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Local FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Kuwait’s my business

Is Kuwait due for a SWOT analysis? By John P Hayes

local@kuwaittimes.net

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et’s pretend,” I told my marketing students, “that the Minister of Tourism asked us to create a campaign to attract tourists to Kuwait, and he told us he had a 50-million-dinar budget to get the job done. What would we create, and how would we spend the money? Ultimately, what do we tell the minister?” It’s a wild idea, but it’s better than most of the problems found in the US-centric marketing textbooks. If today’s college students are tomorrow’s leaders, now’s their time to grapple with relative issues. In the real Kuwait, students will face real problems, so I say give them as many of those problems as possible. True, they have little to no problem-solving skills, but that doesn’t mean they can’t imagine.

“Sir,” said one young man, “Kuwait and tourist? We should take a field trip and show you why those two words are not used in the same sentence. You’re spending too much time at GUST. There’s not much to see or do in Kuwait.” We all laughed, but I disagreed. I’ve spent several delightful days as a Kuwait tourist. “How many of you have toured the Grand Mosque?” Less than 10 percent. “Who’s been to the camel races?” No one! “The archaeological dig on Failaka Island?” Huh? “The Kuwait Martyrs House?” “Sir, no one can find that place.” I agreed, but I hear it’s fabulous. Clearly my students didn’t know Kuwait, though they’ve lived here all their lives. That was going to make our in-class assignment - a SWOT Analysis to examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats relative to tourism in Kuwait - more difficult. But we pushed forward. After an hour of thinking and strategizing, the students knew exactly how to proceed. They all favored bringing tourists to Kuwait, especially during winter when the weather is pleasant. They estimated tourists would add hundreds of millions of dinars to the Kuwait economy, and they suggested ways to invest that money

to attract more tourists. Not even sandstorms, which they identified as a threat, could stop Kuwait’s budding tourist industry. “So what do we tell our fictitious minister?” I asked. Suddenly the room fell silent. Then a brave student spoke for everyone: “Nothing.” “Nothing? We don’t want tourists to pump millions of dinars into Kuwait’s economy?” “Not until Kuwait fixes Kuwait,” said another insightful student who was referencing the news that Kuwait’s parliament was rendered unconstitutional. Another fellow described Kuwait as a three-ring circus. “Sir, the world is laughing at us.” But none of us laughed. We left the classroom having learned several important lessons: There are indeed things to see and do in Kuwait. There are many opportunities for Kuwait to create more attractions for tourists. One day, Kuwait could facilitate a profitable tourism industry. And most importantly: Kuwait is educating young people who understand how to pick apart a problem and solve it, and who might one day get the opportunity to lead their country. Meanwhile, as another student suggested, perhaps Kuwait needs to do a SWOT analysis on fixing Kuwait!

Local Spotlight

Twitter makes a difference By Muna Al-Fuzai

muna@kuwaittimes.net

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ubai police Chief Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim met with Abdullah Baddah, a Saudi national who sent him a tweet complaining that he was denied entry to Dubai. The entry denial happened due to an error at the airport over the similarity of names. This man used Twitter for a good cause and expressed that he had fallen victim to a mistake. When the man sent out his tweet, the Dubai police chief immediately responded and corrected the mistake. This, I think, is a great act by someone who cares about his country’s reputation and its position as a touristic hotspot. Countries globally who wish to build a name for themselves as destinations for tourists of all ages should continuously work to upgrade and

improve their systems, avoiding such mistakes. If a mix-up of names does happen, they should correct it as soon as they hear about it, even compensating the person for all the troubles they may have gone through. Abdullah Baddah received a phone call from the Commander in Chief of Dubai Police after his tweet was forwarded to him, and was invited to visit the UAE - with the Dubai police covering the cost of his ticket and accommodation. This issue is not about money because I assume the Saudi man could afford to pay for his stay, but the fact that the police chief took it upon himself to prevent small mistakes like that from affecting any Saudi citizen and Saudi relations in general. This incident shows the development of a country and their ethics which make them show respect to everyone and not just certain nationalities. These ethics are felt by everyone when they fly to Dubai for a short stay or business. Everyone is welcome and I believe that people from Gulf countries receive an excellent treatment as brothers and not just as visitors. Abdullah Ahmed Baddah thanked the Dubai chief of police for his reception and hospitality which he enjoyed since his arrival at the Emirate. At the end of the meeting, Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, donated a commemorative gift and wished the man success in life. I appreciated the quick response from the Dubai chief of police. However, I am not surprised as the Emiratis are generous people who are open to other cultures. That is the secret of tourism success in Dubai. Everyone is polite, kind and cooperative from airport customs officers to taxis. I believe that any country which wants to be a destination for tourism must learn its lessons from Dubai. I have visited many countries in Europe where racism is prominent; they prefer certain nationalities over others. I would strongly advise Arabs to spend their vacation in a place like UAE. It is safe for children and fun for all.


Local FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Satire Wire

A thorn by any other name By Sawsan Kazak KUWAIT: A tree is cut down as part of constructing a residential complex in Hawally. — Photo by Sunil Cherian sawsank@kuwaittimes.net

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hat is in a name? News Corp announced yesterday that it was going to split its entertainment division from its publishing businesses. Recently, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has been getting quite a beating in the media (ironically) for alleged phone hackings and bribery in the UK. It has been claimed that phones of high ranking officials and celebrities have been hacked and that ‘inappropriate relationships between News Corp personnel and government officials have been taking place’. Highly publicized court trials, grillings and accusations have done nothing for the company’s reputation or financial situation - and then the newly announced separation. But I think Shakespeare’s Romeo said it best when he said ‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’ But I think in Mr Murdoch’s situation it would be ‘that which we call a thorn by any other name would still prick painfully.’ Just changing the name of something doesn’t make it a different entity. Apparently News Corp ‘split’ has been characterized as a ‘symbolic turning point for its CEO.’ I think that is exactly what that is: symbolism and nothing more. The Murdoch family will still be in full control of the entire business. If I change my name, that will not allow me to escape from my problems, my debts and my life neither will changing the name of a multi-national corporation. I understand that the entertainment division wants to distance itself from the scandalized and practically bankrupt publishing division, but I don’t think that this is right. If you were one entity when everything was going well, then it should remain that way when there are problems. You don’t ditch the weak link just to advance personally. This applies in real life as well as the corporate world. You don’t ditch a person (or division) in trouble and leave them hanging to fend for themselves. I would have more respect for a united News Corp than a divided one.

Local Digest

Jahra weekend..fires By Khalid Al-Arrafahi

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ollowing the spoiled food series, a new one has started in Jahra in the form of repeated fires in Amgharah, and this has become one of the weekend marks for the Jahra residents. Last time some Members of Parliament moved to end the suffering of the people after the Ruhaya fire, and the Jahra residents were optimistic after promises by the municipality that there will be a solution - to move the site outside the governorate. Following the press conference about the scrap yard fire, that followed the Ruhaya catastrophe, the minister of commerce and industry announced that an alternative land would be allocated to move the scrap yard within days, but those promises evaporated very quickly. The situation in Jahra went overboard and needs an instant decision to rescue the area from imminent environmental catastrophe. Members of Parliament have urged the government to move the sites outside residential areas, but nothing has been done yet. Those who are not doing their job and who contribute to the deterioration in Amghara area must be held accountable. The environment Public Authority should take up its responsibility and announce if there is any danger on people’s lives in that area due to air pollution. — Al-Anbaa


Local FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

KUWAIT: These photos illustrate a teenage fight that happened in a big shopping centre in Kuwait. These photages are taken from a YouTube video of the incident.

By Sahar Moussa and Dahlia Abu Yassien

“I

took his head and kept smashing it against the ground,” explains a 15-year old boy, complete with hand gestures, his chubby, seemingly sweet demeanor starkly contrasting with the dark story he tells. He explains pointedly the incident that got him banned from a local park with complete emotional detachment. Rather ironically, he had been at the park as part of a program offering counseling to troubled youths, but still couldn’t manage to shake off the growing culture of violence, “I felt empowered,” he says, grinning. While this incident ended with a few bruises this month a 22year-old Kuwaiti boy was stabbed to death by a 14-member gang in Salmiya. Violence among the youth in Kuwait is becoming widespread as statistics show a noticeable increase of attacks compared to previous years. Often, gangs of knife-wielding boys take to the backstreets of Kuwait, looking for a fight. They usually find one. According to a police officer in the Salmiya district, there are an average of 5-10 arrests on weekdays, and it comes as no surprise that this number doubles or triples over the weekends. Hotspots for violence, he says, include Sulaibiya and Jahra. Numerous arrests also occur around the areas of City Center and Shaab Park, he adds. Gang culture Gangs are often a driving force behind the violence, and a disagreement between a pair can escalate quickly. “People defend their friends, so if one person gets into a fight, their friends will help. It can become more about who knows more people,” says 23-yearold Mohammad, a Jordanian expatriate who was part of a gang when he was younger. He adds, “Fights can develop quickly, and often the initial reason for the fight ends up being forgotten because rival groups become so involved in who will win and who’s stronger. It’s not even about who’s right or wrong anymore.” He further added, however, that it isn’t good for a fighter’s reputation if he relies on an entourage, “A fight should stay between two people, but often traps are set where one will call the other to meet and settle a dispute, but instead will arrange for a group to hide and attack the guy. Such tricks aren’t respected.” In a country where ‘honor’ is adamantly defended, it’s all too easy to provoke an argument, said Mohamad, who admits to having had ‘countless’ fights during his high school years. A police officer, who asked to remain anonymous, said of the honor issue, “They want to prove themselves as men, and protect their honor.” Mohamad insists, however, that sometimes there is no other option, “Sometimes fights are unavoidable. But they’re not mindless, they often have a lot to do with status, and sometimes nationality, too.” He added, “Fighting can often be about pride and ego, but a decent

guy will let go of the conflict after the fight, especially if he won. It can actually resolve a problem and end a conflict that would have otherwise gone on indefinitely.” However not all fights end with a resolution: often armed with knives and lacking any care for the consequences of their actions, gang members can inflict brutal injuries on their victims. Even petty crimes have the potential to spin out of control: in Salhiya, a security guard died of his wounds after being stabbed by a gang of boys during a shoplifting attempt in April. According to Mohamad, however, such behavior does little for a fighter’s reputation, “The use of weapons is not considered masculine or tough because it suggests that the person doesn’t know how to fight properly, so they have to rely on weapons instead.” Salah, a young man with jet-black, heavily gelled hair, attributes much of the fighting to the ‘Bedoun’ (stateless) community, “Many problems happen because of girls in the Bedoun community. A brother defending his sister, for example.” He also elaborates on the nature of gangs, “There are groups of guys who own territories. For example, 20 guys may have Salmiya, and whenever a problem occurs, they show up. I used to be part of that group... but I’m a good guy now,” he says with a smile. Mohamad insists, however, that it’s not so simple, “The majority of guys here will fight if they’re dishonored. Or they’ll get a group to do it for them if they’re weak. Too many people use the Bedoun community as a scapegoat.” Motivations and excuses for violence Another police officer, who also asked for his identity to be concealed, said that fights are not exclusive to the youth, “Older gangs cause fights while intoxicated, while those who are younger fight over girls. Racial crimes are less common than you’d expect.” The officer also said that the weather encourages violence: “The heat makes people angry faster.” According to 17-year-old high school student, Tarek, there are other reasons, too. A significant factor, he

says, is peer pressure, as youths try and avoid being targeted themselves by engaging in violent activity as a protective measure. The idea is that if they instigate the violence, they’ll avoid becoming a victim of it. Increases in crime are also often attributed to the media’s emphasis on blood and gore which, critics say can end up having a desensitizing effect. Despite the rise in violence and the possibility of increasing desensitization, fights in Kuwait are rarely fatal. They are a culmination of boredom and frustration, says Tarek, leading young people to lash out in order to get a thrill. Mishari, a young Kuwaiti, admitted, “We used to follow people of other races and throw eggs at them for fun.” Consequences “First we figure out the problem, then the suspect goes to jail or into custody for a day at most. They sign a report that they will not fight again, and, if they are under-age, their parent has to come in to sign it,” revealed a police officer. “This often results in the father beating his child,” he added. The cycle ending in violence is certainly ironic, as in an attempt to preserve the family’s honor, relatives and guardians inadvertently suggest to the youth that violence is an acceptable form of punishment. Yousef Al-Soweid, a Kuwaiti martial arts instructor in the SAS Hotel and KOC, teaches Aikido, a Japanese martial art form. Youngsters sometimes join his classes seeking skills to defend themselves, “Some younger people join because of dangerous incidents they’ve been through, for example someone’s brother was stabbed and he joined to be able to defend himself in the future.” He added that it is the ineffectuality of the punishment system that gives them the potential to harm others, “Many are uneducated, and while they were being raised their families did not encourage them to pursue any hobbies. This phenomenon is growing because the punishment is not severe enough to stop them; the wasta (connections) system leads to many getting off free.” When asked about possible solutions, he recommended encouraging positive outlets for the youth’s energy, “They could take up a hobby, or join a gym.” However, little is being done in Kuwait to solve the growing problem of violence, “There are no programs to reduce fighting, or to spread awareness,” revealed a police officer. In dangerous circles, it’s either hurt, or be hurt. As Al-Soweid says, it’s becoming a matter of ‘survival of the fittest.’ sahar@kuwaittimes.net


Local FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Instagram in Kuwait hat’s more fun than clicking a beautiful picture? Sharing it with others! This summer, let other people see the way you see Kuwait through your lens. Friday Times will feature snapshots of Kuwait through Instagram feeds.

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A springtime ladybug

If you want to share your Instagram photos, email us at instagram@kuwaittimes.net

A French school bus in Kuwait City

A torn KD 20 note

Grand design at 360 mall

Lazy weekend brunches

Al-Tijaria Tower New and old contrast in Kuwait City Looking up at Al Hamra tower

The skyline of Kuwait City Photos from Instagram account: Lisa_Conrad


Local FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Being 21 in Kuwait By Aakash Bakaya KUWAIT: Luke Dias, 25, and an expatriate has called Kuwait home his entire life. His family has lived here for over two decades. His friends all live and study in Kuwait where he went to school. A couple of weeks ago he lost his job - becoming a victim of downsizing in a big company. For many others this would open new opportunities but for Luke it means leaving his family and moving to an unfamiliar place all by himself. If he doesn’t land a new job he could be forced to leave the country and his family because being older than 21, in Kuwait as per the law, requires him to have a sponsor. Girls do not face this situation as they can stay dependant on their parents visa until they marry. According to the law boys over the age of 21 cannot be sponsored as dependants by his family members and must find their own kafeel. In order to be sponsored to stay in the country with their families they require a work permit. “Many in Kuwait have not looked into our demographic and how the struggle to find a job affects everything in our lives. Without a job we are forced to leave the country, forced to leave our home, family and friends. They (Kuwait government) must begin to understand that we’re helping them and they are helping us. Somewhere down the line a mutual relationship should be attained that would benefit both parties equally,” he says. Luke’s case is not isolated as many young men face similar circumstances. This is the looming danger to many of the teens and young adults trying to find work in Kuwait, to stay with their families and to achieve. Many young boys born and raised in Kuwait have a chance to stay and build a life in Kuwait. Others, however, are less lucky. They are forced to either study abroad or to succumb to the black visa market and buy their own work permits in Kuwait. Those, who find employment might undergo under-payment, unjust treatment and job insecurity due to their lack of experience and employers’ will. Kuwaitization is pointed as one of the major reasons

for the shrinking job market for young expat graduates. Job opportunities for young expats dwindle and payments for the newbies in some companies become sporadic. Many offices are reducing the expatriate population and the most expendable and less affecting member of the workforce are the new youths hired. Even if a young graduate lands a job it could be a short-lived happiness. Many pay for their visa which becomes a huge financial burden on the family. Royston R who just turned 21 has been going through these difficult job situations. In order to stay in the country with his family he was forced to pay his kafeel the lump sum of KD1200. Royston has been working for two years after graduation and has just started his fourth temporary job. He paid to get a work visa but today works in another company. “I paid for my visa to work here because there was no other way. Since it’s not under the same company I am working for I can still get caught in the office and can get caught and subsequently get in trouble with the law. This is a constant day-to-day fear but I can do nothing about it except wait for a permanent job. The only thing you need to survive in this country is your work visa”. Whereas he is accustomed to his new life not many youths in Kuwait cannot say the same. Some do not find employment or those who do are not paid for many months. Others, like Yousuf Yaqoob, have no opportunities to grow in the social ladder. Yaqoob who is turning 21 soon and after more than a year of searching he has finally found something beneficial for his future. “Twice before when I went for job interviews they rejected me because of my lack of experience. With my current job I can at least get some experience for myself and for my CV. This can result in better work in the future, even if my current job is not secure and does not allow me to grow.” Insecurity for him stems from the non-payment in his company. Many expatriates were not paid for months and they are starting to leave. Those who get employment, on the other hand, barely get their full salary. Most companies are aware of the circumstances these youths have to grow through and take advantage of them.

“Complaints from my colleagues because of non payment of salaries are increasing and the company is making it too difficult to provide me a visa. I lost hope but I know I must keep searching and trying to find someone willing to help out. Right now my odds for staying in the country are 50/50.” Growth opportunities For other young boys it is not all bad; all it take is having the right connections and a bit of luck. Kuwait has proven to be a good starting point which has given youth space and opportunity to grow. Yet even for the better jobs there is still high chance it can all disappear in a flash. Issam Shamseddine has just completed a year in his job and is grateful that he did not have to go through some of the worst problems many others his age go through. “If I continue to work in my company there is a chance for better posts with more responsibility and higher pay. Still I constantly fear that I could lose it anytime and if I do I know it will be very difficult to find another because of my lack of experience” he explains. The job situation for these young adults may get a lot harder before it gets any easier and many are powerless. For many young men it is a question of choice: Either leave and establish a new life alone beyond the borders of Kuwait or struggle daily to find a company that will take care of you and allow you to grow.


Local FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Kuwait, Cambodia boost ties Kuwait envoy, Cambodian Minister hold talks JAKARTA: Kuwaiti Ambassador to Cambodia, Dharar Nasser Al-Tuwaijri stressed yesterday on the importance of media cooperation and exchange between Kuwait and Cambodia. The ambassador said that he met with the Cambodian Minister of Information, Khieu Kanharithq, forwarding regards of the Kuwaiti Minister of Information Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah AlMubarak Al-Sabah, wishing him good health, and his country further progress and prosperity.

Al-Tuwaijri praised the role played by Cambodia in the region within its Chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2012, in addition to initiating the first summit of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue to be held in Kuwait in October. During the meeting, the Ambassador proposed that the Cambodian Television broadcasts a documentary on the Kuwait in the English language, on occasion of National Day and Liberation Day next

year. He added that the embassy will provide the film. On the other hand, the Kuwaiti ambassador also met with the Cambodian Interior Minister Sar Kheng who praised the evolving relations between Kuwait and Cambodia, which led to the exchange of diplomatic missions and seeks to find means to promote cooperation in the fields of economy and investment, and exchange of security experiences. Kuwait’s Ambassador told KUNA that during the

Kuwaiti officers graduate from L’Accademia Navale ROME: The first batch of Kuwaiti officers have graduated from the Italian Marine Academy (L’Accademia Navale) in Livrono, Italy. Kuwaiti Ambassador to Italy Sheikh Jaber Duaij Al-Ibrahim Al-Sabah attended the graduation ceremony, held at the academy headquarter yesterday. The event also saw the attendance of many leaders of the academy, senior navy

officers as well as the third secretary at the Kuwaiti embassy Mohammad Al-Ajmi. The graduate officers are Talal Falah Al-Dhufieri, Saud Abduallah Al-Hajji and Fahad Khalid Al-Dawas. They are the first batch of officers to engage in this joint program set up between Kuwait and Italy to enhance military academic cooperation. The Kuwaiti envoy congratulated the

officers for completing this three-year program. He stressed the vital role played by the Navy, as part of the country’s defense system, which protects and secures the stability of Kuwait as well as the Gulf region. The Accademia Navale was inaugurated in 1881. It is responsible for the technical training of military officers of the Italian Navy. — KUNA

‘CAN’ healthy eating campaign

KUWAIT: A building construction worker is seen taking a nap during the mid-day break in Hawally. Kuwait has strictly instructed on halting work during 11am - 4pm in summer. — Photo by Sunil Cherian

KUWAIT: Using the slogan ‘It is possible during Ramadan’, Ahmad Al Saleh, Chairman of the CAN campaign for educating cancer patients, spoke of the benefits of eating healthy foods. The new campaign has been organized with the feeding administration of the Ministry of Health and the Dasmam Diabetic Institute. Al Saleh welcomed the media and thanked everyone for their continuous support of “CAN” activities. He was keen to point out that the campaign has a new vision based upon the theme ‘Our health is in our food’, promoting the idea that eating healthy food is a tool that helps the public avoid contracting diseases. He quoted cases where there is a strong connection between food and colorectal cancer. Statistics in Kuwait suggest colorectal cancer is the second highest cancer in the country for men and second to third for women. Between 2000 and 2008, the rate increased to 10 percent among Kuwaitis, compared to other cancer diseases, and nine percent for non-Kuwaitis during the same period. The aim of CAN is to change negative eating lifestyles, while strengthening positive eating habits.

Amir has right to dissolve or reinstate parliament

KUWAIT: The Coast Guard radars spotted a vessel coming into Kuwait’s territorial waters. When Coast Guard officers approached the vessel, they saw two people throwing two bags into the sea. The boat was forced to stop and the divers recovered the bags with 242 kilos of hashish. — Photo by Hanan Al Saadoun

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah has the sole power to dissolve or reinstate the 2009 parliament, Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi said. He underlined that the Constitutional Court ruling on dissolving 2012 parliament and reinstating the former one has to be respected. “The recently-submitted government’s resignation is the first step towards the enforcement of the ruling,” Al-Khorafi said in a press conference at the National Assembly headquarters. “Then the Amir will accept the resignation and form a new government before inviting the 2009 parliament to convene again,” he added. Al-Kharafi also denied reports that over 26 MPs, out 50 MPs of the 2009 parliament, have rendered their resignation in protest against the court verdict. “So far, I have not received official resignation from any MP,” he said, adding that if the parliament failed to reach quorum in the first session, he would call for a second one and in case of the same problem reoccurred, he would refer the issue to HH the Amir to take the proper decision. —KUNA

meeting he congratulated the Minister on the success of the municipal elections held recently in Cambodia. AlTuwaijri stressed that Cambodia has become an important destination in South East Asia for tourism and investment. The Ambassador conveyed the greetings of the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmed Al-Humoud Al-Sabah wishing him good health and his country’s further progress and prosperity and stability. — KUNA

News

in brief

‘Kuwaiti village’ in Darfur KHARTOUM: A Kuwaiti delegation, headed by the former minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Mohammed Nasser AlHamdan, arrived in Khartoum on Wednesday to take part in the inauguration of a Kuwaiti model village in South Darfur. The inauguration would be in presence of Presidential Aide Abdulrahman Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Sudan Suleiman Al-Harbi, Chairman of the Liberation and Justice Movement Tejani Sisei, director of the office of Kuwait’s charity organization in Sudan, Dr Ahmed Al-Sanusi said. Al-Sanusi noted that apart from taking part in the opening of the model village; the Kuwaiti delegation’s visit would also include meetings with the public and Governor of State of South Darfur, as well as attending a gala of horse and camel racing contests. The Kuwaiti model village is located in the city of Fasha, South Darfur, and it has been co-financed for 2 million dollars by the International Islamic Charitable Organization, Kuwait Joint Relief Committee, and Kuwait Awqaf Public Foundation.

KFIB chairman meets Chinese delegation KUWAIT: Chairman of Kuwait Foreign Investment Bureau (KFIB) Sheikh Dr Mishaal Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on Wednesday received a Chinese economic delegation, led by Wang Jing, director of the Investment Promotion Bureau of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, northwest China. The two sides discussed key issues relating to joint investment notably Kuwait’s foreign investment law and the country’s ambitious economic development plan. Sheikh Dr Mishaal briefed his guests on the services being offered by KFIB to foreign investors who are willing to tap into the available opportunities on the Kuwaiti market. He voiced hope that the meeting will give an impetus to the bilateral economic ties with friendly China particularly Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

Campaign against unsafe food KUWAIT: Kuwait Municipality has finalized plans for intensive search to be carried out round the clock in the country’s six governorates ahead of Ramadan, said the Director General yesterday. Ahmad Al-Sebeeh said that the municipality had already enforced stricter supervision on the cooperative stores, warehouses, groceries, butcher houses, exhibitions and vendors. These special measures are aimed at securing safe supplies to consumers. Laws will be enforced without discrimination, he said, also warning that smugglers of goods that lack required standards will be punished.

Oil minister in Brussels BRUSSELS: Kuwaiti Minister of Oil Hani Al-Hussein arrived on Wednesday evening to take part in 9th EU-OPEC Ministerial Meeting. He is expected to lead the OPEC side at the meeting as Kuwait holds the vice-presidency of the global cartel, insiders of Kuwait Embassy here told KUNA. The EU imports around 40 percent of its oil from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The EU and OPEC established in 2004 an annual high-level bilateral dialogue to enhance producer-consumer relations.


FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Court acquits Karadzic of one genocide count

Lugo says Paraguay’s democracy is ‘broken’

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Frequent flier Clinton hits 100-country mark

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DAMASCUS: A Syrian fireman tries to extinguish fires at the scene of two huge bomb explosions outside the Palace of Justice in Central Damascus yesterday.—AFP

Blast hits main court Damascus Turkey sends troops to border BEIRUT/ISKENDERUN: Rebel forces attacked Syria’s main court in central Damascus yesterday, state television said, while Turkey deployed troops and anti-aircraft rocket launchers to the Syrian border, building pressure on President Bashar Al-Assad. There was a loud explosion and a column of black smoke rose over Damascus, an Assad stronghold that until the last few days had seemed largely beyond the reach of rebels. State television described it as a “terrorist explosion” in the court car park. The car park is used by lawyers and judges working at the Palace, Syria’s highest court. It was unclear if there were casualties in the attack on a potent symbol of Assad’s authority. In southeastern Turkey, Turkish military convoys moved towards the Syrian frontier, reacting to Syria’s shooting down of a Turkish warplane over the Mediterranean on Friday. The build-up of defences coincided with an escalation of violence in Syria itself and a growing sense of urgency in Western- and Arab-backed diplomatic efforts to forge a unity government and end 16 months of bloodshed. The fighting has often come close to Syria’s northern border with Turkey. After Syria shot down the Turkish warplane, which Ankara says

was in international airspace, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan ordered his troops to treat any Syrian military element approaching the border as a military target. A first substantial convoy of about 30 military vehicles, including trucks loaded with missile batteries, dispatched from Turkey’s coastal town of Iskenderun, was moving slowly towards the Syrian border 50 km (30 miles). A Reuters reporter near the town of Antakya saw the convoy moving out of the hills and through small towns on a narrow highway escorted by police. Early yesterday, another convoy left a base at Gaziantep near the Syrian border and headed for Kilis province, which is the site of a large camp for Syrian refugees. Video from the DHA agency showed the convoy, of about 12 trucks and transporters, filing through the gates of the base past the hanging Turkish red flag with white crescent moon and star. David Hartwell, Middle East analyst at IHS Jane’s called the Turkish action a ‘pragmatic, rational response’ after the shooting down of the Turkish aircraft, that Syria insists was flying low and fast in Syrian air space. “Damascus has been warned once. I doubt there will be a second

warning.” Turkey, in the forefront of Western efforts to press Assad from power after a 16 month insurrection, hosts over 33,000 Syrian refugees on its southeastern border as well as units of the rebel Free Syria Army (FSA) that is fighting to overthrow Assad. REGIONAL FEARS “I can confirm there are troops being deployed along the border in Hatay province. Turkey is taking precautions after its jet was shot down,” a Turkish official said on condition of anonymity. He said he did not know how many troops or vehicles were being moved but said they were being stationed in the Yayladagi, Altinozu and Reyhanli border areas. He said antiaircraft guns were being stationed along the border. He could not confirm media reports of troop movements further east in the provinces of Gaziantep and Sanliurfa. In Hatay province, members of the FSA said they did not believe the Turkish deployments were on a large scale. Turkey has in the past spoken of opening a humanitarian corridor on Syrian soil, if the refugee flow grew unmanageable or if the violence and killing became intolerable.

Wary of igniting a regional sectarian conflagration, it has always insisted this would be possible only with United Nations backing. Westernand Arab-backed efforts to forge a joint diplomatic approach with Russia have so far failed. The FSA has been rapidly escalating pressure on Damascus in recent weeks, culminating apparently in yesterday’s attack on the court building. On Wednesday, rebels stormed a pro-Assad Syrian television channel and militants have targeted police and security personnel barracks. In April militants fired rocket-propelled grenades at the Central Bank building. A senior opposition official said Syrian opposition groups would reject a political transition plan proposed by peace envoy Kofi Annan unless it explicitly required Assad to step down before a unity government is formed. Diplomatic sources at the United Nations said Annan’s proposal did not stipulate Assad’s resignation although it does say the unity government could not include figures who jeopardise stability. “The proposal is still murky to us but I can tell you that if it does not clearly state that Assad must step down, it will be unacceptable to us,” said Samir Nashar, an executive member of the international Syrian National Council. —Reuters


International FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Texas jury convicts Saudi plot suspect AMARILLO: A Saudi man accused of buying chemicals online and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction was found guilty Wednesday in federal court in Amarillo. Aldawsari, who was legally in the US on a student visa, was arrested in February 2011 after federal agents secretly searched his apartment near Texas Tech University in Lubbock and found bomb-making chemicals, wiring, a hazmat suit and clocks. Authorities also discovered Aldawsari’s journal, handwritten in Arabic, in which he wrote he’d been planning a terror attack in the US for years and that it was “time for jihad,” or holy war, court documents show. President Barack Obama was notified about the plot before Aldawsari’s arrest. He faces up to life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 9 in Amarillo. After the jury left the courtroom Wednesday, Aldawsari, 22, sat with his attorneys before being led off by US Marshals. Prosecutors left the courtroom declined to comment. His attorneys claimed that because Aldawsari didn’t have a bomb made or a target pinpointed, he couldn’t have attempted to use a bomb. “It’s always disappointing when you lose but at the same time, it was a very difficult case at the outset,” defense attorney Dan Cogdell said Wednesday. “We did the best we could under the circumstances.” Cogdell said Aldawsari was likely to appeal the verdict at some point. He described his client as “the antithesis of what you’d expect him to be.” On Feb 1, 2011, Carolina Biological Supply of Burlington, N.C., a chemical company, reported a suspicious $435 order by Aldawsari to the FBI. Separately, Con-way Freight, the shipping company, notified Lubbock police and the FBI the same day with similar suspicions because it appeared the order wasn’t intended for commercial use. Within weeks, federal agents had traced Aldawsari’s other online purchases, discovered extremist Internet posts and secretly searched his off-campus apartment, computer and email accounts and read his diary, according to court records. TNP, the chemical explosive that Aldawsari was suspected of trying to make, has approximately the same destructive power as TNT. FBI bomb experts said the amounts in the Aldawsari case would have yielded almost 15 pounds of explosives - about the same amount used per bomb in the London subway attacks that killed scores of people in July 2005. Aldawsari entered the US in October 2008 from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to study chemical engineering at Texas Tech, then transferred in early 2011 to nearby South Plains College, where he was studying business. A Saudi industrial company was paying his tuition and living expenses in the US. The judge moved the trial to Amarillo earlier this year. — AP

Yemen arrests Qaeda cell suspected of deadly attack SANAA: Yemeni forces have arrested a cell of Al-Qaeda operatives suspected of carrying out a suicide bombing in Sanaa in May that killed more than 100 troops, a security official was quoted as saying yesterday. “Security forces have captured (members of) the terrorist cell behind the attack on Sabeen Square,” national security chief, Ali Mohammed al-Ansi, was quoted as saying by 26 September, a daily owned and published by the ministry of defence. He was referring to the location of the May 21 bombing in Sanaa that targeted troops rehearsing for a military parade. Ansi gave no further details about the arrest. On June 20, security forces had announced the arrest of Majed al-Qulaisi, a member of the Al-Qaeda cell that planned the deadly suicide attack. Al-Ansi vowed to continue the “hunt” for Al-Qaeda fighters, saying security forces have carried out a “series of operations against Al-Qaeda terrorists” across Yemen. Last week, Yemeni troops took control of the southeastern town of Azzan, the last Al-Qaeda bastion in Yemen’s troubled southern and eastern provinces where the militants had established total control. Al-Qaeda had declared an Islamic emirate in the desert town where hundreds of fighters were believed to have sought refuge after fleeing their strongholds in nearby Abyan province. Taking advantage of a weakening central government control by an Arab Spring-inspired uprising last year, the militants had overrun most of Abyan, capturing its capital Zinjibar, towns like Jaar, Shuqra and several other villages. —AFP

BAGHDAD: People inspect the scene of a car bomb attack in the Washash neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq yesterday. Police say a series of bombs around Iraq’s capital have killed and wounded scores of people. — AP

Bombings, shootings around Iraq kill 22 Attacks underscore how deadly Iraq remains BAGHDAD: Bombings and shootings around Iraq killed 22 people and wounded more than 50 yesterday, authorities said, as a spike in violence made June Iraq’s bloodiest month in almost a half a year. The attacks in Shiite neighborhoods and on security forces underscore how deadly Iraq remains, even though violence has dropped dramatically since a few years ago when the country appeared about to descend into civil war. Over the last month, more than 200 Iraqis have been killed in attacks. Yesterday’s deadliest strike came around 9:30 am in the Shiite Muslim neighborhood of Washash in western Baghdad, where eyewitnesses said a taxi exploded outside a local market. Eight people died and 26 were injured, police and hospital officials said. Hadil Maytham and her two children were eating breakfast in their nearby house when they heard the explosion. “It shook the doors and the windows of the house,” said Maytham, 28. “Then we heard shooting, probably by police who usually shoot randomly after explosions.” Bombings generally are a hallmark of Sunni Muslim insurgents linked to al-Qaida, and Shiites remain one of their main targets. Earlier yesterday, a roadside bomb in a Shiite neighborhood in southern Baghdad exploded as a police patrol was passing by, killing one person and wounding six. Two more attacks on Shiite enclaves in northwest Baghdad wounded five more people, police said. And in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province 115 kilometers (70

miles) west of Baghdad, another car bomb wounded seven people in the parking lot of the provincial council. The largely Sunni province’s deputy governor Dhari Arkan said the explosion early in the morning was designed to shake confidence in the government. “The message of the terrorists is that no place is safe in Iraq,” Arkan said. Baghdad operations command spokesman Col. Dhia al-Wakil said no overall conclusion about Iraq’s security can be drawn from yesterday’s attacks, which he said are believed to be unrelated. He described Iraq’s security as “generally stable, and these attacks by no means should be taken as an indication that the terrorists are able to defy our security forces.” He said security forces had defused several car bombs recently and arrested suspects believed to be behind this month’s wave of violence. He declined to give further details. While Shiite neighborhoods and ceremonies are a favorite al-Qaida target, Sunnis affiliated with the government and security forces also frequently come under attack. In the Sunni city of Taji, just north of Baghdad, two cars parked about 100 meters (yards) apart from each other exploded outside the office of the local mayor at dawn, police said. The mayor was not in his office at the time, but the blast killed five people and wounded 18, leaving craters in nearby homes. Taji is home to a military base and is located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Baghdad. Police officials spoke on condition of anonymity

because they were not authorized to release the information. In the troubled province of Diyala, gunmen walked into a butcher shop in the provincial capital of Baqouba and shot dead two former Sunni militiamen who fought against al-Qaida. A separate attack on a checkpoint killed two more militia members and two police. Police Maj. Ghalib Al-Karkhi said the gunmen used pistols fitted with silencers to assassinate the former members of the Sahwa or Awakening militia, which broke away from the insurgency to join US troops in fighting Al-Qaeda at the height of the war. Sahwa members are frequent targets of the insurgents, who consider them traitors. Gunmen in two cars also opened fire on a checkpoint in Baqouba, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, killing two police officers and two Sahwa militiamen, police and hospital officials said. Two more Sahwa members were shot and killed while manning a checkpoint in the central city of Samarra, 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. While violence has dramatically dropped from the wide scale sectarian fighting between 2006 and 2008, deadly bombings and shootings in Iraq still happen almost every day. The recent increase in attacks comes as the government is embroiled in a months-long political crisis in Iraq that has Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds calling for Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to resign for sidelining his political opponents. The impasse has all but paralyzed the government.— AP


International FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Jordan king meets with Hamas chief AMMAN: Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal held talks yesterday with King Abdullah II on his second official visit to Jordan this year to boost ties with the kingdom. “The meeting comes at a crucial time as part of coordination and cooperation between the two sides. Hamas is keen to develop relations with Jordan,” Meshaal, who has Jordanian nationality, was quoted as saying in a palace statement.

The king told Meshaal and his delegation “strengthening Palestinian unity would help Palestinian people restore their rights,” it added. Holding elections and forming a caretaker cabinet are two of the main issues that have been holding up implementation of a reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah factions signed in April 2011 but stalled since then. Hamas spokesman in Gaza Sami Abu Zuhri said the visit focuses on

High-level Israeli-Palestinian meeting next week RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with Israel’s new vice prime minister next week, an aide said yesterday, although expectations are low that the rare high-level talks will help restart long-stalled peace negotiations. Israel’s Shaul Mofaz, leader of the centrist Kadima Party, is to hold talks with Abbas on Sunday at the Palestinian leader’s West Bank headquarters in Ramallah, said Abbas aide Saeb Erekat. Mofaz spokesman Imri Mazor said efforts were being made to arrange a meeting, but did not specify a date. Negotiations to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel broke off in 2008.Efforts to restart them have failed because hardline Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas cannot agree on the ground rules. Abbas says there is no point in talking as long as Israel keeps building settlements for Jews in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 war, along with the Gaza Strip. Half a million Israelis now live in the war-won territories the Palestinians want for a future state. Netanyahu refuses to freeze settlements and argues talks should resume without preconditions. Abbas aides said his meeting with Mofaz does not constitute a resumption of formal peace negotiations. Abbas will tell Mofaz that he still insists on a settlement freeze ahead of negotiations, said a senior adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the contacts. Abbas will tell Mofaz that he is willing to hold exploratory meetings with Netanyahu if the Israeli premier first releases more than 120 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel since before the interim peace agreements of the mid-1990s, the adviser said. Kadima unexpectedly joined Netanyahu’s centerright coalition last month, and is seen as the main member of the alliance pushing for a deal with the Palestinians. Mofaz has proposed seeking an interim arrangement with the Palestinians, granting them independence within temporary borders, while final borders and other issues are subsequently worked out. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev would not say whether Netanyahu would contemplate the release of dozens of veteran Palestinian prisoners. A public opinion poll, meanwhile, suggested that the Palestinian president’s popularity is slipping because of authoritarian measures in the West Bank, including the arrest of journalists, and delays in implementing a reconciliation deal with political rival Hamas that controls Gaza. The deal was to lead to long-overdue parliamentary and presidential elections. In the poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 71 percent of 1,200 respondents said they are dissatisfied with the fact that elections are not being held as promised, and two-thirds said they believe they live in an undemocratic system. The poll said support for the Palestinian president slipped to 49 percent, down from 54 percent three months ago, while the Gaza prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, scored 44 percent support, up from 42 percent in March. — AP

ties between Jordan and the Palestinian Islamist group. “The trip is important for the two sides in light of the current developments in the region,” he said. Relations between Hamas and Jordan have been strained since 1999, when the authorities expelled Meshaal and three other Hamas members after the group was accused of threatening the kingdom’s security and stability. They soured further in 2006 after Amman

alleged that members of the group had smuggled weapons into the kingdom from neighbouring Syria. Meshaal, who survived a 1997 assassination attempt in Amman by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, held talks with the king in January on the first official visit since the expulsion. He has also made two shorts trips to Jordan to attend his father’s funeral and see his ailing mother. — AFP

Egypt’s army, Islamists tussle over Mursi’s oath Egypt awaits details of swearing-in, army handover CAIRO: Egypt’s presidency planned to reveal yesterday how Islamist Presidentelect Mohamed Mursi would be sworn in at the weekend in a ceremony whose symbolism the Muslim Brotherhood and interim military rulers have both struggled to shape. With the oath-taking and a planned army handover of power to the president only two days away, there was still no official word on how an important moment in Egypt’s transition would unfold. Army sources said the handover segment would be delayed from Saturday, without giving a reason. They set no new date. Mursi’s office promised a statement later in the day but did not say if differences with the army had been resolved. The Brotherhood wanted the president sworn in by parliament in line with past custom, but an army-backed court dissolved the Islamist-dominated lower house earlier this month. The generals said the same court should hear Mursi take his oath of office. The army council that has ruled Egypt since pushing former President Hosni Mubarak aside to calm a popular uprising last year has promised to hand back control by July 1. Yet the military has demonstrated fairly crudely that it intends to keep its hands firmly on the real levers of power. Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, 76, who served as Mubarak’s defence minister for two decades, will keep that post in Mursi’s future cabinet, an army council member said on Wednesday night.”The government will have a defence minister who is head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces,” Major-General Mohamed Assar said on private CBC television. Asked by the talk show host if this meant Tantawi would keep his defence portfolio, Assar said: “Exactly. What is wrong with that? He is the head of the SCAF, the defence minister and the commander of the armed forces.” The military council led by Tantawi has managed a turbulent and sometimes violent transition period in which Egypt’s first free parliamentary and presidential elections have taken place. Assar’s assertion that Tantawi would remain in place even before Mursi has been sworn in on Saturday illustrates the limits the military seeks to set on his presidential authority. In a statement on June 17, the generals cut a swathe through their own previous interim constitutional decree, as well

as the Mubarak-era constitution, grabbing more power for themselves. The republic’s past presidents, all drawn from the military, have had the title of supreme commander of the armed forces. Under the new decree, the SCAF said it was in charge of all military affairs and that its head, not the president, would command the armed forces until a new constitution is written. After the Supreme Court ordered parliament dissolved on June 14, the SCAF assumed legislative powers, which Assar said it would also exercise until a new assembly is elected. Among other actions in a package denounced by the Muslim Brotherhood as a military coup before Mursi’s election win was confirmed on Sunday, the council also named a National Defence Council to run defence and foreign policies. Although Mursi and his future prime minister will also serve on the council, they will be outnumbered by the generals in a body whose decisions will be taken by majority vote. Assar insisted that Mursi, a 60-year-old US trained engineer, would have full presidential prerogatives, even as he outlined curbs on his right to decide on war or peace. “The president is the head of state

with full powers. The president makes a decision to go to war in consultation with the military rulers,” Assar said, adding that this was normal practice in other countries, including the United States. The United States, determined to preserve Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel and US access to the Suez Canal, must now deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, despite its doubts about the Islamist group’s intentions, as well as with the military, even though its commitment to democracy seems at best uncertain. “We’re keeping the lines open” to all sides, said one US official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The deliberate even-handedness was visible on Sunday when US President Barack Obama took the rare step of calling both Mursi and losing presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik, the former air force chief and Mubarak’s last prime minister. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has delayed plans to visit Egypt for now, this week urged Mursi to include women, Christians and secular liberals in his government. Mursi, whose aides say he will name a woman and a Christian among six vice-presidents, has been meeting leaders of Egypt’s political and religious communities ahead of his swearing-in. —Reuters

RAMALLAH: Palestinian youths hold signs bearing slogans against the upcoming visit of Israeli vice prime minister Shaul Mofaz to the West Bank city of Ramallah for a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, outside the attorney general office in the city yesterday.—AFP


International FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Quebec court upholds law limiting protests MONTREAL: A court in Canada’s Quebec province on Wednesday rejected a petition to scrap provisions of a controversial law enacted to quell student protests against tuition hikes. Special Law 78 was passed on May 18 in the wake of clashes between police and students fighting an 82 percent hike in tuition at universities in the French-speaking province of eight million people.

It requires organizers to give police at least eight hours advance warning of times and locations of protest marches, with hefty fines imposed for failing to do so. Quebec Premier Jean Charest’s centrist government says the measure protects the peace by simply outlining where and when protests may occur. Opponents, however, say it breaches their rights of assembly and free expression. In its

ruling, the court rejected a petition submitted by students to suspend two provisions of the law while waiting for consideration of another petition this autumn, which calls for the law to be declared void for being unconstitutional. Judge Francois Rolland, in explaining his ruling, wrote that the sections in question “do not prevent protests, even if certain limitations are

imposed.” They target organizers, not protest participants, he added. Addressing the issue of freedom of expression, Rolland said a substantive debate was needed to determine if the law should be upheld or not. Upon announcement of the court decision, students pledged to continue demonstrating, while their lawyers said they would consider appealing.— AFP

Displaced residents wait as fire rages COLORADO SPRINGS: Tens of thousands of Colorado Springs residents forced from their homes by a raging wildfire took refuge with friends or family and crammed into hotels and shelters as Army troops helped firefighters protect the US Air Force Academy from encroaching flames. The blaze was burning out of control early yesterday in the mountains and within Colorado’s second-largest city, after more than 30,000 evacuees frantically packed up belongings and fled. The wildfire was one of many burning across the parched West, blazes that have destroyed structures and prompted evacuations in Montana and Utah and forced the closure of a portion of Zion National Park. Shifting winds Wednesday challenged firefighters trying to contain the 29-square-mile Waldo Canyon blaze and extinguish hot spots inside Colorado Spring’s western suburbs. The National Weather Service reported 60 mph winds and lightning above the fire Wednesday afternoon, but winds were calmer by nightfall. Yesterday’s forecast offered some hope, with the temperature expected to reach into the mid 80s - about 5 degrees cooler than Wednesday - and humidity 15 to 20 percent, about 5 percentage points higher. Winds were forecast to be 10 to 15 mph out of the west. “It’s not windy yet this morning. That’s always a good sign,” fire information officer Rob Dyerberg said yesterday. Neighborhoods where explosions of bright orange flame Tuesday signaled yet another house had been claimed were still dangerous, keeping authorities away from being to assess the damage. But an AP aerial photo taken Wednesday of one neighborhood showed dozens of heavily damaged or destroyed homes. Ed and Florine Gigandet took refuge in a hotel in Manitou Springs, which days earlier had been evacuated when the same fire passed through. They fled their home as ash fell on their driveway from an ominous orange smoke overhead.

COLORADO: Trees are engulfed by flames in Huntington Canyon, Utah, on Wednesday as the Seeley Fire burns in the Manti-La Sal National Forest. —AP

NEW YORK: This Monday, Feb 1, 2010, file photo, shows News Corp.’s headquarters in New York. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. said yesterday, that it plans to split into two separate companies, one holding its newspaper business and the other its entertainment operations. —AP

News Corp agrees to split in principle

Move comes after pressure from UK phone-hacking scandal NEW YORK: The board of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has agreed in principle to separate its larger entertainment division from struggling publishing businesses, according to the Wall Street Journal. An official announcement is expected to come yesterday, said the newspaper, which is one of the units of the global mediaentertainment conglomerate. The Journal, citing an unnamed source, said the decision was made at a board meeting Wednesday evening that lasted about 90 minutes. The move comes with Murdoch’s empire under pressure from the phonehacking scandal in Britain that resulted in the closure of the company’s flagship News of the World tabloid and the resignation of several senior executives. The carve-out would likely lead to one unit including 20th Century Fox movie studios, the Fox broadcast network and Fox News Channel, competing more directly against Disney, Time Warner and Comcast, which controls NBC Universal. The company’s publishing assetsincluding the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, The Times of London and The Australian newspaper, as well as the HarperCollins book publishing housewould be part of a second entity. Some see the move as an effort to fence off the hacking scandal and give Murdoch a chance to carry out his plan for a full takeover of satellite broadcaster

BSkyB, in which News Corp has a 39 percent stake. But the reorganization also could boost shareholder value for a conglomerate hurt by a so-called Murdoch discount. Analysts at SNL Financial say the publishing unit has been “an albatross” around the neck of News Corp, generating lower profit margins. The media units have also been hurt by the slump in newspaper circulation and advertising as readers turn to free online news sources. Ken Doctor, a media analyst with Outsell Research, said a news-only division might have some advantages as well, which could maximize the value to its most prized asset, the Wall Street Journal. “Wouldn’t the Wall Street Journal, its Digital Network, and Dow Jones more generally, be better off as a separate standalone company of its own, rather than pooled together with flagging general interest newspapers?” he said. “The Journal has far more potential to make serious money, as the global digital business news economy is becoming real.” The unit might “move fairly quickly to jettison money losers, reviving the trust idea for the Times of London and seeking buyers for the New York Post,” he added. News Corp shares have been rallying since word leaked out and the company confirmed it was considering a split. Yesterday shares rose by 3.51 percent, or 75.5 cents, to Aus$22.25, as of 0505 GMT. Shares have now surged more than 11

percent since news of the split emerged earlier this week. “Everyone has been aware that the board vote was imminent and now it looks clear that they are going to do it,” said Fat Prophets analyst Greg Fraser in Australia. “The share price is reacting because the entertainment side of the business is going to get a more realistic valuation.”Analyst Anthony DiClemente at Barclays said this week that the publishing arm accounts for just seven percent of the value of the company and that a split could be positive. In the most recent quarter ended March 31, News Corp profit was up 47 percent to $937 million, as revenues rose two percent to $8.4 billion. Cable operations and entertainment accounted for much of the profit. The Australian-born Murdoch has been a target for criticism as the British scandal has deepened. In April, he denied that he had exerted a decadeslong stranglehold over British politics when he finally testified at an inquiry sparked by the misdeeds of his media empire. One government minister was forced to resign over allegations of leaking details to Murdoch’s News Corp as it tried to take full control of pay-TV giant BSkyB. The Australian-born tycoon also denied discussing the controversial BSkyB deal with British Prime Minister David Cameron, and rejected rumors he was unhappy with Cameron for setting up the judge-led inquiry.— AFP


International FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Lugo says Paraguay’s democracy is ‘broken’ Former Prez urges organizations to recognize ouster

GUADALAJARA: Mexican presidential candidate for the National Action Party (PAN), Josefina Vazquez Mota and her husband Sergio Ocampo greet supporters during her closing campaign rally in Guadalajara, Mexico on Wednesday. Mexico will hold presidential elections on July 1, 2012. —AFP

Mexico focuses on man expected to lose election MEXICO CITY : Four days before Mexico’s presidential election, much of the nation’s attention is focused on a man who appears certain to lose. That man is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the fiery, feisty leftist who shut down the heart of Mexico City after the last election with massive protests against a narrow loss that he blamed on electoral fraud. Lopez Obrador drew hundreds of thousands back downtown Wednesday night for a massive end-of-campaign rally to hail what he called his imminent victory. The only problem is that final polls released Wednesday show Lopez Obrador well in second place, with the candidate of Mexico’s former ruling party, Enrique Pena Nieto, anywhere from 8 to 17 percentage points in the lead. As a result, few expect anything other than a Pena Nieto victory that will return the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to the presidency after 12 years out of the nation’s highest office. What remains in doubt for millions of Mexicans is whether Lopez Obrador will quietly accept defeat? Or will he call his followers back to the streets for a repeat of the 2006 protests that shut down the capital’s center for six weeks and shook the faith of many, at home and abroad, in the stability of Mexico’s young democracy? In that election race, Lopez Obrador led until the final days and his backers could not believe the official result showing him less than 1 percentage point short of victor Felipe Calderon, though electoral courts upheld it. Lopez Obrador declared himself the “legitimate president of Mexico,” named a Cabinet and toured the country to rally backers against the alleged electoral fraud. This time around, polls show him well back but his final campaign rally on Wednesday is to many Mexicans an uncomfortable echo of the last electoral battle. Thousands of supporters waving the yellow flags of his party and wearing Lopez Obrador T-shirts shouted, “President! President! You are the President!” as they lined four lanes of Mexico City’s central Reforma boulevard and walked to the Zocalo, the centuriesold square in the center of downtown that has served as the base for many of his protests. Some of his supporters brought their pets, among them a white bull terrier with a message written on its side that read “a dog’s life no more.” There were so many of his followers trying to get near Lopez Obrador that at one point of the march his security team had to take him out of the crowd through a hole they tore in a construction fencing around the Alameda park. At the Zocalo, more than 100,000 gathered to hear him speak. Thousands who couldn’t make it to the massive plaza gathered around huge screens hanging on cranes in the surrounding streets. “I will govern for rich and poor, for the people in the cities and the people in the farms,” Lopez Obrador said as the crowd listened silently. “We don’t want vengeance, we want justice.” Lopez Obrador spoke for more than an hour describing his presidency as if he had already won. He described a Mexico where he would fund more social spending without new taxes by cutting government waste and corruption. At the end of his speech, he spoke in emotional terms about the love he felt for his supporters whose commitment he said drove him to seek victory. “I won’t fail you; I won’t betray the people of Mexico. I’m very conscientious of my historic responsibility,” he said as the crowd erupted in cheers of President! President!. — AP

A S U N C I O N : Former President Fernando Lugo on Wednesday urged international organizations to recognize that his ouster constituted a democratic breakdown and said he expected events in Paraguay to echo what happened in Honduras following that country’s 2009 coup. Lugo told The Associated Press in an interview that there should be some form of punishment against the new government, but said he didn’t want to see economic sanctions that would hurt ordinary Paraguayans. “The democratic process in this country is broken,” said the 61-yearold former Catholic clergyman once dubbed “the bishop of the poor.” He added that he hoped “international organizations will have the maturity and the courage to say that there has been a break in the democratic process and that it merits a sanction.” Lugo’s comment came ahead of a summit of the regional trade bloc Mercosur this Thursday and Friday in Argentina, and the expected arrival of an Organization of American States’ fact-finding missing this weekend to study his fasttrack impeachment by lawmakers last week. In Wednesday’s interview, Lugo said he believed that even if the Washington-based OAS takes strong action against the new government of former Vice President Federico Franco, who replaced him as president, it would not prove enough to land him back in office as it didn’t in the case of Honduras. The OAS suspended Honduras as a member after a 2009 coup that saw President Manuel Zelaya spirited out of the country by the military after he defied a Supreme Court order to cancel a referendum asking voters if Honduras should change its constitution. Opponents charged that Zelaya was trying to get around a constitutional provision limiting presidents to a single term. He denied that was he aim. International sanctions and months of negotiations led by the OAS and the US failed to persuade the interim government to restore Zelaya to power. Honduras went ahead with November 2009 elections that had been scheduled before the coup and Porfirio Lobo was voted into office. The U.S. and other countries restored diplomatic relations shortly after Lobo took office in January 2010. Zelaya was finally allowed to return to Honduras from exile in 2011 following an OAS-brokered deal - but not as president. “I think that the Honduran itinerary will be repeated in Paraguay,” Lugo predicted on Wednesday. The

ASUNCION: Ouster Paraguay’s President Fernando Lugo speaks during an interview in Asuncion, Paraguay, Wednesday.—AP

OAS delegation to Paraguay will look into the circumstances of Lugo’s destitution, which came after a five-hour-long trial that critics say allowed Lugo no opportunity to defend himself. The Senate found him guilty of “poor performance of his duties” over a deadly clash between police and landless peasants. The new government has said the lightning-quick procedures were well within the law. But not everyone is convinced. Seven Latin American countries have called their ambassadors home for consultations, and another group of Latin American countries presented a resolution seeking to suspend Paraguay from the OAS. However, it failed to win support from other nations. Others of Paraguay’s neighbors, including Argentina and Brazil, have condemned the rapidity of Lugo’s dismissal and are expected to discuss possible sanctions against the country at the meeting of Mercosur, which also groups Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Many countries have called back their ambassadors permanently or for consultations. Lugo spoke out against possible international sanctions against his country, saying they would hurt the ordinary people. “They (Mercosur countries) are free to decide that they want but I think sanctions, eco-

nomic sanctions will have repercussions and hurt the entire country,” he said. “I met with small farmers producing yucca, bananas or pineapple, and I would feel very bad for them if sanctions were declared.” Lugo didn’t say what sanctions he thought should be applied to Paraguay’s new government. Meanwhile on Wednesday, Paraguay’s new leader said he’d welcome representatives from Mercosur and the OAS with open arms. “They can come to Paraguay whenever they want to and they won’t find a single traumatized citizen,” Franco said at a news conference. “Life is normal.” He added that despite the harsh positions some countries have taken against his government, “I have nothing against Argentina or Brazil because we have very good relations with those two regional giants.” The United Nations on Wednesday added its voice to the chorus of concern over events in Paraguay. The organization said in a statement that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had noted “the concern expressed by regional leaders regarding the impeachment process and its implications for democracy in the country.” “The SecretaryGeneral urges all concerned to work in the days ahead to ensure the peaceful resolution of differences,” the statement said.— AP


International FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

News

in brief

Man died after falling from Acropolis in Athens ATHENS: Police say a man who fell off Greece’s most famous monument, the Acropolis, in central Athens, has died. Authorities said the circumstances surrounding the fall yesterday morning were not clear. The 42-year-old Greek bank employee, whose identity has not been made public, had suffered serious head injuries in the fall. The Acropolis hill and the 2,500-year-old marble temples that stand atop it are the capital city’s key tourist attraction. Over 170 migrants on boat arrive in Italy ROME: Over 170 illegal migrants landed in a boat on Italy’s southern coast early yesterday, less than two weeks after seven migrants were reported missing at sea, the Italian coastguard said. In Sicily, an Egyptian fishing boat carrying 115 migrants from North Africa was accompanied into Catania port by two military crafts. Italian surveillance aircraft had spent several days keeping watch on the boat, and a larger vessel that was towing it. Four Egyptians were arrested on arrival in Catania on suspicion of people smuggling, but the larger vessel made a successful getaway during the night. Another 53 migrants arrived on a sailboat from Greece, the coastguard said. There were 41 men, five women and seven children on board, who were believed to be from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. On June 19, seven migrants were lost at sea after their boat sank off the coast of Puglia in southern Italy, while four others were rescued. Pope puts Sheen, Sicily priest on sainthood path VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI has put Fulton John Sheen, the US bishop whose radio and TV shows denouncing Communism and liberal psychology had a big following, on the path to sainthood. The Vatican said yesterday the pope formally recognized the “heroic virtues” of Sheen, a former Rochester bishop who died in New York in 1979. That formality paves the way for procedures aimed at possible beatification, the last formal step before sainthood. Benedict also proclaimed as a martyr a Sicilian priest who was gunned down by the Mafia in 1993 after challenging mobsters to change their ways. The pope had hailed Giuseppe “Pino” Puglisi as a hero when he visited Palermo in 2010. If a miracle is attributed to Puglisi’s intercession, sainthood can be bestowed.-Agencies

In Serbia, Milosevic’s allies return to power BELGRADE: Socialist leader Ivica Dacic won a mandate yesterday to form a new Serbian government, marking a full-scale return of the late Slobodan Milosevic’s former allies to power for the first time since the autocrat’s ouster in a popular revolt in 2000. President Tomislav Nikolic formally approved Dacic as prime minister designate to lead the new coalition government that would include the Socialists, Nikolic’s nationalists and a small center-right party. Although Nikolic and his nationalists claim to have shifted from being staunchly anti-Western to pro-European Union, a new nationalist-dominated government is likely to stall Serbia’s proclaimed EU membership bid and increase Russian influence in the Balkans. The nationalists are backed by the Kremlin. “Today, Serbia is changing,” Nikolic said after meeting with Dacic. “Serbian citizens voted for changes.” Serbia’s Parliament still needs to formally approve the new government. The new coalition represents another blow to Democrat leader Boris Tadic, who was ousted in the May presidential election by Nikolic. The Democrats are Serbia’s biggest pro-European party. Dacic ditched his former allies, the Democrats, after the nationalists offered to make him prime minister. Tadic said yesterday the Democrats did not offer Dacic the premier position because his party “is not good enough” to lead the country. Dacic had been Milosevic’s spokesman during the bloody Balkan wars of the 1990s. The Socialists and the nationalists were ousted from power together with their former leader Milosevic during street protests in October 2000. Six years later, Milosevic died in his jail cell during his war crimes trial at a UN tribunal. Ironically, the return to power of Milosevic’s former allies comes exactly 11 years to the day when the late strongman, who was accused of triggering the Balkan wars in the 1990s, was extradited to the war crimes tribunal by Serbia’s then-ruling Democrats. Dacic said his new government would not return the country to the 90’s. “If I wanted to do that, I would have done it in the past four years,” Dacic said, referring to his period as a junior partner in Tadic’s outgoing government.— AP

Court acquits Karadzic of one genocide count UN tribunal upholds 10 other counts THE HAGUE: The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal acquitted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic yesterday of one of the two genocide charges he faces but upheld 10 other counts at the halfway stage of his long-running trial. Presiding Judge Oh-Gon Kwon said prosecutors did not provide enough evidence to “be capable of supporting a conviction of genocide in the municipalities” - a charge covering the mass killings, expulsions and persecution by Serb forces of Muslims and Croats from Bosnian towns early in the country’s 1992-95 war. While the dismissal of one genocide charge was a setback for prosecutors, judges upheld 10 more charges, including a genocide count covering Karadzic’s alleged involvement in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys. Prosecutors finished presenting their evidence in May and earlier this month Karadzic had asked judges to dismiss all 11 counts against him, saying prosecutors had failed to prove their case. Karadzic’s lawyer, Peter Robinson, welcomed yesterday’s rejection of the genocide charge. “Dr. Karadzic and myself both thought it was a courageous decision of the trial chamber to say at this stage of the case that there was no genocide in the municipalities in Bosnia in 1992,” Robinson told The Associated Press outside the court. “But I do expect that the prosecution will want to appeal this decision.” Prosecutors had no immediate reaction. But survivors of the Bosnia war, which left 100,000 people dead, said the deci-

sion could set back any reconciliation. “We are shocked and disappointed,” said Edin Ramulic, who heads an association of victims in Bosnia’s Prijedor region. “We have no reason to hope now that the Serbs will go through catharsis and acknowledge that the non-Serbs in Prijedor had been killed, tortured, exterminated, raped.” Karazdic’s trial will continue later this year on the 10 remaining counts and he will begin his defense on Oct. 16. He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted. The court has repeatedly ruled that the massacre in Srebrenica was genocide, but has never convicted any suspect of genocide for the campaign of killings in the Bosnia towns

and villages at the outset of the war. Judges said yesterday there was enough evidence to uphold charges including murder and persecution in the early stages of the war, but the killings did not rise to the level of genocide, which requires prosecutors to prove intent to wipe out a specific group of the population in whole or in part. Karadzic was arrested in 2008, 13 years after he was first indicted on charges of masterminding Serb atrocities during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war. His trial started in 2009 and prosecutors rested their case in May. Karadzic’s former military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic also is on trial on almost identical charges. The first witness in that trial is scheduled to begin testifying early next month.— AP

THE HAGUE: A picture taken on November 3, 2009 shows former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic appears in the courtroom of the War Crimes tribunal in the Hague.—AFP

British court blocks sex criminal’s removal to US LONDON: Britain’s High Court blocked a US government bid to extradite a sex criminal to Minnesota yesterday, saying the state’s restrictive treatment program for sex offenders was far too draconian. Judges Alan Moses and David Eady endorsed 43-year-old Shawn Sullivan’s appeal against extradition after US authorities refused to guarantee that Sullivan wouldn’t be placed in Minnesota’s civil commitment program, which provides for the indefinite detention of people found to be “sexually dangerous.” Sullivan is accused of raping a 14-year-old girl and sexually molesting two 11-year-olds in Minnesota in the 1990s. He escaped

to Ireland as prosecutors prepared to file charges, and while staying there was convicted of sexually assaulting two 12-year-old girls. Authorities finally caught up with him two years ago in London, where he’d moved using an Irish passport that spelled his last name in Gaelic as “O’Suilleabhain.” The High Court judges made clear in an earlier decision that they would have supported Sullivan’s extradition had it not been for the sex treatment program, which they described as among the toughest the United States. The justices outlined a litany of concerns, noting that offenders don’t have to be mentally ill to be committed; their offenses don’t

have to be recent, and in some cases, those placed in the program don’t even have to have been convicted of any crime. The judges added they’d seen no evidence that anyone had ever been released from the program since it began in its current form in 1988. “There is a real risk that if returned, Mr. Sullivan will be the subject of an order of civil commitment,” the judges said in the June 20 decision, adding that placing him in the program would be a flagrant denial of his rights. They gave US officials a week to guarantee that Sullivan wouldn’t be enrolled the program, but when no assurances were made, the extradition proceedings were dropped.— AP


International FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Death, a ‘godfather’ and intrigue as Nigerian state votes Country struggling to entrench credible democracy

RIGA: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton applauds during an interview with Latvian youth at the University of Latvia yesterday, in Riga. Clinton touched down in Latvia yesterday, the 100th country she has visited since becoming the US top diplomat less than four years ago. —AFP

Frequent flier Clinton hits 100-country mark RIGA: Hillary Rodham Clinton made and marked history yesterday, setting a new frequent-flier record for American secretaries of state by touching down in her 100th country and commemorating one of her predecessors’ strong stand against Soviet expansion. The globetrotting Clinton hit the century mark when she stepped off her Air Force Boeing 757 plane in the Latvian capital of Riga. No previous secretary of state had visited more than 96 countries while in office, according to the State Department. The previous record-holder was Madeleine Albright, who served as secretary of state during President Bill Clinton’s second term in office. In her three and a half years as secretary, Clinton has so far logged 70 trips abroad to countries from Afghanistan to Zambia, the department said. She has spent 337 days on the road, including more than 1,750 hours, or more than 73 days, on her Air Force 757, it said. Counting her trips abroad as first lady, Clinton has now represented the United States in 122 countries, according to her staff. Clinton, who visited first visited Riga with her husband in 1994, is in Latvia on the second stop of a four-nation European swing that took her to Finland on Wednesday and will see her visit St. Petersburg, Russia, and Geneva, Switzerland, where she will attend an international conference aimed at ending the crisis in Syria. In Riga, Clinton was meeting Latvian officials and dedicating a street in front of the U.S. Embassy in honor of former Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles. In 1940, he issued what became known as the Welles Declaration, which set out Washington’s refusal to recognize the Soviet Union’s takeover of the Baltic States - Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. “We were proud never to have wavered in supporting the independence of Latvia and the Latvian people and we are proud now to be a partner of a free Latvia,” Clinton said before meeting the country’s prime minister.— AP

BENIN CITY: A suspicious car accident involving a governor’s convoy and the murder of one of his top aides leads to accusations against an elderly political “godfather”. It sounds like the plot of a thriller from Nigeria’s prolific Nollywood movie industrybut it is in fact the bare-knuckled reality of politics in the country’s Edo state, which holds governorship elections on July 14. Africa’s most populous nation has been struggling to entrench credible democracy after years of military rule and sham votes, and 2011 presidential polls were seen as its fairest in nearly two decades despite major problems. But as the Edo campaign has shown, elections can still be all-or-nothing affairs in the continent’s largest oil producer, where the spoils of office often include control over vast patronage networks. The violence “is not particular to Edo state...It is symptomatic of politics in Nigeria,” said Asomwan Sonnie Adagbonyin, a political analyst and professor at the Ambrose Ali University outside the state capital Benin City. “There is this feeling in Nigeria that if you really want to battle, it is a fight to the finish.” The fertile southern state that produces relatively small amounts of oil, its eastern border aligned with the Niger River, is now girding for the vote as accusations and counteraccusations thunder on. While it has been occasionally hit by gang violence, Edo has not been affected by Islamist group Boko Haram’s insurgency concentrated in Nigeria’s north. Neither the car accident nor the murder have been proven to be politically connected but Governor Adams Oshiomhole, who sometimes wears a Fidel Castro-esque patrol cap and whom many call “Comrade”, accuses his political opponents of being behind both. The state is run by an opposition party aligned with organised labor, and Oshiomhole alleges that Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party will do anything to take the state back. The PDP rejects the charges and has warned the governor, who represents the Action Congress of Nigeria party, against making such inflammatory allegations weeks before a closely fought vote. Amid the intrigue is a man the governor calls “Mr. Fix,” a senior PDP official who

Oshiomhole claims wants to “remove me from office by whatever means”. Others call the man, Tony Anenih, a “godfather”-a common term for behind-the-scenes political kingmakers in Nigeria. PDP spokesman Mathew Urhoghide says such accusations are ridiculous.He characterised the governor, who ousted the PDP from power in 2008 when a court overturned vote results after alleged irregularities, as “dictatorial,” “the embodiment of hypocrisy” and a “rascal”. He also accuses Oshiomhole of corruption. But the governor’s most egregious offence, according to the spokesman, was accusing the PDP of assassinating Olaitan Oyerinde, the 43-year-old aide and father of four children. “We have nothing to do with Olaitan ... but, Comrade already overran his mouth by saying the party did it, so now he must substantiate it,” Urhoghide said. Six days before the murder in May of the governor’s private secretary, the car in which the governor’s staff says Oshiomhole normally rides was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Three journalists were killed in the accident. He was in another car in the convoy and “narrowly escaped death,” said the gover-

nor’s spokesman Louis Odion, who also claimed that hours after the crash, his own home was invaded by unknown gunmen. According to Odion, he could have been the first of the governor’s aides to be executed, but was sleeping elsewhere that night. Regarding the murder of Oyerinde, the state police commissioner, Olayinka Balogun, told AFP that a special unit of investigators has taken over the probe because of “the sensitivity of the case,” and declined to comment further. Anenih sits on the PDP’s national board of trustees, and the governor and his allies argue that to retain his standing with Nigeria’s top leaders, including President Goodluck Jonathan, he must deliver a win. “His life depends on this election,” Odion said. Anenih has stayed quiet to avoid responding to Oshiomohole’s “trivialities,” Urhoghide said. Calls and messages to a number said to be Anenih’s went unanswered. Urhoghide said the PDP, including governorship candidate Charles Airhiavbere, are concerned by the unsolved murder and have warned the governor to proceed “gently” given the combustible political climate.— AFP

EDO: (PDP) governorship aspirant General Charles Airhiavbere (L) speaks during a political rally at Sabongida Ora in Edo State, on June 13, 2012. —AFP

UNESCO warns Timbuktu in danger amid Mali unrest SAINT PETERSBURG: The UN cultural organisation UNESCO yesterday listed Mali’s legendary town of Timbuktu as endangered world heritage because of the deadly unrest hitting the West African nation. UNESCO said the decision to place both the town and the nearby Tomb of Askia on its List of World Heritage in Danger “aims to raise cooperation and support for the sites threatened by the armed conflict in the region.” The world’s main watchdog over the safety of some of history’s greatest treasures and most threatened cultural exhibits designated the iconic town-once a trading mecca and hub of scholarly studies-a heritage site in 1988. The Tomb of Askia for its part is a towering pyramidal structure erected out of mud more than 500 years ago to commemorate the burial site of a ruler who created an empire around the powerful Niger River. The tomb is located in Gao-a town that in recent weeks has been held both by Islamist gunmen with links to Al-Qaeda and a group of Tuareg rebels who also oppose the Mali state. Tuareg rebels spearheaded the

takeover of the north when a March 22 coup in the capital Bamako left the country in chaos. They were soon joined by the Ansar Dine Islamist rebels who have since taken the upper hand. Tensions have been running high between the two rebel groups because of their differing objectives. Deadly clashes in the resulting fight for supremacy have made Gao into a focal point of unrest. Islamists claimed control of Gao on Wednesday after fierce clashes with Tuareg separatists left at least 21 people dead. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee said during its meeting in Russia’s second city of Saint Petersburg that both Timbuktu and the tomb were now in danger of being looted. It called on Mali’s neighbors “to do all in their power to prevent the trafficking in cultural objects from these sites” and encouraged stronger cooperation in the region. “There is concern that such objects, notably important ancient manuscripts, be looted and smuggled abroad by unscrupulous dealers,” UNESCO said in a statement. Fighters from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic

Maghreb have been accused of destroying the tomb of St Sidi Amar after taking over Timbuktu in late March. Fifteen other holy tombs and 300,000 Muslim manuscripts are now at risk in Timbuktu and Gao, experts said last month. The annual UNESCO committee meeting has already produced some surprise decisions and been torn by diplomatic wrangling linked to the Middle East conflict and even religious affairs. The committee on Tuesday proclaimed the British city of Liverpool-home to the Beatles and passionate football-in danger because of a controversial docklands redevelopment project. The designation means Liverpool could lose the prestigious heritage status it gained in 2004 in recognition of it being one of the world’s most important trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries. “The committee contended that the development will extend the city centre significantly and alter the skyline and profile of the site inscribed on the World Heritage List,” UNESCO said. —AFP


International FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Fazlullah re-emerges as a security threat ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR: Shortly after sneaking across the Afghan border this week, more than 100 militants loyal to Pakistani Taleban leader Fazlullah waited patiently on a mountain for Pakistani troops to approach. Several days later, the fighters released a video of what they said were the heads of 17 ambushed soldiers, along with their identification cards. Laid across a white sheet, they were a chilling reminder of the major security threat the man once known as FM Mullah still poses to US ally Pakistan, three years after the army pushed him out of the Swat Valley, a former tourist spot he terrorised. “He is a very big problem for Pakistan,” said a Western diplomat. During his heyday, Fazlullah, who like many senior Taleban members is known as a mullah, or preacher, organised thousands of fighters who roamed picturesque Swat, imposing his radical version of Islam. Opponents, and those deemed immoral, were publicly flogged, or even beheaded and hung in squares and at intersections. Girls’ schools and government buildings were burned down. Nowadays, Fazlullah’s men control a 20-km (12-mile) stretch of the rugged and largely unpatrolled border with Pakistan from areas in Afghanistan’s forbidding Nuristan province, described by nearby US troops as “the dark side of the moon”. From there, Fazlullah, a burly man in his thirties with a heavy black beard, plots cross-border raids that don’t kill many soldiers but agitate Pakistan’s military, which thought it had defeated him during a Swat offensive in 2009. His activities in the border area, described by US President Barack Obama as the world’s most dangerous place, could complicate efforts to stabilise the region before most foreign combat troops leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Fazlullah is a distraction for Pakistan’s military, which is also fighting Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistan Taleban umbrella group blamed for many of the suicide bombings across the South Asian country. Sirajuddin Ahmad, Fazlullah’s spokesman and cousin, said the group’s aim was to recapture Swat, and take control of Pakistan. “The establishment of sharia (Islamic law) is our goal, and we will not rest until we achieve it. We will fight whoever stands in our way,” he told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location in Afghanistan.Fazlullah has slowly rebuilt his militia by securing shelter and support from Afghan militants in an area where groups form loose alliances against the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan. “He is extremely dangerous,” said a Pakistani security official. “Fazlullah has 150 men, rocket-propelled grenades and light machine guns. You just need a small amount of men to carry out effective operations. This is a big number.” Fazlullah, once known for fiery radio sermons, was the first Taleban leader that took control of an area in Pakistan outside the unruly ethnic Pashtun tribal belt along the Afghan border. There are no signs that he will be able to penetrate deep inside towns or cities. His men usually arrive in a big wave, attack and retreat back into Afghanistan. But his operations have prompted Pakistan’s military - one of the world’s largest - to repeatedly urge the Afghan government and NATO forces to go after the militant leader. On Monday, Pakistan protested to NATO and the Afghan military, accusing them of failing to act against militant havens in Afghanistan after the cross-border attack in which the Pakistani soldiers were killed. Nuristan police chief Ghulamullah Nooristani says there are no signs that anyone intends to eliminate Fazlullah, even though he was creating havoc for people there, charging illegal taxes, stealing supplies from trucks and sometimes killing drivers. “We can’t attack them because they are armed with light and heavy weapons which are much better than ours,” he said. “If we get support from the central government or coalition forces we will be able to destroy their strongholds.” Fazlullah’s fighters usually slip across the border into Pakistan at night and take positions on high ground. “We have patrols and vehicles moving in the area to guard the border, so they wait and try to ambush them,” said a Pakistani intelligence official. Intelligence officials say Fazlullah’s men operate in the Afghan provinces of Nuristan and Kunar, and enjoy the support of hundreds of militants there. Support goes both ways when it comes to fighting the US-backed governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan.—Reuters

Australia bill that would deport asylum seekers fails Bill rejected 39 to 29 votes CANBERRA: Senators yesterday rejected laws that would have enabled Australia to turn away asylum seekers to discourage them from attempting long and dangerous ocean journeys in rickety boats. The legislation had scraped through the House of Representatives late Wednesday by 74 votes to 72 after six hours of passionate debate, amplified by two recent deadly accidents involving boats filled with Australia-bound migrants. But the Senate rejected the bill 39 votes to 29 after sometimes tearful arguments. More than 90 people are believed to have died in a capsizing last week midway between the Australian territory of Christmas Island and Indonesia, and another four are believed to have died in a capsizing Wednesday. The legislation would have enabled the government to deport asylum seekers who arrive by boat to another country in Southeast Asia or the Pacific. Boat arrivals are currently sent to Christmas Island to have their asylum claims assessed, although many asylum seekers have been transferred to the Australian mainland in recent months because of overcrowding at the island detention facilities. Prime Minister Julia Gillard had urged senators to pass the law yesterday before Parliament takes a six-week break. After the Senate vote, Gillard accused opposition leader Tony Abbott of making no effort to compromise on legislation she said could save lives. “Mr. Abbott did not move one millimeter at any stage of this ... while people are drowning at sea,” she told reporters. Abbott, however, blamed Gillard, accusing her of displaying “pride and stubbornness.” Both Gillard’s center-left Labor Party and the conservative opposition coalition agree that sending asylum seekers to a third country to have their refugee claims assessed is the best option for putting people smugglers out of business and to curb the flow of boats. But they differ on where the asylum seekers should be sent. The government wants to send them to Malaysia as part of a swap deal in which Australia would resettle UN-recognized refugees from Kuala Lumpur. The opposition rejects Malaysia and any other country that has

not signed the UN Convention on Refugees, for fear that the asylum seekers’ rights will not be respected. The coalition prefers the tiny Pacific atoll of Nauru, where a previous conservative Australian government had paid for and maintained an immigration detention center. “The coalition will never support Malaysia. Full stop. End of story,” Abbott told reporters in Canberra. He said Gillard “should have taken what she could get.” The opposition could not have defeated the measure on its own, but it was joined by the minor Greens party, which is part of Gillard’s minority government. Unlike either of the main parties, the Greens, believe Australia should accept all boat arrivals. The government previously planned to implement the Malaysian deal without Parliament’s approval, but in August 2011 the High Court ruled that such a move would be illegal. Foreign Minister Bob Carr told the Senate the number of boat arrivals slowed from May last year, when the Malaysian deal was announced, but then tripled after the government gave up trying to get enabling legislation through Parliament in October last year. The compromise bill rejected by the Senate had been drafted by independent lawmaker Rob Oakeshott. It would have enabled the government to send asylum seekers to a range of countries including Malaysia and Nauru. “We can break the business model of the people smugglers and we have a duty to do so,” Carr told the Senate. “The absence of a clear decision is seen as an open door to Australia.” The boat that capsized Wednesday sank 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of Australia’s Christmas Island and 185 kilometers (115 miles) south of the main Indonesian island of Java. Rescue authorities praised three merchant ships that came to the rescue for preventing a worse tragedy. Last Thursday, 110 people were rescued when a boat carrying more than 200 mostly Afghan asylum seekers capsized just 24 kilometers (15 miles) from the latest tragedy. Only 17 bodies were recovered. The survivors’ refugee applications were being assessed at Christmas Island, where Australia runs an immigration detention center for boat arrivals. — AP

LAHORE: Released Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh, in white, eats sweets after crossing into India at the India-Pakistan border post of Wagah, near Amritsar, India yesterday. Pakistani authorities handed over Surjeet Singh to Indian officials at the border crossing on the outskirts of the eastern city of Lahore yesterday.—AP

Bangladesh landslides death toll rises to 108 CHITTAGONG: The death toll from a series of deadly flash floods and landslides in southeast Bangladesh rose above 100 yesterday as rescuers called off their search operation. The region’s chief administrator, Sirajul Haq Khan, said 108 bodies had been pulled from the mud and debris of destroyed homes in the districts of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban. The landslides were triggered by three days of intense monsoon rains that sent powerful rivers of mud plunging down hill slopes, enveloping shanty towns below and displacing more than

60,000 people. “We have called off the rescue operations as there’s nobody else reported missing,” Khan told AFP, adding that flood waters swollen by the rains had finally receded. Authorities said flights in and out of Chittagong’s Shah Amanat International Airport had been resumed, but added that the restoration of severed train links with the rest of the country could take weeks. Rain-triggered landslides are common in Chittagong and the government has sought to tighten rules restricting development in danger areas.— AFP


International FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Filipino governor says rival tried to kill him MANILA: A Philippine governor said yesterday that his political rival and the main suspect in the 2009 electionrelated killings of 57 people tried to kill him and his brothers months before the massacre, calling him “powerful, influential and violent.” Esmael Mangudadatu, governor of southern Maguindanao province, testified at the massacre trial that his predecessor, then-Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr., had sent hundreds of government soldiers, police and civilian militia to attack his brother’s residence in the restive region. About four months after the failed attack, Ampatuan allegedly ordered gunmen to kill 57 people, including Mangudadatu’s wife, who were en route to contest local elections. Ampatuan, his sons and alleged gunmen are among 103 suspects in the long-running trial, the largest in recent Philippine history. They have denied the murder charges. Mangudadatu’s wife, relatives and supporters, along with 31 media workers, were killed Nov 23, 2009, after they were stopped on a highway by suspected armed followers of Ampatuan, mowed down and buried in mass graves. Mangudadatu, who was elected governor in 2010, testified that he and another brother rushed to their brother’s residence after it was surrounded by gunmen and armored trucks. He said he prevented the attack by persuading the gunmen, who were led by a distant relative of Mangudadatu, to withdraw. “I pleaded with him not to kill us. He said, ‘This is the order of Andal Ampatuan Sr.,’” Mangudadatu said. Prima Jesusa Quinsayas, a lawyer representing the victims at the trial, said Mangudadatu’s testimony showed that the Ampatuan clan intended to harm Mangudadatu leading up to the 2009 massacre. Mangudadatu described the Ampatuans as “powerful, influential and violent.” He said their influence was so pervasive that they controlled the military and police in the impoverished province and could even determine the outcome of elections “down to the village chairman.” Election violence in the Philippines is rampant, especially in far-flung provinces, and the national government has been unwilling or unable to disarm private armies loyal to political warlords. In the southern Philippines, insecurity and lawlessness are exacerbated by a long-running Muslim rebellion and the proliferation of firearms. Mangudadatu said that on the day of the massacre, his wife told him by cellphone that she and others had been stopped by armed men and that she was slapped by Ampatuan’s son, Andal Jr. He said he saw his wife’s body the next day in a morgue. She had been stabbed in the back and had gunshot wounds in different parts of her body, including her breasts and genitals, he said. “I was thinking how they could have been crying out, pleading for pity,” he said. “It hurts. I want to remove that from my memory.” About 60 main witnesses have testified so far at the trial, which began in 2010. About 100 suspects are still at large. Prosecutors say at least six witnesses, potential witnesses and their relatives have been killed since the trial started in an attempt to suppress testimony. — AP

North Korean claims South agents tricked her to defect PYONGYANG: A North Korean woman says she was tricked into defecting to South Korea by agents who offered to arrange a reunion with her long-lost father. Pak Jong Suk’s account made to local and foreign reporters in Pyongyang yesterday could not be independently confirmed. The Unification Ministry in Seoul said it is investigating. The US State Department accuses North Korea of harshly punishing defectors if they are repatriated. Pyongyang denies rights abuses. The 66-year-old Pak said the agents promised a meeting in China but instead took her to South Korea, where her father had been living since the Korean War. She says she chose to return home to North Korea. Seoul says more than 23,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the war ended in 1953.— AP

YANGON: In this photo taken on April 5, 2008, students attend the graduation ceremony at the convocation hall in the main campus of Yangon University in Yangon, Myanmar. —AP

Myanmar pays price for ‘lost generation’ ‘Pace of development will be slowed, Burmese exploited’ YANGON: The dormitories are empty, the once charming bungalows of professors overgrown with vines and weeds. Only grass grows where the Student Union building stood before soldiers obliterated it with dynamite. This is Yangon University, once one of Asia’s finest and a poignant symbol of an education system crippled by Myanmar’s half a century of military rule. Only graduate students are still allowed to study here. Fearful of student-led uprisings, the regime has periodically shut down this and other campuses and dispersed students to remote areas with few facilities. Now, as the nation also known as Burma opens its doors to the outside world, it is paying a heavy price. The crackdown on universities has spawned a lost generation. The pace of development will be slowed and Burmese exploited, educators say, as the poorly schooled populace deals with an expected influx of foreign investors and aid donors, along with profiteers looking for a quick dollar. “To catch up with the rest of the world we will need at least ten years. We have to change our entire education culture, and that will be very difficult,” says Dr. Phone Win, a physician who heads Mingalar Myanmar, a group promoting education. Initial steps are being taken. President Thein Sein, a former general who has loosened the military’s vise on power through unprecedented reforms, pledged in his inauguration speech last year to improve education and seek foreign expertise to lift standards to international levels. The education budget, though still dwarfed by military spending and widely criticized as inadequate, was increased in April from $340 million to $740 million. For years, about 25 percent of the budget went to the armed forces, compared to 1.3 percent for education. Myanmar is saddled with two generations of chemistry professors who have never conducted a proper laboratory experiment and mechanical engineers yet to handle hands-on equipment, says Moe Kyaw, a prominent businessman involved with education issues. From MBAs to lawyers and accountants, shortages abound. Of particular concern, Moe Kyaw says, is the lack of skilled technicians and workers, who will be sorely needed if an investment boom does come. Government officials at a recent conference on the future

of Yangon, the largest city, said the country has only about 50 urban planners but needs 500. “You could say Myanmar might be exploited, but they will also lose out on lucrative job opportunities because if locals aren’t qualified to fill positions the foreigners will bring in their own,” says Sardar Umar Alam, a UNESCO education expert. Although the government boasts 160 institutions of higher learning, many graduates scoff at their own degrees, often saying they are “not worth the paper they’re printed on.” Many also lament the loss of English skills in this former British colony since xenophobic former leader Gen. Ne Win banned its teaching at lower school levels in the mid-1960s. “I have a very capable woman staffer in Mandalay with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, but she can’t even spell the word in English,” says Moe Kya, the British-educated head of Myanmar Marketing Research Development Company. The opening salvo in what many here call “a war on education” came when troops blew up Yangon University’s Student Union, regarded as a hotbed of dissent, after the military seized power in 1962. But probably the darkest days followed a failed 1988 pro-democracy uprising, led by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi with students as the driving force. The regime began shutting down universities and sending students to the countryside to prevent more antigovernment protests. “University life has been shattered because of a perceived need to keep students in order,” Suu Kyi said in a recent speech before the British Parliament. The education system is “desperately weak,” she added in another speech at Oxford University. “Reform is needed, not just of schools and curriculum, and the training of teachers, but also of our attitude to education, which at present is too narrow and rigid.” Even attendance at the rural campuses was discouraged in favor of distance education, still the road to a degree for some 70 percent of students. Typically, they are given audio cassettes and a few simple take-home assignments and only need to attend classes for 10 days or less each year. “We had to learn a lot in the streets, not in the classrooms,” recalls Phone Win, who took 10 years to finish his medical degree because the faculty was closed for three of them. His

generation, people now mostly in their 40s, should be moving into senior positions in government and business. Those who have are shortchanged by their schooling, while others, disillusioned, slumped into jobs well below their potential or joined an exodus to foreign countries. Throughout the years of authoritarian rule, the education system spiraled downwards. Cheating on exams became widespread. Poverty induced a staggering dropout rate: some 70 percent at one time did not finish their primary schooling. University standards plummeted. “In Myanmar, professors don’t need to research, write papers or attend conferences. On Friday you apply to the government and on Monday you can be a professor,” says Phone Win. With the recent easing of military rule, the public is venting its anger. On one popular blog, Ministry of Education officials are accused of being ignorant military officers using their positions to get rich. But the government appears to be trying to improve the lot of the country’s 9 million students. Salaries of teachers, while still at the poverty level, have been raised to $30 a month, with those in rural areas receiving double that. Long-severed links with foreign universities are being re-established. America’s John Hopkins University plans to set up a Center of Excellence at Yangon University focusing on graduate students and teacher training. “The president is really pushing for educational reform. But it’s top-down and often stops at the director-general level,” says Thaw Kaung, former chief librarian at Yangon University and one of the country’s most respected scholars. “The government is also listening to the MPs and they are asking some hard questions that the ministers have to answer.” Many educated Burmese are eagerly waiting for the leadership to respond to a passionate open letter this month from U Myint, a presidential adviser who urged that Yangon University be reopened to undergraduates and the Student Union rebuilt through public donations. He described the university as “an important landmark in national reconciliation and a memorable way to start a new chapter in our history.” The outcome could prove a key test of the seriousness of the regime’s intent - and whether it has shed its fear of student power.— AP


Business FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Saudi readies oil line to counter Iran Hormuz threat

Troubled Europe summit: Merkel vs. everyone else

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LONDON: This file photo shows a Barclays Bank branch in central London. Barclays bank is to pay $452 million in fines following a probe into suspected manipulation by several banks of key markets for Libor and Euribor interest rates, the bank revealed on Wednesday. — AFP

Barclays suffers stock fallout after fines Other banks most likely involved, says Lawmaker LONDON: A day after it was slapped with fines worth over $450 million, British bank Barclays PLC suffered another hit yesterday as its share price tanked. Other British banks, such as Lloyds Banking Group PLC and Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, were under pressure too after regulators on both sides of the Atlantic confirmed that other traders were involved in the manipulation of key interest rates that are used in everyday transactions such as buying a house. “Banks were clearly acting in concert,” said Andrew Tyrie, a British lawmaker, whose is also chairman of the influential Treasury Committee in the House of Commons. “I fear it’s not going to be the end of the story, that we are going to find that other banks have been involved.” Tyrie said his committee would summon Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond to explain what happened at the bank. Though Diamond has decided to waive his 2012 bonus in the wake of the $453 mil-

lion fines, he’s facing calls to do more. Prime Minister David Cameron, when asked whether Diamond should resign, said he thinks “the whole management team have got some serious questions to answer. Let them answer those questions first.” The fallout from the fines was clearly hitting Barclays’ share price, which was trading 5.9 percent lower at 185 pence. That means the company is worth nearly 1.4 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) less than at the close of business on Wednesday. Its peers HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland were all down around 2 percent amid concerns they would be dragged into the scandal too. On Wednesday, U.S and British regulators imposed the fines on Barclays for providing false figures on borrowing rates between 2005 and 2009. Those false figures manipulated the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) to Barclays’ advantage. The LIBOR is an average rate set by banks

each morning that measures how much they’re going to charge each other for loans. That rate, in turn, affects rates on many loans for consumers and businesses. The US Justice Department said Barclays would not face criminal prosecution, subject to certain conditions, but individual employees or officers could be prosecuted. In response, Diamond waived any bonus for this year, as did finance director Chris Lucas, chief operating officer Jerry del Missier and Rich Ricci, the chief executive of corporate and investment banking. Diamond said the decision reflected “our collective responsibility as leaders.” Martin Taylor, who was CEO of Barclays between 1995 and 1998, said the bank’s board will have to make a decision whether Diamond can carry on in his post. Though Taylor does not believe Diamond ordered anyone to fiddle the rates, and thinks Diamond should stay if he can “help clean out the stables,” he told BBC radio that only the

board can make that judgment. The traders involved in the manipulations worked in Barclays Capital, the investment bank which Diamond headed between 2005 and 2009. Former Barclays chief Taylor said he was confident that Diamond hadn’t sanctioned the misbehavior in the unit, but added that the company’s culture might have been a factor behind the misdemeanors. “Bob runs an extraordinarily competitive and aggressive ship, and that is one reason why Barclays Capital has been very successful in the first decade of the century,” Taylor said. “And I think that when people are pushed to go to the limit, you know what traders are like, they sometimes go beyond it. They don’t need to have an instruction from headquarters to go beyond it, they think it is what the bank might expect, perhaps.” “Somebody at senior level somewhere will certainly have known. I can’t believe that Barclays haven’t identified who that is,” Taylor added. — AP


Business FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Oil above $80 amid signs of improving US economy SINGAPORE: Oil hovered above $80 a barrel yesterday in Asia amid signs the US economy, the world’s largest crude consumer, may be improving. Benchmark oil for August delivery was up 10 cents at $80.31 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 85 cents to settle at $80.21 in New York on Wednesday. In London, Brent crude for August delivery was down 40 cents at $93.10 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange. On Wednesday, the US said durable goods orders rose by 1.1 percent in May, reversing a two-month drop. Pending home sales also jumped in May. Crude has plummeted from $106 early last month on expectations weak global economic growth will drag down oil

demand. Some analysts expect crude to hover near $80 until US demand picks up. “This is the longest and slowest recovery from double digit unemployment ever” for the US, said Carl Larry of Oil Outlooks and Opinions. “Prices are going to be a fair value for producers and consumers around $80.” Investors will be eyeing a two-day European Union summit. While most analysts don’t expect EU leaders to announce a major policy initiative, traders will be closely watching for signs of progress toward a solution to the region’s debt and economic woes. Signs of a weakening Chinese economy have also dragged oil prices lower. Citigroup estimates China will account for about half of global oil consumption growth this year. “While Europe

concerns impact all asset markets, the slowdown in China is particularly daunting for commodities,” Citigroup said in a report. However, the recent drop in fuel costs should help Asian economies by easing inflation pressures and giving policymakers more room for fiscal and monetary stimulus measures. “In general, cheaper oil is in itself a good thing for Asia,” Capital Economics said in a report. “The trouble is that oil prices are falling because the global economy is getting weaker. This means that instead of pushing up Asian growth, lower oil prices will only cushion the downside.” In other energy trading, heating oil was down 1 cent at $2.58 per gallon while gasoline futures slid 0.6 cent at $2.49 per gallon. Natural gas added 2.9 cents at $2.83 per 1,000 cubic feet. — AP

Saudi readies oil line to counter Iran Hormuz threat Iran nuclear stand-off could see Tehran try to block Gulf

NEW DELHI: Afghan Foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul delivers his address during the Delhi Investment Summit on Afghanistan, in New Delhi yesterday. Over 500 business representatives from Afghanistan will participate in the summit to discuss ways to enhance trade and investment with India, a PTI report said. — AFP

Greek entrepreneurs find safe haven in Bulgaria SOFIA: “We’re opening a new place and I’m a bit short on time,” Yannis Zois, a 46-year-old Greek from Corfu, quips as he gets off his bike outside his buzzing cafe on Sofia’s busiest downtown shopping street. Zois opened his first espresso shop here three years ago and is now adding finishing touches to his third cafe in the Bulgarian capital. “There was a hole to be filled here, so I chose to come here instead of going to Athens. For this kind of business over there, it’s like a jungle, everybody is ready to eat each other,” he said. Growing financial uncertainty and soaring taxes chased hundreds of small Greek entrepreneurs to neighboring Bulgaria, where their investments were safer, after recession and debt worries began five years ago. Zois, an electronic engineer who spent 15 years in the coffee and tea distribution business in Greece, Italy and Germany, left his brothers in Corfu so he could focus more on his businesses in Bulgaria. “If it hadn’t been for the crisis, I might have thought of going back but I’m not thinking about it yet,” he said, adding that investing in Bulgaria was “safer for now.” “Nothing is safe in Europe,” he added quickly. “But it seems more risky to invest in Greece now.” According to Bulgaria’s national revenue agency, 3,781 companies with 100-percent Greek capital filed taxes here in 2011, up from 2,199 in 2010 and just several hundred before the crisis. Many Greeks also now deposit money in Bulgarian

banks, which they did not do before. “The increased interest is due mostly to the lower tax and social security burden here and the stability of the economy over the past few years,” the agency said in a statement sent to AFP. Bulgaria has one of the lowest tax rates in the European Union: a flat 10 percent on all corporate profits and incomes. Registering a new company also costs one euro ($1.27) and is relatively quick, and labour is cheaper than in Greece. “Companies want to move as they have no security whatsoever in Greece,” Christos Mouroutis, a Greek businessman and analyst who has been doing business here for the past 13 years, told AFP. His company currently manages 250 million euros in assets in the real estate and clean energy sectors and he gets almost daily calls from firms that are considering moving to Bulgaria. “Some just register here as an accounting trick, others-mainly in the online services sector-move their whole operations,” he said. “It’s hard to do business in Greece right now,” Kosta Kolovos, a Bulgarian of Greek origin whose accountancy firm has worked with Greeks for many years, agreed. “Bureaucracy is very serious and tax rates change every one or two years, while in Bulgaria it’s a standard 10-percent rate and that has remained unchanged for years now. That’s why they run away here,” he said. Bulgaria was not ideal either, however, said Zois, who employs about 50 people in his three cafes. —AFP

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has reopened an old oil pipeline built by Iraq to bypass Gulf shipping lanes, giving Riyadh scope to export more of its crude from Red Sea terminals should Iran try to block the Strait of Hormuz, industry sources say. The Iraqi Pipeline in Saudi Arabia (IPSA), laid across the kingdom in the 1980s after oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf by both sides during the Iran-Iraq war, has not carried Iraqi crude since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990. Saudi Arabia confiscated the pipeline in 2001 to compensate for debts owed by Baghdad and has used it to transport gas to power plants in the west of the country in the last few years. Iran in January threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for US and European sanctions that target its oil revenues in a bid to stop Iran’s nuclear program. A European Union ban on Iran’s oil starts on Sunday and Israel has threatened military action against Iranian nuclear facilities if Iranian talks with Western powers fail to stop uranium enrichment. Alarmed, Saudi Arabia has now quietly reconditioned IPSA to carry crude, test pumping along the line over the last four to five months, several sources with knowledge of the project say. “The testing started because Saudi Arabia wanted to secure alternative routes to export oil,” an industry source in Saudi Arabia said. Western industry sources said the tests through the 1.65-million barrel-a-day line had delivered into storage facilities at Mu’ajjiz near Yanbu on the Red Sea for at least four months. More than a third of the world’s seaborne oil exports pass through the narrow Strait of Hormuz from

the oilfields of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Qatar’s liquefied natural gas exports are all shipped through Hormuz. PETROLINE Worried about its reliance on Gulf shipping, Saudi Arabia in 1992 increased its capacity to pump oil from oilfields predominantly clustered in the east across the country to the Red Sea to about 5 million barrels a day through two parallel pipelines known as the Petroline. Saudi crude exports run as high as 8 million bpd but rising demand for its crude in Asia, shipped out of the Gulf, and falling demand from Europe, usually sourced from Red Sea ports, meant Petroline’s pumping capacity was never fully utilized. The smaller Petroline pipeline was converted to carry natural gas from the east to booming industrial centers in the west a few years ago, slashing Saudi’s east-west crude transport capacity to Red Sea ports. Saudi Red Sea industries are now reliant on gas fed from fields over 1,000 km away and the prospect of cutting them off to export crude through Petroline during a Gulf shipping blockade is not an attractive option. Until recently the Saudi government had considered the risk of such a disruption in the Gulf too small and its western gas needs too great to switch Petroline fully back to oil. But as tensions over Iran’s nuclear program ratcheted up, Riyadh decided to put IPSA on standby to transport more crude west in an emergency. The United Arab Emirates has built its own Hormuz bypass pipeline, which is due to start exporting from the Gulf of Oman next month. — Reuters

TOKYO: US aircraft giant Boeing vice president Matthew Ganz (2nd right) poses with Tokyo University professors Yoshiaki Nakano (3rd right) and Toshiyuki Obikawa (3rd left), and executives of Japanese aircraft manufacturers, Takashi Kobayashi (2nd left) from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shigeru Murayama (left) from Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Hisashi Nagano from Fuji Heavy Industries as they hold a scale model of the Boeing 787 jetliner at a press conference in Tokyo yesterday. The group said they formed a consortium to study the manufacturing of their aircraft.— AFP


Business FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Basque economy has lessons for Spain MONDRAGON: Spain’s dash into tourism in the 1970s and its property boom last decade largely passed by the Basque region, a cool, damp corner of the north with a reputation for separatist violence. Instead the Basques stuck with industry, by force of circumstance. Euskadi, the Basque name for the hilly province of 2 million bordering France, now outshines the rest of Spain with a better credit rating than central government, the lowest regional unemployment and borrowing costs half those of other areas. The success of Mondragon Assembly, one of the world’s top producers of solarpanel manufacturing equipment, reflects the region’s ability to weather a euro zone debt crisis that has forced Spain to ask for up to 100 billion euros of EU aid for its banks. In a factory set in a forest, a multi-armed robot hisses behind a glass screen, lights flickering as it prepares to take in cobalt-blue tiles to

stitch into solar panels. The machine could be shipped anywhere, from Germany to Kazakhstan, and business is flourishing. The Basque region’s secret has been in sticking to manufacturing over the property and tourism industries that ended in economic misery elsewhere in Spain when a real estate bubble fuelled by easy credit burst in 2009. Tourism was always going to be a difficult sell for the Basques because of the separatist violence that only ended in October 2011 when ETA, Europe’s last armed guerrilla group, called an end to its 50-year struggle. “If we didn’t export, we’d be having a hard time,” said Mikel Lezamiz, a director at Mondragon. “It’s thanks to exports that we survive or this whole thing would come crashing down. Survival comes from not depending on a single market, but on a number of markets. Mondragon Assembly, part of the unlist-

ed Mondragon group, is the world’s largest cooperative and employs nearly 100,0000 people. Around 80 people work in this plant. It also has factories in France, Germany and Mexico. The Basque Country is Spain’s fifth largest regional economy, with a gross domestic product of 66.1 billion euros, meaning it accounts for around 7 percent of national GDP. The region’s exports are more or less evenly balanced between the rest of Spain and markets beyond Spanish borders. Its deficit-to-GDP ratio is just 0.25 percent, compared with nearly 90 percent for the central state. It has the lowest unemployment rate in Spain at 13.55 percent, compared with 24.4 percent nationally. By the time Spain returned to democracy after General Franciso Franco’s death in 1975, many of its regions had already ditched the notion of developing their industry in favour of tourism, finance and telecoms. Spain’s

sun-soaked eastern and southern coasts are dotted with apartment blocks and holiday homes, many of them impossible to sell since the domestic property market buckled. The wet Basque climate made its green hills a more likely home to farmhouses or factories than luxury villas. The region, at Spain’s border with continental Europe, is rich in natural resources. A cradle of the iron and steel industry, it was an obvious choice as a manufacturing base. “There was a clear bet on industry here, a bet on those traditional sectors, such as iron, steel, energy and small and mediumsized companies that make all those components for the energy and car sectors, that make things that you can hold in your hand,” Jose Luis Curbelo, director general of the Basque Institute for Competitiveness, said. “That is the secret of the Basque economy,” he said. — AP

Troubled Europe summit: Merkel vs everyone else Merkel reluctant to expose Germany to potential costs

NICOSIA: A man and a woman walk with their bikes by a storefront in Ledras Street in central Nicosia, Cyprus, yesterday. Cyprus became the fifth eurozone country this week to ask for a bailout from its partners in the currency union in order to prop up its Greece-exposed banks and flagging economy.—AP

German unemployment drops to 6.6% BERLIN: German unemployment dropped modestly in June, official figures showed yesterday, in the latest sign that the country’s impressive labor market momentum is slowing in the face of widespread problems across the 17-country eurozone. The unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent in June from 6.7 percent in May, as the number of Germans out of work fell by 46,000 to 2.8 million. “The German labor market in June is showing signs of weaker development,” said Federal Labor Agency head FrankJuergen Weise. He noted that the unemployment rate usually drops more sharply in June because of an increase in seasonal work. Though the overall unemployment rate is at its lowest level it has been since December, the decrease was the weakest June drop since 2002, according to ING economist Carsten Brzeski. In seasonally adjusted terms the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.8 percent, and the number of people out of work edged up by 7,000 on the previous month. Germany’s economy has grown by 3 percent or more in each of the last two years, and posted unexpectedly high quarterly growth of 0.5 percent in this year’s first quarter after contracting in the last three months of 2011. With exports to slumping eurozone nations decreasing, however, Germany has begun pinning more hopes for economic growth on domestic demand and the tepid unemployment figures are a bad sign, Brzeski said. “With employment and hours of work close to record highs, dropping inflation and wage increases, the labor market should continue to be a, if not ‘the,’ crucial driver of domestic demand this year,” he said. “However, this positive impact from the labor market should peter out towards the end of the year.”— AP

BRUSSELS: European leaders gathering yesterday in Brussels are set to sign off on a series of measures to boost economic growth but expectations of a breakthrough on the pooling of debt have fallen by the wayside. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has resolutely opposed the issuing of mutual debt, is the woman to watch - or fear, or confront - at the two-day summit. Many leaders have backed the idea of eurobonds as a key way of fixing the eurozone’s problems as they would help lower indebted countries’ borrowing costs. But Merkel has been reluctant to expose her country to new potential costs, and is concerned that eurobonds may minimize the pressure on countries like Greece and Spain to reform their economies. The plan to stimulate growth, and so increase government tax revenues, is relatively modest. Though worth‚ €130 million ($162 million), it is expected to consist mostly of European funds already earmarked for development. Far more urgent, in the short term, is finding a way to keep the cost of borrowing money sustainable for weaker EU countries. The leaders of Italy, France and Spain are pressing Germany to agree to share debts before markets push the eurozone any closer to collapse. The EU’s top officials and the International Monetary Fund have argued the same. Markets and investors, who felt burned in the past by promises they saw as too weak to solve Europe’s debt crisis, want a breakthrough this week to ensure the region’s debt crisis doesn’t engulf the world economy, but they aren’t expecting one. Any breakthrough would hinge on Merkel. Merkel isn’t likely to budge. She has argued repeatedly - as recently as Wednesday - that short-term solutions such as pooled debt or a more active European Central Bank are useless unless governments prove they can manage their budgets. She wants a grand, ambitious political union first. And she brings the weight of the continent’s biggest, strongest economy with her to the meetings in Brussels. While they may not be able to change Merkel’s

mind, other leaders who avoided confronting her in the past may not hold back this time. Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti, at risk of losing his job because of voter frustration with austerity measures, is increasingly outspoken. Speaking in Brussels on Wednesday night, he said Italians have made great sacrifices and gotten their country’s deficit under control. But yields on Italian debt soared to one-year highs anyway. If Italians become discouraged that their efforts

vincing enough to calm financial markets. Spain’s prime minister is sounding especially desperate. “The most urgent issue is financing,” Mariano Rajoy said Wednesday. “We can’t continue for a long time to finance ourselves with these prices; there are many institutions and financial entities that don’t have access to financial markets.” Simon Tilford of the Center for Economic Reform said, “We’re seeing the French, Italians and Spanish showing a greater readiness to act

BRUSSELS: Activists disguised as European leaders (French president Francois Hollande (left), and German Chancellor Angela Merkel) demonstrate in the Cinquantenaire Parc, near the EU Council building, prior to the start of the European Union Council held in Brussels yesterday. — AFP aren’t helping, then Monti warned of “political forces which say ‘let European integration, let the euro, let this or that large country go to hell’, which would be a disaster for the whole of the European Union.” Monti said he’s ready to work until Sunday night - instead of the scheduled Friday end of the summit - to ensure that leaders produce a growth package con-

as one.” In the past, they were reluctant to isolate Merkel, he said. “But that flexible approach ... has delivered very little. They have grown alarmed and frustrated,” he said. “If anyone is to lead the charge, it may be Monti, he is the one who has the most credibility on the European stage” - and the most to lose if pressure on Merkel fails.— AP


Business FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Airbus plans new factory in Alabama Company aiming to boost A320 production

LONDON: Mayor of London Boris Johnson poses for photographers during the opening of the ‘Emirates Air Line,’ a cable car system, in east London yesterday. — AFP

Bankruptcy no quick fix for weak local US governments WASHINGTON: US cities and other local governments stung by sour regional economies and deep housing crises are most at risk of becoming the next Stockton. But they will do all they can to avoid following the California city into federal bankruptcy court. Stockton, just 85 miles east of San Francisco, is on the verge of bankruptcy after its housing boom went bust. Officials of this city of nearly 300,000 people say the court filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy is likely by today afternoon. When that happens, Stockton will become the largest US city to file for bankruptcy protection from its creditors. That protection will come at a steep price. The economic and social fallout will last for years. After the Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing, Stockton will find it hard - if not impossible - to tap America’s $3.7 trillion municipal bond market. Although Stockton is poised to make history as the largest US city to file for bankruptcy, it is unlikely to be the last. Roughly 90,000 US cities, counties, towns and other local governments are still battling fallout from America’s Great Recession, which ran from December 2007 through June 2009. Beyond Detroit and other high-profile governments mired in financial crises, institutional investors, traders and analysts worry that Providence and Woonsocket in Rhode Island and Scranton, Pennsylvania, mayals o be at risk. Moody’s Investors Service focused heavily on local governments in Michigan, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey last fall when the credit rating agency published a list of speculative-grade credits, including Camden and Salem in New Jersey, and the Philadelphia School District. Moody’s cited high unemployment in New York’s Gloversville, and several years of budget deficits in East Greenbush, a suburb of New York’s capital of Albany. BOOM, BUST AND MAYBE BANKRUPTCY Many of the Eastern and Midwestern governments listed by Moody’s have deteriorating local industries or other enduring economic problems. But wobbly local governments in California and elsewhere in the West appear more affected by economic cycles. “In the West, it was due a lot more to community boom and bust,” said Richard Ciccarone, managing director of McDonnell Investment Management. “They ramp up spending commitments in the rising times and cannot change the commitments when it reverses itself.” So far this year, six governments have filed Chapter 9 bankruptcies, compared with 13 during a ll of 2 011, according to data from law firm Chapman and Cutler. “Chapter 9 is not a victory for anyone; it comes with hardships for the community, as well as bondholders,” Ciccarone said. “It’s no positive for economic development.” Business leaders in Alabama’s Jefferson County, which last year filed the biggest-ever $4.23 billion US municipal bankruptcy, have said the bankruptcy has deterred industrial investment. INFRASTRUCTURE, PENSIONS FIRST TO GO Worried about financial fallout on other local governments, Pennsylvania’s state government passed a law that prompted a federal judge to block a bankruptcy filing by the state capital of Harrisburg. Local officials lose a lot of autonomy in a Chapter 9 bankruptcy and may be forced into a workout with creditors to make cuts in police forces and other essential services t hat damage quality of life and are harmful over the long run, according to Ciccarrone— Reuters

ALABAMA: European plane maker Airbus intends to build its first US plant in Mobile, Alabama, a person with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press. Airbus will assemble its A320 jet there, according to the person, who requested anonymity because a public announcement has not been made. The A320 is a widely used plane flown by US airlines including Delta and US Airways. An Alabama plant would enable Airbus to produce planes squarely in the territory of archrival Boeing Co. It would likely mean lower production costs compared with Airbus’ European A320 production lines in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany. The company also makes A320s in China. The plan was reported earlier Wednesday by The New York Times, citing anonymous sources who said that an announcement could come as soon as Monday. Airbus has said it wants to expand, and that it favors a site in the Southern US “We have made no secret of our hopes to expand our global footprint, including in the US, as we have a very strong market here,” said Airbus spokeswoman Mary Anne Greczyn, who added that no decision has been made by the company’s board. An Alabama state legislator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he’s been asked by state officials to be in Mobile on Monday for an industrial announcement involving an airline project. Airbus is aiming to boost A320 production. The 150-seat plane is generally used on short- and medium-haul flights, and Airbus makes more of them than any of its other planes. They retail for $88 million, although discounts are common for big customers. Similarly, Boeing is ramping up production of its 737, which competes directly with the A320. Both companies are putting new, more fuel-efficient engines on the planes, hoping to extend their appeal as airlines try to cut their fuel bills. Airbus made its new-engine decision earli-

er than Boeing and got a big jump on orders. The US is a growing market for Airbus. American Airlines ordered 260 A320s last year, and US Airways is buying them as well. However, Delta Air Lines went with Boeing 737s in a 100-jet order in August. Airbus already has a facility in Mobile that employs about 230 people designing and installing interior items such as seats and cabin equipment for its big planes, the A330, the superjumbo A380, and its planned A350. It has had its eye on possible US expansion for several years. Mobile is where Airbus parent EADS planned to put its assembly line for an aerial refueling plane it wanted to build for the US Air Force, before losing that long-running duel to Boeing in Feb. 2011. The tanker would

have been based on the A330, a larger plane than the A320 slated to be built there now. In March 2011, then-EADS CEO Louis Gallois said that if or when EADS made a move into the US, the South would be its favored destination. At the time he said possible locations were Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. The plan by Airbus executives to open a plant in Alabama comes a few weeks after Fabrice Bregier took over as Airbus CEO on June 1. The CEO of EADS is now Tom Enders, who previously ran Airbus. Mobile is already home to several aerospace companies, including ST Aerospace Mobile, Goodrich Aerospace and Star Aviation, and much of the business is based at the 1,650-acre Brookley Aeroplex. —AP

ALABAMA: This file photo shows the Airbus North America Engineering Center in Mobile, Ala. European plane maker Airbus intends to build its first US plant in Mobile, Ala.— AP

SEC files fraud charges against hedge fund manager WASHINGTON: Federal regulators are suing hedge fund manager Philip Falcone and his firm, accusing him of civil fraud for using fund money to pay his taxes and favoring some fund customers at the expense of others. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the lawsuit Wednesday against Falcone and Harbinger Capital Partners, the firm he founded. The SEC also said that Falcone manipulated bond prices. The SEC is seeking to ban Falcone from serving as an officer or director of any public company, along with unspecified penalties and restitution. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan, was expected. Matthew Dontzin, a lawyer representing Falcone, said the allegations are without merit and that Falcone would challenge them in court. The agency said that from 2006 through early 2008, Falcone manipulated the market for high yield, high-risk bonds issued by a company named Maax Holdings Inc. Using two of Harbinger’s funds, he bought up large amounts of the bonds to shrink the supply on the market and drive up prices, the suit alleges.

The SEC also said that Falcone and Harbinger secretly gave “certain strategically important investors” in the fund the right to cash out of their holdings. In exchange, the favored investors gave Falcone and the fund permission to bar the other investors from being able to cash out, according to the SEC. It said that arrangement was hidden from Harbinger’s directors. “Clients and market participants alike were victimized as Falcone unscrupulously used fund assets to pay his personal taxes, manipulated the market for certain bonds, favored some clients at the expense of others, and violated trading rules” that prohibit manipulation, SEC Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami said in a statement. In a separate action, the SEC said it reached a settlement with Harbert Management Corp., a firm that had ties to Harbinger. The SEC said Harbert had the power to control Falcone and Harbinger but failed to stop the bond manipulation scheme. Harbert and two related firms agreed to pay a $1 million civil fine. They neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing. — AP


Business FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Fears, hopes grow for Sony under new president Shareholders demand answers regarding losses

WASHINGTON: This file photo shows US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta speaking on the implications of the US having not ratified the Law of the Sea Treaty during a Pew Charitable Trusts and Atlantic Council forum on the treaty in Washington, DC. American businesses are urging the United States to ratify the UN Law of the Sea Treaty, saying it is needed to boost crucial domestic energy production and end China’s near-monopoly on rare earths. — AFP

Businesses pushing US to ratify Law of the Sea treaty WASHINGTON: American businesses are urging the United States to ratify the UN Law of the Sea Treaty, saying it is needed to boost crucial domestic energy production and end China’s near-monopoly on rare earths. Stepping up pressure on legislators to sign off on the 30-year-old pact, a broad alliance of manufacturers, miners, shippers and oil explorers said doing so would guarantee their exclusive access to economic resources reaching up to 600 miles (1,000 km) from the US shoreline. With China controlling 95 percent of the world’s rare earths production, ratification of the treaty “offers the best path to break China’s dominance,” Roger Ballantine, a board member of The Association for Rare Earth (RARE), said Wednesday. Ballantine, speaking at a news forum on the eve of a Senate hearing on the treaty, said that failure to ratify the treaty “will only worsen a very troubling disadvantage America has.” His comments came against the backdrop of an escalating trade dispute with China over restrictions on its rare earths exports. On Wednesday, the US, European Union and Japan ratcheted up their complaint at the World Trade Organization by asking for a dispute settlement committee after consultations failed. The United States is the only industrialized power which has yet to ratify the treaty. RARE has joined a broad coalition of the National Association of Manufacturers, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Shipping of America, defense contractors, energy industry and other groups to press for ratification. Supporters argue that ratification will give US businesses the legal framework for investment in costly, high-tech exploration and development. Key among its advantages, they say, would be to legitimize US claims to vast areas of the energy-rich Arctic, and unfettered access to lay and maintain undersea communications cables. It would also give greater access to undersea rare earth minerals, which are widely used in smartphones, flatscreen TVs, medical equipment and US defense systems. Opponents say the treaty could actually limit US businesses’ access to undersea mineral wealth, by giving power to the International Seabed Authority to decide access rights; they also say the treaty could impinge on the movements around the world of the US Navy. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Martin Dempsey have all argued in favor of the treaty. Jeff Pike, who leads The American Sovereignty Campaign, the lobby in favor of the treaty, said ratification was now more than ever urgent, citing the importance of global communications links and also the melting ice in the Arctic that was opening up shipping. “This is really the right time to do it,” Pike told reporters. Bruce Josten, the US Chamber of Commerce’s head of government affairs, said the treaty would open up “the next and newest American frontier.” Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and a long-time supporter of the pact, has decided to delay a vote on the treaty until after the November 6 elections in a bid to avoid it becoming entangled in the political fray. — AFP

TOKYO: The record 9,000 shareholders that packed Sony’s annual meeting was no cause for celebration. After four years of losses and a halving of the share price, some angry investors doubt even a new CEO can pull the entertainment and electronics giant out of its slump. The questions for management at a Tokyo convention hall this week were familiar ones, but only growing harsher. How is Sony Corp. going to regain its past glory? Is Sony finished? When is the red ink ever going to stop? One man got up and began shouting. One by one, shareholders demanded to know why management didn’t have more fresh faces, asked if the quality of Sony products was dropping, and even wondered whether Sony faced the risk of total collapse. Once an icon of Japan Inc. with its portable Walkman music player and Trinitron TV, Sony reported the worst loss in its 66-year corporate history for the business year ended March with red ink of 457 billion yen ($5.7 billion). Profitability was battered by factors outside Sony’s control such as last year’s tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan, flooding in Thailand, the global economic slowdown and a soaring yen. But most critically, Sony stumbled in the face of powerful, often cheaper, rivals such as South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., which dominates the global TV market. Sony has lost money for eight straight years in its TV business. Sony’s glamor image is fading next to Apple Inc.’s iPod, iPhone and iPad, now bigger hits not only globally but also in Sony’s Japanese home market, displaying the kind of ingenuity that was once prized as Sony’s. “We take the problem Sony’s electronics business is facing very seriously, and we feel a sense of crisis,” said Kazuo Hirai, the former head of Sony’s game division who has taken over as CEO and president from Howard Stringer. Decades ago, Sony co-founder Akio Morita was praised as a pioneer in unifying entertainment with technology to deliver dazzling fun gadgets such as the Walkman. He was a hero, helping fix Japan from wartime devastation, and catapulting a nation’s technological wizardry to the global stage. Steve Jobs often sung the praises of Sony. The company seemed to mirror and exemplify Japan’s own rise as an economic and manufacturing power. Then something started going wrong. Critics often point to Sony’s miscalculation of the strength of its digital music players over the last decade as a telling sign it had lost its way. Although Sony had developed digital music players early on, it failed to woo users by sticking to an unpopular proprietary format and not working on compatibility with the widespread MP3 format. Now Sony’s repeated promises of a revival have worn thin and are met with skepticism. Stringer, who stepped down as CEO in April, pleaded with investors to support Hirai to carry out initiatives under the slogan of “One Sony.” It’s a strategy of removing barriers between the Tokyobased manufacturer’s sprawling divisions that span electronics, movies, music, banking and games so they all work better together. But as soon as he stopped speaking, one stockholder asked why Stringer,

who had hand-picked Hirai as his replacement, was staying on as chairman when Sony’s performance had been so dismal under his seven-year tenure. Hirai is promising to focus on image technology exemplified in sensors, broadcasting equipment and digital cameras to bring back Sony, but it faces competition from Samsung there as well. “Japan excels in that core technology,” Osamu Kumamoto, director at Asahi Electronics Co. of Japan, which offers image and robotics services, said at a recent manufacturing convention in Tokyo. “But Samsung is very advanced, too.” Hirai is also banking on games, the sector he knows best, having led Sony’s US game operations since 2006. Sony has long faced tough competition from Nintendo Co. and Microsoft Corp. which makes the popular PlayStation machine. But the popularity of the iPhone and other devices that also offer games means Sony will increasingly be threatened by a host of electronics makers. Still, Hirai departed from the line of his

Hirai declined to detail upcoming products, saying that must be kept secret to stay competitive. But he acknowledged cost cuts, regrouping and promises won’t be enough to revive Sony. “We need to make sure our customers are moved by our products. We need to pique their curiosity,” he told shareholders. “I want our shareholders to feel that Sony has changed.” Sony shares have lost about half their value over the past year to trade recently at about 1,000 yen ($12). The changes at Sony underline a bigger shift in Japanese electronics to expand into businesses that sell to other businesses, rather than consumers. There is speculation Sony will tie up with Japan’s scandal-tainted Olympus Corp., which boasts a strong medical equipment division. Hirai declined comment on Olympus, but reiterated Sony wants to strengthen its medical business. Panasonic Corp., which also suffered record losses, is vowing to turn itself around by focusing on such “business-to-

TOKYO: In this file photo, the main lobby of the headquarters of Sony Corp. in Tokyo is hung with a large sign reading: Sony make, believe. Sony now has a new president - Kazuo Hirai, the former head of its game division. But shareholders are already raising doubts about his ability to revive the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant. — AP predecessors and didn’t stress Sony’s prowess in TVs. He only promised to stop the red ink. Under Hirai, Sony has ended its joint venture in liquid crystal displays for TVs with Samsung to boost profitability. Sony fell behind in flat panel TVs and invested in a Samsung panel factory in 2004, to ensure a steady supply for LCD TVs. Koichiro Hagiwara, senior analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Center, said Hirai might be able to make a difference because of his understanding of entertainment and gadgetry. “People have said the long promised synergy between software and hardware is a ghost that no one has ever seen,” said Hagiwara. “But if anyone can make it real, it’s Hirai.” Hirai is also promising to strengthen Sony’s smartphone offerings, taking full control over its joint venture with Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson. He has already said the company will cut 10,000 jobs, or about 6 percent of its global workforce. The job cuts come on top of a couple of rounds of layoffs under Stringer.

business” sectors, including solar panels and batteries for autos, although it’s not exiting consumer electronics. In a reversal of a historical rivalry made famous by the 1980s video format wars between Sony’s Betamax vs. Panasonic’s VHS, the two companies are joining forces to develop next-generation TV display technology called OLED, or organic lightemitting diode, panels, aiming for low cost mass production by 2013. Samsung is planning to start selling TVs with big OLED screens later this year. OLEDs use a different technology than liquid crystal displays and deliver very clear, vivid imagery. Sony was the first in the world to sell an OLED TV, with an 11-inch model in 2007, but it wasn’t a strong seller, partly because of its small size and high price. Despite Hirai’s promises to revive Sony, Kazuo Bando, a Tokyo retailer who owns 5,000 Sony shares and was at the shareholders meeting, wasn’t feeling too confident. “The management has failed,” he said. “I am worried. I lost a lot of money.” — AP


THEY ARE THE 99! 99 Mystical Noor Stones carry all that is left of the wisdom and knowledge of the lost civilization of Baghdad. But the Noor Stones lie scattered across the globe - now little more than a legend. One man has made it his life’s mission to seek out what was lost. His name is Dr. Ramzi Razem and he has searched fruitlessly for the Noor Stones all his life. Now, his luck is about to change - the first of the stones have been rediscovered and with them a special type of human who can unlock the gem’s mystical power. Ramzi brings these gem - bearers together to form a new force for good in the world. A force known as ... the 99!

THE STORY SO FAR : When he was a child, a clown called Palyaco terrified Rafie the Lifter. Now Playaco is back and robbing stores in Istanbul, so Rafie returns to stop him… along with Noora and Musawwira.

The 99 ® and all related characters ® and © 2012, Teshkeel Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

www.the99.org


Opinion FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Downing of Turkish jet reveals Syria’s lethality Strike at Israeli-upgraded plane aimed at restoring confidence after pilot defects with fighter jet By Arieh O’Sullivan

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hen Syria shot down an Israeli-upgraded Turkish fighter jet it was delivering a message that the air force, despite the defection of a senior pilot a day earlier, was still in control and a force to be reckoned with. The incident has also made air commands in the region that fly Western aircraft sit up and take notice, since it marked one of the rare times in recent years when Russian-designed weapons took on and defeated Western systems. “Excuse me for saying so, but there appears to have been a lack of professionalism by the Turks,” Shmuel Gordon, a reserve colonel and pilot in the Israel Air Force, who has written extensively on air power and national security, told The Media Line. “It is completely clear that the jet came to a place where it was entirely up to the good will of Syria whether or not he would return,” Gordon said. “I don’t remember the last time the Syrians shot down an aircraft. I can assume that the Turks carry out these flights regularly and they saw that the Syrians didn’t react and each time got a little and little closer until one day on orders from very high up it was decided to show the Turks that they can’t fly around here anymore. And they shot the jet down.” A Syrian military spokesman told Sana, the state-run news agency, that last Friday their anti-defense systems detected an unidentified aircraft flying in Syrian airspace at a very low altitude and high speed. It said anti-aircraft artillery hit it when it was 1 kilometer from land causing it to crash into Syrian territorial waters, about 10 kilometers from shore. Syrian and Turkish naval forces were dispatched to search for the two missing airmen, but neither country gave further details on this mission. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told TRT television on Sunday that their records show the aircraft was shot down in international waters a quarter of an hour after it had “momentarily violated Syrian airspace.” He also denied that it was on a spy mission and said the jet had been unarmed and on a training flight to test a radar system. The Turkish RF-4E Phantom, reportedly took off from the “Aarkhach” air base in the southeastern province of Malatya, which also hosts the NATO-run missile shield radar. It was shot down by Syria’s air defense system near Latakia, which is close to the Russian naval base at Tartus. Turkish leaders were cautiously backing down from the belligerent rhetoric of the day before when they had said they would respond “decisively.” But that hasn’t stopped the war mongering of the Turkish media. The widely circulated Hurriyet ran a banner headline: “He (Assad) is playing with fire.” And Vatan cried: “They (the Syrians) will pay the price.” In a move that further escalated tensions, Turkey on Sunday requested that representatives from NATO-member states convene in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the attack. Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned Syria’s downing of the Turkish fighter jet as “outrageous” and said Britain was ready to support “robust action” against Syria by the United Nations Security Council. Turkish-Syrian relations have been deteriorating since the Bashar Al-Assad regime started to crush the Syrian opposition, which has been demanding more rights as a result of the Arab Spring. Currently there are more than 33,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, including senior military officers. Also, the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army have their main headquarters in Turkey. Nevertheless, the latest incident showcased Russian-supplied air defenses, which have just proven their lethality. Just last week, a Russian arms dealer had boasted to the New York Times that advanced weapons they were shipping to Syria could be used to down aircraft and sink ships. “I would like to say these mechanisms are really a good means of defense, a reliable defense against attacks from the air or sea. This is not a threat, but whoever is planning an attack should think about

this,” Anatoly Isaykin, the general director of Rosoboronexport, was quoted as saying. Isaykin said weaponry being shipped to Syria included the Pantsyr-S1, a radar-guided missile and artillery system capable of hitting planes at high altitudes; Buk-M2 anti-aircraft missiles; and land-based Bastion anti-ship missiles. Syria said the jet was shot down by artillery, but the Turkish daily Vatan said the system used to down the F-4 was the BUK-M2, also known as the SA-11. The Phantom RF-4E jets were part of the batch of 54 Turkish warplanes upgraded by Israel Aerospace Industries in the last decade in a deal worth more than $700 million. While the Israeli air force has since demobilized its fleets of the aging F-4s, the upgraded Turkish jets had been equipped with electronic warfare suites. But Turkish-Israeli relations have soured in recent years and it is not clear if counter-measures for evading anti-aircraft weapons were updated to deal with current Russian-designed systems. It is no secret that Syrian airspace

so that Damascus never realized its reactor was being bombed until it had been smashed and Israeli bombers were home safely. “The Russians are very serious and you can’t dismiss them,” said Gordon, who had first-hand experience dodging SAMs during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. “They make some of the best anti aircraft systems in the world. Really, they are very sophisticated and at the highest operational levels. They have a huge variety of systems. And no one should dismiss them. And I am absolutely sure that the Israeli air force doesn’t dismiss the Russian air defense systems for one minute and in every plan everything is worked out to the last detail.” Gordon suggested that the defection last week of a senior Syrian pilot with his MiG-21 was like an earthquake to the Assad regime and probably prompted the decision to pull the trigger on the Turkish jet. “The (Syrian) air force had been considered until now one of the main sources of might. So in order to send a

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a thumbs-up sign from the cockpit of the Turkish Primary and Basic Trainer Aircraft “Hurkus” during a ceremony at the Turkish Aerospace Industries in Ankara on June 27, 2012.— AFP has been repeatedly violated by various players, including the Turks, Israelis, Americans and more, analysts say. But taking down the F-4 on Friday was likely a decision handed down from the very top Syrian echelon to prove that the air force was still under control of President Bahsar Al-Assad’s beleaguered regime. It also marked the first time in nearly five years that any weapons system with Israeli manufacturing input had faced a Russian weapon acquired by Syria. The last time was in September 2007, when Israeli fighter-bombers reportedly destroyed a Iranian-North Korean-built nuclear reactor in the northern Syrian town of Al-Kibar. Airspace over the reactor was guarded by Russian anti-air missiles, but Israeli aircraft reportedly penetrated by disabling the Russian missiles’ radar

message externally and internally that one can’t underestimate its capabilities, they took the shot,” he said. “It wasn’t done to raise morale, but rather, to restore Syria’s sense of national security which is capable of not only detecting, but also in shooting down aircraft.” The Jordanian newspaper Alarab Alyawm reported on Sunday that three more Syrian air force pilots have defected to Jordan and joined their fellow pilot Col. Hassan Hammadeh who flew his MiG-21 fighter jet to Jordan last week. It said the trio crossed the border by land. — Media Line


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FRIDAY, JUNE 29 2012

Years

www.kuwaittimes.net

Actress Yvonne Strahovski, an honoree at the Australians in Film 8th Annual Breakthrough Awards, poses on the red carpet on Wednesday June 27, 2012, in Los Angeles. — AP


Food

k o o i C e

Everyday cooking

FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

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dd a Comment Print Cooking & Recipes GlossaryMore Sharing ServicesShare Share on facebookShare on emailShare on pinterest - pinitMeasuring Ingredients for Baking You probably know someone who bakes a lot, and it seems like she just tosses this in and that in and presto, out come cookies or a pie or something delicious. It seems like magic, so you may wonder how important it is to be accurate in measuring. The answer is: very important. Proper measuring is critical to baking. Baking is a science, and when you mix together ingredients, you’re creating chemistry, albeit edible chemistry, so being precise is important. There is balance between flour, leaveners, fats, and liquids. Extra salt or baking soda can ruin otherwise perfect cookies. Too much flour makes muffins taste dry and flavorless. No beginning cook should be nonchalant about measuring. The success of your recipe depends on it. As you begin to feel more comfortable with baking, you may feel inclined to experiment a bit, maybe add some chocolate chips to peanut butter cookies, or throw some nuts or dried cranberries into oatmeal cookies, or substitute pecans for walnuts. That’s all well and fine, but give it time. You’re never too good or experienced to measure. Measuring equipment Measuring spoons come in sets of four or six, ranging from 1/4 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. (Be sure to use graded teaspoons and

By Sawsan Kazak

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ometimes when you are craving something sweet, a cake is too heavy, a pie is too sweet and fruits are not sweet enough. This is the perfect time for a cookie. You can’t help but feel like a kid when you bite into a cookie, especially if there is milk around. Send suggestions to: sawsank@kuwaittimes.net

tablespoons - and not the spoons you use to eat with -for accuracy.) You can use the same measuring tools for both liquids and dry ingredients. For liquids, fill the spoon until it’s full. For dry ingredients, pour or scoop into the spoon until it’s full, leveling off the spoon with the straight edge of a spatula or knife. Never measure over the bowl of ingredients you’re using for the recipe. If you overpour or level extra into the bowl, your measurements will not be accurate. Measuring cups are essential for every kitchen. You won’t find many recipes that don’t require measurements of some kind. Measuring cups come in two basic types: Graded: Graded cups range in sizes from 1/4 cup to 1 cup and can range from 4 to 6 cups in a set. Use graded cups to measure dry ingredients and solid fats, such as shortening. Glass: Glass cups are available in a wide range of sizes, the most common being 1 cup, 2 cups, and 4 cups. Use these cups for measuring liquids. When measuring thick, sticky liquids such as honey, molasses, and corn syrup, spray the inside of the measuring glass with nonstick cooking spray or grease it a little with oil. The liquid will then be much easier to remove. Measuring dry ingredients To measure flour, sugar, breadcrumbs, and other dry ingredients (with the exception of brown sugar in many cases), spoon the ingredients lightly into the measuring cup. Do not shake the

cup to make level! Take the straight edge of a knife (not the cutting edge) and level off the ingredient. Leveling it off gives you one level cup. If the recipe calls for a heaping cup, do not level off the cup. Instead, leave a small mounded top of ingredients. Sometimes ingredients, such as brown sugar, shredded cheeses, coconut, or herbs, are called for as lightly or firmly packed. Why pack? Generally, these ingredients are bulkier and can form big air pockets if you use the traditional spoon-and-level method of measuring. If you apply light or slightly firm pressure to the ingredients, you eliminate some of the air pockets and get a more accurate measurement. Never push the ingredients in so much that you actually crush them or pack them in so tightly that you have difficulty getting them out the of cup measure. If you do so, you will overmeasure, adding too much of the ingredient. A good visual cue that you have lightly packed something is that after you pour it out of the measuring cup, it will lose the shape of the cup it was in. — (www.dummies.com)


Food FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

1 cup butter 2 cups white sugar 1 cup sour cream 4 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 cup chopped walnuts 1/4 teaspoon salt

Big soft ginger cookies P

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon baking soda 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup margarine, softened 1 cup white sugar 1 egg 1 tablespoon water 1/4 cup molasses 2 tablespoons white sugar

1 cup butter, softened 1 1/3 cups white sugar 3 eggs 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 2 teaspoons water 1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates 1 cup chopped pecans

I

Date cookies

n a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Combine the water and dates; stir into the dough along with the chopped pecans. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

3/4 cup butter, softened 1 cup white sugar 1 egg 1 teaspoon lemon zest 2 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup blanched slivered almonds, ground 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 1 cup raspberry jam

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ream the butter with the sugar. Stir in the sour cream, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and chopped nuts. Mix well and form into logs. Wrap logs with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Slice cookies into 1/4 inch rounds and bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 10 minutes.

reheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Linzer torte cookies

reheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 11x7 inch baking pan. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and lemon peel. In another bowl, stir together the flour, almonds, cinnamon and cloves. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. The dough will be stiff, so you may need to knead it by hand to get it to come together. Press half of the dough into

Dutch ice box cookies

the bottom of the prepared pan. Press half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the preserves over the crust. On a lightly floured surface, roll the remaining dough into long rope about 1/2 inch in diameter. Place lengths of the rope across the top of the jam in a lattice pattern over the preserves. Bake 40 minutes or until top is golden. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 2 inch by 1inch bars.


Beauty FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Beauty in your hands Tips and tricks for happy nails Y

our nails are one of the first things people notice about you. Make a great first impression by keeping them healthy. Many of us, irrespective of our hectic schedules do ensure that they eat healthy and follow a strict fitness regime. But amidst this, many of us often tend to neglect a very important part of our body- our nails. Gorgeous looking nails would not just boost the inner confidence in you but also make you feel pampered. Cold weather dehydrates your nails and cuticles, leaving them prone to breaking, chapping and discoloration. The best way to keep nails in top shape is by maintaining a meticulous nail care routine, especially during the cold season. What we eat directly reflects on our nails. Our nails are composed of calcium and other minerals. So, it is very essential to replenish them, which you can do so by an adequate supply of calcium, vitamin A, phosphorous, zinc, folic acid, silica, vitamin C. That is a long list that’ll do a food technlogist proud, isn’t it? Let’s deconstruct that to something we can relate to, shall we? Here we go. Drink plenty of milk and also make sure you eat plenty of milk products like cheese, yogurt etc. Eggs, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, parsley, coriander, broccoli, apricots, carrots, and almonds are also very good supplements to your diet. Drink lots of water as it will not just prevent wrinkles

on your skin but also avoid your nails from getting brittle. Also look out for discoloration of nails or developing ridges, because they are indication of vitamin deficiency. Deficiency of Vitamin B12 leads to dryness and darkening of nails. Clean nails are not just necessary to look good but also necessary to ensure your well being. Our nails can carry lots of disease causing bacteria and germs. Winters, especially, make our nails more porous and susceptible to fungus. Trim your nails regularly. But do not file your nails immediately after bath because they tend to break. Avoid back and forth motion while filing your nails and make sure you stick to one direction. Resort to nail buffing as it augments blood circulation, stimulating nail growth and voila you have strong and shiny nails. When you wash hands, make sure you massage soap near your nails and cuticles. Rinse and moisture them well .You could also use a soft brush to clean them. Dead skin around the nails could be removed using a pumice stone. Do not keep exposing your nails to extreme temperatures, very hot water or direct heat and cold. They lead to brittle nails. Use of lukewarm water to wash your hands is recommended. A monthly manicure by professional is must but make sure they use clean and sterilized equipment. Use gloves while gardening,

Get a manicure right at home To begin with, make sure all your tools are clean and sterilized. Start shaping your nails (never file your nails when wet, because they will break easily). You can shape your nails into one of these 4 basic shapes: round, square, oval and pointed. The shape of the nail should conform to the shape of finger. File your nails in one direction, not with a back and forth motion. Soak your nails in soapy lukewarm water for 5 to 10 minutes. You can add a few drops of essential oil of any fragrance of your choice, Epson salt and a few drops of lemon juice (which will remove any stains). Apply cuticle cream or Vaseline and push your cuticles back with the help of an ear bud. Apply cream or Vaseline and massage your hands well. Avoid cutting cuticles as its painful and may cause infections. Wash your nails using a nail brush. Exfoliate your skin taking soapy water and sugar to get rid of dead skin. Soak your hands again. Pat dry your hands and massage with good quantities of cream. Apply base coat, let it dry, followed by a nail colour of your choice. Voila! You have beautiful looking, smooth, soft and healthy hands.

washing clothes, utensils and cutting vegetables. Apply moisturizer while watching TV, before going to bed and after washing your hands. Massaging hot oil once a week could give you smooth and soft fingers and nails. Vitamin E oil is very good for nails and so is castor oil. You could also use petroleum jelly to massage your beautiful nails. Massaging nail serum could also stimulate circulation and help your nails grow faster as during winters your nails tend to grow slow. Avoid harsh chemicals as they make your nails brittle and damage them very badly. Use a base coat before applying paint. Use non acetone nail polish remover to prevent your nails from being fragile, better stick to acetate containing nail polish removers. Vibrant colors like crimson red, neon blue, deep pink, deep burnt rust, grey is the new black, electric green are the hot trends seen at runway currently. Apply vinegar on your nail to last the polish longer. Base coat is very essential as it prevents staining of the nail color on tour actual nails when you apply polish. www.makeupandbeauty.com


Books FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

‘Skios’: C

an the hoary trope of mistaken identity still play in the age of Google images? Especially if it’s a young, handsome womanizer with tousled blond hair being mistaken for the middle-aged, balding keynote speaker at the meticulously planned conference of a prestigious foundation? Well, no. But since the author is Michael Frayn, a master farceur both onstage and on the page, it’s tempting to cut him some slack. So much of his new novel, “Skios,” is so expertly written and such genuine fun, it seems ill-mannered to quibble about the dubious premise. Or the fact that the ending of a farce is usually as satisfying as the third hot fudge sundae, because the only logical outcome to rampant absurdity is even more rampant absurdity. But between start and finish, Frayn, who has written 10 previous novels, including “Headlong,” a finalist for the 1999 Booker Prize, builds his puzzle so painstakingly and tells his story so engagingly, you want to jump in his lap and build a nest for winter. The fictional Greek island of Skios is the setting for the annual gathering sponsored by the Fred Toppler Foundation, a seemingly high-minded outfit promoting “civilized values,” presided over by Toppler’s widow, a former exotic dancer. Attendees include “the second-richest couple in the state of Rhode Island” and V. J. D. Chaudhury, “the great authority on comparative underdevelopment.” Toppler’s trusty assistant, Nikki Hook, is scheming to take over the operation, but her ambitions don’t prevent her from fantasizing about the guest of honor, Dr. Norman Wilfred, a world-renowned expert in “the management of science.” Granted, his address, “Innovation and Governance: The Promise of Scientometrics,” doesn’t hold much promise of romance: “All those committees and international lectures would have taken their toll. His jowls would be heavy with importance, his waistline thick and his hair thin with it.” What Nikki has imagined in her mind’s eye is actually Oliver Fox, the charming sociopath - is there any other kind? - who arrives on Skios to rendezvous with a girl he met briefly in a bar, at the villa of another Englishwoman he’s also seeing. Once he and Wilfred confuse their luggage, Fox, who is quickly souring on the prospect of his excellent adventure, is greeted at baggage claim by Nikki, holding a sign for Dr. Norman Wilfred. “Good God, thought Oliver, as he saw the smile. She thinks I’m him! And all at once he knew it was so. He was Dr. Norman Wilfred. He saw his life as Dr. Norman Wilfred stretching in front of him like the golden pathway into the rising sun. He had no choice but to walk along that pathway, towards the warmth, towards the light. . . . ‘Dr. Wilfred?’ she said. ‘I cannot tell a lie,’ said Oliver. No - said Dr. Wilfred.” Meanwhile, the real Wilfred, who carries the text of his lecture with him, has left the conference information in his checked luggage (really?) and can’t remember the name of the foundation. After much haranguing, he heads toward a cab where the driver guesses he is Fox, his intended passenger. Exhausted and defeated, Wilfred acquiesces and ends up at the villa, assuming it’s part of the foundation. Mayhem ensues. Along the way, Frayn tosses off all manner of entertaining commentary. The foundation’s beleaguered chef, who must accommodate the requests of the big shots attending the conference - gluten-free, saltfree, diabetic halal - glumly observes: “When I was a kid in Piraeus, was only two sorts of food. Was food, and was no food.” And when Georgie, Fox paramour No. 1, finds herself inhabiting the villa with its rightful owner, Annuka, Fox paramour No. 2, she mistakes Annuka for the cleaning lady, then can’t figure out why she has angered her. “She looked Greek, but she sounded English. Maybe you had to call local English employees something different. Cleaning supervisors. Directors of leisure services.” That Dr. Wilfred, the smug eminence who has delivered his famous lecture so often he “saw the words as they

would look up at him from the warm pool of light on the lectern, like well-behaved children at their fond father,” is a completely drawn character is no surprise. But that Oliver Fox is credible, even sympathetic, as he takes greater and greater risks at fakery and succeeds, is a real accomplishment. In “Headlong,” Frayn’s nerdy professor of philosophy plays at being a high-stakes art dealer and botches the enterprise spectacularly. Here, each half of the warring composite gets his due. During the foundation’s big dinner, Fox reflects: “He had succeeded in climbing the impossible climb... He had made himself Dr. Wilfred by his own individual act of will. He remained Dr. Wilfred by the will of others.” The real Dr. Wilfred, on the morning of his big lecture, dutifully follows the instructions of the switchboard operator, thinking he is on his way to breakfast. After getting terribly lost, he finally returns to the villa. There, Georgie sees him in bright light after mistakenly climbing into bed with him: “The whiteness of his face was shadowed by a gray scum of unshaven whiskers. His balding head was sweating like an old cheese. His trousers were torn. There were large damp patches on his grubby shirt. He was clutching with an unnerving intensity the flight bag that was dangling round his neck. The phrase ‘escaped convict’ came into her mind.” Frayn is such good company, you hate for the story to end, though I never felt particularly generous toward Nikki, even as her schemes for the heart and loins of the putative Dr. Wilfred collapsed as soundly as those for her ascension at the foundation. Discovering herself duped, she examines the real Wilfred’s passport: “All his blond hair had fallen out - he was half bald. His cheeks were lined and pouched, his jowls baggy. He was 15 or more years older. It was like the picture of Dorian Gray.” Right. Which is why making the mistake in the first place was preposterous. But the reason farce has endured for as long as humans have been around to write it has nothing to do with literal-minded cavils about passports and Google images. To really appreciate farce, to roll it languorously over your tongue like a fine wine, you need to be old, bitter and bruised enough to recognize it as the essence, the perfect distillation, of the misery and futility of everyday life. In Frayn’s theatrical masterwork, the door-slamming farce “Noises Off,” the director of the play within the play tries desperately, at the final run-through, to get his provincial, easily distracted actors to focus on the mechanics of the staging, including the whereabouts of a certain plate of sardines: “If we can just get through the play tonight once for doors and sardines. That’s what it’s all about. Doors and sardines. Getting on - getting off. Getting the sardines on getting the sardines off. That’s farce. That’s the theater. That’s life.” And how often does its ending satisfy? — www.nytimes.com


Te c h n o l o g y FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

IOS 6 introduced

Expectations raised for Apple’s new software coming this fall

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mall things come in big packages. And with iOS 6 recently unveiled at Apple’s WWDC 2012 adds small but significant features and changes to the mobile OS powerhouse. The iOS 6 will roll out at the end of 2012, on new versions of iPhone and iPad devices of course, with approximately 200 features, including new 3D maps, Twitter-like Facebook integration and an upgraded version of your favourite voice recognition command software, SIRI. We give you a roundup of 5 nifty changes you’ll expect when the retail version of the iOS 6 comes to your pockets:

Gone are the Google Maps With tech giants like Apple and Google going against each other in the new chapter of ‘Patent Wars’, it seems only too obvious Apple would come up with a replacement of any tech or app that utilizes or favours arch rival Google over its own. Next target - Google Maps. Now you get a 3D version of your local areas and navigate through the city you wish to go see

on your next trip. The new 3D maps have three options when it comes to navigation. You can get your entire route from point A to B, with other optional routes; get navigation points on every turn; or drive a virtual car in a 3D turn-by-turn navigation simulation. Oh, and SIRI helps you navigate turn-by-turn as well! Sleek share screen Like in the iOS 5 and its tight twitter integration, the iOS 6 will cater to your Facebook needs. But that’s not all to it; now you can share your stuff in the revamped Share Screen through icons than a list of options you would have used before and are familiar with. Spotlight search upgrade It wasn’t with a little difficulty you’d search your Apple mobile device and get exactly what you were looking for. The new upgrade to the Apple Spotlight search function enables

you to retrieve what you wanted, with also the folder where your search result is at, and without merely listing all the other possibilities like apps, music and image files and emails. Now showing new download banner When you download anything on your Apple device running iOS 6, you’ll see it as a new banner on top of app icons. This Download banner will disappear when you use your download app for the first time. No more jail breaking Emoji Icons With the iOS 6 beta doing the rounds it looks as if you won’t have to jail broke your Apple mobile device in case you feel more emotive. Emoji emoticons come pre-installed on the iOS 6. www.zeenews.india.com

HK discovers smartphones are a pain in the neck I t’s rush hour in Hong Kong and the mass transit coach is crammed full of commuters, many of them frozen in an almost identical stance. Their heads are down with shoulders hunched as their tap away on a mobile phone in their hand. To Hong Kong chiropractor Sophia Ng, it’s an all-toocommon sight seen in cafes, on park benches, and even among people walking down the street. Ng and her colleagues blame that posture for a series of aches and pains they’re seeing increasingly these days and which they call iPhone syndrome. “These are degenerative conditions previously associated with people in their 40s and 50s but now we are seeing an increasing number of cases among people in their 30s and even younger,” Ng said. “There are children now using iPhones who by the time they reach their 30s will have been using them 20 years. I have already heard of teenagers developing iPhone syndrome,” she said. “The first thing people might find is that the muscles tire in their neck and shoulders. If they don’t correct this bad posture, they will start to have pain which in the long term could lead to degenerative arthritis.” Ng said long-term effects could include bone spurs in the neck joint, which can impinge nerves, causing numbness in the wrist and fingers. “Using smartphones while standing

on the train is even worse because all your muscles have to tense as you try to balance yourself. It also affects your eyes which have to work harder to focus and for children whose eyes are still developing, it can be really bad.” Many aches associated with phone overuse are not new to medicine and many have been documented for more than 100 years, with names like “tennis elbow” and “washerwoman’s sprain.” New terms include “tech neck” and “Blackberry thumb.” A survey released this month by the Hong Kong Multisports Association found that 95 per cent of 1,532 adults interviewed had suffered neck and back problems in the last 12 months. The survey also found one out of three people use their tablet computers and smartphones for more than four hours a day. Anesthesiologist Carina Li said the main reasons for the growing incidence of chronic pain was bad posture and overuse of devices. “Many people use desktop computers during their work hours, then go on to use tablets and smartphones after work,” she said. “Based on the survey results, we inferred they could be spending five or even eight hours a day on these devices.” Josephine Ip, a professor of the Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology at the University of Hong Kong, is also seeing more

patients as a result of phone overuse. “Once you have an overuse problem, it can take weeks to recover and during this time your working capacity will be decreased,” Ip said. “If you don’t manage it properly and if there is an inflammatory response, and your body heals with fibrosis, you have an increased chance of repeated episodes of pain. You may need physiotherapy, or an injection to control the inflammation, or in the worse scenario you may need an operation.” Ip said it was important not to ignore such pains. “My advice to anyone using a smartphone is to keep an upright posture,” she said. “Try not to flex the spine too much, keep it in a neutral position and use fingers not thumbs to type.” — dpa


Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Raf Simonsshows leg at Paris menswear, before Dior debut

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af Simons headlined day one of the Paris menswear shows on Wednesday, sending out an urbane, playful look that showed a lot of leg, days before his hotly-waited debut as the top designer at Dior. All but a handful of the Belgian designer’s looks were built around bermuda shorts cut high on the thigh, and slashed at one side, paired with clean white shirts and single-breasted jackets, black patent brogues or sneakers. Boxy white tunics or art-print Tshirts added to the contemporary feel of the collection-at odds with the nostalgic, post-war inspiration behind many of the looks on the Milan catwalks last week and elsewhere in Paris on Wednesday. Coats came in flower-prints, ultralight raincoats in pink or orange, while suits were dove grey or navy, with splashes of emerald and violet, a handful of slim cigarette pants and widelegged ones thrown in with the shorts. Simons’ show was scheduled earlier than usual in the men’s calendar to give him time to prepare for his debut haute couture collection at Dior on Monday-where he takes over from the disgraced John Galliano, ousted over a racist outburst in March last year. Earlier Wednesday, Savile Row tailor Hardy Amies whisked its sharp suits with a twist from London to Paris. The British firm, whose founder Sir Hardy Amies is best known for dressing Queen Elizabeth II up until his retirement in 1989, was making its debut at the Paris show, taking place hot on the heels of Milan. House designer Claire Malcolm said the spark for the show was an anecdote involving Sir Hardy, who got into trouble while serving as wartime Special Operations Executive in Europe for conducting a fashion shoot for Vogue. She built the menswear look around the pre- and post-war periods, starting with double-breasted suits and pleated pants meant to evoke “the frivolity and glamour” of the 1920s and 1930s. Then came a string of more serious-minded, uniform styles, cut from wool-twist silk in tones of khaki, sand and olive inspired by the aesthetic of World War II itself. Followed more relaxed silhouettes-a nod to the rise of casual menswear after the war-such as tailored shorts, cut like in Simons’ show at mid thigh, with little jackets, striped sweaters or, daringly, a bright pink polo shirt. “I am not saying war is glamorous, rather I am interested in the idea of a man who finds himself in different circumstances,” Malcolm explained. Earlier the German designer Tillmann Lauterbach-who is also artistic director of menswear for the Chinese fashion label JNBYshowed a confident collection that also played on the idea of the uniform. But compared to Hardy Amies’s sharp edges here the look was free-flowing, with tapered pants, round-collared shirts

and jackets in luxurious silks, linens and velvets in cream, black, navy or khaki with flashes of rust and turquoise. The designer, who was raised on the party island of Ibiza, said the look was inspired by a trip Andy Warhol made to China in the 1980s, blending a New York post-punk aesthetic with the clean shapes and straight lines of Chinese dress. — AFP

Models wear creations by Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons for his fashion house’s Men’s Spring-Summer 2013 collection, for the Paris Fashion Week, in Paris, France, Wednesday. — AP photos


Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Actor Liam Hemsworth accepts the Breakthrough Award onstage at Australians In Film Awards & Benefit Dinner at InterContinental Hotel on June 27, 2012 in Century City, California. — AFP/AP photos

Director Gary Ross speaks onstage.

Television host Andrew G. speaks onstage.

Russell Brand returns to stand-up on TV’s ‘Brand X’

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Actress Yvonne Strahovski, an honoree at the Australians in Film 8th Annual Breakthrough Awards, poses on the red carpet.

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Actor Liam Hemsworth, left, an honoree at the Australians in Film 8th Annual Breakthrough Awards, poses with his fiance Miley Cyrus.

he “Hunger Games” actor and his “Party In the USA” fiance looked picture perfect in matching black ensembles as they eased inside the InterContinental Hotel and navigated to a comfy perch on one of the posh venue’s plush couches. Among the honorees, Liam and actress Yvonne Strahovski were toasted as the AIF Breakthrough Awards recipients - which are doted upon “Australians who have made significant contributions to the film and entertainment industry.” Of selecting Hemsworth, AIF President Andrew Warne said, “We are delighted to honor Liam Hemsworth with the 2012 Breakthrough Award. The string of his upcoming films demonstrates an undeniable star power. From The Expendables 2, oppo-

site Sylvester Stallone, and Paranoia, opposite screen legends Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford, to Arabian Nights, with Dwayne Johnson and Sir Anthony Hopkins, we believe this is only the beginning for Liam Hemsworth.” Also making an appearance at the event - which gives a scholarship opportunity to an emerging Australian actor - was the lovely Abbie Cornish, who made a beautiful arrival in an elegant white gown.— gossipcenter.com

e’s played an out-of-control rocker in Hollywood movie “Get Him to the Greek” and a drunken playboy in “Arthur,” but in his first U.S. Television show, Americans will see raucous British comedian Russell Brand as they haven’t before - doing stand-up. Brand returns to his roots in new show “Brand X,” a late-night, once-a-week program debuting on the FX network on Thursday. It shows off the comedian’s sexually charged humor, as well as his more serious take on spirituality, consumerism and celebrity culture in front of a live audience. “I love doing stand-up because you have a direct interaction with the audience. There is no mediation, no script, no direction. It is my great love. What is it other than telling the truth to human beings that are identical to me?” Brand told Reuters. Inspired by topical events and filmed in a small, nightclub-like studio north of Los Angeles four days ahead of broadcast, “Brand X” finds the ex-husband of pop singer Katy Perry in reflective and provocative form. No target is off limits for the 37-year-old, whose discourse in Thursday’s first episode begins with an account of his recent meeting with the Dalai Lama (Brand is an ardent disciple of transcendental meditation) and takes in Charlie Sheen, circumcision, Mel Gibson, Oprah Winfrey, oral sex, the media, Nietzsche, capitalism and hiccups in under 30 minutes. Audience participation and off-the-cuff mockery also play a part in the show that the FX basic cable network says brings “an unmistakably irreverent attitude” to its late-night programming. “The main thing I am interested in is the difference in the way information is portrayed and the truth behind that information,” Brand said of his themes. —Reuters


Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Review

‘People Like Us,’ a drama in action style

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eople Like Us” is that increasingly rare kind of film: an adult drama. The filmmakers seem so nervous about this prospect that they fill the movie with action-film editing and a camera that moves so restlessly through domestic life that you’d think it lost its keys. At one point, I was sure the dramatic opening of a door was going to reveal a Klingon, not complicated memories of a deceased parent. That’s not a coincidence: “People Like Us” is directed by Alex Kurtzman, who co-wrote the script with Roberto Orci (along with Jody Lambert). Kurtzman and Orci are the same duo that wrote the 2009 “Star Trek” reboot, as well as the blockbusters “Mission: Impossible III” and “Transformers,” and the TV series “Alias” and “Fringe.”If, in their knack for suspense, they imbue “People Like Us” with impatience, they also keep it entertaining, rendering a familiar, heart-rending melodrama as a gauzy and mostly pleasant diversion. Sam (Chris Pine, who played Capt. Kirk in “Star Trek”) is a slick New York deal-maker, specializing in bartering excess goods between companies. But trouble (and a federal trade investigation) loom after he ruins a shipment of tomato soup by cheaply skimping on transportation. His emotional remove is clear when his girlfriend, Hannah (the striking but underused Olivia Wilde), informs him that his father has died, and he replies: “What’s for dinner?”

Hannah drags Sam to the Los Angeles funeral, where his mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) greets him with both a hard slap to the face and directions to the linens. It’s a rare return home for Sam, who ignored his mother during his dad’s illness and harbors a long festering anger for his uninterested father, a 1960s record producer.The lawyer executing the will (Philip Baker Hall) informs Sam that he’s inherited his father’s extensive vinyl collection, with the advice to, “Get your groove back.” He’s also given a shaving kit stuffed with $150,000 and instructions to give it to an unfamiliar name: Josh Davis. The reveal is that

This film image released by Disney/Dreamworks II shows, Michelle Pfeiffer, left, and Chris Pine in a scene from “People Like Us.” — AP

ingless title) owes much of its charm to Banks. She enters the film like a powerhouse, striding in heels and a black miniskirt to the principal’s office to pick up her son, while chastising a pair of ogling students: “I know your mothers,” she says. As a working single mom, she plays Frankie as heavy with the bitterness of being abandoned by her absent father. There’s little reason Banks shouldn’t be a top star in Hollywood: She’s funny, sexy and sharp. The movies haven’t always lived up to her talent - TV’s “30 Rock” is still the best example of her capabilities. Pine is a more standard protagonist, with a handsome if bland swagger. Still, he keeps the film grounded. The weakest hinge to the film is Pfeiffer, who has little motherly chemistry with Pine and whose character feels underwritten. “People Like Us” is partly based on the life of Kurtzman, whose father was Dennis Lambert, a producer for the Commodores and others. The film, Kurtzman’s directorial debut, is too shiny and drenched in California glow to feel very personal. It grows increasingly sentimental, and by the end, lays it on especially thick. It works best in its moments of humour amid the soapy plot: the discovery and awakening of a sibling relationship, forged as much over tacos as through blood. “People Like Us,” a Touchstone Pictures release, is rated PG-13 for language, some drug use and brief sexuality. Running time: 114 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four. —AP

Welsh baritone Terfel:

Allred scores

Working up to a great Wotan W

tentative win in John Doe lawsuit

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n the ongoing legal saga over John Travolta’s alleged inappropriate behavior during massage sessions, attorney Gloria Allred landed a victory in court on Wednesday, as Judge Michael P. Linfield of the Los Angeles Superior Court tentatively granted Allred’s motion to strike a suit brought against her by the original lawyer for two of Travolta’s accusers. Allred’s motion was in response to a complaint filed by Okorie Okorocha, who initially represented the accusers - identified as John Doe #1 and John Doe #2 in court papers - in a lawsuit against “Pulp Fiction” actor Travolta. The accusers both parted ways with Okorocha and retained Allred, and Okorocha subsequently filed a suit claiming that Allred had unlawfully poached John Doe #2 from him. In the motion to strike, Allred’s law firm claimed that Okorocha “has no admissible evidence,” and that his “purported evidence,” contained in his declaration, consists of various combinations of argument, improper opinion, matters lacking in foundation and violations of the attorney-client privilege.” Linfield mostly sided with Allred, sustaining the majority of her objections to Okorocha’s declaration. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for today. Allred had no comment for TheWrap. Okorocha has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment. In his complaint, filed in May, Okorocha claimed that he parted ways with John Doe #1 because of a potential conflict of interest. He then sought Allred’s counsel after which, Okorocha claimed, Allred illegally wooed John Doe #2 away from Okorocha. John Does #1 and #2 who claimed that Travolta sexually battered them during separate massage sessions in January - voluntarily dismissed their suit without prejudice when they parted ways with Okorocha. —Reuters

Sam’s father had a secret, second family, of which is now left his daughter, Frankie (Elizabeth Banks), and her sarcastic mophead 11-year-old, Josh (Michael Hall D’Addario). She’s a recovering alcoholic working as a bartender and trying desperately to keep their lives together, a feat made harder by Josh’s troublemaking at school.Sam first shadows Frankie and after a few encounters (he feigns a fellow Alcoholics Anonymous member), he quickly becomes a close friend to Frankie and Josh. He’s reluctant to confess their shared father or bequeath the money, a suspense prolonged artificially. “People Like Us” (a generically mean-

John Travolta

elsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel got a big performance worthy of the gods. “I cannot wait to kick out of hobnobbing on stage last go on stage to do this ‘Ring’ in Covent Garden year at New York’s Beacon Theater with because I felt more comfortable in New York,” he glitterati of the pop world for Sting’s 60th birth- told Reuters in an interview. “I think you can feel day.”I was between (Lady) Gaga and Billy Joel, that I’m still working out the process, and I think rubbing shoulders with Stevie Wonder,” Terfel this production here could be my kind of opening said, his eyes still radiating the thrill more than of the door, the lights will maybe come on ... The ingredients are there, it’s just a matter of mouldhalf a year later. Little did those rock and pop stars know that ing and enjoying it.” In the meantime, Terfel’s fans, who are legion, at the wave of a spear, Terfel could have put them into eternal sleep on a craggy mountaintop, sur- and anyone else looking for a heady programme rounded by a ring of fire, as he does to his head- of everything from Broadway showtunes to Verdi strong daughter Brunnhilde in Richard Wagner’s and Puccini arias can have an earful during a fourepic “Ring” cycle. Terfel, 46 and the son of a sheep day “Brynfest” beginning on July 4 at London’s farmer from north Wales, is perhaps the most Southbank Centre, as part of the music complex’s sought after singer in the world to incarnate one Festival of the World with Mastercard celebration. The festival, a celebration of all things musical, of the most demanding roles in opera that of also affords an opportunity to Wagner’s wandering chief of the hear the best of what the Welsh Gods Wotan. His scheming and music world has to offer without philandering bring about the ever leaving London. downfall of the gods, and their While Terfel will sing palace Valhalla, in the 16-hour Broadway showtunes with West opera cycle’s fiery conclusion. End musical stars on the openHe’ll be doing it again, in ing night, and an array of opera October, at the Royal Opera classics with supporting soloists House in Covent Garden, on the the next, he will be getting a big eve of the 2013 bicentenary celeassist from the orchestra and bration of Wagner’s birth. chorus of the Welsh National Terfel, who first sang the role Opera. He credits the company at Covent Garden in 2007 but with providing the platform for had to pull out of part of it due to what he considers the pinnacle a family emergency, and who has of his career, his performance as since sung Wotan for cheering Hans Sachs in a 2010 production audiences at New York’s of Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger Metropolitan Opera, says this von Nurnberg”. —Reuters time London is going to get a Welsh baritone Terfel


Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Rebooting

‘Spider-Man,’

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n a weekend in January of 2010, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios pivoted faster than even Spider-Man would dare. A fourth installment of the hugely popular Spider-man franchise was planned, with director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire returning to their trilogy of films that had earned more than $2.5 billion at the global

Spider-Man” will be released, charting a new start for the web-slinger just five years after “Spider-Man 3.” Reboots of film franchises have been typically launched many more years later than that. But today, “five years is a lifetime in the movie business,” says Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal. “I wasn’t troubled by it.”

This image released by Starpix shows the cast of �The Amazing Spider-Man,� from left, Rhys Ifans, Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, director Marc Webb and Denis Leary on the 86th floor Observatory at the Empire State Building after hosting a lighting ceremony, Monday, June 25, 2012 in New York. — AP box office and generally been hailed as a standard-bearer in big-screen comic book adaptations. But by that Monday, Raimi’s dissatisfaction with the script and the producers’ eagerness for a new movie had come to a head. In a flash, the sequel was kaput, and a reboot was ordered up. Next Tuesday, “The Amazing

Reasons for reboots vary from restoring dormant franchises (“Star Trek”), to refreshing long-running ones (James Bond) or improving on previous failures (The Hulk). The Hulk was famously tried twice, in 2003 and 2008 by Marvel and Universal Pictures. Similarly, a new Superman (“Man of Steel”) is due out next year from Warner Bros., a new

start for the DC Comics’ character after 2006’s “Superman Returns” disappointed. “The Amazing Spider-Man,” on the other hand, comes close on the heels of Raimi’s acclaimed trilogy. Though Sony’s preference was to make a fourth film with the same team, Pascal now says they were “looking for a story that wasn’t there,” following the conclusiveness of “Spider-Man 3.” That makes the $200 million “Amazing Spider-Man” a somewhat daring maneuver, bound to face comparisons to the recent Spider-Man films and skepticism from some moviegoers. To combat any Spidey fatigue, Sony has imbued the new, 3-D “Spider-Man” with youth: Andrew Garfield plays Peter Parker, Emma Stone plays his girlfriend Gwen Stacy and Marc Webb, whose only previous feature was 2009’s “(500) Days of Summer,” directs. “The only time to take a break is when your franchise fails,” says Avi Arad, a producer of the film and former CEO of Marvel Studios. “People want Spider-Man, so it’s our responsibility to give them something new, something different and start a whole new generation of Spider-Man lovers.” Webb’s vision of the film (written by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves) is predicated on Parker’s origin - tracing his history as an orphan and beginning with his parents. That also means, come high school, covering some of the same ground from Raimi’s first “Spider-Man”: the spider bite, the uncle’s death, the school hallway showdowns. “It’s not like we’re retelling the exact origin as Sam had done it,” says Webb. “But I felt it was important for a new story to understand the character from the ground up because I feel like the inflection of this character was quite different than what we’d seen before.” That inflection is closer to the Spider-Man of the comics. Garfield’s version of the hero is more sarcastic, lithe and twitchy - more of a rebellious teen. The 28-year-old British actor from “The Social Network,” who’s fresh off an acclaimed performance in “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway, wanted to honor

in a flash

the previous incarnations of Spider-Man. A fan of the comics since childhood, he says taking on the role was less a decision to consider than a matter of listening to “my inner 3-year-old screaming at me.” “With SpiderMan, the legacy is so huge and there’s so much to pay homage to and respect to, that you have to be as aware of it as much as possible,” says Garfield. After moving through some of the iconic elements of the Spider-Man story, the film brings in a new villain from the comics: the Lizard, as transformed from the scientist Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). The film reminds one that Spider-Man remains a young man’s superhero: It works best as a coming of age story. Had “Spider-Man 4” gone ahead (Maguire is now 36), producers said it would have been the last of the series. “A big part of the DNA of Peter Parker is that adolescent quality,” says Webb, whose “(500) Days of Summer” was also a story of transition into adulthood. “It’s a time in your life where you’re imperfect and you’re unpolished and you make mistakes and you’re discovering things and every emotion is apocalyptic.” Certainly, unending serial storytelling is part of the spirit of comics, which typically flow in constant weekly or monthly installments. “I want to live in a world where Spider-Man stories are being told over and over again,” says producer Matt Tolmach. “Sometimes, people leave things sitting on a shelf for too long.” It’s also an enormously lucrative franchise, with robust merchandizing and popular accompanying video games. “The Amazing Spider-Man” keeps that machine churning. Early reviews have generally been positive and global box office expectations are running high. A sequel is already in the works, with production expected to begin early next year. The huge success of “The Avengers” has stoked speculation that Spider-Man could be roped into the next episode, of which Arad says, “Anything is possible.” Either way, the future possibilities for more Spider-Man are again limitless. Says Arad: “This can be so many movies.” — AP

In honoring EPHRON, here are 5 of her best lines

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ora Ephron’s characters were highly verbal and hyper-analytical. They had a head for the absurd and a heart for romance. But above all, they were funny. To honor the writer and director, who died of leukemia Tuesday at 71, we’re devoting the Five Most space to her this week. We probably could have chosen 10 from “When Harry Met Sally ...” alone. 1. The big New Year’s Eve speech Crystal delivers to Ryan at the end of “When Harry Met Sally ....” This is vintage Ephron in a nutshell. “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

2. From 1998’s “You’ve Got Mail,” which Ephron wrote and directed, when Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are walking through a farmer’s market ruling out the people they won’t date. Hanks: “I could never be with someone who likes Joni Mitchell. ‘It’s clouds illusions I recall/I really don’t know clouds at all.’ What does that mean? Is she a pilot? Is she taking flying lessons? It must be a metaphor for something but I don’t know what it is.” 3. The last lines of “You’ve Got Mail,” after all the gesturing and posturing, the sabotage and mistaken identity, they meet in Riverside Park and Ryan finally realizes that Hanks has been her secret email pal all along. Hanks: “Don’t cry, Shopgirl. Don’t cry.” Ryan: “I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly.” 4. From 1993’s “Sleepless in Seattle,” which Ephron

also wrote and directed. Tom Hanks’ son has called into a late-night talk radio show for him. As he explains what was so special about his late wife, Ryan is listening in her car across the country. “Well, how long is your program? Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they just meant we were supposed to be together. And I knew it. And I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home, only to no home I’d ever known. I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like ... magic. 5. Also from “Heartburn”: Streep and Nicholson are bickering over a chicken leg during a picnic with friends. Streep: “You know, this is not your mother’s house where you do something like that and everybody thinks it’s cute.” Nicholson: “If it’s not my mother’s house, then why are you talking to me like I’m your kid?” — AP


Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Michael Jackson’s

tiger dies of lung cancer T This image provided by Bill Dow shows a tiger formerly owned by Michael Jackson, named Thriller, shown in California. — AP Photos

‘Rio’rocks

festival crisis-hit Spaniards

hriller, a tiger that belonged to Michael Jackson when the entertainer lived at his Neverland ranch, has died of lung cancer at actress-activist Tippi Hedren’s wildlife preserve in California. The 13-year-old, 375-pound tiger died June 11, Hedren said Wednesday. An autopsy was performed and the tiger was cremated. Staff workers will hold a private service when the ashes are buried in a section of the preserve set aside for animals that die there. Thriller and her brother Sabu were born on Nov. 20, 1998, and lived with Jackson until May 4, 2006, Hedren said. When Jackson left Neverland for good, his veterinarian asked Hedren to take the cats at her Shambala Preserve in Acton, about 50 miles north of Los Angeles. Other Neverland animals, including giraffes, flamingos, orangutans, elephants and dozens of reptiles, were sent to other sanctuaries in other parts of the country. Shambala didn’t have a lot of room, but Hedren built a $79,000 habi-

tat next to the preserve’s lake and there were trees and a hill and Thriller had a great life with Sabu, she said. “Thriller was a real piece of work, one gutsy girl. She ruled Sabu’s life. It was humorous to watch the whole relationship. She did things to him that male tigers would normally never allow. She would steal food from him. That’s unheard of. She ruled the roost, was very independent and tough,” Hedren said. Unlike many of the animals at the preserve, Thriller and Sabu arrived at the compound in excellent health physically and emotionally, Hedren said. There are 15 tigers at the compound, but Sabu is now alone in the habitat he shared with Thriller and he’ll probably stay that way, Hedren said. Tigers are loners in the wild, she explained. Because Thriller was a famous tiger, she was very popular with visitors and media, Hedren said. “She didn’t care. She was not a diva and didn’t mug for the camera. We all loved her for it.” Staffs were trying to cope with

Thriller’s death, Hedren said. “It’s very hard for all of us when these animals go away. Fortunately for Sabu and Thriller, they came in healthy and content. They had no problem with being in quarantine for 30 days. They adjusted so well.” Most of the animals at Shambala, which requires $75,000 in donations every month to stay open, have trouble adjusting because they have such abusive pasts, Hedren said. Jackson, who died in 2009, often talked about his love of animals, but he never called to check on the tigers and he never sent any money to help pay for their care, Hedren said. A year after the tigers arrived, Hedren said staff sent a package of photos of Sabu and Thriller and T-shirts and other memorabilia to Jackson’s children, “but we never heard a word back. I just think it’s odd.” A call to a spokesman for Jackson’s estate was not immediately returned. The estate did not exist when the animals were transferred. — AP

O

ne of the world’s biggest festivals, Rock in Rio, opens in recession-hit Spain this week vowing to defy the misery of austerity with rock, and food. “We spent two days collecting food and in return we gave people tickets to Rock in Rio,” said Pablo Rodriguez, mayor of Arganda del Rey, the town southeast of Madrid where the festival venue, the man-made “City of Rock”, rises amid parched yellow fields. The food donations supplied branches of the charities Caritas and the Red Cross for their local programmes to help the needy. “We gathered 15 tonnes of non-perishable food like sugar and oil-more food than we had asked for,” and gave out 3,000 tickets to the festival in return, Rodriguez added. More than 8,000 people will work at the festival, spread over four days between June 30 and July 7, organisers say. The mayor said it has packed out Arganda’s hotels and made business for local suppliers who provided materials to build the City of Rock, a 200,000-square metre expanse with two stages, shop stands and a Ferris wheel. Stars such as dance-pop diva Rihanna and Californian punk-funk supergroup the Red Hot Chili Peppers are due to play there next week. Staging the festival, which started in Rio de Janeiro in 1985 and now alternates between Brazil, Portugal and Spain, is good for Arganda, but a challenge for its organisers in the recession here.”It is much more difficult at the moment. Fewer tickets are sold, there are fewer sponsors,” said Roberto Medina, the Brazilian entrepreneur who founded Rock in Rio. “But a festival like this is not only about seeing the great groups that are going to play and the happiness of the people who come. It’s more than that,” he added. “We are talking about all the people employed here.”Organisers say the festival has 25 million euros ($31 million) of investment.Launching the event on Wednesday, Medina posed for photos with corporate partners on the terrace of the VIP lounge, overlooking the huge main stage with its facade of shiny sheet metal, where technicians were preparing masses of sound equipment. Rock in Rio, founded with a mission to champion development, says it has given 11.6 million euros to social and environmental causes over the past decade and this year is backing a campaign for girls’ rights by international children’s charity PLAN. During the festival teenagers from deprived suburbs of Madrid, trained by professional volunteers, will interview and film performers and spectators, making reports to be screened on-site.”Training these children who are at risk of social exclusion as journalists helps them become aware that they have the right to be heard,” said one of the organisers of the project, Tabata Peregrin of PLAN.”It makes them spokespeople for other children who do not have a voice.”Mayor Rodriguez says the festival has come at a crucial time for Arganda, which like many Spanish towns is suffering in a recession that has driven the national unemployment rate up to more than 24 percent. Medina saw it also as a rock ‘n’ roll act of defiance against economic austerity and gloom. —AFP

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips performs during the MTV, VH1, CMT & LOGO O Music awards at Ground Zero Blues Club yesterday in Clarksdale, Mississippi. — AFP

Baldwin to make return to Broadway

A

lec Baldwin is taking a break from (allegedly) hitting intrusive paparazzi to hit the floorboards instead in the Broadway production of Lyle Kessler’s “Orphans.” The show, the first Broadway production of the play, will be directed by Daniel Sullivan (“Good People”), with Frederick Zollo and Robert Cole producing. The play revolves around two orphans, Treat and Phillip, living in a decrepit North Philadelphia row house. “The Rock of Ages” star will play Harold, a rich older man who’s kidnapped by Treat and becomes the boys’ father figure. The roles of

Treat and Phillip have yet to be cast. “I have dreamed, for a long time, of doing this play with this director,” Baldwin said of the upcoming role. “It’s an honor to work with Dan Sullivan in Lyle Kessler’s ‘Orphans.’” Baldwin last appeared on Broadway in the 2004 production “Twentieth Century.” “Orphans,” which premieres in spring 2013, will run in a Shubert theater yet to be determined. Luckily, Broadway theaters prohibit photography, because we all know how he feels about having his picture taken.— Reuters


FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

FOR SALE Toyota Corolla 2011 model, white color, well maintained low mileage, excellent condition, wanted price KD 3,750/-. Contact: 60099305. (C 4056) 26-6-2012

SITUATION VACANT Full time live out maid/nanny for three months, starting mid July. Must have own residency. Work from 7am to 7pm, Saturday - Thursday in Salwa. Call 97687172 for interview. 25-6-2012

CHANGE OF NAME JABIR HUSAIN holder of Passport No: J0978818 has

change my name JABIR HUSAIN LAKHARA. (C 4060) 28-6-2012 I, Shri Joao Rodrigues, s/o Shri Diogo Rodrigues residing at H.No. 925, Acsona, Benaulim, Salcete - Goa has changed my name from Joao Diogo Rodrigues to Joao Rodrigues. Hereafter, in all my dealings and documents, I will be known by the name Joao Rodrigues. (C 4059) 27-6-2012 SITUATION WANTED Sri Lankan lady (housemaid) looking for part-time job, only Monday, Wednesday and Saturday (only English family). Contact: 55680045. (C 4058) 26-6-2012

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

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For labor-related inquiries and complaints: Call MSAL hotline 128


Relationships FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Settling old rivalries How to get along with adult siblings

T

he sibling relationship is a love-hate affair from the get-go. But with effort, brothers and sisters of any age can shed old patterns and forge new bonds. Growing up, Lois Braverman was the star of her family. The elder of two, she was a straight-A student-hyper-responsible, and, she admits, quite humorless around the house. Her less-ambitious brother embraced a fun-loving but unreliable role. “We didn’t have an appreciation for our differences,” she says. “We saw each other primarily as an annoyance.” It wasn’t until they were both in their forties that they finally broke out of those childhood molds-and even then, it took a health crisis to shake things up. Braverman’s brother got brain cancer, and suddenly everything changed. During his six months of treatment, their conversations became more honest and more serious. “He didn’t respond to me as a bossy sister and I didn’t respond to him as the irresponsible brother,” says Braverman. Now she regularly turns to her brother for advice, while he appreciates how light-hearted and witty she can be. Bottom of Form Many of us long for better relationships with our siblings-people whom we often love and hate at the same time. Adults from rigid or conflict-ridden families tend to have a harder time changing their perceptions of their siblings, says Braverman, who’s now a therapist and director of the Ackerman Institute for the Family in New York City. But it can be done. First, says family therapist Karen Gail Lewis, you need to consider whether the underlying childhood dynamics are still in play. A typical rupture occurs, Lewis says, when an lder sibling reaches adolescence and naturally turns away from the family and toward the larger world. Her younger sibling feels abandoned and interprets the change to mean, “She doesn’t want me anymore.” Because the older sibling doesn’t realize the pain she inadvertently caused, she is confused and ultimately resentful toward her younger sibling, who seems unreasonably angry. Figuring out each sibling’s impact on one another can increase

ourempathy and alter deeply etched ways of relating. Sibling conflicts can also erupt over discrepant accounts of a shared childhood, says Terri Apter, who conducted in-depth interviews with 96 sibling pairs and trios for her book, The Sister Knot. “I discovered that there was no consensus among sisters about their shared family history,” she says. Multiple renderings of family episodes could all be legitimate, Braverman says. “Each sibling has his own version that he actually experienced.” A 6-year-old will process a divorce or a cross-country move very differently from his 16-year-old brother. Changing economic circumstances also make each family member’s perspective different, as does his or her unique temperament.

In fact, the effect of a child’s age and personality is so great, says Lewis, that every child in a family essentially has a different set of parents. Not only do mothers and fathers respond variably to each child, but, since they themselves are usually siblings, they may perpetuate their own past conflicts, say, by favoring a fellow middle child with whom they identify. The best way to deal with such knotty circumstances, says Braverman, is to approach them with curiosity. Ask your sister how she remembers that fateful Thanksgiving of 1980, and, rather than clinging to your version of events, say, “That’s so interesting! This is how it was for me... “ We consciously work to improve friendships and romantic relationships. But we take siblings-people whom we didn’t

Remember, it takes only one of you to shake up the family dynamics • Be more affectionate with your sisters and brothers, and try to treat them as politely as you treat your friends. • Shed any idealized notions you have about how close you should all be. • Be aware of your knee-jerk reactions to sibs, and tweak your behavior to allow your family to see you in an unexpected role. • Instead of stubbornly sticking to your own memories, try to learn exactly how your siblings experienced your shared past.

choose to be around, after all-for granted, says Scott Myers, a professor of communication studies at West Virginia University. In fact, his research shows that people are much more verbally aggressive with their siblings than with anyone else. A simple awareness of this tendency can smooth out family dynamics. Actively offering affectionate support is another way to strengthen sibling ties, Myers says. It takes only one person to improve a relationship, Lewis notes. “If I’m belligerent every time I see you, you will get defensive. But if I stop being belligerent, you can’t be defensive.” So instead of sulking when your brother makes a crack at you, which just confirms his belief that you are hypersensitive, counter with a self-deprecating joke to break the pattern. Braverman tells of one patient who had a storybook notion of how life with her siblings should be, disappointed that they didn’t confide in her or get together as often as she wanted. She enlisted Braverman to help convince the sisters to come in for family therapy. “What I had to do instead was change her expectations of the relationships,” says Braverman. “It made a big difference, because she began to enjoy them when they were together instead of resenting the times they hadn’t come to visit.” It’s never too late to learn how to get along better, especially if family obligations force you to interact more than usual. Years ago, Braverman counseled three sisters, the eldest of whom was 72. They had become executors of a large farm in Iowa and were suddenly forced to make tough decisions as a team. “This went way beyond making Thanksgiving dinner together,” Braverman says. “It forced them to see each other in a multidimensional way.” www.psychologytoday.com


Stars

FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Aries (March 21-April 19) You could be in the limelight, particularly with superiors or in relation to your work this week. Today you review, preview and work on a presentation to represent your point of view. This could even be the time to draw up a proposal for that raise, transfer or advancement to another part of the company. Your expectations are reasonable and you may be ready to move into new surroundings soon. You are a natural architect and builder in the way that you are able to use your mind to make decisions regarding matters of form and function. For you, the goal and the way to get to it are the same thing. You can definitely bring more passion to your love life this evening through the sharing of ideas for your future together. Consider purchasing lake property.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) You are gregarious, even to the point of bringing out the performer in others. Today you may teach or guide others in learning about their creative talent. You somehow manage to find a creative environment or the creative in any environment. You are great with kids and big on animals, sports and the outdoors. If you are not teaching today, you will probably be counseling parents on the art of raising children. You are an instant umbrella of warmth, friendship and self-expression. Your friends, partners and relationships mean a lot to you. They are a primary source of strength and you always look to them for support and encouragement. Your loved ones are happy to give you the compliments you deserve for your good works.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Regardless of the difficulties you may come across today, the work you set out for yourself seems to be easily completed. You like to work with words and ideas and have a natural appreciation for anything that is literary or artistic. Perhaps a book is in the works? Your sense of balance, when it comes to matters of literary and intellectual taste, is very refined. You are painstaking and deliberate when it comes to partnerships, lovers—relationships of all kinds. You tend toward long-lasting friendships and are very loyal. You may find yourself counseling or helping a friend in crisis or working out sensitive issues this evening. You have a way of sifting through the garbage and coming up with whatever is important.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) You are very creative and today you seek new ways to express yourself. Market your best skill, even if it is merely a hobby. A faraway associate may seek your advice today. Figuring out difficult technical tasks all on your own takes on a feeling of self-accomplishment. There is much mental busy work to do as well today; you are successful in your endeavors. You have new and better information for your own personal health improvements and plans to create a new you will be fun if you seek a balance. The future becomes clearer and your sense of direction is strengthened. This evening, finding time to relieve the stress of the day could simply be to play with animal friends, work in the yard or complete some creative project.

Leo (July 23-August 22) You could be presented with the unexpected today; however, your lawyer type mind will be able to quickly size up most any problem in order to find a solution. Using your mind to negotiate obstacles and handle dilemmas—whether they are yours or not—is a great talent. You have an inborn ability to guide and lead others through the hurdles and hassles of life. You are very gifted, having great magnetism and warmth with a keen and powerful mind. You can do anything you want to do in this life, particularly if you can manage to get moving in one direction and keep at it. This is a very fortunate chart, but one that may result in laziness. You may find yourself involved in your favorite pastime this afternoon—conversations. Enjoy some laughter.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) You may find yourself counseling or ministering to others. This may mean you will be helping or guiding young people. Everything points to your taking the initiative. There is an opportunity to teach, lecture or guide groups of people. You could feel great support from those around you, or circumstances could dictate your taking action. This afternoon you could be shopping. There is a strong appreciation for things of value and the idea of value itself. If you are buying an expensive item today and think you have a good buy, be sure to compare prices. Having and appreciating things of beauty and value play a bigger role in your life. Provided you do not spend it all on the fancy things that catch your eye, this can be a financially favorable period.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Your neighborhood is changing and you may decide to look into serving on the city council or at the least, to attend a few meetings. You will make a positive difference but you must get a team together to take a poll on what the neighbors and you might enjoy for your neighborhood in the future. Throughout your workday your thoughts may stray toward just who and how many would want to join you with this endeavor. Group meetings, answering questions and conducting business in a most positive and professional way bring this day to a successful conclusion. Ideas and interaction with an older generation will have good results. You manage to come across as intelligent and personal while visiting with neighbors this evening.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) This is a great time to listen to what others are saying. This also seems to be the day for tending to unfinished business and paperwork—personal or professional. If you are a teacher, perhaps it is time to give a surprise quiz. You make lasting impressions and you generate positive incentives with the few words and thoughts you share with students, co-workers or friends. Walking this afternoon is healthy and helpful in forming new plans or sorting through your experiences of the day. A garage sale idea comes to mind and you may check with a friend to combine the effort. This friend or a loved one may offer assistance. You make sense of what you want to charge and what you want to keep. What are you going to buy with the money you will get for your effort?

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) It is easy for you to work with those in authority today—those older and more experienced than you have a lot to teach. You have a natural healing ability and may often find yourself lending a listening ear during coffee time or the noon break. You have a natural ability to express yourself and handle emotions. You may have the opportunity to express your creative talents this afternoon. This may mean you are good at purchasing what is needed for your department to run well. Others could be asking you to invest or hold their money. Thinking about the future is a wise thing to do and financial planning is advised. Prepare yourself for the many changes that you know will be taking place soon and enjoy the art of networking.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) You could have difficulty getting your ideas across to others. Sometimes you have feelings of inadequacy in matters that require logic or the use of your mental powers. Give yourself more credit! Your fear of being left out or not being fully used up in this life can be altered by jumping into change with both feet. Put your thoughts into action. Some changes may not be appropriate for you but you will soon be able to judge. Emotionally, you are able to handle subject matters that many would never go near. You are ready, willing and able to solve the vulnerable and sensitive issues. This amounts to a passion within you and can involve personal, city or community matters at this time. Your patience and a listening attitude will take you far.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) The price of success could mean that the ideas and methods of communication you are happy with become ignored or set back. There is time to think a few things over for clarity. You could gain from whatever information you get from subordinates or young people. There is an opportunity to take control and become more disciplined—a chance to see your own solutions develop. You may find that your personal growth depends on how you can handle sensitive psychological material coming up this afternoon. You will benefit from analytical insights, getting to the heart of things, penetrating. You make phone calls and visit neighbors this evening. Spending is very possible. There is a basic drive to appreciate and taste life.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) You tend to take everything with great intensity. You are responsible to the extreme, always taking on obligations and pushing yourself to the limit. It is good that you are making time for exercise and taking care of your health. This will maintain your focus and help you to reach each goal that you pursue. Confusions, however, will take place this afternoon if you do not ask question when there are unclear messages. You have the mind of a lawyer, always able to size up a problem and come up with a solution. You may find yourself as a guide or teacher to others today. You have an innate ability to guide and lead others through the hurdles and hassles of life. This evening is a positive time to surround yourself with friends or family.

COUNTRY CODES Afghanistan 0093 Albania 00355 Algeria 00213 Andorra 00376 Angola 00244 Anguilla 001264 Antiga 001268 Argentina 0054 Armenia 00374 Australia 0061 Austria 0043 Bahamas 001242 Bahrain 00973 Bangladesh 00880 Barbados 001246 Belarus 00375 Belgium 0032 Belize 00501 Benin 00229 Bermuda 001441 Bhutan 00975 Bolivia 00591 Bosnia 00387 Botswana 00267 Brazil 0055 Brunei 00673 Bulgaria 00359 Burkina 00226 Burundi 00257 Cambodia 00855 Cameroon 00237 Canada 001 Cape Verde 00238 Cayman Islands 001345 Central African Republic 00236 Chad 00235 Chile 0056 China 0086 Colombia 0057 Comoros 00269 Congo 00242 Cook Islands 00682 Costa Rica 00506 Croatia 00385 Cuba 0053 Cyprus 00357 Cyprus (Northern) 0090392 Czech Republic 00420 Denmark 0045 Diego Garcia 00246 Djibouti 00253 Dominica 001767 Dominican Republic 001809 Ecuador 00593 Egypt 0020 El Salvador 00503 England (UK) 0044 Equatorial Guinea 00240 Eritrea 00291 Estonia 00372 Ethiopia 00251 Falkland Islands 00500 Faroe Islands 00298 Fiji 00679 Finland 00358 France 0033 French Guiana 00594 French Polynesia 00689 Gabon 00241 Gambia 00220 Georgia 00995 Germany 0049 Ghana 00233 Gibraltar 00350 Greece 0030 Greenland 00299 Grenada 001473 Guadeloupe 00590 Guam 001671 Guatemala 00502 Guinea 00224 Guyana 00592 Haiti 00509 Holland (Netherlands)0031 Honduras 00504 Hong Kong 00852 Hungary 0036 Ibiza (Spain) 0034 Iceland 00354 India 0091 Indian Ocean 00873 Indonesia 0062 Iran 0098 Iraq 00964 Ireland 00353 Italy 0039 Ivory Coast 00225 Jamaica 001876 Japan 0081 Jordan 00962 Kazakhstan 007 Kenya 00254 Kiribati 00686

Kuwait 00965 Kyrgyzstan 00996 Laos 00856 Latvia 00371 Lebanon 00961 Liberia 00231 Libya 00218 Lithuania 00370 Luxembourg 00352 Macau 00853 Macedonia 00389 Madagascar 00261 Majorca 0034 Malawi 00265 Malaysia 0060 Maldives 00960 Mali 00223 Malta 00356 Marshall Islands 00692 Martinique 00596 Mauritania 00222 Mauritius 00230 Mayotte 00269 Mexico 0052 Micronesia 00691 Moldova 00373 Monaco 00377 Mongolia 00976 Montserrat 001664 Morocco 00212 Mozambique 00258 Myanmar (Burma) 0095 Namibia 00264 Nepal 00977 Netherlands (Holland)0031 Netherlands Antilles 00599 New Caledonia 00687 New Zealand 0064 Nicaragua 00505 Nigar 00227 Nigeria 00234 Niue 00683 Norfolk Island 00672 Northern Ireland (UK)0044 North Korea 00850 Norway 0047 Oman 00968 Pakistan 0092 Palau 00680 Panama 00507 Papua New Guinea 00675 Paraguay 00595 Peru 0051 Philippines 0063 Poland 0048 Portugal 00351 Puerto Rico 001787 Qatar 00974 Romania 0040 Russian Federation 007 Rwanda 00250 Saint Helena 00290 Saint Kitts 001869 Saint Lucia 001758 Saint Pierre 00508 Saint Vincent 001784 Samoa US 00684 Samoa West 00685 San Marino 00378 Sao Tone 00239 Saudi Arabia 00966 Scotland (UK) 0044 Senegal 00221 Seychelles 00284 Sierra Leone 00232 Singapore 0065 Slovakia 00421 Slovenia 00386 Solomon Islands 00677 Somalia 00252 South Africa 0027 South Korea 0082 Spain 0034 Sri Lanka 0094 Sudan 00249 Suriname 00597 Swaziland 00268 Sweden 0046 Switzerland 0041 Syria 00963 Taiwan 00886 Tanzania 00255 Thailand 0066 Toga 00228 Tonga 00676 Tokelau 00690 Trinidad 001868 Tunisia 00216 Turkey 0090 Tuvalu 00688 Uganda 00256 Ukraine 00380 United Arab Emirates00976


L e i s u re

C R O S S W O R D

7 2 0

FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

To Yester

Word Sleuth Solution

Yesterday’s Solution

ACROSS

1. Gone by. 4. A narrative song with a recurrent refrain. 10. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 13. Imperial dynasty that ruled China (most of the time) from 206 BC to 221 and expanded its boundaries and developed its bureaucracy. 14. Type genus of the Alaudidae. 15. An unabridged dictionary constructed on historical principles. 16. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 17. The capital and largest city of Bangladesh. 19. English monk and scholar (672-735). 21. Of high moral or intellectual value. 23. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 25. The cardinal number that is the sum of eight and one. 26. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 29. Workplace where skins and hides are tanned. 32. Type genus of the family Ulvaceae. 33. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 35. A boy or man. 36. A silvery soft waxy metallic element of the alkali metal group. 37. Sexually transmitted urethritis (usually caused by chlamydia). 38. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 40. Mild yellow Dutch cheese made in balls. 42. An alloy of copper and zinc (and sometimes arsenic) used to imitate gold in cheap jewelry and for gilding. 46. Concerning those not members of the clergy. 47. A mark left by the healing of injured tissue. 51. An annual award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for achievements in motion picture production and performance. 55. Capital of the state of Oregon in the northwestern part of the state on the Willamette River. 57. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 60. An aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile and intended to have a telling effect. 61. An ugly evil-looking old woman. 63. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 64. A sweetened beverage of diluted fruit juice. 65. A genus of Ploceidae. 66. A small cake leavened with yeast. DOWN 1. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 2. An amino acid that is found in the central nervous system. 3. Belonging to some prior time. 4. A member of an agricultural people of southern India. 5. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 6. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 7. Softly bright or radiant. 8. (biology) Nearest to or facing toward the axis of an organ or organism. 9. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 10. Abnormally enlarged thyroid gland. 11. Give over. 12. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 18. An ore that is the chief source of zinc. 20. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad.

22. A former copper coin of Pakistan. 24. The jurisdiction or office of an abbot. 27. Primitive chlorophyll-containing mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms lacking true stems and roots and leaves. 28. The female reproductive cell. 30. A nucleic acid that transmits genetic information from DNA to the cytoplasm. 31. Edible tuber of any of several yams. 34. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 39. Run away. 41. A Mid-Atlantic state. 43. Divulge information or secrets. 44. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 45. Any of several small ungulate mammals of Africa and Asia with rodentlike incisors and feet with hooflike toes. 48. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar. 49. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 50. Naked freshwater or marine or parasitic protozoa that form temporary pseudopods for feeding and locomotion. 52. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 53. An enclosure made or wire or metal bars in which birds or animals are kept. 54. Of or relating to or characteristic of the Republic of Chad or its people or language. 56. The basic unit of money on Malta. 58. An independent agency of the United States government responsible for collecting and coordinating intelligence and counterintelligence activities abroad in the national interest. 59. A reptile genus of Iguanidae. 62. A physician who is not a specialist but treats all illnesses.

Yesterday’s Solution


Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Dodgers, Braves roll in NL

SAN FRANCISCO: Tim Lincecum won for the first time in nearly two months to end the worst drought of his career as the San Francisco Giants held the Los Angeles Dodgers scoreless for the third straight game in a 3-0 victory Wednesday. Angel Pagan hit an RBI single and drew a bases-loaded walk to back Lincecum (3-8) as the Giants moved into a firstplace tie in the NL West with the Dodgers by completing their second sweep of the season. It was the first time in franchise history that they shut out the rival Dodgers in a threegame series, a stretch that spans 123 seasons. Lincecum threw four-hit ball over seven innings for his first win since April 28. He struck out eight and walked two while outpitching Chad Billingsley (4-7). The two-time Cy Young pitching award winner ended a career-long 10-start winless stretch in which he went a career-worst 0-6.

three-game sweep by beating Cincinnati. Zack Greinke (9-2) remained unbeaten against the Reds, allowing two runs in six innings. Greinke is 4-0 in six career starts against Cincinnati. Bailey (5-6) has had nothing but trouble against Milwaukee, falling to 0-5 in 10 games with a 6.50 ERA. He left trailing 5-2 after failing to get an out in the fifth inning.

Braves 6, D’backs 4 At Atlanta, Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward homered as Atlanta withstood Arizona’s comeback attempt. Jones’ tworun shot off Trevor Cahill (6-6) in the sixth inning was his first homer since May 4. Tommy Hanson (9-4) gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth to earn his NL-leading 22nd save.The Braves led 6-0 before Ryan Roberts’ three-run homer in the seventh knocked Hanson out of the game. Chris Young added a pinch-hit homer off Jonny Venters later in the inning. Pirates 11, Phillies 7 At Philadelphia, Chase Utley homered in his first at-bat of the season, but Pittsburgh spoiled his return by connecting three times to beat Philadelphia. Michael McKenry hit a three-run homer and Andrew McCutchen and Casey McGehee also went deep for the Pirates in their highest-scoring game of the season. Utley missed the first 76 games this year because of a chronic problem in both knees. He had three hits, but it wasn’t enough on a night the Phillies got more encouraging news about their injured stars. Former NL MVP Ryan Howard will start a rehab stint Thursday night and two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay is making progress and could throw off a bullpen mound next week. Brewers 8, Reds 4 At Cincinnati, Rickie Weeks and Cody Ransom each hit a two-run homer off Homer Bailey as Milwaukee avoided a

SAN FRANCISCO: Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum throws to a Los Angeles Dodgers batter during a baseball game. — AP Marlins 5, Cardinals 3 At Miami, John Buck and pinch-hitter Logan Morrison connected for consecutive home runs in the seventh inning, rallying Miami past St. Louis to end its eight-game losing streak against the Cardinals. St. Louis had won five in a row overall. Miami won for just the fourth time in 21 games. Tony Cruz’s first career homer in

the seventh put the Cardinals ahead 3-2. Buck tied it when he homered off Fernando Salas. Morrison then sent a drive off Sam Freeman (0-1) that hit the top of the right-field fence, bounced off a nearby railing and dropped back into play. Nationals 11, Rockies 5 At Denver, Jordan Zimmermann pitched seven strong innings to steer Washington past Colorado. Zimmermann (46) picked up his first win since May 22. Namesake Ryan Zimmerman and Tyler Moore both homered for the second straight game. Moore finished with three hits for the Nationals, who has scored nine runs in consecutive games, having only reached that number once in their first 71 games. Rockies starter Edwar Cabrera (0-1) lost his major league debut. Mets 17, Cubs 1 At Chicago, Daniel Murphy homered twice, Scott Hairston hit a grand slam and David Wright drove in five runs as New York routed Chicago. Ike Davis had a three-run homer and an RBI double as he combined with Murphy, Hairston and Wright to drive in all 17 runs - with each having at least four RBIs - to help the Mets snap a four-game losing streak. The Mets had their highest-scoring game since they put up 18 runs at Wrigley Field on Sept. 5, 2010. It was also the most runs the Cubs have allowed since that game. Murphy hadn’t homered since last July 16 but went deep in consecutive innings for his first multihomer game. Davis’ four RBIs matched his career high and Hairston had his second career slam. The onslaught made for an easy afternoon for Jonathon Niese (6-3), who went seven innings and improved to 4-0 with a 1.89 ERA in day games. Astros 1, Padres 0 At Houston, Lucas Harrell pitched his first complete game and left fielder J.D. Martinez threw out a runner at the plate in the ninth inning to preserve Houston’s victory over San Diego. Matt Downs homered and Harrell (7-6) finished a sixhitter by striking out Nick Hundley with the bases loaded. The drive by Downs was one of only two hits by the Astros, who couldn’t get anything else going against starter Clayton Richard (5-8). —AP

Yankees see off Indians

NEW YORK: Yankees’ Robinson Cano hits a tworun home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians. — AP

NEW YORK: Andy Pettitte broke his ankle on the same day the Yankees put CC Sabathia on the disabled list, but Robinson Cano hit a goahead homer to help New York beat the Cleveland Indians 5-4 Wednesday for a threegame sweep. The American League East leaders face at least two starts without Sabathia and at least six weeks without Pettitte, the 40-year-old veteran who came out of retirement and had filled in admirably for a pitching staff hit hard by injuries - including the loss of starter Michael Pineda and closer Mariano Rivera. Pettitte fractured his fibula near his left ankle in the fifth inning when he was hit by Casey Kotchman’s line drive. Before the game, the Yankees announced Sabathia strained his groin against the Mets on Sunday night and still felt discomfort after throwing in the bullpen Tuesday. Rafael Soriano had an adventuresome ninth inning in which put the first two batters on base and walked in a run with two outs before getting Asdrubal Cabrera to fly out for his 17th save in 18 chances.

Angels 13, Orioles 1 At Baltimore, Torii Hunter homered and scored four runs as Los Angeles routed Baltimore. One night after reaching season highs in homers and hits, the Angels set a season mark for runs in their most lopsided victory of 2012. Los Angeles totaled 20 runs and 33 hits during the two-game series. They have won 13 of their past 14 road games. Making his second start since three weeks out with a lower back strain, Los Angeles’ Jered Weaver (8-1) scattered six hits over 6 23 innings to lower his ERA to 2.31. Orioles starter Jason Hammel (8-3) came into the game with a streak of 19 straight innings without allowing an earned run, but he gave up eight runs in just 3 1-3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. His ERA ballooned from 2.61 to 3.29.

Rangers 13, Tigers 9 At Arlington, Texas, David Murphy went 4 for 5 with two home runs and matched his career high with five RBIs for Texas in the win over Detroit. Every Ranger had a hit or scored except Josh Hamilton, who went 0 for 4 and struck out four times. Texas starter Roy Oswalt (2-0) made it two wins from two starts with his new team despite giving up a career-worst 13 hits

Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4 At Boston, David Ortiz hit his 399th homer as Boston scored six runs in the first inning against a wild Ricky Romero to beat Toronto for its fifth straight series win. Adrian Gonzalez had three RBIs and Mike Aviles added two as the Red Sox improved to 9-2 in their last 11 games. Jon Lester (5-5) allowed a run-scoring single to Colby Rasmus in the first, but the Red Sox scored all the runs

over six innings. He struck out six. The Tigers twice fought back from big deficits, including scoring four runs in the eighth. Detroit’s Doug Fister (1-5) hasn’t won on the road in six starts this season.

they needed in the bottom half as Romero (82) threw 16 balls on his first 19 pitches. Jose Bautista hit his major league-leading 25th homer for the Blue Jays. Royals 5, Rays 4 At Kansas City, Missouri, Billy Butler greeted reliever Burke Badenhop with a solo home run in the eighth inning, powering Kansas City to a three-game sweep of Tampa Bay on a scorching afternoon. Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar also homered for the Royals, who completed their first three-game sweep of the Rays at home since 2001. Aaron Crow (1-1), the fifth Royals pitcher, got two outs in the eighth. Tampa Bay tied it at 4 in the eighth on a two-run triple by Ben Zobrist, who had three hits and three RBIs. He also made three outs on the bases, getting thrown out twice at home plate trying to score on grounders. White Sox 12, Twins 5 At Minneapolis, Chris Sale pitched seven easy innings and Adam Dunn hit a three-run homer to lead Chicago past Minnesota. Sale (9-2) allowed two runs and six hits while striking out five and walking one. He was leading the league with a 2.27 ERA. Dunn had three hits and four RBIs along with his 24th home run of the season, and newly acquired Kevin Youkilis went 3 for 4 and drove in two runs. Alex Rios also had three hits and a homer, and the White Sox collected a season-high 21 hits. —AP


Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Romanian Paralympians fight for funds — and medals BUCHAREST: Attaining the qualifying standards is just half the battle for Romania’s Paralympians as scraping together the cash to reach London this summer is proving a massive challenge. Sally Wood-Lamont, president of Romania’s National Paralympic Committee, subsidies the team to the tune of several thousand euros a year. Corporate sponsors in the former communist country are just not interested, she said. “They still do not view people with disabilities as true sportsmen. They haven’t realised that Paralympic sport is exactly like Olympic sport,” Wood-Lamont, a 62-year-old Scot who came to Romania after its 1989 revolution, told Reuters. The southeast European country, whose gymnasts, rowers and canoeists regularly take home Olympic medals, is sending six athletes to the Aug. 29-Sept. 9 Paralympics, its biggest team yet. Cyclist Eddie Novak is a strong contender for gold, after a silver in Beijing. “I’m hoping Romania sits up and notices he’s won a

gold medal. I hope the whole Paralympic team gets a boost,” the chatty and enthusiastic Wood-Lamont said in an interview at an air-conditioned hotel during Bucharest’s scorching summer. “It’s a kind of Catch 22 situation - you can’t get good results unless you get the funds.” The association receives 50,000 euros ($63,000) a year from the Romanian Olympic Committee. After paying for staff, venues, umpires and equipment that leaves about half for international competitions. Its sole corporate sponsor is a dairy firm, Olympus, which is donating 10 lei ($2.8) per bottle of milk sold to support the swimming team that could bring in 5,000 euros. Wood-Lamont hopes the swimmers can manage top six places in London. Brought up in a children’s home in Edinburgh, Wood-Lamont was always interested in sport but rarely had the time as she worked to support herself through college.

A librarian and scientific magazine editor, her interest in disabled sport dates from 1994 when two athletes wanted sponsorship for a competition. She gave them a small sum and when they returned, they offered her the medals as this was what Romanian sponsors expected. Wood-Lamont was voted on to the executive board of the Paralympic committee in 2007 and as head of mission in Beijing the following year. She enjoyed solving problems such as finding a Chinese tailor at short notice to change the logos from Olympic to Paralympic on the team’s clothes. “Once you’re hooked, nothing lets you go. You see these disabled people reaching the heights of sport, and they’re so motivated to do it.” Wood-Lamont estimates she normally gives 10,00015,000 euros a year to support disabled Romanian athletes, though it was more last year. “Who sponsors? At the present, it’s me,” she said. “I don’t want to tot it up because I might get scared.”— Reuters

Winning matters for Saudi Arabia Paralympics coach TUNISIA: Saudi Arabia coach Sami Zreili does not put much stock in the idea that taking part at the Paralympic Games in London this summer is more important than winning. “This mentality of participation as being enough is long gone,” he told Reuters by telephone from his home country of Tunisia. “For me as a coach, to take part in the Paralympics you have to be (aiming to be) in the top 10 of the world. “The point of this is not just to take part but to get medals. We need someone to get to the final stages and not get kicked out at the first stage.” Zreili, who has been working with a squad of six athletes, will chose four for the trip to London for the Aug. 29-Sept. 9 Paralympics. That team is likely to include Hani AlNakhilli, who broke the discuss world record in 2011, and Osamah Alshanqiti, Saudi Arabia’s only Paralympic medallist having won gold in the triple jump and silver in the long jump in Beijing four years ago. Able-bodied Zreili, 39, has been coaching since 1997. He started training disabled athletes two years later and took the Saudi squad to Beijing in 2008. “I would see them in the club training and they did not need anything special,” he said. “On the contrary, disabled people put more in to training, especially mentally, than other athletes. “As a coach, you adapt training to each athlete depending on their competence and skill and you adapt the training to the player, not the player adapting to the training regime.” Zreili said breaking down the stigma of disability, and encouraging athletes and families to become involved had taken time. “Things are improving but very slowly, not at a fast pace,” he said. “There are families that have disabled children at home, embarrassed to take them out. “There are those who say, ‘Poor guy, he’s disabled’ and that is a mistake. You should not feel sorry for a disabled person as if you do then it is over for them. “On the contrary, disabled people should be treated as normal people, not a special case, and the same applies to training in the Paralympics. I train these athletes as I train ablebodied athletes. Nothing changes.” Breaking down barriers to the participation of disabled athletes in Saudi Arabia is one thing but the barrier to female participation remains.—Reuters

SAN JOSE: John Orozco trains on the pommel horse during practice for the US Olympic gymnastics trials. — AP

15 gymnasts vying for five spots SAN JOSE: Picking their Olympic teams with a coin flip probably sounds good to the gymnastics folks right about now. With enough depth on both the men’s and women’s sides that each could send two five-person teams to London, the selection committees have their work cut out for them after this week’s Olympic trials. There’s one count it, one - guaranteed spot available, with the remaining nine gymnasts chosen based on what combination gives the Americans the best chance for medals, preferably gold, in the team finals. “It’s tough,” Jonathan Horton, who led the Americans to a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics, said Wednesday. “You know there are going to be three or four guys who belong on the team that don’t make it.” The men’s trials begin late yesterday and the women start today. The top two men, using combined scores from nationals and Olympic trials, could lock up spots, but only if they also finish in the top three of the six events. Otherwise, two gymnasts will be named Saturday night and the remaining three will be added Sunday. The winner of the women’s all-around competition gets that lone guaranteed spot and, for the first time since 2000, the rest of

the team will be determined after the competition ends Sunday. Got all that? “I don’t think people realize how many years and years of hard work it’s been, I don’t care if you’re 16 or 22,” Olympic champion Nastia Liukin said. “Five out of 15 girls’ dreams will come true, and the other 10 are probably going to be devastated.” Unlike track or swimming, the scoring format makes it impossible to pick a gymnastics team simply based on who finishes first, second, third, fourth and fifth. In qualifying, four gymnasts compete on each event and the lowest score is dropped. For team finals, however, the format switches to the unforgiving three-up, three-count, with three gymnasts competing on each event and all three scores counting. That means teams have to be built to put up monster numbers in team finals, yet still have the versatility and balance to get through qualifying - not to mention withstanding lastminute injuries. And that means the selection committees will be doing the equivalent of an Olympic jigsaw over these next few days, trying to figure out what pieces fit best where. “Usually, when you select a

team, it comes down to that last spot,” said Martha Karolyi, the women’s national team coordinator. That sure appears to be the case here. Orozco, world parallel bars champion Danell Leyva and Horton, a two-time medalist in Beijing, are considered virtual locks. That leaves two spots, and Sam Mikulak sure helped his cause by finishing third at the US championships two weeks ago. Chris Brooks, Jake Dalton and Steve Legendre are sitting squarely on the bubble. Dalton said he was already figuring out where - and how - he could fit at the world championships last fall. His best events are floor and vault, but he noticed the U.S. men needed some help on still rings. “You think who’s good on what events,” Dalton said. “I knew I needed to get stronger on still rings.” For the women’s team, reigning world champion Jordyn Wieber, Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman can probably start packing for London. Douglas finished a mere 0.2 points behind Wieber at nationals and also has a massive score on uneven bars, the weak spot for the Americans. Raisman was the bronze medalist on floor exercise at last year’s world championships, and is as rock steady as they come.—AP


Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Royalty set course of epic 1908 marathon LONDON: Royal enthusiasm at the height of the golden Edwardian summer helped to determine first the course and then the length of the epic 1908 London Olympic marathon. The race concluded with a potential fatality when Italian Dorando Pietri collapsed after entering the stadium on a stiflingly hot July afternoon. His disqualification after he was helped to his feet led paradoxically to an astonishing explosion in marathon racing. John Bryant, a distinguished Fleet Street newspaper editor, painstakingly dissected the myths and misconceptions surrounding the most celebrated and controversial of all Olympic marathons while researching his book “The Marathon Makers”. One of them is the reasoning behind the length of the race, which established the now standard distance of 26 miles 385 yards (42.195 kms). In an interview with Reuters, Bryant said the British royal family’s interest had begun at the interim Athens Olympics of 1906, where as guests of the Greek royal family they were captivated by the marathon, the final event of the Games. During the Games, Mount Vesuvius erupted, exacerbating economic problems in Italy which meant the Rome Olympics scheduled for 1908 needed to be rescheduled. The first of several remarkable char-

acters associated with the 1908 Games came to the fore in Lord Desborough, who was captain of the British fencing team in Athens and a great friend of King Edward VII. “They said to him: ‘Could you possibly run the Olympics?’” said Bryant. “And he said: ‘Well let me go and have a word with the King’ and he was his best mate so he goes to the King. “Well the King couldn’t be more enthusiastic and he had just gone to the last event of the Games with his cousins, the Greek royal family, and he had just seen this fantastic spectacle.” With the irresistible bravura and confidence of the times, which had led to the founding of the greatest empire the world has seen, Desborough and his colleagues drafted the Olympic rules for London. They were even ratified at the 1907 Hague convention which devised the rules of war. Officials briefly considered starting the marathon at Runnymede, where King John had sealed the Magna Carta curbing the powers of the monarch and providing the basis for an English citizen’s rights. “But the King interferes again and says you can use Windsor Castle by all means, you can’t get more historic than that,” said Bryant. The 1896 marathon had been staged over 40 kms (25 miles) from Marathon to Athens but no standard was subsequently agreed. Jack Andrew, the

official who measured the 1908 course, set a distance of 26 miles starting outside Windsor Castle and finishing in the White City stadium in west London. “Then, the chief of police went to Jack Andrew and said we’ve got a problem over this marathon, there are going to be crowds there at the start and, actually, I need extra men to control the crowds,” Bryant said. “At this point I think Desborough talks to Edward VII and I always kind of envisage Edward VII sitting back over a nice glass of wine and a cigar and saying ‘hold it in the castle, hold it in the castle grounds. Nobody can get in there’.” The meticulous Andrew determined the redrafted course measuring 26 miles from its start in the castle grounds to the Olympic stadium, where the Royal Box in which Queen Alexandra would be waiting overlooked the finish line. A committee decided to take the longest route to the finish, adding 385 yards, to allow the maximum number of people to see the athletes. Dorando’s agonised, stumbling entrance into the stadium remains one of the most dramatic of Olympic moments, with an international impact Bryant believes to be equivalent to the furore generated when Roger Bannister broke the four-minute barrier for the mile. It was chronicled for Daily Mail readers

Super 15 back after break WELLINGTON: The effects on leading teams of the first midseason break in Super 15 rugby will be determined this weekend as players battered and bruised from June tests return to their sides for the tournament’s last three rounds. The Waikato Chiefs led the competition from South Africa’s Stormers, the ACT Brumbies and the Canterbury Crusaders when the season was interrupted on June 2 for test series between New Zealand and Ireland, South Africa and England and Australia and Wales. The southern hemisphere nations comfortably won those series, but at the cost of injuries which may impact on the form of Super 15 teams in the crucial final weeks of the season. The Chiefs, who have a fourpoint lead in the standings over the Cape Town-based Stormers, have been luckier than most with the fitness of their international players. Flyhalf Aaron Cruden left the field with an Achilles tendon injury during New Zealand’s third test against Ireland and after playing a pivotal role in the All Blacks’ 60-0 win. He passed a fitness test this week and will start for the Chiefs in the opening match of the 16th round against the Otago Highlanders at Dunedin today. Cruden will resume his All Blacks’ backline partnership with Sonny Bill Williams, who is coming off his two-try performance against Ireland. Lock Brodie Retallick and flanker Liam Messam, who also played in the third test, have been named in the Chiefs’ starting lineup while young flanker Sam Cane, who also scored two tries against Ireland last weekend, has been named on the bench. Veteran scrumhalf Brendon Leonard said the Chiefs had done their best to minimize the disruption caused by the test break. “It’s a bit different but we knew it was coming so we planned pretty well for it,” he said. “Hopefully it won’t hurt our momentum too much. We’ll keep building it and keep trying to get better.” Leonard hoped the Chiefs’ All Blacks would be able to bring

PORT ELIZABETH: South Africa’s Jacques Potgieter (left) is tackled by England’s Owen Farrell (right) during their Rugby Test match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. — AP some of their test match form to the Super 15. “They played extremely well the last three weeks so it was good to see,” he said. “Hopefully they can bring back some experience and what they learned and they’re as hungry as what they were before they went away.” The Stormers have the luxury of resting some of their top players for their match on Saturday against their lowly compatriots, the Lions. Center Jean de Villiers will return after leading the Springboks to two wins and a draw against England to captain the Stormers, who lead the South African conference by five points from the Bulls. Coach Allister Coetzee has rested Springboks lock Eben Etzebeth, named winger Bryan Habana on the bench and has allowed loose forwards Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen and Nick Koster more time to recover from injuries. He has named youngster Siya Kolisi to start at No. 8 in an inexperienced backrow. “These injured players are still suffering with bone bruising and they are unable to start

training because of pain,” Coetzee said. “I expect them to start training in the week of the Rebels match but in the meantime, I want Siya to get used to that position.” Australian conference leaders the ACT Brumbies had nine players in the Wallabies squad for midseason test matches, though only inside center Pat McCabe had a regular starting role. The Brumbies play the Western Force in Perth, Western Australia on Saturday. Scrumhalf Nic White, who was an understudy to Will Genia in his first test series, welcomed the opportunity to experience international rugby at close range. “Being two meters from the sideline and kitted up ready to play, it makes me want to play even better in these next three games,” White said. “I’ve been itching to get out there and having three weeks off has really been burning at me.” The Crusaders, who rose steadily in the standings to third place before the June break, hope to regain that momentum, though they have been harder-hit by injuries than most teams. —AP

by Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, who had been wrongly credited with helping the Italian across the line. The burly man in the photo of the finish is, in fact, the stadium doctor Michael Bulger. “Dorando collapsed in the tunnel and the doctor took his pulse and said he was quite pulseless,” said Bryant. “So he ran around with Dorando, waiting to catch him.” Dorando was awarded the race but, after an American protest, the gold medal went to the tough Irish-American Johnny Hayes. Then the promoters stepped in, urging the pair to stage a series or rematches. “They said you could make a fortune if you run this race again, but it has to the exact same distance. After that there was marathon fever. They didn’t just have one race, these two were racing every fortnight,” Bryant said. “Marathon fever took over in America, in Britain. They put tables in the middle with champagne, there were champagne dinners. “And this distance had been burned into the consciousness by this race that made headlines all around the world.” The Games were also notable for the acrimony between Britain at the height of its imperial pomp and the brash, American cousins on the other side of the Atlantic, a sign of the shift in world power to come in the first half of the 20th century.—Reuters

Indian hockey team plan abs celebration in London NEW DELHI: David John had a rather unenviable task when he took over as physio of the Indian hockey team, a sweet-toothed squad with a number of lightweight vegetarians. So the Australian, rather shrewdly, dropped the idea of a sixpack abs contest and was seen nodding approvingly as the Olympic-bound team, looking sharp and lean, posed for a group photo at a send-off ceremony in Delhi on Sunday. “There is now a strong competition in the team to have the best physique so that going to the beach of France, they can show off their abs,” John told Reuters, a mischievous smile on his face. Captain Bharat Chetri said they would pose in England as well, provided the team succeed in their pursuit of winning India’s first hockey medal in 32 years. “Oh yes. There indeed is a competition within the team to build the best physique. If we manage to win a medal in London, we’d celebrate by flashing 16 six-pack abs,” the goalkeeper told Reuters before leaving for Europe where the team will play practice matches in France and Spain. “Honestly, David has made a real difference and took us to the top fitness level in the last 12 months,” Chetri said. John, who has worked with rugby players and cricketers in Australia and India, said the job was not easy. “Diet was a problem with most of the players. We got seven vegetarians in the team and they were not eating enough protein to put on muscles and recover from training sessions quickly enough. “It often lead to injuries but that has been addressed. We used a lot of whey protein which is a vegetarian substitute and protein shakes, four-five times a day. “The players are now stronger and more resilient to injuries. This group of players are, I think, the fittest hockey players in the world.” To achieve that, John had to set some strict diet codes which he occasionally would relax. “Everything in moderation. I told them ‘I’m not saying you can’t have it, but in moderation and ensure you are eating the better things more often’. “The goalkeepers found it hardest because I have limited their carbohydrates. Certainly after the competition we ask them to have some of those nicer things. “It’s not about butter chicken but desserts. They were used to having those desserts but now realise it’s not good for them.” Asked if he thought anyone still occasionally sneaked a chocolate bar or something, John quipped: “Only the coach (Michael Nobbs)”. John conceded the current crop of Indian players are lighter than their European counterparts and said this was an issue that could not be solved overnight. —Reuters


Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Beckham misses out on Olympic dream LONDON: David Beckham’s dream of playing in the Olympics he helped secure for his hometown came to an end yesterday after he was left out of Great Britain’s squad for the Games. In a surprise announcement, Beckham confirmed he had not made the final 18-man squad as one of coach Stuart Pearce’s three over-age players for the London sports extravaganza. Pearce had travelled to the United States to assess Beckham’s form for the Los Angeles Galaxy last week before making his decision. “Everyone knows how much playing for my country has always meant to me,” Beckham said in a statement. “So I would have been honored to have been part of this unique Team GB squad. “Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me. And like everyone, I will be hoping they can win the gold.

“As a Londoner I was really proud to have played a small part in bringing the Olympics to my home town ... and I can’t wait for the Games to begin and will enjoy every moment along with the rest of Great Britain.” British media reports said the three over-age players chosen by Pearce were Beckham’s former Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs, Manchester City defender Micah Richards and Welshman Craig Bellamy. Beckham, 37, had spoken repeatedly of his desire to play in an Olympics staged in London despite accusations from critics that his participation would devalue the football tournament. The former Real Madrid star was widely expected to be granted at least a place in the squad as reward for his role in helping London win the Olympics at the 2005 International Olympic Committee vote in Singapore. The foot-

ball superstar’s presence on the campaign trail is often credited as being one of the key factors in tipping the vote London’s way during the final few days of lobbying. Beckham’s presence in the Olympic team had looked assured after he was included in a 35-man shortlist earlier this month. He had also accompanied the Olympic Flame from Athens back to Britain and carried it after it was lit before the torch relay got under way. However British Olympic officials had insisted Pearce would have a free hand in selecting his squad and would not come under pressure to select Beckham, who would have generated box-office appeal for the football tournament. “We have been very clear from the outset, it’s absolutely Stuart’s choice and he is totally free to make the selection of the team he believes will put in the best performance,” British Olympic

Association chief Andy Hunt said. “It’s as simple as that.” Beckham’s exclusion won backing from Pearce’s former England teammate Peter Shilton, who told Sky Sports the midfielder was past his best.”I’ve not been watching David play in the States but it’s a different level of football over there,” Shilton said. “Stuart Pearce wants to do well and win the tournament. To do that you must win so many games in so many days and the older you get the less you can do that. “David might play the first game well, but then the second game becomes a bit harder. “He’s been a fantastic player over the years, certainly when he was at his peak, but he’s nowhere near the player he was. “It would have been great from a publicity point of view, but Stuart Pearce obviously feels he’d struggle in that type of tournament.”—AFP

Wimbledon engulfed by cheating, sexism storm

HELSINKI: Norway’s Tonje Angelsen competes in the women’s high jump final at the 2012 European Athletics Championships. —AFP

Lemaitre defends 100m crown HELSINKI: Christophe Lemaitre lunged for the line to edge out French compatriot Jimmy Vicaut and retain his European 100m title here yesterday. The 22-year-old followed up his 2010 Barcelona win in a time of 10.09sec, with Vicaut claiming silver in 10.12. Norway’s Saidy Ndure (10.17) came in third. Tension was high at the start after two false starts. Sent off at the third attempt Lemaitre made up ground to overhaul Vicaut and snatch victory with only five of the eight runners finishing. Visibly moved when the phot-finish verdict was announced Lemaitre sunk to the ground, banging his fists on the grass before draping a French tricolor round his shoulders. He said: “My first feeling is the joy of winning, of defending my title. The two false starts weren’t easy to deal with in terms of keeping your concentration.” Looking ahead to the Olympics he said: “I still don’t know whether I’m going to line up for the about the 100m in London.” He added: “This race proves that despite the pressure of being favorite, despite the pressure triggered by the false starts, I remained focused, I managed to remain myself.” The performance cemented Lemaitre’s standing as Europe’s top sprinter but he is going to have to turn on the power even more to make an impression against Usain Bolt and company at the Games should he elect to take up the 100m gauntlet. The two sprinters responsible for the false starts were Lithuania’s Rytis Sakalauskas, who was shown a yellow card when staying in his blocks, and Italian Simone Collio, who was disqualified after the second attempt to get the field on their way. When the event eventually did get underway Sakalauskas, who had picked up an injury in his semi-final, pulled up while Latvia’s Ronalds Arajs also raised the white flag midway down the straight. Earlier, Bulgarian Ivet Lalova produced a scintillating finish to claim the women’s 100m crown. The 28-year-old, who was seventh in last summer’s worlds in South Korea, was being led by Norwegian Ezinne Okparaebo and Ukraine’s Olesya Povh but kicked in the final 15 metres to win in 11.28 seconds.—AFP

LONDON: Wimbledon was engulfed by scandal yesterday with Ivo Karlovic accusing officials of cheating him out of victory against home hope Andy Murray and Gilles Simon refusing to back down in the equal prize money row. Croat giant Karlovic was called for 11 foot faults in his 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) loss and accused All England Club line judges of deliberately attempting to ease the British player’s path through the tournament. “I feel cheated. On a Grand Slam, Centre Court,” said 33-year-old Karlovic. “It was outrageous. It’s Wimbledon and they do this. This is bullshit. “In my whole life, ever since I was eight years old, I didn’t do this many foot faults. It was like 11. “The whole credibility of this tournament went down for me. I’m angry about it, a little bit pissed, because I don’t expect it here. Even though it is against an English guy who they always want to win.” Murray, the fourth seed, admitted he was surprised to see so many foot faults called against the big-serving Croat. “If he wasn’t foot faulting then he has a right to be upset, because there was a lot of them. But if he was, then you can’t do it. It’s not allowed,” said the Scot, who has been a semi-finalist in the last three years. Murray will tackle Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus for a place in the last 16. Meanwhile, Simon defended his controversial views on equal prize money which he opposes, claiming the men’s game is more attractive than the women’s and is more popular with the fans. And he believes that the men’s locker room supports him but players are afraid to speak out. “The 128 male players here think like me,” said Simon, who was knocked out of the tournament by Xavier Malisse in the second round. “Maybe they can’t say it; maybe they won’t; maybe they will lose $2 million on the contracts. In the conversation in the locker room, for sure they agree with me. Trust me.” Simon, who has never got beyond the quarter-finals of any Grand Slam, was lambasted by Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, two of the women’s

WIMBLEDON: US player Andy Roddick serves during his second round men’s singles victory over Germany’s Bjorn Phau on day four of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament.—AFP game’s superstars, after they had secured their places in the last 32. Top seed Sharapova, the 2004 champion, had to dig deep to clinch a gritty 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (3/7), 6-0 victory over Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova, a semi-finalist in 2010 and quarter-finalist last year. She will next face Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei as last year’s runner-up tries to reach the Wimbledon final for the third time. Four-time champion Williams reached the third round with a 6-1, 6-4 demolition of Hungarian qualifier Melinda Czink and next faces Chinese 25th seed Zheng Jie, who she beat in the 2008 semi-finals, for a place in the last 16. But instead of discussing their tournament prospects, the two All England Club A-listers aimed their fire at Simon. “No matter what anyone says, or the criticisms that we get, despite everything else, I’m sure there are a few more people that watch my matches than his, so....,” said Sharapova in an ice-cold put down. Williams backed up her title rival. “She’s way hotter than he is, so more people will watch Maria,” said the American. Andy Roddick, a three-time

runner-up, went through to the last 32 with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 win over Germany’s Bjorn Phau and will face Spanish seventh seed David Ferrer who put out France’s Kenny De Schepper 7-6 (7/1), 6-2, 6-4. Women’s ninth seed Marion Bartoli of France, the runner-up to Venus Williams in 2007, was knocked out by Croatian qualifier Mirjana Lucic, 6-4, 6-3. Lucic was a semi-finalist in 1999 before her career and personal life went into a tailspin. But, at 30, she is enjoying a new lease of life on the tour. Second seed Victoria Azarenka reached the third round with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Switzerland’s Romina Oprandi. Kei Nishikori, the 19th seed, became the first Japanese man to reach the third round for 17 years by beating France’s Florent Serra 6-3, 7-5, 6-2. Later yesterday, world number two Rafaal Nadal, the champion in 2008 and 2010, takes on Lukas Rosol for a place in the last 16 while women’s defending champion Petra Kvitova, the fourth seed, meets Britain’s Elena Blatacha.—AFP


Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Beckham misses out on Olympic dream LONDON: David Beckham’s dream of playing in the Olympics he helped secure for his hometown came to an end yesterday after he was left out of Great Britain’s squad for the Games. In a surprise announcement, Beckham confirmed he had not made the final 18-man squad as one of coach Stuart Pearce’s three over-age players for the London sports extravaganza. Pearce had travelled to the United States to assess Beckham’s form for the Los Angeles Galaxy last week before making his decision. “Everyone knows how much playing for my country has always meant to me,” Beckham said in a statement. “So I would have been honored to have been part of this unique Team GB squad. “Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me. And like everyone, I will be hoping they can win the gold.

“As a Londoner I was really proud to have played a small part in bringing the Olympics to my home town ... and I can’t wait for the Games to begin and will enjoy every moment along with the rest of Great Britain.” British media reports said the three over-age players chosen by Pearce were Beckham’s former Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs, Manchester City defender Micah Richards and Welshman Craig Bellamy. Beckham, 37, had spoken repeatedly of his desire to play in an Olympics staged in London despite accusations from critics that his participation would devalue the football tournament. The former Real Madrid star was widely expected to be granted at least a place in the squad as reward for his role in helping London win the Olympics at the 2005 International Olympic Committee vote in Singapore. The foot-

ball superstar’s presence on the campaign trail is often credited as being one of the key factors in tipping the vote London’s way during the final few days of lobbying. Beckham’s presence in the Olympic team had looked assured after he was included in a 35-man shortlist earlier this month. He had also accompanied the Olympic Flame from Athens back to Britain and carried it after it was lit before the torch relay got under way. However British Olympic officials had insisted Pearce would have a free hand in selecting his squad and would not come under pressure to select Beckham, who would have generated box-office appeal for the football tournament. “We have been very clear from the outset, it’s absolutely Stuart’s choice and he is totally free to make the selection of the team he believes will put in the best performance,” British Olympic

Association chief Andy Hunt said. “It’s as simple as that.” Beckham’s exclusion won backing from Pearce’s former England teammate Peter Shilton, who told Sky Sports the midfielder was past his best.”I’ve not been watching David play in the States but it’s a different level of football over there,” Shilton said. “Stuart Pearce wants to do well and win the tournament. To do that you must win so many games in so many days and the older you get the less you can do that. “David might play the first game well, but then the second game becomes a bit harder. “He’s been a fantastic player over the years, certainly when he was at his peak, but he’s nowhere near the player he was. “It would have been great from a publicity point of view, but Stuart Pearce obviously feels he’d struggle in that type of tournament.”—AFP

Nadal suffers shock Wimbledon defeat

HELSINKI: Norway’s Tonje Angelsen competes in the women’s high jump final at the 2012 European Athletics Championships. —AFP

Lemaitre defends 100m crown HELSINKI: Christophe Lemaitre lunged for the line to edge out French compatriot Jimmy Vicaut and retain his European 100m title here yesterday. The 22-year-old followed up his 2010 Barcelona win in a time of 10.09sec, with Vicaut claiming silver in 10.12. Norway’s Saidy Ndure (10.17) came in third. Tension was high at the start after two false starts. Sent off at the third attempt Lemaitre made up ground to overhaul Vicaut and snatch victory with only five of the eight runners finishing. Visibly moved when the phot-finish verdict was announced Lemaitre sunk to the ground, banging his fists on the grass before draping a French tricolor round his shoulders. He said: “My first feeling is the joy of winning, of defending my title. The two false starts weren’t easy to deal with in terms of keeping your concentration.” Looking ahead to the Olympics he said: “I still don’t know whether I’m going to line up for the about the 100m in London.” He added: “This race proves that despite the pressure of being favorite, despite the pressure triggered by the false starts, I remained focused, I managed to remain myself.” The performance cemented Lemaitre’s standing as Europe’s top sprinter but he is going to have to turn on the power even more to make an impression against Usain Bolt and company at the Games should he elect to take up the 100m gauntlet. The two sprinters responsible for the false starts were Lithuania’s Rytis Sakalauskas, who was shown a yellow card when staying in his blocks, and Italian Simone Collio, who was disqualified after the second attempt to get the field on their way. When the event eventually did get underway Sakalauskas, who had picked up an injury in his semi-final, pulled up while Latvia’s Ronalds Arajs also raised the white flag midway down the straight. Earlier, Bulgarian Ivet Lalova produced a scintillating finish to claim the women’s 100m crown. The 28-year-old, who was seventh in last summer’s worlds in South Korea, was being led by Norwegian Ezinne Okparaebo and Ukraine’s Olesya Povh but kicked in the final 15 metres to win in 11.28 seconds.—AFP

LONDON: Rafael Nadal crashed to his worst Grand Slam defeat in seven years yesterday when Czech journeyman Lukas Rosol, the world number 100, pulled off one of the greatest upsets in Wimbledon history. Rosol, whose previous five visits to Wimbledon had ended in first round losses in qualifying, stunned the 2008 and 2010 champion, and 11-time Grand Slam title winner Nadal, 6-7 (9/11), 6-4, 64, 2-6, 6-4 in the second round. It was a stunning upset as Nadal slumped to his earliest exit at a major since the same stage of the 2005 Wimbledon championship when he was beaten by Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller. It was also eerily similar to Nadal’s stunning 2009 French Open fourth round loss to Robin Soderling when the Swede unleashed a barrage of destructive freeswinging tennis to destroy the Spanish star. “It’s like a miracle for me. So many emotions. He’s a superstar, I am sorry for that. I played unbelievable. I guess Nadal is only human,” said Rosol, who played the match at a breath-taking speed. He is also the lowest-ranked player ever to beat Nadal at a Grand Slam and has now matched his best ever performance at a major, having reached the third round at the 2011 French Open. Wimbledon was engulfed by scandal yesterday with Ivo Karlovic accusing officials of cheating him out of victory against home hope Andy Murray and Gilles Simon refusing to back down in the equal prize money row. Croat giant Karlovic was called for 11 foot faults in his 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) loss and accused All England Club line judges of deliberately attempting to ease the British player’s path through the tournament. “I feel cheated. On a Grand Slam, Centre Court,” said 33-year-old Karlovic. “It was outrageous. It’s Wimbledon and they do this. This is bullshit. “In my whole life, ever since I was eight years old, I didn’t do this many foot faults. It was like 11. “The whole credibility of this tournament went down for me. I’m angry about

WIMBLEDON: US player Andy Roddick serves during his second round men’s singles victory over Germany’s Bjorn Phau on day four of the 2012 Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament.—AFP it, a little bit pissed, because I don’t expect it here. Even though it is against an English guy who they always want to win.” Murray, the fourth seed, admitted he was surprised to see so many foot faults called against the big-serving Croat. “If he wasn’t foot faulting then he has a right to be upset, because there was a lot of them. But if he was, then you can’t do it. It’s not allowed,” said the Scot, who has been a semi-finalist in the last three years. Murray will tackle Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus for a place in the last 16. Meanwhile, Simon defended his controversial views on equal prize money which he opposes, claiming the men’s game is more attractive than the women’s and is more popular with the fans. And he believes that the men’s locker room supports him but players are afraid to speak out. “The 128 male players here think like me,” said Simon, who was knocked out of the tournament by Xavier Malisse in the second round. “Maybe they can’t say it; maybe they

won’t; maybe they will lose $2 million on the contracts. In the conversation in the locker room, for sure they agree with me. Trust me.” Simon, who has never got beyond the quarter-finals of any Grand Slam, was lambasted by Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, two of the women’s game’s superstars, after they had secured their places in the last 32. Top seed Sharapova, the 2004 champion, had to dig deep to clinch a gritty 76 (7/3), 6-7 (3/7), 6-0 victory over Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova, a semifinalist in 2010 and quarter-finalist last year. She will next face Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei as last year’s runner-up tries to reach the Wimbledon final for the third time. Four-time champion Williams reached the third round with a 6-1, 6-4 demolition of Hungarian qualifier Melinda Czink and next faces Chinese 25th seed Zheng Jie, who she beat in the 2008 semi-finals, for a place in the last 16. But instead of discussing their tournament prospects, the two All England Club A-listers aimed their fire at Simon.—AFP


Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Euro 2012 briefs

WARSAW: Italian forward Mario Balotelli (center, top) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the Euro 2012 football championships semi-final match against Germany. —AFP

Balotelli brace seals Italian place in final

WARSAW: Mario Balotelli finally delivered on his promise as he took centrestage in the biggest match of his young life to send Italy into the Euro 2012 final against Spain on Sunday. The Azzurri proved once again they have the Indian sign on Germany as a superb double by Balotelli saw them to a 2-1 win - the third time they have beaten Die Mannschaft in a major tournament semi-final. They are now unbeaten in eight competitive matches against Germany and the enigmatic 21-year-old Balotelli was the major reason for that. “He (Balotelli) was excellent, just like the entire team were,” said Italy coach Cesare Prandelli. “I really believe that a team needs to have an idea in the way they play and he really subscribed to this playing style. He was high up the pitch and available and I think he put in a very good performance this evening.” In Italy Balotelli’s coaches have been saying for years that he has the potential to become one of the best players in the world but until Thursday, he had yet to prove it. But in two moments of clinical brilliance in the first half, the Manchester City star buried Germany and made a mockery of the pre-match betting odds. On 20 minutes he showed a striker’s

instinct to find a yard of space behind Holger Badstuber to head home Antonio Cassano’s left wing cross from six yards out. And then nine minutes from the break he gambled and won as Philipp Lahm failed to cut out Riccardo Montolivo’s long ball and the forward was away and running in on Manuel Neuer before smashing the ball into the top corner with unerring confidence. That showed he is learning and indeed listening to Prandelli who has been urging him all tournament to try to get behind the defence to stretch the opposition. And when Prandelli decided to switch to a more defensive five-man midfield 10 minutes into the second period, it was Cassano who was hauled off leaving Balotelli to play the disciplined lone frontman role until cramp ended his night 20 minutes from time. In truth he wasn’t the only hero in a blue shirt as Andrea Pirlo was majestic in dictating play and tempo while Cassano was a constant thorn in the side of the German defence. In fact it was his fancy footwork and pirouette to escape the attentions of Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng that created the space from which he could pick out Balotelli with a cross on the first goal. And in the build-up it was

Pirlo’s ability to retain possession and find space with a feint here and twist of the hips there that left Mesut Ozil backing off. That allowed the Juventus playmaker to rake a long ball out to Giorgio Chiellini on the left, stretching the play before the full-back passed to Cassano to dance through the right side of the defence. Despite their important contributions, it was only right that Balotelli should steal the show with his cool brace. His team-mate Daniele De Rossi had called him an “ometto” last week, an Italian word that means someone who is becoming a man and starting to take responsibility. That he certainly did but he then stripped off his shirt to celebrate his second goal, a move that earned a booking, demonstrating that he is not yet the finished article, either as a player or a man. On the hour mark he was guilty of going for glory and screwing a shot wide when two runners had scampered into better positions screaming for a pass. But Italy held on and Balotelli, the errant wildman more known for his madcap antics than his footballing prowess, finally made his biggest headlines on the pitch.—AFP

Portuguese return home Cristiano Ronaldo and his beaten Portuguese teammates received a tumultuous welcome home when they touched down at Lisbon airport Thursday after flying back from Ukraine. “Portugal ole! Portugal ole! Portugal ole!,” fans shouted as the squad emerged with Ronaldo in their midst following their Euro 2012 semi-final defeat on penalties to holders Spain. Paulo Bento’s team smiled as fans held aloft scarves and flags while some sang the national anthem. Several players stopped to sign autographs before heading off for a summer break after the team’s narrow elimination when a potential final against Germany or Italy and a possible first major trophy success had been coming into view. “This reception gives me goosebumps. You can feel their affection and we want to thank them,” said defender Pepe. “They know we deserved to be in the final.”

Panenka penalties Antonin Panenka was dubbed a poet by a watching journalist when he cheekily chipped his penalty down the middle to secure the then Czechoslovakia the 1976 European title at the expense of West Germany. Whether Andrea Pirlo or Sergio Ramos were hoping also to be dubbed ‘poets’ in their respective penalty shootouts here at Euro 2012 is questionable but both Italy and Spain were indebted to them for slotting home their ‘Panenka’ style penalties. Both were seen as being turning points if such things exist in penalty shootouts more for their psychological message in boosting their sides to the detriment of their opponents England and Portugal. In both games the opposing side had looked to have the upper hand when Italy’s Montolivo and Spain’s Xabi Alonso missed early on but whether it was just coincidence or indeed a psychological blow neither England nor Portugal succeed with a penalty after that.


Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Boring? Winning is everything for Spain DONTESK: Miraculously, even out here amid the belching smokestacks and coal mines on the furthermost eastern fringes of Europe, someone had the foresight to have a copy of Viva Espana cued up, ready to go. Good job, too, because they needed it. After Cesc Fabregas’ penalty bounced off the post and into the Portuguese net, after he sprinted over to be hugged and squeezed by his deliriously happy Spain teammates, and as Spanish fans screamed their delight into the inky night sky, the famous song started to boom out across the Donbass Arena. Long live Spain, indeed. The world and European champions have their place in the European Championship final Sunday. Win that and they will be the first nation ever to win three major soccer tournaments in a row. And that is all that counts. The Spanish are playing for a place in soccer history. They are playing to bring joy to a country that, in the words of their captain, goalkeeper Iker Casillas, is “in a brutal crisis” - with an economy deep in recession, nearly 1 in 4 Spaniards out of work and banks that need bailing out. All other considerations should be secondary. The Spanish are not playing to entertain. They are not playing to be pretty for the sake of it. And nor should they. All they need to do is win. One of the stupidest theories to take hold at Euro 2012 is that the Spanish game - which hinges on them hogging the ball as much as possible - is somehow “boring.” As it has advanced, this team that contains some of the most skillful players anywhere has not only had to contend with the likes of Italy, France and now Portugal, it also has had to defend its style of play. And it has played in front of crowds here in Donetsk that either don’t appreciate or don’t understand why Spain plays as it does and how difficult its game of intricate passes is to execute. No other national team plays like the Spanish - and that’s mainly because they couldn’t, even if they tried. Yet both when Spain dismantled the French in the quarterfinal here and again in Wednesday’s semifinal against the Portuguese, the Spanish were copiously whistled at or, almost worse, played amid a hush so deathly that you could actually hear the players bark instructions to each other on the pitch. Never before have the Euros come this far east. By hosting them in Poland and Ukraine, UEFA has led new crowds to the waters of fine football. But, it seems, it cannot force them to drink. It was as though the crowd was bored. Bored of watching Xavi Hernandez, one of the greatest midfielders football as ever seen. Bored of seeing Andres Iniesta, idolized in Spain for his goal that won the 2010 World Cup final. Bored of a collection of players that, come Sunday, might lay claim to being the best national side ever. Admittedly, Spain labored to beat Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. The score of 0-0 would have disappointed those who came hoping to see a festival of goals. Instead, they got a penalty shootout after 120 minutes of play failed to separate the Iberian neighbors. Spain won that 4-2, with Fabregas firing in the winning final spot-kick. Still, it was far from boring. Partly, Spain seems to be suffering from complacency. People get bored of winners. People got bored of Michael Schumacher winning so regularly in Formula One. They got bored of Pete Sampras lifting the trophy at Wimbledon year after year. And now, the Spanish appear to be on the receiving end of that jaded syndrome. It also is because the Spanish keep the ball to themselves, passing it to each other rather than giving it away carelessly. That is a skill they have honed better than anyone. It is both how the Spanish attack and how they defend. Their opponents tire themselves out running around trying to get the ball back. As a tactic, it’s wonderfully logical, and effective, too. But for Spain’s critics, it is too intricate, even pointlessly so which is a bit like saying that Pablo Picasso would have been a better painter had he not used so many colors. In short, it’s disrespectful.—AP

EURO 2012 co-hosts prove doomsayers wrong Poland diplomats woo tourists By Chidi Emmanuel KUWAIT: First Counselor of the Polish Embassy in Kuwait Roman Strzemiecki has described the EURO 2012 Football Championship cohosted by Poland and Ukraine as a ‘resounding success’. Speaking to the press ahead of the final match in Kiev, Strzemiecki said it was the biggest event of that kind in Eastern Europe since the collapse of the communist system more than 20 years ago. “This is a historic milestone in the relations between Poland and Ukraine. We showed how successfully the two friendly nations can cooperate in today’s Europe for the benefit of all the European nations. It should be remembered that Poland belongs to NATO, the European Union and the Schengen visa zone and Ukraine does not. Nevertheless the will of the authorities and peoples proved to be the decisive factor,” he said. DOOMSAYERS PROVED WRONG Commenting on the earlier reports about hooliganism and racism in Poland and Ukraine, the diplomat said the event proved the doomsayers wrong. “Most importantly, the tournament also proved doomsayers wrong. They predicted an explosions of racism, fascism and other ‘-isms’ in Poland and Ukraine. BBC screened a warning that visitors to Poland and Ukraine will return in coffins. The British news channel succeeded in scaring away some English fans. perhaps that might be one of the reasons why the English team was deprived of enough strong support from the grand stand as they left the soccer battlefields prematurely,” Strzemiecki added. He pointed out some the obstacles both countries faced and how they tackled the issues of hooliganism and racism. “There is this incidence where some hooligans attacked Russian fans, but Polish and Ukrainian forces quickly subdued the incidents in a very professional manner. But unfortunately, the incidents were blown out of proportion by some journalists fishing for scoops. UEFA has so far fined the Croat and German federations over misconducts by their fans. The European football governing body has also launched investigation in

Roman Strzemiecki, First Counselor of the Poland Embassy in Kuwait two other cases but none of them is related to the failed responsibilities of the Polish and Ukrainian football federations. Another proof of the EURO 2012 success has just come from Monaco where Poland was awarded as the hosting country of the 2016 European Men’s Handball Championships” the diplomat said. TURN OUT; KUWAIT VISITORS The EURO 2012 has opened a window of opportunity for the cohosts in tourism. According to the Polish Embassy, there has been a remarkable increase in the number of visa applications as many Kuwaitis now see Poland as a tourist haven. “Polish people are very friendly. Big Polish cities are the main destination for tourists. They possess a wealth of historical monuments, host famous people and offer variety of events. Poland has a diversified natural environment, which is relatively unaffected by human development. Visitors are attracted by mountains, sea-coast, and the lake reserves. With Modern hospitality and recreation facilities, cozy private rooms, campsites, mountain refuges and many other top attractions, tour of Poland is a must today,” Strzemiecki added.


FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

Balotelli seals Italian place in final See Page 46

WARSAW: Italy’s Mario Balotelli celebrates scoring his side’s second goal during the Euro 2012 soccer championship semifinal match against Germany. —AP


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