in Melbourne, where the world championships will carry the greatest weight for the team’s Olympic selection. “I’m pleased I’ve done pretty well this year so far and if I can have another good performance here then hopefully it’ll be enough,” a relaxed Hoy told reporters at a luxury hotel in Melbourne yesterday. “You’re never 100 percent confident, you just go in there and hope that your performances are enough but Jason’s had a fantastic few years. “Since Beijing, he’s been there or thereabouts at almost all the championships, so it’s great to have Jason there and he’s world champion just now, so technically it’s me that’s knocking on the door trying to beat him. “He’s a great guy, we’re good friends, we’re room mates here, we get on really well and obviously that changes when you get on the track.” The Bolton-born Kenny, who shares the same birthday as Hoy but is 12 years his junior, was awarded the 2011 world sprint title in January after Frenchman Gregory Bauge was stripped of his title for a doping violation. He was knocked out of the quarter-finals in a major shock at the London World Cup but has pledged to hit back hard at Melbourne, where he could take back the inside running from Hoy in the sprint with a dominant per-

formance. Hoy’s victories in the keirin, team and individual sprint at Beijing made him the first Briton to clinch three Olympic golds in a single Games since Henry Taylor 100 years before. He said he would not have put himself in the running for London if he did not believe he could repeat the triple success. “I would love to repeat my performances at Beijing in London but to be honest, for me I’m just going to go out there and do my best and just hope to win a gold medal,” said Hoy, who also won the kilometre event at the 2004 Athens Games before it was scratched from the Olympic schedule. “And if I could win two or three that would be an amazing result but really my aim is to be Olympic champion in London and if I can repeat (what I did) in Beijing, then that’s the dream scenario. “But I don’t think it’s impossible and I think that I would only enter an event if I believed I could win it. “I wouldn’t jeopardise a gold medal to win three silvers or a number of medals that weren’t gold.” Hoy, a member of Britain’s national team since 1996, is bidding for his fourth Olympics after taking a silver on debut in the team sprint at the Sydney 2000 Games. Despite new blood pushing for selection, Hoy remains reluctant to talk of a perfect swansong at London and has his eye on the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where the track cycling will be held in a velodrome bearing his name. “Thirty-six now,” he sighed. “You find yourself reflecting on all these previous years and trips and you’re telling stories to younger guys and they kind of look at you with glazed expressions when you’re talking about names of guys from years gone by and you suddenly realise you’re almost double the age of some of the younger lads on the team. “I still love it as much as I did 12, 16 years ago... I think the ideal swansong would be to have a successful Games in London and then to go onto the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow because I’ve never actually raced internationally in my home countr y in Scotland. “So that would be the ideal swansong, the great dream, to do the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.” —Reuters

Chris Hoy celebrates in this file photo



England hit back as 17 wickets fall in day

WELLINGTON: The South Africa’s team poses after their series win over New Zealand on the fifth day of the third international cricket Test at Basin Reserve. —AP

South Africa rue weather but happy to win series WELLINGTON: Poor weather undoubtedly halted South Africa’s march to the top of the world test rankings after they claimed a 1-0 series win against New Zealand when the third and final Test at the Basin Reserve ended in a draw yesterday. Grameme Smith’s side completed the series victory courtesy of a nine-wicket win in the second test in Hamilton, with the other two matches badly affected by rain. They also won both the earlier Twenty20 and one-day international series. The Proteas did have an opportunity to clinch a 2-0 win on the final day of the third test after Morne Morkel claimed 6-23, only for Kane Williamson to graft his second test century and ensure New Zealand scratched out a battling draw. “It’s been a terrific tour for us,” Smith said of the way in which the side had managed to build on their victories in the Twenty20 and one-day international series into the tests. “Any tour where you can walk away with every trophy is a tick. There have been some great performances throughout the six-and-a-half weeks. “All teams in all formats have played well, which is what you want.” South Africa had the opportunity to claim the world’s top test ranking if they swept the tests 3-0, but rain washed out the final day of play in Dunedin and more than seven hours in Wellington, something Smith rued. “We’ve pretty much been on the front

foot throughout this test series... (but) the weather played a big part in Dunedin and here. “Losing close on 150-160 overs, we were the one team pushing to win... we gave ourselves an opportunity to win. “We missed some opportunities today that would have allowed us to win two-nil (but)... I think (one-nil) is a fair reflection.” New Zealand had been riding high on confidence after a morale-boosting victory over Australia late last year but while they showed glimpses of that kind of level of play against the Proteas, they were unable to sustain it. “I think they deserved to win the series, don’t get me wrong,” New Zealand vicecaptain Brendon McCullum told reporters. “I think they’ve been the better team throughout. “We had them on the ropes at times but I think one-nil (in the tests) is probably a fair reflection from looking at it.” At times, New Zealand’s bowlers, especially gnarly veterans Chris Martin and the recalled Mark Gillespie, had the Proteas on the ropes, taking clumps of wickets for very few runs at least twice. The South Africans, however, somehow, found a way to fight their way out of the situation, none more evident in the second test when the final four wickets contributed 165 runs to give them a valuable first innings lead that proved enough as Vernon Philander tore through New Zealand’s second innings. — Reuters

SCOREBOARD WELLINGTON: Scoreboard at the end of the third and final test between New Zealand and South Africa at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on yesterday: Result: Match drawn South Africa first innings 474-9 dec. New Zealand first innings 275 South Africa second innings (overnight 75-0) A.Petersen run out 39 G.Smith c Bracewell b Vettori 41 AB de Villiers c Williamson b Braell 68 JP Duminy not out 33 Extras (w-3, nb-2, lb-3) 8 Total (for 3 wickets dec, 29.4 overs) 189 Fall of wickets: 1-77 2-106 3-189 Did not bat: Hashim Amla, Jacques Rudolph, Mark Boucher, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Marchant de Lange Bowling: Martin 10-0-44-0; Bracewell 6.4-0-47-1 (w-2); Gillespie 6-0-55-0 (nb2); Vettori 7-1-40-1 (w-1)

New Zealand second innings M. Guptill c Rudolph b Morkel 18 D. Flynn c Boucher b Morkel 0 B. McCullum lbw b Morkel 0 K. Williamson not out 102 D. Brownlie b Morkel 15 D. Vettori b Morkel 0 K. van Wyk c&b Morkel 39 D. Bracewell not out 20 Extras (lb-6) 6 Total (for six wickets, 80.4 overs) 200 Fall of wickets: 1-1 2-1 3-32 4-83 5-83 6163 Did not bat: Ross Taylor, Mark Gillespie, Chris Martin Bowling: Morkel 16.4-7-23-6; Philander 18.4-6-29-0; de Lange 17.2-4-77-0; Steyn 15-9-14-0; Duminy 13-2-51-0. South Africa won the three-match series 1-0.

GALLE: Sri Lanka held an overall lead of 209 over England with five wickets in hand after 17 wickets fell on a frantic second day of the first Test yesterday. After yet another batting failure during a dispiriting winter for the world number one side, England hit back to reduce Sri Lanka to 84 for five in their second innings at the close. England made only 193 in their first innings after dismissing Sri Lanka for 318. Offspinner Graeme Swann, who went wicketless in the first innings, grabbed four of the five wickets to fall. Swann bowled Lahiru Thirimanne (6), dismissed first innings centurion Mahela Jayawardene (5) caught at slip, forced Kumar Sangakkara (14) to edge a catch to Ian Bell at gully and close to the end of the day’s play had Thilan Samaraweera (36) stumped. Stuart Broad bowled Tillakaratne Dilshan for a duck when the batsman played down the wrong line to a full delivery. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was the outstanding bowler for Sri Lanka, taking his eighth fivewicket haul to give the hosts a 125-run first innings lead. Brought on to bowl in the ninth over of the England innings, Herath bowled unchanged from one end to finish with six for 74 off 19 overs as the England batsmen struggled to come to terms with his bowling. Sri Lanka captain Jayawardene said that ever since Muttiah Muralitharan retired Herath had stepped up gto become his country’s best bowler. “Rangana played alongside Murali for quite some time, for eight years he has always been an understudy,” said Jayawardene. “When Murali is bowling from the other end you don’t get much notice but Rangana showed that he’s got the experience now and he has got the responsibility to lead a young attack. “He is doing it brilliantly and all the other bowlers are responding really well.” It was the England batsmen’s continued inability to tackle spin rather than any terrors in the pitch that led to their downfall. Four of the batsmen were out lbw as they failed to use their feet against the spinner. Only Bell looked assured, scoring 52 off 87 balls with eight fours and a six, before he fell to a delivery that spun past the outside edge of his bat to clip the off bail. England would have been in a worse plight if it had not been for Bell’s knock and some spirited resistance from the tail after they had been reeling at 92 for six. “The score’s not going to lie is it?” said Bell. “To get bowled out for under 200 isn’ great on that wicket which is pretty good to be honest. There’s nothing to scare you.” Herath struck in successive overs before lunch to leave England reeling. In Herath’s second over, Jonathan Trott (12) was needlessly stumped as he attempted to charge down the pitch to a full toss. Trott fell on the ground while desperately trying to return to the crease, running into celebrating wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene and suffering a blow to his stomach. It took him a little while to get his breath back and start the long walk back to the dressing room. In his next over, Herath trapped England captain Andrew Strauss (26) lbw on the sweep shot, a decision which was originally given not out but overturned when Sri Lanka challenged. The post-lunch session also belonged to Sri Lanka as they picked up the remaining seven England wickets for 136 runs.

Left-arm paceman Chanaka Welegedara started the slide, coming from around the wicket to bowl Kevin Pietersen for three. Herath then sent back Matt Prior (7), Samit Patel (2) and Stuart Broad (28), all out lbw. The resistance put up by Swann and Bell forced captain Mahela Jayawardene to bring his second spinner Suraj Randiv into the attack. Randiv obliged his captain by picking up the wickets of Swann (24), caught superbly by

ball when he dismissed Alastair Cook, lbw for a duck, in England’s second over without a run on the board. Cook thought about challenging the decision but decided against it after consulting his opening partner Strauss. Sri Lanka, resuming on 289 for eight, added 29 more runs before the tourists claimed the final two wickets. Paceman James Anderson removed both batsmen to end with figures of five for 72. Jayawardene played some cheeky

GALLE: Englands James Anderson (left) bats in front of Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene during the second day of their first Test cricket match. —AP Tillakaratne Dilshan at shortmid-wicket, and Monty Panesar (13) to end the innings. After Mahela Jayawardene had anchored Sri Lanka’s innings with a superb 180, Suranga Lakmal gave the hosts a perfect start with the

shots to add 12 runs to his overnight score before edging Anderson to wicket-keeper Prior. He returned to the pavilion to a standing ovation having faced 315 balls and hit 22 fours and three sixes. —Reuters

SCOREBOARD GALLE: Scoreboard at the close of the second day of the first test between Sri Lanka and England on yesterday: Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat. Sri Lanka first innings (overnight 289-8) L. Thirimanne c Swann b Anderson 3 T. Dilshan c Strauss b Broad 11 K. Sangakkara c Prior b Anderson 0 M. Jayawardene c Prior b Anderson 180 T. Samaraweera run out 20 D. Chandimal c Bell b Patel 27 P. Jayawardene lbw b Anderson 23 S. Randiv run out 12 R. Herath lbw b Patel 5 C. Welegedara b Anderson 19 S. Lakmal not out 0 Extras (lb-14, nb-4) 18 Total (all out, 96.3 overs) 318 Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-11, 3-15, 4-67, 5-128, 6-170, 7-191, 8-253, 9-307, 10-318 Bowling: Anderson 20.3-5-72-5, Broad 21-371-1 (nb-4), Panesar 23-11-42-0, Swann 23-392-0, Patel 9-1-27-2. England first innings A. Strauss lbw b Herath A. Cook lbw b Lakmal J. Trott st P Jayawardene b Herath K. Pietersen b Welegedara I. Bell b Herath

26 0 12 3 52

M. Prior lbw b Herath 7 S. Patel lbw b Herath 2 S. Broad lbw b Herath 28 G. Swann c Dilshan b Randiv 24 J. Anderson not out 23 M. Panesar lbw b Randiv 13 Extras (lb-2, w-1) 3 Total (all out, 46.4 overs) 193 Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-40, 3-43, 4-65, 5-72, 692, 7-122, 8-157, 9-157, 10-193 Bowling: Welegedara 11-2-46-1, Lakmal 9-245-1 (w-1), Herath 19-5-74-6, Randiv 7.4-0-26-2. Sri Lanka second innings L. Thirimanne b Swann 6 T. Dilshan b Broad 0 K. Sangakkara c Bell b Swann 14 M. Jayawardene c Anderson b Swann 5 T. Samaraweera st Prior b Swann 36 D. Chandimal not out 17 S. Randiv not out 2 Extras (b-1, lb-3) 4 Total (five wickets, 34 overs) 84 Fall of wickets: 1-4 2-8 3-14 4-41 5-72 Bowling: Anderson 5-0-18-0, Broad 5-2-8-1, Swann 12-2-28-4, Panesar 7-1-19-0, Patel 5-2-7-0.

Azarenka survives Slovak scare to scrape into q-finals

MUMBAI: Former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid (center) receives a trophy from Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials during a function to felicitate him in Mumbai. Dravid, one of the finest batsmen of his era, announced his retirement earlier this month after a 16-year career where he built a reputation as a masterful batsman with immense powers of concentration. —AP

KEY BISCAYNE: World number one Victoria Azarenka scraped into the quarter-finals of the Sony Ericsson Open, surviving a two hour 49 minute battle against Slovak Dominika Cibulkova to emerge with a 1-6 7-6 7-5 victoryon Monday. “I definitely wasn’t thinking about the streak, that’s for sure,” Azarenka told reporters of her first set humiliation that put her now 26-match winning run in jeopardy. “She played some splendid tennis, just amazing. She was hitting every possible line there was. It felt like she clossed her eyes and just went for everything and I couldn’t really just open my eyes. I was just blinded a little,” she said. Cibulkova, playing with bags of energy and invention, was well placed at 4-1 up in the second but despite having chances to close out the match lost the set in a tie-break. “The turning point was 6-1 up and 5-2 up on my serve, and I just didn’t finish the match, you know. Until then, I was killing her from the return and just from the forehand,”

Cibulkova said. The Slovak was within two points of victory on five occasions in the tightly fought third set but each time Belarusian Azarenka fought back. Azarenka will now face France’s Marion Bartoli in the quarter-finals. Serena Williams produced 20 aces and blasted her way into the last eight with a 7-5 6-3 win over Australian Samantha Stosur. It was not all plain sailing for Williams, who lost her first service game of the match but came back to grind out the set in the first meeting between the two players since Stosur beat the American last year’s U.S. Open final. Down 5-2 in the second, Stosur twice saved match points and forced Williams to serve out for the match. “I think for the most part things are working pretty decent,” said Williams, who said revenge for her defeat at Flushing Meadows had not entered her head. Williams will face Caroline Wozniacki late yesterday after the Dane overcame Yanina Wickmayer. — Reuters

KEY BISCAYNE: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates her 1-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5 win over Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia during the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament. —AP

Roddick halts Federer’s winning run KEY BISCAYNE: World number three Roger Federer was feeling the pace of his busy start to the year after suffering a surprise 7-6 1-6 6-4 defeat to Andy Roddick in the Sony Ericsson Open on Monday. The third round loss to the American ended a 16-match winning streak for the Swiss, which included his titles in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells. “I came out a bit flat today, I was a bit tired, I guess, but it was more mental than physical,” the 16-times grand slam winner told reporters.

“That’s maybe 30 matches for the season. I am just feeling like it’s taken its toll a bit, which is normal,” he said. “But I’ve played more tired in the past, so this was not the most tired I have ever been, but you just start to feel it a bit. I didn’t just get the lucky break today that I got in Indian Wells.” After sharing the opening two sets, Roddick saved three break points against his serve in the opening game of the decider, went on to break his opponent immediately and maintained the advantage through to the end of the match.

“I have been playing so much. I tried to push myself and gave myself a fighting chance, and then when things were under control, he fought off those break point chances... and had the perfect game after that,” Federer added. “I regret missing those opportunities and giving myself maybe a chance,” he said. Roddick, who has slumped to 34th in the world, had his powerful forehand back to its best and was strong on serve, winning 69 percent of first service points. The win was Roddick’s first over a

top three player since beating Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati in 2010 and his first against Federer since a 2008 win here at Key Biscayne. “The game that I played for the break in the third set was one of the best return games I’ve ever played. I think I hit four forehand winners,” the 2003 US Open champion said. “I played well tonight and served really well there at the end,” he added. But Roddick was wary of talking up his chances in the tournament too much. “In 2008, I beat Roger and then lost to (Nikolay) Davydenko in the next

round. There’s no script in sports. That’s what makes it the best entertainment in the world. It’s not planned,” he said. The 29-year-old American said that despite the euphoria of victory the result needed to be kept in perspective. “It would be a little presumptuous to go from people retiring me to all of a sudden talking about winning a Master’s event. Let’s take it for what it’s worth. “It probably wasn’t as bad as it seemed two weeks ago and it’s probably not all the way turned around because of one match”. —Reuters




Pacers cool Heat INDIANAPOLIS: Danny Granger scored 25 points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Miami Heat 105-90 on Monday. Darren Collison added 20 points, and Paul George had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers. LeBron James had 24 points and nine rebounds, and Dwyane Wade had 24 points and six assists for Miami. The Heat had won the previous three meetings this season, but the Pacers played with confidence throughout. Indiana led by double digits for most of the fourth quarter, and Pacers fans stood and showed their appreciation during the final minute. Clippers 97, Hornets 85 At Los Angeles, Chris Paul had 25 points and 10 assists for the Los Angeles Clippers against

Los Angeles’ lead to 66-52 with 2:21 left in the third quarter. Rockets 113, Kings 106 At Houston, Patrick Patterson scored a career-high 24 points and Earl Boykins hit four free throws for Houston late in overtime for a win over Sacramento. Boykins, who was signed by Houston earlier in the day, finished with 10 points in his first action of the season. Boykins hit two free throws with 21 seconds left and two more 7 seconds later to secure the win. DeMarcus Cousins scored a career-high 38 points and had 14 rebounds, and Marcus Thornton added 27 points for the Kings, who lost their fifth straight road game. They are an NBA-worst 4-22 on the road this season.

CJ Watson and John Lucas III scored 17 points each for the Bulls. Chicago star Derrick Rose sat out his seventh straight game with a groin injury and the Bulls seemed to be out of sync most of the night, especially on defense. Celtics 102, Bobcats 95 At Charlotte, North Carolina, Paul Pierce scored a season-high 36 points as Boston moved into a first-place tie with Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division. Pierce shot 10 of 20 from the field, made 15 of 18 free throws and added 10 rebounds and four assists. Pierce has scored 20 or more points in five of the past six games and is averaging 22.3 points per game during March. Kevin Garnett had 24 points for the Celtics. Gerald Henderson had 21 points for the Bobcats (7-40), who have lost six of their past seven and remain the only team in the NBA with fewer than 10 wins. Charlotte got 59 points from its bench, including 18 from Byron Mullens and 16 from Derrick Brown. Knicks 89, Bucks 80 At New York, Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points, delivering his highest total in two months without the injured Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, as New York beat Milwaukee to increase its lead for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth. Shortly after learning Stoudemire was lost indefinitely with a bulging disk in his back, the Knicks opened a 2 1/2-game lead over the Bucks and prevented Milwaukee from winning the season series and clinching the tiebreaker if they finish with the same record. Baron Davis scored 13 points in his first start in place of Lin, who has a sore right knee. Tyson Chandler also had 13 and Iman Shumpert 11. Mike Dunleavy scored 26 points for the Bucks.

LOS ANGELES: Clippers guard Chris Paul (back center) shoots over New Orleans Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez (21), of Venezuela, and center Chris Johnson (20) for a three-point basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game. —AP his former team New Orleans. The Hornets first tried to trade Paul to the Lakers - a deal that was rejected by the league before shipping the All-Star point guard to the Clippers shortly after the lockout ended. Blake Griffin added 20 points and seven rebounds to help the Clippers climb within two games of the Pacific Division-leading Lakers. Al-Farouq Aminu scored 15 points, and Carl Landry added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets, who didn’t have a player in double digits until Landry’s two free throws trimmed

Nuggets 108, Bulls 91 At Chicago, Ty Lawson equaled a season high with 27 points and Arron Afflalo added 22 as Denver shot 50 percent to beat Chicago. Denver, playing its third game in four nights as part of a seven-game road swing, got its first win three games into the trip. Al Harrington added 17 points and Andre Miller chipped in with 12 points and 10 assists for the Nuggets, who are scrapping for a playoff spot in the West.

NBA results/standings Indiana 105, Miami 90; Orlando 117, Toronto 101; Detroit 79, Washington 77; Boston 102, Charlotte 95; Utah 105, New Jersey 84; NY Knicks 89, Milwaukee 80; Denver 108, Chicago 91; Houston 113, Sacramento 106 (OT); LA Clippers 97, New Orleans 85. (OT denotes overtime) Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City 37 12 .755 Utah 27 23 .540 Denver 27 23 .540 Minnesota 24 26 .480 Portland 23 26 .469

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT 27 22 .551 27 22 .551 25 25 .500 16 34 .320 16 35 .314

GB 2.5 11.5 12

Chicago Indiana Milwaukee Cleveland Detroit

Central Division 40 11 .784 29 19 .604 22 27 .449 17 29 .370 17 32 .347

9.5 17 20.5 22

LA Lakers LA Clippers Phoenix Golden State Sacramento

Pacific Division 30 19 .612 28 21 .571 25 24 .510 20 27 .426 17 32 .347

2 5 9 13

Miami Orlando Atlanta Washington Charlotte

Southeast Division 35 13 .729 32 18 .640 30 20 .600 11 38 .224 7 40 .149

4 6 24.5 27.5

San Antonio Dallas Memphis Houston New Orleans

Southwest Division 33 14 .702 28 22 .560 26 21 .553 27 23 .540 12 37 .245

6.5 7 7.5 22

Philadelphia Boston NY Knicks Toronto New Jersey

10.5 10.5 13.5 14

Jazz 105, Nets 84 At Newark, New Jersey, Paul Millsap had 24 points and 13 rebounds as Utah shook off the weariness from their four-overtime loss 24 hours earlier. Al Jefferson added 19 points and eight rebounds as the Jazz won for the seventh time in eight games and kept a hold on one of the last playoff spots in the Western Conference. Alec Burks added 15 points for the Jazz, who used an 18-4 fourth-quarter run to lock up the game after New Jersey cut a 21-point deficit to three. Gerald Green led the Nets with 20 points. Deron Williams added 17 points and 11 assists against his former teammates on 7 of 21 shooting. Rookie Jordan Williams added a career-high 13 points. Pistons 79, Wizards 77 At Washington, Rodney Stuckey scored half of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, including the winning 20-foot jumper with 0.2 seconds left, as Detroit ended a five-game losing streak by erasing a 13-point deficit. Greg Monroe, who played home games on the Wizards’ court while at Georgetown, had 10 points and 10 rebounds, including a putback off a miss by Tayshaun Prince with 23 seconds remaining to put Detroit ahead 76-75. After Detroit’s Ben Wallace made one free throw, Washington’s Nene tied it at 77 on a hook shot with 5.8 seconds to go. Jordan Crawford led Washington with 20 points, and John Wall had 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. But Wall also went scoreless in the fourth quarter. Magic 117, Raptors 101 At Toronto, Ryan Anderson made a careerbest eight 3-pointers to finished with 28 points as Orlando downed Toronto. Dwight Howard had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Jameer Nelson scored 18 points for the Magic. Orlando made 17 3-pointers twice this season, first at New York on Jan. 16 and also against Miami on Feb. 8. —AP

Sagan wins La Panne opener BELGIUM: Slovakian Peter Sagan of the Liquigas team won the first stage in the Three Days of La Panne after outsprinting Italians Jacopo Guarnieri and Fabio Sabatini yesterday. Sagan, one of several contenders for victory in the Tour of Flandersthe second major classic of the season on Sunday-will wear the leader’s jersey in the 216.1km second stage between Zottegem and Coxyde on Wednesday. The 22-year-old Slovak, who holds a four second lead over Guarnieri, said he was in good shape and hoped to profit from that in Sunday’s classic. “I’m in great condition,” said Sagan. “I hope to use this to my advantage on Sunday. Will I be a contender for victory there? We shall see. I hope to win it and I feel capable of achieving that.” The stage itself was a useful dress rehearsal for the Tour of Flanders as it took in several of the climbs and cobbled stone sections of the race. The race itself was marked by several attacks, the most notable by Kazakh rider Dimitri Muaravyev. It came to an end three kilometres from the finish as he was reeled in by around 40 riders thanks large- BELGIUM: Belgium’s Tom Boonen of the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team shows his trophy on ly to the efforts of French rider the podium after winning the Belgian cycling classic Ghent-Wevelgem. Peter Sagan from Slovakia was placed second and Matti Breschel from Denmark came third. —AP Sylvain Chavanel. —AFP

FRESNO: Stanford’s Nnemkadi Ogwumike holds up the trophy as she and her teammates celebrate after beating Duke in the NCAA women’s tournament regional final college basketball game. Stanford beat Duke 81-69 and is heading to the Final Four in Denver. —AP

Stanford women in Final Four FRESNO: When fall practice began, Tara VanDerveer had no idea if her young team would get back to a fifth straight Final Four. One thing she did know: Nnemkadi Ogwumike would do all in her power to get Stanford to Denver. Ogwumike and Co. would like nothing more than to haul a championship trophy home from the Mile High City. She made it happen on both ends of the floor with 29 points and nine rebounds Monday night despite constant double-teams, sending top-seeded Stanford past No. 2 seed Duke 81-69 in the Fresno Regional final for the Cardinal’s fifth straight Final Four berth. “I’m really proud of our team. If you asked me in the beginning of the season is this a Final Four team, I don’t know if I could answer yes,” VanDerveer said. “Nneka, she has put our team on her back almost all year. If it hasn’t been Nneka it’s been Chiney.” Little sister, Chiney, did plenty to seal this one, too - along with everybody else. Chiney Ogwumike grabbed 17 rebounds to go with 12 points and freshman Amber Orrange came through with 13 points and four assists as the Cardinal extended their school-record winning streak to 32 games. “I told myself going into the game I was going to get every rebound,” Chiney Ogwumike said. She’ll have to do that and then some in her next game. Bring on Brittney Griner and unbeaten Baylor (38-0). Stanford is likely to pull in 6foot-5 male practice player Andrew Klein to play the part of the 6-8 Griner in practice as the Cardinal did last year while preparing for a possible matchup with Baylor. Stanford (35-1), looking for the program’s first national title since 1992, will play Sunday night against the Lady Bears at the Pepsi Center. “We don’t get the chance often to be an underdog and totally overlooked,” Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said. Chelsea Gray had 23 points, four rebounds and four assists and Shay Selby scored 11 in her final college game for Duke (27-6), which fell short of reaching the program’s first Final Four since 2006. The Blue Devils never got clicking on offense the way they had in their three NCAA wins. “It was a good run,” SeIby said. “I think

this one probably hurt the most. When you’re a sophomore or junior, it’s, ‘Oh, you have next year.’ I have no next year. Hopefully I can say I left something with them that will help them for next year.” The projected No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, Nneka Ogwumike scored in the paint, on the perimeter, on leaping putbacks and even by knocking down a pretty 10-foot turnaround jumper late in the first half as the Cardinal built a comfortable 40-25 lead at the break. “It was unfortunate for us. We tried to defend the inside and the outside. They hit some nice shots,” Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. Stanford boasted a strong rooting section that made the three-hour trip from the Bay Area to the Save Mart Center, including Cardinal football coach David Shaw and his wife, Kori. The couple sat alongside former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In a matchup dubbed “nerd on nerd” by Chiney Ogwumike for the schools’ rigorous academic standards, Stanford’s smart girls aced their latest final. But this group has its sights set on winning two more to make good on the most important test and give Hall of Fame 26th-year coach VanDerveer another long-awaited championship. “ This started before I even came to Stanford. I always wanted to be part of the culture,” she said. “This never gets old. Not a lot of teams get to say that they’ve gone. For me to get to say I’ve been on four times, that’s a lot to ask for.” Just as she has wanted all season during a challenging schedule featuring games with Connecticut, Tennessee, Texas and Xavier, VanDerveer got contributions from most everybody in a balanced effort. Joslyn Tinkle knocked down two 3pointers in the opening five minutes and also made an early steal, then hit another 3 with 4:26 left that put Stanford ahead by 13. She finished with 13 points, four rebounds and three assists. On Saturday, Nneka Ogwumike almost single-handedly carried the load, scoring 39 points in a 76-60 regional semifinal win over South Carolina. Her total Monday gave Ogwumike 787 points, tying Candice Wiggins’ single-season scoring record set in 2007-08 - so Ogwumike will surely top that mark with at least one more game. —AP

Formula One to raise $1bn in loan refinancing — source LONDON: Shareholders in motor racing group Formula One (F1) are raising $1 billion from a loan refinancing which will be paid into a holding company for future dividends and acquisitions, a person familiar with the matter said yesterday. The funds, which were on the company’s balance sheet, will be paid into holding company Delta Topco and will be used by shareholders for a range of purposes, the person said. The $2.27 billion loan, which refinances $2.92 billion of existing debt, is unrelated to reports of a possible initial public offering (IPO) of some of the company, the person said. There is no formal plan for an IPO, he added. “This is a refinancing and a dividend which is taking out $1 billion. The cash on the balance sheet is close to that,” an investor said. Formula One’s shareholders include CVC which owns 63.4 percent of the company, Lehman Brothers’ administrators with 15.3 percent, Chief Executive Officer Bernie Ecclestone with 5.3 percent and Ecclestone’s former wife Slavica’s Bambino Holdings with 8.5 percent. CVC and Formula One said yesterday that proceeds raised would be kept within the group for general corporate purposes and the company has no current plans to pay a dividend.

Goldman Sachs is said to be leading the dollar-denominated dividend recapitalisation and loan refinancing and maturity extension. Goldman Sachs was not immediately available for comment. The refinancing was prompted by Formula One’s looming loan maturities in 2013 and 2014, which will be extended until 2017 and 2018, several sources said. CVC acquired majority control of Formula One in 2006. The shareholders have recapitalised the debt several times and paid themselves at least one other dividend — $2.1 billion in 2007, a third investor said. The refinancing will offer investors a margin of 500 basis points (bps) over LIBOR, with a LIBOR floor of 125bp to guarantee returns for investors, the investors said. The dividend recapitalisation will increase Formula One’s leverage from 2.3 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to 4.3 times, they added. CVC started a strategic review of Formula One in early 2011 for a potential sale, IPO or debt refinancing. Formula One joins many European companies including Netherlandsbased broadband provider UPC Holdings which are taking advantage of strong demand to refinance leveraged loans in the more liquid US market. —Reuters



Brazil chase elusive first soccer gold medal SAO PAULO: Brazil have won the World Cup a record five times and taken home world titles at every age level and discipline, from under-17 to beach football to indoor, but one title remains elusive for this soccer-crazed nation: The Olympic gold. For decades, the men in the famous canary-colored shirts have tried in vain to get that monkey off their backs and the latest generation charged with the task know the enormity of what lies ahead in London this year. “Brazilian football is known throughout the world and to never have won the Olympic gold is always in our heads and it is our dream to do that and go down in history,” said goalkeeper Rafael Cabral. “There is pressure with any big team but you can use pressure as motivation. It would be great for the country if we could win.” The Brazil squad, all but three of whom must be under the age of 23, will not want for talent when the tournament kicks off on July 26. Neymar, the Santos wonder boy whose trickery with the ball has brought him frequent comparisons with Pele and Lionel Messi, could be joined by team mate Paulo Henrique Ganso, Sao Paulo midfielder Lucas, Tottenham’s Sandro, AC Milan striker

Alexandre Pato and Manchester United fullback Rafael. Defenders Thiago Silva of AC Milan, Marcelo of Real Madrid and David Luiz of Chelsea are among the favourites to fill the over-age berths. Coach Mano Menezes recently named them and 44 other players to his preOlympic squad, which he is expected to whittle down to 18 after a trip to the United States in May and June. Brazil are scheduled to play the United States, Mexico and Argentina over a 10-day period and Menezes promised his Olympic side would bear a striking resemblance to the big team. “When we name our Olympic squad, you are going to look at it and say: that is almost the full national side,” he told Brazilian newspaper O Globo this month. Brazil have come close to winning the Olympic gold, losing finals in 1984 and 1988, and going down at the semi-final stage in 1996 and 2008. Some of the country’s best players tried and failed, including Ronaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho Gaucho, Roberto Carlos, Bebeto, Taffarel and Rivaldo. “It’s a tournament where things just don’t go right for us,” said Juninho, the former Middlesbrough player who took


part in the 1996 Games. “Maybe we don’t prepare as well as we do for the World Cup. It’s not a lack of quality.” The Olympic football competition has changed considerably since three informal club sides played for the first gold medal in 1900. National teams began competing in 1908 and, once football went global, the first serious tournaments were won by Uruguay, in 1924 and 1928. After World War Two, Communist bloc nations dominated because Olympic competitors were supposed to be amateur and those playing for Soviet-backed nations were, as state employees, ostensibly unpaid for their sporting endeavours. Eastern European nations won every competition except one between 1952 and 1988. Professional footballers were permitted to play at the Olympics for the first time in 1984 but football’s governing body FIFA did not want the competition to eclipse the World Cup and initially restricted it to those with fewer than five international caps. In 1988, FIFA allowed only European and South American players who had not played in a World Cup and four years later it turned the competition into what it is today, a tournament for under-23s with

three over-age players permitted. Brazil’s attempts at winning have been half-hearted or poorly planned and frequently dramatic. In 1984, when Brazil’s big teams would not release their leading players, the Brazilian Football Confederation called up the entire Internacional side who had just been knocked out of the domestic league competition. The team went all the way to the final in Los Angeles before losing 2-0 to France. The most memorable defeat came 12 years later in Atlanta at the hands of Nigeria. A team featuring Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos led the semi-final 3-1 with 14 minutes to go but crumbled at the climax, conceding two late goals in normal time and a deciding golden goal to Kanu three minutes into extra time. Over-confidence may also have played a part. In 2000, manager Vanderlei Luxemburgo refused to take any over-age players, believing his young squad were good enough to win without any added experience. The youngsters muddled through the group games only to get knocked out at the next stage by a Cameroon golden goal. “I think that since Brazil has always won, the World Cup, the Copa America, the

Confederations Cup, you end up having a certain self-confidence,” said Athirson, the former Flamengo and Juventus fullback who played in that game. “You think you can go out there and win but things have changed. The Africans are stronger, the Europeans are strong. That wasn’t always the case but it is now.” Athirson acknowledged that much of the pressure to win the Olympic gold came from the players themselves. “When you play for Brazil there are always huge demands and an obligation to win, and that creates pressure,” he said. “The pressure comes from the players themselves to bring this title home. It is not a question of extra pressure from the fans or directors. I think (the failure) is psychological.” The pressure at this year’s Olympics will be nothing compared to 2014, when Brazil seek to win the World Cup on their home turf, so London is in many ways the perfect test. Players who can handle the attention in England will be in pole position for the even greater challenge two years on. “We know that if we win, the chances of being selected for the World Cup increase,” said Santos keeper Cabral. “If we don’t the chances go down. That means we will be even more motivated to do well.”—Reuters


Attack-minded AC Milan look to unlock Barcelona

FRANCE: Marseille’s French midfielder Mathieu Valbuena (left) and French coach Didier Deschamps, are seen during a press conference. Marseille will face Bayern Munich in a Champions League quarter-final soccer match today. —AP

Marseille brace for Bayern onslaught PARIS: Olympique Marseille are on their knees and will have two key players missing when they host formidable Bayern Munich in their Champions League quarter-final first leg today but hope springs eternal. While OM have lost seven of their last eight games in all competitions, Bayern have scored 22 goals in their last five games and head to Provence beaming with confidence. Marseille, who put an end to their losing streak with a 1-1 draw at Nice in Ligue 1 on Saturday, will be without goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and centre back Souleymane Diawara through suspension. Senegal’s Diawara will also miss the rest of the season after he sustained a serious knee injury at Nice. Mandanda will be replaced by Gennaro Bracigliano, whose blunder handed third division Quevilly a 3-2 extra-time win in a French Cup quarter-final last week. The former Nanc y keeper believes his team can still cause an upset against the Germans. “Hope does not care about logic,” said Bracigliano. Marseille can draw comfort from beating Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund twice in the Champions League group phase this season. Saturday’s draw at Nice was also hard-fought as they snatched a point despite playing the second half with 10 men following Charles Kabore’s dismissal on the stroke of halftime. “The bleeding has not stopped yet but at least we have put a bandage on it,” coach Didier Deschamps told reporters. Deschamps may also be able to count on Loic Remy, who missed Saturday’s game with a thigh problem but could par tner Mathieu Valbuena at the Stade Velodrome after his France team mate returned from an injury layoff against Nice. Marseille fans wishing to be upbeat ahead of their first appearance in the last eight since winning the competition in 1993 will wince when looking at Bayern’s recent displays. The four-times European Cup winners tightened their grip on second spot in the Bundesliga with a 21 win over Hanover 96 on Saturday.

“We are thinking straight and are very confident,” former Marseille midfielder Franck Ribery said. “We will prepare very well for this game to get the good result we want.” Coach Jupp Heynckes rested Bundesliga top scorer Mario Gomez and Thomas Mueller for much of the game against Hanover but the former was again on target, coming on after an hour for his 23rd league goal of the season. Bayern, also in the German Cup final, have been in devastating form recently as they rip defences to shreds down the wings while impressive 19-year-old Austrian David Alaba has won a star ting spot. “We only have finals now going into the last stretch of the season,” said Gomez, whose team are chasing a treble of titles with the Champions League final to be held in Munich in May. “These knockout games are very attractive.”Heynckes may again be without midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger after he missed Saturday with an ankle injury. Schweinsteiger’s presence could be key as his absence for several months this season through a broken collarbone and a ligament tear has affected their performance and seen Bayern drop behind Dortmund in the title race. “We are taking this game very seriously,” said Heynckes, who rested his players on Monday. “Marseille beat Dortmund twice and knocked Inter Milan out of the competition.” —Reuters

Matches on TV (Local Timings) UEFA Championship League

Milan v Barcelona


Aljazeera Sport 1 HD Aljazeera Sport +4

Marseille v Bayern Aljazeera Sport +5 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD


ITALY: Lionel Messi is on the brink of yet another record as title holders and favorites Barcelona visit AC Milan in the Champions League today with the odds firmly stacked against the injury-hit Serie A team. Although titleholders Barcelona are unlikely to repeat the 7-1 aggregate win they pulled off in the first meeting of the two sides in the 1959-60 European Cup, they have looked unstoppable in the Champions League this season. Seven-times champions Milan, on the other hand, have been struggling with injuries in the run-up to the quarter-final first-leg tie, a repeat of the 1994 final which the Italians won 4-0. Pep Guardiola’s side have won seven and drawn one of their eight games, scoring 30 goals at an average of nearly four per match, and beat Milan 3-2 at the San Siro in the group stage. They have not lost in their last 14 Champions League games and are unbeaten in their last five against the Italians. Messi has scored 18 goals in his last eight Barcelona matches and a hat-trick for Argentina. His club tally included the first five-goal haul in the Champions League, against Bayer Leverkusen. He needs one more goal to break the Champions League season record of 12 goals, set by himself last season and Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2003, and also notch up his 50th goal of the competition. Last week, Messi broke the Barcelona scoring record with his 234th goal for the club and his tally of 55 goals this season in all competitions is already a Spanish record with two months still to play. The outlook became bleaker for Milan

MILAN: Barcelona players during a training session at the San Siro stadium. Barcelona will face AC Milan in a first leg Champions League Round of eight soccer match today.—AP after Thiago Silva, the linchpin of their defence, joined Milan’s lengthy injured list, the Brazilian limping off early during the 2-1 win over AS Roma on Saturday. Right back Ignazio Abate and Brazilian forwards Robinho and Alexandre Pato are also sidelined while the Serie A leaders and defending champions will miss the intimidating presence of Mark Van Bommel in midfield as the Dutchman is suspended. They good news is that KevinPrince Boateng, who scored one of the goals of the competition in Barcelona’s 3-2 win in November, is fit again while Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been in outstanding form in attack. The volatile Swede, who left Barcelona in acrimonious circumstances 18 months ago, remains Milan’s trump card with 22 goals in Serie A this season and five in the Champions League. Although Milan have a four-

point lead at the top of Serie A, they have struggled in big matches this season, and were outplayed in both group-stage meetings against Barcelona, including the 2-2 draw at Nou Camp. They have yet to beat Juventus in four attempts, lost 1-0 to archrivals Inter in the Milan derby in January and reached the quarterfinals by the skin of their teeth after a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in the second leg of their round-of-16 tie. Milan were criticised for fielding Thiago Silva against Roma but chief executive Adriano Galliani defended their policy on Monday. “We knew that Thiago Silva had a problem, but he seemed fine,” Galliani told reporters. “Then he got injured and everyone is talking about it. “Nobody knew that Zlatan Ibrahimovic played with a bad back,” added Galliani. “If he had not played then maybe we may not have won. Risks are part of the

game. “As for Barcelona, we will be meeting the holders who are playing the best football in the world. “We have not been at all fortunate in the draw but then neither have Barcelona. Milan have been used to facing these types of matches for many years and I am pleased when Milan battle. “Last year we were in the battle for the title with Inter and this year it is Juventus. The opponents change but we are always there. Win, lose or draw it is important to stay the top club.” Guardiola, whose side trail Real Madrid by six points in La Liga, dismissed Milan’s injury problems. “If we are expecting Milan to play below their usual standard, then we’re wrong,” he said after the draw was made. “The fact that we did well in the group stage doesn’t mean we are going to win this tie.”—Reuters

Braga goes top in Portugal

NASHVILLE: El Salvador’s Richard Menjivar (16) chases down the ball with United States’ Mix Diskerud (8) in the first half of a CONCACAF Olympic qualifying soccer match.—AP

LISBON: Braga went top of the Portuguese league on Monday after beating struggling Academica 2-1 for a 13th straight win. Marcio Mossoro headed home a perfect cross from Miguel Lopes to give the title contenders a 36thminute lead before slipping through the Academica defense to find Rodrigo Lima, whose 19th goal gave the hosts a 2-0 lead going into the break. Braga, which has never won the league in its 91-year history, endured a nervy ending at its Municipal Stadium after David Simao surprised goalkeeper Quim to score from longrange in the 62nd, but the hosts held on to go top. Braga moved one point ahead of defending champion FC Porto and two points above Benfica with the

victory. “ These three points are important for consolidating our place atop the table,” Braga coach Leonardo Jardim said. “From this moment our ambition will be to play each game with victory in mind to attain the best possible finish.” Braga’s tenure atop the table gets its first big test on Saturday when it plays at Benfica, followed by a home date against Porto the following weekend. “ These are impor tant games, we’re playing the third-place team on Saturday, and it will be an intense game but this will not decide the championship since there are still (many) games left and each one will be more difficult to win,” said Jardim, in his first season in charge of last season’s Europa League finalist.—AP

US soccer dreams crushed NASHVILLE: The United States will not feature in the Olympic soccer tournament in London after surprisingly missing out to Canada and El Salvador in the group stage of qualifying on home soil. Having already lost to Canada, the US needed to beat El Salvador in Nashville in their Group A encounter on Monday and were moments away from completing the task. The US had roared back from a 2-1 deficit to take a 3-2 lead, thanks to German-born forward Terrence Boyd’s second strike of the match and a Joe Corona goal just four minutes apart midway through the second half.

The home fans’ celebrations were silenced five minutes into injury time, however, when Jaime Alas scored for El Salvador to snatch a last four berth at the expense of their opponents. Cuba, who drew with Canada earlier on Monday, were also eliminated. Group B action concludes on Tuesday with Mexico having already claimed one of the berths and Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago and Panama battling for the last spot in the semifinals to be played in Kansas City. The two finalists from the CONCACAF region will advance to London regardless of the result.—Reuters

PORTUGAL: Sporting Braga’s Miguel Lopes (left) challenges for a high ball with a Academica Coimbra’s player during their Portuguese League soccer match.—AP

Abraaj gears up for IPO next year: CEO Page 22

Bahrain to sell spectrum for 4G telecoms network Page 23


Kuwait equities retreat sharply on profit-taking Page 24

Americana eyes Kazakhstan, N Iraq markets Page 25

MUNICH: Employees protest at the Franz-Josef-Strauss airport in Munich as they pass the flight panel yesterday. Hundreds of flights have been canceled as workers at several German airports have joined other public employees staging short-term warning strikes in a pay dispute. —AP

Gulf growth prospects improve, budgets strong Budget surpluses to rise as oil prices seen strong: Poll DUBAI: The economic outlook for most Gulf oil exporters has improved, although this year’s expansion will lag 2011, and high oil prices should provide a big enough shield against any global slump, a Reuters poll showed yesterday. Gross domestic product in Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy and the world’s top oil exporter, is expected to expand 4.5 percent in 2012, down from 6.8 percent last year, according to the median forecast in a poll of 17 analysts. The 2012 growth forecasts were raised from December’s survey for four out of six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Qatar remained the top projected performer with a 6.6 percent annual clip. Growth in the region will be slower than in 2011 in part because last year’s jump in oil production after the civil war in Libya is unlikely to be repeated. The 2012 prediction for the Saudi kingdom was increased from 4.0 percent. “I am not sure people’s views have changed that much on the non-oil economy,” said Daniel Kaye, senior economist at National Bank of Kuwait. “I suspect what is going on is more to do with the oil sector and that oil prices are very high, rates of production

among key Gulf producers are also very high.” The euro-zone debt crisis and signs of weakness in China, the world’s No. 2 economy and the Gulf’s key trade partner, have clouded the outlook for the region as banks are more cautious to provide loans, making financing harder to access for firms. Oil prices are floating at nearly oneyear highs above $125 per barrel, partly due to tensions around Iran’s nuclear program. That will give the Gulf monarchies plenty of firepower to support their crude-reliant welfare states - even if the wider global economy toils under such high prices. Last year many governments across the world’s top oil exporting region boosted budget spending on pensions and wages to soothe social tensions such as those that hit Bahrain and Oman. In the United Arab Emirates, the No. 2 Arab economy, GDP growth is forecast to slow to 3.1 percent this year from the IMF estimated 4.9 percent in 2011, the poll showed. The forecast is unchanged from three months ago. The UAE is facing headwinds from Dubai’s 2009-2010 debt crisis as the property sector stays weak and lending

slow. Banks face a substantial rise in bad loans and risk of further debt restructuring at state-owned firms, the IMF said this week. Analysts estimated Dubai’s and its state-linked firms’ debt at $118 billion, or 144 percent of its 2010 GDP. Sanctions against Iran may also bite unlike in other Gulf countries, whose trade links with Tehran are insignificant. “Iranian trade can be anything up to 7 percent of Dubai’s GDP, so if you see a 50 percent drop of trade with Iran that could potentially be a 3 to 4 percent fall in Dubai’s GDP,” said Farouk Soussa, Citi’s Middle East chief economist. “The main impact of sanctions has been in terms of financing trade, and that’ll have an immediate impact but in the longer term there are ways of getting around financing issues. So we’re not too worried that the full effect of sanctions will be seen but it could be a drag on growth,” he said. Growth should accelerate to 3.0 percent from 2.2 percent in 2011 in the non-OPEC kingdom of Bahrain, which faced its worst social unrest since the 1990s last year, but the tension keeps analysts’ forecast unchanged from December. —Reuters

Euro crisis needs ‘mother of all firewalls’: OECD BRUSSELS: Euro-zone finance ministers need to impress finance markets with the size of their rescue fund for indebted countries when they meet later this week, the head of the OECD said yesterday, advocating “the mother of all firewalls”. Investors and many European officials want ministers to agree a combination of the 17-nation currency area’s two rescue funds to nudge the International Monetary Fund into backing debt-stricken European economies, should they need help. “When dealing with markets you must overshoot expectations,” said Angel Gurria, the secretary general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Gurria said an impressive firewall was crucial

because the euro zone’s public debt crisis was not over despite calmer financial markets this year, warning that the bloc’s banks remain weak, debt levels are still rising and fiscal targets are far from assured. Despite his repeated calls for a euro bailout fund of around 1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion), the bloc’s finance ministers look more likely to agree to a level nearer 700 billion euros when they meet on Friday in Copenhagen. “The mother of all firewalls should be in place, strong enough, broad enough, deep enough, tall enough, just big,” Gurria said, flanked by the EU’s top economic official Olli Rehn. Euro zone finance ministers are expected to agree on combining the European Financial Stability Facility

(EFSF) with its permanent European Stability Mechanism (ESM). German Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled for the first time on Monday that she was prepared to consider boosting the firewall’s resources. As the euro zone economy flounders for the second time in just three years, the OECD said in a report the 17-nation area needed ambitious economic reforms and there could be no room for complacency. “The pressure has come down, but we can’t draw too much comfort from signs of healing,” Gurria said at the report’s presentation in Brussels. “Risk spreads remain at unsustainable levels for some countries and have showed signs of creeping up in the last few days,” he told a news conference. — Reuters

Abu Dhabi royals in RBS talks ABU DHABI: Talks to sell a stake in Britain’s state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland are being held at the level of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, a source close to the emirate’s rulers and a banking source said yesterday. “Abu Dhabi is always talking to parties to invest, including RBS. Whether it will materialize or not is too early to say,” said the source close to the royal family, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We have to wait and see.” The BBC

reported on Monday that Britain could sell as much as a third of RBS to Abu Dhabi wealth funds, but at RBS’s current share price a deal could leave British taxpayers nursing billions of pounds of losses. A senior banker told Reuters that the oil-rich emirate’s sovereign wealth funds were not involved in talks at this stage. “It’s happening higher up,” he said, adding that a deal was some distance from being struck and could fall apart

on price grounds. Two other banking sources also said that a deal, if it happened, would be struck at a government-to-government level. An Abu Dhabi government official declined to comment. Shares in RBS, in which the British government took an 83 percent stake during the 2008 credit crisis, rose 4.6 percent in early trade to 29 pence, making them the top gainers on the blue-chip FTSE benchmark, which was up 0.2 percent.—Reuters



Brazil’s EBX group sells $2bn stake to Mubadala DUBAI: Abu Dhabi state investment fund Mubadala said yesterday it will buy a $2 billion stake in Brazil’s EBX Group, providing fresh capital to the Brazilian conglomerate as it boosts spending on oil, por ts, shipyards, mines and electricity. Mubadala, which has stakes in General Electric and private equity firm Carlyle, said the investment will give it a 5.63 percent preferred equity interest in Centennial Asset Brazilian Equity Fund, the personal investment company of Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista, who is behind the EBX Group. The investment comes as EBX seeks to raise an additional $1 billion for its shipbuilding and ship-leasing company OSX Brasil and billions more in debt and equity capital to expand oil and gas output, complete port facilities, build thermal power plants, and dig iron ore and coal mines. “For EBX this is a kind of farm-out with a strategic investor,” Batista told Reuters in a telephone interview. “They (Mubadala) have spent a year in our offices doing due diligence,” he said, adding that “their confidence provides

more proof of our investment potential.” “They do know a bit about oil,” he said of Mubadala, based in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates. For Batista, Mubadala is the latest in a string of international par tners, including Germany’s E.ON, Portugal’s EDP and General Electric that show confidence and “branding” for his projects, most of which are still in start-up stages. E.ON signed a $34 billion agreement with EBX’s MPX in January. The investment in EBX is the biggest ever in Latin America by the $46 billion Mubadala fund. The fund is looking to Latin America and other emerging markets for faster growth than more developed markets in North America and Europe. “This ... transaction marks our first significant direct investment into one of the fastest growing markets and is an important step in Mubadala’s development of strategic opportunities in Brazil and Latin America,” Khaldoon alMubarak, Mubadala’s chief executive and managing director, said in a statement. The EBX investment follows a

report this week that Mubadala is in talks to take a stake in a Guinean bauxite joint venture. Shares of Batista-controlled MMX Mineracao, EBX’s iron ore unit, rose 5.03 percent in Sao Paulo, while LLX Logistica, EBX’s port and transportation company, rose 0.81 percent. OSX rose 0.94 percent, while electricity, coal and natural gas unit MPX rose 1.35 percent. Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa index of the Sao Paulo stock exchange rose 1.32 percent. OGX, the EBX group’s oil and gas unit, fell 2.4 percent. Brazil’s No. 2 oil company by market value, OGX plans to produce 1.4 million barrels of oil and natural gas equivalent by 2020. That is about half the current output of the United Arab Emirates, of which Abu Dhabi is a part. Through Centennial, the investment gives Mubadala an indirect stake MMX, LLX, MPX, OSX and OGX as well as in sports marketing, gold mining, healthcare, beauty products and entertainment companies. While most EBX companies are in the start-up phase, the group is expected to generate $15 bil-

lion in annual operational earnings by the end of 2015, Batista, Brazil’s richest man, said in August. The deal will also give Mubadala, which has assets worth about $46 billion, “participation in both EBX and Mr. Batista’s pipeline of future investment opportunities, such as technology companies, cement, fertilizers, entertainment and others,” the company said. The fer tilizer investments are planned for Brazil’s northeastern state of Maranh„o, where MPX and OGX have large natural gas resources. Mubadala and EBX hope to produce crop nutrients for Brazil’s growing agricultural frontier in the country’s northeast and Cerrado region using that gas, Batista said. “ The next 30 million tons of Brazilian grains production is going to come from this region and we are close to it with cheap gas,” Batista said. “Mubadala is very interested in food security and growth crops to supply the Emirates with food.” The fertilizer investments are going to be a private EBX venture through Centennial and not part of one of EBX’s

traded companies, Batista said. He also hopes the investment will help him speed up construction at OSX’s shipyard on the grounds of LLX’s Port of AÁu, north of Rio de Janeiro. Troubles at Brazil’s largest shipyard, Estaleiro Atlantica Sul near Recife, could result in additional business for OSX as state-led oil company Petrobras seeks to speed its own offshore oil and gas investments. Samsung, the Korean partner in Atlantico Sul, recently quit after disagreements with its Brazilian partners and low efficiency. “ Their loss could be our gain,” Batista said. “Petrobras is looking carefully at our project as an alternative to Atlantico Sul.” While EBX is based in Brazil, the world’s sixth-largest economy, Batista and his EBX companies also have mining and port assets in Chile and Colombia, which could help open those markets to further Mubadala investment in Latin America. Mubadala is seeking ways to use its oil revenue to develop and sustain Abu Dhabi and its social services in view of diminishing oil reserves. — Reuters

Abraaj gears up for IPO next year: CEO Acquisition of Aureos Capital boost status DUBAI: Dubai-based Abraaj Capital, the Middle East’s largest private equity firm, is gearing up for an initial public offering (IPO) as early as next year following its recent acquisition of emerging market fund manager Aureos Capital, the company’s Group Chief Executive Arif Naqvi said yesterday. “Inevitably we have to. It’s not a 2012 event. It could be 2013,” Naqvi told Reuters in an interview. “The Aureos acquisition was a crucial stepping stone on Abraaj’s path to IPO,” he added, without giving more details on the stake to be offered or the market where shares will list. A flotation by a company like Abraaj Capital will potentially help revive the Middle Eastern market for IPOs that has been slowed by the global debt crisis and political uprising across the Arab World. Naqvi, who founded Abraaj in 2002 and has raised $7 billion since then, believes an IPO will provide the company with a currency to continue to grow. “The plan is there. It’s a combination of financial markets, having us preparing the suite of products that caters to investor needs

and providing profitability post integration with Aureos,” he said. Abraaj, which owns stakes in Orascom Construction, budget carrier Air Arabia and supermarket chain Spinneys, agreed last month to buy UK-based specialist fund manager Aureos, creating an entity with $7.5 billion in assets. The deal will obtain all necessary regulatory approvals and be completed within two to three weeks. “It was a combination of the management team getting shares in Abraaj and cash being paid to the previous owners,” he said, adding that the Aureos brand will be the umbrella for all SME activities at the company. Abraaj has had a busy year already, recently investing $125 million in a Moroccan insurance holding firm and tying up with the top shareholder of TransAtlantic Petroleum to buy the Canadian company ’s oilfield services unit. Naqvi, one of the region’s most influential financiers, believes that there is a huge number of investment opportunities available in the Middle East and North Africa. “I’ve never seen a number

of available deals in the pipeline as much as I’m seeing now,” he said. The Middle East and North Africa regions are important investment areas for private equity firms, which have raised $22.7 billion to invest into the area in the past five years, according to figures from London-based research firm Preqin. Deal activity in the region is showing signs of a rebound after a period of slowdown following the global financial crisis.Abraaj, which a few years ago raised $2 billion for a buyout fund, will close two new private equity deals in the first half of 2012 and hopes to close another 4-5 deals before year end. “By the end of 2012, we expect to reach two thirds of the fund deployed,” Naqvi said. “Almost half of the 10 deals this year will be targeting companies in Southeast Asia and Africa,” he said. The company also plans to sell up to four of its investments in the next 18 months. It sold its stake in Turkey ’s Acibadem to Integrated Healthcare Holdings (IHH), a healthcare unit of Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional. The deal valued Acibadem at around $1.68 billion. — Reuters

Orascom Construction Q4 net income falls CAIRO: Egyptian group Orascom Construction reported a 34 percent drop in quarterly net income, missing expectations after being hit by debt restructuring and other charges. The company’s shares gained 2.6 percent as analysts welcomed its construction backlog, which continued growing at the end of a year of major economic disruption in its home market following a popular uprising. OCI said yesterday fourth-quarter net profit fell to $123 million, compared with a forecast for $176 million in a poll of 16 analysts supplied by the company. The biggest company in Egypt by market value has managed to keep operating profit growing as it boosts fertilizer exports and bene-

fits from infrastructure growth across the Middle East. Its consolidated construction backlog was $6.4 billion by the end of last year, up 7.7 percent from three months earlier. “ What is especially positive is that this was done in 2011 which was arguably the toughest year for the Egyptian market,” said Omar Taha, an analyst at Beltone Financial. Chief Executive Nassef Sawiris told Reuters that OCI had not received requests to delay projects because of the economic troubles in Egypt. He said OCI was not dependent on real estate developers - which were among the businesses that suffered most during last year’s turmoil - and was involved in a wide

range of projects such as roads and power plants, a museum and a dam. “We’re entering the year with a strong backlog so we expect a normal performance” in Egypt, he said in a telephone interview. “Egypt has good economic prospects and a lot of demand... As soon as we restore normalcy, we think we’re going to have a major uptick.” OCI said its fertilizer plants operated at full capacity in the fourth quarter, urea and ammonia prices had recovered and its planned capacity expansion in the United States, Egypt, Algeria and the Netherlands was on track. The company plans to split the construction and fertilizer businesses and aims to hold a shareholder

meeting in April to approve the demerger. Sawiris said the final split should take place around two months after it secures shareholder approval. OCI had said in December it expected to complete the demerger process by the end of March. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization grew 6.8 percent to $341 million, compared with a forecast for $347 million, while revenue grew 7 percent to $1.41 billion. One -off items pulled net income down by $51.5 million, including charges related to early repayment of debt, expenses for an employee stock option plan and a reduction in investment income, OCI said. — Reuters

Vijay Malliya with Kingfisher flight attendants.

Ailing Kingfisher cuts more routes MUMBAI: India’s embattled Kingfisher Airlines said yesterday that it had suspended operations to several destinations over the summer and told staff at these airports to stay at home. Kingfisher, which has already completely shut down its international operations, owes millions of dollars to suppliers, lenders and staff and is now running with 20 aircraft, down from a peak of 64. “There are several stations to which operations have been temporarily suspended,” the loss-making company said in a statement, adding that “skeletal staff ”

were present at such airports. “Most staff at these stations have been asked to stay at home whilst remaining on the company’s rolls,” said spokesman Prakash Mirpuri. He said the company was in a “holding pattern” while it awaits government and banker decisions. Shares in struggling company, which has never turned a profit since its launch in 2005, hit a new record low of 16.15 rupees during trading yesterday at the Bombay Stock Exchange, a fall of 3.58 percent. Shares finally closed down at 16.5 rupees, down 1.49 percent. — AFP

Gold prices hit 2-week high after Fed comments LONDON: Gold prices hit two-week highs above $1,690 an ounce yesterday after posting their biggest one-day rise since late Januar y in the previous session, boosted by expectations that US interest rates will stay lower for longer and gains in the euro. The metal held above the 100- and 200day moving averages it broke through on Monday after the US Federal Reserve’s signal that it would keep interest rates near rock-bottom levels reassured buyers that

the opportunity cost of holding bullion would stay low. Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,693.50 an ounce at 0935 GMT. Earlier it hit a two-week peak at $1,696.20. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Monday that the economy needed to grow more quickly to cut the unemployment rate. While he did not directly indicate that the Fed was set to begin another round of bond purchases, he said a continuation of accommodative policies was needed to support faster growth. — Reuters

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

.2730000 .4400000 .3680000 .3040000 .2770000 .2890000 .0040000 .0020000 .0752280 .7329220 .3830000 .0710000 .7184970 .0040000 .0430000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2771000 GB Pound/KD .4423210 Euro .3699560 Swiss francs .3067300 Canadian dollars .2796020 Danish Kroner .0497540 Swedish Kroner .0415810 Australian dlr .2915090 Hong Kong dlr .0356770 Singapore dlr .2203050 Japanese yen .0033440 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0754730 Bahraini dinars .7353060 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0739130 Omani riyals .7200210 Philippine Peso .0000000

.2810000 .4500000 .3760000 .3120000 .2850000 .2990000 .0070000 .0035000 .0759840 .7402880 .4000000 .0760000 .7257190 .0072000 .0500000 .2792000 .4456730 .3727600 .3090550 .2817210 .0501320 .0418960 .2937180 .0359470 .2219750 .0033690 .0055010 .0021560 .0030870 .0034270 .0760450 .7408780 .3949080 .0744730 .7254770 .0065460

US Dollar Pak Rupees

Rate per 1000 (Tran)

278.300 3.063

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

5.480 2.145 3.404 6.520 75.875 74.370 739.900 46.075 449.800 3.190 1.550 377.300 286.700 3.510

Rate for Transfer

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

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

277.950 374.600 446.800 282.400 3.390 5.490 46.055 2.138 3.400 6.470 3.065 740.150 75.700 74.250

UAE Exchange Centre WLL COUNTRY

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

5.429 2.141 3.430 3.067 75.72 740.27 46.07 395.93 723.28 76.74 74.31

5.730 2.600 4.150 3.175 76.50 741.20 47.45 394.85 725.00 77.55 74.85

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

Al Mulla Exchange Currency

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Currency

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

Selling Rate

279.050 282.725 443.005 367.850 304.965 738.960 76.950 76.595 74.375 392.800 46.252 2.226 5.556 3.081 3.412 6.502 684.499 4.340 9.165 5.875 3.555 92.335


298.07 285.42 313.44 375.57 448.21 3.43 3.398

296.00 283.00 311.00 373.50 446.00 3.70 3.650

Bahrain Exchange Company COUNTRY

Australian dollar Bahraini dinar Bangladeshi taka


295.900 740.270 3.660

Canadian dollar Cyprus pound Czek koruna Danish krone Deutsche Mark Egyptian pound Euro Cash Hongkong dollar Indian rupees Indonesia Iranian tuman Iraqi dinar Japanese yen Jordanian dinar Lebanese pound Malaysian ringgit Morocco dirham Nepalese Rupees New Zealand dollar Nigeria Norwegian krone Omani Riyal Pakistani rupees Philippine peso Qatari riyal Saudi riyal Singapore dollar South Africa Sri Lankan rupees Sterling pound Swedish krona Swiss franc Syrian pound Thai bhat Tunisian dollar UAE dirham U.S. dollars Yemeni Riyal 10 Tola

284.100 546.700 45.400 50.600 167.800 47.420 375.700 36.550 5.750 0.032 0.159 0.238 3.460 394.480 0.188 92.780 45.700 4.280 232.100 1.803 49.600 723.020 3.120 6.790 77.000 74.320 222.500 38.670 2.652 448.200 42.700 311.500 3.900 9.430 198.263 75.890 278.700 1.340 GOLD 1,763.280


294.400 740.270 3.398

Sterling Pound US Dollar

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 446.200 278.300


222.500 46.128 374.200 36.400 5.465 0.031

394.430 0.187 92.780 3.420 230.600 722.840 3.075 6.485 76.570 74.320 222.500 38.670 2.138 446.200 310.000 3.900 9.260 75.790 278.300




Money-mad Singapore aims to become non-profit hub SINGAPORE: Singapore has long courted international banks and companies in its drive to become a financial hub. But it is also wooing a very different sector: non-profit groups including campaign charities. Singapore has attracted more than 130 “international non-profit organizations” such as the charities Mercy Relief and World Vision International, and the International Air Transport Association, an aviation lobby group. This is triple the number of regional or global non-profits that were based in Singapore when a campaign to lure them with tax breaks and other incentives started in 2007. The government says it is keen to broaden Singapore’s international appeal and tap into a growing environmental and charitable consciousness among its wealthy populace. But the welcome does not extend to every campaigning organization that has attempted to set up shop in

Singapore, whose no-nonsense government is routinely accused by foreign and local activists of squelching dissent. Those who have made it in include the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), one of a clutch of nonprofits housed in a dedicated threebuilding complex called the Tanglin International Centre. Elaine Tan, chief executive of the Singapore branch of WWF, said the group appreciates the generous allocation of office space in the complex, a luxury hard to find in Singapore’s costly business districts. “The greenery and occasional horn bills and monitor lizards were a bonus! It also offers us a lot more room for future growth,” she said. Tan said companies were increasingly incorporating sustainability and other environmental measures into their business practices. “So it makes a lot of sense for Singapore to welcome NGOs such as

WWF that have a long history of success helping companies reduce their impact on the environment,” she said. The most recent addition is the global headquarters of Earth Hour, which coordinates a one-hour period every year when cities shut off their lights to show support for action against climate change. Earth Hour, which is moving to Singapore from Sydney, plans its next annual lightsoff event on March 31. “We wanted to bring some of the kind of the organizational skills and talent we see in Singapore to bear on the operation, on how we run it,” Earth Hour co-founder and executive director Andy Ridley said last month. Conser vation groups Birdlife International and Flora and Fauna International are also scheduled to open offices in Singapore. “There are several tangible and intangible benefits that we think (international non-profits) bring to Singapore as

they go about their work ,” Quek Swee Kuan, assistant managing direc tor of the government ’s Economic Development Board, told AFP. The groups offer employment and training oppor tunities for Singaporeans in specific fields like ecology, he said. This is on top of “intangible” benefits such as providing international volunteer opportunities for “the increasingly passionate and socially conscious people in Singapore”, Quek said. But more radical groups such as Greenpeace, which has a long history of high-profile environmental activism, have so far been shut out. Greenpeace Southeast Asia director Von Hernandez told AFP he had tried to get the group registered as a company in Singapore in 2010 with the intention of applying for charity status, but it was rejected by authorities. “No exact reason was given for

the disapproval of our application, though I suspect it has to do with our strong position against nuclear energy and the government’s fear that we might agitate local citizens if ever the country’s plans to develop nuclear energy would advance in the future,” he said. When asked about the absence of groups like Greenpeace, the EDB’s Quek said approval for foreign nonprofits to be registered as legal entities “is subject to the relevant regulatory framework”. That framework “reflects the social norms and legal structure of Singapore,” he said. Justin Harper, a markets strategist for IG Markets Singapore, said “nothing too controversial, no one too risky” would be allowed into Singapore. “I think this is just diplomatic moves to show its softer side,” he told AFP, noting its “obsession” with becoming a major player in world finance. —AFP

Bahrain to sell spectrum for 4G telecoms network New operators vie to enter kingdom

SHANGHAI: Visitors look at an Italian Piaggio Aero aircraft at the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition held in the new Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Service Centre at Honqiao International airport in Shanghai yesterday. The exhibition showcases the latest products and innovations in the business aviation sector for a rapidly expanding market in China. —AFP

Home prices fell in Jan in most US cities WASHINGTON: Home prices fell in January for a fifth straight month in most major US cities, as modest sales increases have yet to boost prices. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index shows prices dropped in January from December in 16 of 19 cities tracked. The steepest declines were in San Francisco, Atlanta and Portland. Prices increased in Miami, Phoenix and Washington. The declines partly reflect typical offseason sales. The month-over-month data are not adjusted for seasonal factors. Still, prices fell in 17 of the 20 cities in January compared to the same month in 2011. That suggests the housing market remains weak, despite the best winter for sales in five years. The monthly index covers half of all U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three -month moving average. The December data are the latest available. Nationwide, prices have fallen 34 percent since the housing bust and are now at 2002 levels.

Some economists say sales increases could stop prices from falling further by early spring. Home prices tend to follow sales by about six months. When sales rise, prices rise, too, and an increase in prices would likely create a positive cycle. Homes are the most affordable they’ve been in decades. And mortgage rates are just above record lows. The biggest reason why prices are still falling is foreclosures, which are still high across the country. 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. Foreclosure activity surged in February across half of US states. The pace of foreclosures is increasing after all 50 US states reached a $25 billion settlement last month with the nation’s five biggest mortgage lenders over foreclosure abuses. Many foreclosures had been stuck in limbo as the 16-month government investigation into foreclosure paperwork problems dragged on. —AP

DUBAI: Bahrain expects to release frequencies for high-speed next-generation telecoms networks in March 2013 and new operators could be introduced to the island kingdom, an official at the regulator said yesterday. Bahrain will invite bids to provide longterm evolution (LTE), or fourth generation, services, from September, Mohamed Mahmood, director for technical and operations at Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai. These offers will likely be received by January 2013 before a final decision is taken in March, Mahmood said. The frequencies earmarked for LTE are currently assigned to government bodies. LTE allows for download speeds more than double that of earlier mobile networks. Bahrain’s telecoms sector is already crowd-

ed and is arguably the most liberalized in the Gulf, with three mobile operators - Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco), plus units of Kuwait’s Zain and Saudi Telecom Co - as well as about 10 Internet providers serving a population of about 1.3 million. But there could be room for new entrants, said Mahmood, with the government yet to decide if the sale of the frequencies for LTE will be opened to companies not yet licensed in Bahrain. “If the government wants a fourth or fifth mobile operator, then we have to do it,” said Mahmood. He declined to say when LTE services were likely to be launched in Bahrain because this will depend on whether licenses were awarded to new or existing Bahraini operators. “If it’s current licensees they can use their current infrastructure, so this will be quick,”

ZTE to stop looking for new customers in Iran HONG KONG: ZTE Corp, China’s second largest telecommunications equipment maker, said yesterday it is no longer seeking to expand in Iran. “ZTE has provided standard communications and network solutions to Iran on a small scale,” the Shenzhen-based company said in a statement. “However, due to local issues in Iran and its complicated relationship with the international community, ZTE has restricted its business practices in the country since 2011. ZTE no longer seeks new customers in Iran and limits business activities with existing customers.” Last week, ZTE executives told Reuters they were curtailing their business in Iran, after Reuters reported that it entered a 98.6 million euro ($130.6 million) contract with the Telecommunication Co of Iran in December 2010. The contract had included a surveillance system capable of monitoring telephone and Internet communications, sources said. Iran has come under global sanctions due to allegations that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons-a claim that the country has denied. ZTE joins other telecom equipment providers, such as Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture between Nokia and Siemens, as well as Huawei Technologies in limiting its business in Iran. —Reuters

RAWALPINDI: A vendor selling fake name-brand sunglasses adjusts his merchandise next to an advertisement board at a shopping centre in Rawalpindi yesterday. Pakistan’s external debts and liabilities increased from $40 billion back in 2007-8 to a staggering $61 billion yesterday and per capita income has also continued to wane with real per capita income having grown at an average rate of just 0.7 percent. —AFP

Bank of Spain data signals return of recession

Saudi Electric launches $1.75bn Islamic bond DUBAI: Saudi Electricity Co launched a $1.75 billion two-part Islamic bond yesterday, with tighter pricing on both the five-and 10-year tranches, indicating strong demand for the first dollar-denominated issue from Saudi Arabia since 2010. The $500 million five -year por tion was launched at a spread of 140 basis points (bps) over midswaps, from 160 bps over midswaps indicated earlier. The $1.25 billion 10-year tranche launched at 195 bps over midswaps, tightening from around 210 bps earlier. Demand for the bond was seen being very strong, given the rarity value of a dollar sukuk from a majority government-owned Saudi corporate. The company’s big investment needs over a long-term period allowed it to add a rare 10-year portion to its sukuk, which would appeal to global investors. The company, rated AA- by Standard and Poor’s, can be seen benefiting from a high probability of state support, as Saudi Arabia’s national electricity provider. Investors will be further reassured by the inclusion of a change of control put clause if government ownership or control falls below 50 percent. HSBC and Deutsche Bank were the mandated lead arrangers on the deal, which was expected to price yesterday. —Reuters

added Mahmood. Telecoms is estimated to account for 4.4 percent of Bahrain’s economy, while mobile penetration is 133 percent more than one handset per person. Such high penetration means subscriber growth is near-flat, spurring a price war on call tariffs between operators that has shrunk voice margins - phoning India is now often cheaper than a local call. Operators have increasingly targeted data as a means to offset this slump and LTE may boost mobile broadband adoption, which is already the preferred way to access the internet in Bahrain. Mobile broadband accounted for 44 percent of Internet subscribers in 2011, according to the TRA, up from 24 percent a year earlier to overtake fixed broadband, which now has a 37 percent market share. —Reuters

TOKYO: Pedestrians are seen in front of a share price board in Tokyo yesterday. Japan’s share prices rose 175.19 points to close at 10,193.43 points at the morning session of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, after Wall Street rallied on expectations that the United States will maintain its easy monetary policy to boost its plodding economy. —AFP

MADRID: Spain’s unemploymentscarred economy has skidded back into recession, a Bank of Spain report signalled yesterday, as activity shrank in the first quarter of 2012. If the report is confirmed by official data, it would mean economic output has declined for two straight quarters and that Spain is in a recession even as the government takes an axe to spending. “The most recent information relating to the beginning of 2012 confirms a continuation of the contraction of activity in the first quarter of this year,” the bank said in its March economic bulletin. The central bank did not give a figure for the first quarter contraction but said it was mainly caused by a decline in private consumption in January and February to levels not seen since 2010. The Spanish economy, the fourthbiggest in the euro area, had already shrunk by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to the third quarter, according to official data. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government, in power since December, announces on Friday a 2012 budget that assumes an economic contraction of 1.7 percent this year after 0.7-percent growth in 2011. Spain

emerged only at the start of 2010 from an 18-month recession triggered by a global financial crisis and a property bubble collapse that destroyed millions of jobs and left behind huge bad loans and debts. The jobless total hit 5.27 million people at the end of 2011, pushing the unemployment rate to 22.85 percent, the highest level among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The government has already predicted the unemployment rate will rise to 23.4 percent this year. It has overhauled labor rules to make it cheaper to fire workers and easier to lower wages, measures it argues will eventually encourage job creation when the economy improves. Unions have called a general strike on Thursday over the changes to the labor laws. The government has also implemented 8.9 billion euros’ worth of spending cuts and 6.3 billion euros in tax rises to rein in the public deficit. Spain has negotiated with Brussels a relaxation of its 2012 public deficit target, vowing to keep the shortfall to within 5.3 percent of gross domestic product rather than the original goal of 4.4 percent. —AFP




Kuwait equities retreat sharply on profit-taking GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwaiti equities dropped yesterday as profit-booking highlighted the session. The retreat was broad-based with six out of the eight sec tors lost ground yesterday. Five stocks traded ex-dividend during the session. Kuwait Finance House (KFH), Ahli United Bank and Kuwait Foodstuff Company (Americana) AGMs and EGMs were held and approved the distribution for year ended December 31, 2011. The Global General Index dipped by 1.24 points (or 0.67 percent) and closed at 183.54 points. As measured by this index, KSE inched higher by 2.36 percent so far this year. The market benchmark, KSE Price Index dropped by 21.8 points (or 0.35 percent) to close at 6,186.7 points. The market has been on a bull run for a while now due to lack of catalytic news that cheers investors sentiment. Volume and value of shares traded on the exchange ended the day on a mixed note, as investors exchanged 330.91bn shares (-18.37 percent), at a total value of KD35.58mn (+2.44 percent). The investment sector was the volume leader, accounting for 33.38 percent (110.45mn shares) of total volume. Hits Telecom Holding Co was the volume leader for the day with 18.34mn shares exchanged. The stock ended the day down by 3.70 percent at KD0.104. Zain was the value leader for the day with a total traded value of KD4.39mn. In reference to the Lawsuit dated March 19, 2012, Zain announced that the cour t hearing regarding the amount of KD7,631,122 was postponed from March 26, 2012 to May 28, 2012. In terms of top gainers, Jeeran Holding Company was the top gainer for the day, adding 13.7 percent. On the other side, Arab Insurance Group (ARIG) was the

Group (Holding) saw its share value depreciate by 3.39 percent in the day, to close at KD0.228.

Sector-wise The market’s heavy-weights performed poorly yesterday. The Global Large Cap Index ended the day down by 0.90 at 187.64 points. Meanwhile, Global Islamic Index closed down by 1.20 percent during the day. On a sector by sector basis, six out of the eight sectors lost ground today. The Global

selling pressure yesterday. The Global Investment Index recoiled by 0.63 percent. National Investment Company, saw its share value depreciate by 5.81 percent in the day, to close at KD0.162. The scrip reached its peak this year of KD0.182 in early March. Sokouk Holding Co too was down by 7.69 percent. Elsewhere in the investment sector, Al-Salam Group Holding continued its winning ways, housing a 7.69 percent climb, and clos-

Ser vices Index shouldered the retreat with a 1.12 percent slide. Kuwait National Cinema Company and Kuwait Commercial Market Complexes Company were down by 5.88 percent and 5.26 percent respectively. Investment stocks, which had per formed robustly during the previous weeks, succumbed to the

ing at KD0.270, its highest level in 2012. The scrip has grown by an impressive 159.6 percent since December 29, 2011, when it was trading at KD0.104. Industrial stocks too succumbed to the selling pressure. The Global Industrial Index recoiled by 0.51 percent. Sector heavy-weight, National Industries

ison to $121.84pb on the day before, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said yesterday. Oil prices have increased due to economic data repor ting an improvement in the US economy which led to a hike in oil demands. Geopolitical tension in the Middle East was also a factor of driving up oil prices to their highest levels.

biggest loser, as its share price fell by 22.73 percent to close at KD0.102.

Corporate news Burgan Bank announced that Kuwait Central Bank approved its request to extend the period to sell 10 percent of its issued capital for another 6 months, ending August 5, 2012. Price of Kuwaiti crude increased 74 cents to settle at $122.58pb on Monday, in compar-

Dollar slides against dinar KUWAIT: Exchange rate of the US dollar against the Kuwaiti dinar went down to KD 0.277, whereas the euro increased at KD 0.370, compared to Sunday’s figures, said the daily bulletin of the Central Bank of Kuwait

(CBK) yesterday. Exchange rate of the Sterling pound increased to KD 0.443, and the Japanese yen remained unchanged, at KD 0.003, t he Sw i s s f ra nc i nc re a s e d to K D 0.307. —KUNA

Oil above $125, supply concerns support LONDON: Oil held above $125 a barrel yesterday, boosted by supply concerns amid tightening Western sanctions on Iran although expectations for an increase in US crude inventories dampened sentiment. Tension over Iran and supply disruptions in Syria, S outh Sudan and Yemen have supported oil prices this year. South Sudan said the Sudanese air force bombed key oil fields in a cross-border raid yesterday. Brent crude eased by 22 cents to $125.43 by 1133 GMT after rising as high as $125.88 earlier in the session, close to its first resistance level at $126. US crude was up 20 cents to $107.23. “The price of oil is likely to continue to find it hard to exceed the $126-a-barrel mark,” said Carsten Fritsch, oil analyst at Commerzbank. “This increases the potential for correction if financial investors see themselves forced to take profits. That said, any significant price slump is unlikely in view of the risks to supply.” Oil and other risk assets drew support from comments by the US Federal Reserve on Monday indicating easy monetar y polic y would remain in place for some time. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the US economy needs to grow more quickly if it is to produce enough jobs to bring down the unemployment rate and this process can be supported by continued accommodative policies. Brent crude has risen about 17 percent so far this year on concern

about supply disruptions from Iran as well as the actual outages in Syria, South Sudan and Yemen. With the rally showing signs of running out of steam, analysts who use technical charts to predict price moves said after $126 Brent would need to push higher in order to clear the way for a fur ther advance. “Technically, there is still no clear momentum. Brent still needs to break the resistance of $126.50 and $127,” said Olivier Jakob, analyst at Petromatrix, in a report. Diplomatic sources said on Tuesday Iran and six world powers are expected to resume in the next few weeks long-stalled talks about the Islamic state’s disputed nuclear program. Closer to home for Brent, Total shut down oil and gas production from its North Sea Elgin platform on Sunday following a gas leak . Oil from the field is exported through the Forties pipeline. Forties is the largest crude stream underpinning Brent futures and two oil trading sources said Total’s ElginFrank lin site has been providing about 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) to Forties. Supply repor ts this week are expected to show a rise in US crude stocks. The first report is due later yesterday from the American Petroleum Institute. A Reuters survey of five analysts produced an average forecast of a 2.8-million-barrel increase. All five forecast a rise in stockpiles. — Reuters




Americana eyes Kazakhstan, N Iraq markets Company reports record sales in 2011 Al-Kharafi sees better profits in 2012 l

KUWAIT: Americana Group has succeeded in reducing its long and short term debts amounting to KD 104 million owed to local, Gulf and Egyptian banks by KD 4 million, said Marzouk Nasser Al-Kharafi, Chairman of Board and Managing Director of Kuwait Food Company (AMERICANA). He also noted that the group’s investments in the Kuwait Stock Exchange is valued at KD 113 million. Speaking to the press after holding the Group’s ordinary general assembly on Monday with a 95.7 per cent shareholders’ attendance, Al-Kharafi optimistically predicted that Americana would make higher profits in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year, particularly after opening several restaurant chains in the region recently, including 28 in Egypt despite the current political situation there.

KUWAIT: Marzouk Nasser AlKharafi, Chairman of Board and Managing Director of Kuwait Food Company (AMERICANA), speaking to the press after holding the Group’s ordinary general assembly on Monday. — Photos by Yasser AlZayyat Responding to a question about Americana’s investments in countries experiencing political instability, AlKharafi said that it did not have much of a presence in Syria and none in the Arab Spring countries. “We actually target expanding our activities in current markets, in addition to extending them to new markets in Kazakhstan

and northern Iraq,’ he explained, noting that the land in Sudan is Al-Kharafi Group’s property, and it is still scouring the best possible investments opportunities there. “However, Americana still needs more support and priority from the government especially in terms of logistic needs such as facilitating staff visas, payment and solving the problem of collecting dues from local cooperative markets,’ added Al-Kharafi, remarking that despite such hardships, the group was awarded appreciation and quality certificates from prestigious international companies and establishments, making record sales last year. He highlighted that the company’s policy is flexible to make it easier to adapt to changes, and operate in variable working environments such as the recent contingencies in Syria, Egypt and Bahrain. “Sales have grown in Egypt where we expanded our chain by adding 28 new restaurants. Sales in Bahrain has also grown in 2011, while our investments in Syria are limited to a small number of restaurants subject to constant evaluation,” he elaborated. Speaking about the 2011 annual report, Al-Kharafi said that the company had achieved the highest sales in its history so far, making KD 720.8 million with six percent increase compared to 2010. He added that the net profits were KD 48 million with an increase of four percent compared to 2010.”Those figures, be them in sales or operational profits reflect success achieved by a board of directors and executives who are well-aware of all market variables and adapt a sound strategy based on the foundations laid by the late founder, Nasser Al-Kharafi,” he underlined. Speaking of further aspirations in 2012, Al-Kharafi stressed that the company adopted a special strategy since the global financial crisis began in 2008. He added that the strategy included special measures and policies to limit the negative impact of the crisis by probing all possible investment opportunities in a way to achieve profit and growth stability. He added that the vision set by the beginning of 2011, possible impediments and hardships helped in setting proper contingency plans that helped achieve sales and profit growth by addressing con-

KUWAIT: Marzouk Nasser Al-Kharafi with other board of directors of AMERICANA. sumer awareness and perception about our reasonably priced products’ high value. By the end of the meeting, Americana’s ordinary general assem-

bly approved all nine items on the agenda, in addition to the approval of the auditing report and the final budget of the fiscal year ending on

Americana’s performance in 2011

Marzouk reminisces about his father KUWAIT: Marzouk Nasser AlKharafi, Chairman of Board and Managing Direc tor of Kuwait Food Company (AMERICANA), told the meeting on an emotional note that this year ’s general assembly was special to him as it was the first meeting after the demise of his father Nasser AlKharafi. “My father is not with us today, but I’m sure his soul is everywhere around us,” said Al-Kharafi, reminiscing his father’s achievements and characteristics. “Established in 1963, under the name ‘Americana Company for Food Manufac turing and Distribution,’ our company had limited activity in 1965. By the end of 1966, we had two outlets selling food products and meat in Kuwait,” explained Al-Kharafi, noting that his late father took over by the end of 1969, when Americana took the leap forward in strategy, vision and operation. He added that by the early 1970s, Americana started a new

December 31, 2011. The assembly also agreed to distribute cash profits equally, at 65 percent share value.

Late Nasser Al-Kharafi business line in fast food restaurants and snack bars by opening the first branch of the world famous brand, ‘Wimpy’ in Ahmadi in 1970. “Nasser Al-Kharafi was board chairman for 35 years and put in hard work and endless efforts all the way to his death,” underscored Al-Kharafi. He reminded of the times when his father was keen to ensure that all his employees and staff members lead a decent life during the Iraqi invasion to Kuwait. “They never forget this,” he added.

l Unprecedented record sales of $2.6 billion in 2011 l Ranked 24th amongst the Arab world’s top 100 companies by Forbes l Achieved net profit of KD 48 million l 1,301 network outlets by the end of 2011 with 68 new ones at rate of a new restaurant every five days. l The company served over 195 million meals compared to 175 million in 2010 l Americana KSA meat factory was awarded the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, which gives access to its products in European markets. It also received the Halal Certificate and maintained all its previously deserved ISO certificates of ISO9001, ISO14001 and ISO 22000 l Operation Excellence Award by Yum Brands Inc. l Best execution award l Best performance award l Home Delivery Best Practice Award l Operation officer’s award

IMF: Global economy shows ‘fragile’ improvement

FRANKFURT: A girl stands in a terminal at the international airport in Frankfurt yesterday. More than 400 flights had to be cancelled when ground staff organized in the German ver.di union went on a warning strike for higher wages until the afternoon. — AP

German consumer confidence stalls on high oil prices FRANKFURT: High oil prices are denting consumer confidence in Germany, data showed yesterday but household spending will remain robust enough to keep Europe’s biggest economy from falling into recession. In its regular monthly survey of consumer confidence, market research company GfK found that, after rising steadily since September, confidence has now stalled. GfK said in a statement that its confidence index was set to slip fractionally to 5.9 points in April from 6.0 points in March. “That brings to an end, at least for now, the upward trend we’ve seen in consumer confidence over the past six months,” GfK said. “Nevertheless, despite the slight fall, the current level of the indicator suggests that household consumption will remain an important pillar of the economy this year,” it said. The March reading was in fact the highest level in the GfK index since October 2007. “We continue to forecast an increase of around one percent in consumer spending over the whole of this year, meaning domestic demand will play its role in preventing the German economy from slipping into recession,” GfK said. The headline consumer confidence index is based on responses from around 2,000 households with regard to their expectations about pay and the economy as a whole in the coming months, as well as their willingness to spend money. Consumers’ economic expectations were stable in the wake of the approval

of a second bailout for Greece and their willingness to spend also remained unbroken at high levels. Nevertheless, consumers’ income expectations had taken a hit from high petrol and diesel prices, as well as uncertainty over the outcome of current wage negotiations, GfK found. “Higher energy and particularly fuel prices are increasingly making German consumers anxious,” said ING Belgium economist Carsten Brzeski. “Even if fuel prices only account for roughly five percent of consumer spending, the recent spike in fuel prices to new record highs has clearly dented confidence. “The negative impact on consumers’ wallets combined with the psychological effect of losing one’s money at the gas station, remains the main threat for German domestic demand,” Brzeski said. Nevertheless, Annalisa Piazza at Newedge Strategy said German households “remain confident that the economy is progressing in the right direction and the solid labor market support expectations of a robust income in the future.” In addition, “the willingness to buy index remained solidly anchored to record high levels, depicting a relatively rosy picture for household spending in the first part of the year,” the analyst said. Other forward-looking indicators also suggest that the economic fundamentals in Germany remain strong. On Monday, the Ifo business climate index rose for the fifth time in a row in March, hitting its highest level in eight months. — AFP

BANGKOK: Recent improvements in the global economy are “very fragile” and an escalation of the euro-zone crisis remains the most immediate concern, IMF deputy managing director Naoyuki Shinohara said yesterday. While indicators had last year pointed to a big setback for the world there have in recent weeks been modest signs of improvement and stability in the key US and European economies, he said in a lecture at a university in Bangkok. “Important policy actions carried out by European policy makers have helped and most recently the agreement on a new (debt) program for Greece ... has also brought some relief,” he said. But, he said: “There is no room for complacency. A lot more needs to be done to give a fresh boost to growth.” Shinohara said in many countries public debt remained at alltime highs, limiting the scope for fiscal stimulus, and unemploy-

ment also remained very high. “We are navigating a very narrow path before recovery of the economy and the risk of slippage is very high,” he warned. He said advanced economies “should press ahead with national and structural reforms to repair the damage done by the crisis” while emerging economies needed to remain vigilant for possible spillovers. However the IMF expected “spillovers from the euro area to other regions will remain limited as long as the euro area is contained.” “Since the beginning of the year financial tensions in the euro area have eased, in large part thanks to the so-called long-term refinancing operation of the European Central Bank,” he said. In recent weeks the data has showed manufacturing activity for both advanced and emerging economies has improved, with readings above 50, which

indicates growth, but Shinohara said a lot needed to be done to safeguard gains. “Recent improvements are still very fragile. Important policy challenges remain to be addressed. Downside risks are still very large. The most immediate concern is still further escalation of the euro area crisis,” he said. Shinohara said European policymakers need to pursue fiscal adjustment at the right pace. “European policy makers also need to pursue financial reforms to stabilize the banking sector and structural reforms to restore economic competitiveness,” he said. “And European policy makers also need to increase the strength of their firewall to provide an adequate backstop for governments undertaking these reforms,” he said. The IMF, and the United States and other top economies worldwide have sought to raise pressure on Germany to drop its previous opposition to boosting

the euro-zone’s firewalls against debt crisis contagion. Looking to the prospects for Asia, Shinohara said domestic demand remained generally strong, supported by low unemployment and high capacity utilization. “Growth in Asia is expected to gain momentum this year,” he said. Leading economic indicators had strengthened in the United States and Europe, he said. “ These numbers have improved substantially since the beginning of this year and this suggests a similar improvement in Asia in the coming months,” he said. The IMF sees global growth slightly above 3.0 percent in 2012 but will release its revised world economic outlook in two weeks. “We are not expecting a major change in our outlook for this year and next year. Probably a slight improvement in our position on some of the areas but for the global picture I’m not expecting a major change,” he said. — AFP

French consumer confidence rises PARIS: French consumer confidence showed a marked increase in March, with households expressing new optimism on finances and living standards, the INSEE national statistics institute said yesterday. The data emerged in the run-up to a presidential election and is being closely watched because living standards and unemployment are two of the top issues of concern to electors, opinion polls show. The household sentiment index compiled by the statistics office climbed five points to 87, its third monthly rise in a row but still below the long-term average fixed at 100 points. French households last month viewed their quality of living prospects in considerably improved terms, with that measure gaining 24 points since its historic low in 2011. Households also think inflation will not be as high as had been predicted last year. French unemployment figures released on Monday for last month showed a slowing in new jobless claims, though more people were under-employed. President Nicolas Sarkozy hailed the figures as evidence of economic recover y, though some economists cautioned the jobs market remains weak. — AFP

MADRID: Chinese shops at the Cobo Calleja neighborhood in Madrid. Like many European cities, Madrid has for years been home to a Chinese community, but in Spain, it has grown more than most. And like their native country, they are suffering less in the economic crisis than their hosts. — AFP




NBK’s ‘use your credit card and win’ KD 20,000 grand prize awarded KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) announced Hanaa Al-Abdulmughni during the NBK 18th annual walkathon celebration as the winner of the KD 20,000 grand prize in its ‘Use Your NBK Credit Card and Win’ campaign. Adel Shaker Al-Kathmi, Tariq Mohammed AlTawhid, and Sarp Erkir each won KD 2,000 in the last three draws of the campaign. NBK launched the ‘Use Your NBK Credit Card and Win Campaign’ in December, where every KD 20 spent by

NBK credit cardholders in Kuwait qualified them to enter weekly draws to win KD 2,000 and the grand prize draw to win KD 20,000. Chances to win doubled when credit cards were used abroad. NBK credit cards are accepted worldwide and considered among the most rewarding way to pay for goods and services. NBK credit cards are a great flexible payment option and free for the first year. Moreover, NBK credit cards offer the best loyalty program in town ‘NBK Rewards’.

World grain prices to stay strong: UN’s FAO BUENOS AIRES: World grain prices should remain “very firm” over the near term as demand from Asia exceeds forecasts and dry weather cuts into supply, the senior economist of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Monday. South American corn and soy yields took a beating from drought this season, while China’s rapidly growing middle class continues its love affair with beef steaks. The shift in diet has held strong in the face of the country’s economic slowdown, underpinning demand for corn and soymeal used to feed cattle. “Demand is definitely growing faster than what we had expected, while supply ended up being less than we expected,” FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian told Reuters three days ahead of the organization’s meeting of Latin American agriculture ministers in Buenos Aires. “You put these two factors together and it explains what’s happening today with prices globally,” he said by telephone from his office in Rome while soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade explored six-month highs. “In the near term - this month and next - we are going to still see very firm prices,” said the economist. “What happens after that depends on crop development and the weather.” As South America harvests its 2011/12 soy and corn, US and European growers are heading into planting season. “A few months ago we were expecting slower growth in demand,” Abbassian said. “Macroeconomic factors were making us believe that demand in feed use, for example, would grow at a slower pace. But I think we always underestimate the growth in emerging countries, in Asia in

particular.” World food prices hit records last year, helping to spawn the Arab Spring revolts that toppled the governments of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Prices have since fallen but their upturn in the first two months of 2012 is raising inflation concerns. “The fact that the prices of certain crops are approaching the peaks of last year tells you something about market direction and sentiment,” Abbassian said. The United Nations had expected soy prices to start falling by this point in the year. But the market remains nervous about early-season dryness in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. “Unpredictability in prices is increasing,” Abbassian said. “If the Chinese feel that corn prices could still rise, they may surprise us and buy more, which would send prices up. Considering the agitation in the market, this could lead to panic buying. “If we would have had this conversation a few weeks ago I would not have even considered this as being in the cards,” he added. “The events of the last few weeks and the downgrading of crop estimates in South America, Argentina in particular, have definitely added fuel to the upward trend in prices.” Argentina expects a 2011/12 corn crop of 21.2 million tons, down from initial projections of up to 30 million. Soy is forecast by the government at 44 million tons versus an original estimate of up to 53 million tons. Grains exporters with operations in Argentina include Cargill, Bunge, Molinos Rio de la Plata , Noble and Louis Dreyfus. The country is the world’s No 1 exporter of soymeal, used as animal feed, and soyoil, used for cooking and in the booming biofuels sector. It is also the third-biggest soybean exporter and No. 2 supplier of corn, after the United States. —Reuters

Sharp launches its line-up of 80-inch touch-panel display Designed for needs of modern work environment KUWAIT: Sharp Middle East yesterday announced the launch of its 80-inch touchpanel display in the Middle East region. The screen was unveiled to partners during Sharp’s Bigger is Better partner conference held recently in Dubai. The launch further enhances Sharp’s reputation as a world leader in largescreen interactive touch-panel display systems. The 80-inch panel combines a high-performance interactive display with a welldesigned, comprehensive system for uniquely collaborative sessions - and continues to set a new standard in price-performance for touchscreen displays. This latest addition to Sharp’s evolving family of state-of-the-art large panel touch-screen displays compliments the existing 60-inch (60 1/32” diagonal) and 70-inch (69-1/2” diagonal) models, allowing organizations to operate in a visual and truly collaborative way, creating a dynamic and interactive workplace experience. The display is produced by Sharp’s state of the art, Gen-10 LCD manufacturing facility in Sakai City, Japan. The interactive display replaces traditional, static projection solutions with spectacular performance, delivering the high-definition quality we’ve come to expect in our homes but in the workplace. “Similar to what our innovative and industry-leading large-screen TVs are doing for the home, Sharp’s large-screen interactive touchpanel display systems are revolutionizing the workplace,” said Tomoo Shimizu, Director Business Solutions Division, Sharp Middle East. “The 80-inch unit provides endless collaboration, information and entertainment options and is a welcome addition to Sharp’s family of solutions designed to improve our workplace lives.” Designed to optimize and integrate a wide range of applications companies need in order to think big and disseminate information on a global scale - such as work group collaboration, video conferencing, interactive signage and video walls - the 80-inch panel delivers more than double the screen area of a 55-inch class display. It is ideal for any setting that requires large-scale collaboration, information and/or entertainment options, including meeting rooms, office lobbies, schools, airports, malls, exhibit halls and hotels.

The Sharp IILED-80 is available now across the Middle East. Features and Capabilities Further facilitating global collaboration, the IILED-80 offers business users seamless

system will be fully compatible with a full array of familiar Microsoft products (Microsoft Office Suite, Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft touch Pack for Windows 7). The 80-inch LED touch-panel, with full HD

Tomoo Shimizu, Director - Business Solutions Division, Sharp Middle East

integration with presentation and video conferencing technologies, including WebEx, GoToMeeting and Skype. Additionally, the

1920 x 1080 resolution, is equipped with Sharp’s UV2A photo alignment and Full Array LED backlight technologies to create an energy-efficient screen that is easy to read in most environments, regardless of ambient light. Users can make meetings more interactive by drawing and taking notes directly onscreen, and saving new versions to their PC or printing them to a connected Sharp Multifunction Product (MFP). The intuitive software also lets users select pen colors and eraser functions easily, with a click of the touch pen button. Furthermore, existing images can be easily scanned and displayed by connecting to a networked Sharp MFP via the pen software. The monitor can also function separately of the bundled solution, as a versatile LED-LCD information display.

China’s Dongfeng Motor posts 4.6% profit fall HONG KONG: Chinese automaker Dongfeng Motor Group reported yesterday its 2011 net profit fell 4.6 percent, due to lower prices and an overall slowdown in the world’s biggest automobile market. Net profit was at 10.48 billion yuan ($1.66 billion), down from 10.98 billion yuan from 2010, the firm said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange where it is listed. Revenue rose 7.4 per-

cent to 131.44 billion yuan. Sales of passenger vehicles were 1.65 million, up 16.1 percent while commercial vehicle sales were down 0.3 percent. “Dongfeng Motor Group’s overall business and financial performances surpassed the industry average and achieved its annual target,” chairman Xu Ping said, adding that the firm will continue to boost its joint venture cooperation. —AFP

US extends trade benefit program to South Sudan WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama added oil exporter South Sudan to a US trade program for developing countries, allowing the newly independent nation to ship oil and thousands of other goods to the United States without paying US import duties. “ The GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) program is an important tool for helping developing countries to grow their economies through increased trade,” US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement. Kirk urged the young country to use the GSP program “to continue needed economic reforms.” South Sudan seceded from its northern neighbor, Sudan, last year. The United States helped lay the groundwork for that move, which capped a 2005 peace deal that ended a long civil war. The new country accounts for about 75 percent of the formerly united country’s oil output of roughly 500,000 barrels per day, the biggest share of which is bought by China. Oil is the largest import under both the GSP program and a separate US program known as AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) that South Sudan also aspires to join. Obama designated South Sudan as a “least developed” beneficiary country, which means nearly 4,900 products from South Sudan will be eligible for duty-free treatment under the US Generalized System of Preferences program once the presidential action takes full effect. Current US tariffs on oil range from 5.25 cents to 52.5 cents per barrel, depending on the type of petroleum.

GSP eligibility is a prerequisite for AGOA membership, so Obama’s decision on Monday is “an important step” toward South Sudan joining the broader program, Kirk said. Andrea Mead, a spokeswoman for the Kirk’s office, said South Sudan’s oil reserves “were not a factor” in the administration’s consideration of trade benefits for the country. Several newly independent countries, such as East Timor, Montenegro and Kosovo, requested and received GSP benefits shortly after independence, she said. “We want to help strengthen the economy of this new nation and help its government bring jobs and greater prosperity to the South Sudanese people,” Mead said. The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control in December eased sanctions to allow investment in South Sudan’s oil sector. Senior congressional Democrats welcomed Obama’s decision to add South Sudan to the GSP, and called for action on a bill to add the country to the AGOA program and renew a textile provision of the AGOA legislation set to expire soon. “African producers tell us that, due largely to uncertainty about this provision’s renewal, importers began to shift their orders out of Africa during the second half of 2011,” said Democratic Representative Charles Rangel. “I will continue to push my Republican colleagues to pass the non-controversial bill renewing the third-country fabric provision and adding South Sudan as a possible AGOA beneficiary as soon as possible,” he said. —Reuters

Renault honors Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al-Babtain Co Success in 2011 Renault after-sales services KUWAIT: Abdulmohesen Abdulaziz AlBabtain Co, the official and exclusive distributor of Renault in Kuwait has been honored by Renault for successfully achieving the 2011 business plan that consisted in promoting its Renault aftersales services. By winning this award, Abdulmohsen Abdul Aziz Al-Babtain Co has earned a new feather on its cap for displaying excellence in its after-sales performance and spare parts service, and also for the various promotions developed by the sales department, all of which helped the company boost its

sales performance. Last year, Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al-Babtain after-sales division offered three different safety campaigns to ensure Renault customers are well taken care of. At that time, Renault parts fill rate was over 90% and customers benefited from competitive prices over parts and services in addition to outstanding maintenance packages offered by the sales department. Moreover, the new Renault service facility at Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz AlBabtain Co. was and is still considered as

the best in its class in Kuwait because it offers high standards of service quality, comfort and convenient working hours. On the other hand, Al-Babtain Co. thanked Renault for this honorable award that will encourage the company to continuously develop its performance and pursue its main goals. Adding that the success achieved was mainly due to the joint efforts put in by its ambitious team who is constantly adopting efficient marketing plans to satisfy all its customer’s needs and expectations.

Egypt economy likely to grow 1.9% in 2012/13 CAIRO: Egypt’s economic growth will remain relatively anemic in the coming fiscal year as political uncertainty drags on and the global outlook remains weak, but growth should pick up in the following year, a Reuters poll showed yesterday. Year-on-year gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by only 1.6 percent in the financial year starting on July 1, 2012, but will rise to 4.0 percent the following year, the survey of 11 economists forecast. This would still be short of the 6 percent growth rate that economists say Egypt needs to start creating enough jobs for new entrants to the labor force. Egypt’s economy has been hammered by a year of turmoil since its popular uprising, which scared away tourists and investors, two of the country’s main sources of foreign exchange, and triggered a series of worker strikes. Egyptian politics will remain fraught over the next few months, with the first presidential election since Mubarak was ousted scheduled for May and June. Islamists are now the biggest faction in parliament and will have a

major say in the drafting of a new constitution in the coming months. The economy grew only 1.9 percent in the 2010/11 financial year, weighed down by a 4.6 percent contraction in the January-March quarter when the revolt forced Hosni Mubarak from the presidency. It grew by only 0.3 percent year-on-year in July-September, the most recent figure released showed. The turmoil also led to deficits in both the government budget and the balance of payments that have threatened to tip the country into a full financial crisis. Egypt, which turned down a financing package from the International Monetary Fund last June, resumed talks in January for a $3.2 billion loan, saying it wanted the funds as soon as possible. But the IMF said last week it could take weeks before any agreement is reached. “While it is possible to argue that Egypt could resolve its twin deficits and even structural problems on the back of a strong global economy, and its high growth rate, as the previous government often did, it will now be harder with a much worse global outlook,” said David

Cowan, an economist at Citi. Tourism, a major source of revenue for Egypt, used to account for over a tenth of GDP before the political turmoil, but its earnings dropped to $8.7 billion in calendar 2011 from $12.5 billion a year earlier, according to central bank figures. Net foreign direct investment (FDI) fell to a negative $858.2 million in the fourth quarter of calendar 2011 from a positive $656.0 million a year earlier. This helped create a balance of payments deficit of $5.65 billion in the politically-fraught final quarter of 2011, compared to a year-earlier surplus of $557.0 million. Reserves have tumbled from around $36 billion at the start of 2011 to under $15.7 billion at the end of February, barely equal to three months worth of imports.. “Some fundamental and very difficult policy decisions have to be made in Egypt in the coming years, which will probably only pay growth dividends a good couple of years down the line,” Cowan said. Analysts say the new government appointed after the

election will have to convince Egyptians to accept a range of unpopular measures to reduce the budget deficit, probably including new taxes and a reduction in energy subsidies. “Of course, if there are some big changes in the coming months - in particular following presidential elections and an IMF deal - then we could begin to change our views,” said economist Said Hirsh of Capital Economics. Pressure on the pound is expected to continue. Forecasts suggest it will weaken to an average 6.30 pounds to the US dollar in 2012/13 and 6.75 pounds in 2013/14 from a seven yearlow of around 6.03 pounds now. “We think that some devaluation is necessary given the fact that it is currently overvalued. At the moment, we expect this to happen gradually rather than one big drop, or at least in two or three stages,” Hirsh said. A big depreciation of the pound would stoke inflation, which is seen accelerating to an average 10.0 percent in 2012/13 and the following year. —Reuters




Internet economy in S Arabia reached SAR 37 billion KUWAIT: The Saudi Internet economy contributed SAR 37 billion to the overall Saudi economy in 2010, representing 2.2 percentof GDP, and putting Saudi Arabia at 13th place amongst the G-20 countries. This figure is projected to rise to SAR 107 billion by 2016, representing 3.8 percent of GDP, according to a new report in The Boston Consulting Group’s Connected World series. It found that by 2016 the total size of the G-20 Internet economy will be $4.2 trillion, equivalent to 5.3 percent of GDP, up from $2.3 trillion or 4.1 percent in 2010. ‘The $4.2 Trillion Opportunity:The Internet Economy in the G-20’finds that if the Internet were a sector in Saudi Arabia, it would be more than twice as large as the utilities sector. Saudi Arabia’s Internet economy growth rate of 19.5 percent compares favorably to other developing nations in the G-20, which are growing at an average of 17.8 percent. Projected growth rates elsewhere are: 24.3 percent in Argentina, 18.3 percent in Russia and 15.6 percent in Mexico. In 2016, Saudi Arabia will rank number 10 in the G-20,

with its contribution to GDP increasing to 3.8 percent. These growth rates are impressive compared to the Internet economies of developed G-20 markets, which are expected to grow at an average of 8.1 percent through 2016 - for example, 10.9 percent for the U.K. and 7.8 percent for Germany. In 2010 developed markets contributed 76 percent of the G20’s Internet economy; by 2016 that will fall to 66 percent. “The Internet offers one of the world’s unfettered growth stories,” said Joerg Hildebrandt, Partner and Managing Director at BCG Middle East. “A robust Internet economy is an essential underpinning for Saudi Arabia’s future, providing both economic and social benefits.” The $4.2 Trillion Opportunitybuilds on three years of research conducted by BCG andis the most comprehensive report published on the impact of the Internet globally. This study is the first to examine the Internet’s economic impact across so much of the world’s economy - 90 percent of global GDP -

and highlights how this increases as mobile devices and social networks become more prevalent. In 2010, the share of total retail carried out online in Saudi Arabia was 2.9 percentor $3 billion and is projected to reach 8.0 percentor $15 billion by 2016. Hildebrandt said: “This represents a dramatic increase and to put it into perspective, it would place Saudi Arabia at 5thposition amongst the G-20 countries, following only UK, Germany, Australia and South Korea.” What’s more, in 2010, the Internet influenced an additional 4.7 percent of total retail from connected consumers researching online and purchasing offline (‘ROPO’) in Saudi Arabia.These numbers compare to 4.0 percent for Brazil, 4.8 percent for Russia, and 9.6 percent for the US Consumers are the big winners of the Internet economy and BCG’s study highlights just how essential it has become to everyday life and the value which consumers attach to it. Asked how much they would have to be paid to live without Internet access, respon-

dents across the G-20 said an average of US$1,430 per year, or 4.6 times what they pay for access and services. The report highlights the extent to which the Internet is driving growth in businesses across the G-20. Drawn from the most comprehensive survey of its

Joerg Hildebrandt

kind of SMEs around the world, the BCG report finds that “High-web” companies - ones that embrace the Internet for marketing, sales and interactions with customers and suppliers - have grown revenues up to22 percent points faster over the past three years compared to those who made low or no use of the Internet. “Around the world SMEs which embrace the Internet are growing faster and adding more jobs than those that don’t. By encouraging businesses to adopt the Internet, countries can improve their competitiveness and growth prospects,”saidHildebrandt. The value of the Internet economy was estimated using the expenditure approach to GDP measurement. This approach measures total spending on finished goods and services. It covers four key elements: consumption (both goods sold online and the costs of getting online), investment, government spending, and net exports. BCG used the loss aversion approach to measure the value of the Internet to consumers, in a survey of 9,710.

Apple CEO Tim Cook in China mission to clear up problems

JOHANNESBURG: A woman visits the new Nelson Mandela Digital Archive in Johannesburg yesterday. Nelson Mandela’s foundation and Internet giant Google unveil a new project to release online thousands of documents about the life of South Africa’s first black president. Google gave a $1.25m [8.6 million rand] grant to the Johannesburg-based NMCM in 2011 to help preserve and digitize thousands of archival documents, photographs and videos about Mr Mandela. — AFP

Hacker ‘command’ servers seized in US: Microsoft SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft yesterday said that cyber crime “command” servers in two US states were seized in an ongoing campaign to sever online crooks from infected computers used as virtual henchmen. The software colossus capitalized on laws crafted to fight organized crime groups to obtain court orders to seize servers in Pennsylvania and Illinois being used to control computers corrupted by malicious code. Viruses slipped into people’s computers stole online bank account and password information and relayed it to crooks who have looted more than $100 million in the past five years, according to court documents. The “worldwide, illegal” computer networks were an amalgam of more than 13 million infected machines referred to as “Zeus botnets” due to the type of malicious code involved. Zeus malware is designed to log keystrokes typed on computers, watching for patterns that indicate information about online bank accounts. “A number of the most harmful botnets using the Zeus family of malware worldwide have been disrupted in an unprecedented, proactive cross-industry operation against this cybercriminal organization,” Microsoft digital crimes unit senior attorney Richard Boscovich said in a blog post. The seizure of “command and control” servers by Microsoft employees escorted by police on Friday was the latest move by the industry to cut elusive cyber criminals off from infected computers used to do their bidding. Microsoft six months ago took down a “botnet” believed to have been used for nefarious activities including spam, stock scams, and sexual exploitation of children, and sued the owner of an online domain used to control operations. The disrupted “Kelihos” network was an apparent reincarnation of the first botnet Microsoft took down with a combination of legal and technical tactics. A year ago, Microsoft dismantled a “notorious and complex” network of virus-infected computers used to send billions of email messages daily hawking fake drugs. That Rustock “botnet” consisted of about a million computers that were infected with malicious code to let hackers covertly control the machines from afar using “command and control” servers. Owners of infected computers are typically not aware that hackers are using their devices. Cutting hackers off from online

servers that act as intermediaries, collecting data from and giving orders to armies of infected “zombie” computers, is a creative new tactic in the war on cyber crime. The raids on office buildings in Pennsylvania and Illinois on Friday involved federal court warrants obtained under different laws, including a racketeering act designed to fight the Mafia. Microsoft has teamed up with industry allies and law enforcement agencies to destroy spam or crime spewing botnets to defend the reputation and reliability of the software on which the US technology company’s fortune is based. “Microsoft has invested substantial resources in developing high quality products and services,” the company said in court documents. “Microsoft has generated substantial goodwill with its customers, establishing a strong brand and developing the Microsoft name and the names of its products and services into strong and famous world-wide symbols.” Microsoft resorted to US civil courts to get legal backing to take out the two major botnets last year in a strategy implemented by Boscovich, a former federal prosecutor. The tactic has been compared to those used by neighborhood watch groups-ordinary citizens who alert police to suspicious activities. Hackers cut off from armies of infected computers can regroup and marshal new forces, or adapt viruses to frequently switch command servers or connect, peer-to-peer style, through other tainted machines. “Identifying command-and-control servers has really come of age in the past year as something that is getting wide attention, especially in the realm of persistent threats,” said McAfee Labs senior research analyst Adam Wosotowsky. “While this surely doesn’t put an end to phishing or Zeus-based infections, it should deal a strong blow to botmasters who monetize their infections through thievery,” he said. However, the stepped up US raids could lead hackers to simply relocate to other countries, he added. “In the struggle between botnets and the security community this is equivalent to a handful of cruise missiles pounding an enemy base,” he said. “It’s not the end of the war, but it is a definite statement that our knowledge of the threats has improved to the point where we can target the enemy strongholds.” — AFP

HONG KONG/BEIJING: Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook has jetted into China for talks with government officials as he seeks to clear up a pile of problems in the firm’s biggest growth market, from its contested iPad trademark to treatment of local labour. Cook is on his first trip to the country since taking over from late co-founder Steve Jobs in August, keeping to a closely guarded agenda that has included talks with Beijing’s mayor and a visit to Apple’s flagship store in the capital. “Tim is in China meeting with government officials. China is very important to us and we look forward to even greater investment and growth there,” said Carolyn Wu, China spokeswoman for the maker of iPhones, iPads and iPods. Wu declined to give details of Cook’s full agenda, other than to say he would meet other government officials on Tuesday. Cook was photographed smiling by eager fans at the Apple store, who posted some of the images on social networking sites, but the new chief executive has a thicket of tricky problems to cut through in China, which is both Apple’s most important manufacturing hub and biggest potential market. China is the world’s largest mobile market and already Apple’s second biggest market overall, but the firm has been losing ground there to arch rival Samsung Electronics in smartphones and has yet to introduce the latest version of its top-selling iPad to the country. In the last quarter of 2011, Apple captured three quarters of China’s tablet PC market, while its iPhone ranked fifth in the country’s smartphone sector, industry figures showed. Apple has deals in place with China Telecom and Unicom to sell its iPhone in the country, with the only other Chinese carrier, China Mobile, looking to clinch a deal with the California company. An alliance with China Mobile, the country’s biggest mobile carrier, is viewed by many industry analysts as crucial to the acceleration of iPhone sales through China, though compatibility problems with the carrier’s network have yet to be resolved. Cook has said that Apple has merely

scratched the surface in China as it looks to expand. It has only five stores in the country, though it also sells through more than 100 resellers. Apple is also waging a legal battle with a Chinese firm over the local rights to the iPad trademark. The long-running dispute with Proview - a financially weak technology company that claims to have registered the trademark - is making its way through Chinese courts and has threatened to disrupt iPad sales. Proview executives declined to comment on Tuesday over whether they will be meeting Cook. No meetings have been set so far between the Apple chief and the Chinese company’s lawyers and creditors, sources familiar with the situation said. “He should be here to also understand more of the iPad issue and handle the situation,” said one source close to Proview. Apple has not launched its new iPad in China yet, so people have been smuggling the new gadget from as far away as the United States and Australia. The new iPad has also been smuggled in from Hong Kong. Apple is also reviewing labour standards at

EMC acquires pivotal labs DUBAI: EMC Corporation yesterday announced it has acquired San Francisco-based Pivotal Labs, a privately-held provider of agile software development services and tools. The all-cash transaction is not expected to have a material impact to EMC GAAP or non-GAAP EPS for the full 2012 fiscal year. Pivotal Labs enhances EMC’s powerful portfolio of products and services, which are designed to enable organizations to store, analyze and take action on ‘Big Data’ - datasets so large they break traditional IT infrastructures. Earlier this year EMC introduced the Greenplum Unified Analytics Platform (UAP) that delivered, for the first time, a scale-out infrastructure for analyzing both structured and unstructured data. Today EMC announced general availability of Greenplum Chorus - another industry first, delivering a Facebook-like social collaboration tool for Data Science teams to iterate on the development of datasets and ensure that useful insights are delivered to the business quickly. EMC brought Data Science and its chief practitioner - the Data Scientist - to the fore a year ago at the world’s first Data Scientist Summit. With the addition of Pivotal Labs, EMC can now take datasets perfected in Greenplum Chorus and enable customers to rapidly build out Big Data applications using modern programming environments such as Ruby on Rails. Big Data is new - so new in fact that packaged Big Data applications are scarce. Most organizations dump large volumes of data into stores like Hadoop and write custom code to extract value. However, now with Pivotal Labs, the leader in agile development practices that embrace rapid iteration, test driven development, open source tools and modern frameworks, both start-ups and global enterprise customers will have the ability to quickly build new applications and services that capitalize on Big Data.

the Chinese firm it uses to assemble its iPhones and iPads, Foxconn Technology Group, which has been accused of running sweatshops. The group is the Taiwan parent of Hong Kong-listed Foxconn International Holdings Ltd.. At the outset of Cook’s visit to China, an activist group based in Hong Kong published an open letter, demanding “that Apple ensure decent working conditions at all its suppliers”. As the former chief operating officer, Cook helped set up Apple’s sprawling supply chain centred on Asia. In the open letter, Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour listed grievances cited by employees at Apple suppliers, including “poverty wages” and excessive and forced overtime. “They describe their daily routine as work, eat and sleep. They described themselves as machines that repeated the same monotonous motion for thousands (of) times a day,” it said. “With all its success in the global marketplace, Apple undoubtedly has (the) ability to rectify these problems.” — Reuters

US regulators call for tighter online rules WASHINGTON: The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) called for Internet users to be given an easy-to-use “Do Not Track” feature in a report released backing tighter online privacy laws. The FTC voted three-to-one to put its seal on recommendations for businesses and US legislators to better protect people’s privacy in “an era of rapid change.” “If companies adopt our final recommendations for best practices - and many of them already have - they will be able to innovate and deliver creative new services that consumers can enjoy without sacrificing their privacy,” said FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz. “We are confident that consumers will have an easy to use and effective DoNot-Track option by the end of the year because companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and because lawmakers will want to enact legislation if they don’t.” The proposed privacy framework for businesses and US policy makers built on a staff report at the FTC in late 2010. Firms crafting online services should factor privacy into every phase of projects, with special care given to ensure people’s data is kept safe and to limit how much is collected, according to the report. “Companies should give consumers the option to decide what information is shared about them, and with whom,” the report said. “This should include a Do-Not-Track mechanism that would provide a simple, easy way for consumers to control the tracking of their online activities.” Progress is being made on a do-not-track

tool that would prevent online services or advertisers from recording people’s Internet activities without their permission, according to the FTC. “The Commission will work with these groups to complete implementation of an easy-to-use, persistent, and effective Do Not Track system,” the report says. The FTC plans a public workshop in the second half of this year to explore concerns about Internet service providers, operating systems, online social networks, and browser software tracking people’s online behaviors. Companies behind services, and those that act as data brokers, should make it clear to users what information is collected, the FTC recommended. The FTC called for Congress to pass online privacy laws and for the Internet industry to “accelerate the pace of selfregulation.” Reaction by Internet privacy advocates ranged from praise to criticism, with Information Technology & Innovation Foundation senior analyst Daniel Castro calling it “misguided.” “The new report shows the FTC still does not understand the fundamental economics of the Internet,” Castro said in a release. “The FTC’s recommendations would create economic burdens that could stifle the efficiency and innovation that consumers also want from the Internet.” The dissenting commissioner, J. Thomas Rosch, wrote in the report that he was worried about the legality of stopping Internet companies being able to tell users “take-it-or-leave-it” regarding data collection practices. — AFP



Babies still put at risk of sudden death CALIFORNIA: Parents in the United States changed how they put their infants to sleep after a campaign to prevent sudden infant death, but the decrease in babies dying has stabilized in recent years and some deaths remain preventable, according to a study. Sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, kills about 2,500 babies each year in the United States, most often those who are between two- and four-months-old. Babies put to bed on their stomach and side, especially with blankets and pillows, or those who share a bed with their parents, are known to be at extra risk of SIDS, also known as “crib death.” So doctors and public health officials tried to get the message to parents that

infants should be put to sleep on their back on a firm surface, starting in 1994 with the “Back-to-Sleep” campaign. Parts of the message, however, still haven’t gotten through, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found. “Far and away, the safest sleep environment for a baby is to be placed in a crib with a well-fitting mattress, the mattress is firm, there are no soft objects in the bed - no bumper pads, no blankets, no overstuffed toys - and the baby in the crib is sleeping alone,” said Henry Krous, who worked on the study. “When caretakers put an infant down to sleep, they shouldn’t just think about putting a baby on its back, they should

think about these other risk factors.” Krous and his colleagues compared the cases of all babies who came through the San Diego medical examiner’s office with SIDS as the cause of death between 1991 and 2008, a total of 568 infants. They found that fewer babies died suddenly after the word got out about dangerous sleeping positions. About one in 750 babies were killed by SIDS in 1991, compared to one in 1,600 in 2008. Most of that drop came in the decade after the campaign began, and the number dying has stabilized in recent years. The study team also noticed there were still preventable risks involved in most recent SIDS cases. The number of infants who’d been put to sleep on their

stomach, for example, fell from 85 percent before the campaign to 30 percent afterwards, but the number found deceased in an adult bed increased from 23 percent to 45 percent. “People are getting part of the message, but not all of it,” said Debra WeeseMayer, a pediatrician at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, who wasn’t involved in the study. Most of the babies who died since 1991 had at least one innate risk for SIDS, such as being a boy or African American or being born prematurely. Infants were also more at risk if their mothers smoked or drank alcohol. Krous told Reuters Health that “the best of both worlds” is to let the baby

sleep on a separate surface immediately next to the parents’ bed. Keeping the mother and baby close promotes breastfeeding, but avoiding bed-sharing cuts the SIDS risk. Weese-Mayer said she thinks preventable risks haven’t been eliminated for multiple reasons: because some parents never learn about the dangers of stomach sleeping or sharing beds and because others know the risks but choose alternative sleeping positions anyway. “What’s sad is, because the (decreased number of deaths) has suggested to people that SIDS is going away, it decreases the public visibility of SIDS, and there couldn’t be anything farther from the truth - it’s not going away,” she said.— Reuters

US Supreme Court takes up heart of ‘Obamacare’ High court takes up fight over health law

WASHINGTON: Dr Sonia Nagda puts on a pin supporting the health care reform law signed by President Obama as she gathers with other health care professionals in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, yesterday. — AP

Surgery can put Type 2 diabetes into remission CHICAGO: New research gives clear proof that weight-loss surgery can reverse and possibly cure diabetes, and doctors say the operation should be offered sooner to more people with the disease - not just as a last resort. The two studies, released on Monday, are the first to compare stomach-reducing operations to medicines alone for “diabesity” - Type 2 diabetes brought on by obesity. Millions of Americans have this and can’t make enough insulin or use what they do make to process sugar from food. Both studies found that surgery helped far more patients achieve normal blood-sugar levels than medicines alone did. The results were dramatic: Some people were able to stop taking insulin as soon as three days after their operations. Cholesterol and other heart risk factors also greatly improved. Doctors don’t like to say “cure” because they can’t promise a disease will never come back. But in one study, most surgery patients were able to stop all diabetes drugs and have their disease stay in remission for at least two years. None of those treated with medicines alone could do that. “It is a major advance,” said Dr. John Buse of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a leading diabetes expert who had no role in the studies. Buse said he often recommends surgery to patients who are obese and can’t control their blood-sugar through medications, but many are leery of it. “This evidence will help convince them that this really is an important therapy to at least consider,” he said. There were signs that the surgery itself - not just weight loss - helps reverse diabetes. Food makes the gut produce hormones to spur insulin, so trimming away part of it surgically may affect those hormones, doctors believe. Weight-loss surgery “has proven to be a very appropriate and excellent treatment for diabetes,” said one study co-leader, Dr. Francesco Rubino, chief of diabetes surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “The most proper name for the surgery would be diabetes surgery.” The studies were published online by the New England Journal of Medicine, and the larger one was presented Monday at an American College of Cardiology conference in Chicago. More than a third of American adults are obese, and more than 8 percent have diabetes, a major cause of heart disease, strokes

and kidney failure. Between 5 million and 10 million are like the people in these studies, with both problems. For a century, doctors have been treating diabetes with pills and insulin, and encouraging weight loss and exercise with limited success. Few very obese people can drop enough pounds without surgery, and many of the medicines used to treat diabetes can cause weight gain, making things worse. Surgery offers hope for a long-term fix. It costs $15,000 to $25,000, and Medicare covers it for very obese people with diabetes. Gastric bypass is the most common type: Through “keyhole” surgery, doctors reduce the stomach to a small pouch and reconnect it to the small intestine. One previous study tested stomach banding, a less drastic and reversible procedure for limiting the size of the stomach. This technique lowered blood sugar, but those patients had mild diabetes. The new studies tested permanent weight-loss surgery in people with longtime, severe diabetes. At the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Philip Schauer studied 150 people given one of two types of surgery plus standard medicines or a third group given medicines alone. Their A1c levels - the key blood-sugar measure - were over 9 on average at the start. A healthy A1c is 6 or below. One year after treatment began, only 12 percent of those treated with medicines alone were at that healthy level, versus 42 percent and 37 percent of the two groups given surgery. Use of medicines for high cholesterol and other heart risks dropped among those in the surgery groups but rose in the group on medicines alone. “Every single one of the bypass patients who got to 6 or less got there without the need for any diabetes medicines. Almost half of them were on insulin at the start. That’s pretty amazing,” said a study co-leader, Dr. Steven Nissen, the Cleveland Clinic’s cardiovascular chief. An obesity surgery equipment company sponsored the study, and some of the researchers are paid consultants; the federal government also contributed grant support. The second study was led by Dr. Geltrude Mingrone at the Catholic University in Rome, with Rubino from New York. It involved 60 patients given one of two types of surgery or medicines alone. —AP

HERAT: An Afghan health worker administers polio vaccine to a child on the third day of a vaccination campaign in Herat yesterday. A new threeday nationwide immunisation campaign against polio began on March 25. — AFP

WASHINGTON: The Supreme Court dives into the heart of President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law yesterday, taking up its most divisive requirementthat Americans maintain insurance or be fined. The nine justices appeared satisfied Monday they had jurisdiction in the blockbuster case, clearing the way for a legal review that has huge implications for the nation and the 2012 elections. The first day of oral arguments probed when lawsuits can be brought in tax cases and whether the court must wait until after Obama’s Affordable Care Act enters fully into force in 2014 to consider legal challenges to it. “I think based on the arguments this morning, that the court is not likely to delay ruling on the merits until the individual mandate goes into effect,” said Elizabeth Wydra, a lawyer with the Constitutional Accountability Center. “They will be likely to get to the merits, and so that makes the arguments tomorrow on the mandate and Wednesday on Medicaid even more important,” said Wydra, who filed a brief in support of the health care law. The reform would extend coverage to 32 million Americans who currently lack it, but the individual mandate is a linchpin because it requires that all Americans maintain minimum insurance coverage from 2014. Although exceptions are made for certain categories of people, the government argues that the reform will unravel if people can opt out. So individuals who do not buy insurance will face penalties. Those provisions have made Obama’s greatest legislative achievement the Republicans’ biggest target going into the November presidential election. Supporters hail the

law-the most sweeping reform of the troubled US health care system in decades-as a major social advance, while opponents view it as an assault on individual liberties, deriding it as “Obamacare.” The divisions have made for blockbuster hearings, even though the Supreme Court is unlikely to make any rulings before June, when whatever it decides is sure to

vowed to repeal Obama’s law if elected. At a campaign event in California on Monday, beneath a banner reading “Repeal and Replace Obamacare,” Romney slammed the president’s policies as “an attack on economic freedom unlike anything we have ever seen before.” Several hundred people gathered on the steps of the court

WASHINGTON: A supporter of recent health care reform holds a sign outside the US Supreme Court yesterday in Washington. The Supreme Court dives into the heart of President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law yesterday, taking up its most divisive requirement — that Americans maintain insurance or be fined. —AFP pour fuel on the election-year fire. “This is the most important issue in this election,” Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told the crowd gathered outside the court on Monday. Frontrunner Mitt Romney has faced blistering criticism from Republican opponents over a health care law he enacted as governor of Massachusetts that inspired Obama’s reforms-but has

Monday, brandishing placards and chanting slogans for and against the federal law, which was enacted in 2010. “We love Obamacare, that’s why we here,” some chanted. Chris Crawford, a 20-year-old political science student who said he came to witness history, said he opposed the law. “Giving the government the power to force citizens to buy something is a very dangerous

precedent,” he said. Inside, the court was packed with attorneys, guests of the court like Attorney General Eric Holder, and members of the public lucky enough to get a coveted seat. The issue before the court on Monday was whether a law called the Anti-Injunction Act-which bars lawsuits to prevent Congress from assessing or collecting taxesapplied to challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If it does, the court would have no jurisdiction over the ACA until after people who refused to buy health insurance were forced to pay penalties sometime after 2014. But in 90 minutes of questioning, the justices appeared to lean strongly in favor of jurisdiction, sharply questioning why the law’s penalties should be considered taxes. “It seems to make no sense to separate the punishment from the requirement,” Chief Justice John Roberts said. Justice Antonin Scalia said there was “at least some doubt” about whether the penalty was a tax, and “unless it’s clear, courts are not deprived of jurisdiction.” Justice Ruth Ginsburg said the act “does not apply to penalties that are designed to induce compliance with the law rather than to raise revenue.” The government and the 26 states challenging the health care reform as unconstitutional argue the court has jurisdiction, but the court had assigned its own lawyer, Robert Long, to make the case that it does not. “There is nothing in the statute that should be treated as a tax,” said Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, arguing for the government. Gregory Katsas, who is representing states challenging the law, said “the purpose of this lawsuit is to challenge the mandate, not the tax.”— AFP

Chocolate lovers tend to weigh less: study SAN DIEGO: People who ate chocolate a few times a week or more weighed less than those who rarely indulged, according to a US study involving a thousand people. Researchers said the findings, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, don’t prove that adding a candy bar to your daily diet will help you shed pounds. Nor did the total amount of chocolate consumed have an impact. But the researchers, led by Beatrice Golomb, from the University of California San Diego, said it was possible that antioxidants in chocolate could be behind health benefits including lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as decreased body weight. “People have just assumed that because it comes with calories and it’s typically eaten as a sweet, therefore it would inherently have been one way, bad,” said Golomb. She and her colleagues used data from a study on cholesterol-lowering drugs that surveyed 1,000 healthy adults on typical eating habits, including how often they ate chocolate. The participants, who ranged from 20 to 85 years old, ate chocolate an average of twice per week and had an average body mass index, or BMI, of 28, which is considered overweight but not obese. The researchers found that people who ate chocolate with greater frequency tended to eat more calories overall, including more saturated fat, than those who went light on the candy. But even so, chocolate lovers tended to have a lower body weight. That was still the case after researchers accounted for age and gender, as well as how much they exercised. The effect worked out to a 2.3 to 3.2 kg (5 to 7 lb)difference between people who ate five servings of chocolate a week compared

to those who didn’t eat any, Golomb said. However, it was only how often they ate chocolate, rather than the total amount, that was linked to their weight. Past studies have tied chocolate to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and better insulin sensitivity, possibly because of antioxidants or other chemicals in cocoa. There are a number of possible explanations for the results, said Eric Ding, a nutritionist at the Harvard Medical School who was not involved in the study. One is that poorer people stick to the basics when they’re buying food and don’t eat as much chocolate. Poverty has been tied to higher body weight. Another possibility is that “people who lost weight reward themselves with chocolate, more than chocolate causing the weight loss,” he told Reuters Health. Because the new study is relatively small and couldn’t prove cause-and-effect, it’s hard to take any lessons from the findings, Ding said. But the key for chocolate lovers seems to be considering calories and knowing that not all chocolate is created equal. For example, past evidence suggests that antioxidants in chocolate called flavonoids are behind any benefits tied to chocolate-and dark chocolate has the most flavonoids. “If you consume chocolate, consume it in place of something else, rather than adding to your net daily calories. Tr y to consume dark chocolate,” he said. The researchers agreed that moderation is important. “This certainly does not provide support for eating large amounts of chocolate,” Golomb said. “For those of us who do eat a little bit of chocolate regularly, perhaps any guilt associated with that might be qualified.” — Reuters

CALIFORNIA: This March 10, 2012 handout photo provided by El Dorado DOG Photography shows a female Dachshund mix named Beyonce on top of an iPhone in El Dorado Hills, California. The puppy named after one of the world’s biggest pop stars could set the world’s record for tiniest dog. Animal rescuers in Northern California say that Beyonce was so small at birth that she could fit into a spoon. — AP

Bird flu claims sixth victim in Indonesia JAKARTA: A 17-year old construction worker has died of bird flu on Indonesia’s Lombok island, the sixth death from the virulent disease this year, a health ministry official said yesterday. The man developed fever on February 28 and was admitted to a local hospital five days later where he died on March 9, the ministry’s head of animal-borne infectious disease control said. “A laboratory result confirmed that he tested positive for the bird flu virus,” Rita Kusriastuti told AFP, adding that the man contracted the H5N1 virus from poultry living around his house. “Some ducks and chickens in his neighbourhood died of the virus, which has also been confirmed by a lab result,” she said. Concerns about avian influenza have risen in Asia since China in

late December reported its first fatality from the virus in 18 months. Since then one more person has died in China. Vietnam and Cambodia also recently reported deaths from avian influenza and the spread of the H5N1 virus in chickens in Hong Kong prompted a mass cull of birds. Indonesia has been the nation hardest-hit by bird flu, with 155 deaths repor ted since 2003, according to the latest figures given by the World Health Organization, which exclude the latest death in Indonesia. The virus typically spreads from birds to humans through direct contact, but experts fear it could mutate into a form that is easily transmissible between humans, with the potential to kill millions in a pandemic.— AFP



Painkiller Opana, new scourge of rural America Powerful opioid cuts a deadly path, abuse surges

PRAGUE: A protester dressed as skeleton demonstrates against planned health care reforms yesterday in Prague. Banner reads ‘’Save our health’’ —AFP

EPA to reduce carbon pollution WASHINGTON: The Obama administration will press ahead yesterday with the first-ever limits on heat-trapping pollution from new power plants, ignoring protests from Republicans who have said the regulation will raise electricity prices and kill off coal, a dominant US energy source. But the proposal, which was outlined to the Associated Press by administration officials, also will fall short of environmentalists’ hopes because it goes easier than it could have on coal-fired power - one of the largest sources of the gases blamed for global warming. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to preempt the official announcement. Older coal-fired power plants have already been shutting down across the country, thanks to low natural gas prices, demand from China and weaker demand for electricity. But regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency on controlling pollution downwind and toxic emissions have helped push some into retirement, causing Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail to claim the agency will cause blackouts. Numerous studies and an AP survey of power plant operators have shown that is not the case.

The proposed rule will not apply to existing power plants or new ones built in the next year. It will also give future coal-fired power plants years to meet the standard, because it will eventually require that carbon pollution be captured and stored underground. That technology is not yet commercially available. A new natural gas-fired power plant would meet the new standard without installing additional controls. The regulation, which was due to be released last July, stemmed from a settlement with environmental groups and states. The government already controls global warming pollution at the largest industrial sources, has proposed standards for new vehicles and is working on regulations to reduce greenhouse gases at existing power plants and refineries. Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, an advocacy group fighting coalfired power, said in an interview that the regulation shows that President Barack Obama is moving to a cleaner energy future. “It’s a strong move,” Brune said. “It means there will never be another coal plant built without new technology and it probably means even those won’t be built because they can’t compete.” — AP

AUSTIN: Back in high school in Houston, Texas, C.J. Coomer got good grades and played football. He was dark-haired and handsome, popular with his friends and doted on by his family. But when his mother got divorced and moved to be near family in rural Scott County, Indiana, Coomer began running with a crowd there that abused prescription painkillers to get high. His weight dropped from 210 pounds to just 140 pounds (64 kg), he couldn’t work, and was constantly borrowing money. One night last July, Coomer tried something new-Opana, a powerful opioid painkiller containing oxymorphone. He overdosed and died at the age of 24. “It’s a nightmare every single day,” said his mother, Melissa Himmelheber, 43, who wiped away tears as she showed pictures of her lost son. “This is a family that was extremely close. Now we’re just picking up the shattered pieces.” Prescription drug abuse is the new scourge of rural America. It now leads to more deaths in the United States than heroin and cocaine combined, and rural residents are nearly twice as likely to overdose on pills than people in big cities, according to the Centers for Disease Control. While methamphetamine addiction has long been associated with small towns, prescription painkillers have overtaken meth as the most abused drugs in places such as southern Indiana, according to local authorities. Opana is the hot new prescription drug of abuse, sometimes with tragic consequences. At least nine people have died so far this year from prescription drug overdoses in Scott County, Indiana. Most of the fatalities involved Opana, according to county coroner Kevin Collins. Before 2011, only about 20 percent of the cases referred to the coroner were overdose deaths, and most of those were suicides rather than accidents. Last year, prescription drug overdoses accounted for 19 deaths, or about half of all deaths referred to the coroner in this county of just 24,000 on the southern tip of Indiana, about 30 miles from Louisville, Kentucky. “We’re seeing a lot of 25-year-olds who are dead for no apparent reason,” said Collins, who is so dis-

heartened by the overdoses that it is one reason he won’t run for reelection in May. Law enforcement officials are alarmed by the rise of Opana abuse, which they said started after Oxycontin was changed in late 2010 to make that drug more difficult to snort or inject for a heroinlike high. Oxycontin is a brand of oxycodone. Opana abuse can be deadly because it is more potent, per milligram, than Oxycontin, and users who are not familiar with how strong it is may be vulnerable to overdosing. Opana, known by such street names as “stop signs,” “the O bomb,” and “new blues,” is crushed and either snorted or injected. Crushing defeats the pill’s “extended release” design, releasing the drug all at once. “This Opana pill has really kicked us in the rear,” said Indiana State Police Sergeant Jerry Goodin. “We’ve never seen an addiction like this.” Oxycontin’s new pills make it harder to crush them into a powder as they instead become gummy and cannot be readily snorted or injected. This drove abusers to switch to Opana or to generic, immediate-release forms of oxycodone, according to John Burke, president of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. Drug abuse experts have also found an increase in heroin use. Endo Pharmaceuticals, which produces Opana, announced in December that it would reformulate Opana. The new pill is being manufactured now. The new formulation makes it difficult to crush and it turns viscous or “gooey” if an abuser tries to add liquid to it, said company spokesman Kevin Wiggins. When used properly, Opana is indicated for chronic low back and osteoarthritis pain, and cancer pain. But the old form of Opana is still available, and pharmacy and home robberies are on the rise as addicts search for a way to get their fix, according to police. “We’re pretty much consumed by it,” Shane McHenry, a detective with the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department in southern Indiana, said of Opana. He said users who cannot afford Op a na so m etimes travel to Cincinnati to get heroin, which is cheaper in smaller amounts. Fort Wayne, Indiana reported about 11 pharmacy robberies related to Opana since Endo

announced the reformulation, according to Fort Wayne police spokeswoman Raquel Foster. The thief would hand the pharmacist a note, as in a bank robbery, threatening harm if Opana was not delivered. The Opana problem has been reported by abuse experts around the country. In Florida, for example, the number of oxymorphone-related deaths rose to 493 in 2010, an increase of 109 percent from the previous year, according to Jim Hall, director of a drug abuse center at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. Some users and dealers get painkillers from socalled “pill mills”-storefront pain clinics that sell drugs for cash up front, often to out of-state buyers who take them for resale. But the other way users get pills is from their doctors, or by buying from seniors looking to supplement a fixed income. One Opana pill brings up to $90 on the street depending on dosage, so it is tempting to sell, said Scott County Sheriff Dan McClain. A woman in her late 70s was arrested in Austin, Indiana for exchanging pills for work around her house, McClain said. “Most of what I see is people with a prescription from their doctors and they need the money,” said Austin, Indiana Police Detective Lonnie Noble. He said the appetite for Opana is “more aggressive” than it was for Oxycontin. Nashville, Tennessee Detective Michael Donaldson, who also has seen an increase in Opana abuse, said many small towns have “dirty doctors” willing to give out unneeded prescriptions. Scott County is one of the poorest areas in Indiana, with a median household income of $39,588 in 2010. It was a hot spot for oxycodone retail distribution in 2010, with 48.79 per capita dosage units-the highest in the state, according to Lori Croasdell, a coordinator for CEASe of Scott County, a drug abuse prevention group. A northern section of Austin in Scott County showed signs of poverty and neglect. Run-down trailers and houses with broken windows and peeling paint were mixed in among well-kept homes and tidy gardens.—Reuters



W H AT ’ S O N Greetings

Middle school student Mohammed Zain celebrated his graduation with family and friends. Mohammad loves swimming and chess, and hopes to become a neurosurgeon when he grows up. Congratulations, Mohammad!

Happy birthday to our dearest son Solaeman who celebrates his birthday today. May Almighty Allah bless him with good health and a bright future. Best wishes come from father Anoar, mother Ropa, uncles Mamun, Abdur Rahim, Al Amin Rana and all friends, relatives in Bangladesh and Kuwait.


Workshop to improve handwriting


ndian Educational School (Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan), Kuwait organized a special workshop to enrich the handwriting of their stakeholders. The training done in collaboration with the Master Mind in India was remarkable with a massive response and participation. As it is meant for all above 10 years, even parents have joined the first slot

of the programme. In his inaugural speech, Suresh, English Faculty Head of the Senior Secondary, IES, stressed the importance of attaining legibility in one’s handwriting. Legibility and beauty of one’s handwriting does a lot to ensure and develop one’s confidence. Thus handwriting has an inseparable influence on one’s personality, he said. All letters in the alphabet of English

in cursive/running hand are introduced in all possible letter combinations in varied meaningful contexts. In addition to letters, digits from zero to 9 also are taught in this course. Most often children lose their score in their examination just because they lack clarity or legibility in their handwriting. By the time they complete their seven day course on improving

their handwriting, the organizers promise, the participants attain hundred per cent legibility. Later, after fifteen or twenty days of the session, the participants are called again for a fine tuning programme in which their wrong or bad habits of letter formations are identified and rectified. The second batch of the workshop will start on first of April.

Family picnic Farooque College Old Student Association (FOSA) annual family picnic will be held on 30th March Friday in Mina Al Zour. The whole day program will start at 9am at the venue, accordingly, the buses will start from Salmiya and Farwaniya at 7:30 am and will gather at Fahaheel Al Kout Mall parking to start from there at 8am. Picnic which is meant for FOSA families and guests will have various entertainment and informative programs, and special games for children. A one hour General Body will be held in the morning at the same venue, to elect new office bearers. All alumni of Farooque College are requested to participate in the picnic. For details contact 66479132, 66503456, 66636112. Diabetes aware seminar Diabetes aware seminar by The Indian Women’s Association on April 5, 2012 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm at Clover Medical Clinic (Jabriya, off the 4th Ring Road, near the Maghreb/40 Expressway). Following the seminar, attendees will also have the opportunity to have their queries answered by our experts. All attendees will also receive a free individualized and comprehensive risk assessment by appointment at Dr. Kashif’s diabetic clinic. This seminar is open to all and is free contact: Grand Mosque Tour For a rewarding, spiritual and informative experience. This is a 1 1/2 tour of one of Kuwait’s most famous landmarks. Ladies are required to cover (long sleeves and long ankle length skirt, otherwise the mosque will provide a cloak; If you have your own scarf you’re welcome to bring it). Cameras are allowed and children are welcome. This tour meets directly at the Grand Mosque at 9:15am on April 14, 2012 @ 9:15 am 10:45 am at Grand Mosque. Contact: AWARE Center 2533-5280

Impressions and Expressions art exhibition


oted artist and art teacher in Kuwait, Kondalraj of S.S.Manian Art Foundation will be holding a painting art exhibition ‘Impressions & Expressions’ at Dar Al-Cid Art exhibition hall, Jabriya from 6 to 13 April. This is the fourth time an art exhibition is being held

Cricket team selection Kuwait Cricket will have the selection trials of Under 16 boys for forming the Kuwait National Cricket team which will participate in the ACC U-16 Elite Cup 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 2-13 May 2012. The age cut-off eligibility date is 1 May 1995 which will be later scientifically verified by ACC. Additionally, the player should be either Kuwait born or must be a resident since last 7 years. All interested youngsters satisfying these conditions should attend the selection trials at the KC Sulaibiya cricket grounds on Saturday 31 March 2012 between 8.30 am-12 Noon. Contact Asad BaigDirector General KC on Mob 97158856 for further details. Easter services St Paul’s Anglican Church Easter Services times is as follows: 5 April - Maundy Thursday: 1830 Church House, Ahmadi; 6 April - Good Friday: 1030: Salwa Villa; 8 April: Easter Sunday: 0615 Easter Sunrise Service, British Embassy. If you wish to attend then please ensure that you register on the St Paul’s website: click on ‘Services’, then on Easter Sunrise Service and enter name and Civil ID card number. You will need to be at the Embassy in good time to get through security. 8 April: Easter Sunday: 1900 St Paul’s Church, Ahmadi. Writers forum launched Malayalam Kuwait, the platform for readers and writers among the Keralites in Kuwait was launched during a meeting held at United Indian School, Abbassiya. Sharing of reading and writing, debates and discussions, literary symposia and reinforcement of budding writing talents are the goals of the group. Bergman Thomas, John Mathew, Kaippattoor Thankachan, Sam Painummood, John Mathews, sathar Kunnil, Lissy Kuryakkose, Swapna Jacob, Bessy Kadavil, Unnimaya Nampoothiri, Shibu Philip, Dharmaraj Madappally, Uthaman Valathukadu, Rafeeq Thayath, Tiju Thankachan, Sunil K Cherian and Harikrishnan participated in the first ever meeting of Malayalam Kuwait. The group will hold its monthly discussion every last Friday at various locations, informed the group’s convener Bergman Thomas. Malayalam members will gather on Friday, March 30 at Successline, Abbassiya to discuss Bergman’s award winning novel, Puramkatal, recently serialized in Kalakaumudi Weekly. Anyone interested to join the group, please contact: 66556867

by artist Kondalraj. The earlier one was held in 2009 at the same venue and was widely received. Paintings of eminent artists from India like Maruthi, Maniyam Selvan, Jeyaraj, Marudhu, Chanru, etc. would be on display for the first time ever in Kuwait, along with the paintings of artist Kondalraj.

The Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, Satish C. Mehta would be inaugurating the art exhibition. More than 5,000 visitors are expected to view the exhibition. Painting being an art with no geographical boundaries nor language barriers, a cosmopolitan audience is expected to patronize the exhibition.

Tulukoota family picnic 2012


et another day filled with fun, frolic and entertainment was enjoyed as TuluKoota Kuwait presented a Family Picnic for all its members on 23rd March at the Mishref Garden, Kuwait. The inauguration of the much awaited family picnic witnessed the hoisting of the Tulu Koota Flag by the President Ramesh Kidiyoor which was a proud moment for the onlookers. The flag hoisting followed by march past. The games were open by cutting of the ribbon and releasing the balloons into the dizzing heights of the

sky by President and Sports Secretary. As a symbol of peace the advisory committee members and Management committee members released doves on the occasion. Purander Manchi, Sushma Bangera, Shalini Vijay, Yadunath Alva, Harish Bhandary hosted the event. The team games of Kabbadi and Voleyball for men and Throwball for Women, gathered a large number of enthusiastic team participants. TKK conducted various types of rural games for toddlers to senior Koota

members. It was a thrilling experience to all the age group. Tasty breakfast was served by China Metro. Soft drinks were freely served throughout the event by Ibrahim Pinto. The lip smacking lunch was served by Oriental Restaurant, Salmiya. The picnic also witnessed refreshments and fresh snacks. Sound system by illuminations - Anand D’souza and photography by Prashanth Shetty. Picnic was well organized and coordinated by the Sports Secretary Faustine Pinto and his entire team. Great team work and dedication shown by committee members. The exciting event came to an end by vote of thanks proposed by Joint Secretary Mrs Jayalaxmi Karkal. Tulu Koota Kuwait thank and appreciate the work done by all the members, volunteers, sponsors. Tulu Koota Kuwait also applauds all the

winners, participants and audience for their contribution in making the day eventful and a day to cherish. And also TKK thanks to Public Authority of Agriculture affairs & Fish Resources for their outstanding support.


W H AT ’ S O N


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

KNES wishes mothers everywhere a Happy Mother’s Day!


he young PreSchool children of Kuwait National English School invited their mothers to a celebration to mark Mothers Day 2012. The children always enjoy having their mothers visit the school and help build this strong community of staff, students and parents. A very Happy Mother’s Day wish to all Mothers from the staff and students of Kuwait National English School!


NPIS celebrates Pakistan Day


PIS celebrated Pakistan National Day with great pomp and show. The students made speeches to throw light on the history of Pakistan making and the resolution passed on

23rd March, 1940 in which the separate independent sovereign state was demanded by the Muslims in order to lead their life according to the teachings of Islam.

This demand was materialized after the seven years of the resolution and new independent and sovereign Muslim state appeared on the world map on 14th August, 1947.

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

The students also sang national and patriotic songs along with performances, Tableau and skits were presented to manifest the culture of Pakistan in order to share their pleasure with the nation.

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

EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India will remain closed on Thursday, April 5, 2012 on account of “Mahavir Jayanti”. nnnnnnn

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

KDNA distributes financial aid


ozhikode District NRI Association, distributed financial assistance (IRS 43,000) to member N. Muhammed Koya during its Fahaheel Executive Meeting which held in Fahaheel. Association President Zubair MM handed over the aid to Muhammed Koya, who was under the treatment after his bypass surgery. Fahaheel Area Vice President Aneesh Kumar presided and association general secretary Suresh Mathur inaugurated the meeting. Inauguration of Fahaheel Area membership identity card was handed over by Membership and Data Secretary Sathyan Varuda to T Vinod Kumar and Investment & Benefit Scheme “Akshaya” was inaugurated by Association

Treasurer Santosh Punathil to Kharafi Unit president KM Sajeesh. KDNA expresses its deepest condolence on the demise of ex-parliament member and secretary of CPI C.K. Chandrappan. Members stood for a one minute silence in respect to the departed leader. Organizing Secretary Rasheed Payanthong, Joint Treasurer RN Soukath, Investment and Benefit Secretary Ilyas Thottathil, Executive Member TM Praju and Balan Koomulli, C Mohamed Iqbal, Nishal Ani, P.O. Binil Kumar, S Ajesh, T Vinod Kumar, Faizal, spoke during the meeting. Fahaheel Area General Secretary Sajeevan Kunnimmal rendered welcome speech and Area Secretary Suhesh Kumar proposed the vote of thanks.


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

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

‘Prakruti’ workshop on landscape painting


mma Kuwait and PART (Progressive Art Realization Troop) of Kuwait join hands to celebrate nature through art. This maiden joint venture is a five-hour landscape painting workshop called Prakruti. About 250 children in the age group ten to 17 are expected to participate in the workshop conducted by professional artists of PART. The event will take place on April 20, 2012 at the Jawahara Ahlia School, Riggae from 9am to 3.30pm. Amma Kuwait is a socio-cultural organization, registered with and recognized by the Indian Embassy in Kuwait. This organization was formed in 1995 by a group of like-minded individuals drawing inspiration and strength from the global humanitarian efforts of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi of India. With time, Amma Kuwait that commenced as a small group of families has grown into a platform that has provided various opportunities for children to give vent to their intrinsic creative talents. Through community service oriented projects such as health camps, seminars, exhibitions and other socio-cultural events Amma Kuwait successfully brings

the Indian community in Kuwait under one umbrella. Progressive Art Realization Troop (PART) of Kuwait is a nascent non-commercial organization of professional artists residing in Kuwait. This troop was formed in order to enhance creative ideas among members

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

and to promote discussions and analysis in the field of Painting and Creative Art. Recently, a symposium and exhibition on contemporary art was organized by PART which was well received by the artistic community in Kuwait. PRAKRUTI is a Sanskrit word which

means nature. True to its name the workshop aims to align itself with the world in its mission to conserve nature. What better way to achieve this than by inspiring children who hold hope and promise to observe the beauty of omnipresent nature they are a part of. The connection between nature, art and man is ancient, deep and one that is constantly evolving. Since centuries, through civilizations, this bond has served to stir man’s imagination and creativity despite demands of a mundane day to day life, to find expression through various forms and mediums. Evidently, nature has played muse to man on more than one occasion. The exploration of nature in art has been one of the quintessential pursuits of man’s creative mind. All encompassing nature is at once simple and complex. From the ladybird to the butterfly, from a bee-hive to a cob web, pristine lakes to the expansive sky, nature weaves intricate designs and spectacular colors that have inspired generations of naturalists, philosophers, artists, poets and ordinary men alike. Please visit

EMBASSY OF VENEZUELA Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, request Venezuelan citizens living in Kuwait to register with the Embassy, This registration service is provided so that the Embassy can update its contact list and assist Venezuelan citizens in cases os emergencies. Registration Information 25324367 or by email: Our time is from Sunday to Thursday from 8.30am till 2 pm. nnnnnnn

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

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

Classifieds WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2012

REQUIRED 1. Chemical or Industrial Engineer with 3-5 years in ďŹ eld experience in Kuwait.

2. Accountant with computer programming and application for accounting. Good command of English is required in both jobs.


Please send resume to attention Procurement Manager Mr. Floy Hutton at

Email Address:



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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (


A cosmetics and beauty company is seeking for a showroom


SALESMAN OR SALESLADY Interested candidates should have a valid transferable residency.

WANTED A beauty and wellness company is seeking for a

SALES REPRESENTATIVE for medical equipment.

Experience is a major criteria for hiring. Interested candidates should have a valid transferable residency

Send you CVs at

Send you CVs at:

SITUATION WANTED Male Indian secretary B.Sc., 14 years experience, including 7 years in Kuwait, well versed in secretarial practices, computer operations & correspondence, conversant in English, Hindi, Malayalam & Tamil, Transferable residence. Contact: 97667430. (C 3924) 26-3-2012 Female 26 years post graduate 4 years experience in HR executive, seeking suitable jobs. Mob: 60473639. Email: (C 3918)

SITUATION VACANT Housemaid wanted for a small family in Farwaniya. Mob: 97514390 21-3-2012 Manager (Asian) in Maidan Hawally looking for a maid. Part time. Good salary. Call 97263962 for details. (C 3915) 17-3-2012

teacher, elementary and intermediate, long experience in Kuwait curricula, explaining grammar rules and starting those weak in reading and writing. Tel: 99262948. Senior chemistr y and physics teacher. Long experience for 10th, 11th and 12th stages. Intermediate science and applied institutions. Highly competent. Tel: 99542922. Mathematics and statistics female teacher for female students in the secondary, intermediate, university and applied institutions female students. Tel: 99410370. Female Syrian Arabic language teacher for elementary and intermediate, and starting the weak using Halaby method in her house located in Abdallah Al-Mubarak area. Tel: 50513699. Senior biology and science teacher for 12th, 11th and 10th grades, and science for all intermediate classes, religious institutes, nursing, educational experience, simple explanation for fast understanding. Tel: 66543474.

CHANGE OF NAME I, Shaik Bhan holder of Indian passport No. E1093793 hereby change my name to SHAIK AMANULLA. (C 3925) 28-3-2012

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

I, Donga Hanumanthu Ram holder of Indian passport No. F2522828, son of Donga Swamy change has changed my name to DONGA HANUMANTHA RAO. (C 3923) 26-3-2012

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

I, Murugesan Uma Maheshwari, holder of Indian passport No. E2156446 have changed religion (embraced Islam). Hence I will be known as Riyazudeen Safia Begum. (C 3922) 25-3-2012

TUITION Math teacher for secondar y stage, language schools, bi-lingual schools and intermediate stage: Algebra, Gmath, Geometry, Statistics for arts and science branches. Tel: 66974020. English language teacher specialized in starting elementary and intermediate, 10th and 11th experienced in starting functions, grammar, set book, vocabulary, notes and model exams available. Tel: 65791555. Arabic language teacher, masters in methods of teaching for secondary and intermediate students. Tel: 50644685. Senior Arabic language

Senior chemistry teacher for secondary students and science for intermediate. All reviews and exams, and university qualification chemistry. Tel: 99560268. Female senior mathematics teacher, 35 years experience in Kuwait for secondary, intermediate and elementary stages, applied, initial university, communications and navigation and special courses. Tel:

No: 15401

97926737. Elementary stage teacher, 12 years experience, ready to give remedial lessons for all topics in the elementary stage in a simple method. Tel: 66594901. English teacher specialized in elementary and intermediate, experienced in grammar, book questions and synonyms. Highly experienced in Kuwait curricula. Tel: 97373301. French language teacher, specialized in 11th and 12th grades, languages schools, Pakistani and Indian schools. Long experience in Kuwait curricula. Senior philosophy and logic teacher for the 12th

FOR RENT Flat in South Surra, 3 bedrooms, 2 of which are master + living room + kitchen + maid room, new, super deluxe. Tel: 97864628. For rent, commercial flat in Hawally, can be used as workshop, large area. No middle men. Parking. Tel: 66043961. Flat in Bneid Al-Gar, 2 rooms + 2 bathrooms + living room + kitchen + Gym + swimming pool overlooking the sea, central satellite + internet. For families, no middle men. Tel: 66043961. Flat in Salmiya 3 bedroom + 2 bathrooms + living room + kitchen + central satellite + internet. 4x4 rooms, 4x8 living room for expatriates only. Rent KD 330. No middle men. Tel: 66043961. Flat in Salmiya 2 rooms + 2 bathrooms + living room + kitchen + central satellite + internet. Families only, no middle men. Tel: 66043961. A commercial floor in Salmiya. Close to Blajat. Car parking. No middle men. Tel: 66043961. First floor in Shuhada, 4 rooms + living room + 5 bathrooms + maid room + balcony. Must be small family. Tel: 60308586. Flat in Zahra, 2 rooms + liv-

REQUIRED for a high class beauty salon in Shaab Albahri

1. Pedicure & manicure specialist 2. Nails art specialist Preferred transferable visa Tel: 99491633/ 97709559/ 99797145

ing room + kitchen + 3 bathrooms + laundry room + maid room. Tel: 60308586. A floor in Zahra, 4 rooms + living room + kitchen + 3 bathrooms, second floor, elevator. Must be small family. Tel: 99719887. Flat in west Jleeb, 3 rooms + living room + kitchen + 2 bathrooms first floor. No elevator. Must be newlyweds or one child only. Tel:99719887. Flat in Salam, 3 rooms + living room + kitchen + 3 bathrooms + maid room. Must be newlyweds or two children only. 60308586. First floor in Rumaithiya. 4 rooms + living room + kitchen + maid room + 6 bathrooms. Super deluxe. Must be foreigners and expats only. Tel: 60308586, 99719887. Large first floor with the roof in Firdous. No middle men. Tel: 99490502. Fully furnished flat in Mahboula 2 rooms + 2 baths + living room + Gym + DSL, Satellite + full sea view. Rent starts from KD 450. Tel: 66060822. Furished flat in a Salmiya resort 3 rooms + maid room + garden + swimming pool + children play room + DSL. Sea view + hotel service + car parking. Rent KD 800. Tel: 66060299. For rent or investment, medical clinics in Salmiya. Good location licensed and unlicensed. No brokers. Tel: 66060299. Flat in Salmiya, 3 bedrooms (2 master) + maid room + 3 bathrooms + 2 balconies + sea view + Gym. No brokers. Rent KD 550. Tel: 66060299.



00:45 Untamed & Uncut 01:40 Human Prey 02:35 Wild Animal Orphans 03:00 Wild Animal Orphans 03:30 Venom Hunter With Donald Schultz 04:25 Wild France 05:20 Gorilla School 05:45 Xtremely Wild 06:10 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 06:35 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 07:00 Orangutan Island 07:25 Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife 07:50 Talk To The Animals 08:15 The Really Wild Show 08:40 Project Puppy 09:10 America’s Cutest Pet 10:05 Wild France 11:00 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 11:55 RSPCA: Have You Got What It Takes? 12:20 Wildlife SOS 12:50 K9 Cops 13:45 Animal Cops Houston 14:40 Wild France 15:30 Echo And The Elephants Of Amboseli 16:00 The Really Wild Show 16:30 Breed All About It 16:55 Breed All About It 17:25 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 18:20 Bad Dog 19:15 Orangutan Island 19:40 Wildlife SOS

00:45 Eastenders 01:15 Doctors 01:45 Spooks 02:35 Sport Relief: John Bishop’s Week of Hell 03:30 Last Of The Summer Wine 04:00 Fimbles 04:20 Tellytales 04:35 Teletubbies 05:00 Buzz & Tell 05:05 Tikkabilla 05:35 The Large Family 05:45 Spot’s Musical Adventures 05:50 Fimbles 06:10 Tellytales 06:20 Teletubbies 06:45 Buzz & Tell 06:50 Tikkabilla 07:20 The Large Family 07:30 Spot’s Musical Adventures 07:35 Last Of The Summer Wine 08:05 Mastermind 08:35 The Weakest Link 09:20 Eastenders 09:50 Doctors 10:20 Holby City 11:10 Mastermind 11:40 Doctor Who Confidential 12:00 Sport Relief: John Bishop’s Week of Hell 13:00 The Weakest Link 13:45 Eastenders 14:15 Doctors 14:45 Holby City 15:35 Mastermind 16:05 Doctor Who Confidential 16:25 The Weakest Link 17:10 Eastenders 17:40 Doctors 18:10 Casualty 19:00 Last Of The Summer Wine 19:30 The Black Adder 20:00 Lark Rise to Candleford 20:50 Sport Relief: Little Britain’s Bog Swim 21:50 Last Woman Standing

00:15 00:40 01:35 02:30 03:25 04:20 05:15 05:40

Destroyed In Seconds When Disaster Strikes Dirty Jobs Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters How Do They Do It? How It’s Made

06:05 07:00 07:50 08:45 09:40 10:05 10:30 10:55 11:25 16:00 16:55 17:50 18:45 19:10 19:40 20:05 20:35 21:00 21:30 22:25 23:20

Dirty Jobs Mythbusters Deception With Keith Barry Mythbusters How Do They Do It? Cake Boss Border Security Auction Kings Industrial Junkie Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters Cash Cab Us Border Security Auction Kings How It’s Made How Do They Do It? Cake Boss The Future Of... Mythbusters Penn & Teller Tell A Lie

00:35 The World’s Strangest UFO Stories 01:25 The Tech Show 01:50 Race To Mars 02:40 Meteorite Men 03:35 How Does That Work? 04:00 How Stuff’s Made 04:25 The Future Of... 05:20 Da Vinci’s Machines 06:10 The World’s Strangest UFO Stories 07:00 The Gadget Show 07:25 The Gadget Show 07:50 How Does That Work? 08:15 How Stuff’s Made 08:40 Race To Mars 09:35 Meteorite Men 10:25 Mighty Ships 11:20 Da Vinci’s Machines 12:15 The World’s Strangest UFO Stories 13:05 The Future Of... 13:55 How Does That Work? 14:20 How Stuff’s Made 14:50 The Gadget Show 15:15 The Gadget Show 15:40 The Tech Show 16:05 Da Vinci’s Machines 17:00 Mighty Ships 17:50 Cosmic Collisions 18:40 Weird Or What? 19:30 What’s That About? 20:20 The Gadget Show 20:45 The Gadget Show 21:10 Da Vinci’s Machines 22:00 Weird Or What? 22:50 What’s That About? 23:40 Mighty Ships

00:15 01:05 01:55 02:45 03:35 04:25 05:15 06:00 06:15 06:40 07:05 07:30 07:55 08:20 08:45 09:10 CODY 09:35 10:00 11:42 12:05 12:30 12:55 13:20 13:45 14:10 14:35 15:00 15:25 15:50 16:15 16:40 17:05


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


00:05 Reza, Spice Prince Of India 00:30 Good Eats 00:55 Guy’s Big Bite 01:20 Guy’s Big Bite 01:45 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 02:10 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 02:35 Meat & Potatoes 03:00 Meat & Potatoes 03:25 Barefoot Contessa 03:50 Barefoot Contessa 04:15 Unique Sweets 04:40 Good Eats 05:05 Aarti Party 05:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 05:50 Food Network Challenge 06:35 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 07:00 Food Network Challenge 07:50 Reza, Spice Prince Of India 08:15 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 08:40 Good Eats 09:05 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 09:30 Paula’s Best Dishes 09:55 Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam 10:20 Lidia’s Italy 10:45 30 Minute Meals 11:10 Unwrapped 11:35 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 12:00 Good Eats 12:25 Guy’s Big Bite 12:50 Aarti Party 13:15 Cooking For Real 13:40 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 14:05 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 14:30 Unwrapped 14:55 Paula’s Best Dishes 15:20 Meat & Potatoes 15:45 Chopped 16:35 Cooking For Real 17:00 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 17:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 17:50 Aarti Party 18:15 Good Eats 18:40 Chef vs Britain 19:05 Meat & Potatoes 19:30 Food Network Challenge 20:20 Unwrapped 20:45 Unwrapped 21:10 Kid In A Candy Store 21:35 Kid In A Candy Store 22:00 Good Eats - Special 22:25 Good Eats - Special 22:50 Easy Chinese: San Francisco 23:15 Easy Chinese: San Francisco 23:40 Meat & Potatoes

00:10 00:35 01:00 01:25 01:50 02:15 02:40 03:00 03:25 03:50 04:15 04:40 05:00 05:25 05:50 06:00 06:30 06:55 07:20

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

07:45 08:00 08:25 08:50 09:15 09:40 10:05 10:25 10:50

Jelly Jamm Pink Panther And Pals Pink Panther And Pals Puppy In My Pocket The Scooby Doo Show Scooby Doo Where Are You! The Flintstones Duck Dodgers Tom & Jerry Kids

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Ghost Lab Psychic Witness Couples Who Kill Deadly Women Extreme Forensics Ghost Lab Psychic Witness Mystery ER On The Run Forensic Detectives Fugitive Strike Force Mystery ER Real Emergency Calls Mall Cops – Mall Of America On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Fugitive Strike Force Mystery ER Real Emergency Calls Mall Cops – Mall Of America On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared On The Run Forensic Detectives Fugitive Strike Force Real Emergency Calls Mystery ER Mall Cops – Mall Of America On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared I Almost Got Away With It I Faked My Own Death Extreme Forensics

01:20 Mgm’s Big Screen-FAM 01:35 Keaton’s Cop-PG 03:10 In The Arms Of A Killer-PG 04:45 Salvador-18 06:45 Hammer Down-PG 08:10 Countdown To Chaos-PG 09:40 Hercules-PG 11:20 Critical Assembly-PG 12:45 How To Succeed In Business Without Trying-PG 14:45 In His Life: The John Lennon Story-PG 16:15 Asteroid-U 18:20 Mgm’s Big Screen-FAM 18:35 Seven Hours To Judgement20:05 The Amityville Horror-18

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Dive Detectives A World Apart Treks In A Wild World Endurance Traveller On The Camino De Santiago The Music Nomad The Green Way Up The Green Way Up Dive Detectives A World Apart Treks In A Wild World Endurance Traveller On The Camino De Santiago The Music Nomad The Green Way Up The Green Way Up Dive Detectives On Surfari Word of Mouth Warrior Road Trip Don’t Tell My Mother Adventure Wanted A World Apart Treks In A Wild World Treks In A Wild World On Surfari Word of Mouth Warrior Road Trip Don’t Tell My Mother Adventure Wanted A World Apart

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Rescue Ink Super Predators Shark Men Built For The Kill Predator CSI Tiger Man The Living Edens Hooked Insects From Hell Insects From Hell Dangerous Encounters Shark Men Built For The Kill Predator CSI Squid vs. Whale Fish Warrior Hunt for the Giant Squid Dangerous Encounters Shark Men Built For The Kill Predator CSI Fish Warrior Hunt for the Giant Squid Dangerous Encounters Shark Men Built For The Kill

02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 11:45 13:30 15:30 18:15 20:00 22:00

The Hurt Locker on OSN Movies Action

The Cry Of The Owl-PG15 Street Kings 2: Motor City-18 Law Abiding Citizen-18 The Karate Kid III-PG The Three Musketeers-PG15 Fighting-PG15 The Karate Kid III-PG 2012-PG15 Fighting-PG15 Empire-18 Jason X-18

00:45 I Melt With You-R 03:00 The Social Network-PG15 05:15 The 19th Wife-PG15 07:00 Miles From Nowhere-PG15 09:00 Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides-PG15 11:15 Gasland-PG15

OSN captures the magic of our imagination


we are a pan-regional broadcaster, catering to our diverse and unique markets.” Bethany Bunnell, Creative Director, of OSN said: “We wanted to communicate the magical world of OSN TV. A place where the unexpected happens, a place that makes you smile. What if Spiderman was here in Kuwait, Hanging off one of the towers – Wow! Now that’s an experience. These are things that don’t happen in real life but you can experience this magic with OSN.” The new campaign will be rolled throughout the month with TV and print advertisements, an outdoor campaign, ambient marketing and a road show across the region.

SN unveiled its new brand campaign which reflects the network’s aim of capturing the magical moments of the audience’s imagination through TV entertainment and experiences. The new campaign, entitled ‘If only life was as magical as OSN,’ uses the hero characters shown across a variety of programmes and movies on the OSN platform placed in the background of OSN’s key markets including UAE, KSA, Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar. Hamad Malik, Chief Marketing Officer, of OSN, said: The aim of the campaign is to establish the OSN brand as a high quality, big TV experience which combines the latest content with superior quality and innovative functionality. The concept also reflects our key focus markets;

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The Social Network-PG15 Alabama Moon-PG15 The Eagle-PG15 Home-PG15 MacGruber-18 Black Death-PG15

00:00 Planet Food 01:00 Essential Specials 02:00 Cruise Today 02:30 Culture Shock 03:00 Tall Ship Explorers 04:00 Globe Trekker 05:00 Planet Food 06:00 Distant Shores 06:30 Distant Shores 07:00 Globe Trekker 08:00 Intrepid Journeys 09:00 Cruise Today 09:30 Travel Today 10:00 Planet Food 11:00 Dream Destinations 11:30 Dream Destinations 12:00 Globe Trekker Special 13:00 Flavours Of Mexico 13:30 Flavours Of Mexico 14:00 Intrepid Journeys 15:00 Essential Specials 16:00 Globe Trekker Special 17:00 Distant Shores 17:30 Distant Shores 18:00 Flavours Of Mexico 18:30 Travel Today 19:00 Globe Trekker 20:00 Inside Luxury Travel-Varun Sharma 21:00 Inside Universal Studios - Japan 22:00 Trabant Trek 22:30 Word Travels 23:00 Globe Trekker

00:25 Kendra 00:55 Style Star 01:25 E!es 02:20 The E! True Hollywood Story 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 25 Most Sensational Hollywood Meltdowns 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Bridalplasty 10:15 40 (More) Crimes Of Fashion 12:05 E! News 13:05 Ice Loves Coco 13:35 Ice Loves Coco 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 15:00 Style Star 15:30 THS 16:25 Behind The Scenes 16:55 Dirty Soap 17:55 E! News 18:55 THS 19:55 Khloe And Lamar 20:25 Khloe And Lamar 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:25 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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Glamour Puds 10 Years Younger Fantasy Homes By The Sea Glamour Puds Antiques Roadshow Glamour Puds MasterChef Australia Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Come Dine With Me 10 Years Younger What Not To Wear Fantasy Homes By The Sea Holmes On Homes Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Diy SOS Glamour Puds 10 Years Younger What Not To Wear What Not To Wear Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow

RIME & INVESTIGATION 00:00 Snapped 00:30 Snapped 01:00 The First 48 02:00 Nightmare In Suburbia 03:00 Snapped 03:30 Snapped 04:00 Cold Case Files 05:00 The First 48 06:00 Fugitive Chronicles 07:00 Crime Central

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Power, Privilege And Justice Crime Town USA Crime Town USA Britain’s Biggest Heists Crime Central Power, Privilege And Justice Crime Town USA Crime Town USA Britain’s Biggest Heists Power, Privilege And Justice Crime Central Power, Privilege And Justice Crime Town USA Crime Town USA Crime Stories Fugitive Chronicles The First 48 Crime Scene Insects Cold Case Files

01:00 RoboCop 2-PG15 03:00 Street Kings 2: Motor City-18 05:00 Splinter-18 07:00 Time Machine: Rise Of The Morlocks-PG15 09:00 You Got Served-PG15 11:00 Attack On Leningrad-PG15 13:00 The Front-PG15 15:00 You Got Served-PG15 17:00 Set It Off-PG15 19:00 RoboCop 3-PG15 21:00 The Hurt Locker-18 23:15 The Final-18

01:00 Greenberg-18 03:00 Furry Vengeance-PG 05:00 Mean Girls 2-PG15 07:00 The Spy Next Door-PG 09:00 Calvin Marshall-PG15 11:00 I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry-PG15 13:00 That’s What I Am-PG15 15:00 Easy A-PG15 17:00 Calvin Marshall-PG15 19:00 Love And Other Impossible Pursuits-PG15 21:00 MacGruber-18 23:00 Predators-18

00:00 All Night Long-PG15 02:00 The Dukes-PG15 04:00 Nanny Mcphee And The Big Bang-PG 06:00 Big Fat Liar-PG 08:00 The Prince And Me 4: The Elephant Adventure-PG15 10:00 Happy Ever Afters-PG15 12:00 The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle-FAM 14:00 5 Dollars A Day-PG15 16:00 All Night Long-PG15 18:00 Evan Almighty-PG15 20:00 Wake-PG15 22:00 American Virgin-18

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Gladiators: The Conspiracy-PG Gladiators: The Tournament Free Birds-FAM Micropolis-FAM Legend Of Sleeping Beauty Yona Yona Penguin-PG The Nimbols: Part I-FAM Scooby-Doo-PG Hua Mulan-PG Yona Yona Penguin-PG Marco Antonio-PG The Nimbols: Part I-FAM

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Stand By Me-18 Nine-PG15 Tout Ce Qui Brille-PG15 Searching For Bobby FischerThe Sunset Limited-PG15 Flying By-PG15 Mademoiselle Chambon A Simple Twist Of Fate-PG15 Greener Mountains-PG No Escape-PG15 Talhotblond-PG15 Mammoth-PG15

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Weeds 02:30 Family Guy 03:00 Melissa And Joey 03:30 Mad Love 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 The Simpsons 06:30 Yes Dear 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:30 Melissa And Joey 09:00 The Simpsons 09:30 Raising Hope

10:00 Traffic Light 10:30 Yes Dear 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:30 10 Items Or Less 13:00 The Simpsons 13:30 Yes Dear 14:00 Mad Love 14:30 Traffic Light 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Melissa And Joey 18:30 Mad Love 19:00 Raising Hope 19:30 Traffic Light 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Angry Boys 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

00:00 The List-PG15 02:00 Salt-PG15 03:45 Robin Hood (2010)-PG15 06:15 Flash Of Genius-PG15 08:30 Slipstream-PG15 10:30 Lies In Plain Sight-PG15 12:00 Salt-PG15 14:00 Robin Hood (2010)-PG15 16:30 Napoleon Dynamite-PG 18:15 Too Big To Fail-PG15 20:00 Scream 4-18 22:00 Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son-PG15

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Super Rugby Highlights Futbol Mundial Trans World Sport Premier League Darts Super Rugby Futbol Mundial Volvo Ocean Race Highlights Super Rugby Highlights Cricket ODI Highlights Trans World Sport Futbol Mundial Premier League Darts Volvo Ocean Race Cricket ODI Highlights Trans World Sport UFC The Ultimate Fighter Scottish Premier League Volvo Ocean Race Trans World Sport

00:00 European PGA Tour Highlights 01:00 Futbol Mundial 01:30 Mobil 1 The Grid 02:30 NRL Premiership 04:00 NRL Premiership 06:00 ICC Cricket World 06:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 07:00 Futbol Mundial 07:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 08:00 Scottish Premier League 10:00 World Cup Of Pool 11:00 World Pool Masters 12:00 Ping Pong World Championship 13:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 13:30 NRL Premiership 15:30 Futbol Mundial 16:00 AFL Winners 17:00 Super Rugby Highlights 18:00 Trans World Sport 19:00 Top 14 Highlights 19:30 NRL Full Time 20:00 Super Rugby 22:00 NRL Premiership

03:00 World Cup of Pool 04:00 World Cup of Pool 05:00 Ping Pong World Championship 06:00 AFL Winners 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 ICC Cricket World 08:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 09:00 Super Rugby Highlights 10:00 Golfing World 11:00 AFL Winners 12:00 Super Rugby 14:00 Top 14 Highlights 14:30 NRL Full Time 15:00 Golfing World 16:00 Mobil 1 The Grid 16:30 Pro 12 Celtic League 18:30 AFL Winners 19:30 Trans World Sports 20:30 Golfing World 21:30 European Tour Weekly 22:00 Top 14 Highlights 22:30 Total Rugby 23:00 Futbol Mundial 23:30 Super League

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Bones Pillars Of The Earth One Tree Hill Bones Emmerdale Coronation Street Terra Nova Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Terra Nova Bones Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Terra Nova Grimm The Glades Luck In Treatment In Treatment

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V8 Supercars Speedway FIM World UFC Unleashed UFC Unleashed UFC Unleashed WWE Vintage Collection WWE NXT Speedway FIM World Mobil 1 The Grid V8 Supercars Extra V8 Supercars WWE SmackDown WWE This Week Mobil 1 The Grid Speedway WWE Vintage Collection V8 Supercars Highlights V8 Supercars Highlights

02:00 03:40 05:25 07:00 08:40 10:20 12:00 13:55 15:35 17:15 18:45 20:20 22:00 23:40

Dark Of The Sun Hot Millions-FAM Crazy From The Heart-PG Manhattan Melodrama-PG The Seven Hills Of Rome-FAM Light In The Piazza-PG Escape To Victory-PG Kismet-FAM The Rack-PG My Favorite Year-PG Manhattan Melodrama-PG Singles The Carey Treatment Where Eagles Dare-PG

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Ice Road Truckers Battlefield Detectives Storage Wars Pawn Stars Pawn Stars Storage Wars Mud Men Swamp People Ice Road Truckers Battlefield Detectives Storage Wars Pawn Stars Pawn Stars Storage Wars Mud Men Swamp People Ice Road Truckers Battlefield Detectives Storage Wars Pawn Stars Pawn Stars Storage Wars Mud Men American Pickers Ice Road Truckers Battlefield Detectives Scots At War Bomb Hunters Britain At War

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Jerseylicious Fashion Classics Open House Videofashion Daily Videofashion News How Do I Look? Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Clean House Videofashion News Videofashion News Videofashion Daily Open House Fashion Classics How Do I Look? Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? Clean House Dress My Nest Mel B: It’s A Scary World How Do I Look? Giuliana & Bill Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane Giuliana & Bill



stars CROSSWORD 630



Aries (March 21-April 19) Make sure both your expectations and abilities are realistic before diving into something you may not be able to get out of without harm or embarrassment. You may react suddenly against things that previously seemed the normal thing to do. This is a good time to lead the way on a project, for your originality is unusually heightened. You are apt to spend newfound finances unwisely during this time—care and judicious thought must be given to the practical use of money. Money is the symbol of energy. The more money you spend, the more energy you burn—ask yourself if the energy is worth burning before you spend money in a heated manner. Do not lean toward stinginess; just work toward a balance. A profitable business venture is in the future.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) This is the perfect time for new ideas. Round table discussions with co-workers, friends or family bring surprisingly wonderful results. Your energy is high and your creative mind is flowing, ready to be applied to whatever needs your attention. Of course, the attitude you express will keep you and others motivated. Perhaps there is a feeling of euphoria that comes as you involve yourself in some sports tournament or perhaps a treasure hunt for herbs, mushrooms and gold this afternoon. This afternoon is one of your best times to involve yourself with your most appreciated activity. You may find yourself being put to good use by your friends later. Young people around you create laughter, hugs and smiles. There is time for good conversations.


1. A small replica of a person. 5. Small terrestrial lizard of warm regions of the Old World. 10. Having undesirable or negative qualities. 13. The capital of Western Samoa. 14. (neurology) Of or relating to the vagus nerve. 15. The compass point midway between northeast and east. 16. A metrical unit with unstressed-stressed syllables. 17. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 19. Be going to. 21. In a daze. 22. A white linen liturgical vestment with sleeves. 24. Unwisely talking too much. 32. A flexible container with a single opening. 34. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 35. A fraudulent business scheme. 39. A French abbot. 42. Of or relating to or characteristic of Bengal or its people. 49. The mission in San Antonio where in 1836 Mexican forces under Santa Anna besieged and massacred American rebels who were fighting to make Texas independent of Mexico. 50. Seed again or anew. 51. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar. 54. A master's degree in business. 55. The 7th letter of the Greek alphabet. 56. Give a certain impression or have a certain outward aspect. 58. An adult male person (as opposed to a woman). 59. A potent estrogen used in medicine and in feed for livestock and poultry. 60. A minor parish official who serves as an usher and preserves order at services. 61. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. A platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it. 2. Large elliptical brightly colored deep-sea fish of Atlantic and Pacific and Mediterranean. 3. Capital and largest city and economic center of Peru. 4. 1 species. 5. 100 avos equal 1 pataca. 6. A conspicuous disparity or difference as between two figures. 7. Advanced in years. 8. Covered with paving material. 9. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 10. A small ball with a hole through the middle. 11. A blue dye obtained from plants or made synthetically. 12. Resist or confront with resistance. 18. English writer and a central member of the Fabian Society (1858-1943). 20. A three-year law degree. 23. Minor or subordinate. 25. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 26. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 27. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 28. A white soft metallic element that tarnishes readily. 29. A slippery or viscous liquid or liquefiable substance not miscible with water. 30. The most common computer memory which can be used by programs to perform necessary tasks while the computer is on. 31. The state of matter distinguished from the solid and liquid states by. 33. 100 lwei equal 1 kwanza. 36. Molten rock in the earth's crust. 37. Any of various units of capacity. 38. By bad luck. 40. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 41. Made from goats' milk. 43. Fill with high spirits. 44. Sole genus of the family Naiadaceae. 45. A village of huts for native Africans in southern Africa. 46. A subsidiary proposition that is assumed to be true in order to prove another proposition. 47. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 48. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 52. A health resort near a spring or at the seaside. 53. Having leadership guidance. 54. A barrier constructed to contain the flow or water or to keep out the sea. 57. The 17th letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Yesterday’s Solution

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Indulge your curiosity because today your imagination and creativity are at their best. New ideas are easily understood and bring interesting and exciting rewards. This is an excellent time to sway others to your cause through speeches or clever arguments. Your thinking is most lucid and grasping. Be careful, though, from taking it to the extreme in trying to find a logical reason for every event. Ambition and achievement are qualities you hold in special regard now—focus is very important—take notes. There is a yearning for the stimulation of new ideas and ideals today. Romance, the arts and others of life’s pleasures seem to take center stage tonight. This could mean a concert, a special date or just an evening out with your loved one.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


You could have a tendency to be tired and prone to poor judgment. Because of this you could misapply your energy in projects that are not worthwhile. The best action for today is to complete projects, plan and concentrate on whatever needs the most attention for now. This, of course, is temporary. In contemplation . . . this may be the best time to get a few projects out of the way; you will feel you have accomplished something. At home, any project needing your attention would be a good activity. Talking on the phone, reading or music creates a relaxing atmosphere and is a most healing thing to do. If you are usually the cook, it could be time to call for a pizza delivery tonight—take a back seat to the cooking process. Enjoy a movie at home.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Do not worry so much, plans that have been made in the past will create the path for you to follow now and with successful results. Do not respond too quickly to matters that come to your attention and may not be related to your work; endings will be satisfactory with you as a listener. Some stress is good because you can use it to your advantage; there won’t be much stress today. You will have a chance to sit down and contemplate—it will be good to have a breather from the recent fast-paced days. Do not be afraid of new experiences—people become stale without them. An opportunity for a new experience may come your way today and it would be worth your consideration. Perhaps someone invites you to go along on a hot-air-balloon ride.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) Making your mark on the world has special significance for you. Achievement, ambition and authority take on importance. Organizing and administering to people and projects will become central to your lifestyle and help you with your intent to make your mark. Outside of work you may decide to take up a study—perhaps something that would help you in your profession. You know there is no end to learning . . . perhaps also in the varied way lessons are taught. This could mean some sort of problem-solving techniques or simply beginning art lessons. Stability and permanence satisfy a deep emotional need—real estate may be involved. Music is likely to play an important role for you and you may find yourself at a concert this evening.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


You may be asked to describe your views or communicate through your educational experience. Perhaps you are an advocate against or for an issue. Many people would like to express an opinion for or against some issue; be proud of your enthusiasm and watch for a balance in your passion for adventure: physical or emotional. A disciplined approach to work, health and others of life’s essential routines is important to you. You have the support, recognition and confidence from your family and friends for whatever you want to accomplish. You may feel that the lines of communication are opening and people want to share in opinions and experiences. Romance, affection and dreamy moods are in the air tonight.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) A disappointment today will present opportunities for you to respond in a negative or positive way. Think about what you are grateful about and react accordingly . . . you could be teaching. A current project should have positive results. Relationships are enjoyed at this time. Expressing affection comes easily and can do much toward a positive disposition today. Mental stimulation from others is good for you and it’s a good idea to make every effort to cooperate and compromise with others. There are many opportunities for making new friends, both platonically and romantically. This is an extremely creative period in your life and you should take full advantage of some free time early this evening to express your creativity.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) This is a great time to be involved in some group situation. You may be sought after as just the person for a particular undertaking. Plans may be in the works for a weekend camping trip. You could find yourself taking pictures of animals that might not be seen in a city. If you have young people to teach survivor tips to, this may just be the best opportunity. A diversion and break from the norm is encouraged at this time. You could be most persuasive with others and very good at solving the problems that are presented to you now . . . even if it only takes a listening ear. The situation all day is natural for self-expression and if you do not react too quickly, you will find people waiting for your opinion. You are a good mentor.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Today you are interested in grasping the larger picture regarding some viewpoint or occurrence. Input and ideas from people are welcome. These contributions not only widen your vision and fill in gaps, but give you insight as to how to handle situations when they come to your attention. Diet, chores, budget, hobbies and education all come under your scrutiny today, particularly when you look at the possibility of rescheduling, planning and leaving time for travel or vacation. Do not let your enthusiasm make you too pushy—other people have good ideas. This evening you enjoy a social time with several friends, loved ones and perhaps a few of your co-workers. This could be dance, a reunion or a community gathering; there are many happy conversations. To

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Today it may seem that almost everyone is trying to pick a fight with you. This will all pass with very little repercussions, believe it or not. You could find yourself looking forward to a little problem solving challenge later and may wonder if there might be some key words that would help assuage difficult situations. You may become interested in different techniques to problem solving and could find yourself in a library. Friends want to be around you this afternoon. A gathering of friends or loved ones around a table today brings a bit of laughter your way— they support you with good feelings. It may be food you are enjoying together but the evening will likely end with some sort of fun, movie, card or board game. All in the name of fun—enjoy.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

This is not a good time to make large business decisions; you may be asked for your opinion and this will be more important. As new beginnings seem to occur for the earth in the springtime—there are new beginnings for you in the workplace. Not everything comes to those who wait, however. You are very passionate and expressive and may find yourself pulled into situations that may be of benefit toward a raise or promotion. Always keep a dated diary of accomplishments and difficulties each day so as to have a reference when it comes time to claim your accomplishments to a supervisor. This evening you may consider expanding your hobby so that it will make money for you. Perhaps you enjoy yard art, sewing or decorating, etc.



lifestyle G O S S I P


probation to end as scheduled indsay Lohan’s probation will not be affected by a hit-and-run allegation. The troubled actress is due to make her final court appearance on Thursday and though she has been accused of hitting club manager Thaer Kamal with her Porsche and leaving the scene, the claim will not count against her. According to gossip website TMZ, a report submitted by the probation service mentions the incident and the fact that it is under investigation by police, but discounts the claim and gives it no weight as charges have not been filed against Lindsay, nor has she been arrested. The report reads in part: “The probationer [Lindsay] is in compliance with the terms and conditions of probation.” The document also notes that the actress will complete court-ordered counseling sessions and her final stint of community service tomorrow Judge Stephanie Sautner has said that she will terminate the probation - which stems from a 2007 driving under the influence conviction - if Lindsay is still in compliance. Mr Kamal is said to


be demanding at least $100,000 in compensation from the ‘Machete’ star. Lawyer Mark Geragos - working for his club manager - has reportedly contacted Lindsay’s legal representative Shawn Holley claiming to have video evidence of the actress striking Thaer before getting out of the driver’s side of the car, wobbling and getting into the passenger seat, where the passenger then takes over the wheel. However, sources who were at the scene at the time have insisted it did not happen. Thaer also reportedly told people at the scene he was not injured but changed his mind when he heard the troubled star was the one behind the wheel. Lindsay hit out at the accusation she had “scraped” someone with her car earlier this month on twitter. She said: “Scrape? This is all a complete lie. I’ve been at community service. Last night, I attempted to wish a friend happy birthday, which I didn’t even get to do because I was freaked out by all of the paparazzi. These false accusations are absurd.”


McBride to sing as

couple weds at ACMs


Whitney Houston’s ex held for drunk driving

obby Brown has been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). The New Edition singer was stopped by police in Los Angeles this afternoon for allegedly driving while talking on his phone and then failed a sobriety test, but it is unclear what substance officers believe the troubled star had taken before getting behind the wheel. According to gossip website TMZ, Bobby is currently in custody in Van Nuys jail but his representatives are said to be en route to the facility to post bail. The 43-year-old singer - whose ex-wife Whitney Houston was found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel room last mpnth - was previously convicted of DUI in Georgia in 1996. The ‘Two Can Play That Game’ hitmaker entered a guilty plea at the time and served eight days in jail for the offence. Bobby and Whitney - who have a 19-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina - were married from 1992 to 2007 and had a volatile relationship blighted by drug abuse and accusations of violence. The singer is currently engaged to Alicia Etheridge.


has appendix removed ack Osbourne has had his appendix removed. The ‘Adrenalin Junkie’ star underwent a surgical procedure to have the organ taken out yesterday and posted a photograph of himself in his hospital bed on his twitter page. Alongside the grainy image of himself and fiancee Lisa Stelly, he wrote: “This is what you look like when you have had your appendix removed.” The 26year-old star - who has previously been in rehab to be treated for an addiction to painkiller Oxycontin - later joked the medication he had been given combined with the music he was listening to meant he was having “too good” a time in hospital. He tweeted: “Man, high powered pain killers + radiohead = dangerous territory for me. I gotta get outta this hospital. This is getting to good. (sic)” Jack and Lisa - who got engaged last September after around four months of dating have been leading a quiet life in the lead up to her pregnancy. Lisa tweeted last week: “Jack and I’s new hobby is going to cheese stores and buying cheese, salami, olive oils, and finishing salts. Hi, we are officially boring.”


Bell and Wood married ?

artina McBride is taking on a new role at the Academy of Country Music Awards this Sunday: wedding singer. She will perform her new single, “Marry Me,” with Train lead singer Pat Monahan while a couple from New Jersey gets married on stage. McBride handpicked Christina Davidson and her fiance Frank Tucci to tie the knot during her performance in Las Vegas. They both lost their spouses in 2009 and met at a support group for young widows and widowers that Davidson started in their community. Their friendship grew as they dealt with the challenges of being single parents and the struggle to keep their spouses’ memories alive. The ACM Awards air live on CBS April 1.

amie Bell and Evan Rachel Wood are rumored to have tied the knot. The pair - who met on the set of Green Day’s video for ‘When September Ends’ in 2005 - have been photographed wearing rings on their wedding fingers, fuelling speculation they are now husband and wife. Evan 24, was pictured wearing a silver ring with a diamond while ‘Billy Elliot’ star Jamie, 26, had a gold band on during a walk in Venice, California, on Saturday. A source told back in December that Jamie had started looking for rings and was planning to pop the question. The insider said at the time: “He hasn’t made a purchase yet, but he is starting to seriously look and has met with a few jewellers.” The couple split after just a year of dating and Evan went on to get engaged to rocker Marilyn Manson before reuniting with Jamie last summer. The source added: “Evan and Jamie were really young and just getting going in their careers when they first met and they just weren’t ready. “Now that they are older and both excelling in their professional lives, I think they feel ready to take their relationship to the next level.”


Jennifer Lawrence is scared of ghosts

he 21-year-old ‘Hunger Games’ actress admits she is terrified of catching a glimpse of a super-natural being. She said: “I’m scared of ghosts. Just yesterday when I moved into a new room at the hotel, I was deeply convinced, that I shouldn’t wash my face, because if I would look into the mirror, I would actually see a ghost.” Meanwhile, she is planning to spend her paycheck from the movie - rumored to be in the region of £313,000 - on huge quantities of her favorite food - pasta. The Oscarnominated star told Germany’s Interview magazine: “When I get my first real check, I want to bathe in a pool full of pasta.” Talking about her own on-screen idols, Jennifer admits she would love to be like hapless singleton Bridget Jones, and says she would jump at the chance to have a crack at the role made famous by Renee Zellweger. She told “I’ve always wanted to play Bridget Jones. I want that movie to not exist so I can play it! “I’ve always felt that way - I got nominated for an Oscar, I’m going to replace Renee Zellweger. “I say that because that’s the movie you put on whenever you’re homesick, even though England’s not my home. You know when you just want that movie you never get sick of watching? Bridget Jones is that for me.”


Lady Gaga

goes make-up free ady Gaga has shown the world what she looks like with no make-up. The ‘Born this Way’ singer posted a photograph of herself on her twitter page without her trademark war paint or flamboyant clothes to show her fans her natural look. The 25-year-old pop superstar was dressed down in a vest but she did add some glamour by wearing a flower in her tied back hair. Accompanying the picture was a tweet which read: “Have a beautiful day!” Perhaps Gaga was trying to inspire her fans who she calls her “little monsters” - by showing them they should always be proud of themselves. The ‘You and I’ hitmaker has also been drawing inspiration from her fans, and has revealed her admirers gave her strength to finish a gruelling cycling trip this week. She wrote on twitter: “Went cycling yesterday + when it got harder someone said imagine the most important thing is at the top of the mountain. I saw little monsters (sic)”



lifestyle M O V I E S & M U S I C

Madonna’s ‘MDNA’

is both disco and divorce album


Madonna were a corporation instead of calling all her own shots, then whichever VP was in charge of picking her singles would be in a serious woodshed right now. Despite its Super Bowl ubiquity and star cameos, “Give Me All Your Luvin’” didn’t set her fan base on fire. But that was nothing compared to the unpopularity of “Girl Gone Wild,” which debuted outside of the Billboard 100 and, as of this writing, sits at No. 127 on the iTunes chart. “Girl Gone Wild” may be the worst single she’s ever released and maybe as bad as anything anyone else could or will release this yearbut it’s no bellwether. Because who could have guessed from that ghastly teaser that “MDNA” would turn out to be Madonna’s best album since the Material Matron was still in her 30s? Granted, getting through the entire 17track deluxe edition requires an imperviousness to joltingly vapid rhymes, and not just on numbers that take inspiration from Joe Francis. But if you can put on your lyric blinders, “MDNA” is mostly good, unpretentious, highly danceable fun that makes willful middle-aged regression seem like a perfectly sound idea. Initial reports may have left you unclear whether it’s a disco record or a divorce album, so rest assured that it’s both, although not necessarily in equal measure.

She saves the confessionals for the latter stretch of “MDNA,” and even then puts a dance-floor thump on a couple of them, so the transition from “Lucky Star” updates to complaining about how Guy Ritchie took her money isn’t quite as jarring as it could be. The divorce stuff does provide a vestige of Madonna’s “mature” middle period, which began with “Oh Father” in 1989 and ended when the “American Life” album bombed in 2003. But she doesn’t overdo the serious stuff here. Listening to her sing “Bang bang, shot you dead, shot my lover in the head Die, bitch!,” you know you’re not hearing the same Madonna who was self-importantly covering “Imagine” in the early 2000s. In spirit, if not genre, “MDNA” continues along the same lines as 2008’s “Hard Candy,” which unabashedly harked back to her earliest, most carefree early days. If that last album didn’t turn out to be the return to chart domination that was intended, it may have been because its combination of ‘80s synth fluff and ‘00s hip-hop didn’t quite gel, and because the literally sticky sexual innuendos seemed over-the-top. In contrast, the dirty stuff is way toned down here, and she’s paired herself with producers who do nothing if not make contemporary dance music feel effortless. The list of songs that would have left a far more anticipatory taste in listeners’

mouths than the two already out there runs at least five potential singles deep, starting with the nearly sublime electro-pop of “I’m Addicted,” “Turn Up Your Radio,” “Superstar,” and “Some Girls,” a declaration of superiority that features the producer super-team of William Orbit (her primary electronic collaborator since “Ray of Light”) and Robyn’s brilliant aide de camp, Klas Ahlund. The most winning number, “I’m a Sinner,” also co-produced by Orbit, sounds like a vintage Monkees number successfully transplanted to the cheery future shock of Eurodisco. Giving in to the infectiousness of this track also means giving in to more of Madonna’s habitual Catholic-baiting, which is a small price to pay for such pop perfection. (Seriously, though, Madonna, we get it. You know the Act of Contrition just well enough to misquote it in the not-so-tabooshattering opening of “Girl Gone Wild,” and you can think of three saints to invoke on top of Jesus and Mary in “Sinner.” Even Catholic League watchdog William Donahue is surely asleep at the switch at this point.) On her last album, Madonna took time out from the froth to devote just one song to her presumably already-rocky relationship with her husband: “Incredible,” which included the line, “I’m missing my best friend.” This time around, she actually titles

one song “Best Friend,” and as a statement of how presumably lonely it is at the top without Ritchie around, it’s unusually vulnerable. That goes double for “I Fucked Up,” which couldn’t be a more tender ballad, or commercial one, if not for one obviously risible element. But other numbers are pointedly devoted to the idea that it’s her ex who effed up and who deserves a painful death (if “Gang Bang” is also aimed at Ritchie, anyway). The Material Girl apparently wants us all to know that he was the real materialist in the family. “Would you have married me if I were poor?” she asks her ex-BFF in “Love Spent.” “If I was your treasury, you’d have found time to treasure me/Frankly if my name was Benjamin/We wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in/I want you to take me like you took your money.” The more defiant “I Don’t Give A” has her doing a “Subterranean Homesick”style fast blues talk that boasts about multitasking and self-realization: “You were so mad at me/Who’s got custody/Lawyers suck it up/Didn’t have a pre-nup.../Gotta sign a contract, gotta get my money back.../I tried to be a good girl/I tried to be your wife/Diminished myself/And I swallowed my light.” These are the money moments-literally and figuratively- as far as quotability. Better

to bring out those pained, pointed couplets than the ones like “We’ve gotta have fun if that’s all that we do/Gotta shake off the system and break all the rules” that pepper the happier tunes. At least Madonna doesn’t have the worst lines on the album; those come via Nicki Minaj’s raps on “Give Me All Your Luvin’” and “I Don’t Give A.” If there’s anything that you will come to dread on repeat listens, it is the sound of Minaj declaring “I’m Conan,” or “I ain’t a businesswoman, I’m a business, woman! And I’m known for giving bitches the business, woman!,” or “There’s only one queen, and that’s Madonna-bitch!” On the other hand, the other M.I.A.-aided tune, “B-Day,” is great fun, a simple exercise in Madonna doing garage-rock. That number (and certainly not the “Give Me All Your Luvin’” remix that tiredly drags LMFAO out as yet another celebrity endorser) is the best reason to pay a few extra bucks for the handful of extra tracks. So spend the extra $3 or so and get the full-length version. Madonna will thank you, and, if she’s telling the truth about her divorce, so will the Guy Ritchie alimony fund.—Reuters

Harry Potter novels

available in ebook format


.K. Rowling’s best-selling “Harry Potter” novels are available for the first time in ebook format on the new website dedicated to the boy wizard adventures. The seven stories, which have sold an estimated 450 million copies worldwide and spawned a successful eight-film movie franchise, went on sale yesterday at the Pottermore site set up by Rowling. The website’s online store ( is the exclusive retailer of Harry Potter ebooks and digital audiobooks, which have been launched in English only. French, Italian, German and

Spanish editions are expected in the coming weeks with further languages to follow. The main Pottermore website is expected to be up and running in early April, several months later than initially anticipated owing to technical problems. Designers hope to allow readers to explore elements of the Harry Potter world that have not appeared in the books and to interact with the stories and characters. The free-to-use website, partnered by Sony, is one of several ventures launched by Rowling and her commercial partners to keep the magic of

Harry Potter alive and the revenues rolling in. Rowling, who recently announced she was turning to adult fiction, long resisted allowing the Harry Potter stories to be turned into digital format, but eventually decided that technological progress could not be stopped. The ebook launch raises questions over copyright infringement for the jealously guarded Potter property, although organizers are using a combination of watermarking techniques to protect against illegal copying.—Reuters Actress Victoria Justice, center, poses with Alex Libby, left, and Kelby Johnson, two of the subjects of the documentary film ‘Bully,’ at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles, Monday.—AP


Bruce Springsteen performs at TD Garden in Boston, Monday, March 26, 2012.—AP

Weinstein Co to release ‘Bully’ without rating

he Weinstein Co. is moving past the R rating earned by its documentary “Bully” and plans to release the film unrated. The company announced Monday that “Bully” will hit theaters March 30 without a rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, meaning some theater may choose not to show it. The MPAA gave the film an R rating for language and declined to change it when the Weinstein Co. appealed. That inspired teen activist Katy Butler to start an online petition seeking a lower rating so more young people could see the movie. She has collected more than 475,000 signatures so far and even met with MPAA officials earlier this month, but the group stood its ground and “Bully” remained rated R, which requires children under 17 to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, told the Weinstein Co that releasing the film unrated could result in theaters treating the teenfocused documentary as an NC 17 film, which means no one 17 and under can be admitted. Stephen Bruno, president of marketing for the Weinstein Co, isn’t too concerned. “We believe theater owners everywhere will step up and do what’s right for the benefit of all of the children out there who have been bullied or may have otherwise become bullies themselves,” Bruno said Monday, adding that the company plans to make the film available to teachers, parents and students nationwide. Filmmaker Lee Hirsch said he declined to edit the documentary’s offensive language because it would diminish the painful reality of bullying. “The small amount of language in the film that’s responsible for the R rating is there

because it’s real. It’s what the children who are victims of bullying face on most days,” Hirsch said. He expects many young people to see the film, “so it’s up to the theaters to let them in.” The MPAA did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Monday. Butler said she’s pleased the film will maintain its original content. “The MPAA said they wouldn’t drop the ‘R’ rating unless this language was removed,” she said. “But nothing can remove it from the halls and playgrounds of schools where bullied students hear it each day, except education and exposure.”—AP

(From right) Director Lee Hirsch poses with subjects from his documentary film ‘Bully’.—AP


lifestyle F e a t u r e s

Gallardo’s models set to take race tracks by storm By Nawara Fattahova


ielding the steering wheels of Lamborghini Gallardo’s latest models was a fantastic experience and I felt the thrill of speed. The Lamborghini team invited the media for a test-drive on Sunday at the Yas Mariana Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Media personnel were given the opportunity to try different

models of the Lamborghini Gallardo at the circuit. The vehicles’ amazing sports designs display the highest quality of performance. Besides fast acceleration, each one is surprisingly stable on ground even when revving at a speed of 250 kilometers/per hour within seconds, compared to other sports vehicles. The great power of this luxury vehicle is also reflected in the great sound produced while pressing the fuel pedals to experience its power. The strong brake pedal system ensures that the vehicle halts swiftly, giving the feeling of high level of security. The driver also has the option of controlling the vehicle manually or automatically. One can enter the automatic mode with the touch of a button. Manual driving can be controlled easily through the F1 transmission handle. Furthermore, the


entire interior is luxurious, including ultra comfortable seats and steering, ideally suited for racing. For Automobili Lamborghini, quality is a fundamental company value, on the same level as fascinating design and ultimate performance. Quality means a whole lot more to the Italian luxury sports cars manufacturer than flawless function and absolute reliability. For Lamborghini, quality is a total mindset across all areas, from engineering through production to customer service, and with one clear objective - to fulfill customer expectations in every way, shape and form. By combining state-of-the-art technologies with perfect craftsmanship, Lamborghini attains a level that is utterly unique in the global competitive field of luxury automotive brands. Thanks to state-of-the-art processes in design and development, thanks to the production system with one of the most advanced assembly lines in the industry and thanks to quality management as a consistent corporate philosophy, Lamborghini sets new benchmarks in its segment. The super sports car brand has mastered the art and the complexity of highly individualized low-volume series production in a very special way. The name Lamborghini means quality, reliability and technical excellence. They measure their success in terms of: customer satisfaction , employee satisfaction, quality of products, quality of processes, on-time delivery, and productivity. Customer care is an essential part of the Lamborghini’s quality. Its certificate guarantees 100 percent quality and provides flying doctors service in case of any damage to the vehicle. The highest level of individuality and

exclusivity are hallmarks of the ad personam. This program gives every Lamborghini client the possibility of creating their own unique sports car, personifying their own style down to the last detail. Every model clearly justifies its place at the technological pinnacle; the carbon-fiber monocoque of the Aventador LP 700-4 or the systematic aluminum/CFRP lightweight design of the Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera are just two examples of Lamborghini’s innovative power and technological leadership. The Lamborghini Gallardo has different models: Gallardo LP 560-4 Bicolore, a Special Edition super sports car which will be produced for the European and Asian-Pacific markets, while for the American market it will be only available in the version LP 550-2. As its name implies, this special series features an exclusive two-tone finish with matching interior, and offers a full range of standard equipment. With the V10 engine its breathtaking performance is indicated by the 3.7 seconds it takes to reach 100 kilometers per hour and its top speed of 325 kilometers per hour. Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder, Lamborghini has created a driving experience like absolutely no other - fascinating design, breathtaking performance and extreme handling characteristics come together with all the intensity and open-air pleasure that only a soft top super sports car can deliver. It has been on the market since early 2008. As in the CoupÈ, its enormous power is delivered by the new 5.2 liter V10 with an output of 560 horsepower (412 kw) at 8,000 rpm. It takes only four seconds to sprint from 0 to 100 kilometers, reaching 200 kilometers

per hour in only 13.1 seconds, going on to a top speed of 324 kilometer per hour. Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante. As ‘Performante,’ the Gallardo Spyder is even lighter thanks to CFRP technology, even more agile and even more dynamic. The engineers in Sant’Agata Bolognese managed to reduce the weight of the new Spyder Performante by a further 65 kilograms. The V10 power unit with a displacement of 5.2 liters generates 419 kw in the Spyder Performante. Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera is the new top model in the Gallardo line-up. Compared with the already lean Gallardo LP 560-4, the weight of the Gallardo Superleggera has been trimmed by 70 kilograms. It’s the lightest road-going model in Lamborghini’s range. The V10 power unit with 5.2 liters of displacement generates 419 kw in the Gallardo Superleggera. This puts the weight-to-power ratio of the new top model at only 2.35 kilograms guarantees breathtaking performance. The Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera handles the dash from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in 3.4 seconds, flying past the 200 kilometers per hour mark only 6.8 seconds later, ultimately reaching 325 kilometer per hour. Gallardo LP 570-4 Blancpain Edition, Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale, and the Gallardo LP 560-4 BCoupe. In addition, there is also the Gallardo LP 550-2 Tricolore bears the hand painted national colors of Italy (green/white/red) on its aluminum exterior and its interior.

Submarines-the ultimate toy for the super rich

et plane, tick. Private island, tick. Chopper, tick. Submarine? When director James Cameron descended to the bottom of the Pacific on Monday, he not only shed light on the world’s deepest ocean, but the world’s most exclusive hobby: private submarine voyages. The phenomenally profitable director of “Avatar” piloted an ungainly looking, bright green, one-seat sub to an amazing 36,000 feet, or 11,000 meters, down into the Mariana Trench. Only the third person to go there, Cameron led the mission, which was entirely privately funded. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, another mega-rich man with a sub, Richard Branson, is plotting to penetrate the Atlantic’s deepest point, the Puerto Rico Trench. For a man who’s done extreme sailing and hot air ballooning, a jaunt miles under the ocean in a James Bond-style, winged mini-sub is the logical next step. He dreams of finding “Spanish galleons” or “a species that hasn’t been discovered.” “It’s enormously exciting that the oceans can now be explored and we have the vehicles to do that,” Branson told AFP from his private Necker Island in the Caribbean. Charles Kohnen, cofounder of submarine builders SEAmagine, said private sub owners are still a tiny group-perhaps less than a dozen individuals-but that the general

trend of ever fancier toys for billionaires is likely to change that. Most underwater craft on the civilian market are technically called submersibles, meaning they have only limited autonomy and need yachts to act

as motherships. True submarines are more closely related to the naval equivalents, although both types can make safe journeys to at least 500 feet (150 meters), and in most cases a great deal further. When SEAmagine started 16

The DEEPSEA CHALLENGER submersible carrying filmmaker and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence James Cameron is hoisted into the Pacific Ocean March 26, 2012 on its way to the “Challenger Deep,” the deepest part of the Mariana Trench. —AFP

years ago, “yachts weren’t big enough to hold submarines. The evolution we’ve seen over the last five, seven years is interest from the private sector and it’s directly related to the yachts, the megayacht industry,” Kohnen said. One recent private client has a specially designed 82 foot (25 meter) catamaran with a helicopter deck and submersible launch. Another didn’t need any particular design changes to hold his submersible, but that’s only because he has a 280 foot (85 meter) “luxury ship.” “A submarine-it’s not just a jet ski,” Kohnen said. His craft retail at between $1 million and $3 million. But the annual upkeep of $15,000-$20,000 is practically spare change to the super rich and a fraction of what it costs to fly an executive jet. A company called US Submarines targets an even further frontier, offering luxury subs in addition to the more common submersibles. Business is growing in the smaller craft sphere, especially “from the scientific community and very much more from the film community,” Marc Deppe, an executive with subsidiary Triton Submarines, told AFP. What they’d like to find now, Deppe said, is the world’s first private owner of a full-blown submarine-a modern day Captain Nemo. US Submarines offers the “Nomad,” described as having an interior equivalent to a personal jet plane, the “Seattle,”

comparable in comfort to a large yacht, and the amazing “Phoenix.” This vessel, a full 213 feet (65 meters) long, would be able to cross an ocean, diving whenever weather got rough, and has so much room it would carry its own mini-sub. At $78 million, according to its website, the “Phoenix” exists only on paper, but could be built as soon as a buyer ordered. “It’s going to take someone who’s a little bit extravagant, who has a passion to be the first one to have that type vessel,” Deppe said. Kohnen said subs are still too daunting a prospect for most wealthy people, but that those who take the plunge will find a magical world on the other side of their bubble windows. “How little we know is astounding. There’s much to be discovered,” Kohnen said. “We take photos and bring it to universities and they scratch their heads and say ‘what is that?’ What you see out there doesn’t look real. It’s amazing.” —AFP


lifestyle F e a t u r e s

Middle Eastern hospitali draws French artist to explore By Lisa Conrad


hilippe Bichon came to Kuwait to paint, write, meet the locals and show his collection of works. Invited by the French Institute, he came to expand on his travels and paintings in the Middle East, which already includes extensive collections on Iran and Yemen. Bayt Lothan hosted his exhibition “Garnets de Voyages d’un Globecroqeur” or “Journals of a Globe Eater,” which finishes today. Middle Eastern hospitality, he says, was what initially drew him to the region. The French artist has somewhat of an unusual method, however, as his works are accompanied by stories and both are logged in journals, which he fills gradually during his trip. “I don’t think like a painter, just to produce beautiful things. I meet people, we talk and I hear their stories, which I then include in my journal. I am also both a writer and a painter, so I combine the two to make a travel diary,” said Phillipe. He paints mainly in watercolor which, he says, is more practical for travel than acrylic or oils. His passion for travel drew him away from a career in architecture to live out a dream many only fantasize about, “I gave up my job for my hobby. I enjoy travelling, discovering new countries and meeting people, and I realized that creating travel diaries is an ideal way to achieve both.”

Philippe has been successful so far in his desire to meet new people and draw new places in Kuwait, “I have met many people, and I’m enjoying my trip so far. When people see you drawing and painting, more often

people experience them, with them.” Experiencing the countries he visits as a local is important to Philippe. “Oftentimes, I try and stay for extended periods of time in each location. This gives me the chance to live in the

Artist Philippe Bichon discusses his work with French Ambassador to Kuwait, Nada Yafi. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat than not they’ll ask you about your work.” Whilst painting by the seaside, he met a Lebanese family who were picnicking. “They saw me writing and painting, and asked if they could watch. We chatted and they invited me to join their picnic, which was lovely. You experience things as the

location as a local and stop being seen as a tourist or a foreigner, even in touristic places.” Philippe’s method, from spending as long as possible in each country to accompanying paintings with stories, contributes to the richness of the journals he produces. He noted the differ-

Japan classic J

apan is presenting to the United States highlights of its culture both old and new, with a rare exhibition of elaborate centuries-old nature scrolls and performances by a top-selling pop band. Japan is seeking to make the most of the 100th anniversary of Washington’s cherry blossom trees, which were initially a gift from Tokyo and have turned into one of the US capital’s most popular tourist draws. As thousands strolled central Washington to enjoy the fleeting beauty of the cherry bloom, the National Gallery of Art unveiled an exhibition from Japanese master Ito Jakuchu and pop sensations AKB48 flew in for two free shows. The Imperial Household lent

Jakuchu’s 30 bird and flower paintings on silk scrolls, marking the first time the meditative masterpiece has been shown in its entirety out of Japan. Earl Powell III, director of the National Gallery of Art, said Monday that the exhibition was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the public to see “the most important and remarkable collection of flower painting ever in the history of Japan.” The collection-known as “Colorful Realm of Living Beings” and paired with three Jakuchu paintings of Buddhist deities-opens to the public Friday for only one month after a sixyear restoration effort. Ito Jakuchu, who was born to a wealthy merchant family in 1716, decided in 1755 to

ence between photographing something and painting it. “People often just photograph an area or sight, which takes just a few minutes at most. Having captured the moment, they then move on quickly. But with paint-

Perfectionists beware, however: keeping a travel diary leaves much less room for mistakes and editing, “I write as I go and the journals are reprinted from the originals. This keeps everything true to the events as

Artist Philippe Bichon shows his work at Bayt Lothan. ing, you have to commit considerably more time; I spend anywhere from half an hour to four hours on each painting.” He added, “It’s a very long process, but it’s never too long. I thoroughly enjoy it. Travelers used to use travel journals like this to record their journeys before the use of cameras.”

tions.” The Middle Eastern hospitality Philippe is so fond of turns curious passers-by into friends and inspiration for stories, “People come and offer me tea as I’m working, and even invite me to their homes.” Given his growing circle of Middle Eastern friends and acquaintances, he’s keen to advance his Arabic skills, “I speak a little bit of Arabic, which I learnt throughout my time in the region. I draw Arabic text, which is so beautiful, but I don’t read or write it yet. I’m working on it, though.” Philippe also uses his work and experience to tackle misconceptions and stereotypes of the Middle East, “I like to go to countries often considered dangerous, for example Iran. Everyone told me I was crazy when I decided to go, but none of their original perceptions of Iran were true: it was a wonderful experience.” He added, “I think it’s important to see people for who they are, instead of the politics of their country. I want to remind people that there are many misconceptions, and plenty of inaccurate stereotypes.”

they took place and means that everything is very honest.” The process is a lengthily one that Philippe revels in, and he picks his topics strategically. “I draw a lot of architecture, partly because I was an architect, but also because when I draw architecture, people always stop and ask me ques-

paintings, pop idols hit US

devote himself exclusively to Zen meditation and painting. He spent nearly a decade producing the scrolls through painstaking pigmentation. Jakuchu once said he did not intend his work to be understood for 200 years. The first of the scrolls depicted peonies and butterflies, two symbols in Japanese and Chinese thought associated respectively with beauty and freedom. Other scrolls showed a magnificent rooster in a blooming garden, an octopus and fish descending through the water, a peacock in a dark forest and of birds perched on snowy branches. The paintings were initially not for public viewing and instead assisted meditation at the Buddhist

Japanese women play the koto, a traditional Japanese stringed instrument during the press preview of “Colorful Realm: Japanese Bird-and-Flower Paintings by ItoJakuchu (1716-1800).” —AFP photos

temple of Shokoku-ji in Kyoto. “The paintings were never intended to be displayed more than a day,” said Yukio Lippit, an expert on Japanese art at Harvard University. The temple donated the scrolls to the Imperial Household in 1889 in gratitude for restoration of the building. Japan said it was making the major cultural exchange in part to show gratitude for assistance by the United States, its main ally, following the March 11, 2011 tsunami tragedy. “We have beautiful paintings in the National Gallery now of Ito Jakuchu and we have top stars from Japan. This is because Japan-US relations are very special,” said Japan’s ambassador to Washington, Ichiro Fujisaki.

AKB48 — a girls band clad in school uniforms named after Tokyo’s mecca of geek culture, Akihabara-is one of the world’s highest-grossing acts with more than $200 million in CD and DVD sales last year. AKB48 is also one of the largest musical acts, with a total of about 90 girls divided into teams who put on daily shows of bubble gum pop and synchronized dancing. On the eve of two shows at a Washington theater, three of the AKB48 girls visited a local school where they told wide-eyed sevenyear-olds about Japan and their success across the Pacific. “I like to dance because we all have feelings. Sometimes we’re happy and sometimes we’re sad. Normally we

just show it on our face or with words, but through dancing we can show it with our bodies, too,” AKB48 member Sae Miyazawa, 21, told the children. Despite AKB48’s success in Japan, few of the American children were familiar with the band until a teacher likened the group to Justin Bieber. But the children grew most excited and giggled with delight when the visitors informed them what else comes from Japan-Hello Kitty, PlayStation and Nintendo. —AFP

Journalists examine art during the press preview of ‘Colorful Realm: Japanese Bird-and-Flower Paintings by Ito Jakuchu.’

Lamborghini Gallardo’s models set to take race tracks by storm



China Fashion Week

Celeb birthdays for the week of April 1-7


pril 1: Actress Debbie Reynolds is 80. Country singer Jim Ed Brown is 78. Actress Ali MacGraw is 74. Singer Rudolph Isley (Isley Brothers) is 73. Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff is 64. Keyboardist Billy Currie of Ultravox is 62. Actress Annette O’Toole (“Smallville”) is 60. Country singer Woody Lee is 44. Rapper-actor Method Man is 41. Filmmakers Albert and Allen Hughes (“Menace II Society,” “Dead Presidents”) are 40. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is 39. Actor Sam Huntington (“Superman Returns,” “Jungle 2 Jungle”) is 30. Actor Matt Lanter (“90210) is 29. April 2: Singer Leon Russell is 70. Jazz guitarist Larry Coryell is 69. Actress Linda Hunt is 67. Singer Emmylou Harris is 65. Actor Ron Palillo (“Welcome Back, Kotter”) is 63. Actress Pamela Reed is 63. Drummer Dave Robinson of The Cars is 59. Country singer Buddy Jewell is 51. Actor Christopher Meloni is 51. Singer Keren Woodward of Bananarama is 51. Country singer Billy Dean is 50. Actor Clark Gregg (“The New Adventures of Old Christine”) is 50. Guitarist Greg Camp (Smash Mouth) is 45. Guitarist Tony Fredianelli of Third Eye Blind is 43. Actor Adam Rodriguez (“CSI: Miami”) is 37. Actor Michael Fassbender (“Shame,” “Inglourious Basterds”) is 35. Keyboardist Jesse Carmichael of Maroon 5 is 33. Actress Bethany Joy Galeotti (“One Tree Hill”) is 31. Singer Lee Dewyze (“American Idol”) is 26. April 3: Actress-singer Doris Day is 89. Actress Marsha Mason is 70. Singer Wayne Newton is 70. Singer Billy Joe Royal is 70. Singer Tony Orlando is 68. Singer Richard Thompson is 63. Bassist Curtis Stone of Highway 101 is 62. Guitarist Mick Mars of Motley Crue is 56. Actor Alec Baldwin is 54. Actor David Hyde Pierce (“Frasier”) is 53. Comedian-actor Eddie Murphy is 51. Singer-guitarist Mike Ness of Social Distortion is 50. Singer Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) is 44. Actress Jennie Garth is 40. Actress Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother”) is 30. Singer Leona Lewis is 27. Actress Amanda Bynes is 26. April 4: Author-poet Maya Angelou is 84. Bandleader Hugh Masekela is 73. Actor Craig T. Nelson (“Coach”) is 68. Actress Christine Lahti is 62. Singer Steve Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers is 61. Actress MaryMargaret Humes (“Dawson’s Creek,” “History of the World Part 1”) is 58. Writer-producer David E. Kelley is 56. Actor Hugo Weaving (“The Matrix,” “Lord of the Rings”) is 52. Bassist Craig Adams (The Cult) is 50. Comedian David Cross (“Arrested Development,” “Mr. Show”) is 48. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is 47. Actress Nancy McKeon is 46. Country singer Clay Davidson is 41. Singer Josh Todd of Buckcherry is 41. Singer Jill Scott is 40. Bassist Magnus Sveningsson of The Cardigans is 40. Magician David Blaine is 39. Singer Kelly Price is 39. Singer Andre Dalyrimple of Soul for Real is 38. Actor James Roday is 36. Actress Natasha Lyonne (“Slums of Beverly Hills,” “American Pie”) is 33. Actress Jamie Lynn Spears is 21. April 5: Country singer Tommy Cash is 72. Actor Michael Moriarty (“Law and Order”) is 71. Singer Allan Clarke of The Hollies is 70. Actor Max Gail (“Sons and Daughters,” “Barney Miller”) is 69. Actress Jane Asher is 66. Singer Agnetha Faltskog of Abba is 62. Actor Mitch Pileggi (“The X Files”) is 60. Guitarist Mike McCready of Pearl Jam is 46. Country singer Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry is 45. Singer Paula Cole is 44. Actress Krista Allen (“Baywatch,” “What About Brian”) is 41. Country singer Pat Green is 40. Rapper-producer Pharrell Williams is 39. April 6: Country singer Merle Haggard is 75. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 75. Actor Roy Thinnes is 74. Actor John Ratzenberger (“Cheers”) is 65. Actress Marilu Henner is 60. Singer-guitarist Frank Black of The Pixies is 47. Actor Paul Rudd is 43. Actor Jason Hervey (“The Wonder Years”) is 40. Bassist Markku Lappalainen (Hoobastank) is 39. Actor Zach Braff (“Scrubs”) is 37. Actress Candace Cameron Bure (“Full House”) is 36. April 7: Sitar player Ravi Shankar is 92. Actor James Garner is 84. Country singer Cal Smith is 80. Actor Wayne Rogers is 79. Country singer Bobby Bare is 77. Singer Charlie Thomas of The Drifters is 75. Movie director Francis Ford Coppola is 73. Television personality David Frost is 73. Singer Patricia Bennett of The Chiffons is 65. Singer-guitarist John Oates of Hall and Oates is 63. Drummer John Dittrich of Restless Heart is 61. Singer Janis Ian is 61. Actor Jackie Chan is 58. Actor Russell Crowe is 48. Singer Mark Kibble of Take 6 is 48. Actor Bill Bellamy (“Last Comic Standing,”“Fastlane”) is 47. Actor Conner Rayburn (“According to Jim”) is 13.—AP

Rediscovered Cezanne masterpiece to lead NY auction


rare, pristine Paul Cezanne watercolor, which has not been seen in public since 1953, is expected to sell for as much as $20 million at auction in May, Christie’s said yesterday. The late 19thcentury work on paper is one of Cezanne’s preparatory studies for his seminal Card Players series of five paintings, “Joueurs des cartes.” Its whereabouts had been unknown for decades until itre-emerged from the collection of a doctor in Texas. The auctionhouse found the drawing when it was working with the estate of Dr. Heniz Eichenwald, who died in September at the age of 85. “They were very private people,” Christie’s president Marc Porter said, adding the work had been in the family for eight decades. “The art was for their enjoyment rather than for public display. It was not hidden away in the house, it was enjoyed. But it wasn’t as important for their social position as it was for them,” Porter said. Last year the catalog from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition of Cezanne’s Card Players listed the work as “whereabouts unknown.” —Reuters

28 Mar 2012  
28 Mar 2012  

Kuwait Times