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New book raises questions about bin Laden’s death

150 FILS NO: 15553 40 PAGES

Samsung unveils new Windows Phone, Galaxy Note

India politician guilty of murder in Gujarat riots

Hawking launches ‘inspirational’ Games opener




SHAWWAL 12, 1433 AH


UN chief hits Iran on human rights, nukes Tehran NAM summit takes aim at US, West

TEHRAN: The UN chief jolted his Iranian hosts for a nonaligned nations meeting yesterday by pointing out “serious concerns” in Tehran’s human rights record and urging cooperation with the world body to improve freedoms. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had signaled he would not shy away from criticism of Iran during his visit to the Nonaligned Movement gathering in Tehran, but the sharp comments appeared to catch Iranian officials off guard just hours after his arrival. “We have discussed how United Nations can work together with Iran to improve the human rights situation in Iran. We have our serious concerns on the human rights abuses and violations in this country,” he told a news conference as he sat next to Iran’s Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, who frowned at the remarks. Iran’s opposition groups had urged Ban to use his appearance in Tehran as a platform to criticize Iran’s ruling system over its crackdowns on political dissent, including the house arrests of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi. Ban later met Iran’s president and supreme leader in Tehran and urged them to take concrete steps to prove the country’s nuclear program is peaceful. He also called on all states to stop supplying arms to the conflict in Syria, Ban’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said. He told reporters in New York that in separate meetings with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the secretary-general further said that he considered their latest verbal attacks on Israel to be offensive, inflammatory and unacceptable. Khamenei called on Ban to take action over Israel’s nuclear weapons, according to Khamenei’s website, calling this “a big danger to the region”. Continued on Page 13

MoC warns users to pay landline dues Cuts begin in Sept KUWAIT: The Ministry of Communications has warned its customers to pay their fees for landline telephone services or face a cut-off in September. An automatic halt of phone services will take place, but prior to that there will be a warning letter sent out on Sept 9, followed by a second warning message to their mobile phones a week later, the ministry’s Director of Public Relations Saleh Khalaf said in a statement. The ministry will proceed with the automatic halt for those who still do not pay their bills, Khalaf stressed. Service will be halted if the outstanding amounts reach KD 50 for residential lines and KD 100 for commercial landlines. Subscribers are urged to pay their fees even after a halt has taken place to avoid future interruption of services as their numbers will be added to an automatic halting blacklist. Landline phone bills can be paid via the official ministry website or by visiting one of the ministr y ’s branches. Subscribers can also enquire about their dues through dialing the ministry’s hotline 123. — KUNA

TEHRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right) meets UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (inset) yesterday. — AP

Romney wraps up nomination Arabs may not target Israel at IAEA meet ‘Iran Task Force’ set up

TAMPA, Florida: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and wife Ann wave to the crowd at the Tampa Bay Times Forum late Tuesday during the Republican National Convention. — AFP TAMPA, Florida: Republicans crowned days of rousing convention addresses by Mitt Romney their presidential nominee party grandees and rising stars. as his wife Ann sold their wholesome famRomney lies neck-and-neck with ily and sweetheart love story to US voters Democratic President Barack Obama in in a prime-time convention speech. national polls ahead of a November elecRomney took to the stage Tuesday at the tion that should be the challenger’s for packed convention center in Tampa, the taking, given the sour economy and Florida to proffer a polite thank-you kiss stubbornly high unemployment. as part of a carefully choreographed Romney’s campaign has been eager to attempt to reintroduce the sometimes promote the gregarious, 63-year-old Ann awkward candidate as a loving family as a conveyer of the family story, a mission man. The 65-year-old multi-millionaire intended to humanize a candidate who businessman will formally take up the trails Obama badly in terms of likability nomination with his all-important accept- and can come across as stiff. ance speech today, the climax of three Continued on Page 13

VIENNA: Arab states may decide against targeting Israel over its assumed nuclear arsenal at the UN atomic agency’s annual conference so as not to imperil wider efforts for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, diplomats say. A senior diplomat said Arab countries would criticise Israel but were divided over whether to submit a resolution on the issue to next month’s General Conference of the United Nations’ 154-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “The majority feels that we shouldn’t submit it this year,” an Arab source said, in comments likely to be welcomed by Western envoys who have been urging their Arab counterparts not to single out the Jewish state. In a surprise move at last year’s IAEA gathering, the Arab group refrained from zeroing in on Israel in this way in what was called a “goodwill gesture” ahead of planned talks in 2012 on creating a zone without nuclear arms in the Middle East. Israel welcomed this as a “positive” move, in a rare conciliatory exchange in an otherwise heated debate that underlined deep Arab-Israeli divisions on nuclear issues. Diplomats said Arab states had not yet decided whether to propose a non-binding but symbolically important draft text criticising “Israeli Nuclear Capabilities” at this year’s week-long meeting that starts on Sept. 17. Continued on Page 13

Max 46º Min 30º High Tide 09:55 & 23:47 Low Tide 03:55 & 16:57

Isaac batters US coast NEW ORLEANS: Hurricane Isaac pounded New Orleans with high winds and torrential rains yesterday, but multi-billion dollar flood defenses built after Hurricane Katrina swamped the city seven years ago held up, officials said. Officials warned, however, that heavy rains would probably continue through the day. And the upbeat assessment from the Army Corps of Engineers was surely little consolation for people whose homes were in fact deluged with water, left without power or forced to wait on roofs or attics for rescue. Stormy water did gush over at least one levee in a lip of land that sticks out into the Gulf of Mexico.

As residents cowered in their homes, Isaac rolled slowly over Louisiana, dumping huge quantities of rain on a city known for its love of jazz, great food and easy-going lifestyle. More than half a million people were left without power after the hurricane, packing winds of 130 km per hour, snapped utility poles and downed power lines. The National Hurricane Center said the category one storm had forced a “dangerous storm surge” onto the northern Gulf Coast, with waters mounting to three meters in Louisiana and patches of coastal flooding. Continued on Page 13

NEW ORLEANS: A man holds a broken umbrella in the wind as Hurricane Isaac makes landfall yesterday. — AP

Assad says more time needed to win battle

ALEPPO: An opposition fighter carries the body of his brother and comrade who was killed during conflict in the Saif al-Dawla neighbourhood amid heavy street fighting between opposition and government forces yesterday. (Inset) A woman and her baby are seen through the scope of an opposition fighter’s sniper gun as she flees the neighbourhood. — AFP

DAMASCUS: President Bashar AlAssad said his forces need more time to win the battle in Syria and scoffed at the idea of creating buffer zones for displaced people, as fighting raged across his country yesterday. Assad’s statements, in an interview with pro-regime Addounia channel to be screened later in the day, came after a car bomb rocked a funeral in a Damascus suburb on Tuesday, killing 27 people. “I can summarise in one phrase: we are progressing, the situation on the ground is better but we have not yet won this will take more time,” Assad said in advance excerpts of the interview with the private channel. Assad also rejected an idea being championed by Turkey of creating buffer zones within Syria to receive

those displaced by the conflict so they do not flood across the borders into neighbouring countries. “Talk of buffer zones firstly is not on the table and secondly it is an unrealistic idea by hostile countries and the enemies of Syria,” he said. French President Francois Hollande said on Monday France was working with its partners on the possible establishment of such buffer zones. But his foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, admitted yesterday that implementing these would be “very complicated” and require the imposition of partial nofly zones. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said Turkey is in talks with the United Nations on ways to shelter thousands of refugees on Syrian soil. “We expect the United Nations to step in for the protection of refugees inside Syria and if possible housing them in camps there,” Davutoglu was quoted as saying by Continued on Page 13




Majority Bloc discusses ‘failure’ of the protests Plans to revive Ramadan petition By A Saleh KUWAIT: The Majority Bloc will meet soon to discuss the weak attendance at last Monday’s demonstration, which “clearly saw some attendees leaving in protest against speeches and statements made”, said knowledgeable sources. “MP Ahmad AlSaadoun called for a meeting within days to avoid having the same problems take place again during the second demonstration planned in two weeks”, the sources said under the condition of anonymity. They further added that the bloc (a coalition of oppositionists who dominated majority seats in the annulled 2012 parliament), looks to “revive Ramadan’s petition” that rejects the Cabinet’s step to refer the electoral law to the Constitutional Court. The petition, “as well as MPs’ resignation from the 2009 parliament” will highlight the next protest, the sources added. Meanwhile, the same sources further indicate that the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) “grew upset from the Majority Bloc” given the weak attendance, which reflects the failure to convince the public about the gathering’s importance. In the meantime, former MP Nasser Al-Duwailah proclaimed that the Majority Bloc suffered defeat in its demonstration, whereas the Cabinet “succeeded in being patient with Ahmad Al-Saadoun and company”, adding that “it’s time now for the government to speak up and defend its actions.” “[The public] realized the Majority Bloc’s hypocrisy, and ignored their claims of protecting the constitution that they refuse to follow”, Al-

Duwailah said, adding at the same time that “a hesitant government puts the entire country at risk”. And while predicting the fall of the Majority Bloc soon, Al-Duwailah expressed concern that it might be saved by the government “via a huge mistake, such as physical assaults or arrests carried out in agreement with Ahmad Al-Saadoun”. Meanwhile, former third constituency candidate Safa’a AlHashim hailed the bloc’s “defeat by failing miserably” in the demonstration, adding that “public rejection of your invitation is a message from people against problems created by Ahmad AlSaadoun and his group”. MP demands intervention MP Dr. Waleed Al-Tabtabaei urged the Kuwaiti government to intervene with its Iraqi counterpart in order to prevent the executions of nearly 300 people, including Saudi citizens, in Iraq. AlTabtabaei made his statements on the basis that the charges pressed against those imprisoned are unjustified, hinting at the same time that the sentences were made on “a sectarian ground”. Saudi charge d’affaires in Jordan Hamad AlHajri indicated that the Saudi embassy in Amman assigned a lawyer to verify the news, which hinted that a Saudi prisoner was executed by Iraqi authorities. Meanwhile, Iraqi ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chanim Al-Jumaili denied knowledge of the incident. Father of a Saudi prisoner in Iraq, Mazen AlMasawi, was reportedly notified by his son’s cellmate that he was executed; a story that was soon

picked up by social media along with reports that another Saudi prisoner named Abdullah AlQahtani is on death row. KAC renting planes The Kuwait Airways Corporation is expected to receive a green light from the Cabinet to begin renting aircrafts to add to its fleet in order to replace planes taken out of operation because of their age . The decision is to be made during the Cabinet’s weekly meeting next Monday, during which the budget for renting the planes will be reviewed. According to sources, KAC is expected to rent five planes for one year. MSAL update The automated file documenting system adopted by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor in recent years enables citizens who are entitled to receive social care to have their data updated automatically every six months without the need for filing additional paperwork. This was explained by the ministry in a recent statement regarding inquiries from people who used to be required to provide new documents to the ministry departments in order for their data to be manually updated. Meanwhile, Undersecretary Mohammad AlKandari announced that the ministry is giving a priority to holding urgent meetings with the chairmen of local co-op societies, in order to address obstacles they face.

VENICE: The Kuwaiti pavilion stood out at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition yesterday. The pavilion’s project was executed by a team of artists and architects, led by young Kuwaiti architect Zahra Ali Baba, and sponsored by the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters.

KUWAIT: Ministry of Education’s Assistant Undersecretary for Public Education Mohammad Al-Kandari visited two schools yesterday as he launched his tours to check preparations for the school year 2012/2013. The official first visited Al-Farwaniya High School for girls which used to be an elementary school for boys before its transformation during the summer. He then visited the newly constructed Sulaibikhat elementary school which prepares to open with the new year’s inauguration. —Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh

Pearl Diving Trip concludes today KUWAIT: The 24th annual Pearl Diving Trip concludes this morning in a ceremony organized by the Kuwait Sea Sports Club and under the patronage of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. The trip this year featured 180 young sailors aboard nine traditional pearl diving ships gifted by HH as well as the late Amir HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. Known traditionally as Al-Qfal (closure), the event starts at 4:30 pm as pearl divers and their captains arrive at KSSC’s shore in Salmiya carrying Kuwaiti flags, in addition to one ship carrying Bahraini Captain Abdurrahman Al-Mana’ei and a group of Bahraini sailors bearing a Bahraini flag. The divers will then proceed to open the pearl oysters collected during the trip before handing the pearls to HH, the Amir’s representative. This year’s trip began last Thursday during the AlDasha ceremony that was attended by Minister of Justice Jamal Al-Shehab on behalf of HH the Amir and other ministry officials. After the ceremony, diving ships sailed to pearl diving spots in Al-Khairan, where divers relived their forefathers’ heritage of collecting pearls from the sea floor using limited equipment. Meanwhile, head of the KSSC’s Sea Heritage Committee and general supervisor of the trip announced that this year’s trip had been a success, due in large part to a plan introduced this year in which former captains were used to provide administrative and technical assistance.

285,000 employees in 37 state departments KUWAIT: More than 74% of public sector employees are Kuwaitis, while the percentage of female employees in state departments sits at 54%, according to a recent local daily’s report quoting official statistics. “The number of employees in 37 state departments is 285,853 as of Monday, 221,786 (or 74.9%) of whom are Kuwaitis, while 74,067 (25.91%) are expatriates”, reported Al-Qabas yesterday. They went on to write that the number of female state employees is listed at 156,636 (54.7%) compared to 129,217 male employees (45.2%). The statistics further show that 250,345 state employees work for the country’s seventeen ministries, compared to 19,566 in eight authorities, 14,649 in 10 governmental departments and 1293 in two independent institutions. The Ministry of Education comes as the largest employer with the number of employees at 79,749, 67% of whom are Kuwaitis, followed by the Ministry of Health with 47,363; the majority (55%) of which are expatriates. The Interior Ministry comes in third with 13,987 employees (89% Kuwaitis), followed by the Ministry of Electricity and Water with 15,696 (89% Kuwaitis) and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor with 12,328 (92% Kuwaitis), respectively. In other news, a Management and Government Restructuring Program insider revealed that the MGRP plans to propose ideas for regulations that encourage young Kuwaiti citizens to pursue job opportunities in the private sector, such as governmental support for small projects. These efforts are being proposed at this time “to prevent an exodus of Kuwaiti private sector employees to state departments, where they can enjoy financial privileges enforced in recent years”, said the source, who spoke to Al-Jarida on the condition of anonymity.


in brief

Traffic campaign in Mubarak Al-Kabeer KUWAIT: The Mubarak Al-Kabeer Traffic Department governorate held a traffic campaign on 28 August. It resulted in 139 traffic citations being issued - 51 are direct and 88 are indirect. Violations varied between crossing red traffic light, using mobile phones while driving, and no parking. Traffic department urges motorists and drivers to abide by traffic regulations for their own safety. KD 5.79 million to complete infrastructure KUWAIT: The Minister of Public Works Dr Fadhel Safar signed here yesterday a KD 5.79 million contract to complete the first phase of infrastructural work in Funaitees. The first phase will focus on completing infrastructural work in blocks one, two, four, and five in Futaitees. The blocks will have main and subsidiary roads, traffic signs, water, sewage, and telephone networks, in addition to street lights. Sheikh Khaled meets foreign ministers TEHRAN: The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad AlSabah met, separately, with the Foreign Minister of Iraq Hoshyar Zebari, of Pakistan Hina Rabbani, and of Lesotho Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa, on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) convened here. Sheikh Sabah AlKhalid and his counterparts discussed bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest on regional and international level and means to bolster cooperation and bonds between Kuwait and the countries concerned. The officials were received in presence of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Iran Majdi Al-Dhifiri, Head of the Arab World Affairs Department Ambassador Jamal Al-Ghanim, Head of the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister’s Office Department Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, along with the official delegation attending NAM sessions.



AL approves bills for cargo transport CAIRO: The Arab League’s Standing Committee for Legal Affairs approved yesterday three draft agreements for cooperation between Arab and foreign countries in land transport for cargo. M inister Plenipotentiar y Ehab Makram, a committee member, said that representatives of Arab countries have discussed over two days the proposed draf t agreements and approved them yesterday. The draft agreements are referred to the Arab Foreign Ministers Council for final approval. The first agreement related to the

regulation of the transport of goods by road between the Arab countries and the second between Arab and Central Asian countries and Azerbaijan and the third between Arab League and the UN Development Program. Meanwhile, Arab League’s counterterrorism committee will hold a meeting Saturday, to be attended by representatives of Arab ministries of foreign affairs, justice and interior, to follow up the implementation of counter-terrorism conventions and enhancing Arab and international security cooperation. —-KUNA

KFAED delegation holds talks over Kuwaiti grant to Jordan AMMAN: The delegation of Kuwait Fund For Arab Economic Development (KFAED) is continuing its talks with Jordanian officials over Kuwait’s grant approved by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to Jordan to fund its development projects for the next five years. The discussion, headed by Kuwaiti Ambassador to Jordan Dr Hamad Al-Duaij and Secretary General of Jordan’s Ministry of Finance, Dr Omar Al-Zoubi, took place here at the Ministry of Finance. During the meeting, Dr Al-Duaij stressed the depth of the brotherly relations between the State of Kuwait and Jordan, praising the atmosphere of stability that Jordan enjoys, which makes it suitable for such investments. Ambassador Al-Duaij and Dr Omar Al-Zoubi discussed development projects of priority for the Jordanian government, which will be implemented

through the Kuwaiti grant in a framework of financial contributions made by the GCC countries. Dr Al-Duaij said after the meeting that the Kuwaiti government will allocate $250 million annually for the next five years, which will be disbursed through KFAED for development of projects specified by the Jordanian government. In addition, the delegation includes KFAED Economic Consultant Tariq Al-Munayes, Engineering Advisor Dr. Hani AlGhawas, Engineering Advisor Waddah Shahata and Legal Advisor Mohammad Al-Omani. Jordan had set a group of development projects given to the contributing GCC countries (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates) to take advantage of the fiveyear grant that is worth a total of $5 billion. —KUNA

KSSC hails Al-Houti’s safe return Essam Al-Houti

Khalid Al-Foudari

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Sea Sports Club(KSSC) congratulated Kuwait, its leadership and people for the safe return of KSSC member Essam Al-Houti following his release as a hostage in Lebanon . In a statement released yesterday, KSSC acknowledged the “following level of concern expressed by HH the Amir, as well as efforts of Parliament Speaker Jassem Al-Kharafi, Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry and Kuwait’s embassy in Beirut” which ultimately secured Al-Houti’s release and safe return. “The KSSC was concerned following the terrorist action of abducting a citizen, who happens to be a fellow member,” said Secretary General Khalid Al-Foudari. He explained that Al-Houti “along with his wife Sheikha Mouza Al-Jaber AlSabah and their children are KSSC members since March 2008. “The great interaction and level of concern shown by all sections of the Kuwaiti society towards the incident has doubled the joy of his safe return,” Al-Foudari added.

Kuwaiti Volunteer Forum forms new committee KUWAIT: The Environmental Voluntary Foundation(EVF) announced the formation of a higher committee for Kuwaiti Volunteer Forum . It will convene on International Volunteer Day December 5, 2012. “The committee consists of Mohammad Al-Huwaidi, Waleed Al-Shatti, Muna AlWazzan, Faisal Al-Naqa and Fawziya AlMutairat, and is chaired by Khalid Al-Kulaib,” announced EVF President Waleed AlFadhel, describing members as “an elite

team of EVF members who have top experience in voluntary work.” The Kuwaiti Volunteer Forum, which has the support of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah should to shed light on the importance of voluntar y work in Kuwait, and ways to encourage it. Furthermore, it will feature the experiences and successful stories about voluntary work, showcase Kuwait’s participation in International Volunteer Day, and reward contributors.

IICO conference on Sept 12 KUWAIT: International Islamic Charity Organization (IICO) announced yesterday it would hold its third annual conference dubbed “Effective partnership and information management for best humanitarian work” in Kuwait on Sept 12 and13 under the patronage of Sheikh Sabah Khalid AlHamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. The IICO said in a statement that the conference will be held in coordination and

cooperation with the “Direct Aid Society” and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The conference aims to support networking and encourage partnership between Arab organizations and the international humanitarian system as well as promoting cooperation between the active humanitarian organizations in the Arab world and provide a platform for dialogue, it added. — KUNA

489 research papers presented at Kuwait Petroleum Conference KUWAIT: The fourth edition of the Kuwait International Petroleum Conference and Exhibition (KIPCE) has received 489 research papers from 165 oil and gas companies representing 35 countries. In a press statement, the KIPCE Organizing Committee said that the number of papers presented to the upcoming edition is higher than the third one by 242 percent. It noted that about 84 papers from 38 companies representing 19 countries have been selected to be debated in three working days of the conference, scheduled between December 10 and

12. The event will combine a multi-disciplinary technical conference with a cutting-edge exhibition, bringing together regional and international professionals from all sectors of the oil and gas industry. Kuwait is home to nine percent of the world’s oil reserves and reports suggest that between 2010 and 2020, Kuwait’s oil production will increase by approximately 38 percent. This increase will not only present a number of new opportunities but also an array of new challenges. KIPCE provides a platform for delegates and attendees to focus on these issues in both a regional and global context.—KUNA

KUWAIT: The ambassador of Afghanistan hosted an event on Tuesday to mark his country’s National Day. A number of diplomats and other dignitaries attended the reception. —Photos by Joseph Shagra

‘Kuwaitis against Wasta’ is born Country’s main challenge By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: Traffic violations deleted, immigration troubles erased, passing the driving test, getting a job or even to have the simplest coffee or tea break seem to need some ‘wasta’ here in Kuwait. Not anymore (maybe in the next 30-50 more years) as the likes of the ‘wasta system’ could be in its final stage now that the ‘Kuwaitis Against Wasta’ movement’ has begun. In fact, the initiative, started recently by legal activist and attorney Thamer Al-Sanea, asks Kuwaitis to join and express their dissatisfaction regarding the spread of unlawful mediation or use of influence to achieve gains illegally - a practice commonly known in Kuwait as wasta. Previously, the wasta system was generally used for mere favor, but in recent years it has become a favor in exchange for a huge sum of money, which of course could be interpreted as bribery and corruption. The ‘Kuwaitis against Wasta’ initiative echoes the sentiments of a large group of the Kuwaiti population rejecting this phenomenon and that has spread to all aspects of life in Kuwait. As described by the initiative’s founder, “The spread of wasta indicates that there is a disease spreading through the state, because even if it was used to obtain a legal right or simplify complicated procedures, that still exposes the government’s incapability of serving citizens properly”, Al-Sanea said in a statement made available recently to the press. Wasta is identified by young citizens as the main challenge facing Kuwait, based on official studies. “Wasta is found everywhere, but is almost nonexistent in advanced countries where no one is above the law”, he indicated. Social networks are currently used as the main

vehicle to make the initiative public, as Al-Sane’a invites citizens to join the initiative’s page on Facebook or follow its account on Twitter “to automatically announce that you are against wasta”. Whilst many view wasta as being something negative, people still have reservations. A Kuwaiti journalist told Kuwait Times that it would take maybe 100 years more to totally eradicate the culture of wasta in Kuwait. “Maybe it will happen only after one hundred years. But it’s a good thing that we start now, because if not today, when are we going to face the reality and change the attitude deeply embedded in our culture?” A Palestinian office worker said the wasta system is wrong, but undeniably entrenched in Kuwaiti culture. “We cannot deny that it doesn’t exist, but this doesn’t mean that all people are using wasta, as the majority are not. I may have used wasta at times, but I never defend wasta. In Kuwait, however, the wasta system exists in both private and public sectors. It needs to be dealt with,” he said. An expat whose been in Kuwait for the last 20 years said that while she’s been aware of the wasta system taking place across Kuwait, she feels no sympathy for those who feel it necessary to use it. “I’ve never used wasta in my 20 years in Kuwait,” the female expat said. “I have my qualifications and abilities and I hope I will not need it in the future, either. My point is, yes, there is a wasta system going around; it’s a favor you ask to people you know and sometimes it is necessary for some people to use wasta, maybe to get their papers done, or obtain their basic rights. In some ministries here you need wasta to get your papers done, and it could only be done when you have wasta. The

point is, however, that it’s your right to get it done, yet you could be waiting for hours and no one assists you. Volunteer a wasta, however, and it will be done instantly,” she said. A male teacher from a certain English school in Kuwait said the only reason Kuwait needs wasta is because of the ‘lazy culture of people paid by the government’. “Kuwait should first eradicate the culture of laziness in the ministries. Very few workers in the ministries are working because they want to help, but many report to work to have some coffee or tea, have informal talks with their colleagues and leave without doing or finishing their jobs. If these people were properly doing their job, you wouldn’t need wasta here,” he pointed out. Meanwhile, Al-Sane’a explained that the main goal to his initiative was to expose the “injustice that it creates, especially against citizens who don’t use wasta”. The lawyer further hoped that authorities carry out a social study in order to explain to the public the difference between wasta and an Islamic principle that allows people to seek help in order to ease otherwise complicated procedures necessary for their well-being. Al-Sane’a hopes that the government will criminalize wasta through regulations that punishes a person seeking wasta, the mediator, and the state employee who facilitates the illegal practice. “Despite being one of the earliest countries to sign on the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), Kuwait is continuously seeing the use of wasta extending to all aspects of life, which raises questions about the state’s true willingness to combat corruption”, Al-Sane’a said. (Ahmed Jabr helped with translation)




in my view

in my view

European spring

Taming Egyptian journalists... By Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed

By Labeed Abdal S Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi is still on his honeymoon, the Egyptian press has not yet shown him its teeth. On the contrary, most of the media outlets treat him delicately and with tenderness. This courteous relationship is not surprising, given that he has inherited the legacy of 30 years of his predecessor President Hosni Mubarak’s rule. We were, however, surprised when we saw President Morsi dragging the Egyptian journalist Islam Afifi, editor in chief of Al-Dastour (Constitution) newspaper, to court on charges of humiliating the president and instigating people against him through a news story that was published before Morsi was elected president. Everybody is anxiously waiting. The court will give its verdict by the end of this month. If he is imprisoned, a ferocious media battle will be unleashed. Egyptian journalists are more ferocious than the military. No matter how much power Morsi uses to pursue his critics, he will ultimately discover what his predecessor had found out: It is not easy to keep the mouths of the journalists shut. Mubarak stayed mum unhappily because he failed to silence the journalists. He vainly tried methods, other than a single case of imprisonment, to silence the journalists. He paid large sums of money to some journalists from the other camp (opposition) and transferred some of them to work in lucrative jobs in official government media establishments to gain their support, but this did not work. Morsi and his colleagues who are in the leadership now are used to sit on the opposition benches. They have not tasted what is the worst in rule: press criticism.


The Egyptian media are famous for vociferous voice. Since the revolution of January 25, the Egyptian media have been in full control of the market. All the leading media establishments have become purely Egyptian. Previously, foreign partners jointly owned them. The secret behind this is the high degree of freedom that has prevailed in Egypt after Mubarak. The Egyptian media are famous for vociferous voice. Since the revolution of January 25, the Egyptian media have been in full control of the market. All the leading media establishments have become purely Egyptian. Previously, foreign partners jointly owned them. The secret behind this is the high degree of freedom that has prevailed in Egypt after Mubarak. How will, then, Morsi be able to lock the jinn in the bottle again? How will he be able to tame the press, which has become an important figure in the political and social process? Morsi or his party has succeeded in placing their journalist supporters in the national (government) newspapers. There are about 50 government newspapers and magazines in Egypt against 120 officially licensed independent ones. There are over 7,000 journalists registered in the Egyptian syndicate of journalists. Will he be able to win them over? Worse than that: How will Morsi be able to silence the big army of Egyptians involved in social media? There are about 10 million Egyptians using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and mobile messages to make their voices heard. They are, therefore, capable of annoying Morsi until the end of his tenure. It was not a secret that during the last years of Mubarak’s rule, his relationship with the media had worsened beyond repair. This bad relationship and Mubarak’s bad mood also reflected on us, the foreign journalists. Mubarak’s obedient Minister of Information Anas Al-Faqi once attempted to follow up the foreign press. He made personal contact with a number of them. The minister was carrying a clear message from Mubarak to us: Why did we allow Egyptian dissidents to appear on our screens and discuss important issues of concern to Egypt? I reminded him that Egypt was a big regional power and larger than the power of anyone to keep in the dark and prevent journalists from covering its events. I made it clear to him that he had no hegemony whatsoever over foreign journalists like us. I also reminded him that whatever appeared on our screens would be echoed by the independent media tools in Egypt itself. I told him that those he described as opponents, who should not be allowed to appear on our screens, were in fact members of the People’s Assembly, or they were licensed media men who worked for licensed media outlets. It was obvious that Mubarak was trying to silence the foreign media after failing to do so at home. That was Mubarak, but Morsi was supposed to realize that the legitimacy that brought him to power was based on freedom and multiplicity. Is it possible that his first decision would be to send a journalist to court and to close down a TV space channel? he verdict of Judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen was recently announced in the trial of Anders Behring Breivik. Arntzen ruled that the defendant is sane and will be sentenced to 21 years in prison for the massacre which took place almost a year ago. The verdict made it clear that the bloody crime would not be tolerated and the same punishment could be expected for members of any radical movements who believe in killing and disturbing the peace. Andres Breivik wanted to apologize, but it was not to the innocent people, most of whom were children. Instead, he wished to apologize to all militant nationalists, as he was not able to execute more innocent civilians in his attack. This radical example should be wake-up call to other European countries to monitor those who choose a path of violent radicalism. Breivik expressed his nonbelief in the Oslo distinct court itself, saying it is not legitimate. This case, as the Arab springs have , provide a case study into how people express their disapproval of issues, such as poverty , self-centered dictators and painful unemployment. There is a difference between Europe and the Middle East however, in that governments in Europe must make quick reforms to solve pending financial problems and prevent these ‘do-it-yourself’ approaches from violent radicals.


kuwait digest

Selective ban on entry to Kuwait By Dr Sulaiman Al-Khadhari he issue pertaining to the issue of allowing or its global image; this being a criteria that is unfortudisallowing Bahraini political activists Nazi nately missing from the majority of political discusKareemi and Ramlah Abdulhameed to enter sions in Kuwait. Kuwait is not the only controversial incident of its The most embarrassing aspect about this issue is kind to happen in the country, and I can almost say the rude approach by which conflicting parties for certain that it won’t be the last. Such topics, attempt to justify their claims. The same reasons a which deal with freedoms, on the one hand, and certain party demands that an individual be banned, security requirements on the other, are used as fuel are often ignored when they claim “freedom of opinfor conflicts taking place in a pathetic process that ion” to allow the entrance of someone else who carreflects negatively on the ries the same characteriscountry and the future of its tics, and with whom they people. share similar ideologies. The government remains Questions pertaining to This is allowed by an almost helpless amidst all of it, as it this sensitive topic have complete lack of moral refstretched beyond inquiring erence in our society based tries to arrive at a best-case sceabout the standards by on which politicians are nario to appease the opposing which people are banned held accountable for confactions. If a person is banned entrance by local authoritradictory statements they entrance, as requested by certies, and have become mostmake, especially those ly associated with the identiexpressed on subjects tain political groups, the govty of the person(s) involved; which affect security and ernment would find itself comas well as benefits achieved the state of freedoms in the pelled some other day to ban from the decision whether country. the entrance of another person to grant or reject said perThis reminds me of an opposed by other political son’s request to enter incident that happened a Kuwait. In the meantime, few years ago when extremgroups in the country. what is absent amid this ists in our society strongly uproar is rational dialogue opposed a planned visit of which focuses on Kuwait’s general interest, ahead of late Egyptian academic researcher Dr. Nasr Abu Zaid sectarian or other individual interests. to Kuwait. It was embarrassing at the time to see Meanwhile, the government remains helpless people, who we thought were strong advocates of amidst all of it, as it tries to arrive at a best-case sce- public freedoms, join forces with the extremists in nario to appease the opposing factions. If a person is demanding that authorities ban Dr. Abu Zaid from banned entrance, as requested by certain political entering Kuwait. Dr. Abu Zaid’s story is not the first, groups, the government would find itself compelled and definitely won’t be the last, but it can be characsome other day to ban the entrance of another per- terized by our failure to stop the selective basis on son opposed by other political groups in the coun- which the widespread campaign against his try. This is the government’s way to achieve “bal- entrance was made. The government’s failure to take ance” in light of the lack of clear criteria by which a firm stance at that time is the reason why we find banning is handled based on evaluations that put ourselves still running in circles when it comes to Kuwait’s general interest as a top priority, along with overcoming this thorny topic. — Al-Rai


kuwait digest

Al-Anjari convicts the opposition By Abdullatif Al-Duaij ccording to the evaluation of opposition sup- and his group toppled the 2009 parliament; not from porters, MP Abdurrahman Al-Anjari was the inside the parliament, but via the Iradah Square best speaker during last Monday’s demonstra- demonstration. This means that ‘His Excellency’ tion by expressing his point of view in a “balanced admits that he violated the will of the people, people and sincere” way. The supporters unanimously agree who legally elected a dominant pro-government that Al-Anjari was more precise in explaining the majority. The opposition, unfortunately, insisted on goals of the Majority Bloc, as violating the people’s will at opposed to other bloc Iradah Square, in total disremembers. It was noticed, spect to article 6 of the conAl-Anjari proudly proclaims however, that Al-Anjari stitution which they claim to that he and his group toppled started his speech (or round defend from the governthe 2009 parliament; not from of yelling, so to speak) by ment. It’s ironic when Alinside the parliament, but via insisting three times that Anjari makes this confession the government not only moments after he prothe Iradah Square demonstrahad a dominant majority in claimed “respecting voters’” tion. This means that ‘His the 2009 parliament, but an opinions, the same voters Excellency’ admits that he vio“absolute dominant majoriwho exercised their right to lated the will of the people, peoty”, as personally described elect the fifty members of ple who legally elected a domiby Al-Anjari. the 2009 parliament. Furthermore, Al-Anjari How can you respect the nant pro-government majority. exclaimed that he “respects constitution and people’s people’s opinions” as well as opinions, which elected an “the opinions of male and female voters”. Again, I absolute dominant pro-government majority in the would like to assert that the person who made these parliament, then head to Iradah Square and yell statement is recognized by oppositionists as their demands for change that don’t come from ballot best speaker. Al-Anjari admits that the government boxes? This is the logic expressed by the person had an absolute dominant majority of supporters in described by youth groups supporting the opposithe parliament and later admits that this majority tion as their best speaker. He is convicting his group was elected by the people- to whom sovereignty with his own statements and confessing that they belongs. violated the people’s will by toppling the cabinet Meanwhile, Al-Anjari proudly proclaims that he from Iradah Square.—Al-Qabas


kuwait digest

Al-Sultan’s accusations By Abdul-Aziz Al-Fadhli t appears I hold a special place among some columnists who call themselves supporters of the Salafist approach, judging by how often I am criticized in their columns; either anonymously, as in a recent column for Ahmad Al-Koos, or even by name, such as in a column by Mr. Khalid Al-Sultan. I’m not bothered by the criticism itself, because it’s human nature to have different opinions. But it’s sad when columns are used to express ill thoughts and defame others, which is something that cannot be accepted from anyone, let alone from individuals who boast about being scholars in the Salafist movement. First of all, I would like to reveal to Al-Sultan that I had voted for him in the Imams Union elections which he failed to win, because I thought that the union should contain members from different Islamic points of view. I never realized when the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs assigned me to make a public speech this past Friday during the nationally televised Friday Prayer, that it would be to the chagrin of Khalid AlSultan. So much so, in fact, that he questioned the


I never realized when the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs assigned me to make a public speech this past Friday during the nationally televised Friday Prayer, that it would be to the chagrin of Khalid Al-Sultan. basis of my selection, and made several speculations, including the notion that the Iradah Square demonstration planned for the following Monday had pushed the ministry to nominate me. What Al-Sultan ignores is that I have made several official speeches over the years, even before Iradah Square was used for mass protest. Khalid Al-Sultan claims that I have unlimited support for what takes place at Iradah Square. I can say, however, that the term ‘unlimited’ is not true, because no rational person accepts everything that happens there, especially accusations made without proof. Moreover, Al-Sultan claims that changing Kuwait’s political system is my highest goal, an accusation that I am seriously considering pressing charges for, due to my being mentioned by name. Al-Sultan is also wondering why I announced on Twitter that I rejected demands to urge the public during the state’s official Friday Prayer’s speech to attend the demonstration at Iradah Square. He should know, however, how inappropriate it would be to betray the trust that the ministry has given to me by handing me the responsibility of addressing the public with the state’s official Friday Prayer speech - a speech, mind you, that discussed the need to tackle conflicts and division. Khalid Al-Sultan says at the conclusion of his statement that I missed a “historic opportunity” when I failed to use the state’s official speech to urge citizens to join the Iradah Square’s demonstration. However, using words to achieve fame is a losing practice. In the end, I would like to notify Khalid Al-Sultan that the ministry asked me to change the subject of the speech at 10:00 pm Thursday, at which time I had already prepared a different speech. I could have said no at the time due to time constraints, and am sure that the ministry would have understood. Instead, I chose to write a new speech out of respect to the ministry’s trust, as well as because of the importance of the subject. —Al-Rai



Islamist MPs demand action over Dubai police chief’s ‘insults’ KUWAIT: Lawmakers are holding Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak Al-Sabah responsible to respond to Dubai’s chief of police for allegedly offending citizens taking part in a public protest against governmental procedures, as well as accusing two lawmakers of insulting Al-Sabah ruling family. “Kuwait’s Prime Minister bears the responsibility for [Lieutenant General Dhahi] Al-Khalfan’s offensive remarks for failing to protect the dignity of citizens described by Al-Khalfan as street thugs,” said MP Jamaan AlHarbash, who along with fellow Islamist lawmaker Waleed AlTabtabaei was named earlier by AlKhalfan on Twitter when he urged Kuwaitis not to let them ‘bully’ AlSabah family. Al-Khalfan continued to criticize the Kuwaiti opposition for the fifth day on the microblogging site Tuesday, as part of on-going feud with the Muslim Brotherhood panArab political group. In his latest ‘tweets,’ Al-Khalfan proclaimed that governments of Gulf states will demand that Kuwait’s membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC) be suspended if the country has a member from the

Muslim Brotherhood as prime minister. Al-Harbash’s remarks on Twitter were soon followed by a response from Al-Tabtabaei who criticized through his account, the Kuwaiti government, for ‘remaining silent’ about Al-Khalfan’s statements, adding that failure to respond to the alleged insults is an indication of the government’s “inability to take a proper action or involvement.” Al-Khalfan further argued that the Muslim Brotherhood’s plot is to foil governmental achievements in Arab countries they are active in so that they can push themselves to leadership. He added that Kuwait will turn into “a second Lebanon if the Muslim Brotherhood assumes power.” Member of the annulled 2012 parliament Mohammad Al-Kandari said via his Twitter account that “AlKhalfan accusations must stop, adding that “insults to the Kuwaiti people, their MPs, families and tribes are unacceptable.” Meanwhile, Dr Mohammad AlTabtabaei former dean of the Faculty of Sharia at the Kuwait University demanded an apology from the government of the United Arab Emirates “for the insults Al-Khalfan made against Al-Tabtabaei family.” — Al-Rai

Opportunities for investors in Kuwait education sector Govt seeking transaction advisor KUWAIT: News that the government is seeking a transaction advisor for a new public-private partnership (PPP) schools project signals further opportunities for investors in Kuwait’s education sector. Overseas investors and school operators already play an important role in the country’s education sector, one that, if the authorities’ plans come to fruition, is set to increase. In late July the Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB) released a request for proposal (RFP) for advisory services in connection with a plan to build seven new public schools, and three residential buildings for teaching staff, in different areas of Kuwait. Once selected, the transaction advisor will assist the state in determining project feasibility, procurement and negotiating the transaction. The PTB, established in 2008, is the government organization responsible for issuing and overseeing all of Kuwait’s PPP projects. According to a statement on the PTB’s website, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the bureau “have embarked on a path to involve the private sector in helping the state of Kuwait meet its increasing demand for educational facilities”. The recently announced schools project will be developed using a design, finance, build, operate and transfer model. The private sector partner will be responsible for building, financing and maintaining the facilities, as well as for providing management services over a preagreed period of time. The MOE will handle educational curricula and appoint all administrative and teaching staff. But the PPP model is not the only option for

investors looking for opportunities in Kuwait’s education sector - opening a private school is feasible in a market that has seen many successful entries in recent years. Indeed, according to a 2011 report by global consultancy Booz & Co, of the country’s 1268 schools, about 500 are private, of which around 340 are foreign. The private sector accounts for a similar portion of students, with about 36% of the country’s 545,000 primary- and secondary-level enrolees attending private institutions, according to the firm. Nearly 75% of these private school students are expatriates, a pattern that is similar across the GCC countries, with the exception of Saudi Arabia. In July Global Capital Management, the private equity asset management group at Global Investment House, a Kuwaiti investment company, announced that it was exiting its investment in Al Rayan Holding Company, one of the larger players in the private school market. The firm said it was selling an 82% stake in Al Rayan to United Education Company (UEC), a Kuwaitbased firm. According to a public statement by Nasser Al Khaled, the chairman of Al-Rayan Holding Company, selling directly to a buyer rather than conducting an initial public offering made more sense in light of the current economic climate. “Given the challenging capital market conditions, especially at the Kuwait Stock Exchange, a public listing would not have yielded an attractive exit as a trade sale to a respected and education-focused strategic buyer,” he said. Established in 2003, UEC is already active in

the local higher education sector - it operates the American University of Kuwait, for example but this recent acquisition marks its first foray into primary and secondary schools. According to Meshal Ali, the vice-chairman and managing director at UEC, the company expects “significant growth” in the K-12 segment going forward. Indeed, in 2011 Al Khaled told OBG that he expects the private sector’s share of the market at the primary and secondary level to increase to about 43% by 2016. “The number of expatriate families sending their kids to school here is increasing, as is the number of Kuwaiti families wanting to move from the public to private sector. We have targeted the mid-market, where most Pakistani and Indian expat families send their kids to school,” he said. In the mid-market, costs per student per year range from KD300 ($1060) to KD2000 ($7070), whereas high-end prices range from KD3000 ($10,600) to KD4000 ($14,100). Other private sector players in Kuwait include Sama Educational Company, the Institute for Private Education and AREF Investment Group. UEC’s decision to enter this market is perhaps not surprising given that the number of students attending private schools is expected to rise over the next few years. Indeed, there is almost certainly room for expansion in Kuwait’s private schools market. This will likely be supplemented by opportunities in the public school system, as the government increasingly turns to the PPP model to ensure that it has the institutions to meet the educational needs of its populace. — Oxford Business Group

Wife accuses husband of theft By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A female citizen accused her husband of stealing her jewelry and a sum of money. After a quarrel took place between them, she left to her parents’ house and when she returned, she was surprised to learn that the jewelry and money were missing. The stolen materials can be valued at KD 17,000 and a case was registered at Mubarak Al-Kabeer governorate.

Work for Jahra road in progress KUWAIT: The Ministry of Public Works has announced the construction of 40 pillars to erect bridges. At least 16 pillar heads and 146 bases were constructed for the project to develop Jahra road. Project Engineer Yasser Bodustoor said

that a total of 2,845 stock of cement has been completed out of a total 4,579 for all phases of the project. Engineer Bodustoor said that work is going on at 13 water lines in all project phases and so also at two crossing out of 38

Lawmakers fail to address main subject KUWAIT: Members from the Majority Bloc are reportedly discontented about the speeches delivered by Abdurrahman Al-Anjari and Mubarak Al-Wa’lan during last Monday’s demonstration, believing that both lawmakers failed to address the main subject commonly agreed upon: to reject the Cabinet’s step to verify the constitutionality of the electoral law by the Constitutional Court. This topic is expected to be discussed during a meeting by the bloc ’s coordination committee today (Thursday), which takes place ahead of the bloc’s next scheduled meeting on Sunday at MP Ali Al-Deqbasi’s Dewaniya. Sunday’s meeting will be the first since the opposition held its inaugural demonstration against the challenge to the constituencies’ distribution. Sources within the Majority Bloc (a coalition of oppositionists who dominated majority seats in the annulled 2012 parliament), additionally expressed displeasure about the “lack of dominant attendance” of bloc members at the demonstration, adding that the “few number of members who attended doesn’t truly represent the bloc”. In the meantime, the sources, who spoke to Al-Qabas on the condition of anonymity, indicate that it’s still too early to judge the opposition’s demonstrations, which are expected to continue taking place at Iradah Square on a biweekly basis. Meanwhile, other sources close to the bloc indicate that MP Ahmad Al-Saadoun and his Popular Action Bloc, along with other members such as Al-Anjari, Mohammad Hayef and Khalid Al-Sultan, do not agree with the proposal that calls for Majority Bloc members to resign from the 2009 parliament. They believe that this step, which is otherwise supported by the Development and Reform Bloc, could contribute to prolonging the dissolution of the 2009 parliament “by giving an excuse for the parliament to convene in order to discuss the resignations, combined with the probability of filling vacant posts following their resignations via by-elections”, said the anonymous sources, quoted by Al-Rai. To that end, constitutional expert Dr. Mohammad Al-Feeli said that the cabinet could file a request for the parliament’s dissolution without the need for by-elections to fill places vacated by the MPs’ dissolution. — Al-Qabas & Al-Rai

for the whole project. Work is also going on to complete sewage system and 45 percent of electricity lines has been installed. Also, 46.5 percent of telephone lines have been installed. Work is proceeding at the traffic division at the project site. —KUNA

Theft at home In Salwa, a Canadian expat filed a complaint with police stating that thieves burgled his home and stole jewelry and cash worth KD 16,000. A case was registered and police are trying to trace the thieves. Two trailer drivers filed a complaint with Mina Abdullah police stating the two trailers were stolen while they were

parked. The drivers were repor tedly asleep when the incident took place. A case of theft was registered. Illegal relationship At Mubarak Al-Kabeer governorate, a citizen filed a complaint with police stating an Asian man was found in his domestic worker’s room. The woman and her lover confessed to being in a relationship. Suicide In Ahmadi, an Asian woman ended her life by hanging herself. A case of suicide was registered. Car accident A car accident took place along the Sixth Ring Road yesterday, resulting in a traffic jam. The accident was caused by a trailer which deviated from the lane and crashed onto a divider.



KUWAIT: Residents in Hasawi in Kuwait are becoming creative when it comes to logistics and luggage transportation. — Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh

67th anniversary of Vietnam National Day


n Sept 2, Vietnam celebrates its National Day. This day in 1945, 67 years ago, President Ho Chi Minh, the beloved Father of the Vietnamese Nation solemnly read the Declaration of Independence at Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi. With this, he proclaimed the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. After its Independence Day of Sept 2, 1945, the Vietnamese people had to undergo great hardship of thirty years of war, which was ended by the Great Victory in spring 1975, leading to national liberation and reunification of the country. And then, Vietnam’s economy and society has changed significantly since the introduction of market-oriented reform and the opening of the economy in 1986. After more than 25 years of reform to develop the socialist-oriented market economy, Vietnam has attained remarkable and historic achievements in the course of socio-economic development. The Vietnamese economy has been growing at a high and stable rate in consecutive years. The average growth is seven percent per annum. The political, social stability and security have been well maintained. Thus, Vietnam today becomes a good destination for tourists and international investors. Vietnam has attracted 13,800 projects with the total registered capital of above $200 billion from investors of more than 90 countries and territories, and received around six million tourist arrivals annually. Over 50 countries and international donors continue to put their confidence in Vietnam’s development potentials as they pledged roughly $47.4 of development assistance sources for 2012. Trade turnover now stands at a high level ($203.66 billion in 2011, a rise of 29.7 percent against 2010). Vietnam has also made a quantum leap in poverty reduction (poverty prevalence down to less than 12 percent in 2011 from 58 percent in 1993), human development and social welfare system. Particularly completion of many Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ahead of schedule is

recognized by the international community. Vietnam has got out of the underdevelopment situation and embarked upon the list of lower middle-income countries. In the area of foreign policy, Vietnam aims to establish mutually beneficial relations with all countries in the world. The current Vietnamese foreign policy is to “implement consistently the foreign policy line of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development; the foreign policy of openness and diversification and multilateralization of international relations. Proactively and actively engage in international economic integration while expanding international cooperation in other fields. Vietnam is a friend and reliable partner of all countries in the international community, actively taking part in international and regional cooperation processes.”Vietnam has established diplomatic relations with over 180 countries and set up economic, trade and investment cooperation with more than 220 countries and economies across the globe. Vietnam is indeed an active and responsible member of the United Nations, ASEAN, APEC, ASEM, WTO and many other important international organizations and forums. Vietnam also successfully hosted the APEC summit in 2006 and fulfilled its non-permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council in the period of 2008-2009 and ASEAN Chairmanship in 2010. Despite the geographic distance, the multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and Kuwait has incessantly developed since the establishment of diplomatic relation in 1976. Vietnam always considers Kuwait as a traditional friend and enjoys the friendly relations with Kuwait and its people. This year marks the 36th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Kuwait. In the past 36 years there have been frequent exchanges of visits by top officials from both sides which help strengthen the understanding and cooperation between the two countries. Vietnam and Kuwait are also committed to enhanc-

ing the political relations which happily exist between the two countries so far, creating a firm foundation for further development of relations in other spheres such as economics, investment and trade. The two countries have exchanged a number of high-level delegations such as official visits to Kuwait by Vietnamese leaders, the President Le Duc Anh (May 1995) and the Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (March 2009); the official visit to Vietnam by then Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser AlMohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah (May 2007). In 2003, Vietnam officially inaugurated the Embassy in Kuwait. In 2007, Kuwait opened the Embassy in Hanoi and the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The excellent political relations have significantly contributed to the establishment of cooperation framework and information exchanged, promoting business, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries. In economic field, the two countries have signed some agreements and Memos of Understanding on cooperation in different fields. In terms of investment, the Kuwait International Petroleum (KPI) is participating in the Nghi Son Oil Refinery and Petrochemical project of $6.2, with 35,1 percent of the total capital from the Kuwaiti side and has committed to providing crude oil for the plant in the long term. In terms of trade, the bilateral turnover reached $800 million in 2011, an increase by above 46 percent against 2010 and 1,800 percent compared to 2007. Since 1979, through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), Kuwait has been the first Gulf nation continuously providing preferential loans for Vietnam’s infrastructure development in remote areas. Recently, KFAED signed an agreement to loan Vietnam KD $4 million for a co-funded multi-purpose rural development project in Da Bac district of northwestern Hoa Binh province. This agreement brings KFAED loan to Vietnam to an overall 11 loans amounting to some KD 36.3

million for projects in different sectors and regions. The Fund had also presented Vietnam with a sum of KD 84,000 in technical assistance, some $300,000 to finance studies in the agricultural industry sector. The finance by Kuwait has been effectively contributing to the cause of poverty reduction in Vietnam. However, the bilateral cooperation in investment and trade is modest. The goods are mainly oil, gas and their products. The export proportion of Vietnam only accounts for nearly four percent in the bilateral trade turnover. Vietnam wants Kuwait to create favorable conditions for Vietnamese goods and increase import of goods from Vietnam, particularly the goods which Vietnam is a potential supplier and Kuwait is in demand, for example, rice, milk, seafood, timber products, coffee, tea, pepper, rubber products, textiles, handicrafts, and electronic components, etc. Vietnam welcomes investors from all over the world; especially the Kuwaiti investors and it will do its utmost to facilitate the cooperation and investment of Kuwaiti businesses in Vietnam. On the occasion of this solemn celebration of its National Day, on behalf of the government and the people of Vietnam, I would like to convey our sincere and special thanks to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaz AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad AlSabah and the people of the Kuwait for their kind sentiment and strong support given to Vietnam in its past struggle for national defense and current construction of the country and for the valuable and continued assistance to the Embassy of Vietnam in Kuwait as well. May the friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Kuwait be everlasting and further develop. Bui Quoc Trung Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Love pest escapes after harassing woman Angry husband attacks wife KUWAIT: A security source said that a woman who was shopping in Salmiya was harassed by a man who insisted that she take his phone number, despite numerous refusals by the woman. In an attempt to get rid of the man, the woman accepted his number, which caused the man to become even more insistent, demanding to see her number on his phone screen. The woman became angry and called police, saying “Take him away from me, if my husband sees him, he will butcher him”. When police arrived, the suspect had escaped, but the woman gave them his car tag number. Investigations are underway.

Cadet dies A student cadet died two hours after joining Saad Al-Abdallah Academy. The student, who was deemed physically able to join the academy, collapsed while jogging towards his sleeping quarters at the academy. Paramedics worked to revive him before transporting him to Sabah hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was 24 years old.

Wife assaulted Jabriya detectives arrested a man for beating his wife because she refused to live with him in the house and did not allow him to have sex. The man reportedly confronted his wife where she was living at a nurses’ residence, where he beat her. The victim told police that the attacker was her husband, who repeatedly asked her to leave the nurses’ residence and live with him, but she refused due to previous differences. The suspect admitted that he beat his wife to force her to return to his home, and when she refused he went to the nurses’ residence and asked her to come outside to talk things over. When she refused to leave he became very angry, entering the building and beating her. Investigations are underway.

Woman missing A citizen from Mubarak Al-Kabeer reported

his wife has been missing since August 22. A security source said the man told police his wife left the house on Wednesday, and he could not reach her by phone. Detectives are investigating.

of two unknown thieves who attacked an Asian, beating and robbing him of KD 200 and three mobile phones. The Asian rushed to Kabd police and told them he was beaten by the two near his sponsor’s animal pen, before escaping with the money and phones.

Firearms possession Officers arrested two citizens in the AlAndalus area on the charge of possession of a firearm. The officers were on a routine patrol when they spotted a suspicious car. As police approached, the driver attempted to escape, but he was apprehended, along with a passenger. The unlicensed firearm was found when the car was searched. The driver and passenger were sent to the proper authorities.

Lovers arrested A security source said that a passerby saw a man and woman in a compromising situation behind a multipurpose hall in the Oyoun area. The man called police, who arrived at the scene and arrested the lovers, bringing them to the Taima police station. Policemen took statements from both suspects and released them.

Sex iside store A Bangladeshi and his girlfriend were arrested for having sex inside a grocery store. Police, acting on a call, went to the scene and arrested the couple. The two were found guilty of absconding and in violation of the Igama law.

Indecent act Police officers interrupted an Egyptian and a Filipina, after a call from a citizen who passed their car. A police source said a passerby reported seeing the man and his girlfriend in a car behind a mall, so he called police. The two were taken to Jahra police station and charged with an indecent act.

Asian attacked Kabd detectives are tracing the movements

Drunk man held A citizen under the influence of alcohol, asked a horse mounted policeman near Sharq beach to give him a ride on his horse. The man was arrested and taken to the police station.

Negligent mother Three girls filed a complaint against their mother at Riqa police station, claiming she neglected the children and did not spend money on them. The mother, a citizen, is being summoned for questioning.

Friends in custody A citizen expressed his willingness to marry an Arab woman to avoid legal responsibility as he “hosted” her in his flat for several days, with her consent, because they were “friends”. Detectives had been searching for the woman, who was reported missing by her family. The two were arrested in the flat, and the man was given the choice to marry her or face legal action.

Harassing calls A female citizen filed a complaint against a high-rank ing officer for harassing her by phone and urging her to commit lewd acts. The woman claimed that the officer called to flir t with her from his mobile phone. She claimed in a letter that the officer continued to call and asked that a complaint be filed against him. The letter of complaint was sent to the Director General of Investigations Department after the police station refused to file the complaint. I nvestigations are underway.

No preconditions on Iraq’s use of purchased F-16 jets BAGHDAD: The US denied on Tuesday placing preconditions on Iraq, over its use of F-16 warplanes it had recently purchased from Washington. The US embassy in Baghdad said in a statement that Iraq alone would determine how and when it intends to use the fighter jets. The warplanes will significantly raise the capabilities of the Iraqi Air Force, in its role in defending the country’s borders and sovereignty, the statement added. Earlier reports mentioned that US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey, who was in Baghdad earli-

er this month, had requested assurances from Iraqi officials over the use of the traded weapons during his visit. According to Iraqi MP Qassim Al-Araji, Washington had stipulated in the contract that Iraq should not, under any condition, use the fighters to attack neighbouring Israel. “This means that Washington is intent on ensuring Israel’s regional security in the first degree,” he said. The reports also claimed that the US requested that only pilots of Arab and Kurd Muslims of the Sunni sect of Islam may be granted the right to fly the planes.

These notions were fiercely rejected by the Iraqi Air Force, which stressed that it was not concerned with the identity of its pilots, adding that a number of trainee Shiite pilots failed a try-out to operate the aircraft. The Iraqi Defence Ministry has said that the first batch of some 36 F-16s is set to be delivered sometime in September 2014, while Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, in a recent press conference, said that their arrival date would be earlier in March of the same year. The contract is one of two said to be worth USD 12 billion, including arms and training. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Members of the Media and Public Relations Department of the Social Development Office has recently paid a visit to a local kindergarten to strengthen social relations. Muna Abdullatif Al-Misbah Deputy Director, stressed that the Department is keen to remain in contact with all elements of society.

Ministerial committee starts putting up alternatives KUWAIT: The constitutional court is moving closer review the governmental contest in the 5 election constituencies. The ministerial committee entrusted in following up the file of election constituencies has already started putting up alternatives to the current law, in case the court approves the government contest and decides that the 5 constituencies are not constitutional. Informed sources said that the first choice for the government is to go back to amendments on distribution in designated areas, to add new areas and to work on making the number of voters equal in the constituencies. Sources also said that the 2009 council dissolution decree is ready and can possibly be issued towards the end of next month. Sources expected a call for new elections to be made by the end of October and for

Election Day to fall next December. Sources said that the majority of experts are of the opinion that 5 constituencies is not constitutional and if the court accepts the majority of expertsí opinions, it will also decide that it is unconstitutional. They added that it is the right of the next council to amend the number of constituencies or refuse the decree of 25 constituencies if it is issued in the absence of the council. In the meantime, The Fatwa and Legislation Administration have ended their drafting of the defense memorandum, which the government shall present during the contest session, to be decided next Wednesday. The most important point in the memorandum is to reach a verdict in order to put an end to the political crisis, to dissolve the 2009 council and to call for new elections.

Man shot dead in Shiite village DUBAI: Masked gunmen on a motorbike shot dead a Saudi man and wounded another in a Shiite village of the kingdom’s Eastern Province, a security official said yesterday. The gunmen opened fire at the two men late Tuesday near Al-Reef roundabout in Awamiya, a village in Qatif district, local police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ziad al-Rukayti said. Police were investigating the incident, he said, as locals said the attack appeared to be criminally motivated rather than linked to troubles between Shiites and security forces in the region. The predominantly Sunni kingdom’s two-million-strong Shiite minority is

mainly concentrated in the sensitive Eastern Province. A policeman and an armed protester died in clashes earlier this month, the interior ministry said, and two Shiite protesters were killed in July, triggering attacks on government buildings in Qatif. Qatif witnessed a spate of demonstrations after an outbreak of violence between Shiite pilgrims and religious police in the Muslim holy city of Medina in February 2011. The protests escalated when the kingdom led a force of Gulf troops into neighbouring Bahrain the following month to help crush a Shiite-led uprising against its fellow Sunni monarchy. —AFP


India politician guilty of murder in Gujarat riots

Hundreds of civilians ‘massacred’ in Congo Page 10

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PESHAWAR: A Pakistani army soldier arranges ammunition reportedly recovered from hideouts of militants in tribal areas, as they are displayed in Peshawar yesterday. (Inset) Undated file photo shows former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan. — AP

‘Book raises questions about Osama’s death ‘No Easy Day’ narrates Bin Laden’s ordeal WASHINGTON: A firsthand account of the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden contradicts previous accounts by administration officials, raising questions as to whether the terror mastermind presented a clear threat when he was first fired upon. Bin Laden apparently was hit in the head when he looked out of his bedroom door into the top-floor hallway of his compound as SEALs rushed up a narrow stairwell in his direction, according to former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, writing under the pseudonym Mark Owen in “No Easy Day.” The book is to be published next week by Penguin Group (USA)’s Dutton imprint. Bissonnette says he was directly behind a “point man” going up the stairs. “Less than five steps” from the top of the stairs, he heard “suppressed” gunfire: “BOP. BOP.” The point man had seen a “man peeking out of the door” on the right side of the hallway. The author writes that bin Laden ducked back into his bedroom and the SEALs followed, only to find the terrorist crumpled on the floor in a pool of

blood with a hole visible on the right side of his head and two women wailing over his body. Bissonnette says the point man pulled the two women out of the way and shoved them into a corner and he and the other SEALs trained their guns’ laser sites on bin Laden’s stilltwitching body, shooting him several times until he lay motionless. The SEALs later found two weapons stored by the doorway, untouched, the author said. In the account related by administration officials after the raid in Pakistan, the SEALs shot bin Laden only after he ducked back into the bedroom because they assumed he might be reaching for a weapon. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor would not comment on the apparent contradiction late Tuesday. But he said in an email, “As President Obama said on the night that justice was brought to Osama bin Laden, ‘We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who

serve our country.’” “No Easy Day” was due out Sept 11, but Dutton announced the book would be available a week early, Sept 4, because of a surge of orders due to advance publicity that drove the book to the top of the and Barnes & best-seller lists. The Associated Press purchased a copy of the book Tuesday. In another possibly uncomfortable revelation for US officials who say bin Laden’s body was treated with dignity before being given a full Muslim burial at sea, the author reveals that in the cramped helicopter flight out of the compound, one of the SEALs called “Walt” was sitting on bin Laden’s chest as the body lay at the author’s feet in the middle of the cabin. The publisher says the author used pseudonyms for all the SEALs. Bissonnette also writes disparagingly that none of the SEALs were fans of President Barack Obama and knew that his administration would take credit for ordering the May 2011

14 killed in clashes near Russia border TBILISI: Three Georgian Special Forces personnel and 11 gunmen who allegedly crossed from Russia were killed yesterday in the deadliest violence near the border since their 2008 war, officials said. Georgia’s interior ministry said the men died in clashes after it launched an operation to neutralize an armed gang which had crossed the frontier from Russia’s restive North Caucasus region of Dagestan and taken hostages. Deputy Interior Minister Nodar Kharshiladze stressed however that “we do not know who these people are”-a comment that avoided putting immediate blame for the incident on Tbilisi’s foes in the Kremlin. “Three Special Forces personnel were killed and five wounded during the pursuit operation carried out by the interior ministry against the armed group which crossed into Georgia from Russia,” Kharshiladze said. Two of the dead servicemen were interior ministry officers while the third was a doctor serving with defense ministry special forces. “Eleven members of the armed group were killed,” Kharshiladze said. A further six gunmen were surrounded as the operation continued yesterday evening, he said. “At this point we do not know who these people are and why they entered Georgian territory,” he said, calling it the “worst incident” in terms of police casualties since the ex-Soviet state’s five-day territorial war with Russia. The ministry said that an unspecified number of hostages had been freed unharmed during the “anti-terrorist” operation which started overnight. It released footage on its website showing two of the hostages that it said had been freed. One of the reported hostages said they had been seized by a group of “armed, bearded men” on their way back to their village of Lapankuri after having a picnic in the Lopota Gorge near the border. “They told us we were hostages and warned us they would shoot us dead if we tried to escape,” the unnamed man said in the ministry’s video. “It was a group of about 15 heavily armed men, they had automatic rifles,” he said. As the stand-off continued, Georgian television showed police vehicles shuttling armed officers in camouflage uniforms into the area and helicopters circling overhead. Tensions between Georgia and Russia have

remained high since the 2008 war and the two countries do not have diplomatic relations. Russia, which has been trying to crush a long-running Islamist insurgency in North Caucasus republics including Dagestan and Chechnya, has repeatedly accused Georgia of offering a safe haven to militant extremists. The Western-backed government in Tbilisi has consistently rejected Moscow’s allegations. Russian forces

pushed deep into Georgia during the 2008 conflict to repel Tbilisi’s military attempt to regain control over the Moscow-backed breakaway province of South Ossetia. After defeating Georgia’s army, Russia was strongly criticized by the West for recognizing South Ossetia and another Georgian rebel region, Abkhazia, as independent states and stationing troops there permanently-a move that Tbilisi describes as occupation. — AFP

LAPANKURI: Georgian servicemen ride along a road at the village of Lapankuri, some 175 km (108 miles) east of Tbilisi yesterday. Georgian troops blocked a gorge on the Georgian-Russian state border where an unknown armed group was detected yesterday. — AP

raid. One of the SEALs said after the mission that they had just gotten Obama re-elected by carrying out the raid. But he says they respected him as commander in chief and for giving the operation the go-ahead. US officials fear the book may include classified information, as it did not undergo the formal review required by the Pentagon for works published by former or current Defense Department employees. Officials from the Pentagon and the CIA, which commanded the mission, are examining the manuscript for possible disclosure of classified information and could take legal action against the author. In a statement provided to The Associated Press, the author says he did “not disclose confidential or sensitive information that would compromise national security in any way.” Bissonnette’s real name was first revealed by Fox News and confirmed to The Associated Press. Jihadists on AlQaeda websites have posted purported photos of the author, calling for his murder. — AP


in brief

Iraq executes 26 people in 3 days BAGHDAD: Iraq executed five more people yesterday, including a Syrian national, a justice ministry spokesman said, two days after 21 people were executed. The executions, which bring to at least 96 the number of people executed so far this year, come despite a call from the UN’s human rights chief for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in Iraq, amid concerns over the lack of transparency in court proceedings. “Five persons were executed after being convicted of terrorist crimes,” Haidar Al-Saadi said, adding that among the five was a Syrian national. Yesterday’s executions take to 26 the number of executions in Iraq since Monday, when 21 convicts were executed, including three women and one Saudi national. Iraq has carried out several other mass executions this year, including one in which 14 people were put to death on February 7, and another in which 17 were executed on January 31. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed shock earlier this year at the number of executions, criticizing the lack of transparency in court proceedings and calling for an immediate suspension of the death penalty. Most Indians prefer arranged marriages NEW DELHI: An overwhelming majority of Indians prefer marriages arranged by family members instead of “love matches”, a survey showed yesterday, despite rapid social change in the country over recent decades. A total of 74 percent of respondents from across India voted in favor of traditional “arranged” marriages, according to the poll by private television channel NDTV. The channel commissioned Ipsos, a market research agency, to conduct a field survey of 30,000 people of all ages across 18 states. Parents in India often choose husbands or wives for their children, although the trend for “love marriages” has grown during India’s economic transformation. The survey also found 89 percent of Indians preferred living in an extended family set-up rather than a “nuclear” family comprising only parents and children.




Kasab: The Mumbai gunman awaiting hanging MUMBAI: Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, labeled the “Butcher of Mumbai”, is a school drop-out waiting to be hanged in India for his role in the 2008 attacks on the city. The 24-year-old Pakistani national was one of two heavily armed gunmen who opened fire and threw hand grenades at Mumbai’s main railway station on November 26, 2008, killing 52 people and wounding more than 100. He was born in the dusty village of Faridkot in a remote and impoverished region of Punjab in Pakistan’s farming belt, home to 10,000 people, most of them farmers and laborers and few of them literate. His father, Mohammed Amir Iman, ran a food stall in the village. Kasab dropped out of school in 2000 and worked as a laborer in the eastern city of Lahore until 2005, according to his initial confession to police, which was widely published in India. He first pleaded not guilty but later made a confession, admitting being one of the 10 gunmen trained, equipped and financed by the banned Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Kasab reportedly said he joined the Islamist group to get weapons training after

deciding to embark on a life of crime but there have also been claims that his father duped him into doing it for money. The Supreme Court in New Delhi yesterday upheld his death sentence, leaving him with a final appeal to the president to save him from death by hanging. “He fits the profile if you look at the terrorists recruited by Lashkar-e-Taiba,” Wilson John, senior fellow at New Delhi’s Observer Research Foundation and a specialist in extremist groups said. “They come from lower-middle class or poor families. They’re not entirely uneducated, just a little bit educated, they’re unemployed and looking for a job. They’re not religiously inclined but they can be brainwashed. “He was a prime target.” When his trial began in 2009, Kasab at first appeared relaxed, dressed in either a T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms or a traditional kurta-pyjama, joking or smiling at lawyers and reporters. But he seemed increasingly sullen, withdrawn and even asleep as the trial progressed, prompting fears for his mental state. He showed no

emotion in the dock when he was pronounced guilty of murder and waging war on India. Since his conviction, he has been held in a high-security jail in Mumbai. When his Supreme Court appeal began in January, he issued a statement saying he had been denied a fair trial. Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam characterized Kasab as a shrewd and calculating operative, describing him as a “human shape” with no feelings or emotion. While pushing for the death penalty, Nikam dwelt on the apparent smile Kasab wore while firing on travelers in the train station and his reported regret at arriving late at the target because he had missed the commuter rush. His defense lawyer, K P Pawar, sought to persuade the court that Kasab was a susceptible young man who had been brainwashed. “He was mentally defective (at the time of the attacks) and the effect impaired his ability to appreciate the impact of his conduct,” Pawar told the court during discussions about his sentence. “He’s a human being of flesh and blood, that should not be forgotten,” he added.—AFP

MUMBAI: Activists of Shiva Sena shout slogans as they celebrate after India’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab Kasab, the only surviving gunman of the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks in Mumbai yesterday. —AP

India politician guilty of murder in Gujarat riots Court convicts 32 in 2002 religious riots

AHMADABAD: Former Gujarat minister and a member of India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Maya Kodnani is escorted towards a police vehicle to be taken to prison after a court verdict in a 2002 religious violence case, in Ahmadabad yesterday. —AP

‘Hitler’ clothing store stirs anger in India NEW DELHI: The owner of an Indian clothing store said yesterday that he would only change its name from “Hitler” if he was compensated for re-branding costs, amid a growing row over the new shop. The outlet, which sells Western men’s wear, opened 10 days ago in Ahmedabad city in the western state of Gujarat with “Hitler” written in big letters over the front and with a Nazi swastika as the dot on the “i”. “I will change it (the name) if people want to compensate me for the money we have spent-the logo, the hoarding, the business cards, the brand,” Rajesh Shah said. He put the total costs at about 150,000 rupees ($2,700). Shah insisted that until the store opened he did not know who Adolf Hitler was and that Hitler was a nickname given to the grandfather of his store partner because “he was very strict”. “I didn’t know how much the name would disturb people,” he told AFP by telephone from Ahmedabad. “It was only when the store opened I learnt Hitler had killed six million people.” Members of the tiny Jewish community in Ahmedabad condemned the store’s name, while a senior Israeli diplomat said the embassy would raise the matter “in

the strongest possible way.” “People use such names mostly out of ignorance,” Israel’s Mumbai Consul General Orna Sagiv said. Esther David, a prominent Indian writer in Ahmedabad who is Jewish, said she was “disturbed and distressed” by the shop, but added that some Indians used the word “Hitler” casually to describe autocratic people. David said Jewish residents had sought to change Shah’s mind about the store’s name and told him about the Holocaust. The row evoked memories of a controversy six years ago when a Mumbai restaurant owner called his cafe “Hitler’s Cross” and put a swastika on the hoarding, claiming Hitler was a “catchy” name. The restaurant owner eventually agreed to change the name after protests by the Israeli embassy, Germany and the US Anti-Defamation League. Hitler attracts an unusual degree of respect in some parts of India, with his book “Mein Kampf” a popular title in bookshops and on street stalls Gujarat schoolbooks issued by the Hindu nationalist state government were criticized a few years ago for praising Hitler as someone who gave “dignity and prestige” to the German government. —AFP

AHMEDABAD: One of the two Indian owners of the Hitler clothing store Rajesh Shah-poses in front of his shop in Ahmedabad. —AFP

AHMEDABAD: An Indian court yesterday convicted a former state minister and 31 others of murder during one of the worst massacres in religious riots in Gujarat in 2002. Maya Kodnani, who served as a minister in Gujarat’s Hindu nationalist state government from 20072009, was found guilty over the killing of 97 Muslims in the Naroda Patiya suburb of the city of Ahmedabad. Out of 61 people facing charges, 32 were found guilty of murder and 29 were acquitted, prosecution lawyer Shamshad Pathan said. A leader of a local extremist Hindu group, Babu Bajrangi, who was filmed by an Indian news magazine in 2007 describing setting families on fire, was also among the convicted. “More than 90 people lost their lives, mostly children and ladies, all of them were defenseless,” public prosecutor Akhil Desai said, adding that he would push for the death penalty when sentences are handed down tomorrow. “If some of the accused are lucky enough to escape the death penalty, I will ask for life imprisonment, not for 14 years but for the rest of their lives,” he told reporters. Kodnani, who served as child and human development minister under Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi until her arrest in

2009, broke down in tears as the guilty verdict was pronounced, as did relatives waiting outside the court. Modi’s proximity to Kodnani is likely to be an embarrassment for a politician widely thought to have prime ministerial ambitions but whose reputation was tarnished by

widely criticized for failing to stop them, but has consistently denied charges of wrong-doing. The violence was triggered by the deaths of nearly 60 Hindu pilgrims in a February 2002 train fire that was initially blamed on a mob of Muslims. Hindus hungry for

AHMEDABAD: An unidentified convicted Indian prisoner consoles his son from inside a police vehicle in Ahmedabad yesterday, after his conviction for murder. —AFP the blood-letting only a few months after he was elected. The 61-year-old from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who is unable to gain a visa to the United States because of the riots, has been

revenge rampaged through Muslim neighborhoods across Gujarat in an orgy of violence that marked some of India’s worst religious riots since independence from Britain in 1947.

Human rights groups say more than 2,000 people, mainly Muslims, were hacked, beaten or burned to death, while government figures put the death toll at about 1,000. Last year, a court in Gujarat found 31 Muslims guilty of murder and conspiracy charges for causing the train fire, but a national enquiry in 2005 concluded that the blaze was an accident and cast doubt on much of the police evidence. Yesterday’s verdicts came after final arguments in April following a trial that saw 327 witnesses called to give evidence. More than 100 others have been convicted for killing Muslims during the riots. In 2008, the Supreme Court ordered the re-investigation of nine of the most sensitive incidents during the riots, including the initial train fire and the violence in Naroda Patiya. Bajrangi, in an interview taped by news magazine Tehelka, confessed to helping orchestrate the killing in Naroda Patiya where homes were set on fire and some Muslims were set ablaze while hiding in a pit. “In Naroda and Naroda Patiya, we didn’t spare a single Muslim shop, we set everything on fire, we set them on fire and killed them,” he said, according to a transcript available online. —AFP

Egypt activists urge justice for civilians jailed by army courts New president under pressure to act faster CAIRO: Mohamed Fawzy was just 21 when he was jailed by an Egyptian military court for 25 years, accused of stealing refrigerators. “Since his arrest last year, I have been exhausted and hysterical,” said his mother Sabreya Fahmy, choking back tears. “I could kneel at the president’s feet to bring me back my innocent son.” At least 12,000 civilians have gone before army courts in the security vacuum that followed the fall of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, according to the campaign group No to Military Trials, and at least 5,000 are still in jail. Many of those jailed were arrested in the protests that erupted during the 18 months an interim military government was in charge in Egypt, and some have even been tried since civilian President Mohamed Morsi took office in June. Morsi has pardoned 630 civilians on the recommendation of a committee he formed to study the cases of 2,165 prisoners. The committee said the cases of the remaining prisoners needed to be investigated further. Activists want the remainder to be released or at least referred to civilian courts for retrials. Until Morsi acts, they say, his claim to champion the cause of last year’s Arab Spring uprising will be open to question. “It is shameful that President Morsi, who rose to power because of these civilians’ struggle and the time they are spending in jail, is sitting in his palace eating with his family, while we have no clue what has become of the people inside those prisons,” said prominent activist Ahmed Domma. They also say the situation is a direct - and dangerous - challenge to Morsi, Egypt’s first elected head of state in 5,000 years. Morsi earlier this month dismissed the country’s top generals in a bold show of power after 60 years of military leadership. “The military is still continuing to sentence people and use military tribunals as if it is saying to the president you are not the only one in power,” said Salma Abdel-Gelil, a member of No to Military Trials. Activists have long complained that military trials were used by Mubarak to secure convictions that might not have been possible in more open and accountable civilian courts.

A QUESTION OF PRIORITIES Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, the socially conservative movement from which he hails, came late to the uprising against Mubarak that was begun by liberal and leftwing activists. While voicing the same commitment to democracy as those of revolutionaries, and pressing the army to stick to its timetable for elections, the Brotherhood generally avoided direct confrontation with the generals when they were temporarily in charge. To its critics, the Brotherhood has shown more dedication to the pursuit of power than to human rights and the rule of law. “The track record of the Brothers during this period is characterized by promises broken and silence in the face of abuses, such as military trials for civilians and the application of the emergency law for most of the SCAF’s tenure,” Michael Wahid Hanna of The Century Foundation wrote in Foreign Policy, referring to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. “The Brothers, in tandem with the SCAF, also sought to tarnish those intent on continuing the protest movement through mass mobilization and public actions,” he said. Mubarak’s overthrow and the election of Morsi has transformed Egypt’s stale politics. But many Egyptians say the unreformed security forces still disregard the basic rights of citizens. Activists say the use of torture by security officials is still common, though officials in the past have routinely denied such practices are routine and say any allegations of torture are properly investigated. WE WERE LUCKY Karim El Kennany, a member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, said he was detained and beaten last month on charges of insulting an army council member during a demonstration near the house of a general in Cairo. “We were just standing silently holding up posters about the constitution,” said Kennany, 26. “On my way home some plainclothes men tied my arms, blindfolded me and threw me to the ground. They just kept

beating us, unthinkingly. “We found ourselves on a floor of a civilian jail that housed dangerous criminals. The truth is we found among those criminals more humanity than the officers and informants. “We were lucky that our party backed us and helped us, but there are thousands inside those jails that nobody knows anything about,” said Kennany. On Aug 12, Morsi pensioned off Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak’s defense minister for 20 years, replaced the chief of staff and cancelled constitutional provisions that conferred wide powers on the army leadership. The move gave Morsi powers rivaling those of Mubarak. It also removed any doubt that he would be able to release or retry the detainees facing military trial. “It gives us new grounds to push for all our demands,” said Abdel-Gelil of No to Military Trials. “Now he has the legislative and executive power to take the actions he should have taken from the start.” Campaigners say a new constitution being prepared must bar military courts from trying civilians - a practice employed under Mubarak to muzzle Islamists and other political opponents. At the moment, an army decree still allows troops to arrest civilians on drug charges or on the vague crime of “thuggery”. Mohamed El Zarea, a rights lawyer and member of the committee Morsi appointed to review the military trial cases, said the body would recommend a civil retrial of all the civilian cases it is handling when it issues its final report, due by the end of August. Critics of the process say the committee risks overlooking the many others detained by the army in often chaotic and arbitrary round-ups. Others say Morsi seems to be looking after his political allies first; last month he pardoned at least 17 Islamists jailed for militancy during the Mubarak era. “Morsi is biased because the youth in those jails are not part of his political current,” said Samir Ghattas, head of the Middle East Forum, a Cairo-based think tank dealing with regional issues. —Reuters


i n t e r n at i o n a l

Republicans insist Romney has no ‘woman problem’ TAMPA, Florida: Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney badly needs to attract women voters if he is to win the White House, but Republican policies on abortion, contraception and gay marriage risk alienating many. Republican women gathered from across the United States in Tampa, Florida for the presidential nomination convention had little patience with that view, or with Democratic accusations that the par ty is waging a “war on women”. Instead, some women partisans here insisted that a Republican party that embraces a pro-life stance was more likely to appeal to a growing number of female voters and - they hoped - to beat Barack Obama in November ’s election. “Our party is a party committed to life. Protecting and preserving life,” said Cleta Mitchell, who attended a forum Tuesday for pro-life activists on the sidelines of this week’s Republican National Convention. “The Democratic party seems to think that women think only with their reproductive organs, that we have no brains. It’s so insulting. I can’t imagine that they think women will vote on contraception when our country is on the verge of a fiscal cliff,” said Mitchell, who heads an organization in Washington for conservative lawyers. Late Tuesday, Romney ’s not-so secret weapon to win over women voters, his wife Ann, hailed American

wives and mothers as unsung heroes who give of themselves tirelessly and thanklessly in a well-received speech.”If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It’s how it is, isn’t it?” Ann Romney said. “I t ’s the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right. “It’s the moms of this nation - single, married, widowed - who really hold this country together. We’re the mothers, we’re the wives, we’re the grandmothers, we’re the big sisters, we’re the little sisters, we’re the daughters,” she said. “You’re the ones who always have to do a little more.” In a poll this week by the Washington Post and ABC News, 53 percent of respondents said Obama would do a better job dealing with women’s issues, compared to only 32 percent for Romney. CNN put the gap at a narrower but still worrisome 54 to 42 percent. Surveys show Romney has a particularly acute problem attracting young, single women. Republicans were burned on the abortion issue earlier this month when a Missouri lawmaker with a staunchly anti-abortion position uttered the view that women’s bodies had a way of shutting down to prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape”. The comments by House member and Senate candidate Todd Akin were controversial but don’t reflect how

people in the party think generally, Mitchell said, rejecting the idea that the controversy had been divisive for Republicans. “Our party is not being torn asunder. The Democratic party is the party of abortion. It is the party of murdering innocent life and that is what they believe. They are extremists,” she said. Some experts believe Republicans have erred in focus-

ing on social issues like abortion, which they viewed as settled for more than three decades, since the Roe versus Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973. “It’s the law of the US. No one is changing that,” said Anita McBride, a former official in president George W. Bush’s administration who currently lectures at American University in Washington, DC. McBride expressed frustration that the

FLORIDA: Ann Romney, wife of US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney walks onto the stage during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. — AP

argument over abortion continues to siphon away so much attention from more pressing issues facing the party and the nation. “Why we have allowed this to become the women’s issue that we are talking about when our economy is going over a cliff is beyond me. I happen to be pro-life, but I respect prochoice people,” she told AFP. Shalia Lankford, wife of Tennessee delegate Monty Lankford, said she was proud of her party’s positions, even if they made it difficult to appeal to moderate Republicans and independent voters. “A lot of it goes back to faith issues and what we think is morally right in the sight of God,” she told AFP. “A woman’s true heart and nurturing spirit is for the life of her child.” At the convention on Tuesday, Republicans approved a staunchly conservative party platform that defended heterosexual marriage and rejected abortion. The 60-page document, subtitled “We Believe in America” affirmed that marriage is between one man and one woman and stressed the party’s strong commitment to valuing every human life, even in embryonic form. Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said he thought the party’s focus on social issues would be a net gain at the ballot box come November. “We have one of the strongest platforms on marriage and life that we’ve ever had,” he said. — AFP

Court set to confirm Pena Nieto’s victory Leftist runner-up alleges vote buying, overspending

NEW YORK: Bradley Adams, PhD, Director of Forensic Anthropology at the City of New York Office of Chief Medical Examiner handles anatomical specimens in a laboratory in New York. — AP

NYC - Identifying the dead, finding closure NEW YORK: On a wind-swept island off New York City, the remains of 850,000 people rest in pine boxes in a grid of covered trenches but many are not resting in peace. They are the unidentified or unclaimed dead who have been found around the largest US city - often with little hope of a loved one ever knowing their fate. Now, with advances in DNA technology and anthropology and with new federal funding, the city medical examiner’s office has exhumed dozens of the bodies in a new push to identify several decades’ worth. It’s how Ben Maurer’s family finally learned that the 17-year-old had jumped to his death from a Manhattan building on June 25, 2002. His mother, Germaine, submitted his DNA to the medical examiner in 2009, when the first phase of the project began. The DNA was entered into a public database containing information on thousands of cases of missing and unidentified people - and matched a John Doe buried in the potter’s field on 101acre Hart Island on Long Island Sound. He was given a proper funeral near the family’s home in Piscataway, New Jersey, shortly after his remains were returned to them in 2009. “It meant everything,” said Jared Maurer, Ben’s 28-year-old brother. “It finally gave us closure to what had happened to Ben.” Jared Maurer said he frequently visits his brother’s gravesite. “I tell him I miss him, I tell him I love him,” he said. At any given time, there are 40,000 active missing and unidentified person cases in the United States. New York State accounts for 25 percent of those

cases, most of them in New York City. The identities of some of the bodies in the potter’s field are known, but their families are too poor to have them buried elsewhere. DNA samples weren’t regularly taken from all bodies until about 2006, so the only way to identify many bodies is to exhume them, once DNA samples can be matched up with a description of a corpse, like in Maurer’s case. Fifty-four bodies for which the medical examiner’s office had no DNA samples have been disinterred from Hart Island. The exhumation, performed by city inmates, is part of a larger effort to gather data on the unknowns. So far, 50 have been identified, including some who were exhumed. To date, the scientists have gathered data on more than 1,200 unidentified bodies and entered it into Namus, the public database that is run by the National Institute of Justice the research arm of the Department of Justice - that helped identify Maurer. DNA technology developed for the need to identify remains from the Sept 11 attacks and other disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, has contributed to a national push in recent years to identify unclaimed remains, said Benjamin Figura, a forensic anthropologist and director of identification at the medical examiner’s office. Bodies in advanced states of decomposition get an anthropological workup; the scientists determine age, ancestry, sex and height and identify any other unique features that could be helpful in identification such as tattoos, scars and prior surgeries. —AP

Cyber espionage expands in Iran BOSTON: The scope of a cyber espionage campaign targeting Iran and other parts of the Middle East has widened, even after security experts blew the operation’s cover last month, according to the research firm that discovered the Mahdi Trojan. Israeli security company Seculert said that it has identified about 150 new Mahdi victims over the past six weeks as the developers of the virus have changed the code to evade detection from anti-virus programs. That has brought the total number of infections found so far to nearly 1,000, the bulk of them in Iran. “These guys continue to work,” Seculert Chief Technology Officer Aviv Raff said via telephone from the company’s headquarters in Israel. The decision to keep the operation running implies that Mahdi’s operators were not particularly worried about getting caught, said Roel Schouwenberg, a senior researcher with Kaspersky Lab, which has collaborated with Seculer t in analyzing Mahdi. Schouwenberg said that some viruses are designed for stealth because they become useless if they are discovered. He pointed to the Stuxnet Trojan that targeted Iran’s nuclear program in 2010. After that customer-built virus was uncovered by a securi-

ty researcher in Belarus, authorities in Iran discovered it in a uranium enrichment facility that it had targeted. Mahdi is a “less professional” operation that runs on technology built with widely available software, according to Schouwenberg. “If the quality of your operation is not that high, then maybe you don’t care about being discovered,” he said. “But the scary thing is that it can still be effective.” The Mahdi Trojan lets remote attackers steal files from infected PCs and monitor emails as well as instant messages, Seculert and Kaspersky said. It can also record audio, log keystrokes and take screen shots of activity on those computers. The firms said they believed multiple gigabytes of data have been uploaded from targeted machines. Targets of Mahdi include critical infrastructure firms, engineering students, financial services firms and government embassies located in five Middle Eastern countries, with the majority of the infections in Iran, according to the two security firms. The bulk of the new victims were in Iran, which is where most infections have occurred to date, according to Seculert, though a few were identified in the United States and Germany. — Reuters

MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s electoral court is poised to confirm President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto’s victory in the July 1 ballot, despite allegations of vote buying and money laundering during the campaign, electoral officials and legal experts said. Leftist runner-up Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who lost the presidential election by 3.3 million votes, challenged the result, alleging that Pena Nieto’s party used slush funds to buy votes and breached spending limits. Lopez Obrador demanded that the electoral court void the result and the suit has left Mexico in political limbo for weeks, denying Pena Nieto a head start in building consensus on economic reforms in Congress, where his centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) failed to win enough seats for an outright majority. Electoral officials told Reuters the ruling is due by Thursday or Friday, although the court has until Sept 6 to decide on Lopez Obrador’s charges. Officials have said privately they do not expect Pena Nieto’s win to be overturned. The court said in a statement it had distributed a draft ruling to its seven member judges, but gave no details. Lopez Obrador has accused the PRI of buying some 5 million votes, and has publicly presented receipts and tax documents to allege that the PRI used shell companies to fund the fraud. Urban voters were showered with supermarket gift cards and mobile phone minutes while rural voters were plied with presents of fertilizer, cement and livestock, Lopez Obrador said. Pena Nieto, who is due to take office on Dec 1, has rejected the claims, which election experts say are nearly impossible to prove unless someone is caught in the act. Showing that a party handed out gifts does not prove that they coerced voters into casting a ballot for them, they noted. Parties can distribute gifts as part of their propaganda. Legal experts are adamant that Lopez Obrador, who also unsuccessfully challenged the result of the 2006 presidential election, which he lost by less than one percentage point, has failed to prove that irregularities occurred on a big enough scale to justify throwing out the result. “The issue is if it altered the general will, and what we have here are isolated cases,” said Jose Vargas, the former top prosecutor for electoral crimes in Mexico. TURNOUT BOOST The accusations revived memories of vote-rigging and corruption when the PRI ruled Mexico between 1929 and 2000. The PRI won a return to power partly thanks to higher support among the poor, who critics say are a soft target for vote-buying. In the poorest towns of Chiapas, Mexico’s most impoverished and southernmost state, the PRI’s coalition partner, the Green Party, was accused of orchestrating the drive to buy votes. In the poor mountain village of Santiago el Pinar, the Greens won the local elections held on July 1 even though

they had never received a single vote there before. “The night before the election, they came in offering people money. That is how they won,” said Lorenzo Gomez, a local resident. The Greens deny the accusations. Turnout was unusually strong in Chiapas during the election, surging 18 percentage points from the 2006 contest. In Santiago el Pinar, 93 percent of registered locals took part in the vote, about 30 points higher than the nationwide figure. Chiapas was among the states Lopez Obrador said had suffered the worst voter fraud by the PRI and its allies. But experts say he has not presented enough evidence to make his case stick. “The evidence is really weak,” said Luis Ugalde, who led the Federal Electoral Institute in 2006. He, like many analysts, say Lopez Obrador is trying to distract from the loss and defend his position as the leader of Mexico’s political left. LOW QUALITY DEMOCRACY Still, analysts agree that the allegations underscore Mexico’s slow political development, where few officials are convicted, or even face charges, in corruption scandals. “We have a low-quality

democracy,” Ugalde said. “Political impunity continues to be the same as before.” President Felipe Calderon’s National Action Party (PAN) has also said there were signs the PRI used suspect funds and bought votes, but it has not demanded that judges invalidate the election. Instead, they are calling for electoral reform. Luis Alberto Villareal, the PAN leader in Mexico’s lower house, said that his party would push legislation that would make breaking campaign spending limits grounds for annulling an election. Both Lopez Obrador and the PAN have alleged the PRI spent between 4 billion and 5 billion pesos (around $300 million to $380 million)— or about 13 times the legal limit-on the presidential campaign. Parties are often accused of securing funds via illegal private donations and siphoning funds from local governments. While the federal government has improved transparency, state and local finances remain opaque and corruption is widespread. The problems are aggravated by weak legal provisions to prosecute alleged financial crimes, said Edgardo Buscaglia, an expert on money laundering at Columbia University in New York.— Reuters

Condemned inmates go for comfort foods ALBANY: On death row, last meals tend to be high in calories and heavy on meat. French fries, soda, ice cream, hamburgers, chicken, steak and pie are commonly requested items among inmates imminently facing execution, according to Cornell University researchers who studied 193 last meal requests in the United States. The final meals of condemned prisoners are an enduring, if morbid, source of fascination whether those convicted of the most heinous crimes opted for a final lobster dinner or canned spaghetti. Requests vary greatly, but the Cornell researchers found some general trends in a quirky bit of research analyzing last meal orders. No surprise: Many last meal requests are tasty but unhealthy. More than two-thirds of the condemned ordered fried foods, mostly French fries, and they ordered dessert at about the same rate. Inmates were five times more likely to request soda than milk. The average meal request came in at an estimated 2,756 calories, more than a typical grown man needs in a whole day. Researchers estimated that four of the meal requests tallied more than 7,200 calories, including a request for 12 pieces of fried chicken, two buttered rolls, mashed potatoes with brown gravy, two sodas and a pint each of strawberry and vanilla ice cream.

Comfort foods were popular among the condemned. More than a third asked for the most popular meat, chicken, followed by hamburger (24 percent) and steak (22 percent). Four percent requested fast-food takeout from chains like McDonald’s, Wendy’s or KFC. Fruits and vegetables were much less popular, though more than a quarter requested a salad. Lead researcher Brian Wansink, who directs the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, said the popularity of comfort foods and name-brand products like Coca-Cola could reflect people trying to deal with extremely high stress by surrounding themselves with familiar food. “In some ways, this might be a way to bring the level of stress and negative excitement down to something that’s something a little bit more manageable,” Wansink said. “You don’t find people going for Neapolitan ice cream or for Chunky Monkey or Chubby Hubby. They go for chocolate; they go for vanilla.” Researchers said it’s also possible that some of patterns, like the paucity of vegetarian meals, could reflect the socio-economic backgrounds of people on death row. Researchers looked at 247 people executed in the United States from 2002 through 2006. All but two were men, and the average age at the time of execution was 43. —AP

Union nemesis basking in Republican applause TAMPA: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who made his name by fighting his state’s public sector unions, basked in a warm ovation at the Republican convention on Tuesday, his first victory lap on the national stage since surviving a recall vote on June 5. The 44-year-old has been a rising Republican star since taking office in January 2011 for his sledgehammer approach to cutting back union benefits. He is a favorite of the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement, one of the few to grab a speaking role at this week’s convention in Tampa, Florida. In June, Walker became the only US governor to survive a recall vote, raising almost $28 million in what became the most expensive election in Wisconsin history. His opponents also spent millions. “On June 5th, voters in Wisconsin got to determine who was in charge - was it the big government special interests in Washington or the hard-working taxpayers of our state?” Walker said, to cheers. “The good news is that - on June 5th - the hard-working taxpayers won.” Wisconsin has

become a focus of the run-up to the Nov. 6 general election. Walker’s recall triumph was considered the first big electoral test for President Barack Obama’s Democrats before Election Day. And US Representative Paul Ryan, the running mate of Republic presidential nominee Mitt Romney, is from the state. Wisconsin has gone from being a state that was likely to vote for Obama in November to becoming a competitive one for the Republicans. Walker used his short speech to praise Ryan. “With the announcement of Paul Ryan as his running mate, Governor Romney not only showed that he has the experience and the skill needed to become president, he showed he has the courage and the passion to be an exceptional president,” Walker said. The Wisconsin governor had already enjoyed a raucous standing ovation on Tuesday, when he spoke for the Wisconsin delegation during the afternoon roll call vote that formally made Romney the party’s presidential nominee. — Reuters

FLORIDA: Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker and Wisconsin delegates react as as Mitt Romney is nominated for the Office of the President of the United States at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.— AP



Hollande faces tough autumn as Popularity falls PARIS: His popularity sliding less than four months after being elected, Socialist President Francois Hollande is heading into a difficult autumn that will test public patience over France’s flagging economy. With divisions also starting to show in his inexperienced government, analysts say Hollande is looking vulnerable as he prepares to push through a deficit-cutting budget and face down union anger over mounting job losses. An IPSOS poll this week showed Hollande’s approval rating down 11 points in August to 44 percent, the lowest figure since he defeated incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in May’s presidential vote. Sarkozy had a 61 percent approval rating in the August after his 2007 election. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius admitted yesterday that disappointment with Hollande-who swept to power on vows of reviving France’s stagnant economy-had started to set in. “We have found ourselves in a very difficult economic and social situation. We

have begun making changes but it takes time, so there can be some disappointment,” Fabius told France Inter radio.”We have to explain what we are doing, clearly plot out the perspectives, carry out education and action at the same time,” he said. Analysts admit Hollande has been saddled with difficult circumstances. Hit by the eurozone debt crisis, France’s economy barely avoided entering a recession in the second quar ter. Unemployment continues to rise, with the number of jobseekers seeing its sharpest monthly increase in three years in July, hitting 2.99 million people. But experts said the government had to take some of the blame for the falling poll numbers. “Faced with public worries and expectations, the government has not done enough to give the impression it is tackling the situation head-on and has a strong and clear strategy to meet the crisis,” said IPSOS director Brice Teinturier.

The drop in popularity is bound to make things difficult for Hollande as he prepares a 2013 budget that must save more than 30 billion euros ($38 billion) to meet EU deficit reduction rules. The end of France’s traditional August holiday will also see the start of a fraught season of job cuts at major companies including carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen, whose announcement last month it was slashing 8,000 jobs shocked the country. Unions have warned they will not take the cuts lying down and France could be set for a return to labor unrest. The head of the powerful CGT union, Bernard Thibault said yesterday that the union was calling for demonstrations on October 9 “in defense of industrial jobs”. Protesters are also set to take to the streets in opposition to France’s adoption of the EU’s fiscal pact, which sets tough deficit guidelines and is up for debate in parliament. Farleft firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon has called on

supporters to rally in Paris on September 30 to demand a referendum on the pact. Keen to keep the public on side, Hollande’s government has offered measures including a tax cut to temporarily reduce the price of petrol by up to six euro cents and an increase in the ceiling on tax-free savings accounts. But analysts said the government is also being weakened by sniping between ministers in the first Socialist cabinet in a decade. Rows over France’s nuclear policy, the dismantling of Roma encampments and advertising on public television have all seen ministers publicly questioning each other. “The recent differences between ministers have probably also damaged the government’s image,” Teinturier said. Fabius suggested yesterday that some ministers needed to learn to keep their mouths shut. “We are not obliged to talk about everything, all the time and in every way,” he said. — AFP

Caucasus suicide bomber named as Russian widow Bomber was a Muslim convert

RUSTENBURG: An unidentified mine worker sings and dances during a gathering at the Lonmin Platinum Mine yesterday. — AP

South Africa, labor unions seek peace Striking workers’ resolve stiffened by killings RUSTENBURG: Feuding South African unions, platinum producer Lonmin and government officials tried yesterday to broker a peace accord at a mine where 44 people were killed in the worst such violence since the end of apartheid. They also want to use the meeting to start wage talks over the dispute that has paralyzed production at Lonmin’s Marikana mine and raised worries of unrest spreading through the country’s platinum sector, further shaking the economy. Bringing all the parties together to secure a symbolic peace deal could prove successful, but the strike at Lonmin’s Marikana mine, northwest of Johannesburg, may be far tougher to resolve. “If there is no 12,500 rand ($1,500) a month, no workers will be going back,” Zolisa Bodlani, a representative for the striking workers, said ahead of the meeting. Strikers say they have sacrificed too much to settle for less than their demands. Lonmin said it had an average 7.7 percent attendance across all shafts on Wednesday morning. Mining operations at Lonmin , the world’s third largest producer of platinum, have been effectively frozen for more than two weeks due to the labor strife, sending spot prices for the metal up and share prices for Lonmin down. The 3,000 strikers are mostly rock driller operators, who the company says are paid about 9,800 rand with an average monthly bonus of 1,500 rand. The killing of miners in the worst security incident since the end of apartheid in 1994 has steeled the resolve of strikers who see their dead comrades as martyrs and feel any compromise will be a sellout. Thirty-four were killed in a hail of police gun fire. Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were hacked to death days earlier. Many of the striking miners also do not have a recognized union bargaining on their behalf. Many have moved to the camp of the upstart and militant Association of

Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and it is not clear who is representing who in all cases. Some just wait in their shacks near the mine staying away until someone secures them a better deal. INTIMIDATION But almost all of the strikers feel the established National Union of Mineworkers has failed them - caring more about mine bosses and political leaders than the worker in shafts. The dominant NUM has been able to keep peace in the sector by typically limiting the duration of strikes to periods that do not cause major harm to the bottom line of mining firms or the purse strings of miners who lose out on wages. NUM represents about 11,000 of the 28,000 workers at Lonmin but it has not been able to get its members to return to their posts, with many too intimidated by possible attacks from AMCU members and strikers to go back to their jobs. Lonmin is within its rights to fire the 3,000 for launching an illegal strike, but three people were killed in a similar dispute at Impala Platinum earlier this year where it sacked workers for an illegal strike. Lonmin will be cautious of sparking more violence at Marikana, especially when it is facing a government investigation for its role in the deaths at the mine. With some of the highest labor costs in the sector, it will also be reluctant to hike personnel expenses, especially at a time when platinum miners are seeing their balance sheets strained by low spot prices. The African National Congress government also has its hands tied due to its close ties to labor federation COSATU, which has the NUM as its flagship union. Opposition politicians have criticized the ANC for being too concerned about increasing wages for COSATU members and not doing enough to end an income disparity that is among the worst in the world. —Reuters

Hundreds of civilians ‘massacred’ in Congo GENEVA: Rival armed groups may have killed hundreds of civilians in massacres and other “incomprehensibly vicious” attacks in eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), senior UN officials said yesterday. The violence is focused in North Kivu near the border with Rwanda where warring groups have targeted villages seen as supporting their opponents, while the national army has been diverted to fight a movement of mutineers known as M23. “The deterioration of the overall security situation in North Kivu following the M23 mutiny and related ruthless attacks against civilians is extremely alarming,” said Roger Meece, special representative of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Meece was cited in a United Nations report issued in Geneva as saying a new round of systematic killings of villagers appeared to have occurred in early August. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said allegations of hundreds of killings were still being verified, but preliminary investigations suggested that a large number of people, mainly women and children, had been slaughtered. “The sheer viciousness of these murders is beyond comprehension,” she said. The Congo government in Kinshasa this month rejected calls by other countries in the region for an exclusively African force to tackle the insurgency in the east. Congo says some of the insurgent groups have support from

countries such as Rwanda and Uganda - a charge both governments deny - and wants an expansion of the 17,000-member UN peacekeeping force in the vast, mineral-rich state. Pillay’s office in Geneva said its mission in Congo had recorded 45 attacks on 30 North Kivu villages since May by a group dubbing itself “Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda” or FDLR, and another called Raia Mutumboki. The FDLR is largely composed of ethnic Hutus, many of whom fled into the Congo after the defeat of a Hutu government widely viewed as responsible for the massacre of up to a million Tutsis and opponents of its policies in Rwanda in 1994. The movement sometimes stages attacks in alliance with another armed group, Nyatura, the United Nations says. Raia Mutumboki, largely composed of Congolese Tutsis but reinforced by others from Rwanda, according to the Congo government, says it is protecting the local population by attacking Hutus, whom it regards as foreigners. The UN force, known as MONUSCO, focuses on protecting civilians but has been forced to divert resources to tackle the fallout from fighting between the Congolese army and M23. That conflict has displaced nearly half a million people since the mutiny in April led to the formation of the rebel group that accuses Kinshasa of violating a 2009 peace accord. — Reuters

MOSCOW: An ethnic Russian woman, who was both wife and widow of Islamist militants, was named yesterday as the suicide bomber who killed a moderate Muslim cleric in the North Caucasus just as President Vladimir Putin was pleading for national unity. Tuesday’s assassination of Said Atsayev, 74, a prominent Sufi sheikh in the troubled province of Dagestan who had spoken out against violent Islam, heightened tensions which Putin, visiting another Muslim region, had been trying to calm. Police said Aminat Kurbanova had posed as a pilgrim to the cleric’s home and detonated an explosive belt packed with nails and ball bearings, killing Atsayev, herself and six others, including an 11-year-old boy visiting with his parents. A security source said the woman, aged either 29 or 30, was born with the ethnic Russian family name Saprykina but converted to Islam and was married to an Islamist militant. Two previous husbands, also militants, had been killed, the source added. Suicide missions by wives of fallen fighters, dubbed “Black Widows”, has been a feature of guerrilla groups from Chechnya and neighboring Muslim regions in the past decade. The bombing came as Putin was visiting Tatarstan, a Muslim region in central Russia. While there, he made a rousing call for religious and ethnic concord to counter extremism that has raised new concerns about the integrity of a vast nation which is home to a wide mix of faiths and cultures. “In Dagestan, sheikh and peace blown up,” read the front-page headline on Moscow newspaper Kommersant, which said 80,000 people attended the cleric’s funeral after

dark in his village. Widely respected, Atsayev had helped broker a pact this year to reconcile some radical Salafist Muslims with the mainstream. His death increased tension in Dagestan in particular, prompting an official day of mourning locally, though attacks occur almost daily. They are linked to an Islamist insurgency across the North Caucasus following two post-Soviet wars pitting the Kremlin against separatists in neighboring Chechnya. The province also saw a

DAGESTAN: This undated photo shows Amanat Kurbanova, a 30-year-old suicide bomber who killed an influential Muslim cleric in Dagestan Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012. — AFP

bloody incident on Tuesday, in which a border guard killed seven fellow soldiers at a frontier post before being shot dead. Some Russian media suggested the killer may have been recruited by Islamist militants, but officials said the matter was still under investigation. PUTIN PLEDGE Though some ethnic Russians have fought alongside the Islamists in the North Caucasus, the killing of Atsayev, also known as Sheikh Said Afandi Al-Chirkavi, appeared to be the first such case of an ethnic Russian suicide bomber. Insurgents in Dagestan frequently attack government and security officials and have also increasingly targeted traditional mainstream Muslim leaders who are backed by the authorities. Atsayev was among the most prominent of these. Putin owed some of his initial popularity to his launching, when prime minister, of a second war against Chechen separatists in 1999. He then swiftly succeeded Boris Yeltsin as president. Now, the 59-year-old leader, who started another six-year presidential term in May, is eager to prevent the militant Islam that has flourished during the insurgency in the Caucasus from gaining ground in other regions with large Muslim populations. “We will not allow anyone to tear our country apart by exploiting ethnic and religious differences,” Putin said on Tuesday in Tatarstan, a long-peaceful region with substantial oil reserves, where the senior officially backed Muslim cleric was wounded last month and one of his deputies killed. — Reuters

Case sours Ukraine’s relations with EU, US Tymoshenko loses appeal, stays in Ukraine jail KIEV: A Ukrainian high court rejected an appeal yesterday by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko against her conviction for abuse of office, leaving her in jail and Ukraine’s relations with the West severely strained. Tymoshenko’s defense lawyer said the ruling by a three-judge panel had been steered by President Viktor Yanukovich for political reasons. “These findings have no relation to justice,” Serhiy Vlasenko told journalists after judge Olexander Yelfimov ruled that lower courts had delivered “correct decisions on the crimes of Tymoshenko.” “This is a decision of Yanukovich to keep Tymoshenko in prison,” Vlasenko said. Western leaders condemned the sevenyear prison term meted out to the 51-year-old opposition leader in October as political persecution, and blocked strategic agreements on political association and a free-trade zone with the European Union. But despite months of chiding by the EU and the United States, which see Tymoshenko as a victim of selective justice, Yanukovich has refused to act to secure her release. No one had expected her to be released yesterday. Tymoshenko, recognizable for her peasant-style hair braid and known for fiery rhetoric, was not in court because of persistent back trouble which has kept her confined to a state-run hospital in eastern Ukraine. About 300 of her supporters gathered outside the courtroom, chanting slogans such as “Yulia - Freedom!” and “Keep convicts inside and get Yulia out!” They lowered a mock coffin into the ground outside the courtroom to symbolize the death of justice. In tough remarks last Friday, Yanukovich said he would not negotiate integration with the EU at the price of allowing it to interfere in her case. The continued incarceration of Tymoshenko - by far the most vibrant opposition figure on Ukraine’s political landscape - is certain to figure as a major issue in an Oct 28 legislative election. Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions goes into that election with the government highly unpopular over reforms that have increased taxes on small businesses and raised retirement ages, and it will have to work hard to retain its majority. The abuse of office conviction relates to a gas deal that Tymoshenko brokered with Russia in 2009 when she was prime minister. The Yanukovich government says the agreement was reckless and saddled Ukraine with an enormous price for strategic supplies

KIEV: Supporters of former Ukranian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko hold her picture as they protest in front of the court yesterday. — AFP

of gas which is taking a toll on the stressed economy. SHAMEFUL Tymoshenko has denied betraying the national interest, with her lawyers arguing that the gas negotiation with Russia was a political act which did not amount to a criminal action. Ukrainian state prosecutors said Tymoshenko’s guilt was clearly established at her trial last year. In yesterday’s judgment, the three-member panel said: “The judges of the court have reached the conclusion that the appeal cannot be satisfied ... The judges believe that the previous courts reached correct decisions on the crimes of Tymoshenko.” Tymoshenko’s daughter Yevgenia, who has sought international support for her mother’s cause, told journalists: “ Today we again received a shameful decision which proves that a dictatorship is establishing itself in Ukraine.” She said the ruling would be the basis for a fresh appeal to the Strasbourgbased European Court of Human Rights

(ECHR). The authorities have ignored Western criticism and piled up fresh charges against Tymoshenko for alleged past misdeeds. In a separate trial, which has been adjourned several times because of Tymoshenko’s ill health, she is accused of embezzlement and tax evasion going back to alleged offences when she was in business in the 1990s. Lawyers for Tymoshenko pressed her case at the ECHR on Tuesday, arguing that her pretrial detention had been unlawful and that she had been subjected to degrading treatment in prison. The former prime minister was a leader of the 2004 Orange Revolution protests against sleaze and cronyism in Ukraine that derailed Yanukovich‘s first bid for the presidency. She served two terms as prime minister under President Viktor Yushchenko, but the two fell out and their partnership dissolved into bickering and infighting. She narrowly lost to Yanukovich in a run-off for the presidency in February 2010 after a bitter campaign. — Reuters



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Kasab: The Mumbai gunman awaiting hanging MUMBAI: Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, labeled the “Butcher of Mumbai”, is a school drop-out waiting to be hanged in India for his role in the 2008 attacks on the city. The 24-year-old Pakistani national was one of two heavily armed gunmen who opened fire and threw hand grenades at Mumbai’s main railway station on November 26, 2008, killing 52 people and wounding more than 100. He was born in the dusty village of Faridkot in a remote and impoverished region of Punjab in Pakistan’s farming belt, home to 10,000 people, most of them farmers and laborers and few of them literate. His father, Mohammed Amir Iman, ran a food stall in the village. Kasab dropped out of school in 2000 and worked as a laborer in the eastern city of Lahore until 2005, according to his initial confession to police, which was widely published in India. He first pleaded not guilty but later made a confession, admitting being one of the 10 gunmen trained, equipped and financed by the banned Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Kasab reportedly said he joined the Islamist group to get weapons training after

deciding to embark on a life of crime but there have also been claims that his father duped him into doing it for money. The Supreme Court in New Delhi yesterday upheld his death sentence, leaving him with a final appeal to the president to save him from death by hanging. “He fits the profile if you look at the terrorists recruited by Lashkar-e-Taiba,” Wilson John, senior fellow at New Delhi’s Observer Research Foundation and a specialist in extremist groups said. “They come from lower-middle class or poor families. They’re not entirely uneducated, just a little bit educated, they’re unemployed and looking for a job. They’re not religiously inclined but they can be brainwashed. “He was a prime target.” When his trial began in 2009, Kasab at first appeared relaxed, dressed in either a T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms or a traditional kurta-pyjama, joking or smiling at lawyers and reporters. But he seemed increasingly sullen, withdrawn and even asleep as the trial progressed, prompting fears for his mental state. He showed no

emotion in the dock when he was pronounced guilty of murder and waging war on India. Since his conviction, he has been held in a high-security jail in Mumbai. When his Supreme Court appeal began in January, he issued a statement saying he had been denied a fair trial. Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam characterized Kasab as a shrewd and calculating operative, describing him as a “human shape” with no feelings or emotion. While pushing for the death penalty, Nikam dwelt on the apparent smile Kasab wore while firing on travelers in the train station and his reported regret at arriving late at the target because he had missed the commuter rush. His defense lawyer, K P Pawar, sought to persuade the court that Kasab was a susceptible young man who had been brainwashed. “He was mentally defective (at the time of the attacks) and the effect impaired his ability to appreciate the impact of his conduct,” Pawar told the court during discussions about his sentence. “He’s a human being of flesh and blood, that should not be forgotten,” he added.—AFP

MUMBAI: Activists of Shiva Sena shout slogans as they celebrate after India’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab Kasab, the only surviving gunman of the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks in Mumbai yesterday. —AP

India politician guilty of murder in Gujarat riots Court convicts 32 in 2002 religious riots

AHMADABAD: Former Gujarat minister and a member of India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Maya Kodnani is escorted towards a police vehicle to be taken to prison after a court verdict in a 2002 religious violence case, in Ahmadabad yesterday. —AP

‘Hitler’ clothing store stirs anger in India NEW DELHI: The owner of an Indian clothing store said yesterday that he would only change its name from “Hitler” if he was compensated for re-branding costs, amid a growing row over the new shop. The outlet, which sells Western men’s wear, opened 10 days ago in Ahmedabad city in the western state of Gujarat with “Hitler” written in big letters over the front and with a Nazi swastika as the dot on the “i”. “I will change it (the name) if people want to compensate me for the money we have spent-the logo, the hoarding, the business cards, the brand,” Rajesh Shah said. He put the total costs at about 150,000 rupees ($2,700). Shah insisted that until the store opened he did not know who Adolf Hitler was and that Hitler was a nickname given to the grandfather of his store partner because “he was very strict”. “I didn’t know how much the name would disturb people,” he told AFP by telephone from Ahmedabad. “It was only when the store opened I learnt Hitler had killed six million people.” Members of the tiny Jewish community in Ahmedabad condemned the store’s name, while a senior Israeli diplomat said the embassy would raise the matter “in

the strongest possible way.” “People use such names mostly out of ignorance,” Israel’s Mumbai Consul General Orna Sagiv said. Esther David, a prominent Indian writer in Ahmedabad who is Jewish, said she was “disturbed and distressed” by the shop, but added that some Indians used the word “Hitler” casually to describe autocratic people. David said Jewish residents had sought to change Shah’s mind about the store’s name and told him about the Holocaust. The row evoked memories of a controversy six years ago when a Mumbai restaurant owner called his cafe “Hitler’s Cross” and put a swastika on the hoarding, claiming Hitler was a “catchy” name. The restaurant owner eventually agreed to change the name after protests by the Israeli embassy, Germany and the US Anti-Defamation League. Hitler attracts an unusual degree of respect in some parts of India, with his book “Mein Kampf” a popular title in bookshops and on street stalls Gujarat schoolbooks issued by the Hindu nationalist state government were criticized a few years ago for praising Hitler as someone who gave “dignity and prestige” to the German government. —AFP

AHMEDABAD: One of the two Indian owners of the Hitler clothing store Rajesh Shah-poses in front of his shop in Ahmedabad. —AFP

AHMEDABAD: An Indian court yesterday convicted a former state minister and 31 others of murder during one of the worst massacres in religious riots in Gujarat in 2002. Maya Kodnani, who served as a minister in Gujarat’s Hindu nationalist state government from 20072009, was found guilty over the killing of 97 Muslims in the Naroda Patiya suburb of the city of Ahmedabad. Out of 61 people facing charges, 32 were found guilty of murder and 29 were acquitted, prosecution lawyer Shamshad Pathan said. A leader of a local extremist Hindu group, Babu Bajrangi, who was filmed by an Indian news magazine in 2007 describing setting families on fire, was also among the convicted. “More than 90 people lost their lives, mostly children and ladies, all of them were defenseless,” public prosecutor Akhil Desai said, adding that he would push for the death penalty when sentences are handed down tomorrow. “If some of the accused are lucky enough to escape the death penalty, I will ask for life imprisonment, not for 14 years but for the rest of their lives,” he told reporters. Kodnani, who served as child and human development minister under Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi until her arrest in

2009, broke down in tears as the guilty verdict was pronounced, as did relatives waiting outside the court. Modi’s proximity to Kodnani is likely to be an embarrassment for a politician widely thought to have prime ministerial ambitions but whose reputation was tarnished by

widely criticized for failing to stop them, but has consistently denied charges of wrong-doing. The violence was triggered by the deaths of nearly 60 Hindu pilgrims in a February 2002 train fire that was initially blamed on a mob of Muslims. Hindus hungry for

AHMEDABAD: An unidentified convicted Indian prisoner consoles his son from inside a police vehicle in Ahmedabad yesterday, after his conviction for murder. —AFP the blood-letting only a few months after he was elected. The 61-year-old from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who is unable to gain a visa to the United States because of the riots, has been

revenge rampaged through Muslim neighborhoods across Gujarat in an orgy of violence that marked some of India’s worst religious riots since independence from Britain in 1947.

Human rights groups say more than 2,000 people, mainly Muslims, were hacked, beaten or burned to death, while government figures put the death toll at about 1,000. Last year, a court in Gujarat found 31 Muslims guilty of murder and conspiracy charges for causing the train fire, but a national enquiry in 2005 concluded that the blaze was an accident and cast doubt on much of the police evidence. Yesterday’s verdicts came after final arguments in April following a trial that saw 327 witnesses called to give evidence. More than 100 others have been convicted for killing Muslims during the riots. In 2008, the Supreme Court ordered the re-investigation of nine of the most sensitive incidents during the riots, including the initial train fire and the violence in Naroda Patiya. Bajrangi, in an interview taped by news magazine Tehelka, confessed to helping orchestrate the killing in Naroda Patiya where homes were set on fire and some Muslims were set ablaze while hiding in a pit. “In Naroda and Naroda Patiya, we didn’t spare a single Muslim shop, we set everything on fire, we set them on fire and killed them,” he said, according to a transcript available online. —AFP

Egypt activists urge justice for civilians jailed by army courts New president under pressure to act faster CAIRO: Mohamed Fawzy was just 21 when he was jailed by an Egyptian military court for 25 years, accused of stealing refrigerators. “Since his arrest last year, I have been exhausted and hysterical,” said his mother Sabreya Fahmy, choking back tears. “I could kneel at the president’s feet to bring me back my innocent son.” At least 12,000 civilians have gone before army courts in the security vacuum that followed the fall of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, according to the campaign group No to Military Trials, and at least 5,000 are still in jail. Many of those jailed were arrested in the protests that erupted during the 18 months an interim military government was in charge in Egypt, and some have even been tried since civilian President Mohamed Morsi took office in June. Morsi has pardoned 630 civilians on the recommendation of a committee he formed to study the cases of 2,165 prisoners. The committee said the cases of the remaining prisoners needed to be investigated further. Activists want the remainder to be released or at least referred to civilian courts for retrials. Until Morsi acts, they say, his claim to champion the cause of last year’s Arab Spring uprising will be open to question. “It is shameful that President Morsi, who rose to power because of these civilians’ struggle and the time they are spending in jail, is sitting in his palace eating with his family, while we have no clue what has become of the people inside those prisons,” said prominent activist Ahmed Domma. They also say the situation is a direct - and dangerous - challenge to Morsi, Egypt’s first elected head of state in 5,000 years. Morsi earlier this month dismissed the country’s top generals in a bold show of power after 60 years of military leadership. “The military is still continuing to sentence people and use military tribunals as if it is saying to the president you are not the only one in power,” said Salma Abdel-Gelil, a member of No to Military Trials. Activists have long complained that military trials were used by Mubarak to secure convictions that might not have been possible in more open and accountable civilian courts.

A QUESTION OF PRIORITIES Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, the socially conservative movement from which he hails, came late to the uprising against Mubarak that was begun by liberal and leftwing activists. While voicing the same commitment to democracy as those of revolutionaries, and pressing the army to stick to its timetable for elections, the Brotherhood generally avoided direct confrontation with the generals when they were temporarily in charge. To its critics, the Brotherhood has shown more dedication to the pursuit of power than to human rights and the rule of law. “The track record of the Brothers during this period is characterized by promises broken and silence in the face of abuses, such as military trials for civilians and the application of the emergency law for most of the SCAF’s tenure,” Michael Wahid Hanna of The Century Foundation wrote in Foreign Policy, referring to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. “The Brothers, in tandem with the SCAF, also sought to tarnish those intent on continuing the protest movement through mass mobilization and public actions,” he said. Mubarak’s overthrow and the election of Morsi has transformed Egypt’s stale politics. But many Egyptians say the unreformed security forces still disregard the basic rights of citizens. Activists say the use of torture by security officials is still common, though officials in the past have routinely denied such practices are routine and say any allegations of torture are properly investigated. WE WERE LUCKY Karim El Kennany, a member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, said he was detained and beaten last month on charges of insulting an army council member during a demonstration near the house of a general in Cairo. “We were just standing silently holding up posters about the constitution,” said Kennany, 26. “On my way home some plainclothes men tied my arms, blindfolded me and threw me to the ground. They just kept

beating us, unthinkingly. “We found ourselves on a floor of a civilian jail that housed dangerous criminals. The truth is we found among those criminals more humanity than the officers and informants. “We were lucky that our party backed us and helped us, but there are thousands inside those jails that nobody knows anything about,” said Kennany. On Aug 12, Morsi pensioned off Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak’s defense minister for 20 years, replaced the chief of staff and cancelled constitutional provisions that conferred wide powers on the army leadership. The move gave Morsi powers rivaling those of Mubarak. It also removed any doubt that he would be able to release or retry the detainees facing military trial. “It gives us new grounds to push for all our demands,” said Abdel-Gelil of No to Military Trials. “Now he has the legislative and executive power to take the actions he should have taken from the start.” Campaigners say a new constitution being prepared must bar military courts from trying civilians - a practice employed under Mubarak to muzzle Islamists and other political opponents. At the moment, an army decree still allows troops to arrest civilians on drug charges or on the vague crime of “thuggery”. Mohamed El Zarea, a rights lawyer and member of the committee Morsi appointed to review the military trial cases, said the body would recommend a civil retrial of all the civilian cases it is handling when it issues its final report, due by the end of August. Critics of the process say the committee risks overlooking the many others detained by the army in often chaotic and arbitrary round-ups. Others say Morsi seems to be looking after his political allies first; last month he pardoned at least 17 Islamists jailed for militancy during the Mubarak era. “Morsi is biased because the youth in those jails are not part of his political current,” said Samir Ghattas, head of the Middle East Forum, a Cairo-based think tank dealing with regional issues. —Reuters


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Inter-Korean ‘postman’ reconnects split families SEOUL: In a cramped and tiny office in the South Korean capital, an 80-year-old man displays letters postmarked “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” in pale red ink. The imprints with North Korea’s official name testify to Kim Kyung-Jae’s success in reconnecting some of the tens of thousands of family members separated for decades by the world’s last Cold War frontier. There are no civilian mail or phone connections across the closely guarded inter-Korean border, and many do not even know whether their loved ones are still alive. Sporadic reunions arranged by the two sides since 2000 have brought together only a fraction of those seeking news, and have been halted because of political tensions. Kim and his colleagues in a nine-member foundation called the Separated Family Union try to bridge the gap, using the postal systems of third countries or brokers.

Kim sends about 70 to 80 letters and packages every year to North Koreans at the request of families in the South. It takes roughly 30 days for letters to arrive and another 30 days for a reply to come back. In the case of letters, Kim mails them from Japan, where he is based. But Tokyo restricts the contents of packages to the North to comply with UN sanctions, so those are sent through China. Brokers handle their passage through the Chinese postal system and are also used to track down long-lost family members. For the professional intermediaries who cross the border between China and North Korea, a home town is all that is necessary to discover whether relatives are still alive, and if so, their address. “Most letters don’t contain any secrets or criticism of the (North’s) communist regime because they are all subject to screening,” said Kim, speak-

ing at the foundation’s office in Seoul. But sometimes letters cannot be sent by a public route, in which case Shim Goo-Seob, cofounder of the foundation, takes over and arranges for a broker to make a more unorthodox delivery. The document could be tied to a rock and thrown over a narrow section of the Yalu river border with China, or sneaked through in a container truck. Until a few years ago all postal traffic was one-way, with South Koreans looking for relatives in the North. But now many North Koreans are seeking family members across the border through the brokers, Kim said. “The main reason is because they miss them, but partly it’s also because the brokers leak information that South Koreans are rich and can send necessities and money,” he said. “Relatives in the North ask us to send anything from rubber to used clothes, but what they want most is medicine for

disease, mostly tuberculosis, and food to combat malnutrition.” Basic household items are also in demand. “Things that we have, like scissors and knives? They don’t have them,” said Kim. Brokers take about 30 percent commission if transferring money, and charge roughly 230,000 won ($203) to deliver a 20kilogram package through the Chinese post. Despite the high commission and the difficulties, families in the South keep sending packages because they make such a difference in the poverty-stricken North. “They (Northerners) always send letters saying the small efforts and money we’ve put in here has made a big difference there,” said Kim. “Southerners think they know how bad the situation is there, but it’s a whole lot worse than it appears. Things that are trivial to us here can be of great use there.” South Koreans who receive a letter from the North

for the first time usually burst into tears out of pity at the plight of their relatives, he said. Kim himself left the North in 1950, the first year of the Korean War, with all his brothers. But he had to leave his youngest sister behind. He was 19 and she was eight. “That’s the last time we saw or talked to each other until 1990, when I miraculously heard her address (through an acquaintance allowed to visit the North) and we started exchanging letters,” said Kim. The foundation’s work is supported by donations from private companies and funds from the South’s unification ministry. Kim wants to send as many letters and packages to the North as he can, until his dying day. “It’s unrealistic to hope the two Koreas will be unified while I’m alive,” he said. “But I long for freer communication between families because I want to help my sister and other families reunite.” — AFP

Japan’s opposition censures PM Noda Prime Minister chided over territorial spats

SEOUL: A woman is pictured at a beach covered with garbage and equipment used for abalone farming in the aftermath of Typhoon Bolaven yesterday. — AFP

Toll from South Korea typhoon goes up to 18 SEOUL: South Korean rescuers yesterday recovered two more bodies near two wrecked Chinese fishing boats, bringing the confirmed death toll from a powerful typhoon to 18. Typhoon Bolaven-the strongest to hit the South for almost a decade-left a trail of death and damage in southwestern and south-central regions of the country. It drove two Chinese fishing ships aground early Tuesday off the southern island of Jeju, sparking a dramatic rescue operation. Coastguards wearing wetsuits struggled through high waves and pulled a total of 12 people to safety, and six swam ashore. Eight bodies had been recovered as of yesterday and seven were still missing, the coastguard in Jeju said. Dozens of divers are involved in the ongoing search. The coastguard said in a statement it would make “utmost efforts” to account for all the missing. Most of the other deaths, confirmed by the public administration ministry, were caused by wind gusts that toppled walls or roofs or blew victims off their feet. Typhoon alerts covering most of the country were lifted as ferries and flights returned to normal and schools reopened. But South Korea is now on watch for another typhoon, Tembin.

Bolaven moved on to North Korea, damaging crops and toppling some 3,700 roadside trees, the North’s official news agency said. Human casualties were not reported. In North Hwanghae Province, the typhoon deactivated television relay facilities and destroyed or damaged some 20 houses and public buildings, the agency said, adding that “a lot of houses and roads” were submerged in other provinces. Bolaven crossed the Yalu border river into China early yesterday. In South Korea, the typhoon was the strongest since 2003 in terms of wind speed. A maximum speed of 214 kilometres per hour (134 miles per hour) was recorded at Mount Mudeung in the southwestern city of Gwangju. Power cuts of five minutes or longer hit nearly two million homes, a record in the country, the public administration ministry said. The storm toppled nearly 8,000 trees and damaged 42 ships or boats and 35 houses. A total of 6,418 hectares (15,852 acres) of farmland was damaged. Typhoon Tembin, located about 350 kilometres northeast of the Taiwanese capital Taipei early yesterday, is approaching South Korea at a speed of 20 kilometres an hour. — AFP

Slain dictator’s daughter turns to mother’s legacy OKCHEON: Park Geun-hye was 22 years old when she washed the blood from her assassinated mother’s dress. Five years later, she recalls in her autobiography, she held her father’s blood-soaked shirt after the South Korean strongman was shot dead. Now, both hampered and helped by the contrasting legacies of her murdered parents, the 60-year-old Park appears on the cusp of becoming South Korea’s first female president. Park was chosen as presidential candidate for the ruling conservatives last week and polls show she is the front-runner for a December election. For some South Koreans, it is the memory of Park’s father, Park Chung-hee, that comes to mind when they think of her. He was a military dictator whose 18year rule dragged the country out of poverty but at the cost of human rights. He is still a controversial figure in the now-prosperous Asian industrial power. Park’s opponents will aim to tar her with his brush in the election race. But it is recollections of her mother, Yuk Young-soo, once known as “the mother of the nation”, that look set to help propel Park into the presidential Blue House. Yuk is remembered for acts of charity that included a famous visit to a leper colony where she shook hands and embraced the sick. She remains South Korea’s most popular first lady by far, polls show. For many South Koreans, Park’s frugal lifestyle as a single woman living in a modest home in the capital, Seoul, as well as her simple clothes and 1970s hairstyle bring her mother to mind. “Park looks like her mother, when she greets people and smiles,” one supporter, Lee Young-ho, told Reuters, sitting under the curved roof of Yuk’s old home in the town of Okcheon, where she lived until she married Park. Lee should know. A former soldier and Vietnam War veteran, Lee was a member of the presidential guard in the 1970s and worked closely with the Park family. The traditional Korean house where Lee spoke has become a shrine to Yuk with hundreds of people visiting every day. Lee, now 68, is an official with Park’s New Frontier Party and has also co-authored a

biography of Yuk. He is confident Park can maintain her double-digit lead in the polls and win an election victory which, he says, would somehow make up for the sacrifices. “A kind of debt can be paid back when Park becomes president.” Yuk was 49 when, on Aug. 15, 1974, she was killed by a stray bullet when a pro-North Korean assassin opened fire at her husband. Witnesses said the skies turning “reddish-purple” upon her death. Memorial ceremonies are held on the anniversary at her grave in Seoul and in Okcheon, 170 km from the capital. Thousands of people attend. MOTHER’S DREAM Although her family’s story is so well known, woven as it is into the fabric of the country’s modern history, Park herself, who made two previous bids to win the conservative presidential nomination, is deeply private and cautious about her politics. She disappeared from public life in 1979 after the assassination of her father by his intelligence chief, only to resurface in 1997 to “help save” the country from a devastating Asian financial crisis. She has never clearly defined her policies on issues such as taxation, spending and welfare. She says she shares her mother’s vision of a more equal society and has pledged to work for that. “It was my mother’s dream and her dream is now mine,” she said at her mother’s memorial service this month. Critics say she has failed to apologize sufficiently for her father’s rule. She said her father’s 1961 coup was “unavoidable and the best possible choice”. At the same time, she says she has always been “apologetic” to victims of her father’s brutal push for industrialization, when he crushed opposition in an effort to drive export-led growth. Her likely opponent in the election, former human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in, who forged his political credentials in the pro-democracy movement, accuses Park of being a throwback to dictatorship. “When I was living in poverty she was living the life of a princess in the Blue House,” the left-ofcentre hopeful said when he declared his candidacy. —Reuters

TOKYO: Japan’s opposition-controlled upper house passed a censure motion yesterday against Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, piling more pressure on him to make good on the promise to call an early election “soon”. The reprimand is non-binding, but effectively means that the opposition will stop cooperating with the government on most bills, including key ones on deficit financing and voting reform that need opposition votes to pass. The motion passed easily, with 129 votes in favor and 91 against. Jeers rang out in the chamber as members derided the prime minister’s foreign policy and demanded to know when he would call the election. Noda promised this month to call an election to parliament’s lower house as the price for opposition support for his plan to raise the sales tax to offset rising social security costs. But to the growing frustration of his rivals, he has since been coy on the timing of the vote and last week brushed off as speculation reports that he had suggested a November date in his talks with opposition leaders. No one expects the parliament to serve its full term that ends in August 2013, but many of Noda’s Democrats want to push back the vote as opinion polls show they would lose badly. By threatening to stall the bill that the government needs to cover the bulk of its fiscal deficit and 40 percent of all spending, the opposition hopes to finally win his unequivocal commitment. Five months into this fiscal year, the government has made do by dipping into reserves and making other adjustments. But Finance Minister Jun Azumi has warned that the government could run out of cash by early October if the bill fails to pass. In its censure motion that it later merged with one submitted by smaller parties, the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party accused Noda and his government of incompetence in handling state matters. In particular, it called recent territorial spats with South Korea, China and Russia a “national crisis” caused by incoherent foreign policy. One opposition member said Noda’s policies had contributed to a loss of trust in the gov-

SEOUL: A South Korean woman puts on a mask of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda during a rally against Japan’s sovereignty claims over the disputed islets called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese yesterday. — AP

ernment. The opposition New Komeito party originally supported the motion but boycotted the vote because it felt it ran counter to an earlier agreement to cooperate with the Democrats to raise taxes and reform the welfare system. The Democrats on Tuesday passed the deficit-financing bill in the lower house they control and an election reform bill to correct a bias that favors rural districts. However, the opposition boycotted both votes, signaling the bills had little chance of clearing the upper house. SNAP POLL Several ruling party and opposition lawmakers have suggested that Noda would probably wait out the stalemate until the current parliament session ends on Sept 8 and call a snap vote during an extra session in October to secure the bills’ passage. An elec-

tion is likely to end the Democrats three-year rule, though opinion surveys suggest the poll may fail to produce clear winners, given the high percentage of undecided voters and general disillusionment with mainstream parties. The Democrats, a mix of conservatives, centre-left lawmakers and ex-socialists, swept to power in August 2009, pledging to change how Japan was governed after more than 50 years of almost non-stop rule by the conservative LDP. Three years and three prime ministers later, critics say the Democrats have largely failed to deliver on promises to reduce bureaucrats’ control over policymaking and pay more heed to families. The party has also suffered defections over the tax increase and is divided as Noda tries to devise a national energy policy amid a growing anti-nuclear clamor after last year’s Fukushima atomic disaster. — Reuters

Rift in Myanmar over draft investment law ‘Oligarchisation’ of Burma’s economy YANGON: Protectionist clauses introduced by Myanmar’s parliament to a long-awaited foreign investment law have sparked concern the legislation will scare off foreign companies and benefit the crony capitalists who have long dominated its economy. Two sources with direct knowledge of the law say President Thein Sein wants to make it attractive to foreign investors and his office has been working behind the scenes to convince lawmakers to ease restrictions introduced by parliament, which could approve the draft this week. The law, crucial to foreign investment in one of Asia’s last frontier markets, has been stuck in Myanmar ’s bicameral parliament for five months. Sources involved in the issue say 94 changes have been recently introduced, ostensibly to help domestic small and medium-sized enterprises compete. New requirements for as much as $8 million in start-up capital and barriers for foreign joint ventures in 13 restricted sectors could ultimately force some foreign firms to reconsider investing in Myanmar, say officials with ties to the president. “It will just benefit a handful of the businessmen who had already made a fortune,” said a senior industry official with close knowledge of the drafting process, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Since the suspension of most Western sanctions as a reward for economic and political reforms, many foreign businesses have held off committing to investments despite praising Myanmar’s potential in sectors from tourism to timber, oil and gas. Coca-Cola Co, hotelier Marriott International Inc, automakers Suzuki Motor Corp and Ford Motor Co and tech firms Panasonic Corp and Toshiba Corp have expressed interest in entering Myanmar. Many multinational executives say they want regulatory clarity in a market dominated for decades by tycoons with ties to wellconnected generals - a tightly knit circle of cronies who face competitive threats as the government seeks to liberalize the economy and introduce greater transparency. The overhaul of the law puts restrictions on 13 sectors, limiting foreign firms to a maximum 49 percent investment. The restricted sectors include manufactur-

ing, farming, agriculture and fisheries. The law would require foreign firms to put up between $5 million and $8 million in start-up capital for a 35-49 percent stake in joint ventures with a Myanmar partner. The revised law also requires that local companies match or contribute more capital than their foreign partner, a clause that could play into the hands of Myanmar’s cronies, some of whom remain blacklisted by Western governments because of ties to the former military junta. ‘FLEXIBLE’ APPROACH URGED Sean Turnell, an expert on Myanmar’s economy at Australia’s Macquarie University, said the draft’s changes represented a backlash to the reform process by entrenched vested interests, which had prevailed in some other post-transition countries. “Instead of moving to a more liberal economic environment, some within the

country seem to be pushing towards an outcome that could see the effective ‘oligarchisation’ of Burma’s economy,” he said. Another source familiar with the law said the President’s Office was being kept informed of the work of parliamentary committees tasked with handling the legislation and had relayed to lawmakers concerns about the impact of proposed changes. In consultation with his advisers, Thein Sein had urged a more “flexible” approach. That would include dropping the $5 million start-up capital requirement and increasing foreign shares in joint ventures in the restricted sectors, the source said on the condition of anonymity. The investment law is one of the biggest pieces of legislation handled by a parliament that has become increasingly vocal under the leadership of lower house speaker, Shwe Mann, a decorated former general and an influential powerbroker. —Reuters

SYDNEY: Office employees walk in Sydney’s central business district yesterday. The Economist Intelligence Unit liveability ranking of 2011 and July 2012 city ranking report shows Sydney’s ranking has been consistently placed in the top 10 liveable cities in the world, scoring well for having low pollution levels and abundant green space. — AFP



Samsung unveils new Windows Phone, Note

BERLIN: Jean-Daniel Ayme, vice president European Telecom Operations at Samsung Electronics, explains the new Galaxy Note II features at a Samsung Mobile Unpacked 2012 event yesterday. — AP

Still, the flood defenses built around New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina held up under the battering from Isaac, the US Army Corps of Engineers said. The flood control system is “performing as designed. We are confident in the system,” the corps said in a statement. The Army Corps of Engineers rebuilt the 133-mile system of levees, pump stations, floodwalls and surge barriers that surround New Orleans after levees failed during Katrina, seven years ago Wednesday, swamping the city. An elaborate $14.4 billion overhaul is still underway. But storm-driven waters spilled over a levee south of New Orleans and inundated a residential area that had been ordered evacuated, a local official said. The flooding in Plaquemines Parish, part of a tongue of land extending into the Gulf of Mexico south of New Orleans, saw water deluge over a levee on the east bank of that strip. Even a relatively high-lying area that had never flooded in a hurricane is now under 1.5 m of water, Nungesser told National Public Radio. Nungesser said damage from Isaac in some areas was worse than that wrought by Katrina. He cited his home as an example. “I stopped there to change clothes earlier. Part of my roof is missing. The back wall has moved and the water is being pushed through the bricks into the house,” he said. Nungesser added: “I don’t know who is calling this a category one but this is no category one.” About 65 people were stranded in Plaquemines, officials said. Local TV station WWL spoke to a handful who were taken to dry land by boat. They looked shocked and exhausted. One man clutched a little dog. “It’s horrible. Everybody’s house is gone. Nobody’s got a house in Braithwaite,” Cheryl Hicken said as she climbed out of the boat. “The water is over my head.” Sharon Sylvia said she’d spent the night trapped on her roof, calling for help that didn’t arrive until morning. “Water’s over the

top of the roof,” she told WWL. “We had to break through the ceiling and out through the attic. It’s very bad down there. Very bad.” Elsewhere in the city powerful winds knocked over trees and ripped down power lines, leaving some 512,000 people without power, according to Entergy Louisiana, a local utility. More than 4,000 members of the Louisiana National Guard had been mobilized, with 48 boat teams deployed around New Orleans, according to the office of Governor Bobby Jindal, who had warned residents to prepare for the worst. US President Barack Obama, travelling in Colorado, was receiving regular updates on the storm but does not plan to change his schedule, the White House said. As of 1500 GMT yesterday, the eye of the storm was about 78 km southwest of New Orleans, moving inland, the center said. While most New Orleans residents heeded calls to hunker down in their homes, a steady stream of adventurous souls had headed Tuesday to the banks of Lake Pontchartrain to feel the power of the wind and watch the crashing waves. The timing of the storm had many here on edge. “It brings back a whole lot of memories,” said Melody Barkum, 56, who spent days stranded on a roof without food or water after Katrina struck. “I’m not afraid. If I can survive Katrina, I can survive this.” Katrina left behind a devastating sprawl of destruction and death when it hit New Orleans on August 29, 2005, and a bungled response by the Bush administration tarnished the president’s second term in office. Some 1,800 people were killed along the US Gulf Coast and in New Orleans thousands were left stranded on the roofs of their houses for days after Katrina’s storm surge smashed levees long-warned to be inadequate. Those who made it to dry land faced deadly violence and looting as the city descended into chaos and officials failed to provide water and food - let alone security and medical aid - in the sweltering heat. —AFP

UN chief hits Iran on human rights, nukes Continued from Page 1 Israel has never acknowledged having nuclear weapons but is widely believed to have a large arsenal. Ban arrived in Tehran yesterday for a three-day visit to attend a meeting of some 120 non-aligned nations. He defied calls from the United States and Israel to boycott the event. “On the nuclear question ... he said that he regretted that little tangible progress has been achieved so far,” Nesirky, speaking by telephone from Tehran, told reporters in New York. “He said that Iran needed to take concrete steps to address the concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency and prove to the world that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes,” Nesirky said. Ban also condemned what Nesirky called “recent rhetoric we have heard from all kinds of quarters” about a possible Israeli or US militar y strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran says its program is peaceful, but Western powers and their allies fear it is aimed at developing atomic weapons. Iran has been hit with four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for refusing to halt its nuclear enrichment program. On Syria, Ban urged Iran’s leaders to use their influence to call on Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad to end the violence and create conditions for “credible dialogue and a genuine political process that meets the will of the Syrian people”. “The secretary-general reiterated his opposition to the further militarization of the conflict and called on all states to stop supplying arms to all sides in Syria,” Nesirky said. The UN leader reaffirmed his comments that Iran has “an important role” to play in any solution to the Syria conflict, which activists say has left about 24,000 dead. Ban expressed concern about the human rights situation in Iran and also said that he strongly objected to recent remarks by Iran’s leaders on Israel. Earlier this month

Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system, but is not the same product. Windows 8, which will run on tablets and PCs, is scheduled to launch on Oct 26. Samsung did not have the phone on display at a large media event in downtown Berlin, where it showed off tablets using Windows 8 software and also unveiled the second generation of its popular Galaxy Note phone-cum-tablet, setting high hopes for its success. “I am pretty confident it will even outsell its predecessor,” said JK Shin, Samsung’s chief of mobile business. Samsung has sold some 10 million of its original Galaxy Note devices, creating a new product category which has smaller screen than tablets, but bigger than smartphones. Samsung hopes the new device will take the focus away from its loss of the court case. Apple is now seeking speedy bans on the sale of eight Samsung phones, moving swiftly to turn legal victory into tangible business gain. The Galaxy Note phablet, one of the most popular Samsung devices after its flagship Galaxy S, is not included in the list of the potential US sales ban, and Samsung hopes the phablet upgrade will lift any post-Apple gloom at the South Korean group. — Reuters

Assad says more time needed to win battle

Isaac batters US coast Continued from Page 1

BERLIN: Samsung Electronics launched the world’s first smartphone using Microsoft Corp’s latest mobile software yesterday, only days after losing a crucial patent battle with Apple Inc. The surprise announcement at an electronics show in Berlin came a week before Nokia, which has a close partnership with Microsoft, is due to unveil its new Lumia smartphones in New York. A US federal jury found last week that Samsung had copied critical features of the iPhone and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages. The decision led to speculation that Samsung and other handset makers using Google Inc’s Android system would be drawn toward Microsoft’s phone software, which Apple has not targeted with any patent complaints. “This is just the first in a big lineup of new hardware that’s coming with Windows Phone 8, but it’s a seriously impressive opening salvo,” wrote Microsoft executive Ben Rudolph on a company blog showing off the new phone, called the ATIV S. Microsoft gave a preview of its new phone software, called Windows Phone 8, in June, and promised the first phones would be on the market by the autumn. Windows Phone 8 looks similar to, and is built on the same core code as

Ahmadinejad said there was no place for the Jewish state in a future Middle East and Khamenei said Israel would one day be returned to the Palestinian nation and would cease to exist. “He said such offensive and inflammatory statements were unacceptable and should be condemned by all,” Nesirky said. Leaders from many of the world’s developing states will gather in Tehran from today for the two-day summit expected to sharply attack the policies of the United States and other top developed countries. Host nation Iran, in particular, is hailing the NAM meeting as a blow to Western efforts to isolate it over its disputed nuclear activities. Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will open the summit with a speech to more than 30 heads of state or government, including Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, and the leaders of India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Sudan and Zimbabwe, according to organisers. North Korea, Venezuela and Syria - all Iranian allies - will be represented by senior officials but not their top leaders. Key issues on the agenda include: a condemnation of Western sanctions on Iran and other NAM countries, a new push to quell the conflict in Syria, and a reaffirmation of calls to make UN decision-making more globally democratic. Support for the creation of a Palestinian state, and discussion of terrorism, nuclear non-proliferation and human rights will also feature, according to documents considered by foreign ministers and experts earlier this week in preparation. As he left for Tehran on Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh referred to the NAM’s desire to see power shifted from the UN Security Council to the broader UN General Assembly. “The outdated structures of global governance have not been able to keep pace with contemporary political and economic challenges” and reform was needed, he said. Singh added that he would also hold bilateral

meetings with Iranian leaders. India is the second-biggest buyer after China of Iranian oil, which is hit by Western sanctions. The NAM, created in 1961 by a group of nations that saw themselves as nonaligned with Cold War rivals the United States and the Soviet Union, today counts 120 nations, including “Palestine”. It represents nearly two-thirds of the UN’s 193 member states -which explains why UN chief Ban will be also present in Tehran as an observer, despite criticism from Israel and the United States. Ban will meet Khamenei, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other officials and press them to take “urgent” action on their nuclear drive and on human rights. Other obser vers to the summit include envoys from Russia and China - and from Australia, which is vying for a temporary UN Security Council seat. Morsi’s appearance will be the first time a leader from Egypt has set foot in Iran since 1975. The two countries broke diplomatic ties in 1979, the year Cairo took in Iran’s toppled shah following the Islamic revolution, and signed a peace accord with Israel. Morsi will be staying just four hours in Tehran, according to his spokesman. That will be enough time to transfer the three-year NAM presidency from Egypt to Iran, but likely not enough to establish the sort of ties that Iran wants with the Islamist-minded Egyptian president. Morsi is also expected to promote his idea of a contact group on Syria that would include regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, which are supporting the opposite sides in the Syrian conflict. With the Palestinian cause one of the recurring themes of NAM meetings, Iran has also had to step carefully, excluding allied Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya to avoid a boycott by Haniya’s internationally recognised rival, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. — Agencies

Continued from Page 1 Turkey’s Anatolia news agency. He was speaking before leaving for New York to attend UN Security Council meeting on refugees today. Assad also mocked regime defectors, saying their departure amounted to a “selfcleansing of the government firstly and the country generally”. Syria’s government has been rattled by several high-profile defections as the conflict has escalated, including former prime minister Riad Hijab and prominent General Manaf Tlass, an Assad childhood friend. “Despite several mistakes, there is a strong bond” between the regime and the Syrian people, Assad insisted, boasting the support of the majority of the population. Syrian rebels, meanwhile, said they destroyed five helicopters in a raid on a military airport between the northern cities of Aleppo and Idlib yesterday, while state television said the attack was repelled. Abu Mossab, a rebel who said he took part in the attack, told AFP via Skype that rebels shelled Taftanaz military airport with two tanks captured from the army and

destroyed five helicopters. “We destroyed five helicopters as well as buildings in the airport,” Abu Mossab said, although the facility remained in army hands after the raid in which the rebels lost two men before withdrawing. State television said the military repelled the attack with the airport suffering “no material damage”. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights earlier reported fierce fighting near the airport and helicopter raids on the nearby town of Taftanaz. Initial reports indicated government troops suffered 14 casualties in Taftanaz, while two rebels and a civilian were killed elsewhere in Idlib province, it said. And in Damascus, activists reported a third straight day of army attacks on rebel strongholds in the eastern outer belt of the city, collectively referred to as East Ghuta. State media said “terrorist mercenaries” had killed four civilians in Zamalka, using its term for rebels fighting government forces since the anti-regime uprising broke out in March 2011. They had “murdered citizens, including women and men, under the eyes of inhabitants... The terrorists then gathered the bodies of the victims and put

them in a mosque in Qadi Askar” district, the SANA news agency said. It said the assailants had planned to blow up the mosque and then blame the attack on government forces. State-run newspaper Tishrin said Tuesday’s car bombing of a funeral in Damascus was an indication that the “terrorist” groups have reached “a very advanced stage of despair and bankruptcy”. The bombing hit Jaramana, a mainly Druze and Christian town on the southeastern outskirts of Damascus that the Observatory described as generally supportive of Assad’s government. Russia yesterday called for an impartial investigation into the latest “barbaric” violence in and around Damascus. “We insist on a meticulous and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the latest tragic events” using the resources of the United Nations’ newly opened office in Damascus, the Russian foreign ministry said. It singled out the car bomb and the discovery of several hundred bodies near the Damascus suburb of Daraya on Sunday that the rebels charge was the result of a massacre by regime forces. — AFP

Arabs may not target Israel at IAEA meet Continued from Page 1 They expressed concern that an Arab move against Israel would discourage the Jewish state from attending the talks due to be held later this year on a nuclear armsfree Middle East. An Egyptian plan for an international meeting to lay the groundwork for the possible creation of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction was agreed at a review conference on the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2010. “Submission of the resolution may send the wrong message from the Arabs to the process of 2012,” the Arab source said. But the Western official organising the conference, Finnish diplomat Jaakko Laajava, said in May he had yet to secure the needed attendance of all countries in the region. “It is a very fragile process that needs to be launched,” one European diplomat said. “Singling out Israel would not at all be helpful, would be counterproductive.” Israel is widely believed to possess the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, drawing frequent Arab and Iranian condemnation. The Jewish state is the only Middle Eastern country outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Israel and the United States regard Iran as the world’s main proliferation threat, accusing Tehran of covertly seeking a nuclear arms capability, something the Islamic state denies. Arab states scored a diplomatic victory in 2009 when IAEA members narrowly endorsed a resolution urging Israel to join the NPT and place all its atomic sites under agency supervision. Brought up again in 2010 to keep up pressure on Israel, the resolution was defeated after a bruising diplomatic battle, in which Washington and its allies argued that zeroing in on Israel would harm any hope of banning nuclear arms in the region. In June this year, Arab states asked for the “Israeli Nuclear Capabilities” issue to be put on the conference agenda, but it remains unclear whether they will fol-

low that with a proposed resolution or refrain, as they did in 2011. Israel’s refusal to become party to the NPT or to place its nuclear installations under IAEA safeguards is “exposing the region to nuclear risks and threatening peace”, they said. Israel has never confirmed or denied having nuclear weapons under a policy of ambiguity aimed at deterrence. It says it would only join the NPT after a comprehensive Middle East peace settlement. If it signed the 1970 NPT pact, it would have to renounce nuclear weaponry. An Arab resolution aimed at Israel would “undermine any genuine attempt to promote confidence and security in the Middle East,” Israel’s ambassador to the UN nuclear body, Ehud Azoulay, said in a letter to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. Meanwhile, the nuclear watchdog has set up a specialised Iran Task Force to handle its inspections and investigation of the Islamic state’s disputed atomic activities, an internal document showed yesterday. The brief announcement by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), addressed to its staff, appeared to be an attempt to focus and streamline its handling of the sensitive Iran file by concentrating experts and other resources in one unit. The UN agency, which regularly inspects Iran’s nuclear sites, has voiced growing concern over the last year of possible military dimensions to the country’s nuclear program. Tehran says its nuclear work is entirely peaceful. The IAEA and Iran failed on Friday to strike a deal aimed at allaying concerns about Tehran’s nuclear program and unblock a long-stalled agency probe into suspected nuclear weapons research in the Islamic Republic. Bellicose rhetoric from some Israeli politicians has fanned speculation Israel might hit Iran’s nuclear sites before the November US presidential vote. Washington has said there is still time for diplomatic pressure to work, but it might be drawn into any war between the two Middle East foes. — Agencies

Romney wraps up nomination Continued from Page 1 She delivered her side of the bargain, blending a targeted pitch to vital women voters with a personal narrative about Mitt that dwelt largely on their all-American love story, their wholesome family and his winning attitude. “This man will not fail,” Ann Romney said in an address beamed live into American living rooms just 10 weeks before voters go to the polls. “This man will not let us down. This man will lift up America!” After a series of wealth-related gaffes during the campaign, she invoked their love story as high school sweethearts as she sought to portray them as an everyday couple who shared hardships just like other Americans. “It has been 47 years since that tall, kind of charming young man brought me home from our first dance. Not every day since has been easy. But he still makes me laugh,” she said. “You can trust Mitt... He loves America. He will take us to a better place, just as he took me home safely from that dance.” Earlier, in a state-by-state roll call of delegates on the convention floor that

reflected the results of the Republican primary elections, Romney soared past the 1,144 threshold to formally earn the nomination. But an ABC News/Washington Post poll released late Tuesday found that Romney still lags in favorability, with 40 percent of Americans viewing him “favorably overall” while 51 percent view him as unfavorable. That’s considerably worse than Obama, who enjoys a 50-47 percent rating, and Romney’s is the lowest favorability rating of any major party nominee at the time of the convention since at least 1984, the pollsters said. Charismatic Governor Chris Christie followed Mrs Romney on stage, giving a keynote address that praised his own accomplishments in New Jersey and failed to hide his ambitions for a potential presidential run in 2016. While rarely attacking Obama directly, he sought to contrast the Republican and Democratic approaches to addressing the country’s skyrocketing public debt. “We believe in telling hard-working families the truth about our country’s fiscal realities. Telling them what they already know - the math of federal spending doesn’t add up,” he said. “(The Democrats) believe

that the American people don’t want to hear the truth about the extent of our fiscal difficulties and need to be coddled by big government.” The convention kicked off earlier Tuesday with the usual blend of political theater and razzmatazz despite the hurricane bearing down on New Orleans, which derailed Monday’s opening and still threatened to cast a pall over proceedings. Many Americans do not tune in until the convention season starts - Obama and the Democrats hold theirs next week in Charlotte, North Carolina - so Tampa provides Romney with a golden opportunity to buff up his image. The run-up to the convention was marred by incendiary remarks from Todd Akin, a Republican congressman seeking a Senate seat in Missouri, who suggested women’s bodies spontaneously prevent pregnancy after a “legitimate rape”. The Romney camp, which roundly condemned the remarks, is keen to get back on message, pressing the case that the former Massachusetts governor understands the economy better than Obama and knows how to get the country back on track. — AFP





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No easy path to peace in Colombia By Frank Bajak olombian President Juan Manuel Santos has claimed to have “the key to peace” in his pocket since assuming the presidency two years ago in a nation afflicted by an internal conflict for nearly a half century. Now he’s pulled it out. Santos announced in a brief televised address on Monday that “exploratory talks to seek an end to the conflict” are under way with Latin America’s oldest and most potent rebel band, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Confirming the long-rumored talks after a crescendo of media reports, Santos gave no details about what would be the fourth serious attempt since the early 1980s to negotiate an end to the government’s conflict with an insurgency founded when he was 13 years old. It is a conflict whose roots are as complicated as the prospects for its resolution. The last peace effort ended in disaster in 2002, after three years of talks in a Switzerland-sized safe haven ceded by then-President Andres Pastrana. The rebels, known by their Spanish-language initials FARC, never agreed to a cease-fire. Nor did they stop kidnappings for ransom or trafficking in cocaine. Much has changed since. A USbacked military buildup called Plan Colombia launched in 2000 morphed from counternarcotics to largely counterinsurgency, helping Pastrana’s successor, Alvaro Uribe, badly weaken the FARC. More than $8 billion in aid has flowed from Washington to Bogota since. The FARC’s ranks were roughly halved to about 9,000 today as the Colombian army’s newly created mobile brigades backed by Black Hawk helicopters and, later, US-made unmanned aerial vehicles, made hiding more difficult. The rebels were largely pushed into Colombia’s least populated provinces, forced into classic guerrilla hitand-run tactics. Since 2008, three senior FARC leaders have been slain in military raids, including top commander Alfonso Cano last year, and the rebels have freed all “political prisoners” while other captives have been rescued. Kidnappings and murders have dropped progressively. Homicides, for instance, have fallen from 67 murders for every 100,000 Colombians in 1996, when the FARC controlled nearly half the countryside, to 36 per 100,000 people last year. The FARC, a peasant-based movement rooted in internecine 1950s political bloodletting known as “La Violencia”, also lost support abroad, with the European Union joining the United States in deeming it an international terror group. The murderous far-right militias created in the 1980s by ranchers and drug barons to counter FARC kidnapping and extortion have also been weakened. Blamed for more than 50,000 killings, they are now largely gone, having demobilized under Uribe. He extradited most of their top leaders to the United States, where they were wanted for drug trafficking. Peace gestures have been made by both sides. In February, the FARC said it was halting ransom kidnappings. In June, Colombia’s congress passed a “peace framework” law setting parameters for amnesty and pardons for rebel commanders. And Santos has vowed to return land stolen mainly by far-right militias to Colombia’s internally displaced, who number in the hundreds of thousands. But hostilities have not ceased, and Santos said Monday that “operations and the military’s presence on every centimeter of national territory will continue”. No Colombian officials have confirmed whether, as the Venezuelan-based Telesur TV network reported, a pre-agreement was signed in Havana on Monday to begin talks in Norway in October. The FARC has not specified what it would seek in talks. Even its ideology is unclear. It has called for a more equal distribution of wealth but has shied away from the Marxist rhetoric it used in Cold War days. Santos’ announcement has Colombians buzzing with high hopes for peace. “The time is now, now or never. Dialogue is the only path that’s left,” Omar Rodriguez, a 40-year-old produce wholesaler in Bogota, said Tuesday. “In war there are no winners. Everyone loses.” Yet there are skeptics. Alfredo Rangel, who was national security adviser to then President Ernesto Samper in the mid1990s when the FARC were at their military height, is among them. “It would have been preferable if these dialogues were initiated with an indefinite cease-fire, unilateral and definitive on the FARC rebels’ part,” he said. “The idea of dialogue in the midst of confrontation is an idea whose weaknesses have been evident, its limitations bringing increases in violence.” One factor surely on the minds of FARC leaders is Hugo Chavez. The US-bashing president of neighboring Venezuela has long quietly provided top rebel leaders with refuge, Colombian officials have said. Chavez is up for re-election Oct 7 and faces his stiffest challenge since first winning office in 1998. He also underwent treatment for an unspecified cancer in Havana and his long-term prognosis is unknown. How much the FARC’s fate is entwined with Chavez’s remains unclear, however. The movement has, after all, outlasted the end of the Cold War by more than two decades. — AP


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China’s aircraft carrier: In name only By David Lague hen Japanese activists scrambled ashore on a disputed island chain in the East China Sea this month, one of China’s most hawkish military commentators proposed an uncharacteristically mild response. Retired Major General Luo Yuan suggested naming China’s new aircraft carrier Diaoyu, after the Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea. It would demonstrate China’s sovereignty over the islands known as the Senkakus in Japanese, he said. For a notable hardliner, it was one of the least bellicose reactions he has advocated throughout a series of territorial rows that have soured China’s ties with its neighbours in recent months. More typical was General Luo’s warning in April that the Chinese navy would “strike hard” if provoked during a dispute with the Philippines over Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. One possible reason for General Luo’s restraint, military analysts say, is he knows it could be towards the end of the decade before China can actually deploy the new carrier to the disputed islands or any other trouble spot. Despite public anticipation in China that the carrier - a refitted, Soviet-era vessel bought from Ukraine - will soon become the flagship of a powerful navy, defence experts say it lacks the strike aircraft, weapons, electronics, training and logistical support it needs to become a fighting warship. “There is considerable uncertainty involved, but it could take anything from three to five years,” said Carlo Kopp, the Melbourne, Australia


based co-founder of Air Power Australia, an independent military think tank. The refitted carrier, commonly known by its original name, Varyag, returned to Dalian in northeast China last month after its ninth sea trial, according to reports in the official Chinese media. Some Chinese military researchers had speculated earlier that it would be commissioned into the navy this year. However, senior People’s Liberation Army officers have played down these expectations, making it clear the 60,000-tonne carrier was far from operational readiness and would undergo an extensive schedule of trials and exercises. “The Great Wall wasn’t built in a day,” Colonel Lin Bai from the General Armaments Department, was quoted as saying on official government news websites after the Varyag returned to port. Even when the Varyag is operational, it will only have a limited operational role, mostly for training and evaluation ahead of the anticipated launch of China’s first domestically built carriers after 2015, military analysts say. Reports in unofficial Chinese military blogs and websites say China planned to build these carriers at Jiangnan Shipyard’s Chanxing Island shipbuilding base near Shanghai. However, professional and amateur analysts who study satellite images of Chinese shipyards have been unable to find any evidence of construction. In its annual report on the Chinese military published earlier this year, the Pentagon said construction may have started on some components of the indigenous carriers. While an effective carrier may be years away, the program has become a symbol of

China’s three-decade long build-up that has seen a sprawling land-based force with largely obsolete weapons transformed into a trimmed down, better trained military with modern warships and submarines, strike aircraft and an arsenal of precision missiles. For the Chinese navy, the addition of carriers has been a top priority as it builds a force capable of deploying far from the Chinese mainland. Senior commanders have long argued these warships would enhance Beijing’s capacity to enforce claims over Taiwan and hotly disputed territories in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Chinese military analysts have speculated the Varyag will be based at China’s new naval base at Yalong on the southern tip of Hainan Island, close to the disputed Spratley and Paracel Island groups. Carriers and their longrange strike aircraft would also enhance the PLA’s capacity to protect key sea lanes that carry China’s massive foreign trade, they say. The commissioning of complex and expensive warships has considerable domestic propaganda value for the ruling Communist Party as a demonstration that China is becoming a top-ranked naval power. The US Navy’s fleet of 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers allow it to control vast areas of the earth’s surface and airspace. Only a handful of other nations including Britain, France, India and Russia deploy militarily effective carriers. “Aircraft carriers are incomparable and cannot be replaced by other weapons,” wrote Senior Captain Li Jie, a researcher at the Chinese Naval Research Institute in an Aug 21 commentary published on websites linked to the Chinese military. “If a big power wants to

become a strong power, it has to develop aircraft carriers.” China originally bought the Varyag in 1998 claiming it wanted to turn the ship, which had been stripped of its engines and anything of military value, into a “floating casino”. The extended period of trials and preparations for the carrier suggests it has yet to get it on a wartime footing, let alone close the technological gap with more advanced navies. One major challege China faces is building a fleet of specialized fixed wing aircraft and helicopters to operate from a carrier’s flight deck. China is working on developing a new strike aircraft, designated the J-15, that appears to be a reverse-engineered version of Russia’s Su-33 fighter, according to photographs and video footage published on Chinese websites. The Su-33 is the Russian jet that would have flown from the carrier if it had joined the Soviet navy. China already has fully imported and domestically built versions of similar Russian fighters, but experts say adapting flight control software, avionics, weapons, radars and airframes for much more demanding carrier operations is complex and expensive. “There are a whole range of engineering and operational tasks the Chinese need to work through before they have an aircraft they can reliably operate from a carrier,” says Kopp, who studied China’s aircraft carrier aviation program for a research paper his think tank published earlier this year. What appeared to be a mock-up of the J-15 was seen on the Varyag’s flight deck when it berthed at Dalian last month.— Reuters

Romney hopes to regain message control By Charles Babington or a man basing his presidential hopes on a jobs-and-economy message, Mitt Romney has spent an inordinate amount of time on other issues, from abortion to the federal Medicare program to bad weather. Many of the distractions have been beyond Romney’s control, including a Republican congressman’s blunder about rape, and the hurricane that essentially wiped out onefourth of the Republican nominating convention. Others were of Romney’s own doing. Whatever the cause, Republican strategists fear precious time has been lost, and they are eager to use the convention’s remaining days to regain control of Romney’s message - and to throw President Barack Obama into the defensive posture they think he deserves. Much of Tuesday’s prime time, especially the speech by Romney’s wife, Ann, was devoted to trying to put a more human face on the candidate. Other speakers highlighted the nation’s 8.3 percent unemployment rate, seen as Obama’s biggest political liability, and the crucial topic that has often slipped to the sidelines in recent weeks. “I guarantee you Barack Obama is the happiest guy in the United States that we’re talking about this,” former Mississippi Gov Haley Barbour told MSNBC this week, referring to yet another discussion of Rep Todd Akin’s claim that “legitimate rape” victims can somehow purposely avoid becoming pregnant. “Because when we’re talking about this, we’re not talking about unemployment, we’re not talking about a terrible economy,” Barbour said. Barbour and others acknowledge that Republicans can’t defeat Obama solely by addressing the economy. They must hit broader issues such as Medicare, and Romney must use the election’s final 70 days to connect more deeply and warmly with voters. But top advisers in both campaigns agree that Obama’s stewardship of the economy is the overriding issue. That’s why Republicans winced at the Aug 19 remarks by Akin,


Missouri’s Republican Senate nominee, and other events that wrenched control of the campaign story line from Romney’s hands. On July 26, Romney got his much-anticipated foreign trip off to a bad start, angering Britons by questioning their readiness for the London Olympic Games. It was the start of a misstep-filled trip. He lost the storyline for a day at least a month later, off-handedly alluding to the discredited notion that Obama is foreign-born. “No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate,” Romney told Michigan voters. He later called the remark an innocent joke, but the hoopla surrounding it drove political headlines - just days before his convention was to convene. Such gaffes might

seem minor. But political strategists hate to see any day pass without helping shape the story. “With two months to go until the election, every day that’s not spent focused on the economy and jobs is a net loss for Romney,” said Republican consultant John Ullyot. Romney took a calculated risk on Aug 11, assuring that Medicare - historically a topic Republicans approach warily - would dominate the debate for days or even weeks. He chose as his running mate Wisconsin Rep Paul Ryan, author of the House of Representatives Republicans’ sweeping budget plan. It calls for phasing out Medicare’s defined-benefit component, and giving future retirees a sum of money to help buy health insurance.

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov Mitt Romney, watches as his wife Ann Romney (left) and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stand and applaud during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Tuesday in Tampa, Florida. — AFP

Democrats denounce the proposal, saying it will end a long-cherished protection for older Americans. Campaign strategists disagree on whether the Republican ticket got a political boost from focusing on ways to slow Medicare’s growth in future years. There’s no disputing, however, that the decision placed comparatively less attention on this year’s economy and jobless rates. And there’s no question that two major events beyond Romney’s control - Akin’s remarks about rape, pregnancy and abortion, and Hurricane Isaac’s march toward New Orleans as the convention got started - deprived Romney’s team of multiple chances to hammer at Obama’s jobs record. By refusing pleas from Romney and other party leaders to quit the Senate race, Akin made sure his head-turning comments would overshadow other issues for days. Just as the Akin hubbub was dying down, Isaac began churning its way up the Gulf of Mexico. Monday’s schedule for the Tampa convention, which was to focus on attacking Obama’s record, had to be scrubbed. And Republican officials weighed options to dial back the rest of the convention’s intensity, out of respect for possible storm victims. Some Romney supporters are less alarmed than others. They say it has been clear for months that a singular focus on jobs was not moving Romney ahead of Obama in the polls. Romney’s and Ryan’s attention to Medicare was wise, they say, and the foreign trip was essential, even if imperfectly executed. Election Day is 10 weeks away. Medicare, foreign policy and gauzier questions such as “vision” and “likability” will play roles in its outcome. But many Republicans say the struggling economy remains their best issue by far, and Romney can ill-afford another series of distractions like those from the midsummer. “For the Romney campaign, every second not spent talking about the economy has an opportunity cost,” Mackowiak said. “That cost increases as the campaign winds down.” —AP


sp orts Conte files another appeal ROME: Juventus coach Antonio Conte has launched a second appeal against a 10-month ban over a match-fixing scandal that may keep him out for the whole Serie A season, Italyís sporting federation (CONI) said yesterday. Conte asked that the appeal be fast-tracked and the ban be temporarily suspended while it is being reviewed, a statement on CONIís website ( read. This is the final appeal Conte can make to a sporting tribunal. No details were given for how long a ruling would take. Conte, who led Juventus to the Italian title in his first season in charge last term, was banned on Aug. 10 for failing to report two incidents of match-fixing in the 2010-11 season when he was coach of then Serie B side Siena. In an appeal ruling announced on Aug. 22, he was cleared for failing to report one of the incidents, but the ban was upheld.

Cash-strapped Romanian side thumped 31-0 in cup BUCHAREST: Cash-strapped Romanian second division side CS Buftea paid the price for fielding a side of teenagers when they were thumped by the astonishing scoreline of 31-0 by third-tier ACS Berceni in a Romanian Cup match. Buftea celebrated promotion to the second division in May but a team containing predominantly under-19 players were on the wrong end of a goal deluge in the fourth preliminary round match. Buftea, located 20 km north-west of capital Bucharest, conceded 19 goals in the second half of Tuesday’s match. Local media reported the loss as a record defeat in Romanian soccer. “I’m ashamed to tell you the score,” ACS Berceni president Stephen Stana told local media. “But it’s not our fault that they disregarded the competition.”

Kessiakoff wins Vuelta leg 11 PONTEVEDRA: Joaquin Rodriguez clung to the Spanish Vuelta’s red jersey as overall leader ahead of Alberto Contador after finishing seventh in yesterday’s time trial, won by Swedish rider Fredrik Kessiakoff. Kessiakoff took yesterday’s 39.4-kilometer 11th stage individual sprint by 17 seconds over Contador. Christopher Froome finished 39 seconds behind the Astana cyclist’s winning time of 52 minutes, 36 seconds to sit 16 seconds back of Rodriguez in third overall. Contador moved ahead of Froome into second in the overall standings but couldn’t over take Rodriguez after the leader finished 1:16 behind Kessiakoff to retain a onesecond lead over 2008 champion Contador. Alejandro Valverde was fourth, 1:08 back, to sit 59 seconds back of Rodriguez. The 21-stage, three week race ends in Madrid on Sept 9.

Hughes, Swisher lift Yankees NEW YORK: Phil Hughes had another fine start at home, Nick Swisher extended his torrid streak with an RBI single and New York handed Ricky Romero his 11th straight loss Tuesday night with a 2-1 victory over Toronto. Hughes (13-11) won his sixth consecutive decision at Yankee Stadium, giving up only Adeiny Hechavarria’s first major league homer in seven innings. He allowed four hits and walked three. Rafael Soriano bounced back from a blown save Monday night, when he gave up a go-ahead homer to Colby Rasmus with two outs in the ninth, by working a perfect inning to finish the four-hitter for his 34th save in 37 tries. Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly to help the Yankees to their fifth win in 12 games. They beat Romero (8-12) for the third time during his winless skid. The left-hander has not won in 12 starts since June 22. The Blue Jays have provided little help, though, giving him just 17 runs of support in his last 10 starts.

PITTSBURGH: Pittsburgh Pirates’ Josh Harrison (left) lands after he collided with St Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina on a play at the plate in the second inning of the baseball game in Pittsburgh. Harrison was out, but Molina had to leave the game. — AP

Cardinals roughed up in 9-0 loss to Pirates PITTSBURGH: Pedro Alvarez homered twice and drove in four runs, James McDonald scattered two hits over seven innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St Louis Cardinals 9-0 on Tuesday night. Alvarez hit a two-run homer in the third to give the Pirates a comfortable lead, added an RBI double in the fourth and then hit a 469-foot drive to center in the sixth. He went 4 for 5 as Pittsburgh drew within two games of the Cardinals in the race for the NL’s second wild-card spot. McDonald (126) gave up two hits, walked one and struck out six to beat Jake Westbrook (13-10) for the second time in two weeks. The Cardinals played most of the game without catcher Yadier Molina, who sustained neck, back and shoulder injuries in a violent collision at home plate with Josh Harrison. MARLINS 9, NATIONALS 0 Stephen Strasburg gave up a careerhigh seven runs in five innings and firstplace Washington’s losing streak reached five games when the Nationals were beaten by Ricky Nolasco and last-place Miami. Nolasco (10-12) allowed five hits in his third career shutout and eighth complete game. Strasburg (15-6) came into the game with a streak of 27 consecutive scoreless innings against Miami in five starts since last September. But he gave up a homer to his second batter, Justin Ruggiano, and trailed 5-0 by the third inning. Strasburg, who had won his past four starts, allowed five earned runs, gave up nine hits and struck out only three. He leads the NL with 186 strikeouts. The youngster is expected to make perhaps four more starts before the Nationals shut him down for the year to protect his surgically repaired elbow. The Nationals began the night with baseball’s best record, but they’re saddled with a losing streak that matches their season high. REDS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 2 Johnny Cueto scattered four hits over seven innings for his major league-leading 17th win and Cincinnati beat the slumping Arizona Diamondbacks. Cueto (17-4) gave up two runs, struck out one and walked five for his eighth victory in nine decisions. The right-hander lowered his NL-leading ERA to 2.48. Ryan Hanigan hit a two-run single and Todd Frazier added a two-run triple for the Reds, who won for the third time in four games and stretched their lead in the NL Central to seven games over St. Louis. Jonathan Broxton pitched the eighth and Aroldis Chapman closed it out for his 33rd save and 25th straight, tied with Texas reliever Joe Nathan for the longest active streak in the majors. Wade Miley (14-9) allowed three runs over seven innings for the Diamondbacks, who have lost five straight and seven of nine. BRAVES 2, PADRES 0 Kris Medlen extended his scoreless streak to 28 1-3 innings for Atlanta by holding San Diego to five singles over eight innings. Medlen allowed only five baserunners and erased two of them on pickoffs at first base. He struck out nine to tie his career high and walked none. Atlanta, the NL wild-card leader, ended the Padres’ season-high eight-game winning streak. Medlen (6-1) has not allowed a run since the second inning of a 9-3 victory against the New York Mets on Aug. 11. Five days after that, he threw his first complete game in a 6-0 victory against San Diego at Atlanta, allowing five hits. Atlanta has won

Medlen’s last 17 starts dating to May 2010 and is 20-4 in his 24 career starts. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 32nd save in 34 chances. Dan Uggla homered for his 1,000th hit and Chipper Jones had an RBI double off Andrew Werner (1-1), who went six innings in his second big league start. METS 9, PHILLIES 5, 10 INNINGS Ike Davis hit a tiebreaking double during a four-run 10th inning, Kelly Shoppach had a two-run homer and New York beat Philadelphia for its third straight victory. Shoppach hit a tying double in the eighth and then connected off B J Rosenberg (02). Mike Baxter also hit a two-run shot for the Mets, who are 6-1 in Philadelphia this season. It was the first time in 10 games New York scored more than three runs. Ryan Howard hit a grand slam and Chase Utley had a solo shot for the Phillies, who had won four straight. Bobby Parnell (4-3) tossed two scoreless innings for the win. GIANTS 3, ASTROS 2 Pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez delivered a go-ahead single in the ninth inning and San Francisco rallied to beat Houston. The NL West leaders were down 2-1 entering the ninth. Brandon Belt singled off Wesley Wright to start the inning before pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias doubled off Wilton Lopez (5-3) to tie it. Sanchez completed the rally with his one-out liner to center. Houston took the lead on a wild pitch by Matt Cain in the eighth. Cain allowed two runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings. Santiago Casilla (5-5) got two outs and Sergio Romo threw a perfect ninth for his seventh save. The loss dropped Astros interim manager Tony DeFrancesco to 1-7 and came in front of 13,516 fans - the smallest crowd in the history of Houston’s 12-year-old ballpark. ROCKIES 8, DODGERS 4 Wilin Rosario homered among his three hits and drove in three runs, Tyler Chatwood pitched five effective innings and Colorado beat Los Angeles. Andrew Brown had three hits for the Rockies, who have won eight of 10. Chatwood (4-3) allowed two earned runs and struck out four. Hanley Ramirez homered for the Dodgers, who have lost three straight after winning their first game following a nineplayer trade with Boston that brought Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett to Los Angeles. Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp left with a bruised right knee. Chris Capuano (11-10) gave up six runs and 10 hits in six innings. BREWERS 4, CUBS 1 Jeff Bianchi hit a three-run shot for his first big league homer to lead the Brewers over Chicago. Bianchi went deep off Travis Wood (4-11) with two outs in the second for Milwaukee, which has won seven of eight and beaten the Cubs seven straight times. Yovani Gallardo (14-8) won his seventh consecutive start, holding Chicago to three hits over seven innings and striking out nine. Gallardo has pitched at least seven innings in all six starts since July 31. He’s held the Cubs to a single run in each of his last four appearances at Wrigley Field. John Axford finished for his 21st save in 29 chances. Wood hit his third career homer but lost for the eighth time in nine starts despite limiting Milwaukee to three runs over seven innings. The Cubs have lost 21 of 27. —AP

ORIOLES 6, WHITE SOX 0 BALTIMORE: Chris Tillman allowed one hit over seven innings and Nick Markakis drove in three runs as Baltimore defeated Chris Sale and Chicago for its fourth straight win. Lew Ford homered for the second time in two nights and Adam Jones hit his 100th career home run for the Orioles, who moved a season-high 14 games over .500 (71-57) and remained atop the AL wild-card standings. The only hit against Tillman (7-2) was an infield dribbler by Dayan Viciedo in the fifth inning that shortstop JJ Hardy couldn’t snag with an attempted barehanded pickup. Pitching on six days’ rest, Tillman walked four, struck out five and did not allow a runner past second. Brian Matusz worked the final two innings, allowing one hit in completing Baltimore’s seventh shutout. Sale (15-5) gave up four runs and six hits in four innings, his shortest start of the season. The lefthander lost for the second time in six starts since July 21. It was the fifth straight road loss for the White Sox, who won six in a row at home before dropping the first two of this four-game series. It was Chicago’s most lopsided shutout defeat of the season. The Orioles have won 12 of 15 at home as they continue toward their first winning season in 15 years. ANGELS 6, RED SOX 5 Los Angeles’ Mike Trout and Torii Hunter drove in runs in the ninth inning against beleaguered Boston closer Alfredo Aceves. Trout drove in the tying run with a one-out, broken-bat single, and Hunter ended it with a long sacrifice fly to center, scoring Alberto Callaspo. The Angels appeared to be headed to their third straight loss until they jumped on Aceves (2-9) in his second inning of work following a three-game suspension for apparently arguing with manager Bobby Valentine. It was Aceves’ eighth blown save. He had no problems in the eighth after relieving Clay Buchholz, who outpitched Angels ace Jered Weaver over the first seven innings. Kevin Jepsen (3-2) pitched the ninth for Los Angeles. Buchholz allowed six hits over seven innings, retiring 16 of 17 early in the opener of Boston’s nine-game West Coast road swing. Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered and drove in two runs for Boston. Weaver yielded seven hits and five runs over seven innings. ATHLETICS 7, INDIANS 0 Tommy Milone and three Oakland relievers extended Cleveland’s scoreless streak to 22 innings. Brandon Moss and Chris Carter homered off Zach McAllister (5-5) as Oakland won its fourth straight to remain tied with Baltimore atop the AL wild-card race. Oakland is 5-0 against Cleveland and has won 10 of 12 since dropping eight of 13. Milone (11-9) worked six innings. Jerry Blevins, Pat Neshek and Evan Scribner completed Oakland’s third straight shutout over the Indians. The Athletics are 14 games over .500 for the first time since finishing 2006 at 9369. They have the best overall record since the start of July at 34-15. Cleveland has lost 12 of 13 and is 525 since July 27. The Indians have failed to score in 45 of their last 48 innings overall. Oakland has outscored the Indians 17-0 in their last three meetings. RANGERS 1, RAYS 0 Yu Darvish struck out 10 over seven innings for Texas to win a pitchers’ duel against Tampa Bay’s James Shields. Ian Kinsler homered to give Texas

MINNEAPOLIS: Brendan Ryan #26 of the Seattle Mariners misses a catch at shortstop during the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. — AFP enough against the suddenly sliding Rays, who have lost four straight, had runners on base in each of the first five innings against Darvish (13-9) and still couldn’t score. It was their fourth 1-0 loss this season - all in their last 22 games this month. Shields (12-8) allowed three hits over seven innings, including Kinsler’s homer leading off the fourth. The Rays righthander struck out eight, walked two and hit a batter. Darvish, who allowed six hits, has a majors-best eight 10-strikeout games. The only Ranger with more in a season is Nolan Ryan, the hard-throwing Hall of Famer who is now the team’s president and watched from the first row. Ryan had 18 such games in 1989. Joe Nathan struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth to convert his 25th consecutive save opportunity, matching the Rangers team record while wrapping up the team’s 10th shutout this season. Nathan has retired the last 14 batters he has faced. MARINERS 5, TWINS 2 Dustin Ackley hit a three-run homer and Hisashi Iwakuma gave up one hit and one unearned run over six innings. Iwakuma (5-3) struck out four and helped send the Twins to their 16th defeat in their last 19 games despite four walks, a hit batsman and a wild pitch. Ackley’s drive off Scott Diamond (10-6) followed consecutive singles by Trayvon Robinson and

Brendan Ryan to start the fifth. Diamond gave up more than three runs for the first time in seven starts since July 21. The announced attendance was 29,854, the first sub-30,000 crowd to watch the Twins since Target Field opened in 2010. The Mariners, who began the day nine games behind in the AL wild-card race, have won 12 of their last 16 games. They have won seven straight against the Twins. ROYALS 9, TIGERS 8 In Missouri, Mike Moustakas had three hits and three RBIs and Kansas City roughed up Justin Verlander. Verlander, the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner, was charged with eight earned runs, matching his career high, in 5 2-3 innings. It was the third time in Verlander’s career he had surrendered eight earned runs and first since April 6, 2009, at Toronto. Jhonny Peralta hit a tying solo homer for Detroit in the eighth, but the Royals responded in the bottom half. Billy Butler hit a one-out single for his third hit of the game and was replaced by Lorenzo Cain, who stole second. Salvador Perez then fouled out against Brayan Villarreal (3-4) and Phil Coke came in to face Moustakas, who doubled down the rightfield line to give the Royals a 9-8 lead. Aaron Crow (31) got the win despite allowing Peralta’s 10th homer and Greg Holland worked out of a jam to earn his eighth save in 10 opportunities. — AP

MLB results/standings Baltimore 6, Chicago White Sox 0; NY Yankees 2, Toronto 1; Oakland 7, Cleveland 0; NY Mets 9, Philadelphia 5 (10 innings); Pittsburgh 9, St. Louis 0; Miami 9, Washington 0; Texas 1, Tampa Bay 0; Milwaukee 4, Chicago Cubs 1; San Francisco 3, Houston 2; Kansas City 9, Detroit 8; Seattle 5, Minnesota 2; Colorado 8, LA Dodgers 4; Cincinnati 5, Arizona 2; LA Angels 6, Boston 5; Atlanta 2, San Diego 0. American League National League Eastern Division Eastern Division Washington 77 51 .602 W L PCT GB 74 56 .569 4 Atlanta NY Yankees 75 54 .581 Philadelphia 61 68 .473 16.5 71 57 .555 3.5 Baltimore NY Mets 60 69 .465 17.5 Tampa Bay 70 59 .543 5 Miami 59 71 .454 19 Boston 62 68 .477 13.5 Central Division Toronto 57 71 .445 17.5 Cincinnati 79 52 .603 Central Division St. Louis 71 58 .550 7 Chicago White Sox 71 57 .555 Pittsburgh 69 60 .535 9 69 59 .539 2 Detroit Milwaukee 61 67 .477 16.5 Kansas City 57 71 .445 14 Chicago Cubs 49 79 .383 28.5 Cleveland 55 74 .426 16.5 Houston 40 89 .310 38 Minnesota 52 77 .403 19.5 Western Division Western Division San Francisco 72 57 .558 Texas 77 52 .597 LA Dodgers 69 61 .531 3.5 71 57 .555 5.5 Oakland Arizona 64 66 .492 8.5 LA Angels 67 62 .519 10 San Diego 60 71 .458 13 Seattle 63 67 .485 14.5 Colorado 53 75 .414 18.5

Under-fire Meyer recalls Louw to Springboks squad JOHANNESBURG: South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer yesterday recalled flanker Francois Louw and named uncapped number eight Duane Vermeulen and flyhalf Johan Goosen in his squad for Rugby Championship matches in Australia and New Zealand. South Africa opened their Rugby Championship campaign against debutants Argentina, winning 27-6 in Cape Town before being held to a shock 16-16 draw in Mendoza last weekend. Amidst huge criticism of the game plan the Springboks have employed so far this year, Meyer suggested some willingness to change when he gave first call-ups to Vermeulen and Goosen. Vermeulen, 26, has been a star for the Stormers with his powerhouse displays from the back of the scrum, but several injuries have prevented him from being chosen earlier for the Springboks. The 20-year-old Goosen sprung to prominence in last year’s IRB Junior world championship before making a prolific SuperRugby

debut for the Cheetahs this year, until a serious shoulder injury ruled him out of action from the beginning of May until last weekend. “I regard both of them as world-class rugby players. If it wasn’t for injuries, Duane would have been a Springbok long ago. I also believe Johan has a long career ahead of him at test match level and we will expose him when and how we feel it will benefit the player and the team best,” Meyer said in a statement released by the South African Rugby Union on Wednesday. The lack of a specialist fetcher in the Springbok squad had also been criticized, with Louw getting a summons from Meyer despite the fact that he now plays his rugby in England for Bath. A raft of injuries in South Africa’s loose forward stocks have also complicated matters, with veterans Schalk Burger and Juan Smith, Heinrich Brussow and new Stormers sensation Siya Kolisi all ruled out for now, while Ryan Kankowski is currently playing rugby in Japan. “We were very keen to give Siya Kolisi an opportunity on this

tour, but he is also out injured. We opted for Francois because he is a specialist openside flanker, in the absence of Schalk, Heinrich and Siya, that can cover blindside and number eight as well, while he is also a very useful option in the lineout,” Meyer said. South Africa’s young squad - 20 of the 28 are under 28 years old - will have to learn quickly from their mistakes in Argentina, where their dependence on physical dominance failed as the Pumas matched them in the collisions. The inclusion of Goosen, who has a prodigious boot but can also spark a backline, and recalled World Cup centre Juan de Jongh suggests Meyer has heard the call for more creative play from his team. Loose forward Keegan Daniel, who Meyer had suggested would see action against Australia, and utility back JJ Engelbrecht are the players omitted from the squad that went to Argentina. South Africa face Australia in Perth on Sept 8 and play New Zealand a week later in Dunedin. — Reuters


sp orts

Amla keen to keep running riot SOUTHAMPTON: Hashim Amla looked forward to returning to the scene of his greatest triumph after punishing England with yet another superb century. Amla’s brilliant 150 was the centerpiece of the Proteas 80 run-win in the second one-day international at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on Tuesday as they went 1-0 up in the five-match series following last week’s washout in Cardiff. Victory, sealed with more than nine overs to spare as England were bowled out for 207 in reply to 287 for five, left South Africa top of the standings in all three international formats. It also meant the Proteas had knocked England off the summit of both the Test and 50-over standings in a matter of weeks. Now the one-day series heads to The Oval where last month Amla became the first South Africa batsmen to score a Test triple century with his 311 not out setting up an innings victory that sent the tourists on the way to a 2-0 win in a three-match series. “I think we are all looking forward to it,” man-of-the-match Amla said of

his side’s return to the south London ground. “We have some good memories of the place. Different game, different ball so we’ll see what happens.” In Southampton, Amla was twice dropped by England’s South Africa-born wicket-keeper Craig Kieswetter, on 42 and 92, and although neither chance was easy they were both ones glovemen at this level would expect to hold. A slow pitch renowned for taking spin proved no problem to Amla during a 124-ball innings featuring 16 fours that saw him become the fastest player to 3,000 one-day international runs, taking 57 innings to reach the landmark compared to the 69 innings of West Indies great Vivian Richards. “It definitely felt like one of my better ones (innings),” said Amla. “I think what makes it special to me is it was a difficult wicket. We won the game too, you always want to score runs in a winning cause.” The 29-year-old Amla, who opens in one-dayers and bats at first-wicket down in Tests, said the recent change to having a separate ball at each

end of a one-day innings had made his career-best ODI effort especially pleasing. “With the two new white balls up front, it’s a lot more challenging.” Meanwhile, South Africa one-day captain AB de Villiers, while pleased by his side’s rise to number one in the rankings, said the key aim in 50-over cricket was to win a major trophy. “It’s a great achievement but it’s not something that is one of our main goals,” the wicket-keeper batsman explained. “We have a World Cup in 2015 (in Australia and New Zealand), the Champions Trophy coming up (in England next year),” added de Villiers, also set to lead South Africa in next month’s World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. Reflecting on the match, de Villiers-as well as saluting Amla-praised a youthful bowling line-up shorn of rested spearhead Dale Steyn. “The guys kept looking for wickets and that was the most impressive thing today, apart from Hashim’s great knock-we bowled them out again,” said de Villiers, who had a great view as Lonwabo Tsotobe bowled

England captain Alastair Cook for a second ball duck. Kieswetter’s double reprieve of Amla, the first standing up to luckless spinner Samit Patel, the second off fast bowler Steven Finn, were the latest in costly England errors this season “Nothing has changed in the last two years in our fielding practice but, in the last month-and-ahalf we’ve started to drop very good players,” said Cook. “And very good players punish us.” Nevertheless Cook, on a day when Kevin Pietersen, exiled from England action after sending “provocative” texts to South African players allegedly critical of his own team-mates, made 163 for Surrey in the County Championship against Somerset, insisted: “Today doesn’t change anything. “It’s frustrating, it’s annoying as a captain and all the players will be hurting. But you don’t throw everything out of the window and try to reinvent the wheel because of one bad performance.” “Hopefully, we can bounce back at The Oval.”— AFP

Resolute Australia edge out Pakistan

England’s Andrew Strauss

Strauss quits cricket LONDON: Andrew Strauss resigned as England’s Test captain and announced his retirement from professional cricket with immediate effect yesterday. “After much thought over the last few weeks, I have decided to step down as England Test captain and announce my retirement from all forms of cricket,” Strauss said in an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) statement issued ahead of a news conference at Lord’s. “It has clearly been a tough decision to make, but I believe that it is both in the best interests of the England cricket team and myself to step down at this stage,” the 35-year-old, who played exactly 100 Tests, added. “The driver to all this is I haven’t batted well enough for a long time. I wasn’t going to improve batting-wise, I’ve run my race,” Strauss later told the news conference. “It’s one of these decisions when you know when your time is up.” “It is important for a captain to not be a passenger and that people are not speculating whether you should be in the side.” Alastair Cook, already England’s one-day captain and Strauss’s opening partner in the five-day game, was announced as the new skipper of the Test team. Strauss insisted his retirement had nothing to do with the ongoing England exile of star batsman Kevin Pietersen. England dropped Pietersen, who hasn’t played international cricket in any format since making 149 in the drawn second Test at Headingley, after he admitted sending “provocative” texts to South African players. Some of these were alleged to have been critical of Strauss, who succeeded South Africa-born and raised Pietersen as England captain in 2009. Strauss said he’d spoken to England coach Andy Flower about retiring “before the Kevin Pietersen situation reared its head”. His last Test was a 51-run defeat by South Africa at Lord’s, his Middlesex home ground where he made his Test debut in 2004, earlier this month that saw England surrender their number one Test ranking to the Proteas.

Strauss scored 21 hundreds-one shy of England’s all-time record-and led England to the top of the world Test rankings, a run that included home and away Ashes wins in 2009 and 2010/11. Cook’s first Test as captain will be the first of a four-match series in India in November. The 27-year-old paid tribute to Strauss by saying: “Andrew’s contribution to England cricket in recent years is evident to everyone who follows the sport but only those of us who have been lucky enough to share a dressing room with him are fully aware of his immense contribution to our success. “He has been a fantastic captain, has led from the front for three-and-a-half years and is a true ambassador for the game. “I know this can’t have been an easy decision for him and everyone in the dressing room will be sad to see him go. “I’m very excited by this new challenge, it is a huge honor to be appointed Test captain.” ECB chief executive David Collier said: “On behalf of the ECB and everyone involved in cricket I’d like to thank Andrew Strauss for his outstanding contribution to the game. “Andrew’s calmness and authority when dealing with some of the most difficult moments in our sport in recent times should be applauded and I have no doubt that his contribution as an ambassador for the game will be recognized by anyone who has had an opportunity to spend time with him.” Strauss has enjoyed modest returns with the bat in recent years and his 122 against the West Indies in May was his first Test century since November 2010. He followed up with another century, at Trent Bridge, but averaged just 17.83 in six innings against the South Africans. England’s form in 2012 has been poor, with six defeats in 11 Tests culminating in a 2-0 series loss to South Africa, their first home reverse in four years. Strauss was the third England skipper to be ‘seen off’ in as many tours of England by South Africa captain Graeme Smith after Nasser Hussain in 2003 and Michael Vaughan in 2008. — AFP

SHARJAH: Mitchell Starc took 5-42 and Michael Clarke and George Bailey hit fifties to help Australia beat Pakistan by four wickets in the first limited overs international here on Tuesday. The lanky left-armer’s best one-day figures helped Australia keep their rivals down to 198 in 45.1 overs before they fought hard against Pakistani spinners to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series at Sharjah Stadium. Australia owed their run chase to some responsible batting by skipper Clarke (66), who added an invaluable 54 with Bailey for the fifth wicket before BailyGlenn Maxwell (38) put on 63 for the sixth to see off the target in 48.2 overs. Pak istan had attacked through their much-vaunted spinning trio of Saeed Ajmal (3-30), M ohammad Hafeez (2-29) and Shahid Afridi (1-37) but Australian batting was led by Clarke and finished by Bailey with an unbeaten 88-ball 57. Clarke hit five boundaries during his 95-ball knock. Ajmal struck with his first ball of the match, trapping a nervous Michael Hussey (five) infront and then had David Hussey (three) caught in the slip off his last ball of the second over. Bailey hit a six in the penultimate over before taking a single to seal the match. Hafeez had dismissed David Warner (five) and Afrridi had Matthew Wade (10). Earlier left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc took a career best 5-42 and James Pattinson (319) to derail Pakistan, who won the toss and batted. The 22-year-old Starc, who took 4-47 in Australia’s 66-run win over Afghanistan here on Saturday, helped Australia keep the lengthy rival batting line -up of seven batsmen to a modest total, losing the last six men for just 38. Pakistan were recovering well when the batting power-play began in the 36th over with the total at 159-4 but lost three wickets in the five overs for just 16 runs with Starc dismissing Asad Shafiq (56), Kamran Akmal (four) and Shahid Afridi (nought) in an incisive bowling display. His previous best of 4-27 came against Sri Lank a at Brisbane two years ago. He also took 4-47 in Australia’s 66-run win over Afghanistan here on Saturday. Starc ended all hopes of Pakistan batting through their 50-overs when he had Umar Akmal (52) in the 41st over. It was Starc’s new-ball partner Pattinson who provided Australia with two early breakthroughs, dismissing Hafeez (four) in the fifth over before getting Azhar Ali (five) in the seventh. Starc forced an edge off a short delivery off opener Nasir Jamshed to wicket-keeper Wade. Shafiq and Misbah-ul Haq added 59 for the fourth wicket before the Pakistani skipper played a rash shot off paceman Dan Christian and was bowled for 26. Shafiq then found an able partner in Umar as both hit out at Australian spinners to the best effect, with both hitting two sixes each. Shafiq also hit two boundaries during his 77-ball knock. Umar also hit two boundaries during his 55-ball knock. The second match will be played in Abu Dhabi on August 31 while the third will be here on September 3. Both teams will play three Twenty20 internationals in Dubai on September 5, 7 and 10. — AFP

SHARJAH: Pakistan’s bowler Shahid Afridi bowls a delivery during the first cricket ODI match of a three-match series between Australia and Pakistan at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012. — AP

SCOREBOARD SHARJAH: Complete scoreboard in the first limited overs international between Pakistan and Australia at Sharjah Stadium here yesterday: Pakistan: Overs: 45.1 Mohammad Hafeez c D. Hussey b Pattinson 4 Nasir Jamshed c Wade b Starc 23 Australia: Azhar Ali c Johnson b Pattinson 5 D. Warner b Hafeez 5 Asad Shafiq b Starc 56 M. Wade c Misbah b Afridi 10 Misbah-ul Haq b Christian 26 M. Clarke lbw b Hafeez 66 Umar Akmal c Bailey b Starc 52 M. Hussey lbw b Ajmal 5 Kamran Akmal c Clarke b Starc 4 D. Hussey c Misbah b Ajmal 3 Shahid Afridi c Clarke b Starc 0 G. Bailey not out 57 Sohail Tanveer c D. Hussey b Johnson 1 G. Maxwell lbw b Ajmal 38 Saeed Ajmal b Pattinson 8 D. Christian not out 3 Aizaz Cheema not out 2 Extras: (b1, lb5, w6) 12 Extras: (lb13, w4) 17 Total: (for six wickets) 199 Total: 198 Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Warner), 2-42 (Wade), 3-57 Fall of wickets: 1-20 (Hafeez), 2-28 (Ali), 3-40 (M. Hussey), 4-67 (D. Hussey), 5-121 (Clarke), 6(Jamshed), 4-99 (Misbah), 5-160 (Shafiq), 6-174 184 (Maxwell). (Kamran), 7-175 (Afridi), 8-180 (Umar), 9-184 Bowling: Tanveer 8-0-47-0 (w4), Hafeez 10-1-29(Tanveer) 2, Cheema 7.2-0-38-0, Afridi Bowling: Pattinson 9.1-0-19-3 (w2), Starc 10-2-42- 10-0-37-1, Ajmal 10-0-30-3 (w2), Ali 3-0-12-0. 5 (w2), Clarke 3-0-8-0, D. Hussey 2-0-9-0, Johnson Overs: 48.2 9-0-43-1, Christian 8-0-37-1, Maxwell 4-0-27-0 Result: Australia won by four wickets

India aim to wrap it up with spin trick

BANGALORE: Indian cricketers Gautam Gambhir (left) and Piyush Chawla play football during the team’s practice session at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore yesterday. India will be playing its second test match against New Zealand in the city from tomorrow. — AFP

BANGALORE: A buoyant India will bank on their spin twins to sweep the short series against struggling New Zealand when the second and final Test starts in Bangalore tomorrow. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took 12 wickets and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha six as India underlined their supremacy on home soil by winning the first Test in Hyderabad by an innings and 115 runs. Ross Taylor’s Black Caps collapsed twice against the spin duo, managing just 159 in the first innings and 164 in the second, with only Kane Williamson (52) scoring a half-century in the match for the out-played tourists. Ashwin and Ojha, both 25, also played major roles in India’s victory in the last home Test series, against the West Indies in November 2011, sharing 42 wickets in three matches. India broke little sweat in Hyderabad, their first Test after the retirement of batting veterans Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, as the batsmen posted 438 in the first innings before their spinners took over. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s home team will be hot favorites to start the new season

with a 2-0 series win, following their dismal show in the past 12 months when they lost eight successive overseas Tests in England and Australia. India expect Ashwin and Ojha to continue their excellent form and build on the early success in the busy home season, which also features four Test matches each against England and Australia. “We had a tough last year, but it happens with every team,” said Ashwin. “We have put that behind. Hopefully, we can continue and have a great season. There are still nine more Tests to go this season.” Ashwin credited his success to Ojha’s steady bowling at the other end. “Ojha is someone who I have played with since I was 16 and we have always enjoyed each other’s company,” he said. “We bowl well together because we build pressure very well.” Cheteshwar Pujara’s form ahead of tougher assignments against England and Australia also augurs well for India, who are looking for Dravid’s replacement at the vital number-three position. Pujara, 24, impressed with his temperament and technique in only his fourth Test,

as he hit a maiden Test century (159) in Hyderabad to help his side post a big total. But middle-order batsman Suresh Raina, who replaced Laxman, needs to deliver in Bangalore after contributing just three in the last match. New Zealand will hope for a much improved performance from their batsmen against spin if they are to avoid a second successive Test series defeat. They lost both Tests in the West Indies before this tour. Only Williamson and opener Brendon McCullum offered any resistance in the second innings at Hyderabad, allowing India to win comfortably with a day to spare. The Black Caps will also be keen to put in a better bowling performance in what will be their bowling coach Damien Wright’s last Test. Wright, an Australian who was only appointed in July last year, announced Tuesday he would quit after next month’s World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka for family reasons. It was a further blow to the tourists, who have lost four of their seven Tests this year, with just one win and two draws. — AFP


sp orts

Azarenka advances to US Open third round Ruthless Djokovic crushes Lorenzi

NEW YORK: Serbia’s Novak Djokovic returns to Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi during their men’s 2012 US Open first round match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.— AFP

Schumacher ready to celebrate 300th race LONDON: Michael Schumacher is back in his Belgian ‘living room’ this weekend, ready to celebrate a 300th career grand prix at a SpaFrancorchamps circuit that has already given him so many great memories to treasure. Only one other driver, Schumacher’s former Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello, has reached such a milestone in Formula One and the seven times world champion could not have chosen a more special place for it. Spa was where the German made an eye-catching debut in 1991, qualifying seventh as a little-known stand-in with the Jordan team, and where with Benetton in 1992 he took the first of his record 91 wins. The longest track in Formula One, sweeping through the Ardennes forests, was also where he won his last championship in 2004 with Ferrari. The 43-year-old has won there six times, more than any other driver. “Spa is like my living room; For me, it’s clearly the number one race track in the world,” the Mercedes driver declared in a team preview as Formula One returned to work after the long August shutdown. “It’s uncanny how I always seem to have special moments there...the fact that I will also take part in my 300th Grand Prix at Spa was somehow almost inevitable and we will have to celebrate it in the right way.” RAIKKONEN RECORD While it will be a ‘triple ton’ for Schumacher, who is 12th overall in the current standings and a massive 135 points behind Ferrari’s leader Fernando Alonso with nine of the 20 races remaining, he has yet to start as many. The definition of a start has long been open to debate, with some excluding the 1976 German GP from Austrian Niki Lauda’s career tally because the race started afresh and without him after his near-fatal crash. The badly burned triple champion’s deadpan response to being informed later

that he had not officially started the race has gone down in F1 folklore: “Oh yes? So what happened to my ear?”. Schumacher did not start the 1996 French GP, despite qualifying on pole, after his Ferrari engine failed on the formation lap. He also crashed at the 1999 British GP, breaking his leg in an accident before a re-start. Mercedes, who took a breakthrough win in China with Nico Rosberg in April and celebrated Schumacher’s return to the podium for the first time since 2006 when he finished third in Valencia in June, will hope to make it a weekend to remember even if they are far from favorites. Spa - dripping with history as well as everything else the notoriously fickle local climate can throw at it - is just about every Formula One driver’s top track with its fast-flowing layout and sweeping plunge down and up through Eau Rouge. It is no place for the fainthearted, rewarding the fearless as the list of winners testifies: Only two in the last 25 years have not gone on to win titles or been champions already. Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen still holds the lap record, set with McLaren in 2004, and the Finn’s last grand prix victory was at Spa with Ferrari in 2009 before he left F1 for two years to go rallying. Raikkonen, fifth overall and 48 points adrift of Spaniard Alonso, has won four times in Belgium - including three times in a row between 2004 and 2007 - and has the best record at Spa over the last 10 years. After finishing second in Hungary in the last race before the summer break, Raikkonen will fancy his chances of a first win with his new team - particularly if the weather stays dry. “Of course, we will do our very best to win this race. I have stood in the middle of the podium a few times and I want to be there again,” he said. “For me it is the greatest racing circuit in the world. It is my favorite place.” — Reuters

MINNEAPOLIS: San Antonio Silver Stars guard Danielle Robinson (13) goes up for shot against Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen (13) in the second half of a WNBA basketball game in Minneapolis. The Lynx won in overtime 96-84. — AP

Shock down Atlanta Dream ATLANTA: Roneeka Hodges scored 20 points and Temeka Johnson had 17 as the Tulsa Shock beat the short-handed Atlanta Dream 84-80 on Tuesday to snap a 13-game road losing streak. The Dream played without guard Angel McCoughtry, who was suspended indefinitely before the game by new coach and general manager Fred Williams for breaking an unspecified team rule. McCoughtry is the WNBA’s leading scorer and helped the US women win the gold medal at the London Olympics. Erika de Souza scored 16 points and Sancho Lyttle had 14 for Atlanta (12-13), which has lost two straight and three of five. The Shock (5-19) announced earlier in the day it will be without Elizabeth Cambage for the rest of the season after the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s WNBA draft decided not to play due to fatigue. Ivory Latta scored 14 points and Glory Johnson finished with 10 for Shock. MINNESOTA 96, SAN ANTONIO 84, OT At Minneapolis, Lindsey Whalen scored five of Minnesota’s 10 consecutive points to start the overtime period as the Lynx avoided a rare home loss. Taj McWilliams-Franklin scored a season-high 19 points and set a WNBA record by recording her 1,050th offensive rebound in the second period. Rebekkah Brunson set a franchise record and a career high with 20 rebounds to go with 17 points as Western Conference-leading Minnesota pushed the third-place Silver Stars three games back in the standings. Whalen scored eight of her 15 points in overtime, Seimone

Augustus chipped in 19 and Maya Moore scored 14 as the Lynx (20-4) improved to 12-1 at home. Sophia Young and Jia Perkins led San Antonio with 19 points each, while Becky Hammon added 13 and Danielle Robinson scored 10. SUN 83, SKY 72 At Rosemont, Illinois, Tina Charles had 24 points and 14 rebounds to help the Sun open a four-game road trip with a victory. Charles earned her 13th double-double of the season as the Eastern Conference-leading Sun (18-6) improved to 9-2 on the road. Kara Larson had 18 points and Renee Montgomery added 15. Reserve Courtney Vandersloot scored 17 points to lead five Chicago players in double figures. Swin Cash added 15 points, and Carolyn Swords, Epiphanny Prince and Sonja Petrovic each had 10 for the Sky (9-15). Chicago has lost 10 of 11. The Sky were without center Sylvia Fowles, the WNBA’s rebounding leader, for the second straight game. EVER 83, MYSTICS 68 At Indianapolis, Katie Douglas scored 18 points to lead Indiana to a victory over Washington. Tamika Catchings had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Fever (14-8), who have won five of six since returning from the Olympic break. Reserve Noelle Quinn had 13 points and five rebounds for the Mystics (5-18), while Lindsay WisdomHylton scored 10 points.— AP

NEW YORK: World No 1 Victoria Azarenka advanced to the third round of the US Open yesterday by defeating Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-2 in only 65 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Reigning Australian Open champion Azarenka, who has reached the last eight in every Grand Slam event except the US Open, will next face Chinese 28th seed Zheng Jie, who beat Slovakian qualifier Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-1. The 23-year-old from Belarus, whose 26-match win streak to begin the season was the best women’s start since 1997, seeks her 13th career title and fifth trophy of the year on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts. “I would love to play for the title,” Azarenka said. “It’s a long way. It’s just the second round now.” Trying to break a trend that has seen women’s top seeds fail to take titles at the past seven Grand Slams, Azarenka could be dethroned from the top ranking by Agnieszka Radwanska or Maria Sharapova if she fails to make the final. Azarenka, who took a singles bronze medal at the London Olympics, broke 133rd-ranked Flipkens in the third and seventh games and held to claim the first set in 27 minutes. Azarenka broke again in the fifth and seventh game of the second set and held serve to close out the match, pumping her right fist in celebration after a winner on match point after her 50th victory of the season. “I’m proud of everything I have achieved this season,” she said. “It has been a great year.” Azarenka handled a morning curtain call as well as she had a late-night match on day one. “It just depends on how I sleep,” she said. “The first match was late at night. I adjusted pretty good. It doesn’t matter what time I play. It matters how well I play on the court.” Russian 19th seed Nadia Petrova reached the third round in only 57 minutes with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over Romania’s Simona Halep. Next for Petrova will be either Czech 15th seed Lucie Safarova or Canada’s Aleksandra Wozniak. And US wildcard Mallory Burdette booked her place in the third round with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Czech Lucie Hradecka. She could face Sharapova next. Threetime US Open champion Kim Clijsters, playing her farewell event, risks her 22-match US Open win streak against Britain’s Laura Robson in another second-round match. Hard-serving John Isner, the fortnight’s top hope to end a nine-year US men’s Grand Slam title drought as the ninth seed, will begin his quest against Belgian Xavier Malisse. Meanwhile, defending champion Novak Djokovic and three-times winner Serena Williams each dropped just two games against bewildered opponents at the US Open on Tuesday, leading a procession of top seeds into the second round of the year’s final grand slam. Joining Djokovic in the winner’s circle at Flushing Meadows were number

five Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, number six Tomas Berdych, and former champion Andy Roddick, the 20th seed. On the women’s side, former world number one Caroline Wozniacki was a first round casualty while second seed Agnieszka Radwanska and number six Angelique Kerber advanced easily. Djokovic took just an hour and 13 minutes to blitz Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi 6-1 6-0 6-1 in his first-round match under the lights on a cool evening at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The charismatic Serb’s win was so onesided that it was difficult to tell if the 2011 US Open champion was that good or Lorenzi had perhaps the worst evening of his life on a tennis court. “My game was great from the start to the end,” said the second seeded Djokovic, who won three of four majors last year. “It’s also important for me to try to be as economical with the time I spend on the court as possible, but obviously not underestimating any opponent. “I played really focused, tried to get to the net also. It was great all in all.” The 69th-ranked Lorenzi said he had trouble with the blustery conditions before a sell-out crowd of nearly 24,000 at cavernous Ashe Stadium. “I had never played on the center court and there was a lot of wind,” he said. “So sometimes I’d miss an easy ball because the ball was flying a lot. But he’s playing so good. I tried my best.”

WOZNIACKI BOUNCED Hampered by a knee problem, eighth-seeded Wozniacki never broke the serve of world number 96 Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania and lost 6-2 6-2. “You always want to go in and do your best no matter what’s happening out there,” Wozniacki said softly. “I tried. I didn’t play particularly well, made too many errors. “It’s unfortunate because it’s a huge tournament, a tournament you want to play well in.”—Agencies

NEW YORK: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus returns a shot against Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium during their women’s singles second round match on Day Three of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center yesterday in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. — AFP

Women’s LPGA Tour keep getting younger JACKSONVILLE: The real phenom in women’s golf might be Angela Stanford. She won the HSBC Women’s Champions event in Singapore toward the start of the season, making her the oldest player to win on the LPGA Tour all year. She’s 34. That’s bordering on ancient, considering the average age of winners on the LPGA Tour this year is 24. While it is historic, it should no longer be all that shocking that 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko could beat the very best in women’s golf. With a three-shot win at the Canadian Women’s Open, Ko became the youngest winner on the LPGA Tour. Such a feat might be even more astounding except that the previous record by 16year-old Lexi Thompson was set only 11 months ago. Thompson broke the record for a 72-hole LPGA event that had stood for a whopping six years. So maybe 15 is the new 25. “I won two state amateurs at 15. I thought that was pretty unbelievable,” Dottie Pepper said Tuesday. “That kid dusted me.” Michelle Wie won the US Women’s Amateur Public Links at 13 and contended on the back nine of three majors at 16. She became less compelling the older she became, however, especially when kids her age achieved more (Morgan Pressel won a major at 18). The celebration of Ko should be more about her golf than the fact she is too young to drive a car. Think back to Tiger Woods and his watershed win at Augusta National in 1997. He is in the record book as the youngest Masters champion (21), but that week was more about the records he set on the golf course at 18-under 270 to win by 12 shots. And perhaps she is worthy of comparisons to Woods. Everyone has been looking for the next Woods, male or female, for the better part of a decade. What’s interesting about Ko,

Fourth-seeded Williams followed Djokovic on the court and produced a 6-1 6-1 rout of 75thranked American Coco Vandeweghe, who committed 22 errors and produced only nine winners against the 30-year-old, 14-times grand slam champion. Williams said the conditions were tough on both players. “I usually gauge the wind by my hair,” she said. “If it’s really going forward, I’m thinking, ‘It’s really windy.’ “It was really gusty, so at some points it would be really windy, at some points it wouldn’t be ... I didn’t hit anything too hard because the ball, I wouldn’t have known where it was going to go.” World number two Radwanska of Poland showed no signs of a shoulder injury that forced her out of the New Haven tournament last week as she routed 91st-ranked Nina Bratchikova 6-1 6-1.

who was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6, is that she is winning at every level. A year ago, she won the New Zealand Stroke Play Championship and the New Zealand Match Play Championship. She made history, albeit briefly, when she won the New South Wales Open in January at age 14 to become the youngest player to win on a professional tour (that record was eclipsed when Brooke Henderson won a Canadian Women’s Tour event this summer over 36 holes). She won the US Women’s Amateur two weeks ago near Cleveland, and then took her spot in LPGA Tour history. “This kid is an absolute rock star,” Pepper said. “Steve Williams, who caddies for Adam Scott, told me two years ago to watch out for this kid. Come on, now. She’s barely 13 years old. ‘You want me to watch out for who?’ And sure enough, her name started rising as her stock rose. It’s been pretty amazing to watch.” Williams doesn’t know much about her game, except for what he reads in the papers and the margin by which Ko was beating the competition. Most impressive to him is how she dominates one level before moving to the next. “She realistically could be the next Tiger Woods,” Williams said Tuesday. “She’s won everything at every stage. She’s really an incredible story.” Her plan is to stay an amateur - she passed up the $300,000 prize - finish high school and go to college. She qualified for the seasonending Titleholders event in Florida on the LPGA Tour, though Ko sounded like she wouldn’t be making the trip. “When I go back to New Zealand ... I actually have an external Cambridge exam, so I’m going to be really studying a lot and put golf at the back,” she said. — AP

DENVER: Representatives from the LPGA Solheim Cup pose on the field with the trophy before a Major League Baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. Colorado Golf Club will host the 2013 Solheim Cup on August 13-18 next year. — AFP

Cup incentive for Snedeker, Mahan, Fowler in Boston BOSTON: With US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III set to announce his four wildcard picks next Tuesday, Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Brandt Snedeker are among those eager to impress at this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston. The eight automatic qualifiers were decided after this month’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island and Love will round out his 12-man team when he names his captain’s selections in a news conference at NASDAQ Marketsite in New York. Cup veterans Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk are widely expected to be included in that quartet, leaving players such as Mahan, Fowler, Snedeker, Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson and Bo Van Pelt to vie for the remaining two spots. Watney advanced his claims in champion style with a three-shot victory at the Barclays tournament in Farmingdale, New York, on Sunday, but readily concedes he was on the outside looking in at the start of last week. “I haven’t performed how I would have liked this year as far as making that team,” said Watney, who languished 30th in the US Cup standings after the PGA Championship before he went on to win his first PGA Tour title this season. “But it’s out of my control so all I can do is try to get ready to play (at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Massachusetts) and see where the chips fall. “Someone told me that Davis said he wanted a hot player, and we still have a week to go. I’d love to be on the team.” LATE CALL-UP Snedeker has also produced good form in a bid to secure a late Ryder Cup call-up by Love, finishing second at The Barclays for his fifth top-10 of the year on the PGA Tour. “Ryder Cup’s definitely on my mind, but I’m not letting it affect the way I play,” said Snedeker, who clinched his third PGA Tour victory at the Farmers Insurance Open in January. “Try to win every golf tournament, try and press the gap. And if I do that, I know I will make the decision easy for them (Love and his vice-captains). I think I’m playing the best I can.” The top eight in the US standings after the PGA Championship were Tiger Woods, Masters champion Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, US Open winner Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson. Dufner, Bradley and Simpson will make their Ryder Cup debuts while Watson and Kuchar will each make their second appearances in the biennial team competition. The next seven players in the US standings were Mahan, Stricker, Furyk, Fowler, Snedeker, Van Pelt and long-hitting Johnson. Stricker, a 12-times PGA Tour winner who has partnered Tiger Woods successfully on several US teams, and Furyk, a veteran of seven Ryder Cups, are widely viewed as near-certain picks. “If you look back over the last few Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups, Tiger and Steve Stricker have been a really good pairing,” Love said after the PGA Championship. “They are both very comfortable with it. “Jim Furyk is great because you can put him with anybody. He would obviously add a lot of experience and a lot of stability. He’s one of those guys that you just tell him what you want to do and he’ll go do it.” The US will take on Ryder Cup holders Europe in the 39th edition of the biennial competition from Sept 28-30 at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago.— Reuters




Liverpool, Newcastle eye Europa League progress PARIS: Liverpool and Newcastle United head into the second legs of their Europa League play-off ties well-placed to join compatriots Tottenham Hotspur in tomorrow’s draw for the group stage. The Reds face Hearts at Anfield today looking to build on their 1-0 advantage from the first leg in Edinburgh, seized thanks to a late own goal from Andy Webster. Despite taking just one point from their opening two Premier League games, there is something of a feel-good factor at Anfield after Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin completed his move to the club on a season-long loan from Real Madrid this week. The captain of Borussia Dortmund’s German title-winning team two seasons ago may not feature on today, but manager Brendan Rodgers could choose to hand starts to some of his more senior players in a bid to get the job done. “Anything can happen, a corner or a free-kick can go in, but if we get the next goal then we’ll be in a good position,” said Liverpool’s Scottish midfielder Charlie Adam after the first leg. Meanwhile, Newcastle did well to take a 1-1 draw from the first leg of their tie against Atromitos in Athens last week after coach Alan Pardew decided to leave a whole host of regular starters on the sidelines. That makes them the favorites to finish things off at St James’ Park, but midfielder Dan Gosling had a warn-

MERSEYSIDE: Liverpool football club’s new signing, Germanborn Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin speaks during a press conference at their Melwood Training Ground in Liverpool. Sahin has joined Liverpool from Real Madrid on a one-season loan deal. —AFP ing ahead of the Magpies’ first home European match in over five years. “Hopefully we can go on to win the

game, but we can’t take it for granted,” the former Everton man told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.

“We have to go out there and do it. This is a different game. It was quite warm in the first leg, and the pitch was quite dry, which didn’t help us to pass the ball. “We’d have liked to have got the second goal, and won the game, but we’ll take a 1-1 draw back home. Hopefully, we’ll progress.” Inter Milan take a 2-0 lead back to San Siro for the second leg of their tie with Vaslui of Romania, and last season’s runners-up Athletic Bilbao head to Finland with their progress all but secure after hammering HJK Helsinki 6-0 last week. Athletic’s fellow Spaniards Levante, along with the likes of Lazio and PSV Eindhoven, also seem nailed-on to take their place in the draw in Monaco, but several ties remain finely poised. Bordeaux host former European champions Red Star Belgrade after the two clubs played out a goalless draw in the Serbian capital last week, while Feyenoord-who won the UEFA Cup as recently as 2002 — go to Sparta Prague with work to do after a 2-2 stalemate in Rotterdam. Elsewhere, Guus Hiddink takes his Anzhi Makhachkala side-Samuel Eto’o included-to his native Netherlands to face AZ Alkmaar, with the Russians a goal to the good. The 31 play-off round winners will join 17 other sides in tomorrow’s draw for the group stage, including current holders Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and the 10 clubs eliminated from the Champions League play-offs. —AFP

France recall Diaby for WCup qualifiers

STOKE ON TRENT: Stoke City’s English striker Peter Crouch (left) vies with Arsenal’s French midfielder Abou Diaby (right) during their English Premier League football match at The Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent. —AFP

PARIS: France coach Didier Deschamps yesterday recalled midfielder Abou Diaby, who has not played for the national team for over a year, for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers in Finland on Sept 7 and at home against Belarus four days later. Injury-prone Diaby last featured with Les Bleus in a friendly against Poland in June last year and missed the European Championship because of a calf injury. The 26-year-old, regarded for years as one of the best French midfielders, has won 15 caps. “There always will be questions about his physical fragility but he prepared well, he played 90 minutes (for Arsenal) last weekend. He is on the right path,” Deschamps told a news conference. “His potential is huge. He is a very interesting player. He’s also 26, more mature, which is crucial for a midfielder.” Paris St Germain winger Jeremy Menez returns after he served a one-match ban for insulting the referee in the Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat to eventual champions Spain. “His suspension is over, this is ancient history. I am only interested in the future and he can be part of it. It is up to him to understand what he can do and cannot,” Deschamps said. Deschamps, who replaced Laurent Blanc, in July, left out Newcastle forward Hatem Ben Arfa, who received a warning when he was summoned to a disciplinary hearing along with Menez, Manchester City’s Samir Nasri and Stade Rennes’ Yann Mvila after the Euros. Deschamps had been at odds with Ben Arfa when he was his coach at Olympique Marseille.”I am in a new position, I am not his everyday coach anymore. I know him, as a person and as a player. If I had no intention to call him someday, I would not include him in the provisional list,” Deschamps said. Nasri is serving a threematch ban for his conduct during Euro 2012, while Mvila, who received a warning at the disciplinary hearing, was not selected. France have been drawn in qualifying group H, also containing defending champions Spain and Georgia. —Reuters

ENVIGADO: Colombia’s Envigado player Jamillacson Palcio (left) vies for the ball with Uruguayan Liverpool players Pablo Melo (center) and goalkeeper Matias Castro during their Copa Sudamericana football match at the Polideportivo Sur stadium in Envigado, Antioquia department, Colombia on August 28, 2012. —AFP

Rodgers under pressure to avoid broken Hearts LIVERPOOL: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been told the pressure is all on his side as they attempt to secure their place in the group phase of the Europa League. The Reds will defend a single-goal advantage against Scottish side Hearts in today’s play-off second leg at Anfield after an own goal from Andy Webster proved the difference in the first leg at Tynecastle. Liverpool’s edgy victory in Edinburgh was a rare high point so far after an opening day Premier League defeat at West Bromwich Albion and a 22 draw against Manchester City. While the Europa League is relatively low down Liverpool’s list of priorities, reaching the group stages would buy new boss Rodgers a little more breathing space as he tries to stamp his authority on the club. Yet Rodgers is again set to gamble by giving his squad players a chance to impress in the second leg after resting several stars including captain Steven Gerrard for the Tynecastle clash. And Liverpool have been warned that their opponents, unbeaten in domestic Scottish competition this season, will do everything in their power to take advantage by springing a surprise. Goalkeeper Jamie Macdonald believes John McGlynn’s side could upset the odds at Anfield and he said: “Liverpool will want to put a performance on for their fans but we’ll go there without fear. It’s an opportunity for us to do something special. “Anfield is such an historic place with so many great moments in European football having happened there. hopefully we can do something great to add to them. “The pressure’s not on us. They’re the favourites, but on the night, anything can happen. There’s a belief in the camp.” Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling, the England Under-19 international who

stood out in the first leg and against defending Premier League champions City, is likely to be handed another chance to impress despite this week’s video nasty. Footage has emerged of Rodgers criticizing the super-confident teenager during the club’s pre-season tour of the United States. The training ground dressing-down, caught by a flyon-the-wall documentary on the club set to be aired later this year, shows Rodgers questioning the young midfielder’s attitude after he unwisely answered back to the no-nonsense Anfield manager. Rodgers singled Sterling out during a training debrief after the youngster interrupts his team talk - and told the player he’d be on the next plane home if he didn’t listen. When Sterling tried to answer back, Rodgers said: “You say ‘steady’ to me again when I say something to you and you’ll be on the first plane back.” The stern talking-to seems to have worked, and speaking this week, Rodgers said: “I have seen a lot of development in Raheem in a short time. He takes on a lot of the concepts and he is very good with instructions. “He’s a young player who has improved every single day since I came here, and his per formance against Manchester City was fantastic.” Hearts are likely to have to make changes of their own. Lithuanian international defender Marius Zaliukas is a doubt for the visitors with a dead leg, and keeper Macdonald added: “We’ll get heavily beaten if we’re not careful but what’s the point in going there if we don’t think we can win?” McGlynn admits his side will be up against it if they fail to claim the first goal, and the manager added: “If we lose the first goal we’ve got to score two so we need to score first. Having said that, we still need to be patient.” —AFP

Rudisha looking for world record ZURICH: Olympic champion David Rudisha plans to attack his 800-meter world record when he runs his final race of the season today. Rudisha said yesterday he will “try and see if it’s possible” to run faster than the 1 minute, 40.91 seconds he set at the London Olympics when he competes at the Weltklasse Diamond League meet. “That’s what I’m looking for. This being my last race of the season, I think I just want to give my best,” the 23-yearold Kenyan said. Rudisha led throughout his Olympic victory three weeks ago but will use training partner Sammy Tangui to pace him through the

first 400 today. “The last lap I do it myself,” said Rudisha, whose first appearance since winning the gold medal will be just his 11th competitive race this year. “Every race is important in our season and we always want to do the best every time.” That selective program was designed with Rudisha’s coach, an Irish missionary based in Kenya who has come to Zurich to see the race. “After what he did in London without a pace-setter, you wonder if he really needs one,” coach Colm O’Connell said. O’Connell described Rudisha as a “great student” of the 800 who has analyzed how

Olympic medalists win India top sports award NEW DELHI: Pistol shooter Vijay Kumar and wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt were yesterday presented with India’s top sports award after winning medals at the London Olympics. Kumar, who won a silver, and bronze medallist Dutt received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (sports jewel) award from President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony in New Delhi. The award, named after the assassinated former Prime Minister, carries a medal, citation and a cash prize of 750,000 rupees ($13,500). Past winners of the award include cricketer Sachin Tendulk ar, badminton star Saina Nehwal, tennis player Leander Paes and reigning world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand. India won two silver and four bronze medals in

London, its biggest ever haul at the Olympics. Cricketer Yuvraj Singh, who was man of the tournament in India’s victorious World Cup campaign last year, was among 25 recipients of the annual Arjuna award, the country ’s second highest sporting honour. Yuvraj, who was treated for a rare germ-cell tumor between his lungs earlier this year, has been declared fit to play in nex t month’s World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. Among other winners of the Arjuna award were hockey player Sardar Singh, woman archer Deepika Kumari and badminton stars Parupalli Kashyap and Ashwini Ponappa. The award includes a cash prize of 500,000 rupees ($9,000), a statuette and a citation. —AFP

previous record holders Sebastian Coe and Wilson Kipketer ran their races. At Zurich in 1997, Kipketer set the second of his three world record times, a 1:41.24 run, just weeks after lowering Coe’s mark of 1:41.73 which had stood for 16 years. Kipketer’s 13-year reign was ended by Rudisha in 2010. Still, the Swiss weather could harm Rudisha’s chances at the sold-out Letzigrund stadium with rain and 15-degree (61 Fahrenheit) temperatures forecast. “The weather plays a very big role,” acknowledged Rudisha, who won his two previous appearances at Zurich. “I have run very few races in the raining and the cold.” —AP

Lampard eyes Chelsea job after retirement LONDON: Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard wants to manage the European champions once his playing days are over. Lampard, 34, has been at the Premier League side since 2001 and is in the final season of his current deal. “I am thinking about my coaching badges now but there is only one club I want to manage,” Lampard was quoted as saying in The Sun newspaper yesterday. “I know it might sound a bit big-headed or selfish but I wouldn’t want to go through ‘showing myself’ with a lower club. “Although I would never expect to walk into a position such as the Chelsea manager, this is the only club I’d want to manage,” he said. “I’d love to have a crack at it but I’d want to do well. “I wouldn’t want the supporters to forget everything I’ve tried to do as a player because I can’t manage the team,” added Lampard, who captained Chelsea to victory in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in May and has won League titles and FA Cups with the club. He has played under several managers at Stamford Bridge, including Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti. “Without a doubt I’ve picked up good things as well as some things that I’d do differently,” Lampard added.

STOKE: Stoke’s Robert Huth (left) fights for the ball during their English Premier League soccer match at Britannia Stadium in this file photo. —AP

Stoke dumped out of League Cup in 4-3 loss LONDON: Stoke City became the highestprofile casualty in the English League Cup second round when third-tier Swindon Town pulled off a dramatic 4-3 win late in extra time on Tuesday. Fulham were the other Premier League side to fall as they lost 1-0 to Championship (second division) Sheffield yesterday. Other Premier League clubs including Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Reading emerged against lower-league opposition to make the third round. West Brom had to come from behind, relying on two late goals to scrape past third-tier Yeovil Town 4-2. James Collins scored a hat-trick - including the winner in extra time - as Swindon, managed by former West Ham United striker Paolo Di Canio, upset Stoke at the Britannia Stadium. Stoke came back from 2-0 down to force extra time and equalized for a third time through Peter Crouch after 111 minutes. But Tony Pulis’s side had no answer after Collins slid in to make it 43 in the 119th minute, prompting wild celebrations by Di Canio on the touchline. At Hillsborough, Sheffield yesterday, League Cup winners in 1991, accounted for Fulham with a Gary Madine penalty in the 50th minute after Chris Maguire was fouled by Stephen Kelly. Goals from Belgian Yassine El Ghanassy and Shane

Long in the final 17 minutes saved West Brom from embarrassment at Yeovil after the third tier side had taken the lead and then levelled at 2-2 through Reuben Reid. At Villa Park, Paul Lambert enjoyed his first victory as Villa manager with a 3-0 defeat of third-tier Tranmere Rovers, in a game that marked England striker Darren Bent’s first goal since February. Nathaniel KnightPercival’s own goal gave Premier League Reading a 3-2 victory over second-tier club Peterborough after four goals in the first 19 minutes at the Madejski Stadium had left the sides level at 2-2. Premier League clubs Wigan Athletic, Sunderland and West Ham had relatively straightforward wins. Wigan brushed aside second-tier Nottingham Forest 4-1 at the City Ground, Sunderland beat fourth-tier Morecambe 2-0 and West Ham United eased past Crewe of the third division 2-0 at home. Norwich City beat Scunthorpe United 2-1, Queens Park Rangers overcame Walsall 3-0, Southampton won 4-1 at Stevenage and Swansea City enjoyed a 3-1 victory over Barnsley. Elsewhere, fourth-tier Burton Albion caused a surprise with a 4-2 victory at second-tier Leicester City. Everton hosted Leyton Orient yesterday while the Premier League teams in European competition enter in the third round. —Reuters




UDINE: Sporting Braga players celebrate after beating Udinese following a shootout, during a Champions League play-off round, return leg soccer match, at the Friuli Stadium on Tuesday Aug 28, 2012.

ATHENS: Panathinaikos’ Ibrahim Sissoko (second left) tries to score during a second leg Champions League play-off soccer match against Malaga at Athens’ Olympic stadium on Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012. — AP

Udinese miss out after penalty blunder Malaga, Anderlecht, BATE, Zagreb advance BERNE: Udinese missed out on the Champions League for the second season running on Tuesday, losing on penalties to Braga in the playoffs after an comical shootout miss to leave Italy with only two clubs in Europe’s top competition. Brazilian substitute Maicosuel tried to emulate Andrea Pirlo’s effort for Italy against England at Euro 2012 by nonchalantly chipping the ball into the middle of the goal but mis-hit his shot and allowed Braga’s goalkeeper Beto to save. Spain’s Malaga, facing uncertainty behind the scenes amid speculation that their Qatari owner is looking to sell up, overcame their internal worries to reach the group stage for the first time after drawing 0-0 at Panathinaikos. Anderlecht qualified for the first time since 2006/07 with a 2-0 win over AEL Limassol, denying the Cypriot champions a chance to

emulate APOEL Nicosia who reached the quarter-finals last time. The Belgians were joined in the group stage and Thursday’s draw in Monaco by BATE Borisov of Belarus and Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb, who both qualified for the second year running. Portuguese side Braga’s collection of Brazilian journeymen won 5-4 on penalties against shattered Udinese after the two sides drew 1-1 for a 2-2 aggregate draw. Udinese also paid the price for selling three of their top players from the previous season, goalkeeper Samir Handanovic going to Inter Milan while Mauricio Isla and Kwadwo Asamoah joined Juventus. Beaten by Arsenal at the same stage last season, Udinese made a jittery start against opponents wearing the same colour strip as the English side but went ahead after 25 minutes. Dusan Basta hooked a cross

into the area and Pablo Armero dived in to head the ball beyond goalkeeper Beto. The Colombian also had a golden chance to add a second early in the second half when he had a free shot on goal but, in a moment of pure slapstick, slipped over as he took aim. Braga, whose side includes seven Brazilians who are mostly well-travelled and have plied their trade at unglamorous clubs, were in control by then and levelled when substitute Ruben Micael headed in Mossoro’s cross in the 72nd minute. Udinese’s defeat means Italy will have only Serie A champions Juventus and seven-times European Cup winners AC Milan in the group stage. Malaga have seen Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla and Venezuela striker Salomon Rondon depart for Arsenal and Rubin Kazan respectively in what the Andalusian club has described as a process of “internal restructur-

Martinez, Bayern seal record deal BERLIN: Spain midfielder Javi Martinez signed for Bayern Munich yesterday, the club confirmed, in a deal believed to be a new Bundesliga record transfer of around 40 million euros (US$50.2m). The 23-year-old has been a Bayern target for weeks and terminated his contract with Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, which allowed him to sign a fiveyear deal with Bayern until June 2017. The player had a release clause with Athletic to the tune of 40 million euros, but he was responsible for paying it himself, adding huge tax liabilities as a result. “Without question, that was a complicated transfer,” admitted Bayern chairman KarlHeinz Rummenigge with the transfer window set to close tomorrow. “So we are very happy that Javi Martinez is finally with us. “We know he is a very good player, with a strong personality and he has an affinity for Bayern Munich, which he has clearly demonstrated in the last few days. “Along with our coach Jupp Heynckes and director of sport Matthias Sammer, we are looking forward to working with Javi Martinez.” The club did not confirm the final price of the transfer, but German media report the deal is expected to be a new league record. It should better the 34 million euros ($42.6m) Premier League side Manchester City paid VfL Wolfsburg for Edin Dzeko in 2011 and the 30 million euros ($37.6m) Bayern paid VfB Stuttgart for Mario Gomez in 2009. The transfer saga was played out on Wednesday after German Sky TV broadcast images of Martinez arriving in Munich at midnight on Tuesday before he completed the medical in the early hours. He was then reported to have flown back to Spain and Athletic issued a statement on Wednesday demanding an explanation and insisting they had not authorized his trip to Germany. Bayern said Martinez will hold a press conference on Thursday in Munich. The defensive midfielder, who has also been used by his club at centre-back, has made eight appearances for Spain and came off the bench for Spain briefly at both the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. Bayern have already strengthened their squad this season with midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri arriving from FC Basel, striker Mario Mandzukic from Wolfsburg and Brazilian defender Dante from Borussia Moenchengladbach. — AFP Today’s matches on TV

UEFA Champions League Bordeaux v Belgrade Aljazeera Sport +5 Liverpool v Hearts Aljazeera Sport +4 Paok v Rapid Wien Aljazeera Sport +6 Northampton v Wolves Aljazeera Sport +3

21:30 21:30 21:45 21:45

Copa Sudamericana Independiente v Boca Aljazeera Sport +7


Brazilian Championship Fluminense v Corinthians Aljazeera Sport +1


ing”. However, they held on comfortably in Athens in a game of few scoring chances against opponents who have taken part in the group stage nine times. COSMOPOLITAN SIDE Democratic Republic of Congo forward Dieudonne Mbokani and Ukraine forward Oleksandr Yakovenko scored in the last 10 minutes for Anderlecht. Mbokani drove in Massimo Bruno’s cross in the 81st minute to end some tenacious resistance by AEL’s cosmopolitan side and Yakovenko scored inside the far post as he finally netted after being repeatedly denied earlier in the game. Anderlecht’s 3-2 aggregate win allowed them to take what many felt to be their rightful place in the group stage for which they had originally qualified. The Belgians were demoted to the third qualifying round after

Chelsea’s Champions League title last season following a sixth-place Premier League finish forced UEFA to reshuffle the places. The changes also led to Tottenham Hotspur losing their berth and being moved into the Europa League. BATE Borisov, full name Borisov Works of Automobile and Tractor Electric Equipment, ploughed into the group stage with a 1-1 draw at Israeli champions Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, which gave them a 3-1 aggregate win. Laszlo Lencse curled in a free kick for the Israel side in the 67th minute and BATE survived some anxious moments before Aleksandr Pavlov snatched a stoppage time equalizer on the break. An early goal by Portuguese midfielder Tonel gave Dinamo Zagreb, Croatian champions for the last six seasons, a 1-0 win at Maribor in neighboring Slovenia and sent them through 3-1 on aggregate. — Reuters

Baghdad orphan eyes pool gold for Australia MELBOURNE: He has described himself as the happiest man alive, yet in 20 years Iraqborn swimmer Ahmed Kelly has risen above extreme hardship to become one of Australia’s leading medal hopes at the London Paralympics. Kelly, along with his brother Emmanuel, was born severely disabled, with under-developed limbs as a result of their parents’ exposure to chemical weapons. He was left on an orphanage doorstep in Baghdad, a world away from the Aquatic Centre pool that he will dive into for his 100 freestyle, 50 breaststroke and 150 individual medley events starting next week. In 2000, the boys were brought to Australia for surgery and were adopted by humanitarian Moira Kelly, who would later add Trishna and Krishna to the family, conjoined twins who were separated in a groundbreaking surgery in 2009. Kelly took to Australia’s sports-mad culture with gusto, and loved playing Australian Rules football with prosthetic limbs. But the high-contact indigenous football code took a toll on his body, and he later took up swimming after participating in the Australian Paralympic Committee’s talent identification program. Kelly, who swims with prosthetic legs but without arms, was paired with Coach Brad Kelly, who has helped him channel raw determination into stunning success. “When

we started, I had a guy with no arms and legs who wanted to be the best he could be,” Harris said. “There’s nothing too hard for him ... He’ll always say yes.” Kelly soon began competing at an elite level and broke the world record in the 100 breaststroke in 2010 and 2011. Now, only four years after he first began swimming, the 20-year-old is competing in his first Paralympics. The journey to London has been far from easy. To qualify, Kelly has had to shift from racing the 100 breaststroke-an endurance event in Paralympic terms-to sprinting in the 50 distance. While mastering the new discipline and training hard in his other events, Kelly has had to juggle school work while supporting his mother’s charity, the Children First Foundation. “It has been difficult, but you have to do your best,” Kelly said. “It’s tough, but it’s meant to be tough ... You have to know what you’re doing every lap for.” Kelly and his coach Harris remain as ambitious as ever. “I love sports, I want to keep swimming well, keep adapting, and I’m still learning about these things,” said Kelly, who has already set his heart on competing at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. “I want to get the best out of myself. But everyone has been so supportive and I couldn’t have done it without them.” — Reuters

Super Cup comes full circle with last Monaco match

Javi Martinez

Blatter opposed to age limits for FIFA officials BERNE: FIFA president Sepp Blatter is against age restrictions for officials in soccer’s governing body although he would be prepared to accept a limit on the length of time they can hold office, he said yesterday. The 76-year- old Swiss said he was also opposed to standing areas in soccer stadiums, placing him on a collision course with both the Bundesliga and the national league in his homeland. “I’m in favour of limiting the length of time officials can serve but against an age limit,” he told Germany’s Sport Bild magazine. “Capabilites have nothing to do with age. There are 70-year-olds who are young in the head. But a mandate limit could have a chance.” A draft revision of FIFA’s statutes includes a proposal to impose an age limit of 72 on officials at the time they are elected. It would also limit the FIFA president to two four-year mandates and the executive committee members to three four-year mandates. The proposal is due to be discussed at FIFA’s annual Congress in Mauritius next

year. Paraguay’s Nicolas Leoz is the oldest member of FIFA’s executive committee at 83, while senior vice-president Julio Grondona, 80, has been on the committee since 1988. Blatter is in his fourth term as FIFA president, though he has repeated that he does not intend to stand again at the next election in 2015. Blatter said he remained unconvinced by the popularity of standing areas in Germany’s Bundesliga. “We preach to the whole world to do away with standing places,” he said. “In Colombia, the stadiums were rebuilt because of the world under-20 championship, now families can go to matches, it is going really well. “Everyone sits down and that is good, it’s good for the safety.” “The Bundesliga is the only big league in Europe which still has standing places.” The Swiss Super League also permits standingroom and earlier this year, FIFA backed down from partially funding a new stadium in its home city of Zurich because plans included a small area of terracing. — Reuters

MONACO: Chelsea’s relationship with the European Super Cup comes full circle tomorrow when the winners of the first final at the picturesque Stade Louis II face Atletico Madrid in the last one to be staged there. Chelsea, at the time holders of the Cup Winners’ Cup, beat European champions Real Madrid 1-0 in 1998 and now, as European champions themselves, they are back to face Atletico, the winners of last season’s Europa League. Chelsea’s win 14 years ago, secured by a late Gus Poyet goal over a Real side that included Raul, Roberto Carlos, Clarence Seedorf and Fernando Morientes, began a trend. Of the 14 finals played in Monaco in the traditional curtain-raiser to the European club season, the European champions have lost eight times to the Cup Winners’ Cup holders and then subsequently the UEFA Cup and Europa League winners. Atletico, like Chelsea, have also beaten the European champions in Monaco, scoring a 2-0 victory over Inter Milan at the Stade Louis in 2010. However, unlike in 1998, Chelsea will start as favorites after a fine start to the domestic season in which they have won their opening three Premier League matches. “Of course we want to extend that run with another win tomorrow,” coach Roberto Di Matteo, who played in Chelsea’s 1998 win over Real, said after the victory over Newcastle United on Saturday. “And you can never win enough trophies.” DEFIED ODDS Chelsea defied the odds last season to realize the dream of billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich and win the European Cup on penalties against Bayern in Munich. Abramovich is a regular visitor to Monaco with one or more of his yachts regularly berthed in the harbor beneath the famous casino, and he has gambled some 80.0 million pounds ($126.39 million) on new players

since the night Chelsea reached the European pinnacle at the Allianz Arena. Brazilian playmaker Oscar, Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard, Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta, Germany’s Marko Marin and Nigerian-born Victor Moses have arrived at Stamford Bridge while Salomon Kalou and Didier Drogba are among those who have left. There is no doubt Abramovich would like to sail away from Monaco with another trophy in the locker before the Super Cup begins its travels around Europe. Following a suggestion by UEFA president Michel Platini to rotate, next year’s match will be in Prague, the 2014 final in Cardiff and the 2015 game in Tbilisi. Like Di Matteo, Atletico’s charismatic Argentine coach Diego Simeone has just begun his first full season in charge at the Vicente Calderon and still has most of the players in his squad who helped win the Europa League. They appear to have fended off interest from wealthier rivals in striker Radamel Falcao, the Colombia international known as “the tiger” who netted 24 goals in La Liga last season and 12 in Europe. Falcao has picked up where he left off and scored a fine hat-trick in Monday’s 4-0 mauling of Athletic Bilbao, the team they beat 3-0 in the 2012 Europa League final. He took his tally against the Basque club to seven in three matches, having also scored twice in a 2-1 success in La Liga last March. “This gives us a lot of encouragement to face the game tomorrow,” Falcao told Spanish television after the Bilbao match. “We knew that if we won this game we would have more confidence to face Chelsea.” The game will also be an interesting one for 20-year-old Belgian keeper Thibault Courtois, who is on loan for a second season at Atletico from parent club Chelsea. “Its special for me as the game is against my club, But I play for Atletico: it’s me against Chelsea and I want to win it,” he told — Reuters

England’s Strauss resigns as captain, quits cricket



Azarenka advances to US Open third round


Stoke dumped out of League Cup in 4-3 loss Page 18

LONDON: View of performers seen during the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Paralympics yesterday. —AP

London Paralympics kicks off Hawking launches ‘inspirational’ Games opener LONDON: Britain’s most famous living scientist Stephen Hawking yesterday launched the London Paralympics’ opening ceremony, aimed at challenging perceptions of disability and championing the human spirit. Hawking, who has motor neurone disease and has spent most of his life in a wheelchair, began the curtain-raiser to 11 days of sport at an event involving over 3,000 performers, many of them with disabilities, after a fly-past by a disabled pilot. The author of “A Brief History of Time”, described by organizers as “the most famous disabled person anywhere on the planet”, guided a central character on a journey of discovery in a story inspired by William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. From the “Big Bang” theory on the creation of the universe about which Hawking has written extensively, to the 18th century “Enlightment” period and scientific discoveries of the modern era, Hawking urged people to take nothing for granted. “We live in a universe governed by rational laws that we can discover and understand,” the 70-year-old theoretical physicist said through his voice-synthesized computer. “Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist.

Be curious.” The ceremony had been billed by organizers as a “celebration of the inspirational spirit of the Paralympic Games that challenges perceptions of human possibility”. Margaret Maughan, Britain’s first Paralympic gold medalist at the inaugural 1960 Games, was given the honor of lighting the cauldron, created by British designer Thomas Heatherwick and made of more than 200 petals. Now 84, she will receive the flame from British soldier Joe Townsend, who was to descend on a zip wire from the 115-metre high ArcelorMittal Orbit observation tower overlooking the stadium. Townsend, a Royal Marine commando, lost both legs when he stepped on a bomb in Afghanistan but is now an aspiring Paralympic triathlete hoping to compete in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 when the sport makes its debut. Queen Elizabeth II was to officially open the Games, watched by her grandson Prince William and his wife Catherine, 80,000 others in the Olympic Stadium and a television audience of millions around the world. From today, a record 4,200 athletes, including an unprecedented number of women, from 165 countries will compete for 503 medals in 20 sports in front of a nearsell-out crowd for the first time in the Games’ 52-year history. A total of 166 countries had

been due to take part but the International Paralympic Committee on Wednesday confirmed that Malawi’s team had not travelled to London to compete in what would have been the country’s first Paralympics. Organizers believe much of the increased domestic interest in the event comes after a successful Olympics for British athletes, which saw the host nation finish third in the overall medal table behind the United States and China. Britain is considered the “spiritual home” of the Paralympics, as the first recognized sports event for athletes with disabilities was held in Stoke Mandeville, southern England, in 1948. The flame-created from four others kindled on the highest peaks of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland-was brought to the venue in a 148-kilometre (92-mile) overnight relay from Stoke Mandeville to London. Shooting is set to provide the first gold of the Games on Thursday in the women’s 10m standing air rifle. Medals are also up for grabs in the velodrome with the finals of the men and women’s individual pursuit, in four weight categories in judo at the ExCeL Arena and at the Aquatics Centre, where 15 swimming finals are to be held. The showpiece athletics program gets under way on Friday with the spotlight on

LONDON: A statue of Paralympic mascot Mandeville stands in front of the main stadium before the 2012 Paralympics in London. —AP South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, who is seeking to defend his T44 100m, 200m and 400m titles from Beijing four years ago. Pistorius, dubbed the “Blade Runner” because he runs on carbon fibre blades, made history this month by

becoming the first double-amputee athlete to compete in the Olympics, when he made the 400m semi-final and 4x400m relay final. He has, however, played down expectations of repeating the treble. —AFP

Guttmann remembered for his Paralympic idea

LONDON: Performers with umbrellas are suspended in the air during the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Paralympics in London yesterday. —AP

LONDON: The Olympics have Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern games. The Paralympics have Sir Ludwig Guttmann. Guttmann, a Jewish neurosurgeon who fled Nazi Germany, pioneered athletic competition as therapy for patients with spinal injuries and organized an archery competition for 16 patients at Britain’s Stoke Mandeville hospital in 1948. From this humble start have come the Paralympic Games, which this week will bring more than 4,000 athletes from around the world to London. “The Guttmann story is massive,” said Olympic historian Martin Polley. “He was the one who linked rehab to competitive sport.” This month has been Guttmann’s moment, what with a BBC film about his life, “The Best of Men,” an exhibition at the Jewish Museum in London and his daughter, Eve Loeffler, being named mayor of the athletes village - a sort of ambassador in chief who welcomes the participants for games that started yesterday and end Sept 9. It follows a resurgence of interest in Guttmann, who escaped in the late 1930s and settled in Britain, where his research on treating spinal patients drew the attention of the government. Guttmann began working with injured soldiers at Stoke Mandeville hospital, just north of London, during World War II - a time when suffering a spinal injury was considered a death sentence. Patients were discouraged from moving, leading to secondary infections from bed sores or from pneumonia. Known for an authoritarian streak and his stubborn insistence on changing the status quo, Guttmann swept into the hospital and took patients off sedation, which had

been administered to make them comfortable. But Guttmann was having none of that. No one was going to be comfortable. “One patient told me ‘I’m waiting for God almighty to take me up,” the Times of London reported Guttmann as saying at a conference in 1962. “I told him ‘While you are waiting, you can do some work’.” He made the patients sit up and work muscles. Seeking to keep them motivated, he hit upon competition as a way to make them work harder. He tried wheelchair field hockey, but when that became too violent, he got the patients involved in wheelchair basketball, Loeffler said. It was tough and demanding, but grateful patients nicknamed him “Poppa.” They were still paralyzed. But many lived - and carried out Guttmann’s wish that they become taxpayers. Loeffler said her father was marked by his past. Many of his relatives perished in Auschwitz. He was driven, intent to give back to the country that had given his family refuge. “I think that’s another thing that made him work so hard,” she said. “He was Hitler’s gift to this country in a way, and he was determined to be a good British citizen.” On the same day that London opened its 1948 Olympics, Guttmann organized a competition for wheelchair athletes, which he called the Stoke Mandeville Games. They involved 16 patients taking part in archery. From those humble origins, the Paralympics have grown into a festival of sports involving 4,200 athletes from 166 teams. Though smaller than the Olympics - which had more than twice the number of athletes - London’s event repre-

sents the largest field ever for the games. The London event - the first to have come as a result of a joint bid from the host city - have also benefited from greater integration with the Olympics, particularly in terms of marketing and organization. London essentially connected the rings to the Agitos, the Paralympic symbol of three circling arcs - a move that helped also spread the fairy dust of attention that the Olympics receive to the Paralympics as well. Queen Elizabeth II agreed to open the event, a reflection of their importance to the country. Some 2.3 million tickets have been sold, the most ever, many to Britons new to Paralympic sport but who wanted to get an opportunity to see the glittering new stadiums and experience the excitement of first class sporting competition. Britain’s team is also strong. They were second in the Paralympic table at Beijing with 102 total medals, including 42 gold. The hometown crowd wants to see their athletes - and of course wants to see them win. Loeffler believes her father’s vision has come to pass. And when she wanders the village, people recognize her - like Canadian athlete Jessica Vliegenthart, who saw Loeffler having her photograph taken in a smart navy jacket with its massive circular gold badge. “Aren’t you the daughter of ...” Vliegenthart asked, as two wheelchair basketball athletes drew their wheels in. Loeffler nodded, and her pride was clear. Her father dreamed of an “Olympic Games for disabled men and women,” and now a whole new generation is learning about him. “Who but he could have imagined that it would have happened,” she said. “I don’t think anybody else could.” —AP


Dubai halts three-day drop, Kuwait continues rebound Page 22 France offers to pick up tab for young hires Page 23


India GDP figures set to deepen gloom

Daikin to buy Goodman Global for $3.7 billion

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CHICAGO: In this Wednesday, April 4, 2012 photo, a worker at the Ford Stamping Plant moves a stack of Lincoln MKS body sides in Chicago Heights, Ill. The US economy grew at a 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-June 2012 quarter, boosted by slightly stronger consumer spending and greater imports. — AP

US Q2 growth revised up Pending home sales hit two-year high in July WASHINGTON: The US economy fared slightly better than initially thought in the second quarter but the pace of growth remained too slow to shut the door on further monetary easing from the Federal Reserve. Gross domestic product expanded at a 1.7 percent annual rate, the Commerce Depar tment said on Wednesday, as stronger export growth offset a pull-back in restocking by businesses wary of sluggish domestic demand. That was up from the government’s initial estimate of 1.5 percent growth released last month and in line with economists’ expectations. The economy grew at a 2.0 percent pace in the January-March period. A second report showed contracts to buy previously owned homes in July rose to their highest level since April 2010, suggesting the housing market recovery was gaining traction. While the composition of economic activity was fairly favorable, growth remains well below the 2 to 2.5 percent rate required every quarter to hold the unemployment rate steady, which could compel policymakers at the U.S. central bank to offer additional stimulus at their Sept. 1213 meeting. “It shows slightly better government spending and consumer spending but overall the data suggest the economy stays in slow growth mode and is not likely to change,” said

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. “This certainly strengthens the hand of the Fed to aid the economy.” US stocks were little changed on the data, but Treasury debt prices fell. The dollar rose against a basket of currencies. Speculation the Fed would loosen policy further had been dampened by a pick-up in job growth and a rebound in retail sales in July but other data on business spending and inflation supported more action. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke could offer more clarity on the near-term outlook for monetary policy when he gives a speech at the Kansas City Fed’s high-profile gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at the end of the week. The jobless rate rose to 8.3 percent in July from 8.2 percent the prior month. The weak economy could be a stumbling block to President Barack Obama’s quest for a second term in November elections. Second-quarter economic growth was revised up to show strong export growth, despite slowing global demand. Import growth was the smallest in a year. Trade contributed 0.32 percentage point to GDP growth instead of subtracting a third of a percentage point, as previously reported. That helped to offset the drag from inventories. Business inventories increased $49.9 billion instead of $66.3 billion and subtracted 0.23 percentage point from

GDP growth in the April-June period. However, the careful management of stocks can be a boost to the economy in the third quarter. Excluding inventories, GDP rose at a 2.0 percent rate rather than 1.2 percent. In the first quarter, final sales of goods and services produced in the United States increased at a 2.4 percent pace. There were also upward revisions to growth in consumer spending, which was bumped up to a 1.7 percent pace from the previously reported 1.5 percent. That was a step-down from the 2.4 percent pace recorded in the first quarter, however. The revision to consumer spending was to account for stronger growth in services than previously thought. Investment in construction of nonresidential structures was stronger than previously reported. But growth in business investment in equipment and software was lowered to a 4.7 percent pace, the slowest since the third quarter of 2009, from 7.2 percent previously. Growth in spending by businesses on equipment and software has slowed sharply from a peak of 18.3 percent in the third quarter of last year. That appears to have intensified early this quarter, with a measure of business spending plans falling sharply in July. The pullback likely reflects worries of deep government spending cuts and higher taxes scheduled to kick in at the start of 2013, as well as troubles from the debt crisis in Europe.

British deputy PM calls for emergency tax on super rich LONDON: Rich Britons should face a temporary tax hike to help Britain out of its stubborn recession, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said in an interview published yesterday. Clegg, who leads the Liberal Democrats-the junior partner in a coalition with Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives-told the Guardian newspaper the super-rich should do more to help Britain out of “economic war”. Britain fell back into recession at the end of 2011 after climbing out of a deep downturn in late 2009. The coalition has introduced steep austerity cuts since it came to power in 2010 in a bid to shrink its massive deficit, while Britain continues to suffer the ongoing fallout from the crisis in the eurozone, a key trading partner. “If we are going to ask people for more sacri-

fices over a longer period of time, a longer period of belt tightening as a country, then we just have to make sure that people see it is being done as fairly and as progressively as possible,” Clegg said. “If we want to remain cohesive and prosperous as a society, people of very considerable personal wealth have got to make a bit of an extra contribution.” Figures released last Friday showed that British gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 0.5 percent between April and June compared with the first quarter. The centrist Liberal Democrats have previously campaigned for a “mansion tax” on properties worth more than £2 million ($3.2 million, 2.5 million euros). But Clegg’s political foes point out that he backed Britain’s last budget in March, which introduced tax reductions for top earners.

“He talks about a tax on the wealthiest, but he voted for the tax cut for millionaires in (finance minister) George Osborne’s budget,” said Chris Leslie, treasury spokesman for the opposition Labour party. Clegg’s proposal appears to indicate a fresh bid to differentiate the Lib Dems’ economic policies from those of the Conservatives. The two parties have fallen out in recent months on policies ranging from Europe to constitutional reform. Senior Conservative lawmaker Bernard Jenkin attacked the plan, saying it could “strangle the goose that lays the golden egg”. “If you go on raising tax on rich people-and that’s why, in agreement with Nick Clegg we have had to cut the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p-you drive wealth abroad,” Jenkin told BBC radio. — AFP

“There’s no question that as we look toward the end of the year and the risk presented by federal spending cuts and tax increases, the economy remains in a vulnerable window,” said Jim Baird, chief investment strategist at Plante Moran Financial Advisors in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The report also showed that after-tax corporate profits rose at a 1.1 percent rate after sinking 8.6 percent in the first quarter. Growth in spending on homebuilding was cut to an 8.9 percent rate from 9.7 percent. Still, the housing market is on a rebound, with home construction, sales and prices firming in recent months. “While the level of housing activity remains depressed, housing has turned the corner,” said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Although government spending declined in the second quarter, the drop was not as deep as previously reported. Defense outlays fell at a 0.1 percent rate instead of 0.4 percent. Despite consumer spending being bumped up, inflation pressures remained muted in the second quarter. A price index for personal spending rose at an unrevised 0.7 percent rate, the slowest pace since the second quarter of 2010. It rose 2.5 percent in the first quarter. A core measure that strips out food and energy costs advanced at an unrevised 1.8 percent pace, slowing down from 2.2 percent in the prior quarter. — Reuters

Qtel to offer KD 2.6 per share for remaining Wataniya stake KUWAIT: National Mobile Tele-communications Company KSC ( Wataniya Telecom) announced that the board of directors of Wataniya Telecom has decided that the offer made by Qatar Telecom (Qtel) Q.S.C’s (Qtel) for the acquisition of all Wataniya Telecom shares not currently owned by Qtel, at KD 2.600 per share is appropriate to shareholders that are interested in accepting the offer and selling their Wataniya Telecom shares; based on the report of the independent Investment Advisor (Protiviti - member of Protiviti Inc., a global consulting firm. Wataniya Management has

endorsed the findings of the report and agreed that the offer is fair. Qtel received approval of its Offer Document from the Kuwait Capital Markets Authorityon 15 August 2012. The Offer Document and other related documents are available for review on the websites of Wataniya Telecom at and Qtel at until the end of the offer period, which will start on 4 September 2012 and conclude on 4 October 2012. A copy of the independent report is available for the review of Wataniya Telecom’s shareholders at Wataniya Telecom’s head office.



G7 urges higher oil output, warns on reserves WASHINGTON: The Group of Seven finance ministers urged oil-producing countries to raise output to ensure the market is well supplied, while warning that Western nations were ready to tap strategic oil reserves to offset rising prices that could hurt global growth. “We stand ready to call upon the International Energy Agency to take appropriate action to ensure that the market is fully and timely supplied,” the G7 said in a statement. “The current rise in oil prices reflects geopolitical concerns and certain supply disruptions. We encourage oil-producing countries to increase their output to meet demand.” Oil prices have strengthened as

Hurricane Isaac approached the US coast and the administration of President Barack Obama said separately on Tuesday that it was still open to a possible release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. “That option has been on the table for some time, and remains on the table, but we have no announcements to make today,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters traveling to Iowa with President Barack Obama. Earlier this year, the White House considered tapping the reserve but held off after oil prices fell. Reuters reported this month the White House was dusting off those plans, and some energy experts

viewed Isaac as a potential trigger for such a move. Oil production in the US Gulf of Mexico was down more than 90 percent on Tuesday as Hurricane Isaac headed toward the Louisiana as a Category 1 storm. The storm was expected to make landfall as early as Tuesday night. Energy analysts do not expect extensive damage to oil and gas infrastructure if the storm stays in line with current projections. Still, any supply disruptions could raise pressure for a release of emergency oil supplies. “We remain vigilant of the risks to the global economy. In this context and mindful of the substantial risks posed by elevated oil prices, we are

monitoring the situation in oil markets closely,” the G7 said. Finance ministers also noted that Saudi Arabia had committed at a G20 meeting of world leaders in Mexico earlier this year to use its spare oil production capacity to ensure adequate supply. The comments from the finance ministers is a strong signal that a release may be imminent, said Jan Stuart, head of energy research at Credit Suisse in New York. “A significant group of industrialized countries now appears to be ready to make reserves available-they know that when you make statements at this level, you also need to be ready to follow through,” Stuart said. — Reuters

Dubai halts three-day drop, Kuwait continues rebound Weakness in the market will attract investors

BANGKOK: A vendor (L) sell goods in a slum in Bangkok yesterday. Thailand’s economy has logged a second straight quarter of solid growth, buoyed by investment to repair factories damaged by last year’s devastating floods and strong domestic demand, data showed. — AFP

Saxo Bank announces half year results DUBAI: Saxo Bank saw continued growth in clients’ collateral deposits and assets under management during Q2 despite of the low overall trader and investor activity level in the first half of 2012. A significant number of new on-boarded clients increased the collateral deposits in Saxo Bank’s trading business from DKK 26.7 billion as of 31 December 2011 to DKK 30 billion at the end of June 2012. Total assets under management in Saxo Bank’s asset management business increased from DKK 33.2 billion as of 31 December 2011 to DKK 35.7 billion as of 30 June 2012. Including collateral deposits in Saxo Privatbank, the Saxo Bank Group’s total client collateral deposits and asset under management increased from DKK 68.4 billion as of 31 December 2011 to DKK 74.4 billion as of 30 June 2012. After a pick-up in the third quarter of 2011, volumes went down in the fourth quarter and remained at a relatively low level in the first six months of 2012. Market volatility in most asset classes remained subdued at levels not seen since 2006 and 2008. Despite this slowdown in market activity, Saxo Bank decided to increase investments in products and services with 30 per cent compared to the same period last year. Investments in new products included an enhanced CFD and equity offering and new Futures contracts as well as a new online wealth management platform. The award-winning SaxoTrader platform also received a number of notable enhancements particularly for the mobile trading arena. Saxo Bank additionally launched its SaxoTrader app for iPhone and Android. Finally, Saxo

Bank continued its geographical expansion with new offices in Australia, South Africa and Cyprus. Saxo Bank is now present in 21 countries. As a result of the low level of market activity that prevailed through the first half of 2012, Saxo Bank’s net profit for the first six months of 2012 was DKK 44 million. * Operating income: DKK 1,417 million (DKK 1,769 million in H1 2011) * Profit before tax: DKK 76 million (DKK 474 million) * Net profit: DKK 44 million (DKK 346 million) * Clients’ collateral deposits: DKK 30,223 million (DKK 23,285 million) * Assets under management: DKK 35,694 million (DKK 32,357 million) * EBITDA: DKK 267 million (DKK 608 million) In a joint statement, Kim Fournais and Lars Seier Christensen, co-CEOs and founders of Saxo Bank, said: “The first six months of 2012 was an unusual period for the financial markets. The unresolved European debt-crisis, low growth and the ever-changing regulatory environment impacted investors’ appetite for risk and market involvement. This influenced our half-year results significantly. Although we are not satisfied with these results, we remain optimistic. The current subdued level of market activity is not a permanent situation and during the past six months, Saxo Bank has not only invested heavily in products and services, but has continued to grow clients’ collateral deposits at a record pace. This is a good foundation for future business and profits.”

DUBAI: Dubai’s bourse halted a three-day decline yesterday as bargain-hunters returned but trading volumes dropped to a four-week low, while most Gulf markets were flat in lacklustre trade ahead of Friday’s US Federal Reserve symposium, which may signal whether the Fed plans more stimulus. Dubai’s index gained 0.7 percent, heading back towards Thursday ’s 16-week high. Bellwether Emaar Properties rose 1.2 percent, Deyaar Development added 2.6 percent and contractor Arabtec rose 1.5 percent. “A lot of people are looking to be long even more in the region-offshore investors are still not in the region, it has just been mainly retail activity,” said Ibrahim Masood, senior investment officer at Mashreq Bank. So any weakness in the market will attract investors, he added. “A lack of a clear catalysts is keeping everyone in check, but it isn’t a drag on sentiment”. Elsewhere, Kuwait’s bourse extended gains to touch a seven-week high as retail investors bought into small and mid-cap stocks. The index rose 0.5 percent to its highest close since July 11. Despite the continuing political deadlock in Kuwait, investor confidence has partially returned since the index hit an eight-year low on Aug. 12. This is because companies have posted second-quarter earnings by the deadline, removing fears they could be suspended for failure to do so in time. “In the investment sector, most of the companies made money and losses went down significantly,” said Fouad Darwish,

head of brokerage ser vices at Global Investment House. “ There is a serious improvement, which gave an impetus to put money in this sector.” Gulf Finance House gained 2.5 percent, Ithmaar Bank rose 5.4 percent and Gulf Investment House jumped 7.7 percent. The political situation remains a risk, however. Several thousands of Kuwaitis took part in a rally late on Monday to protest changes to the electoral law which they said could harm the prospects of opposition lawmakers in upcoming elections. The rally was peaceful and relatively small, but if protests expand, the market could again worry about political stability ahead of elections expected by year-end. In Saudi Arabia, the index held on to recent gains, closing flat at a near 16-week high ahead of the Saudi weekend. Kingdom Holding surged 9.8 percent to its highest close since August 2008 and as trading volume in the stock spiked to its highest level since early May. Traders and analysts could not immediately provide a fundamental justification for the move in the volatile stock. Cement stocks rallied with Arabian Cement gaining 2.3 percent, and Yanbu Cement and Southern Province Cement adding 1 percent each. Shares in food firm Almarai Co climbed 0.4 percent to their highest since April 4 as investors bought in anticipation of strong third-quarter earnings, fuelled by spending during the Ramadan holy month, which just ended.

Declines in petrochemical and banking stocks offset gains in other sectors. Bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) declined 0.5 percent, Al Rajhi Bank shed 0.3 percent and Samba Financial Group slipped 0.8 percent. Elsewhere, Doha’s benchmark finished 0.5 percent lower, continuing a decline from Sunday’s 15-week closing high. YESTERDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS DUBAI The benchmark gained 0.7 percent to 1,556 points. ABU DHABI The index ticked up 0.03 percent to 2,575 points. KUWAIT The measure rose 0.5 percent to 5,839 points. SAUDI ARABIA The index edged up 0.02 percent to 7,139 points. QATAR The benchmark slipped 0.5 percent to 8,445 points. EGYPT The index declined 0.3 percent to 5,308 points. OMAN The measure eased 0.05 percent to 5,487 points. BAHRAIN The measure gained 0.4 percent to 1,077 points. — Reuters

Dubai DP World’s H1 profit flat, cites global climate DUBAI: Dubai’s DP World , the world’s third largest port operator, reported flat profits for the first half of this year as growth in its regional operations offset tough global trading conditions. The company, one of the more profitable assets of debt-laden Dubai World, made a profit of $247 million, barely changed from $246 million in the year-earlier period, it said yesterday. Revenue for the six months ended June 30 was $1.53 billion compared to $1.50 billion in the prior-year period. “The global economic uncertainty seen in the first half of the year has continued into the second half,” Mohammed Sharaf, chief executive of DP World, said in the statement. Revenue from its Middle East, Africa and Europe operations totalled $1 billion, an

increase of 14 percent. But revenues from operations in the Asia-Pacific, the Indian subcontinent, Australia and the Americas all dropped during the period. The firm said it expected to make investments worth $3.7 billion between 2012 and 2014. The company’s net debt stands at $3.5 billion, it added. DP World repaid $3 billion of debt in March using some of the cash held on the group’s balance sheet, reducing gross debt to $4.7 billion and cutting its cash balance to $1.2 billion. “We have enough cash reserve,” Yuvraj Narayan, chief financial officer for DP World, said in a conference call following the earnings announcement. He added that the firm had no immediate plans to raise any funds. The ports operator previously announced a

7.5 percent rise in gross container volumes for the first half of this year but warned that uncertainty in the global economy was slowing growth of the industry. The company has gradually shifted attention to emerging markets to help offset a possible economic slowdown. DP World was forced to hand over its 60 percent holding in Adelaide’s container terminal to Flinders Port in July, after the Australian firm exercised its right to buy the stake. The port authority in the Yemeni city of Aden said last week that it was in talks with DP World on cancelling a contract to manage Aden port. DP World declined to comment on this issue yesterday. Shares in DP World are up 5.3 percent on Nasdaq Dubai this year. — Reuters

EXCHANGE RATES Commercial Bank of Kuwait US Dollar/KD GB Pound/KD Euro Swiss francs Canadian Dollar Australian DLR Indian rupees Sri Lanka Rupee UAE dirhams Bahraini dinars Jordanian dinar Saudi riyals Omani riyals Egyptian pounds US Dollar/KD GB Pound/KD Euro Swiss francs Canadian dollars Danish Kroner Swedish Kroner Australian dlr Hong Kong dlr Singapore dlr Japanese yen Indian Rs/KD Sri Lanka rupee Pakistan rupee Bangladesh taka UAE dirhams Bahraini dinars Jordanian dinar Saudi Riyal/KD Omani riyals Philippine Peso

.2740000 .4420000 .3510000 .2920000 .2820000 .2900000 .0040000 .0020000 .0763660 .7440070 .3870000 .0720000 .7293660 .0430000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2813000 .4448900 .3532000 .2940930 .2844570 .0474150 .0424010 .2915530 .0362670 .2243760 .0035800 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0766170 .7464510 .0000000 .0750330 .7309340 .0000000

.2860000 .4550000 .3610000 .3030000 .2950000 .3040000 .0067500 .0035000 .0771330 .7514840 .4100000 .0780000 .7366960 .0510000 .2834000 .4482110 .3558370 .2962890 .2865810 .0477690 .0427170 .2937300 .0365380 .2260510 .0036070 .0051240 .0021480 .0030010 .0035010 .0771890 .7520230 .4008490 .0755930 .7363910 .0067440

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Currency US Dollar Pak Rupees

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 282.500 2.977

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

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

5.087 2.139 3.449 6.715 77.020 75.490 751.000 46.419 449.100 2.990 1.550 360.600 291.600 3.200

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 282.500 355.550 447.750 287.050 3.610 5.068 46.398 2.133 3.455 6.680 2.985 751.600 76.930 75.430

UAE Exchange Centre WLL COUNTRY Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro US Dollar Sterling Pound Japanese Yen

SELL DRAFT 297.76 290.10 299.95 357.86 282.25 449.11 3.67

3.560 5.350 2.310 3.650 3.150 77.400 750.000 48.600 400.000 736.000 78.000 75.850

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

Al Mulla Exchange Currency US Dollar Euro Pound Sterling Canadian Dollar Japanese Yen Indian Rupee Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupee Bangladesh Taka Philippines Peso Pakistan Rupee Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Saudi Riyal *Rates are subject to change

3.463 5.072 2.136 3.178 2.990 76.91 751.53 46.40 402.11 734.58 77.94 75.48

SELL CASH 310.000 289.000 297.500 357.000 283.150 449.000 3.630

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

Selling Rate 282.600 288.830 443.975 348.970 290.575 748.180 76.920 77.570 75.325 398.365 46.498 2.138 5.081 3.002 3.454 6.702 693.220 4.580 9.060 4.385 3.285 90.285

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

Bahrain Exchange Company

288.800 554.900 46.000 48.400 167.800 48.570 356.800 37.130 5.370 0.032 0.161 0.236 3.690 400.610 0.191 93.760 44.500 4.360 232.000 1.830 49.700 734.320 3.080 6.960 78.190 75.480 226.680 36.490 2.693 450.000 43.800 297.400 4.400 9.390 198.263 77.080 283.100 1.360 GOLD

10 Tola 1,774.020 COUNTRY Australian dollar Bahraini dinar Bangladeshi taka

SELL CASH 297.200 751.810 3.720

SELL DRAFT 295.300 751.410 3.452

Sterling Pound US Dollar

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 449.300 282.500


226.600 46.421 357.400 36.960 5.080 0.031

400.370 0.190 93.710 3.180 230.400

733.750 3.002 6.687 77.720 75.440 226.560 36.480 2.132 449.300 294.800 4.400 9.220 76.940 282.500



Copper falls, market nervous ahead of Jackson Hole LONDON: Copper fell to its lowest in a week yesterday on lingering worries about weak growth in top metals consumer China, while investors were nervous ahead of a key meeting of central bankers at Jackson Hole. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange traded at $7,555 a tonne by 0945 GMT, more than 1 percent down from a last bid of $7,640 on Tuesday. Earlier, the metal used in power and construction fell to a session low of $7,531, its lowest in more than a week. Soldering metal tin fell more steeply, by as much as 5 percent, interrupting a recent rally after Indonesian tin producer PT Timah announced it had re-started spot sales after a three-week stoppage, easing shortage worries. With the exception of tin, trading volumes for

metals were thin as investors were cautious ahead of an upcoming meeting of central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which could offer clearer cues as to whether the United States Federal Reserve will launch new stimulus measure. New economic stimulus could boost demand for base metals which has been disappointing so far this year, especially in top buyer China, which consumes about 40 percent of global production. “It is still a pretty ugly picture: the Chinese are still struggling with how their economy is faring given the downturn in Europe and elsewhere,” said Standard Bank analyst Leon Westgate. “Weaker Asian markets are also weighing on metals and thin trading volumes ahead of Jackson Hole are a feature of the market this week. As a house, we are assuming there is going to be some

sort of easing but the question is what form that takes, whether it’s quantitative easing or some other mechanism.” The Shanghai stock market logged its lowest close since February 2009, said CIFCO Futures analyst Zhou Jie. The announcement that PT Timah had re-started spot tin knocked tin prices, which fell as low as $19,901 a tonne, before recovering to trade at $20,200 from a close of $20,900 on Tuesday. Prices had shot up 13 percent last week on news that over 90 percent of Indonesian tin miners have stopped production. “Tin went into technical resistance, so it was running out of momentum, however PT Timah’s announcement that it has restarted spot sales certainly sparked a bit of a sell off and it is effectively capping the price at the moment,” Westgate said.

In other metals, zinc, used to galvanize steel, was at $1,858.75 from $1,879 at Tuesday’s close, while battery material lead was at $1,964 from $1,971. Aluminium was at $1,901.50 from $1,919. Buyers should expect further rises in aluminium premiums, Commerzbank said. “Premiums on aluminium are set to increase once again in the fourth quarter in Japan, Asia’s largest importer of aluminium,” the bank said in a research note. “The sharp increase is partly blamed on higher premiums in other regions - especially in Europe and the U.S., and partly on a reduced availability of aluminium.” Aluminium availability has been falling in the last few months as lower prices against rising costs forced some major producers to cut their output. Nickel was at $16,285 from $16,475. — Reuters

ECB acts within mandate, special measures needed We have to fix such blockages: Draghi

LESTREM: A gas station attendant changes the price of fuel in Lestrem, northern France, yesterday. Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said that France, which is struggling to bring its deficit back within EU limits, would spend 300 million euros to temporarily cut pump prices for motorists. “Pump prices will drop up to six cents, three for fuel companies and three for the state,” he said following a meeting with fuel companies. — AFP

France offers to pick up tab for young hires PARIS: The French government wants companies to hire young people so much that it’s offering to pick up the tab. The new Socialist president, Francois Hollande, told his Cabinet yesterday that he wants to wage a war on unemployment and unveiled a plan for the government to pay most of the salaries of tens of thousands of young people hired next year. Unemployment in France is 10 percent, but nearly 23 percent for those under the age of 25. That’s an imbalance that many European countries are struggling with: In Spain, youth unemployment is over 52 percent; it’s 34 percent in Italy. European employers are especially reluctant to hire young people because restrictive labor laws make it hard for companies to lay off employees. What’s more, in France, young people are typically required to do a series of often unpaid internships before landing a full-time job or can only manage to get short-term contracts for years on end. But few countries are approaching the problem in the way that France is. Italy and Spain have proposed modest tax breaks for companies that hire people just entering the workforce but have focused more on fundamental reforms of the labor market that they hope will address the root causes. Under France’s new plan, companies that hire a person between 16 and 25 for at least a year will only have to pay as little as 25 percent of the salary. The government hopes to create 100,000 of these “contracts for the future” next year and another 50,000 in 2014. It has promised to continue paying its share of the employee’s salary for three years. The government will give preference to young people hired from poor urban or rural areas that have been hit hardest by rising unemployment. Certain sectors will also be favored, such as medicine and digital or green technology. “ We are waging a battle for jobs,” Hollande told Cabinet ministers, according to government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. “It’s the No. 1 challenge of our mandate.” Some economists were skeptical of the approach.

“Making the structures of the economy more competitive and better performing is what really has to drive the thinking (in countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece),” said Nicolas Veron, an economist affiliated with the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel and the Peterson Institute in Washington. “It’s not about targeted programs; it’s about the structure of the (labor) market.” Whereas countries like Spain and Italy have recently passed wide-ranging labor market reforms to regain waning investor confidence in their economies, France has so far been able to put off those kinds of tough decisions. Investor confidence in France has remained relatively strong in part because of the sheer size of the economy - it is the eurozone’s second-largest and also the fact that its neighbors are worse off. But experts warn France will eventually also have to face the need to reform its economy. The proposal needs to make its way through Parliament, but Hollande’s Socialist Party has a solid majority there and the issue was a major campaign promise. Hollande has staked his credibility on driving down unemployment and encouraging growth, all while meeting strict budget deficit targets. It’s unclear whether he can manage all three - especially since the economy’s fate is largely tied up with Europe’s wider debt crisis and the wellbeing of its neighbors. An entrepreneur’s association immediately panned the idea. “The jobs for the future are only a Band-Aid, if a necessary Band-Aid, in the face of a government that every day shows itself more incapable of overcoming the difficulties our country is confronted with,” said Guillaume Cairou, president of the Club of Entrepreneurs and CEO of strategy consultancy DIDAXIS. “How can they not see that this cost is extremely high for the government, even while we should be reducing our deficit?” The government estimates that the program will cost ?2.3 billion ($2.9 billion) next year; it did not detail costs for the following years. — AP

FRANKFURT: The European Central Bank might have to use exceptional measures criticized by some German officials to ensure price stability in the euro area, ECB head Mario Draghi said yesterday. “ The ECB will do what is necessary to ensure price stability. It will remain independent. And it will always act within its mandate. Yet it should be understood that fulfilling our mandate sometimes requires us to go beyond standard monetary policy tools,” Draghi wrote in an article for German weekly Die Zeit. The ECB, seen by many as the only European body capable of putting out the fires of the long-running eurozone crisis, is under intense pressure to don its fire-fighting helmet once again and relaunch a contested programme to buy sovereign bonds issued by debt-wracked countries, a move that would bring down their borrowing costs. But Draghi’s German colleague on the ECB governing council, Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann, is strongly opposed to such a move, arguing that the practice is tantamount to monetary financing, where the central bank prints money to pay off a country’s debtsomething expressly forbidden under the ECB’s statutes. In his article, to be published in Die Zeit today but released in advance, Draghi countered that “when markets are fragmented or influenced by fears, our monetary policy signals do not reach citizens evenly across the euro area. “We have to fix such blockages to ensure a single monetary policy and therefore price stability for all euro area citizens,” the Italian central banker said. “This may at times require exceptional measures. But this is our responsibility as the central bank of the euro area as a whole.” The ECB launched its bond-buying scheme under the Securities Market Programme (SMP) in 2010, a decision that helped indebted eurozone countries that were finding it difficult to drum up financing in capital markets. The programme was controversial from the start, with critics saying it was outside the ECB’s mandate. Two top German monetary officials-ECB chief economist Juergen Stark and former Bundesbank president Axel Weber-both quit in protest over the practice. Earlier this month, Draghi said the ECB “may” resume bond purchases, but only under strict conditions that are still in the process of being worked out. Financial markets are speculating that Draghi will unveil the details of the new programme at the ECB’s next policy meeting on September 6. Earlier this week, ECB executive board member Joerg Asmussen insisted the central bank will stay within its mandate and intervene on the secondary debt markets only in conjunction with European Union rescue funds, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and its successor, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). The problem is that the ESM cannot come into operation until it is ratified by Germany and ratification has been held up by legal

challenges, which are currently before the country’s constitutional court. The court is scheduled to give its ruling on September 12, and some observers suggest the ECB could hold off relaunching its bond purchases until then. In his article for Die Zeit, Draghi made some comments directed at Germany. “A new architecture for the euro area is desirable to create prosperity for all euro area countries,

and especially for Germany,” he wrote. “ The root of Germany ’s success is its deep integration into the European and world economies. To continue to prosper, Germany needs to remain an anchor of a strong currency, at the centre of a zone of monetary stability and in a dynamic and competitive euro area economy. Only a stronger economic and monetary union can provide this,” Draghi said. — AFP

BERLIN: In this Aug. 24, 2012 file photo German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras, right, shake hands after a joint news conference as part of a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany. Merkel wants the Greeks to keep the euro. Her vice chancellor says it wouldn’t be so bad if they abandoned the common currency. Another ally says Greece should leave the euro club within months. — AP

Brazil to deploy world’s first floating oil terminal RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil’s state-owned energy giant Petrobras said Tuesday it will deploy the world’s first floating oil terminal capable of refueling tankers on the high seas. “The new technology will ensure lower costs, by reducing the distance covered by oil transport vessels,” the company said in a statement. Currently, crude oil must be ferried from offshore rigs to the coast where tankers come to fill up. But the new “ Transfer and Storage Offshore Unit will make it possible to store oil on the high seas and to transfer it to export vessels,” the statement said, adding that the first terminal will be operational in June 2014, 90 kilometers (55 miles) off Rio de Janeiro. The terminal will sit on a vessel stationed near the drilling rigs and be capable of storing two million barrels, equivalent to Brazil’s daily production. The unit, under construction in China, is expected to cost $318 mil-

lion, plus the cost of chartering the vessel. Brazilian press reports said the Petrobras project should secure speedy official approval as its socio-environmental impacts will not be assessed. “The project was developed due to the need for new logistical solutions to export Brazilian oil,” the statement said. Brazil, the world’s sixth largest economy, hopes to boost its oil production from around two million barrels a day currently to nearly five million by 2020, largely thanks to the huge offshore oil reserves it discovered in 2006. The National Petroleum Agency estimates that the so-called “pre-salt” reserves could hold more than 100 billion barrels of high-quality recoverable crude and could turn Brazil into one of the world’s top exporters. Less than 10 percent of oil production currently originates in the pre-salt layer. — AFP

Lufthansa stands firm as strikes loom FRANKFURT: Lufthansa stuck to plans to limit pay rises and switch some staff to less generous contracts, as cabin crews prepared for strikes from today that could disrupt hundreds of flights and cost the company millions of euros. German trade union UFO, which represents around two thirds of Lufthansa’s 19,000 cabin crew, on Wednesday said it would give only a few hours’ notice of strikes, making it difficult for Lufthansa to ask courts to block the action. That prompted a 2.4 percent fall in Lufthansa shares yesterday, the biggest drop on Germany’s index of leading shares. UFO head Nicoley Baublies told a German radio station that the first wave of strikes would cover only certain airports. He ruled out any action yesterday and said UFO would announce in the evening whether strikes would take place today. Like other European flag carriers such as Air France-KLM , Lufthansa is fighting to reduce costs amid rising fuel prices and tough competition from low-cost and Gulf carriers. It needs to generate more profit to pay for the 17 billion euros ($21 billion) of more fuel-efficient aircraft it has on order.

The company wants to outsource staff, use cabin crew on temporary contracts and switch its employees to less generous contracts by combining its Germanwings low cost unit with its point-to-point flights within Europe - moves the union opposes. The union wants a 5 percent pay rise after three years of pay freezes and guarantees against outsourcing and the use of temporary workers. Lufthansa has offered a 3.6 percent pay rise, but wants staff to work more hours in exchange. Lufthansa expects two-thirds of a 1.5 billion euro savings plan to come from its German passenger airlines division and has already forced pay cuts on pilots at unit Austrian Airlines, by saying they could take either a new, less generous contract or leave. Analysts said the company is likely to take a hard line in Germany too. “ The example of Austrian Airlines shows how tough management can be in negotiations, and while they can’t legally use such measures in Germany as they did with the staff there, I would expect them to take a similarly hard stance,” Equinet analyst Jochen Rothenbacher said.

DZ Bank analyst Robert Czerwensky said he expected a lengthy dispute. “A long-lasting battle with the union is a good signal to the market that Lufthansa is keen to fight for cost improvements and not willing to give up easily ” Stefan Lauer, Lufthansa board member responsible for staffing, said last week that it wasn’t just Lufthansa that had to improve its structures, but the airline sector as whole, describing it as “painful, but necessary”. A Lufthansa spokesman said the company had no further comment on the strikes on Wednesday. The airline said on Tuesday cabin crew must play their part in cost-cutting measures. Lufthansa estimates a nationwide strike on a busy day would cost it millions of euros. Equinet’s Rothenbacher put the worst-case scenario - no flights at all - as a loss to operating profit of up to 50 million euros a day but said it would more likely be around 5 million euros a day if flight cancellations were kept to a few hundred. Talks between Lufthansa and the union, which have been running for 13 months, broke down in the early hours of Tuesday morning. — Reuters

MOSCOW: Journalists visit the Moscow International Automobile Salon, yesterday. — AFP




Syria’s rural economy adapts as conflict spreads AL DANA: For the past six months, farmer Hisham al-Zeir’s wife and daughters have been up before sunset each day when it’s still cool, baking traditional tanoor bread in a century-old clay oven in their home in Syria’s rich agricultural province of Idlib. Rather than selling all his wheat to the state as he usually does, Zeir decided this year to keep almost a third of it to ensure his wife and six children have enough food to survive on as the conflict in the country spreads. “I am putting it aside to eat from until Allah eases on his people a nd things become clearer,” Zeir said in the courtyard of his modest farm on the outskirts of the town of Al Dana in Idlib, a region of gently rolling hills and olive groves that supplies a large proportion of Syria’s fruit. Zeir is one of many Syrian farmers who have adjusted production during the crisis in order to grow enough produce for their own consumption and for use in exchange for other goods. Eighty percent of people in Idlib live in the countryside, compared to only 40 percent of Syria’s total population of 20 million, making it the most rural province in the country. The rural poor have been big supporters of the 17-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule and their towns and villages have borne the brunt of the army’s campaign to crush the rebellion, in which at least 18,000 people have been killed. Although the Syrian economy has been hammered by the conflict - economists say it could contract by a fifth or more this year, but have no way of knowing for sure and much of the country’s industrial production has been hit, the rural economy

has been less affected by the turmoil. “A subsistence economy in these rural areas has in many cases allowed people to produce their own food needs. People’s ability to live off their land has helped in this crisis unlike urban dwellers,” Samir Seifan, a prominent Syrian economist. Enterprising rural communities have during times of conflict taken advantage of an abundance of land to grow cereals, olives and cotton. The current crisis is reversing a decade-long exodus of rural residents to cities like Damascus and Aleppo, which exacerbated a wealth gap, as many are now fleeing violence in the cities and returning to villages. The conflict is never far away, however. “A mortar has hit and killed two of my sheep and destroyed our yard,” said Omar al-Natour, a day after army shelling at his house in the town of Al-Sahara in Idlib. Natour, 45, a father of six, is no longer able to go to his job at a state-owned factory producing cement for construction i n Aleppo because it lies in an area where army snipers fire at rebel hideouts. Instead, he supplements his meagre income by rearing cattle and other livestock. Food production has been rising in Syria in recent years despite sharp fluctuations in harvests and bouts of drought. That has helped diversify the economy, and in the present conflict, staved off significant food shortages in the countryside so far, residents and Damascus-based economists said. They contradict the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme (WFP) who estimated this month that about 1.5 million people in Syria need immediate food aid

and one in three rural residents would need help. Across the country, agricultural production, which officially accounts for 20 percent of Syria’s gross domestic product, continues, despite a shortage of seasonal labourers who once flocked to work in the fields during the harvest period. This has secured adequate supply of vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers, staples of the Syrian diet, as well as grains, even t h ough the high cost of tractor fuel and a lack of fertiliser has reduced the amount of cultivable land. In Idlib, the erosion of state authority has encouraged the illegal pumping of artesian wells from the Orantes River basin. Many shops and grocers remain open in towns and villages across Idlib and in the countryside around Aleppo, b ut most of the confectionary, soft drinks and juices on their typically dusty shelves have long exceeded their expiry dates. Many shopowners said they have not replenished their stocks for over a year. “People are managing with the minimum. Don’t forget, some people are just barely surviving,” said grocer Farouq al-Masous from Hazanoh, a town known for its olive groves. As the fighting in Syria shows no sign of abating, the populations of some rural towns in Idlib have surged, including Darat Azah and Al Dana, as they have been spared the wider destruction of towns such as Taftanaz and Atareb, where many houses have been pounded to rubble by tank fire. Across rural Syria, a new breed of private trader has emerged, supplying foodstuffs to now isolated communities.

“The rural resident is not able to get his goods from the city so he is relying on new traders who are buying directly from farmers and selling in local villages,” said Saleh al-Shawaf, a former electrician. He now works as a vegetable trader, frequently dodging army checkpoints to go to Aleppo’s bigger markets to buy goods he can sell in the villages. City dwellers have cut down their food consumption much more than rural residents, said Taher al-Guraibi a former housing contractor who has gone back to his family’s home town of Binish in the countryside after fleeing the Salaheddine area of Aleppo. “You used to eat fruit daily, now it’s every two days. Consumption of goods has in general gone down ... If you used to buy a kilo of meat every week now you buy half a kilo,” he said, referring to life in Aleppo. In Darat Azah’s bustling market place, traders offer a range of local produce including cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelons and peaches. People consistently complain about higher prices, not shortages, traders say. Nearby, a butcher hangs up a piece of mutton, which has almost doubled in price in the past year. “Looking at the market you would not think these people have suffered so much,” said Yasser Khudri, a trader. In al-Qah, a village on the border with Turkey, several clothing shops are open but few customers show up during the Muslim Eid holidays, normally a boom time for shops, as people avoid buying nonessential goods. To some extent, Syria’s highly regulated economy - with its costly government subsidies, which keep electricity prices artifi-

cially low, and restrictions on imports have helped control inflation an d stem a further decline in living standards for poor farming communities. Independent economists say inflation has not exceeded 30 percent despite the crisis. “There are lower quantities of food but no food shortages in Syria ... there are people who are supplying food. As you know, in every crisis, there are those who profit,” said a senior Syrian official who works at the state wheat procurement agency. While living conditions have deteriorated, the authorities continue to pay the salaries and pensions of tens of thousands of civilians in areas no longer under state control and have been reluctant to cut off electricity and water supplies in rebel-held towns, residents say. State bakeries remain open even in rebel-held areas and officials say no village in Syria has been deprived of bread. At a private bakery near the rebel-controlled town of Sahara, baker Abu Adnan is surrounded by dozens of men and women jostling to get bread that has just arrived from a bakery in a nearby town that now serves several villages. “For God’s sake ... everyone, just one loaf,” Adnan shouts. Despite long bread queues, prices have barely gone up for a loaf of Arabic bread, on sale for a heavily subsidised 15 pounds. In a tacit agreement with the government, rebels have not sought to take control of 36 state-owned silos spread across the country that remain in government hands. “No one has an interest, whether it’s a progovernment or opposition ... in the end everyone wants to eat bread,” said the senior grains official in Damascus. — Reuters

Daikin to buy Goodman Global for $3.7 billion To expand its manufacturing in emerging markets TOKYO: Japan’s Daikin Industries, Ltd., plans to buy Houston, Texas-based Goodman Global Group Inc., a purchase that will fortify its status as the world’s biggest maker of residential heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems. Daikin, based in western Japan’s Osaka, said yesterday its board approved the $3.7 billion deal as part of its strategy for expanding in the US residential market. Daikin wants to expand its manufacturing and sales overseas, especially in emerging markets. It said it would draw on support from a Japanese government initiative to help offset the impact of the strong Japanese yen on exports to help finance the deal. Daikin is already the world’s biggest HVAC maker, with over 1.2 trillion yen ($15 billion) in sales in 2011. Acquiring Goodman would put it even further ahead of the world’s No. 2 maker, China’s Zhuhai Gree Group, with sales of about $13.3 billion. Goodman’s president and CEO, David L. Swift, said the purchase would help Goodman to likewise expand its sales outside the US. Daikin said it intends to keep Goodman independent, without merging it into its other businesses. The two firms are complementary, given Daikin’s strength in energy-efficient “ductless” heating and cooling systems and Goodman’s dominant position in US residential HVAC systems. “Goodman is

the best partner for Daikin in North America as we aim to become the leading global HVAC manufacturer,” said Daikin’s chairman and CEO, Noriyuki Inoue. He said Daikin, whose earnings have come under pressure in recent years, aims to tap Goodman’s “lean management know-how” to help improve its profitability.

Daikin, with over 44,000 employees, has said it aims to expand its global sales to 2 trillion yen ($25.6 billion) by 2015. Founded in 1924 to make aircraft radiator tubes, the company also makes hydraulic equipment, chemicals, shells and warheads. However, more than 85 percent of its sales are in air conditioning systems.— AP

TOKYO: A shopper listens to a salesclerk at the air cleaner section of an electronics retail store in Tokyo, yesterday. Japan’s Daikin Industries, Ltd., has agreed to buy Houston, Texasbased Goodman Global Group Inc., a major maker of residential heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems. — AP

EU probes Ryanair’s latest bid for Aer Lingus BRUSSELS: European Commission competition watchdogs announced yesterday that they have launched a detailed probe into low-cost airline Ryanair’s proposed takeover of Irish rival Aer Lingus. “The Commission’s preliminary investigation into the proposed takeover, which takes the form of a public offer, indicated potential competition concerns,” said a statement from the European Union executive. “Ryanair and Aer Lingus are the main operators out of Dublin airport,” the Commission said. “On a large number of European routes, mainly out of Ireland, the two airlines are each other’s closest competitors and barriers to entry appear to be high. “Many of these routes are currently only served by the two airlines. “The takeover could therefore lead to the elimination of actual and potential competition on a large number of these routes,” it underlined. Ryanair has already tried twice to

gain control of Aer Lingus, but on each occasion ran into opposition from the European Commission and the Irish government. The airline, which has fought a string of battles with EU authorities mainly concerning subsidies by regional authorities to attract the carrier, announced in June plans to make a 694-million-euro ($881 million) bid for Aer Lingus. The bid takes the form of an all-cash offer through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Coinside, in what Ryanair said was an opportunity to form one strong Irish airline. Ryanair already owns 29.82 percent of Aer Lingus, a stake it largely acquired in late 2006 and early 2007. In announcing the offer, Ryanair said it believed that circumstances had changed materially since its first unsuccessful bid for Aer Lingus in late 2006 and that there were compelling reasons why the offer should now be accepted by Aer Lingus shareholders and EU competition authorities. Having launched its probe, the Commission now has 90

working days, until 14 January 2013, to take a decision “on whether the proposed transaction would significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA),” it said. Opening such an investigation, a formal legal step, does not prejudge the outcome, it stressed. The Irish government owns 25 percent of Aer Linguswhich it retained when the airline was floated in October 2006 — but it is considering selling the stake as part of a broader privatisation programme. Ireland is working to fix its economy and faces strict targets set by creditors after it was forced to seek an 85-billioneuro ($108 billion) EU-International Monetary Fund rescue package in November 2010. Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the day after Ryanair’s bid announcement that the Irish government could not block it. British regulators are also expected to examine Ryanair’s stake in Aer Lingus. — AFP

S Korea current account surplus hits new record SEOUL: South Korea’s current account surplus rose to a new record in July as falling world oil prices pushed down the value of imports, the central bank said yesterday. The surplus in the account, the broadest measure of trade, was $6.10 billion last month. The previous monthly record, a revised $5.88 billion, was set in June this year.

The goods account showed a surplus of $5.32 billion in July, up from June’s revised $5.05 billion. Exports and imports declined in July compared to a year earlier and also compared to the previous month. Overseas shipments fell 4.1 percent year-on-year to $46.58 billion and imports dropped 5.8 percent to $41.27 billion. The service account,

which includes spending by South Koreans on overseas trips, saw a surplus of $579.2 million last month compared to $170.1 million in June. The primary income account, which records wages for foreign workers and dividend payments overseas, had a surplus of $401.9 million in July, down from $901.8 million in June.—AFP




China seeks strong medicine for ailing stocks SHANGHAI: Chinese investor “Auntie” Wang can see the value of her portfolio of metals stocks plunge before her eyes as she watches prices at a trading centre in the financial hub of Shanghai. “The current market situation is heartbreaking,” said Wang, a 70-year old retiree who has poured 50,000 yuan ($8,000) of her savings into China’s stock market, set up two decades ago. With the market now hitting over three-year lows, China is trying to prop up prices and introduce reforms to defuse investor dismay, but a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy bodes poorly for a recovery, analysts said. China’s economy grew 7.6 percent in the second quarter this year, the slowest pace in more than three years, dragging

down corporate earnings. Despite interest rate cuts and government spending, the economy remains weak. “Everyone thought the economy would find bottom in the second quarter, but that might be pushed back,” said Shen Jun, an analyst at BOC International. “There has not been any substantial change in the economy or market fundamentals.” The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index is now around more than 40-month lows at levels not seen since the height of the global financial crisis. China fears the anger of small investors could cause social problems, as it seeks to maintain stability ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition later this year. Already, thousands of investors have voiced support for online calls to halt a

flood of new share offers in hopes of stemming the slide. A couple in the eastern city of Hangzhou killed themselves in July due to stock losses. Only 22 percent of households made a profit from stock investment last year, according to a central bank-backed research institute. Market watchdog, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, has appealed for calm, calling the recent falls “panic-led declines dominated by pessimism”. But the commission, headed by former banker Guo Shuqing, has gone beyond lip service, rolling out a series of reforms in recent months. Planned moves include slashing trading fees by 20 percent from September and a proposal now under consideration to allow listed companies to buy back

their own shares for their employees. The regulator is “exploring” allowing pension funds into the market, though such a move has yet to materialise, disappointing investors. The watchdog has urged listed companies to raise dividends and allowed foreign institutional investors greater access to the market, which has capitalisation of $3.0 trillion for its Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses. The commission has also backed the two exchanges in implementing from July stricter requirements for companies to avoid delisting from the market in a bid to improve the quality of listed firms. Some analysts criticise the timing of the reforms, especially a crackdown on what the government deems specula-

tion, saying they might backfire and harm the performance of the struggling market. “Launching these shortterm methods during a bear market has hurt the market’s performance,” said Jiang Shiqing, an analyst at Industrial Securities. “It’s like treating a critically-ill patient with strong medicine-will the treatment cure the disease or kill the person? But another retail investor at the Shanghai trading centre said some of the nation’s 170 million stock investors still had an important lesson to learn. “Stock markets have risk,” said Wei Aiguo, a retired factory worker who has played the markets for more than a decade. “If you want to enter the market it is your business, not the government’s.” —AFP

Markets mixed ahead of Bernanke’s speech ‘Players remain in wait-and-see mode’

JAMMU: In this file photograph taken on July 3, 2012, an Indian employee checks reels of thread on a carpet weaving machine at a factory in the Bari Brahmana industrial area of Jammu. India is set to announce dismal new economic growth figures on August 31, 2012, with expansion in the AprilJune quarter forecast at near nine-year-lows. —AFP

India GDP figures set to deepen gloom MUMBAI: India is set to announce dismal new economic growth figures on Friday, with expansion in the April-June quarter forecast at near nine-year-lows. “The numbers will be bad,” Siddhartha Sanyal, chief India economist with Barclays Capital told AFP ahead of the publication of the data, which is expected to deepen the gloom surrounding Asia’s third-biggest economy. “Industrial growth is likely to be flat, inflation is high and it is unclear what the government can do in the next three to six months,” Sanyal said. He forecasts India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at the same rate as the previous quarter at 5.3 percent, a high figure by the standards of developed countries but far below the near double-digit growth of much of the past decade. Leif Eskesen, HSBC’s chief India economist predicts the same, saying “growth will be muted due to global headwinds and the lack of structural reforms in India.” India’s once booming industrial sector is in crisis, with output contracting by a shock 1.8 percent in June due to high borrowing costs, declining confidence and falling demand. Overseas investor confidence in the Indian economy is also on the wane, as shown by figures for foreign direct investment (FDI) for the quarter to June which tumbled year-on-year by 67 percent to $4.43 billion, Global rating agencies like Fitch and Standard and Poor’s have lowered their outlook on India’s investment-grade rating amid rising worries about the government’s deteriorating finances and negative current account. The central Reserve Bank of India has also warned the country’s economic prospects are unlikely to improve in the near-term, due to high inflation, the lack of reform and the impact of poor monsoon rains on farm output. The RBI has kept interest rates on hold since April-when it cut rates for the first time in three years by 50 basis points-and

economists do not expect the bank to lower rates in a hurry. While other central banks around the globe have been easing interest rates to revive their troubled economies, the RBI says a cut in government subsidies and revival of investment are needed to remove chronic bottlenecks in the economy. Wholesale inflation stands at 6.87 percentabove the bank’s comfort level of five to six percent-while the consumer price index, which covers a smaller band of goods, is at 9.86 percent. Business leaders and industry want collective action from the government and the RBI to boost growth. “Immediate policy actions are needed, both by the government and RBI, to arrest the downward spiral in industrial growth,” director-general of Confederation of Indian Industry Chandrajit Banerjee said last week. But Jigar Shah, head of research with Kim Eng Securities, warned: “The mood is downbeat and people have no hope left from the government. “The only positive is that things possibly cannot get worse.” India’s economy is expected to grow 6.7 percent in the current fiscal year, according to a forecast by an advisory panel to the prime minister, while many economists see it as even lower. The government-damaged by a series of corruption scandals-is struggling to introduce legislative reforms in parliament due to protests from the opposition which is demanding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh resign. India’s national auditor last week criticised Singh’s government for giving away coal blacks since 2004 in a murky allocation process rather than selling them via a transparent auction. In figures that have since been hotly contested, the auditor said companies given valuable resources had made windfall profits of 1.85 trillion rupees or $33 billion, a part of which could have gone to the national exchequer. —AFP

Air China first-half profit plunges 77% HONG KONG: Air China Ltd. has become the latest major Chinese company to report a steep drop in first-half profit, as income plunged 77 percent because of the slowing economy, heightened competition and rising jet fuel costs. The carrier, one of China’s three-state owned airlines, joins a number of other big Chinese companies, from oil companies to banks, that have been reporting unexpectedly sharp drops in profit. The dismal reports, which follow a raft of profit warnings earlier this year from the airlines and other companies, add to pressure on Beijing to reverse a painful slump in the world’s second-biggest economy. Beijingbased Air China said late Tuesday that net income in the first six months of the year fell to 945 million yuan ($149 million) or 0.08 yuan (1.2 US cents) per share. That’s down sharply from 4.3 billion yuan or 0.33 yuan per share in 2011. Revenue climbed 4 percent to 45.3 billion yuan.Along with the global economic slump and higher fuel prices, the company said the

aviation industry came under “great pressure” from weakening demand for air travel, escalating costs and intense competition. “In the second half of the year, we foresee that the operating environment for the global aviation industry will remain both challenging and complex,” Air China said. The cost of jet fuel, the airline’s single biggest expense, was 10 percent higher than the year before. Other costs such as wages and catering also rose. Air China also suffered 339 million yuan in foreign exchange losses because of weakness in the yuan, China’s currency. A year ago, the airline gained 1.5 billion yuan because of the currency’s strength. China’s economic growth fell to a threeyear low of 7.6 percent in the second quarter and forecasters say the slowdown might have bottomed out but the timing and strength of a rebound are uncertain. The carrier’s results were similar to those announced the day before by China Southern Airlines, which posted an 85 percent drop in profit. A third major airline, China Eastern, is scheduled to report earnings Thursday. —AP

HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed yesterday, with attention turning to a speech by US Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke later in the week as dealers look for an indication of any stimulus by the central bank. The euro eased against the yen and dollar after rising late Tuesday following successful bond auctions in Spain and Italy and on expectations that the European Central Bank (ECB) will restart a bond-buying programme. Tokyo gained 0.40 percent, or 36.52 points, to end at 9,069.81 and Seoul added 0.64 percent, or 12.21 points, to 1,928.54. Sydney closed flat, edging down 0.07 percent, or 2.98 points, to 4,356.4 points. Hong Kong fell 0.12 percent, or 23.29 points, to 19,788.51 and Shanghai eased 0.96 percent, or 19.91 points, to 2,053.24, its lowest since February 2009. Bernanke is due to address central bankers at an annual meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday, with investors hoping he will outline plans for further measures to boost the world’s number one economy. “Players remain in wait-and-see mode leading up to the Jackson Hole summit where more hints on information about the direction of monetary policy are expected,” said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equities at SMBC Nikko Securities, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Global markets enjoyed an impressive rally in August on hopes for fresh Fed stimulus and bond-buying by the ECB, while Chinese leaders are also expected to loosen monetary policy to kickstart the Asian giant. On forex markets the euro bought $1.2541 and 98.52 yen in afternoon Asian trade, compared with $1.2565 and 98.68 yen in New York late Tuesday. The single currency was given some support by news that ECB head Mario Draghi would not attend Jackson Hole, which stoked speculation a new round of bond buying was near. The dollar was at 78.50 yen against 78.49 yen. Wall Street provided an anaemic lead after mixed economic data. The Conference Board reported its US consumer confidence index dropped to a ninemonth low of 60.6 for August,

down from 65.9 in July. The report showed lower confidence over business and job prospects. Before the opening bell, the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index of 20 cities showed prices rose for the fifth straight month in June, by 1.0 percent. The Dow fell 0.17 percent and the S&P 500 slipped 0.08 percent while the tech-rich Nasdaq rose 0.13 percent. On Tokyo’s Nikkei index shares in troubled microchip maker Renesas closed up 35.08 percent at 308 yen after media reports that a US investment fund plans to spend $1.3 billion to take control of it. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) reportedly hopes to reach a formal agreement with the firm’s top three Japanese stakeholdersNEC, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric-as early as September. The investment of 100 billion yen would dwarf Renesas’s market capitalisation of about 95 billion yen as of Tuesday. Oil eased, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for October delivery, shedding 83

cents to $95.50 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in the same month slipping 66 cents to $111.92. Gold was at $1,665.05 at 1050 GMT compared to $1,661.90 on Tuesday. In other markets: Taipei rose 0.40 percent, or 29.21 points, to 7,391.15. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.36 percent higher at Tw$82.7 while leading smartphone maker HTC gained 2.01 percent at Tw$253.5. Manila closed 0.39 percent higher, adding 20.10 points to 5,195.72. Metropolitan Bank and Trust rose 1.39 percent to 94.85 pesos and SM Prime Holdings added 0.29 percent to 13.80 pesos. Wellington closed flat, edging down 0.66 points to 3,628.39. Telecom was down 0.2 percent at NZ$2.43 and Air New Zealand was flat at NZ$0.90. Bangkok fell 1.05 percent, or 13.00 points, to 1,220.16. Energy firm Banpu gained 0.45 percent to 446.00 baht, while energy giant

PTT lost 0.30 percent to 333.00 baht. Kuala Lumpur stocks were flat, losing 0.09 percent, or 1.53 points, to close at 1,645.58. Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd fell 1.4 percent to 23.24 ringgit while PPB Group Bhd was down 0.7 percent to 13.98 ringgit. Singapore was flat, closing up 0.05 percent, or 1.50 points, at 3,041.57. Olam International fell 2.01 percent to Sg$1.95 while DBS Group added 0.83 percent to Sg$14.62. Jakarta closed 1.20 percent, or 49.68 points, lower at 4,093.17. Mining company Aneka Tambang fell 1.57 percent to 1,250 rupiah, Astra International fell 2.10 percent to 7,000 rupiah, while Indocement slid 3.12 percent to 20,200 rupiah. Mumbai fell 0.80 percent, or 140.90 points, to 17,490.81. Sterlite Industries, the local arm of global resources group Vedanta, fell 4.69 percent to 99.6 rupees while leading motorcycle maker Bajaj Auto slid 3.96 percent to 1,627.25 rupees. —AFP

SHANGHAI: This photo taken on August 22, 2012 shows housewife investors talking at a securities exchange in Shanghai. With the market now hitting over three-year lows, China is trying to prop up prices and introduce reforms to defuse investor dismay, but a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy bodes poorly for a recovery, analysts said. —AFP

Ford breaks ground on new plant in eastern China HANGZHOU: Ford Motor Co. is developing a lower-priced small car for the Chinese market but has no plans to start a separate, cheaper brand in China as rivals General Motors and Volkswagen have. Ford executives discussed their plans during a three-day tour that ended yesterday at the groundbreaking of a new assembly plant in the eastern city of Hangzhou. The $760 million plant, which is Ford’s first plant on the populous east coast of China, is expected to open in 2015. “Hangzhou is really critical because of the market it serves, and it diversifies our operations,” CEO Alan Mulally said after shoveling some dirt in a ceremony with local officials. He said the city has good infrastructure and a trained workforce that will help Ford expand. Ford won’t say what it plans to build there, but Ford China CEO Dave Shoch confirmed this week that a new small car similar to the Chevrolet Sail will be among the eight vehicles Ford is bringing to China by 2015. Ford’s growth in China has been stymied

by two things: It has just seven vehicles on sale here, compared with 30 for GM, and those it sells are relatively expensive. The Sail starts at around $10,000. Ford’s cheapest offering right now, the subcompact Ford Fiesta, starts at $13,316. “I think Ford cars are safe. The material they use is good and thick, not like the Japanese cars. But the price is pretty expensive,” said Su Xiaoling, 31, a sales manager at a real estate company in Shanghai. Ford executives hope to start changing that perception next year, with the launch of the lower priced EcoSport and Kuga small SUVs. The new small car will go on sale sometime in the next three years. “We do recognize that we have been playing at the higher end,” Shoch said. Ford Asia Pacific chief Joe Hinrichs says the company learned a lot from the development of the Figo, a $6,800 subcompact it sells in India. But Ford won’t sell the Figo, which is smaller than the Fiesta, in China, Hinrichs said, in part because it’s a right-hand drive car.

One thing the company won’t do to attract more price-sensitive buyers is form a cheap, Chinese-only brand. Most of Ford’s rivals - including GM, Volkswagen and Nissan - have established lower-priced brands in the last year at the request of the Chinese government, which has gotten increasingly concerned that Chinese car companies are falling behind their foreign rivals. Hinrichs said Ford is studying whether to form a new brand, but thinks China, which has more than 100 car companies, has too many brands already. So far, the government has approved Ford’s growth plans without insisting on a new brand, he said. Ford is in the midst of its biggest production expansion in 50 years in China. It broke ground on a $600 million plant in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing on Monday and on Tuesday announced it will bring its Lincoln luxury brand to China in 2014. Ford says the new plants are key to its plan to increase global sales by 50 percent to 8 million by 2015. —AP




Sea row set aside as China, ASEAN seek trade boost SIEM REAP: China and Southeast Asian nations pledged yesterday to strive for closer economic ties, setting aside regional tensions over a territorial row in the resource-rich South China Sea. Trade between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) jumped to over $200 billion in the first seven months of 2012, up nine percent year-on-year, Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said during a meeting with regional economic ministers in the Cambodian tourist hub of Siem Reap. The business relationship between ASEAN and China was “particularly important” amid global economic gloom, he said, adding that both sides have “a solid basis for cooperation” and “bright prospects”.

China is ASEAN’s largest trading partner, while the 10-nation bloc last year overtook Japan as Beijing’s third-biggest trading partner. “China is willing to be ASEAN’s good neighbour, good friend and good partner,” Chen said in his opening remarks. This week’s talks between regional economic ministers mark the first high-level gathering of ASEAN members since a foreign ministers’ meeting in July ended in acrimony over how to deal with a dispute in the South China Sea, exposing deep divisions within the bloc. The tension that hung over those meetings appeared absent from the cordial gathering in Siem Reap, suggesting that ASEAN members do not want the maritime row to hurt business. “It’s

a completely different ballgame,” said Southeast Asia expert Carl Thayer, emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia. The foreign and economic ministers have “completely different agendas”, he added. Friction within ASEAN also eased significantly after Indonesia got the bloc to agree on six key points on the South China Sea following intense diplomatic efforts in the days after the failed ASEAN summit, Thayer said. China claims sovereignty over almost all of the resource-rich sea, which is home to vital shipping lanes, but ASEAN members the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have overlapping claims. Hanoi and Manila have recently accused

Beijing of increasingly aggressive behaviour in the disputed waters. The ASEAN group, which also includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand, saw its economies as a whole grow by 4.7 percent in 2011, down from 7.6 percent growth in 2010, according to ASEAN data. “We recognise the external environment has become more hostile,” Malaysian Minister for International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed said, in a nod to the economic troubles of the key eurozone and US markets. Nonetheless, “we consider ourselves to be one of the most dynamic regions in the world under the circumstances”, he told AFP on the sidelines of the talks. — AFP

BofA lags in modifying loans under settlement Lenders reach agreement with federal officials

JAKARTA: In this photograph taken on August 12, 2012, Indonesian students seeking studies and scholarships in the US attend a forum on applying for US colleges and universities at the US Cultural Center in Jakarta. Indonesia’s creaking university system is failing to keep pace with its booming economy, struggling to produce graduates equipped for modern working life in the Southeast Asian nation.— AFP

Gulf Bank announces winners of Al Danah KUWAIT: Gulf Bank held its thirty-fourth Al Danah weekly draw on August 26, 2012, announcing a total number of four Al Danah weekly prize draw winners, each awarded with prizes of KD 1,000. The 34th Al Danah Weekly Winners are: Faisal Mohanna Mohammed Hussain Bader Daham Enad Mohammed Jassim Mohammed Alhmar Bader Nasser Bader Al-Osaimi Gulf Bank encourages everyone in Kuwait to open an Al Danah account and/or increase their deposits to maximize their chances of becoming a winner in the upcoming weekly (KD1,000 each for 10 winners). Gulf Bank’s Al Danah allows customers to win cash prizes and encourages them to save money. Chances increase the more money is deposited and the longer it

is kept in the account. Al Danah also offers a number of unique services including the Al Danah Deposit Only ATM card which helps account holders deposit their money at their convenience; as well as the Al Danah calculator to help customers calculate their chances of becoming an Al Danah winner. To be part of the Al Danah draws, customers can visit one of Gulf Bank’s 56 branches, transfer on line, or call the Customer Contact Center on 1805805 for assistance and guidance. Customers can also log on to, Gulf Bank’s website, to find all the information regarding Al Danah or any of the Bank’s products and services or log on, to find out more about Al Danah and who the winners are.

NBK to announce Al-Jawhara winner today on Marina FM KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) will today announce the winner for August’s KD 125,000 Al-Jawhara monthly prize Live on Marina FM. NBK recently re-launched AlJawhara account offering customers more chances to win bigger prizes; KD 5,000 weekly, KD 125,000 monthly and a grand prize of KD 250,000 quarterly draw. Al-Jawhara account offers numerous benefits to NBK customers. Not only is it an interest-free account with regular deposit and withdrawal privileges, but also entitles account holders

to enter the weekly, monthly and quarterly Al-Jawhara draws. Each KD 50 in an Al-Jawhara account entitles the customer to one chance in any of the draws. All prizes are automatically credited to the winners’ accounts the day after the draw. The more money held in your Al-Jawhara account, the greater your chances of winning. Al-Jawhara accounts are available to both Kuwaitis and Expats and can be opened at any one of NBK’s branches around Kuwait. For further information kindly visit

CHARLOTTE, N.C/WASHINGTON: Bank of America Corp hasn’t completed any first-mortgage modifications that reduce loan balances for borrowers so far under a $25 billion settlement reached this year, the official monitoring the agreement said yesterday. Five financial institutions that are part of the settlement have provided $10.6 billion in consumer relief from March 1 to June 30, with $8.7 billion in the form of short sales in which customers sell their homes for less than the mortgage’s value. Bank of America produced $4.8 billion in short sales, the most of the five banks, according to the first report by settlement monitor Joseph Smith. JPMorgan Chase & Co completed $367 million in first lien modifications in which borrowers had their loan balances reduced, about half of all

modifications. The other institutions in the settlement are Wells Fargo & Co, Citigroup Inc and Ally Financial Inc. The five lenders reached the agreement in March with federal officials and state attorneys general to resolve allegations they mishandled foreclosures. The settlement requires them to provide around $20 billion in consumer relief by reducing loan balances for struggling borrowers and refinancing loans for customers whose homes are worth less than the value of their mortgages. While the banks have provided more than $10 billion in relief, they are not necessarily half-way to meeting their obligations, since the settlement only provides for partial credit for certain kinds of relief. The banks only receive credit for $0.45 of every dollar of a writedown through a short sale,

Automakers to Obama and Romney: Stay away NEW YORK: General Motors Co and Chrysler Group LLC, US automakers that received billions of dollars in government help to stay afloat during the recent recession, said they will not allow presidential candidates to make stops at their plants. President Barack Obama often touts the financial health of both GM and Chrysler and has appeared at auto plants of both companies frequently in the past several years. While the federal government still owns 26 percent of GM’s shares, Obama cannot go to a GM plant until after the Nov. 6 election, GM said. GM’s policy has been not to allow campaign stops at its plants, said spokeswoman Heather Rosenker, since it became a new company in 2009 after the former GM went into bankruptcy protection and emerged after a $49.5 billion bailout from the U.S. Treasury. GM does not want to be the focus of attention for the auto bailout in the presidential campaign. “It pulls us off focus and the reality is we need to stay focused,” said Rosenker. “The company is doing great. We’ve had 10 consecutive profitable quarters and we want to stay profitable.” Chrysler, which has paid off its government loans, has also decided not to allow Obama or Romney at its plants. “This fall, Chrysler will not host campaign events inside its facilities,” said the company in a statement.

“The company is focused on meeting production demands.” Chrysler during the 2008 campaign was owned by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management. It emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 part-owned and managed by Italy’s Fiat SpA . Fiat is now Chrysler’s majority owner. And Ford Motor Co, which borrowed heavily in the debt markets and did not need any bailout cash, also will not allow presidential campaign visits. Obama, as president, has spoken at several GM and Chrysler plants, but that was before the campaign became a two-man race with Romney. Obama and his 2008 Republican rival John McCain both spoke at GM plants during the campaign, but that was before the first bailout money went to GM and Chrysler under President George W. Bush. “We have a long-standing policy of not allowing political campaigning at our manufacturing or other facilities,” said Ford in a statement. “We do allow current government officials to visit our plants at any time for educational purposes, and we provide educational opportunities for candidates in a non-partisan manner so they can learn more about auto manufacturing. As a highly-regulated, complex industry, it is important that government officials understand our business as they consider public policy,” Ford said. — Reuters

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Middle East posts record growth DUBAI: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Middle East(‘ICBC ME’), a unit of the world’s largest lending bank, released yesterday its trading results for the first six months of 2012. Thus far, ICBC ME has already surpassed its 2011 full-year profits and has laid the foundation for the addition of new business lines and expansion into new GCC markets. The Bank currently has a subsidiary office in Dubai, as well as branches in Abu Dhabi and Doha, Qatar. The Bank has applied for licences to operate in Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which would enable ICBC to extend its branch network in significant new growth markets. Commenting on the bank’s performance, TianZhiping, CEO ofICBC Middle East, said: “We are very pleased with the growth we have achieved in the first half of 2012 and intend to leverage our strong performance to increase both our geographical presence and product portfolio. We remain very positive on the growth prospects for the Middle East and we are committed to increasing our active support for the region’s economic growth, particularly in the areas of infrastructure development, high-technology and energy. “As the first Chinese bank to establish a presence here, we have been able to leverage our leadership position to grow market share in the region, while establishing important relationships with key stakeholders in both the public and private sectors. We also continue to develop strong business partnerships with leading regional companies in addition to Chinese companies operating in the GCC.”

for example. The agreement required Bank of America, which bought subprime lender Countrywide Financial in 2008, to provide the most consumer relief. But in a securities filing this month it said a significant number of modifications had not yet been completed “due to the time required to underwrite the modified loans.” The bank so far has provided no relief through refinancings, according to the report. It has completed $54.2 million in second-mortgage modifications. Bank of America has offered about $2 billion in trial offers and has $803 million in trial offers in process, according to the report. Smith, the former North Carolina state banking commissioner, is charged with monitoring the progress of the banks under the settlement. The first report shows the banks’ progress from March 1 to June 30. — Reuters

As the only Chinese bank operated in GCC, ICBC Middle East is a premier provider of RMB treasury solutions.The bank provides banks and corporations with the tailor-made RMB financing and risk management services on interbank RMB financing,foreign exchange transactions and other treasury services. H1 2012 Detailed Performance H1 2012 pre-tax profit reached US$36 million, up from US$ 14 million in the same period in 2011 and representing 157% year-on-year growth. Operating income was up to US$ 44 million, compared to US$ 19 million, representing a yearon-year increase of US$ 25million or 132 %. Net fee and commission income also amounted to US$3 million for H1 2012. As of 30 June 2012, total assets stood at US$ 6.06 billion, a year-on-year increase of US$ 3.40billion or 128%. The balance of loans and advances which was US$ 5.17billion in H1 2012, increased by US$ 2.86billion compared with H1 2011, representing a year-on-year increase of 124%. In H1 2012, the bank conducted US$ 2.07 billion of RMB transactions in interbank money market, up 58% compared to the same period of last year. The foreign exchange transactions against RMB amounted to US$ 1.02 billion,which is nearly 19 times larger than the same period of last year,out of which the RMB transactions for corporations reached US$ 125 million. The volume of Trade Finance grew to US$4.36 billion in H1 2012 compared to US$1.52 billion in for the same period in 2011, representing 187% year-on-year growth.

As the only Chinese bank in the region with a wholesale license from the UAE Central Bank, ICBC ME significantly increased the number of its relationships with local financial institutions and exchange houses to facilitate remittances into China.Renminbi(RMB)remittances witnesseda600% increase in value and a 150% increase in volume of transactions compared to the same period in 2011.

Tian Zhiping - CEO - ICBC Middle East

ALLAHABAD: Unemployed Indians stand in a queue to register themselves at the Employment Exchange Office in Allahabad, India, yesterday. Employment offices have been flooded with applicants after Uttar Pradesh state Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav pledged to give unemployment benefits to unemployed graduates between the ages of 35 to 40. — AP

Japan’s Renesas shares soar 35% on investment reports TOKYO: Shares in troubled Japanese microchip maker Renesas rocketed 35 percent yesterday following reports that a major US investment fund plans to spend $1.3 billion to take control of it. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) would spend the 100 billion yen on new shares to be issued by Renesas, the Nikkei economic daily and other media said. The private equity firm has made the proposal to Renesas’s top three shareholders-NEC, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric-as well as the chipmaker’s main banks, the reports said. Shares in Renesas closed 35.08 percent higher at 308 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange as investors cheered the reported investment as a saviour for the struggling firm. “Fears over the worst scenario for the firm’s bankruptcy have faded away,” said SMBC Friend Securities head of investment and research, Fumiyuki Nakanishi. The relief overshadowed possible risks over share dilution through the capital increase, he told Dow Jones Newswires. No confirmation of the report was available from Renesas. KKR reportedly hopes to reach a formal agreement with the Japanese stakeholders as early as September. The 100-billion-yen investment would

be more than Renesas’s market capitalisation of about 95 billion yen as of Tuesday. The cash injection would enable Renesas to tide over the imminent financial crisis but KKR is expected to demand thorough restructuring of the firm including further job cuts and factory sales, Japan’s Mainichi daily said. Renesas expects to book an extraordinary loss of 150 billion yen for the current business year to March 2013 as it seeks more than 5,000 volunteers for early retirement and closes down some facilities. Local media said it plans to step up restructuring by boosting the number of job cuts to 14,000 — or roughly 30 percent of its workforceand shutting or selling nine domestic plants within three years. Renesas has said it would boost outsourcing of its chip production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., including a bigger share of its output of microcontrollers-key components in vehicles and home appliances. Japan’s microchip sector has struggled with a strong yen and fierce competition, especially from South Korean and Taiwanese rivals. US-based Micron Technology is to buy another troubled Japanese chipmaker, Elpida Memory, for $2.5 billion. — AFP



What Apple’s $1bn win means for consumers NEW YORK: Apple’s $1 billion court victory over Samsung poses a lot of questions for consumers. Will Samsung phones still be available for sale? Will they be more expensive? Will owners of existing phones need to worry? A federal jury in San Jose, Calif, ruled last Friday that Samsung, the world’s largest maker of phones, had copied features of the iPhone and the iPad. That included the “bounce-back” behavior when a user scrolls to the end of a page and the ability to zoom in on an image by spreading two fingers. The jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages. That was less than the $2.5 billion sought, but still a victory for Apple. Meanwhile, the jury rejected Samsung’s patent-infringement claims against Apple. An appeal is expected. For now, here’s what the verdict means for consumers: Q. Can I still buy a Samsung phone or tablet computer today? A. Yes. The jury didn’t prohibit sales of the devices. However, Apple will ask a judge to ban US sales of several Samsung devices. A Sept 20 hearing has been scheduled. If the judge agrees, that would affect many Samsung devices, but not the most recent ones, such as the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note smartphones. Most of the two dozen devices covered by the lawsuit aren’t sold in meaningful numbers in the US.

Q. Was Friday’s verdict final? A. No. Samsung is challenging it. First, Samsung will first ask the trial judge to toss the verdict. Then it will appeal to a court in Washington that specializes in patent appeals. Samsung has vowed to take the fight all the way to the US Supreme Court, if necessary.

it could reduce enthusiasm around Android, the operating system from Google that Samsung uses in the devices in question. That might mean fewer applications for Android from outside parties. That will take years to play out, but could conceivably affect the resale value of your phone.

care to make their phones distinguishable from the iPhone. It’s also a standard tactic in patent cases to countersue. In this case, Samsung’s patent claims against Apple were thrown out by the court. But Google has been buying up patents and could help other phone makers mount more effective countersuits.

Q. If Apple still prevails, will this drive Samsung out of the phone business? A. That’s not likely. The verdict doesn’t apply outside the US and doesn’t apply to the latest Samsung devices either. The $1 billion in damages represents 1.5 percent of Samsung Electronics Co’s annual revenue.

Q. Does this mean Samsung phones will look different in the future? A. Possibly. The jury dinged Samsung’s flagship Galaxy line for copying the overall look and feel of the iPhone and for using the stock icons with rounded corners that come with Android. Also at issue was the way Android can tell the difference between the touch of a single finger and several fingers. Samsung might delay some models to give it time to rework their look and feel.

Q. What does this mean for Android devices around the world? A. The ruling applies only to the US, though Apple and Samsung are waging similar battles in other countries. On the same day Samsung lost in the US, it partially won a fight in South Korea. A Seoul court imposed a partial ban on South Korean sales of products from both companies. That verdict didn’t affect the latest models either.

Q. What does this mean for other Android phones, such as those from LG Electronics Inc, HTC Corp and Google’s Motorola Mobility? A. Although the ruling applies only to Samsung, it will have an indirect effect on all makers of Android devices. Apple could go after them with arguments similar to the ones used against Samsung. But Friday’s ruling is not precedential, meaning that other courts could reach completely different decisions. Most likely, makers of Android phones will take more

Q. What does this mean for Apple? A. Analysts say it could help Apple gain market share at the expense of Android phones, if these have to avoid some attractive and easyto-use features introduced by Apple. Despite being a driving force in phone development since the iPhone was launched in 2007, Apple has only 19 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, according to IDC. The high price of the iPhone keeps it out of the reach of many consumers. Meanwhile, Android phones have 64 percent of the market. — AP

Q. Will this make Samsung phones more expensive? A. Possibly. Samsung may have to pay Apple substantial royalties on each phone. Consumers will likely pay for that somehow, but it may not be noticeable in stores. Phone companies such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless already subsidize each smartphone by hundreds of dollars to get retail prices down to $99 or $199. Q. What does this mean for the Samsung phone I already own? A. This doesn’t directly affect phones that have already been sold, even if they are the models that the judge decides to ban. In the long run,

Samsung to bounce back with new Note phablet Note expected to feature bigger 5.5-inch screen SEOUL: Samsung Electronics Co unveiled the second generation of its popular Galaxy Note phone-cumtablet at Europe’s biggest electronics show in Berlin later yesterday, as the South Korean firm comes under pressure to innovate after losing a US patent battle with Apple Inc. A US federal jury last week found Samsung had copied critical features of the iPhone and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages. Apple is now seeking speedy bans on the sale of eight Samsung phones, moving swiftly to turn legal victory into tangible business gain. The Galaxy Note phablet, Samsung’s second most popular smartphone after its flagship Galaxy S, is not included in the list of the potential US sales ban, and Samsung hopes the phablet upgrade will lift any post-Apple gloom at the South Korean group. “There won’t be huge innovative changes in design, but the Note 2 will feature quite a few improvements and enable Samsung to carry on its strong sales momentum in the category,” said Lee Sun-tae, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities. “With the launch, Samsung will also be trying to turn around downbeat sentiment after the US legal defeat.” The new version of the Note is expected to feature a thinner and slightly bigger 5.5-inch screen, powerful quad-core processor, the latest version of Google’s Android operating system called Jellybean, and improved stylus function. It’s the latest product to illustrate Samsung’s attempts to make bold design changes as it comes increasingly under pressure to differentiate its line-up from the iPhone, whose simple and large touchscreen-based design revolutionised the mobile industry and is still considered the gold standard of design. Flexi-screen Samsung is also working to introduce smartphones with bendable screens later this year as it seeks to cement its lead in the $200 billion plus global smartphone market and challenge Apple, which is expected to launch its new iPhone on Sept 12. The

Samsung unveils Windows 8 desktop SAN FRANCISCO: Samsung will offer three different choices to people interested in buying a desktop computer equipped with a redesigned version of Windows going on sale this fall. The personal computers previewed Tuesday by Samsung at a technology conference in Germany provided one of the first glimpses at the Windows 8 machines scheduled to hit the market on Oct 26. Windows 8’s release has been widely anticipated because it’s Microsoft’s most dramatic overhaul of the operating system in at least 17 years. It’s also coming out at a time when PC sales have been slowing as more people rely on smartphones and tablets to surf the Web. Microsoft Corp. reprogrammed Windows 8 so it looks and works more like the touch-based systems on mobile devices. The three new Windows 8 desktops from Samsung will come with a high-definition touch display. Several other major PC makers are expected to unveil their Windows 8 product lines in the upcoming weeks. Samsung Electronics Co’s Windows 8 computers for the desktop will have suggested prices of $749, $1,099 and $1,699 - depending on the size of the storage drive, the amount of system memory and the size of display screen. All three models will run on Intel Corp. processors. Windows 8 can be controlled by swiping the applications on the display screen or by using a keyboard or computer mouse. The touch controls will be available through a mosaic of tiles to show applications and services that can be continuously connected to the Internet. When relying on a keyboard, users will usually switch to a part of the operating system that looks much like earlier versions of Windows. However, Microsoft left out the familiar “start” button typically found in the bottom left corner of the display screen. In an effort to minimize the potential frustration caused by Windows 8’s new look, Samsung built its own optional start button that be used to pull up a menu of applications. This feature won’t be found on all Windows 8 PCs and laptops from other manufacturers. Samsung is expected to introduce its Windows 8 line of laptop computers later this week. — AP

new Note comes just three months after Samsung released the third generation of its Galaxy S smartphone, which has already sold more than 10 million, and succeeds the original 5.3-inch Note, which was introduced in late-October and was a surprise hit, selling more than 10 million within 9 months. Other firms that offer so-called phablets include LG Electronics and HTC. ABI Research has predicted phablet shipments could reach 208 million by 2015. Unlike Apple, Samsung depends on various line-ups, offering a range of models in different sizes and with different software, and keeps its product cycle shorter. Later this year, it is expected to launch a new model running Microsoft’s upgrad-

ed Windows operating system. Samsung shares rose 2.9 percent to 1.23 million won in Seoul on Wednesday - in a broader Korean market that closed up 0.6 percent - and are now down just 3.5 percent from their levels before last Friday’s US ruling. The shares slumped 7.5 percent on Monday, wiping $12 billion off the company’s market value. A US judge on Tuesday set a Dec 6 court date to hear Apple’s request for a permanent injunction against Samsung smartphones, which could delay the potential impact of Apple’s legal victory. Also, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said Apple’s bruising legal win had not affected the agency’s ratings on Samsung. — Reuters

SEOUL: A woman walks by a banner advertising Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Note at a subway station. — AP

High-tech tools streamline college applications, costs FORT LAUDERDALE: Students are finding clever ways to take a bite out of the cost of going to college, many getting help from local companies and the latest Web-based technologies. Some are doing so before they even settle on a school. After choosing the path to higher education, the biggest decision for college-bound students - and parents - is what campus to select and how to pay for it. Some students earn A-pluses for using the Web to cut down on time spent selecting colleges as well as costs for applying and attending - from travel expenses to book fees. High school senior Karina Newman of Boca Raton, Fla., has turned to, which provides virtual tours and insider information, to research colleges she’s considering. “There are so many options and it’s pretty hard to choose,” Newman said. And the website is a convenient and cheap way for the 17-year-old and her parents to learn more about different colleges. “You get an overall feeling of what it is like to be there,” she said. “You even see what the weather is like.” Newman most recently traveled via the Internet to Ohio University, Mississippi State and Oregon Tech. They are among her top considerations in addition to Miami University, where an older sister graduated and another still attends. “I will be using the site to check out other colleges, too,” she said, without having to ask her parents or airplane tickets. YourCampus360, with offices in Aventura, Fla, and New York City, is free to use and offers an interactive and comprehensive experience via iPhone or Android smartphones, a computer or Facebook. Via all three platforms, take virtual walking tours, which include stops at dormitories, dining halls and football stadiums. Check out videos and photos with 360-degree panoramas while learning about everything from class descriptions to campus clubs, on-campus housing to nighttime campus escort services. Visitors can even apply online. Jaclyn Sarnese, a junior at the University of Miami, plans to trim book costs with the help of a new location-based app called Yapik, which works like a Craigslist for college students, allowing them to trade or barter for goods and services. “It’s really convenient, and

I can sell my current textbooks after the semester and even buy new ones for next semester,” Sarnese said. Sarnese said she has used Yapik to monitor what other students are offering for trade, such as sneakers and football game tickets. “I even found an offer from a student selling car wash services,” she said. Based on what she has seen so far, Sarnese believes she will be able to sell her old class books for more on Yapik than she could if she sold back to the campus bookstore. “And it looks like I will be able to buy a lot of next year’s books for less than at the bookstore, which always has the highest prices.” Launched in September by University of Miami student Sabina Kaplan and University of South Florida graduate Cristina Dominguez, the free Yapik app for iPhone and Android devices enables students to buy or sell products nearby, chat with other students, and create profiles and lists of “favorite” friends. Currently the app is available for students at Florida International University, the University of Florida, and the University of Miami, but is scheduled to launch nationwide by next summer. •

Other options Social networking: Facebook, Twitter and other networks deliver their own brand of insight and information. For instance, the University of Miami creates Facebook pages for classes with the help of the Student Affairs Office. Barry University created a Facebook app allowing users to browse housing opportunities and register for orientation. College-related apps: Tap into your smartphone for help. CollegeMapp for iPhone costs $4.99 and helps high school students by mimicking a guidance counselor, helping users organize college applications, track deadlines and research admission requirements. Find it at the Apple App Store. College Confidential is a free app for Android devices that provides a wealth of information about colleges across the country, from advice on the admission processes to tips on getting into an Ivy League school. Find it at the Android Market. — MCT



World’s largest marine park unveiled at Pacific summit Reserve set to save last pristine ocean eco-systems

SOC TRANG: This undated handout image shows a preserved specimen of Phallostethus cuulong, a 24.2 mm male showing dorsal (A), lateral (B) and ventral (C) views. — AFP

New species of fish found in Vietnam HANOI: A new species of fish with male genitalia on its head has been identified in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, researchers said yesterday. Phallostethus cuulong is the newest member of the Phallostethidae family-small fish found in Southeast Asian waters that are distinguished primarily by the positioning of the male sexual organ. Male phallostethids have a copulatory organ, termed the priapium, under the throat for holding or

clasping onto females and fertilising their eggs internally, according to conservationists. “We have scientifically identified a new male genitalia-head fish in Vietnam,” researcher Tran Dac Dinh from Can Tho University told AFP. The fish was known to Vietnamese people in the Mekong Delta but had not been described scientifically before a team identified the species last year, he said. —AFP

Condemned inmates go in for comfort food ALBANY: On death row, last meals tend to be high in calories and heavy on meat. French fries, soda, ice cream, hamburgers, chicken, steak and pie are commonly requested items among inmates imminently facing execution, according to Cornell University researchers who studied 193 last meal requests in the United States. The final meals of condemned prisoners are an enduring, if morbid, source of fascination - whether those convicted of the most heinous crimes opted for a final lobster dinner or canned spaghetti. Requests vary greatly, but the Cornell researchers found some general trends in a quirky bit of research analyzing last meal orders. No surprise: Many last meal requests are tasty but unhealthy. More than two-thirds of the condemned ordered fried foods, mostly french fries, and they ordered dessert at about the same rate. Inmates were five times more likely to request soda than milk. The average meal request came in at an estimated 2,756 calories, more than a typical grown man needs in a whole day. Researchers estimated that four of the meal requests tallied more than 7,200 calories, including a request for 12 pieces of fried chicken, two buttered rolls, mashed potatoes with brown gravy, two sodas and a pint each of strawberry and vanilla ice cream. Comfort foods were popular among the condemned. More than a third asked for the most popular meat, chicken, followed by hamburger (24 percent) and steak (22 percent). Four percent requested fast-food takeout from chains like McDonald’s, Wendy’s or KFC. Fruits and vegetables were much less popular, though more than a

quarter requested a salad. Lead researcher Brian Wansink, who directs the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, said the popularity of comfort foods and name-brand products like Coca-Cola could reflect people trying to deal with extremely high stress by surrounding themselves with familiar food. “In some ways, this might be a way to bring the level of stress and negative excitement down to something that’s something a little bit more manageable,” Wansink said. “You don’t find people going for Neapolitan ice cream or for Chunky Monkey or Chubby Hubby. They go for chocolate; they go for vanilla.” Researchers said it’s also possible that some of patterns, like the paucity of vegetarian meals, could reflect the socio-economic backgrounds of people on death row. Researchers looked at 247 people executed in the United States from 2002 through 2006. All but two were men, and the average age at the time of execution was 43. They focused on 193 meals after excluding 51 inmates who did not choose a last meal, and three more who had a meal under 200 calories, including a person who requested a single pitted olive. Wansink cautions they are not aware of what the inmates actually ate, only what they requested. Researchers noted that meal requests usually must fall within a budget, and no alcohol is allowed. Texas, one of the states included in the study, stopped the practice of giving special final meals last year after an extensive request from a man being executed for his role in a notorious hate-crime dragging death. The study was posted online this week in the journal Appetite. — AP

AVARUA: The Cook Islands announced the creation of the world’s largest marine park Tuesday, as the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) opened with a spectacular Polynesian welcoming ceremony. Heralded by traditional drummers and blaring conch shells, leaders of the 15-nation grouping were carried to the summit venue in the capital Avarua on litters while flag-waving locals cheered enthusiastically. Prime Minister Henry Puna capitalised on a rare moment in the international spotlight to declare his nation of 11,000 people had created an enormous marine park almost twice the size of France. The 1.065 million square kilometre (411,000 square mile) reserve would help save one of the last pristine ocean eco-systems, Puna said. “(It is) the largest area in history by a single country for integrated ocean conservation and management,” he said. While some leaders such as Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard looked somewhat sheepish as they were paraded aloft before the crowd, Puna burst into song after greeting them, delighting the locals with an impromptu lounge tune. Gillard and her New Zealand counterpart John Key wore garlands of flowers around their necks, before a spear-carrying chieftain in a headdress decorated with shells and feathers performed a customary welcoming ceremony. Dancers in grass skirts added to the Polynesian pomp for an event organisers said was one of the largest in the nation’s history, rivalled only by a visit from Queen Elizabeth II in 1974. “This is certainly the biggest thing to happen here for decades,” one official at the ceremony told AFP. Once the festivities were done, Puna turned to the serious issue of marine conservation, saying the new marine park was the Cooks’ major contribution “to the wellbeing of not only our peoples, but also of humanity”. “The marine park will provide the necessary framework to promote sustainable development by balancing economic growth interests such as tourism, fishing and deep sea mining with conserving core biodiversity in the ocean,” he said. Australia

announced in June that it was creating a network of marine parks covering 3.1 million square kilometres, more than a third of its territorial waters. However, they are dotted around its huge coastline. The Cook Islands protected zone will be the largest single marine park in the world, taking in the entire southern half of the nation’s waters. The nation’s 15 islands have a combined landmass barely larger than Washington DC but its waters include environmentally valuable coral reefs, seagrass beds and fisheries. Marea Hatziolos, the World Bank’s senior coastal and marine specialist, said the Cook Islands’ initiative was a win for both the environment and the

country’s economy as it would help save fish stocks and promote tourism. “There’s definitely an economic dimension to this, apart from protecting biodiversity,” she told AFP. “It allows small Pacific nations to generate revenue.” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend the summit later this week, in a move seen as sending a message to China that Washington intends to re-engage with the South Pacific to counter Beijing’s influence in the region. The absence of Fiji, which was suspended from the PIF in 2009 in the wake of a 2006 military coup, will also be a major topic of discussion.— AFP

COOK ISLANDS: Cook Islands dancers wearing traditional dress perform at the opening ceremony of the Pacific Islands Forum in Avarua on Rarotonga, yesterday. — AFP

Man attempting Bigfoot hoax killed MISSOULA: A man wearing a bushy, militar y-style camouflage suit in an apparent attempt to impersonate the mythical creature Bigfoot has died af ter being struck on a Montana highway by two cars, police said on Tuesday. R andy Lee Tenley, 44, was dressed in a “ghillie”-an outfit favored by military snipers and game hunters-and standing in the middle of southbound lanes on US Highway 93 near Kalispell on Sunday when he was struck

t wice in quick succession, M ontana H ighway Patrol spokesman S ergeant Steve Lavin said. “From what I understand, at least one of his friends said that he was tr ying to induce a sasquatch sighting by using the suit along the highway,” Lavin said. “This is a first for me af ter 20 years on the highway patrol. It’s strange.” Tenley was first hit by a car driven by a 15-year-old girl (15year-olds are allowed to drive in Montana with a learner’s per-

mit). A second car driven by a 17-year- old girl struck him moments later when he was already down on the roadway, Lavin said. Police said they do not know which impact killed him. Friends of Tenley told Montana Highway Patrol trooper Jim Schneider that the man had attempted a similar hoax before, but never along the highway, police said. Bigfoot, or sasquatch, is the name given to an ape-like creature whose existence has never

been proven. Still, some people believe the creature lives in forest areas in North America, particularly the Pacific Northwest. The Kalispell Army-Navy supply store sells the same kind of ghillie suit that police say Tenley was wearing. Manager Dennis Petersen, who did not recall selling one to Tenley, said the shaggy $100 suits are often bought by boys who use them in paintball games. “I don’t usually sell them to well-grown adults,” he said. — Reuters

Ageing lion in zoo now has pick of pride ASUNCION: It’s been 15 long years of solitary confinement for Rubio, the only African lion in the Asuncion zoo. But he’s got the pick of the females in a pride of lions now that a group of circus cats has been stranded in Paraguay. The nine lions and seven Bengal tigers were part of a traveling Argentine circus until Paraguay banned live-animal performances at circuses. Then, paper work problems prevented their re - entr y to Argentina, and they were stranded at the border for two months before an Associated Press story brought global attention to their plight. Now they’re at the Asuncion zoo, where Rubio has gone solo for 15 years since his last mate died. Local politicians said Tuesday they hope to keep one of the female lions to be his mate. — AP

PARAGUAY: Two circus lions rest in their cage on zoo grounds, in Asuncion. —AP

Arctic melt will impact climate before policy

SAITAMA: A female rider shows Japanese toiletry goods maker Toto’s eco-friendly motorcycle “Toilet Bike Neo”, which uses bio-gas from discharges of livestocks or waste water during a demonstration run for their domestic green campaign yesterday. — AFP

Japan toilet maker unveils ‘poop-powered’ motorbike TOKYO: Japan’s best-known toilet maker yesterday unveiled a “poop-powered” motorcycle that can travel as far as 300 kilometres (180 miles) on a tank filled with animal waste. Billed as the world’s first waste-powered vehicle, the three-wheeler has a toilet in place of a regular seat and huge paper roll at the back. But as a young female model climbed aboard for a test drive yesterday, toilet giant TOTO was quick to point out that she would not supply the “gas”. “The biogas it uses as fuel is not made from human waste. It’s made from live-

stock waste and sewage,” Kenji Fujita, a company spokesman, told reporters in a Tokyo suburb. “We hope to raise awareness among customers about our green campaign through development of environmentallyfriendly products such as water-saving showerheads and water-saving toilets,” Fujita added. The company-which makes toilets equipped with an array of features including heated seats, water jets with pressure and temperature controls, and ambient background music-has no plans to commercialise the motorcycle. —AFP

LONDON: Dwindling Arctic summer sea ice is unlikely to spur new policies to curb fossil fuels without more evidence of environmental impact, given stalled U.N. climate talks and political attitudes to mineral resources. The area of Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum on Sunday, in a 33year satellite record, according to the US. National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), following a progressive melt and thinning which could see an icefree North Pole in summer within a decade or two. That throws a spotlight on Arctic oil and gas, as explorers gain access, and the global sector as melting ice highlights the impact of carbon emissions through global warming. The US Geological Survey estimated four years ago that the Arctic region “may constitute the geographically largest unexplored prospective area for petroleum remaining on Earth,” in the only publicly available estimate of the fossil fuel resource. It calculated that the area north of the Arctic Circle contained about 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil, 30 percent of the undiscovered natural gas, and 20 percent of undiscovered natural gas liquids, excluding unconventional resources such as gas hydrate and shale gas and oil. The Arctic has warmed faster than the rest of the planet in part because of an effect where open water absorbs more heat than reflective ice, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of warming. Surface temperatures last year over the Arctic Ocean were an average 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer compared with the 1981-2010 period, 10 times 0.15 degrees warming globally, according to data from the USbased National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Local impacts include threats to wildlife and coastal erosion from a larger expanse of open water. Wider risks could include disruption of weather patterns in the northern hemisphere, and even release of the powerful greenhouse gas

methane from vast ice-like deposits on the Arctic seabed and from melting onshore permafrost. Impact It would take palpable impacts to jolt an international energy response to melting Arctic ice. One such impact would be disruption to northern hemisphere weather, as posed by two studies published in the past six months in the journals Geophysical Research Letters and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Each considered a direct connection between Arctic ice melt and heavier-than-average snowfall in western Europe and the eastern United States in the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11. One proposed that warmer, open water in the Arctic was responsible for an observed slowing of the northern jet stream, leading to more persistent, “stuck” weather patterns at mid-latitude. High latitude jet streams are speeded by a temperature gradient between less cold and extremely cold air at the north and south poles, much as a river flows faster down a steeper slope. Both papers found that, for unclear reasons, less Arctic sea ice was correlated with an atmospheric circulation similar to that well known for bringing cold air and heavier snowfall to mid latitudes, meteorologically known as the negative phase of the winter North Atlantic Oscillation. See this graphic, from the University of New Hampshire. The papers were a first attempt at unravelling the inevitable impact of a warmer Arctic Ocean on atmospheric circulation, but in the context of a short data record and the chaotic multitude of factors which drive the weather. Contradicting the theory, the 2011 summer saw the third biggest Arctic sea ice melt on record, but was followed by a relatively mild winter in western Europe. Response Without firmer evidence for risk, an energy policy response will be muted. UN-backed talks are the

international forum for cutting global carbon emissions and curbing fossil fuels and have been a victim of consensus voting, where decisions must be agreed unanimously by 194 participating countries including oil exporters, which stand to lose out from CO2 cuts. It seems there is little chance of a melting Arctic adding impetus to talks which have all but stalled since the latest round kicked off in 2007, the same year as the previous record ice melt, and which have since produced non-binding resolutions and no global deal. Meanwhile, attempts to drive local action, such as Greenpeace’s “Save the Arctic” campaign, appear optimistic despite a worthy aim to prevent spills in a unique place. Greenpeace is campaigning for a moratorium along the lines of the 1991 Antarctic Protocol on Environmental Protection. Some of the world’s biggest energy producers including the United States, Norway and Russia ratified the Antarctic agreement, whose article 7 states that “any activity relating to mineral resources, other than scientific research, shall be prohibited.” But none of these countries border Antarctica, and a better signal may be their approach to the Brusselsbased Energy Charter, the world’s most internationally ratified energy treaty which 51 countries have signed. It binds members to rules on energy access and arbitration in the case of disputes, for example to protect investors in oil pipeline projects while recognising national sovereignty. European Union countries have ratified the treaty, alongside central Asian producers and consuming nations like Japan, but the United States, Canada, Russia and Norway have not. The biggest Arctic natural gas resource is off the north coast of Russia, while the largest Arctic crude oil resource is off the northern coasts of US Alaska and Canada. These countries have exclusive rights to much of these resources, under the UN Convention on the law of the sea up to 350 nautical miles out, and it may require an unlikely, unilateral restraint not to exploit them. — Reuters



health & science

Neuroscience in court: My brain made me do it LONDON: He was once a respected paediatrician, loved by patients and their parents for over 30 years. Now Domenico Mattiello faces trial for paedophilia, accused of making sexual advances towards little girls in his care. Scientific experts will argue in court that his damaged brain made him do it, and his lawyers will ask for leniency. It’s the latest example of how neuroscience - the science of the brain and how it works - is taking the stand and beginning to challenge society’s notions of crime and punishment. The issue has been thrown into the spotlight by new technologies, like structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scans and DNA analysis, that can help pinpoint the biological basis of mental disorders. A series of recent studies has established that psychopathic rapists and murderers have distinct brain structures that show up when their heads are scanned using MRI. And in the United States, two companies, one called No Lie MRI and another called Cephos Corp, are advertising lie-detection services using fMRI to lawyers and prosecutors. Crime and punishment While structural MRI scans show the structure of a brain and can highlight differences between one brain and another, PET and fMRI scans can also show the brain in action, lighting up at particular points when the brain engages in certain tasks. But the dazzling new technologies and detailed genetic data leave unanswered the issue of whether criminal courts are the right place to use this new information.

“The worry is that the law, or at least some judges, might be so overawed by the technology that they start essentially delegating the decision about guilt to a particular form of test,” says Colin Blakemore, a professor of neuroscience at Oxford University. The lawyers for American serial killer Brian Dugan, who was facing execution in Illinois after pleading guilty to raping and killing a 10-year-old girl, used scans of his brain activity to argue he had mental malfunctions and should be spared the death penalty. In the event, Illinois abolished capital punishment while he was on death row. In a court in the Indian city of Mumbai, a woman was convicted of murder based only on circumstantial evidence and a so-called brain electrical oscillations signature profiling (BEOS) test, the results of which prosecutors said suggested she was guilty. The days when mental capacity for crime is argued over by psychiatrists unaided by sophisticated machinery - such as Friday’s verdict that Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was sane when he killed 77 people - look numbered. “All sorts of types of neuroscience evidence are being used for all sorts of types of claims,” says Teneille Brown, a professor of law at the University of Utah. “The question is, is this technology really ready for prime time, or is it being abused?” ‘Acquired paedophilia’ In Mattiello’s case, the neuroscientific evidence will come in the form of a full psychiatric and biological analysis including an MRI brain scan that shows a roughly 4 centimetre tumour growing at the base of his brain. This created pressure inside his skull and “altered his behaviour”, says Pietro Pietrini, a

molecular geneticist and psychiatrist at Italy’s University of Pisa who is compiling an expert report on the 65-year-old. “His previous behaviour was completely normal,” Pietrini told Reuters. “He was a paediatrician for 30 something years and he saw tens of thousands of children and never had any problem. The question is why, at some

undergoing cancer treatment after having the tumour removed. Pietrini is due to see him again next month to continue his assessment and see the effects of the treatment. The case, which has yet go to court, is strikingly similar to another of “acquired paedophilia” dating back to 2002, in which a 40year-old married American schoolteacher

BERLIN: A brain-designed computer seen at the Campus Party Europe electronic entertainment event. The weeklong, 24-hours-aday technology festival for thousands of “campuseros” - hackers, developers, gamers and geeks is running until August end. —AFP point, did someone who has always behaved properly suddenly change so drastically?” The doctor was arrested in Vicenza, northern Italy, more than a year ago and is

suddenly became obsessed with sex and began secretly to collect child pornography. He was eventually removed from the family home for making sexual advances towards his step-daughter and convicted of

paedophilia. But later medical examinations found he had an egg-sized tumour in a part of the brain involved in decision-making. When the tumour was removed, the man recovered from his paedophilic tendencies and was able to return to his family. Experts are generally agreed that conditions like psychopathy and paedophilia can’t be “cured”, but in this groundbreaking case it appeared that removing the tumour, and hence the pressure in the brain, may have re-established his ability to control impulses. As in that case, Pietrini said he and colleague Giuseppe Sartori of Padua University believed Mattiello’s tumour “may well have played a role in altering his behaviour”. “This is what we will be arguing,” Pietrini said. “But of course it will be for the judge to determine to what extent he believes this medical condition played a role.” Oxford’s Blakemore, one of the world’s leading thinkers in this field, says such cases are “startling”. “It makes one wonder about the notion of responsibility,” he said in an interview. Is ‘my brain made me do it’ a defence? And when it comes to prison, should paedophiles, psychopaths and other violent criminals be punished less severely if their behaviour can be blamed on biology? Is “my brain made me do it” a defence that warrants recognition with lighter sentences, or even no jail time at all? “(It) raises the whole issue of what you think sentencing is for,” says Blakemore. “Is it about punishment? Is it about retribution? Is it about remediation and rehabilitation? Is it about protecting society? Well, to some extent it’s about all of

those things.” Recent evidence - from both real and hypothetical cases - suggests judges are sympathetic to neurobiological evidence as mitigation. A study published in the journal Science this month showed that criminal psychopaths in the United States whose lawyers provide biological evidence for their brain condition are more likely to be sentenced to shorter jail terms than those who are simply said to be psychopaths. For the study, researchers at the University of Utah tweaked the real-life case of Stephen Mobley, a 39-year-old American who was sentenced to death in 1994 after robbing a Domino’s pizza place in Georgia and shooting dead the restaurant’s manager. At his trial, Mobley’s lawyer presented evidence in mitigation showing the accused had a variant of a gene called MAO-A that has been dubbed the “warrior” gene after scientists found it was linked to violent behaviour. Aggressive genes In the Science study, judges were given a hypothetical case loosely based on Mobley’s, where the crime was a savage beating with a gun, rather than a fatal shooting. All the judges were told the defendant was a psychopath, but only half were given expert testimony on the genetic and neurobiological causes of his psychopathy. Those who got the neuroscientific evidence were more likely to give a shorter sentence - generally about a year less, the study found. Pietrini worked on a similar real-life case in Italy in 2009 thought to be one of the first criminal cases in Europe to use this type of neuroscientific evidence. — Reuters




Aware Diwaniya


SEND US YOUR INSTAGRAM PICS 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. If you want to share your Instagram photos, email us at


Study in Canada exhibition rganized by the Embassy of Canada, the seventh annual Middle East Education Initiative (MEEI) will be visiting Kuwait from Oct 2-4, 2012. Representatives of 20 leading Canadian universities and colleges will be available to meet students, parents, teachers and guidance counsellors to present the advantages of studying in Canada. On Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012 a Study in Canada exhibition will be held at the Marina Hotel, Salmiya from 6:00 - 9:00 pm for potential students and their parents to attend. The Canadian institutions will also be visiting local schools to speak to interested students about opportunities to study in Canada. For more information:


‘Leniency of Islam’ n unprecedented initiative of KTV2 (English channel) is the new program by the name ‘Leniency of Islam’ presented by Shaikh Musaad Alsane and directed by Hamid Al-Turkait. The program is mainly meant to address the expatriates living in Kuwait. Religious questions are received through the program email and sms can be sent to- 97822021 and answered by the lecturer and Imam in Awqaf Ministry Shaikh Musaad Alsane - a Master Degree holder in Sharia and fiqih from Kuwait University. So don’t forget to watch the program every Friday at 1:00 pm.


McDonald’s Kuwait revamps image cDonald’s Kuwait will be holding a grand reopening ceremony today to commemorate the reopening of the Surra branch. After undergoing renovation works, the new Surra restaurant will open with a new contemporary look, part of McDonald’s recent re-imaging strategy across all restaurants in Kuwait and worldwide. The Surra branch will re-open its doors with a variety of contemporary changes designed to enhance the customer experience. Highlights of the redesigned restaurant include a fresh new interior and exterior, where customers will enjoy a comfortable lighting and contemporary color schemes that reflect the personality of the brand. Customers will also be able


to dine and relax in a different ambiance. Customers are also encouraged to enjoy a cup of coffee and browse the internet on their devices through the free wi-fi available at the restaurant. Ronald McDonald will initiate the inauguration with the cut of the ribbon which will start an evening filled with festivities and activities. During the reopening celebrations, McDonald’s Kuwait will be giving away gifts and prizes to all winners attending the event. The grand reopening ceremony will include a variety of fun activities and contests for customers to enjoy, while serving customers high-quality in a friendly environment. “McDonald’s is changing with the times to give customers a fasci-

nating dining experience and we consider it a privilege to serve our customers quality food in a clean and welcoming environment. Our aim is to make all McDonald’s restaurants more appealing, contemporary, and relevant both from the street and interior” Commented George Khawam, Marketing Director of McDonald’s Kuwait. McDonald’s today has 65 restaurants geographically located to serve customers in many areas, committed to the well being of the society with an active social responsibility agenda, while maintaining high-quality products served in a safe and friendly atmosphere.

at ity Centre, Kuwait’s premier mega-market, in association with, a leading online Indian community portal, is holding a month-long ‘Register and Win’ promotion campaign. Any resident in Kuwait can participate in the promotion by visiting and registering their name, email and phone number. A winner will be picked each day (except Friday), from the list of names registered on the previous day, and receive a free shopping voucher worth KD 10 from City Centre.



Kala(Art) celebrates ‘Keraleeyam 2012’ ala(Art) Kuwait, a leading Progressive Art and Socio Cultural Organization among the Indian Community in Kuwait will conduct its variety entertainment program titled “Keraleeyam 2012” with “ONAM (Keralites Festival) and “Eid Al-Fitr” together tomorrow at 03:00 pm at Indian Community School, Khaitan. The Indian


Ambassador Satish C Mehta is the Chief Guest. The program has been scheduled with an event of giving away “Kala(Art)Kuwait-Sambasivan Award” to the well known Socio-cultural activist Dr M N Karassery. There will be variety of cultural activities and traditional dances by distinctive artists to entertain the Indian expa-

triates. “Kala Kuwait-Sambasivan Award” was instituted in memory of eminent ‘Katha Prasangam’ artist late V Sambasivan. The award comprises Rs 25,000 and citation. Dr M N Karassery was selected for the prize in view of his outstanding contribution to Malayalam Literature.

Focus Kuwait 6th annual day s a part of the 6th anniversary celebrations, Forum of Cadd Users (FOCUS Kuwait), a nonpolitical, non-religious organization is set to stage a mega cultural event “Focus Fest-2012”. This mega event will be a blend of traditional and contemporary dance and musical extravaganza by renowned South Indian playback singers Jyotsna and Sudeesh. Scheduled for the afternoon of Friday, October 12, 2012, at the Al-Jeel Al-Jadeed School


Auditorium, Hawally, the mega musical show, is expected to be a super-hit in Kuwait. Joseph Panicker, Chairman of the Institution of Engineers India (IEI) has released the Raffle Coupon of “Focus Fest-2012” handing over a copy to Thomas Itty, one of the Conveners of Program Committee, in the function held at Ebenezer Auditorium, Abbassiya on the evening of August 13. An attractive program flayer also has been

released by him handing over a copy to Sam Pynumood, the popular social activist and former advisory board member of FOCUS. The function was presided over by FOCUS President Sasi Thompson. General Secretary M N Saleem, Vice President Manoj George, Joint Secretary Shaheed Labba and various sub-committee conveners and members present on the occasion.

Audition for ZEE International Antakshari or the first time Indian Cultural Society brings you live excitement of ZEE - International Antakshari in Kuwait. Audition & first round will be held in Kuwait, thereafter followed by semi finals in India & Grand Finale in Dubai. Complete team of Carnival films and Zee TV will be in Kuwait for the final round of selection on Friday 5th October with Jaaved Jaaferi: Celebrity Judge, Akriti Kakkar: Female Bollywood singer and host of Antakshari, Manish Paul: Host for auditions, Sarfaraz Khan: actor, director and producer. Michael Amin: Producer & director Carnival Films


World. Musicians, male singers and many more for live performances. Final audition at 10am & music show at 7.30 pm at AIS-Hawally. Criteria for audition entry 1. Age - 15 years and above 2. Ability to sing 3. Bollywood trivia knowledge 4. Registrations are open to all nationalities residing in GCC countries. Participant should be present on audition date as per given time frame.

NSS Kuwait Onam celebrations on Sept 28 Write to us Send to What’s On upcoming events, birthdays or celebrations by email: Fax: 24835619 / 20


he AMIE Winter 2012 examinations will be held between Dec 01-07, 2012 as follows: Section A (Diploma) - December 1-4, 2012 Section A (Non-Diploma) - December 1-7, 2012 Section B - December 1-7, 2012 The last date for submission of examination application forms are given hereunder: Candidates not appeared at Summer 2012 Exam: Aug 21 - Sept 21, 2012 Candidates appeared at Summer 2012 Exam: Sept 21 - Oct 19, 2012 Candidates who intend to appear for the Winter 2012 examination must apply directly to Kolkata by filling the prescribed application form along with requisite amount of demand draft in favour of The Institution of Engineers (India), payable at Kolkata. The details of the examination is available at the website



ulu Parba Competitions are here again and Tutu Koota Kuwait is very excited to invite all the Tuluvas to join us on the event to be held on Friday, September 21, 2012, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm at the Indian Community School Auditorium, Khaitan. Join us for an enthusiastic and entertaining day with lots of fun and creativity. Competitions for various age group planned for the day include: Dance Solo and Group, Fancy Dress Solo and Group, photography of toddlers and origami, post card writing, drawing for children; Tu Dhantina Atil and Beeda Kattunu for ladies solo; while we have Peta Kattunu and Gali Pata Malpunu for Men Solo; married couples have Adarsh Dampati and hair styling, while we also have a game planned for the senior citizens. For further details and registrations, you can contact Jaya Karkal 66958848, Janet D’Souza 97949760, Sushma Bangera 96672929, Geetha Suvarna 66526160, Rekha Sachu 65044521. Vidya Vittal 25630652. You can also send an email to:, or For more details on the rules and regulations please visit our website: Hurry up! Kindly rush to give your names for registrations as the last date for accepting registrations is September 14, 2012. Mail ID:, website:

PC and all its branches are opening Free Arabic Language Course for non-Arab ladies accessible in beginners and advance levels. Class will commence on September 14, 2012. Islamic and Quran courses are also presented in different languages. Registration is on! Call the nearest IPC branch: Salmiyah: 25733263, 97533263; Kheitan: 24730137, 99285459; Mangaf: 23723002 ext. 124/123; Jahra: 24558830, 97533948.

Winter 2012 AMIE examination

Tulukoota Kuwait ‘Merit Scholarship’

Tulukoota Kuwait Tulu Parba Competition 2012

Arabic courses

AWARE Arabic courses highlights * Introductory to Level 4 Arabic language basics * Better prepare you for speaking, reading and writing Arabic * Combine language learning with cultural insights * Taught in multi-nationality group settings * Provide opportunities to interact with Western expatriates and native Kuwaitis/Arabs. For more information log onto:

Register and Win promotion

pplications are now being invited for “Tulukoota Kuwait Merit Cum Means Scholarship” to be awarded during Tuluparba 2012 scheduled to be held on October 11 and 12, 2012. The objective of this scholarship is to provide financial assistance and support to deserving meritorious students, to enable them to pursue their higher studies. Applications are accepted from minimum one year valid Tulukoota Kuwait member’s children studying either in the State of Kuwait or in India and scoring high grades in Xth and XIIth standard Board Examination held for Academic year 2011-2012. Copies of marks sheet, proof of income, Civil ID, TKK membership number, contact number and photo to be submitted along with the application for scholarship to TKK Welfare officer Suresh Shyam Rao, contact No: 65976789. Applications will be accepted from September 1-30, 2012. Candidates obtaining high grades but not eligible for merit cum means scholarship shall be honored with merit certificate and medal during Tuluparba 2012. For more information contact: Sathyanarayan: 66585077; Willson D’souza: 97875789; Suresh Shyam Rao: 65976789. Mail Id:, website:

he AWARE Center cordially invites you to its diwaniya presentation entitled, “Participants of the Middle East Partnership Initiative Share Their Exciting Experiences,” by Farah Al-Shamali and her friends on Tuesday September 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm. For years, Kuwaiti youth have been engaging with the outside world whether to share their culture, customs and traditions or learn about those in these countries they venture to engage with. As a result of this exposure, they become very cosmopolitan in outlook and have far better reach, coming back very ambitious to effect positive changes in their society, be it politically or economically, engaging more closely with civil society and what have you. A prominent group from this pool of young people is those that participated in the Middle East Partnership Initiative, a program initiated by the Department of State in December 2002. As local chapters come into existence across the region, come listen to a selection of these motivated individuals as they share their experiences and how they plan to make the valuable knowledge they learned applicable in Kuwaiti society. For more information, call 25335260/80 or log onto:

SS Onam will be celebrated on September 28 (Friday), at Carmel School, Khaitan from 9:30 am. Nair Service Society (NSS) Kuwait is one of the largest socio-cultural organization in Kuwait formed in the year 2001 and now has more than 3,000 Indians as members. On Sept 28, a full day variety entertainment program depicting the rich heritage and art forms of Kerala has been planned and the major attractions are drama “Aaal Roopam” (Dummy) directing by Shemej Kumar and musical drama “Ravanaputri” a unique art form, organizing by NSS Vanitha Samajam.


Raveendran Nair, President of Nair Service Society (NSS), Kuwait will preside over the function and . KR Rajan, Secretary, HRD, Nair Service Society (NSS), Changanassery, Kerala will be the Chief Guest. Nair Service Society (NSS) Kuwait is introducing first time in Kuwait “Onam Valla Sadhya” a vegetarian banquet with around 50 dishes. The renowned Master of the Kitchen Aranmula Nadamangalath Vijayan and his team, will be supervising NSS Kuwait’s Onam Sadhya kitchen this year. This year more than 1,500 people are expected to enjoy the NSS taste of Vijayan.

IMAX film program Effective from August 26 2012 Today: ** 9:30am Showtime Available for Groups To The Arctic 3D 10:30am, 6:30pm, 8:30pm Space Junk 3D 11:30am, 5:30pm The Last Reef 3D 12:30pm, 7:30pm Born to be Wild 3D 9:30pm Tomorrow: To The Arctic 3D 9:30pm Journey to Mecca Born to be Wild 3D Space Junk 3D The Last Reef 3D

2:30pm, 4:30pm, 7:30pm, 3:30pm 5:30pm 6:30pm 8:30pm

Saturday: ** 9:30am Showtime Available for Groups To The Arctic 3D 10:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm, 5:30pm, 8:30pm Space Junk 3D 11:30am, 4:30pm, 9:30pm The Last Reef 3D 1:30pm, 7:30pm Journey to Mecca 2:30pm Born to be Wild 3D 6:30pm Notes: - All films are in Arabic. For English, headsets are available upon request. - “Fires of Kuwait” is in English. Arabic headsets are available upon request. - Film schedule is subject to changes without notice. For information call 1 848 888 or visit




Embassy Information EMBASSY OF AUSTRALIA The Australian Embassy Kuwait does not have a visa or immigration department. All processing of visas and immigration matters in conducted by The Australian ConsulateGeneral in Dubai. Email: (VFS) (Visa Office); Tel: +971 4 355 1958 (VFS) - +971 4 508 7200 (Visa Office); Fax: +971 4 355 0708 (Visa Office). In Kuwait applications can be lodged at the Australian Visa Application Centre 4B 1st Floor, AlBanwan Building Al-Qibla Area, Ali Al-Salem Street, opposite the Central Bank of Kuwait, Kuwait City, Kuwait. Working hours and days: 09:30 - 17:30; Sunday - Thursday. Or visit their website www.vfs-au-gcc-com for more information. Kuwait citizens can apply for tourist visas online at visa/e676.htm. ■■■■■■■


Luncheon reception luncheon reception was held in honour of Saulat Khan, an Indian entrepreneur based out of India and Kuwait. Khan has authored a coffee table book, Destiny’s Destination, tracing his exciting and extraordinary journey from the small town Sihali in Uttar Pradesh to Kuwait and the rest of the world. Ambassador of Nepal Madhuban Paudel also graced the occasion.


The Embassy of Argentina requests all Argentinean citizens in Kuwait to proceed to our official email in order to register or update contact information. The embassy encourages all citizens to do so, including the ones who have already registered in person at the embassy. The registration process helps the Argentinean Government to contact and assist Argentineans living abroad in case of any emergency. ■■■■■■■

EMBASSY OF BRITAIN Consular section at the British Embassy will be starting an online appointment booking system for our consular customers from Sunday, 01 July 2012. All information including how to make an appointment is now available on the embassy website. In addition, there is also a “Consular Appointment System” option under Quick links on the right hand side on the homepage, which should take you to the “Consular online booking appointment system” main page. Please be aware that from 01 July 2012, we will no longer accept walk-in customers for legalisation, notarial services and certificates (birth, death and marriages). If you have problems accessing the system or need to make an appointment for nonnotarial consular issues or have a consular emergency, please call 2259 4355/7/8 or email us on If you require consular assistance out of office hours (working hours: 0730-l430 hrs), please contact the Embassy on 2259 4320. ■■■■■■■

Probash Bangla holds 6th ceremonial function robash Bangla a favorite Bangladeshi Magazine organized its 6th year celebration function at Gulsan Hotel in Kuwait. The celebration function was held with the recitation of Holy Quran and the whole function was conducted by Rafiqul Islam Sumon, A K M Azad, M D of Probash Bangla Media in Kuwait and editor of Probash Bangla Magazine presided over the celebration,


Habibur Rahman an officer of health ministry and an advisor of comilla Probashi Kallayan Sanstha, was the chief guest and the event had many special guests.

Places of interest Sadu House Al Sadu House stands on Arabian Gulf Street near the National Museum, representing one of the last preserved pre-oil -era dwellings in Kuwait. Al Sadu House became a centre for Bedouin art and the sale of traditional goods In 1979. Visitors can observe Bedouin women weaving at their looms, handmaking carpets, camel bags and tent screens. Opening hours are Saturday to Thursday from 8:00 am to 1:00 p.m and from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m daily except Friday. (Tel: +965 2243.2395) Admission is FREE. Science & Natural History Museum A wealth of education awaits the visitor to the Science and Natural History Museum on Abdulla Al Mubarak Street. Each gallery contains either a collection or an exhibit covering a wide range of themes. Collections on display Include fossils, stuffed animals, skeletons, and dried flowers. There are exhibits on health, petroleum, space travel, and electronics, among others. Forming part of the National Museum complex, the wonderful, modern Planetarium In the museum complex has shows at around 18:00 daily: local children, convinced the room is spinning, clap In syncopated beats every time the accompanying music begins. A museum planetarium shows: Mornings: 1st Show: 10:00 a.m; 2nd Show: 11:00 a. m; 3rd Show: 12:00 p.m Evenings: 1st Show: 5:00 p.m; 2nd Show: 5:45 p.m; 3rd Show : 6:00 p.m. Note: Friday & Saturday no morning shows. (Tel: +965 22451195; +965 22456534). Admission is FREE. The Dickson House The house of the first British political agent In Kuwait is still standing. The Dickson House, located across from the dhow harbour east of Sief Palace, was originally a Kuwaiti home built in 1870, but was given to Britain to use as residential headquarters. The compound was expanded several times over the years, but stands as an excellent example of early Kuwaiti architectural styles. Opening hours are from Saturday to Thursday 8:30 a.m-12:30 p.m and 4:30 a.m-8:30 p.m Friday 4:30 a.m - 8:30 p.m. Admission is FREE. Al-Qurain Museum Located in the residential suburb of Qurain, This small museum is a memorial to a cell of young Kuwaiti patriots who tried to resist arrest in February 1991. Early In the morning, Iraqis bombarded the house for hours with machine guns, bombs and

eventually a tank. Monday to Saturday 8.30 a.m - 12.30 p.m; 4.30a.m -8.30 p.m Friday morning off. Afternoon: 4.30 a.m8.30 pm. Winter Visiting hours: 4-8.30 pm. 1st Day of Eid off. Tel: +965 25430343 Al Hashemi Marine Museum The World’s largest wooden dhow, owned and build by Hussein Marafie,Al Hashemi is a ‘Baghalah’ of monumental proportions. Baghalah is a large wooden cargo vessel which sailed the seas in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Constructed next to Radisson SAS Hotel, the doubledecked Al-Hashemi II is dry-docked next to pre-oil era Kuwaiti village and marine museum containing models of extinct and modern dhows The lower deck has the grand ballroom - one of the finest in Kuwait. Al-Hashemi II has earned the distinction of being listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. The museum is opened Sat. Thu. from 9 am till 5 pm. Admission is FREE. Oil Display Centre The Oil Display Centre at Kuwait is located 20 kilometers in the southern direction from main city of Kuwait. Oil display center In Kuwait is set In the Ahmadi area, which is the primary hub of Kuwait’s oil production where many oll-fields and oil wells are located. This center is a learning ground for all those who wonder how oil processing is done. It gives an opportunity to the tourists to know all about the history beginning from how oil was explored, drilled, produced and processed In Kuwait. The Oil Display Center Is located 20 kilometers away from Kuwait City, in the southern direction. This small center throws an insight into Kuwait’s oil business and the work of the Kuwait Oil Company, which owns it. It is definitely worth a visit. Opening hours Sat - Wed 07:00 am -3:00 pm. It is open by appointment. Tel: +965 23982393; 23989111; 23981678. KOC can also arrange for groups to tour the oil fields themselves. Kuwait Memorial Museum Before the Iraqi invasion, the museum housed a collection that has been acclaimed by International art historians as one of the most comprehensive collection of Islamic arts. Located near the National Assembly, comprising of four buildings and a planetarium. In 1997, the Muhallab II, the replacement for the magnificent trading dhow from the 1930 that graced the front yard of the museum before it was burned by the Iraqis, was constructed on site and

now is open to visitors. Tel (2451195) Tareq Rajab Museum Tareq Rajab opened his private collection of Islamic art treasures to the general public in 1980. The Tareq Rajab Museum in Jabriya features ceramics, silver and gold jewelry, and musical instruments. It also houses one of the finest collections of old Qurans and at her Arabic manuscripts in the world. All artifacts are of Arab or Muslim origin and are labeled for easy viewing. Visiting hours are from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Saturdays through Thursdays. On Fridays, the museum is open to the general public only in the mornings, with afternoons reserved for tours. Opening hours 9:00 -12:00 noon; 4:00-7:00 pm; Ramadan open on weekdays: 09:00-12:00; noon 7:00 pm-10:00 pm; Fridays usual time. (Tel: +965 25317358) Entry is KD2 / Adult. Children and students are FREE. Al Shaab Leisure Park Located on Arabian Gulf Street, this park has variety of games & amusements for young & old including carousels, dodmegs, bowling hall, billiards, snooker and tennis as well as a theatre and a cinema. All the amusements are linked by paths that meander through gardens and around water fountains. There is a restaurant block containing branches of most fast food outlets in Kuwait. Open daily from 4 pm to midnight (from 10 am on weekends), entry is 500 fils a head and games cost 250 to 750 fils a go, though a full ticket may be purchased for a KD 2.500 (Tel: 5613777) The Scientific Center Kuwait Scientific Center in Kuwait is located on the waterfront at Ras Al Ardh in the Salmiya region in Kuwait which serves as a center for environmental education of the gulf region. Kuwait Scientific Center at Kuwait was initiated by late Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and its compound covers an area of over 80,000 square meters with the building itself covering over 18,000 square meters. The major attractions of the Kuwait Scientific Center in Kuwait which the tourists must see are the Aquarium and the interesting Discovery place. There is also a 250 seat IMAX film theater. (Tel: +965 1848888) Courtesy: Dispatches Magazine

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, Al-Mutawakel St, Block 4 in Da’aiyah. Please visit our website at The Embassy of Canada is open from 07:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. The reception is closed from 12:30 to 01:00 pm for lunch break. Consular Services for Canadian Citizens are provided from 09:00 until 12:00 on Sunday through Wednesday. The Canadian Embassy will be closed on Sunday and Monday 19 and 20 August 2012 on the occasion of Aid Al Fitr. The Embassy will resume its duties on Tuesday 21 August 2012. The Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi provides visa and immigration services to residents of Kuwait. Individuals who are interested in visiting, working or immigrating to Canada are invited to visit the website of the Canadian Embassy to the UAE at ■■■■■■■

EMBASSY OF FRANCE The Embassy would like to inform that starting September 2nd, 2012, visa demands for France will be handled by the outsourcing company “Capago - MENA Company”. Capago - MENA’S Call Center will be operational starting Sunday August 26 for setting appointments beginning September 2nd (+965 22270555). During a transitional period Al-Qabas will continue receiving visa applicants until August 27, then the visa section at the French Embassy (Mansouriah, Street 13, House 24, (+965 22582020) will handle those applications from August 28 until today. ■■■■■■■

EMBASSY OF KENYA The Embassy of the Republic of Kenya wishes to inform the Kenyan community residents throughout Kuwait and the general public that the Embassy has acquired new office telephone numbers as follows: 25353982, 25353985 - Consular’s enquiries 25353987 - Fax Our Email address: ■■■■■■■

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

EMBASSY OF NIGERIA The Nigerian embassy has its new office in Mishref. Block 3, Street 7, House 4. For enquires please call 25379541. Fax- 25387719. Email- or ■■■■■■■


The Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Kuwait would like to inform the public that on the occasion of the Anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising, the Embassy will be closed today.



00:45 I’m Alive 01:40 Untamed & Uncut 02:35 Wildest Latin America 03:30 Monster Bug Wars 04:25 Wildest Africa 05:20 Monkey Life 05:45 Snake Crusader With Bruce George 06:10 RSPCA: Have You Got What It Takes? 06:35 RSPCA: Have You Got What It Takes? 07:00 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 07:25 Crocodile Hunter 08:15 Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild 08:40 Breed All About It 09:10 The Really Wild Show 09:35 The Really Wild Show 10:05 Wildest Africa 11:00 Wildlife SOS 11:25 Orangutan Island 11:55 Animal Cops Houston 12:50 Escape To Chimp Eden 13:15 Escape To Chimp Eden 13:45 Animal Precinct 14:40 Wildest Africa 15:30 Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer 16:00 Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild 16:30 Pandamonium 17:25 Britain’s Worst Pet 17:50 Britain’s Worst Pet 18:20 Dogs 101 19:15 Wildlife SOS International 19:40 Orangutan Island 20:10 Monkey Life 20:35 Snake Crusader With Bruce George 23:50 Animal Cops Houston 00:15 Come Dine With Me 01:05 MasterChef 02:00 Living In The Sun 02:45 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 03:15 Saturday Kitchen 2008/09 03:40 MasterChef 04:35 Living In The Sun 05:20 Living In The Sun 06:15 MasterChef 06:45 MasterChef Australia 07:35 MasterChef Australia 08:00 What Not To Wear 08:50 What Not To Wear 09:40 Bargain Hunt 10:25 Antiques Roadshow 11:20 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 12:35 10 Years Younger 13:25 Masterchef: The Professionals 13:55 Masterchef: The Professionals 14:20 Bargain Hunt 15:05 Antiques Roadshow 15:55 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 17:10 Come Dine With Me 18:00 MasterChef 18:55 James Martin’s Brittany 19:20 Come Dine With Me 20:10 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Edition 00:15 01:10 01:35 02:30 03:25 04:20 05:15 05:40 06:05 07:00 07:50 08:45 09:40 10:05 10:30 10:55 11:25 12:20 13:15 14:10 14:35 15:05 16:00 16:55 17:20 18:15 19:10 19:40 20:05 20:35

Weird Or What? Mobster Confessions Stan Lee’s Superhumans Mythbusters Mythbusters Weird Or What? How Do They Do It? How It’s Made American Loggers American Chopper Mythbusters Ultimate Survival Border Security Dirty Money How Do They Do It? How It’s Made American Guns Surviving The Cut One Man Army Border Security Dirty Money Ultimate Survival American Chopper Fifth Gear American Loggers Mythbusters How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Border Security Auction Hunters

23:20 Surviving Disaster 00:35 Kings Of Construction 01:25 What’s That About? 02:15 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 03:05 The Gadget Show 03:35 Scrapheap Challenge 04:25 Race To Mars 05:15 Kings Of Construction 06:05 What’s That About? 07:00 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 07:50 Head Rush 07:53 Weird Connections 08:20 The X-Testers 08:50 Sport Science 09:40 Scrapheap Challenge 10:30 Sport Science 11:20 Sport Science 12:10 Sport Science 13:00 Sport Science 13:50 Sport Science 14:45 Sport Science 15:35 The Gadget Show 16:00 Head Rush 16:03 Weird Connections 16:30 The X-Testers 17:00 What’s That About? 17:50 Sport Science 18:40 Race To Mars 19:30 Bang Goes The Theory 20:20 Bang Goes The Theory 00:15 00:40 00:55 01:10 01:30 01:45 02:00 02:25 02:50 03:05 03:20 03:40

Little Einsteins Jungle Junction Jungle Junction Little Einsteins Special Agent Oso Special Agent Oso Lazytown Little Einsteins Jungle Junction Jungle Junction Little Einsteins Special Agent Oso

03:55 04:10 04:35 05:00 05:15 05:30 05:50 05:59 06:15 06:30 06:45 07:00 07:15 07:45 08:10 08:20 08:35 08:45 09:05 09:15 Pooh 09:20 09:35 09:45 09:55 10:20 10:45 11:10 11:35 12:00 12:10 12:25 12:40 13:05 13:15 13:30 13:55 14:20 14:30 14:45 15:00 15:15 15:25 15:40 15:55 16:20 16:45 17:10 17:25 17:40 17:55 18:10 18:35 Fairies 19:00 Pooh 19:05 19:25 19:40 19:50 20:05

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

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

00:30 01:20 02:05 02:55 03:45

Special Agent Oso Lazytown Little Einsteins Jungle Junction Jungle Junction Little Einsteins Special Agent Oso Special Agent Oso Jungle Junction Jungle Junction Handy Manny Special Agent Oso Lazytown Mickey Mouse Clubhouse The Hive Handy Manny Jake & The Neverland Pirates Jake & The Neverland Pirates The Hive Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Mouk The Hive Cars Toons Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Lazytown Art Attack Imagination Movers Lazytown The Hive Handy Manny Jungle Junction Imagination Movers The Hive Special Agent Oso Lazytown Mickey Mouse Clubhouse The Hive Handy Manny Jake & The Neverland Pirates Mouk The Hive Jake & The Neverland Pirates Cars Toons Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Lazytown Art Attack Handy Manny Handy Manny Jake & The Neverland Pirates Jake & The Neverland Pirates Little Einsteins The Adventures Of Disney

04:30 05:20 06:10 07:00 07:50 08:40 09:30 09:55 10:20 11:10 12:00 12:25 12:50 13:40 14:30 14:55 15:20 16:10 17:00 17:50 18:40 19:05 19:55 20:20

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

The Haunted Crime Scene Psychics Disappeared Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Street Patrol Street Patrol Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Mystery Diagnosis Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn

World’s Toughest Fixes Britain’s Underworld Britain’s Greatest Machines World’s Toughest Fixes Monster Moves Prehistoric Predators Untamed Americas Naked Science World’s Toughest Fixes Britain’s Underworld Britain’s Greatest Machines World’s Toughest Fixes Monster Moves Rat Attack Diving The Labyrinth Naked Science World’s Toughest Fixes The Human Family Tree (2World’s Toughest Fixes The Known Universe Brilliant Beasts Which Way To

23:00 Naked Science

Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 101 Dalmatians Mouk Jake & The Neverland Pirates Jake & The Neverland Pirates

Gotta Grudge Gotta Grudge Pro Bull Riders 2010 World Combat League TNA: Greatest Matches Ed’s Up Ed’s Up M1 Challenge Pro Bull Riders 2010 Ride Guide Mountainbike 2009 Ride Guide Mountainbike 2009 Winter X Games 14 Ç?? 2010 AMA Motocross 2011 Maloof Money Cup 2010 Fantasy Factory Fantasy Factory Pro Bull Riders 2010 Transworld Sessions Transworld Sessions Mantracker World Combat League Fantasy Factory Fantasy Factory Winter X Games 14 Ç?? 2010 AMA Motocross 2011 Transworld Sessions Transworld Sessions Pro Bull Riders 2010 Mantracker World Combat League

Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Unwrapped Unique Sweets Unique Sweets Unique Sweets Unique Sweets Food (Ography) Grill It! With Bobby Flay Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Meat & Potatoes Unwrapped Unique Eats Chopped Barefoot Contessa - Back To Extra Virgin Food Network Challenge Unique Sweets Barefoot Contessa - Back To Paula’s Best Dishes Cooking For Real Hungry Girl Food (Ography) Unwrapped Unique Eats Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Chopped Jenny Morris Cooks Morocco Cooking For Real Barefoot Contessa - Back To Hungry Girl Unique Sweets Paula’s Best Dishes Unwrapped Iron Chef America Jenny Morris Cooks Morocco Barefoot Contessa - Back To Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Unique Eats Food (Ography) Unique Sweets Chopped Iron Chef America Barefoot Contessa - Back To Barefoot Contessa - Back To

The Haunted Crime Scene Psychics Australian Families Of Crime American Greed Extreme Forensics

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The Invaders Monster Fish The Living Edens Maneater Manhunt Africa’s Deadliest Nordic Wild Built for the Kill The Living Edens Maneater Manhunt Africa’s Deadliest Python Hunters Shane Untamed Animal Fugitives Monster Fish The Living Edens Hunter Hunted World’s Deadliest Animals Python Hunters Swamp Men The Invaders The Living Edens Maneater Manhunt Africa’s Deadliest Python Hunters Shane Untamed

00:00 Carrie-18 02:00 The Kingdom-18 04:00 Tank Girl-PG15 06:00 Lords Of Dogtown-PG15 08:00 Kull The Conqueror-PG15 10:00 Ladder 49-PG15 12:00 Vengeance-PG15 14:00 Kull The Conqueror-PG15 15:45 Master And Commander-PG15 18:00 Vengeance-PG15 20:00 Carlito’s Way-18 22:45 The Silence Of The Lambs-18 OSN CINEMA 01:00 Tyrannosaur-18 03:00 According To Greta-PG15 05:00 Win Win-PG15 07:00 Cars 2-FAM 09:00 Water For Elephants-PG15 11:00 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil 13:00 Happy Ever Afters-PG15 15:00 Despicable Me-FAM 17:00 Coming & Going-PG15 18:45 Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides-PG15 21:00 Bridesmaids-18 23:15 Your Highness-18

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Friends 02:00 Friends 02:30 Seinfeld 03:00 Bent 03:30 Community 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 06:00 Friends 06:30 Samantha Who? 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:30 Bent 09:30 Parks And Recreation 10:00 Parks And Recreation 10:30 Samantha Who? 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Friends 12:30 Friends 14:00 Community 14:30 Parks And Recreation 15:00 Parks And Recreation 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Friends 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 30 Rock 18:30 Community 19:30 How I Met Your Mother 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report

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Bunheads Grey’s Anatomy Warehouse 13 Emmerdale Coronation Street Private Practice Supernatural Alphas Bunheads Emmerdale Hot In Cleveland The Ellen DeGeneres Show Private Practice Warehouse 13 Emmerdale Hot In Cleveland The Ellen DeGeneres Show Private Practice Parenthood One Tree Hill One Tree Hill American Horror Story Grey’s Anatomy

The Untouchables-PG15 Icarus-18 Game Of Death-PG15 Rocky IV-PG15 Boiler Room-PG15 Game Of Death-PG15 The Next Karate Kid-PG Boiler Room-PG15 Takers-PG15 Road To Perdition-18 The Running Man-18

23:00 Luster-18 00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 PG15 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00

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Tommy Boy-PG15 Spud-PG15 Whatever Works-PG15 Elevator Girl-PG15 Spud-PG15 Vice Versa-PG Kuffs-PG Nothing Like The HolidaysVice Versa-PG Lottery Ticket-PG15 40 Days And 40 Nights-18 Neil Delamere-PG15

The Kid-18 A Soldier’s Love Story-PG15 Tout Ce Qui Brille-PG15 Le Syndrome Du Titanic-PG15 Glorious 39-PG15 The Horse Whisperer-PG15 At Risk-PG15 Glorious 39-PG15 Get Low-PG15 Proteger & Servir-18 Jungle Fever-18

23:30 Square Grouper-18 01:00 Made In Dagenham-PG15 03:00 Hemingway & Gellhorn-PG15 05:00 Oceans-PG15 07:00 Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story-PG 09:00 Monte Carlo-PG15 11:00 Courageous-PG15 13:15 The Tender Hook-PG15 15:00 Shrek Forever After-FAM 16:45 Monte Carlo-PG15 18:45 X-Men: First Class-PG15 21:00 Bridesmaids-18 23:15 Black Swan-18

00:00 The Enchanted Mountain-PG 02:00 Christopher Columbus-PG 04:00 How The Grinch Stole Christmas-PG 06:00 Open Season 3-FAM 08:00 Columbus III: The New WorldPG 10:00 Legend Of A Rabbit-PG 12:00 How The Grinch Stole Christmas-PG 14:00 Ulysses-PG 16:00 The Prince Of Dinosaurs-PG 18:00 Legend Of A Rabbit-PG 20:00 Rio-FAM 22:00 Ulysses-PG

00:15 Wuthering Heights-18 02:30 Rango-FAM 04:30 The Spy Next Door-PG 06:15 Call Of The Wild-PG15 08:00 The Smurfs-PG 10:00 Senna-PG15 12:00 Game Change-PG15 14:00 The Dragon Chronicles: Fire & Ice-PG15 16:00 The Smurfs-PG 18:00 Unstoppable-PG15 20:00 The Town-18 22:15 Resident Evil 4: Afterlife-18 00:00 The Rugby Championship 02:00 The Rugby Championship 04:00 Olympic Men’s Boxing 07:00 Olympic Men’s Tennies 09:00 Rugby Union 11:00 Senior European Tour Highlights 12:00 Trans World Sport 13:00 Olympic Women’s Tennis 15:00 NRL Premiership 17:00 Rugby League Challenge Cup 19:00 Olympic Men’s Volleyball 21:00 European Tour Weekly 21:30 Live Premier League Snooker

01:30 NRL Premiership 03:30 UFC 150 06:30 Futbol Mundial 07:00 Premier League Snooker 10:30 Trans World Sport 11:30 Futbol Mundial 12:00 Rugby Union Currie Cup 14:00 Senior European Tour Highlights 15:00 PGA European Tour Weekly 15:30 Live PGA European Tour 19:30 Super Rugby Highlights 20:30 Trans World Sport 21:30 The Rugby Championship 23:30 Senior European Tour Highlights


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AVENUES-7 EK THA TIGER (Hindi) (2D-Digital) JOKER (Hindi) EK THA TIGER (Hindi) (2D-Digital) JOKER (Hindi) (2D-Digital) EK THA TIGER (Hindi) (2D-Digital) No SUN+TUE+WED

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360 º- 6 JOKER (Hindi) (2D-Digital) EK THA TIGER (Hindi)(2D-Digital) JOKER (Hindi) (2D-Digital) EK THA TIGER (Hindi)(2D-Digital) JOKER (Hindi) (2D-Digital) NO SUN+TUE+WED

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MARINA-2 THE EXPENDABLES 2 (2D-Digital) 12:30 PM THE BOURNE LEGACY (2D-Digital) 2:30 PM THE EXPENDABLES 2 (2D-Digital) 5:15 PM THE BOURNE LEGACY (2D-Digital) 7:30 PM THE EXPENDABLES 2 (2D-Digital) 10:15 PM THE BOURNE LEGACY (2D-Digital)12:30 AM NO SUN+TUE+WED

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360º-10 (VIP-2) TOTAL RECALL (2D-Digital) TOTAL RECALL (2D-Digital) TOTAL RECALL (2D-Digital) TOTAL RECALL (2D-Digital) TOTAL RECALL (2D-Digital) NO SUN+TUE+WED

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AJIAL.2 MR. MARUMAKAN (Malayalam) MR. MARUMAKAN (Malayalam) MR. MARUMAKAN (Malayalam)

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AJIAL.3 JOKER (Hindi) (2D-Digital) EK THA TIGER (Hindi)(2D-Digital) JOKER (Hindi) (2D-Digital)

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Classifieds THURSDAY, AUGUST 30, 2012




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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

ACCOMMODATION Deluxe Villa in Block 5 Mishref suitable for diplomatic mission and organizations residence. Safety and security fence and ample parking space. For information, call: 99123411. (C 4113) 29-8-2012 Three bedroom CAC flat available with a South Indian family for Indian executive lady or bachelor. Contact: 99515956. 28-8-2012

SITUATION VACANT Looking for a Table Tennis partner who knows good English, have a great sense of humor and can play from 9am to 10am (one hour) in the morning in Mansouriya, on Friday & Saturday and on another day during the working days. Please send your reply to email giving your age and photo. Email: (C 4110) 27-8-2012

SITUATION VACANT FOR SALE Jaguar XK8, 1998, good condition, KD 1,750/- and Jaguar XJ6 Sovereign, 4 door 1995, KD 750/-. Contact: 99696299. (C 4112) 30-8-2012 Mitsubishi Galant 2007 (new body) golden color, km 32000 only, excellent condition, KD 1900. Mob: 50699345. (C 4111) 29-8-2012 For sale villa furniture like new contains of one bed room , dining room, living room fully equipped kitchen. Washer & dryer. Very reasonable price . Tel 97211688 27-8-2012

CHANGE OF NAME I, Arbab Raza Khan, s/o Mr. Masood Raza Khan, holder of Indian passport No. G7270724 hereby change my name as Mehboob Raza Khan. (C 4089) 30-8-2012 I, Loyela Joao Borges, resident of Grande Neura post, Neura IIhas Goa, have changed my name from Loyela John Borges to Loyela Joao Borges. Herein after in all my dealings and documents I will be known by the name Loyela Joao Borges. 29-8-2012

Sri Lankan lady looking for a part time job, European or American house. Please call: 55680045. (C 4114) 30-8-2012

MATRIMONIAL Proposals invited from parents of professionally qualified and well settled boys for a beautiful RC/SC girl, 26 years, 170 cm, M.Sc nursing (final year), wheatish complexion, belonging to an aristocratic family from Thamarassery diocese. If interested, please send your complete details to: (C 4109) 27-8-2012

No: 15553

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




stars CROSSWORD 781



Aries (March 21-April 19) Plan today—execute tomorrow. At work you will find yourself cleaning up the unfinished business and the small stuff. Your mind is clear and going a mile a minute. You will enjoy communicating, being caught up with paperwork, solving problems—anything to give your active mind things to contemplate. You may feel that you are in touch and in harmony with others; the lines of communication are open. This afternoon is a good time to put more interest into your personal relationships. Be aware of where a balance is needed between the personal, work and home responsibilities. This evening may be a good time to ask your loved ones to help you plan the activities that are coming up in the future. You will help to strengthen the ties that bind.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) This should be a normally active, stimulating day—full of friendly communication. You and your loved one may be deciding to invest in a home instead of giving away your money on apartment living. Home and family matters take on greater importance than ever before. Real estate plays a bigger part in your life goals. Having and appreciating things of beauty and value play a larger 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. It looks as though someone in the family is willing to help you when it comes to purchasing real estate this fall. A delightful evening with friends can bring about more plans for future get-together plans. It is good to have some stress relief.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. An accountant certified by the state. 4. Something that baffles understanding and cannot be explained. 10. The act of hauling something (as a vehicle) by means of a hitch or rope. 13. A human limb. 14. 1 species. 15. Any of various primates with short tails or no tail at all. 16. To an excessive degree. 17. Put into a rage. 18. The basic unit of money in Albania. 19. Large swift fly the female of which sucks blood of various animals. 21. The district occupied entirely by the city of Washington. 22. The capital and largest city of Bangladesh. 24. A populous province in northeastern China. 25. An international organization of European countries formed after World War II to reduce trade barriers and increase cooperation among its members. 26. Squash bugs. 33. A public promotion of some product or service. 35. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 36. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret. 37. A flexible container with a single opening. 38. A coenzyme derived from the B vitamin nicotinic acid. 39. God of the underworld. 44. A tricycle (usually propelled by pedalling). 47. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 51. Jordan's port. 53. A doctor's degree in dental medicine. 54. A heavy wooden pole (such as the trunk of a young fir) tossed as a test of strength (in the Highlands of Scotland). 57. Primitive chlorophyll-containing mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms lacking true stems and roots and leaves. 58. An informal term for a father. 59. (prosody) Of or consisting of iambs. 61. An implement used to propel or steer a boat. 62. One or some or every or all without specification. 63. A unit of weight used in some Spanish speaking countries. 64. (Brit) A tough youth of 1950's and 1960's wearing Edwardian style clothes.

DOWN 1. A hidden drawback. 2. A member of the working class (not necessarily employed). 3. Naked freshwater or marine or parasitic protozoa that form temporary pseudopods for feeding and locomotion. 4. Resembling or characteristic of or appropriate to an elegy. 5. (British) Your grandmother. 6. A United Nations agency created to assist developing nations by loans guaranteed by member governments. 7. Used especially of fruits. 8. A periodic paperback publication. 9. In bed. 10. A fine grained mineral having a soft soapy feel and consisting of hydrated magnesium silicate. 11. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 12. Flightless New Zealand rail of thievish disposition having short wings each with a spur used in fighting. 20. Family based on male descent. 23. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 27. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 28. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 29. A port in western Israel on the Mediterranean. 30. Someone who is morally reprehensible. 31. A user interface in which you type commands instead of choosing them from a menu or selecting an icon. 32. An associate degree in applied science. 34. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 40. Top part of an apron. 41. Any of various spiny trees or shrubs of the genus Acacia. 42. The vein in the center of a leaf. 43. A small cake leavened with yeast. 45. Swedish oceanographer who recognized the role of the Coriolis effect on ocean currents (1874-1954). 46. An informal term for a father. 48. (medieval Europe) A person who is bound to the land and owned by the feudal lord. 49. Primitive chlorophyll-containing mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms lacking true stems and roots and leaves. 50. The hair growing on the lower part of a man's face. 52. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 55. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 56. The rate at which heat is produced by an individual in a resting state. 60. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) A period of intellectual creativity has dawned in your life; expressing yourself with flair is fun and you are talented in many areas that are creative. If you are a writer or have creative ways in which to express yourself on paper, you might find advancement in the workplace by using this talent in your work. The hallmark of the cycle you have just begun is thinking, learning and communicating with style. Winning the admiration of others in word or deed takes on a great deal of importance. Intellectual creativity is highlighted and your social connections will most likely have a flair of drama. Your heart is full of amorous feelings for a special someone today and all you really want to do is share. You will benefit a great deal through the art of listening.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) You may be a bit supersensitive today. This can be rewarding or damaging, depending on how you handle it. If you focus on others, your understanding will enable you to be helpful. If, however, you become trapped in emotions, you are likely to see only what you want to see; stay with the facts. This factfinding can free up frustrations and make decisions easy to find. It may be educational to look back to the more stressful events in life and recognize the growth and depth of skills learned. You may become grateful for the opportunity to use your problem-solving skills as you recognize how far you have come in the art of understanding the human condition. This afternoon animals you know enjoy your attention. A cute trick is in the works.


Leo (July 23-August 22) You will finish or come very near to finishing a project today—a burden removed. You or someone around you will definitely enjoy expressing their comedic talent. You might find yourself competing to be the one to tell the best joke or story later today. Perhaps this all comes from the aftermath of having completed a tough job—no more stress. Taking a few minutes to relax is just what is needed. At home this afternoon you may find yourself dozing off before the evening meal. This might be a good time to consider contributing some of your time to a volunteer group, perhaps a Scout organization. A happy conclusion to this busy day is enjoying friends or family over the phone or over the fence—you encourage the positive.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) In the workplace today, you will benefit from analytical insights, getting to the heart of things—penetrating. Keep ongoing notes of your ideas—this could be beneficial for you later. Communication, particularly with an older person in your family, could prove troublesome this afternoon. You may find that your thoughts run opposite to this person’s thinking. Patience . . . it may take time, but you will both soon come to a positive understanding. You may want to exercise your right to agree to disagree. Your personal growth may depend on how you handle the very sensitive psychological material that may be coming up now. Your thoughts may be on home and family as well as your own obligations with young people this evening.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You may find yourself dreaming of the wonderful things you could be doing this morning besides the agenda for work—you will be happy to know the afternoon will bring a great deal of relief from the day’s routine. You manage to find insights and solutions to dull subjects, even when it seems that the world is waiting just outside the window. A sociable, congenial, slightly frivolous orientation sets in this afternoon. Young people from your neighborhood enjoy your company and you theirs. Learning and teaching seem to satisfy an important need for you now. Being more in touch with your friends gives you a sense of belonging. Friendships and involvement in group activities are fun this evening. Make a wish . . . luck comes your way.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) This may not be the most relaxing day of the month, but it is one of the least frustrating. Much can be accomplished before the lunch hour begins. When an invitation comes for lunch with a co-worker, go. Say no to the fattening sort of foods—you will set a good example and enjoy the company. While shopping after work today, you use your keen eye for value; it will alert you to just the right gift or investment. Set aside some time this evening to go through your belongings and clear away anything you feel no longer serves a purpose for you. This may mean a garage sale soon. You are probably a collector and may enjoy taking steps to better organize a collection this evening; be aware that it may be too much to ask a loved one to help in this case.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


Yesterday’s Solution

Everything conspires to put you in the limelight today. This could mean that your team or a special project you have been leading or heading gets recognition. You and your colleagues will work to keep each other in a good light—show your appreciation. Open up—learn to value freedom, frankness and independence. Travel and other contacts with faraway places will play a bigger role for you this coming fall. Higher education or philosophical and religious contacts may have a part in making good things happen. You have been waiting for instructions about whether to move or stay—go ahead, move forward in thought and in action. As for the rest of the family, use your powers of persuasion—they will be happy to make a transition to higher ground.

You could be most persuasive with others and eloquent in speech and communication this day. Making a good impression and putting your best foot forward are most important to you at this time. You feel good and you want those around you to feel good as well. To say the least, whatever you set you mind to accomplish this day, goes well. Romance, the arts and others of life’s pleasures seem to take center stage this afternoon. You may be able to bring a group together with words or ideas that stir the mind. Poetry and art may be possible. Motivation and self-confidence are positive and contagious! This is an excellent day to take on a mentally difficult project. Someone you know may be a bit shy to approach—in time.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Get ready to do your best on a tough assignment at work today. Questions arise over the pros and cons of a project this morning and a legal decision is up for review this afternoon. This may turn out to be a busy day. Emphasize humor, curiosity and the willingness to investigate whatever is questionable—do not be too ready to surrender. Enthusiasm and selfassurance are on the upswing at this time. Any charitable activity is favorable. Perhaps you can encourage others to join you in this endeavor. Making a positive difference in other people’s lives makes your own life positive. You may not put in many hours with this endeavor, but you make a difference when you make deliveries, or drive people to a special activity.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

By keeping the process of elimination practical, you could come up with solutions to long-term problems in the workplace today. Praises are easy to find. Later today, you may face great responsibilities in relationships with loved ones. You could find it difficult to express your wants and desires openly. You should try during this time to relax and enjoy your companions without being afraid to voice your true feelings. The subject of power and control is studied at this time. Your love of home and family may conflict with your job or with authorities. There is someone special that will listen and support you regarding your ideas—ask for a listening ear. Unexpected company will help bring about an enjoyable evening. Romance is in the air!


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lifest yle G o s s i p

man who allegedly broke into the home of rapper and TV actor LL Cool J and was overpowered and held by the star until police arrived, pleaded not guilty to a burglary charge on Tuesday. Jonathan A. Kirby, 56, was being held in jail and a new hearing was set for Sept 10 in Los Angeles to decide if enough evidence exists for him to stand trial. The criminal complaint against Kirby alleges at least two prior convic-


tions in California, meaning that if he is found guilty of this break-in, it would be a “third strike” under California law and he would face 38 years to life in prison. Kirby was arrested on Aug 22 after police were called to the home of LL Cool J, born James Todd Smith, after the rapper found the man in the kitchen of his Los Angeles home around 1 am, fought with him and detained him, a police spokesman told Reuters following the incident.

Kirby, who police said appeared to have been homeless, was taken to a local hospital to treat a broken nose, jaw and ribs, police said. The actor stars as a special agent at a US Navy criminal investigative unit in the television drama “NCIS: Los Angeles.”

he soccer star - who was an ambassador for the 2012 Games - felt “overwhelmed with pride” as he joined Brooklyn, 13, Romeo, nine, and seven-year-old Cruz at a number of events and is thrilled the spectacle has inspired the youngster to try their hands at new sports. He wrote for the Daily Mirror newspaper: “My pride reached new heights when I took part in the 2012 opening ceremony then when I took my three boys to watch some of the events - like Tom Daley winning his bronze for diving. “As I sat with Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz in the Olympic stadium, I was overwhelmed with pride that I could take them to the 2012 Games in the part of London where I grew up, just down the road from where I first kicked a ball.”I know that my boys have been inspired by what they’ve seen and want to try all sorts of different sports for themselves.” David - who also has 13-month-old daughter Harper with wife Victoria believes as a parent it is important to encourage children to do their best and he is overwhelmed by the “strength and energy” of families of disabled youngsters for helping their kids get into sport. Speaking about the Paralympics, which begin in London yesterday, he added: “As parents blessed with four healthy children, Victoria and I are humbled by the strength and energy of mums and dads who encourage their disabled children to take up sports. “It can involve real hardship and sacrifice, but there is no greater life lesson that you can give to your children than to ‘be the very best that you can.’ “


he 29-year-old model and husband Orlando Bloom travel a lot with 20-month-old Flynn and the youngster enjoys flying to new places because it gives him the chance to pose for strangers. Miranda said: “He knows the drill when we get on the plane and he likes to walk up and down the aisle smiling at everyone. “He will stand there until each person notices him. Once he gets a smile he’s on to the next person.” Miranda recently spoke of her close bond with little Flynn and says he inspires her every day. She said: “What’s surprised me most is just how incredible the bond is between you and your child. To watch him grow and evolve every day is really inspiring.” The Victoria’s Secret beauty loves nothing more than “cuddle time” with her husband and son. She added: “[My perfect day is] to wake up to the sound of my son saying ‘Mama, mama!’ It’s the best sound ever. Then I just love to get him out of bed and he can jump into bed with us, and we have cuddle time.”


he award-winning DJ and his wife Cathy marked their 20th anniversary by reaffirming their commitment to one another in an intimate ceremony in front of close family and friends on Tuesday on the island of Ibiza, Spain. The 44-year-old producer - who has worked with the likes of Usher and Jessie J on hit tracks - chose the party island as he has been busy playing a series of gigs there throughout the summer and their two children, Tim, eight, and five-year-old Angie, walked down the aisle with the couple. David was pictured in a smart black tuxedo while his stunning wife opted for a delicate knee-length white dress. Cathy - who is a successful business woman and nightclub manager - has previously revealed the holiday island is their favorite place to go. She said: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again because for me, in the summer in Ibiza, it’s the place where there’s real partying for four months. “There are some mad clubs, there are thousands of people who go out every night to party so they can dance, have fun, flirt, look good, seduce, be seduced, etc For me, the most beautiful party is Ibiza in the summer.”

he Born This Way Foundation which aims to empower young people and give them more opportunities - invited 24 young people aged between 17 and 23 to Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles for a three-day summit to discuss how to create a “kinder, braver” world through the organization. Gaga’s mother, Cynthia Germanotta - the foundation’s president - said: “The goal of the youth advisory board is to reflect and magnify the strength, determination, creativity, and capacity of our youth, and to have them provide insight on the issues that are most important to them. “It is the ideas, concerns, and aspirations of these youth that will shape our working model. My daughter and



he ‘Someone Like You’ hitmaker - who is weeks away from giving birth to her first child - was disappointed at not being able to attend the annual Notting Hill Carnival in west London because of her pregnancy, so partner Simon Konecki did his best to make up for her missing the event. The charity boss arranged a bash with reggae music and some of the singer’s favorite foods, much to her delight. A source told The Sun newspaper: “Simon’s really caring and he knew just how much Adele loves the carnival. “So he decided to bring it to her - by getting their own Caribbean-themed party going at their house. “Simon ordered bucket loads of chicken and had reggae music blasting out so Adele would get a flavor of what she was missing.” The 24-year-old singer - who has been dating Simon for around a year - revealed her pregnancy to her fans on her website in June. She wrote: “I’m delighted to announce that Simon and I are expecting our first child together. “I wanted you to hear the news direct from me, obviously we’re over the moon. Yours always, Adele.” — Agencies


ne of the comedian and actor’s best loved roles was as wise cracking detective Axel Foley in the three action/comedy films of the late 80s and he’s working on bringing him back. He told Rolling Stone magazine: “What I’m trying to do with ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ now is produce a TV show starring Axel Foley’s son, and Axel is the chief of police now in Detroit. “I’d do the pilot, show up here and there.” He also said he thinks the show - which he is working on with Shawn Ryan, creator of ‘The Shield’ and Sony Pictures Television - will work better on TV and that he never thought the scripts for the three movies in the series, released between 1984 and 1994, were right. He added: “None of the movie scripts were right; it was trying to force this premise. “If you have to force something, you shouldn’t be doing it. It was always a rehash of the old thing. It was always wrong.” Eddie, 50, also said there will not be a ‘Beverly Hills Cop IV’ movie, and he has had enough of making sequels. Speaking of his latest film, ‘Tower Heist’, he added: “Even if this heist movie is a smash, why do a sequel? Why go back and try to rehash this story? I’m some kind of sequel champion, I did more sequels than anybody. I did my share of sequels for now, anyways.”


I envisioned the foundation as a youth movement, and through these young leaders, we will learn how to best engage the youth of America in co-creating a kinder, braver world.” The summit comes after the foundation unveiled its Born Brave Nation, which consists of groups of supporters who are dedicated to helping young people deal with challenges they face including homosexuality and bullying. The new members of the youth advisory board will represent the viewpoints of other people their age.


lifestyle F e a t u r e s

Revelers take part in the annual ‘tomatina’ tomato fight fiesta in the village of Bunol, near Valencia, yesterday. — AFP photos


ens of thousands of revelers hurled 120 tons of squashed tomatoes at each other yesterday, drenching the streets in red in a gigantic Spanish food fight known as the Tomatina. A sea of more than 40,000 alcohol-soaked men and women packed into the Plaza Mayor square of Bunol, eastern Spain, many with their shirts off and wearing swimming goggles to keep out the stinging juice. Spectators peered over the balconies of surrounding buildings, some also chucking tomatoes on chanting, and dancing food-fighters below, who covered the square like a carpet. Five trucks loaded with the tomatoes struggled to find space in the human tomato soup to enter the square. But as they unloaded the edible ammunition, the square and surrounding streets were suddenly awash in a sea of tomato sauce, covering the crowds of festival goers. “I can’t throw fast enough. This is crazy. It’s my third year,” said one battler, Angel, as he pelted others with tomatoes, which must be

squashed before being chucked so as to minimize the pain. “It is a battle of crazy people, who get on together, and no injuries,” said another, Nestor, who after being slathered in tomato in previous years chose to watch from balcony, spraying others with a water hose. Many wore yellow T-shirts enscribed “Fanatic of the Tomatina”. “Long live the Tomatina! cried one Japanese tourist wrapped in a scarf decorated with a huge tomato picture, alongside a friend who protected himself with a tomato-shaped helmet. The Tomatina is held each year in Bunol, in the heart of a fertile region some 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the coastal city of Valencia, Spain’s thirdlargest city, on the last yesterday in August. The town says it expects the fight to bring in 300,000 euros ($380,000) to the local economy, a welcome financial boost as the country suffers from a recession and a jobless rate of nearly 25 percent. “We don’t have much space but there is no other way,” said Rafael

Perez, spokesman for the town of 10,000 inhabitants. “It’s been here since 1945.” Though the origins of the event are unclear, it is thought to have its roots in a food fight between childhood friends in the mid1940s in the city. It has grown in size as international press coverage brought more and more people to the festival, with tourists flocking in this year from Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India. After the fight, many of the revelers head to the local river to wash off the pulp. This year, six special trains offering 29,000 seats were laid on for the Tomatina, along with camping grounds for the tourist influx. — AFP


t first, Ann Romney didn’t want anyone - her husband included - to know what color she would wear onstage for her Tuesday speech, the national debut for a potential new first lady. “It was going to be like my wedding night,” she told reporters Tuesday morning as she and her husband flew from their home in Massachusetts to Tampa for the big night. The secrecy didn’t last. There was too much debate about her look for such a big moment, with even her husband’s top strategist - a notoriously casual dresser weighing in on what she should do. “Stuart Stevens, who wears his shirts inside out, is advising me on what dress I should wear tonight,” she joked on the plane ride. In the end, she went with a knee-length bright red belted dress designed by Oscar de laRenta, a favorite of former first ladies. What helped her decide? “Mitt voted for it,” her spokeswoman said. — AP

Argentine couple Cristian Sosa and Mar’a Noel Sciutois celebrates after being chosen as the new champions of Stage Tango yesterday at the World Championship of Tango in Buenos Aires. — AFP photos

Argentines sweep world tango competition A rgentine couples recovered their dominance of the world’s top tango dancing competition, sweeping both the Salon Tango and Stage Tango categories as the annual festival drew to a close. Cristian Sosa and Maria Sciuto won Tuesday night’s stage final with a score of 8.42, followed by four other Argentine couples at the top of an international field. Five Argentine couples also came out on top in the Salon competition the night before, besting a total of 487 couples from 32 countries. Couples from Japan and Russia, Colombia and the United States have frequently wowed the judges in previous finals, but this year

none managed to impress the panel as much as the hometown couples who danced before thousands of fans in the Luna Park stadium in the Argentine capital. To the rhythm of “El Gordo Triste” (The Sad Fat Man), the champions swirled across the floor, smoothly nailing the genre’s classic forms - untranslatable moves such as the “boleos,” “ganchos” and the passionate embrace known as the “abrazo milonguero.” As with the winners of Monday night’s Salon Tango final, Sosa and Sciuta left the stage with $8,600 dollars and two tickets to Paris to perform there. The much anticipated final was dedicated to two of the best-known

Argentina’s Cristian Sosa, top, and Maria Noel Sciuto compete during the 2012 Tango Dance World Cup stage finals.

ambassadors of the genre: bandoneonista and composor Astor Piazzolla, who died 20 years earlier, and dancer Maria Nieves. Drummer Daniel “Pipi” Piazzolla, Astor’s grandson, interpreted along with several other young musicians two songs first performed by the Electronic Octet, a fusion of tango and rock led by the elder Piazzolla in the 1970s, and Nieves shared a dance with the champions of nine previous world tango competitions. — AP photos

Japan’s couple Genta Nakazawa and Manabu Kato perform.



Venice film festival M U S I C



kicks off with clash of civilizations


he Venice film festival kicked off yesterday with the arrival of stars on water taxis for an art house dominated line-up dealing with issues from religious extremism to economic crisis. First up at the world’s oldest film festival was the showing of Mira Nair ’s “ The Reluctant Fundamentalist”-a political thriller about a soulful young Pakistani man torn between Wall Street ambitions and the call of his homeland.

Lebanese film director Nadine Labaki of the Orizzonti jury poses during a photocall. US film director Jonathan Demme and Italian musician Enzo Avitabile pose during the photocall of ‘Enzo Avitabile music life’.

French DJ Bob Sinclar, member of the Opera Prima jury poses during a photocall. This clash of civilizations tale is set in New York and Lahore before and after the September 11 attacks and drew gasps from the audience as it detailed the humiliations suffered in America by British actor Riz Ahmed as Changez. The character is increasingly alienated by the United States after the attacks and returns to Pakistan where he starts teaching at a university riven by militancy where CIA agents are searching for a kidnapped US professor. Changez’s ultimate rejection of all fundamentalisms-despite his crooked smile at seeing the Twin Towers collapse-drew applause in Venice, where audiences were also wowed by “Monsoon Wedding” Nair’s trademark rich hues. “We all know there’s been an enormous schism, a wall between East and West in the past decade. I wanted to bring some sense of bridge-making, some sense of healing that goes beyond stereotype,” Nair said at a press conference. “I believe I’ve been put on this earth to tell stories of people like me who live between worlds,” she said, adding that she had drawn inspiration from her own experience of changing attitudes in the aftermath of September 11. “Suddenly New York became a place where people who looked like us were ‘the other’ and that was painful,” said the Indianborn New York resident. “Unlike what (former US President George W )Bush said: ‘You’re either with us or against us’, I believe there is a middle ground,” Nair said. The film is based on the award-winning novel by Mohsin Hamid. Among the most keenly awaited premieres are Terrence Malick’s “To the Wonder”-a complex love story starring Ben Affleck-and Robert Redford’s “ The Company You Keep” with himself as a for-

mer Weather Underground militant. One of the 18 films vying for the Golden Lion prize will be Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” with Philip Seymour Hoffman as a character resembling Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard-a movie bound to raise controversy. Music is also on the menu with Spike Lee’s hotly anticipated “Bad 25” documentary about pop icon Michael Jackson and Jonathan Demme of “ The Silence of the Lambs” fame with his homage to Neapolitan crooner Enzo Avitabile. Luxury yachts could be seen moored in some of the most picturesque corners of Venice ready to host festival parties and singing gondoliers were being kept busy plying the waterways with Hollywood veterans and up-and-coming auteurs. Alongside US stars like director Brian De Palma and actresses Kate Hudson, Selena Gomez and Winona Ryder, there are also famous Asian directors Takeshi Kitano of Japan (“Outrage Beyond”) and Kim Ki-duk of South Korea (“Pieta”). The first edition of the festival was held back in 1932 on the terrace of the glamorous Excelsior Hotel on the Venice Lido and featured movies by some of the best known directors of the time like Frank Capra and Howard Hawks. This year’s festival, which runs until September 8, will project a total of 52 films including 21 by women directors-in contrast with the Cannes festival this year which featured no women directors for films in competition. The Venice jury this year is headed up by US director, screenwriter and producer Michael Mann and includes French model and actress Laetitia Casta, British actress Samantha Norton and Hong Kong director Peter Chan. Among the newcomers is Haifaa al-Mansour from Saudi Arabia-where cinemas are banned and women face sweeping daily discrimination-with her film “Wadjda” about a little girl desperate for a bicycle which she is not allowed. Going back into Hollywood lore, the festival will also feature reclusive Oscar-winner Michael Cimino (“The Deer Hunter”) and a new director’s cut of his epic Western “Heaven’s Gate”-one of the biggest movie flops of all time. On a more contemporary note is Ibrahim El Batout’s “Winter of Discontent” a feature film which was shot in part during last year’s demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that ultimately unseated veteran president Hosni Mubarak. — AFP

(From left) Writer Mohsin Hamid, actor Riz Ahmed, director Mira Nair, actors Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber and producer Lydia Dean Pilcher arrive for the press conference of the film ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ at the 69th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy,yesterday. —AP photos

World architects bring democratic designs to Venice T

he Venice film festival opened yesterday. Following is a selection of movies to look out for, both in the main competition and screening in other line-ups at the Aug 29-Sept 8 event.

‘At Any Price’ Former “High School Musical” heartthrob Zac Efron continues his quest for roles in small-budget, cutting-edge movies in a father-and-son tale set against the competitive world of modern agriculture. ‘Bella Addormentata’ Marco Bellocchio tackles the theme of the right to live or die in this dramatization of the final days in the life of Eluana Englaro, who was left in a vegetative state following a car accident.

Cameramen film in front of the red carpet of the 69th Venice film festival hours before the opening of the festival.


rchitects from around the world have converged on Venice for the Biennale show which opened yesterday, showcasing designs aimed at creating cities that are more in touch with social needs. The renovation of working class areas, designs for times of economic crisis and the reconstruction of cities following natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis have taken centre stage at the world’s largest architecture fair. There was a stir as the festival, which runs until November 25, got under way when dozens of local activists occupied the Russian pavilion-a temple to hi-tech at which visitors are given iPads through which to view the exhibition. Activists wore balaclavas in support of jailed punk band Pussy Riot. The awards ceremony went ahead as scheduled however with the Japanese pavilion winning the Golden Lion for best national participation with a series of designs for reconstruction in the wake of last year’s tsunami. The best project award went to “Torre David/ Gran Horizonte” a project by the architectural collective Urban Think Tank about an occupied 45-floor office tower in Caracas that has been turned into a creative community. The designs housed in the spectacular Arsenale-an old naval shipyard and military base-and the nearby Giardini park on the lagoon include some by

leading architects including Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid and Renzo Piano. “The crux is to mend the fracture between architecture and civil society,” Biennale president Paolo Baratta said. This year’s theme is “Common Ground”intended as interaction between architects and the population as well as between designers themselves. The exhibition has been put together by British architect David Chipperfield-most famous for his work on Museum Island in Berlinand spreads out over 10,000 square metres (107,600 square feet) with a total of 119 participants. Among the most eye-catching projects is the installation by Japan’s Kazuyo Sejima for the reconstruction of Mijato-jima Island, destroyed by the tsunami. Chile decked out its pavilion to look like the inside of a salt mine, importing 11 tons of salt from the Tarapaca mine especially for the show. Italy chose to celebrate its history of innovation with a show that goes back to the work of technology pioneer Adriano Olivetti in the post-war period. The Greek pavilion meanwhile invites visitors to reflect on the transformation of public buildings and spaces during the economic crisis. One of the novelties this year is the Mexican pavilion outside the 16th century deconsecrated church of San Lorenzo which has been granted to Mexico as its cultural hub for the next nine years on condition that it pays for repairs. —AFP

Lohan not charged in theft from California home L

os Angeles prosecutors on Tuesday declined to charge actress Lindsay Lohan or her assistant with theft from a Hollywood Hills home where they recently stayed, citing insufficient evidence. Lohan, 26, was questioned by police after the home’s owner named her in connection with the alleged theft of about $6,400 worth of property. But after investigators completed their probe, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Deborah L Kranze declined to charge anyone, including Lohan and an assistant who was with her. “We do not have sufficient evidence to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Kranze wrote in evaluating the case. Kranze’s evaluation added that Lohan and the alleged theft victim had a “longstanding relationship,” and said potential eyewitnesses refused to become involved and no stolen property was found in the possession of Lohan or her assistant. Celebrity website earlier reported that the troubled actress and her assistant were guests at the home during an all-night party and the owner later reported the theft of stolen jewelry, including watches, amounting to

an estimated $100,000. But District Attorney Spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons disputed the amount. “According to evidence presented to us to review, the property loss was $6,400. None of it was jewelry,” she said. Gibbons said the probe showed property losses of “$3,000 in cash, four pairs of sunglasses, an iPod and some keys to two cars and a house.” “Lindsay is glad this matter has been cleared up so she can focus on her upcoming projects. It is unfortunate that many media outlets were quick to point fingers and jump to conclusions without having all the facts,” Lohan’s spokesman said in a statement. Lohan was released from formal probation in March over charges in 2007 of drunk driving and cocaine possession. Recently she has had guest roles on TV sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live,” a cameo appearance on “Glee” and has filmed the TV movie “Liz & Dick.” The actress is still on informal probation until 2014 in connection with a jewelry theft case last year. If charges had been brought in the latest incident, officials could have revoked her probation and sent her to jail. —Reuters

Ten films to watch for at Venice film festival

‘The Company You Keep’ Veteran actor/director Robert Redford stars and directs this political thriller, about a former left-wing militant in the United States who is exposed by an aggressive and ambitious young reporter played by Shia LaBeouf. The cast includes Julie Christie, Sam Elliott, Brendan Gleeson, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper and Susan Sarandon. ‘Fill the Void’ Director Rama Burshtein tells the story of 18-year-old Shira, who is forced to choose between the man she wants to wed and the man her Orthodox Hassidic family believes it is her duty to marry. ‘The Master’ Paul Thomas Anderson returns to the big screen after directing the 2007 critical hit “There Will Be Blood” with a tale that touches upon Scientology, ensuring plenty of press interest, given the self-described religion’s controversial profile in Hollywood and beyond. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Lancaster Dodd, loosely based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and Joaquin Phoenix is Freddie Sutton, an unsettled Navy veteran who returns from war and is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader. ‘Passion’ Brian De Palma returns to Venice with this erotic thriller, with Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace as business colleagues whose rivalry turns into a dangerous game of seduction, manipulation and violence. De Palma is best known for “Carrie” and “Scarface,” but in 2007 he shook up the Venice Film Festival with “Redacted,” an Iraq war drama that polarized critics and audiences. ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ Indian director Mira Nair has adapted a novel of the same name by Mohsin Hamid, and the movie follows a young Pakistani man who is rising through the ranks on Wall Street when the attacks of 9/11 throw his life into turmoil. ‘Spring Breakers’ Harmony Korine’s tale of four wild college girls preparing for their spring break should create plenty of buzz, with former Disney actress/singer Selena Gomez, who is dating Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, in a leading role.

Kristin Chenoweth

Trace Adkins

American Country Awards:

Adkins, Chenoweth to host again


race Adkins and Kristin Chenoweth will team up again to host the American Country Awards for its third annual installment, Fox said Tuesday. Actress/singer Chenoweth joined country star Adkins who also hosted the inaugural ceremony - last year. The American Country Awards, which will take place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, will air on Fox in December. “I’m looking forward to cutting loose again with Kristin, who’s quite the firecracker comedienne, while we also take viewers through an evening of great music and awards,” Adkins said in a statement. “I’m excited to return to the ACA stage with Trace and his big personality and

even bigger boots,” Chenoweth added. Chenoweth, who recently had to cut a guest-starring run on CBS’s “The Good Wife” due to injuries sustained on the set, is apparently ready to return to the spotlightshe’ll serve as Anderson Cooper’s first guest co-host when his rechristened daytime talk show, “Anderson Live,” returns to the air on Sept 10. Last year’s American Country Awards showed a marked ratings improvement over the first installment, growing 33 percent in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic for a 2.0 rating/5 share and drawing 7.4 million total viewers. — Reuters

‘Wadjda’ Groundbreaking female Saudi filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour says this tale of hope and perseverance is the first full-length feature film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. It follows a 10-year-old girl living in Riyadh who dreams of buying a beautiful green bicycle, but her quest brings her up against discrimination, which the director wants to challenge. ‘To the Wonder’ In a career spanning more than 40 years, Terrence Malick has directed six feature-length movies. Yet two of those have arrived in two years, with “To the Wonder” coming a year after “The Tree of Life” won the Palme d’Or in Cannes. “To the Wonder,” rated “R” for scenes of sex and nudity, stars McAdams, Ben Affleck and Javier Bardem in a romantic drama in which a man reconnects with an old friend after his marriage to a European woman falls apart. —Reuters


lifestyle M U S I C



Madonna performs at the MDNA North America Tour Opener at the Wells Fargo Center August 28, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. — AFP

Madonna to US fans: Appreciate your freedom A

s she kicked off the US leg of her “MDNA Tour” in Philadelphia, Madonna said she was happy to party in the USA after touring Europe for three months. The pop icon told the crowd Tuesday night they should “never forget how lucky you are to live where you live and to have the freedom that you have.” She made the comments after talking about the arrest of three members of the punk-rock female band Riot. The women were sentenced to two years in prison after per forming a “punk prayer ” at Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral in which they called on the Virgin Mary to deliver Russia from its leader, Vladimir Putin. “In my travels around the world the one thing I truly witnessed is we in America have freedom of speech, freedom of expression,” the singer said. Madonna, who toured most of Europe from June to August, has called for the Riot members to be freed. Paul McCartney and Peter Gabriel also have spoken in the women’s favor. “I don’t think that it’s a coinci-

dence that I’m in the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed,” Madonna said at the Wells Fargo Center to nearly 20,000 fans. “We are in the land of democracy.” Russian activists recently sued Madonna for millions of dollars, claiming they were offended by her support for gay rights during her show in St Petersburg. A law passed in February makes it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors, and the author of that law has pointed to the presence of children as young as 12 at Madonna’s concert on Aug 9. (Minors also attended Madonna’s US show.) When speaking about Riot, Madonna said that about 80 gay men were jailed in St Petersburg because of their sexual orientation. She told the crowd that the arrests were unfair, and they booed in her support. Then the 53-year-old told the US audience: “Don’t get fat and lazy and take that freedom for granted.” Madonna kicked off her concert late on Tuesday, apologizing to the crowd, who began to boo before

she hit the stage around 10:30 pm EST. “We had many changes to make from Europe to America, and I wanted the show to be perfect for you because my fans deserve it and quite frankly I deserve it,” she said. She performed for nearly two hours, starting in a skin-tight black ensemble with a gun in hand as she sang the song “Girls Gone Wild” from her latest album “MDNA.” She transitioned to “Revolver,” as she and her background dancers held guns and bullets appeared on the backdrop. (Madonna posted on her website that she does not condone violence or the use of guns and she’s using fake guns in concert as a metaphor for strength.) During the next song “Gang Bang” - she shot a man and spat what appeared to be liquor in his face, while blood spats and bloody hands appeared on the screen. The dark mood escaped as Madonna changed into a red and white marching band get-up, singing “Express Yourself” and “Give Me All Your Luvin’” as a

marching band played to the crowd. She sang some of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” pulling up her skirt to reveal her red shorts. Madonna’s performances of “Celebration” and “I’m Addicted” were also colorful, as laser lights beamed and the venue became nightclub-like. Madonna’s best vocal performance, though, was during “Like a Prayer,” which featured more than 30 back-up singers in robes. She got the best response from the crowd when she performed “Vogue,” as the dancers and Madonna - now in a corset, long gloves and her hair pulled back - strutted in black and white onstage. She got racy during “Like a Virgin” and “Human Nature,” taking off her shirt to reveal her bra, and pulling down her pants to reveal her thong (she wore fishnet stockings). “Sometimes it’s easier to show your (butt) than show your feelings. Maybe tonight we can all live dangerously,” said Madonna, who had the words “No Fear” on her back. — AP


Innocence lost, yada, yada Y

Jeffrey Dean Morgan, left, and Kyra Sedgwick, cast members in ‘The Possession,’ pose together at the premiere of the film at Arclight Cinemas on Tuesday, in Los Angeles. — AP

Osbourne re-affirms ‘AGT’ exit, compares NBC to Titanic


espite the fact that she’s leaving “America’s Got Talent,” Sharon Osbourne is a big fan of the show and her co-stars. The network that carries it? Not so much. The “AGT” judge - who has stated her intention to

Sharon Osbourne

leave the show after the current season - restated her intention to depart on “Late Show With David Letterman” Monday night. Oh, and she also compared her relationship with NBC to an infamous boating disaster. “I’ve done [‘America’s Got

Talent’] for six years; this show is the most fabulous show to work on,” Osbourne told show host David Letterman. “But its just time. You know when your gut tells you; time to move on to other things.” Asked if the fond feelings extended to NBC, Osbourne offered a not-so-cryptic reference. “Wasn’t it terrible about the Titanic?” Osbourne asked. “Shame, wasn’t it?” Wow - not much question about who the iceberg is in that relationship. Osbourne has been outspoken in claiming that her son Jack was dropped from NBC’s new reality show “Stars Earn Stripes” - which pits celebrities against each other in military-style exercises - after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. NBC denied Osbourne’s claim, saying that they offered the younger Osbourne other positions on the series, which he turned down. “Although we did not ask Jack to participate in the competition, we were able to offer him two substantial alternative roles on the show, both of which he declined. This network does not discriminate on any basis,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said. — Reuters

ou know those creative-writing exercises where students are given three random items - say, a bugle, a beaded dress and the word “avoirdupois” - and then assigned to work them all into a short story? “Little Birds” gives the impression that someone told writer-director Elgin James, “Okay, you’ve got the crumbling neighborhoods by the Salton Sea and a burned-out East LA motel. Go!” Those sets ring truer than any of the characters who inhabit them, since James has turned out a listlessly trite tale of two smalltown girls from broken homes whose friendship is tested when they venture out into the big, bad world on their own. The result feels like one of those afterschool specials of yore, only with an R rating. Fifteen-year-olds Lily (Juno Temple, apparently going for a trailerpark trifecta on the heels of “Dirty Girl” and “Killer Joe”) and Alison (Kay Panabaker) are best pals stuck in a town that’s literally rotting away. (The Salton Sea was designed to be a retreat for the rich, but environmental conditions have rendered it nearly uninhabitable.) We know Lily is dying to get out by the way she screams at the top of her lungs while riding on the back of Alison’s bike. Local adults like Lily’s mom (Leslie Mann)

and aunt (Kate Bosworth) seem like they too have been devoured by their town’s famously over-salinated body of water, so when skateboarder Jesse (Kyle Gallner) - in town from LA for the day to take advantage of the empty pools behind so many abandoned houses gives Lily his number, it’s only a matter of time

before she sees him as her ticket out of town. When a reluctant Alison drives Lily to Los Angeles, they discover that Jesse and his friends are actually homeless, holing up in an abandoned motel, and soon the girls get drawn into the boys’ world of petty crime. Will

Documents show White House interest in bin Laden film

Lily’s desperate need for love and affirmation lead her to turn her back on the devoted Alison? First-timer James has somehow put together a first-rate cast (which also includes Neal McDonough, Chris Coy and Joel McKinnon Miller), but so much of what he’s written for them is nothing you haven’t seen in dozens of other “I-gotta-get-out-of-thistown” movies. For every moment that feels fresh (Jesse shows Lily the house where his family used to live before it was foreclosed), far too much of “Little Birds” feels like the same-old, same-old. Temple can, by this point, play the role in her sleep - and she kind of does. There aren’t any glaring missteps from her, but neither are the jolts of inventiveness she’s brought to so many of her recent per formances. And despite her best efforts, Panabaker can’t turn Alison into anything but the good girl/voice of reason, which is a pretty thankless duty. There’s an inescapable sense of condescension about the small-town stuff here, while the urban adventures smack of too many selfconsciously earnest indies about young people and their struggles. For all the polish provided by the talented cast, this remains an avian turd all the same. — Reuters

India’s Shah Rukh Khan glad to film in Kashmir


ocuments released by the Pentagon and CIA shed light on White House officials’ interest in a Hollywood film project dramatizing the US commando raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed. The documents released to Judicial Watch, a conservative group, under the Freedom of Information Act and made public on Tuesday include emails between top Pentagon and White House officials discussing efforts to cooperate with film director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal on the bin Laden raid movie. Controversy erupted last year when New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that the film was supposed to be released weeks before the Nov 6 presidential election. The premiere subsequently was put off until after the election, though film trailers have been released by Sony Pictures. Some critics of President Barack Obama, including prominent Republican members of Congress, have cited the administration’s cooperation with the filmmakers as part of an alleged pattern of deliberate national security leaks designed to enhance Obama’s image as the election approaches. Obama has strongly denied his White House leaked sensitive classified information. Documents published by Judicial Watch in May indicated that Bigelow and Boal, who were behind the Oscar-winning movie “The Hurt Locker,” had engaged with the CIA and top Pentagon officials before getting involved with the White House. The newly released material appears to affirm that, but also indicates that White House officials wanted to keep tabs on this and other major media projects about the bin Laden raid. —Reuters


ndian superstar Shah Rukh Khan says he has finally fulfilled his dead father’s wish and traveled to the Indian-held part of Kashmir to shoot his latest film. The actor wrote on his Twitter account this week that his father wanted to take him to Kashmir because his mother was from there. “Now i am here, it feels i am in his big strong arms,” the actor tweeted. News reports say Khan plays an army officer in the film. Kashmir’s beautiful hills and valleys made it a popular location for film shoots up until the late 1980s, when rebel groups began to fight Indian rule in the area. The violence has ebbed in recent years and tourists and a few filmmakers are venturing back. —AP

Venice film festival kicks off with clash of civilizations



A dervish man whirls on Sufi music.


nce the province of men in dark, smoky stadiums and shadowed by an image of violence, Thailand’s ancient martial art of Muay Thai is being reborn as a fitness regime. Known as the country’s national sport and said to be 2,000 years old, Muay Thai has seen a surge in popularity over the last five or so years, with gyms promptly taking advantage with state-of-the-art facilities mushrooming in Bangkok’s most prestigious neighborhoods. “Many Thais thought it was was a violent sport so they were hesitant to send their kids to our school, but that’s all changed thanks to international interest in the sport,” said Phoemsakul Kesbumrung, general manager of Bangkok’s Muay Thai Institute, which is dedicated to preserving the sport. He should know. His school has grown from a handful of students in 1995 to 450 full-time students at present, with more signing up each year, and he has had to increase classes from 3 times-a-day, 6 days-aweek to 4 times-a-day, 7 days-a-week. “Muay Thai isn’t just about strength and lifting weights, it’s also about training the mind to concentrate,” he said. “Muay Thai” simply means “Thai boxing.” It is also known as “The Art of Eight Limbs” as hands, arms, elbows and knees are used extensively in this ancient sport that also mixes religious beliefs with traditional cultural practices. Considered as much an artistic discipline as a sport, it includes a ceremony known as “Wai Kru” in which students pay respect to their teachers in a ritual that is considered an essential part of many ancient Thai disciplines including boxing, dance, Thai massage and astrology. Foreign interest grew in the wake of films such as Tony Jaa’s “Ong Bak” martial arts series, drawing a number of people to Thailand to pursue the sport. Local celebrity endorsements and a string of home-grown boxing idols including two-time World MAX champion, Buaka Banchamek, a lightweight boxing champion, also helped boost interest. And Thai women and children are now taking up a sport previously dominated by men. Children in particular are sent to both get fit and keep in touch with Thai tradition. One of Phoemsakul’s students joined when less than 3-years-old and is still training. Women hope to stay in shape and get rid of stress. Sparring and spas At The Siam hotel, an urban retreat in an Art DecoThai fusion design from architect Bill Bensley, General Manager Jason Friedman says that most guests who choose the hotel’s one day and multi-day Muay Thai packages are female guests looking to firm up and blow off some steam in a unique way. After a leisurely breakfast by the Chao Phraya River, guests are offered a unique Thai boxing lesson at the hotel’s customized indoor ring followed by a pampering spa session to ease tired muscles at the hotel’s opulent Opium Spa. “We wanted the gym to be a core experience of the hotel and because of the rise in popularity of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), more people are hearing the words ‘Muay Thai’” said Friedman. Phoemsakul, at the Muay Thai Institute, has a steady stream of Muay Thai success stories to share - including one about an American expatriate living in Thailand who took up Muay Thai to lose weight after childbirth and ended up shedding 74 kilos (163 pounds) over two years. “From barely being able to run around the boxing ring, she was able to run 15 kilometers every day without getting tired,” he said. On a recent weekend, Natchanok Yochana was busy warming up for a Sunday evening women-only fight, watched over by her proud father, Nung Yochana, who said she used to sneak off to learn Muay Thai until he enrolled her at the school. “I like the traditions behind Muay Thai...and of course, I like to fight,” said the lean 15-year-old, who practices twice a day and dreams big about her sport, smiling through her sweat. “I’d like to go to the Olympics and represent my country. That would be the highest honor in my life,” she said. — Reuters

s the sun begins setting over his mountainside dwelling, Miki Cohen takes his position under a wrought iron gazebo and slowly begins to spin in the meditative dance of a Whirling Dervish. With his arms folded across his chest, he slowly picks up tempo in time with the mystical Sufi music playing on his mobile phone. Then, lifting his arms above his shoulders, he continues to turn, his eyes tightly shut in contemplation. For 58-year-old Cohen, this is the answer to a lifetime of spiritual seeking, a journey that has seen him become the first Jewish Israeli to gain access to the sacred ritual of the Islamic Mevlevi Sufi order-better known as the Whirling Dervishes. Born into a middle-class Israeli family living near Tel Aviv, Cohen’s odyssey began during the turbulence of the 1973 Middle East War when he was serving as a medic. That experience, he says, shattered his sense of security and forced him to start questioning everything, sending him on a decades-long search for peace. After a brief dalliance with Jewish spirituality, he spent two years at an ashram in Tel Aviv, then another three studying Taoism and kung fu in America, picking up degrees in psychology and philosophy along the way. In between, he also managed to acquire the trappings of a normal life: a wife, two children, a house and a job teaching script writing. But he kept on searching, and eventually came across the mystical writings of Jalal al-Din Rumi, a 13th century Sufi poet from Persia whose followers set up the order of the Whirling Dervishes after his death, with the trancelike dance a central part of their worship. “The more I read Rumi, the closer I got,” said Cohen, dressed all in black, his long hair scraped back into a ponytail. “I suddenly discovered Sufism, where the head stops and the heart starts. It suddenly became clear to me that the Sufis are the way for me.” A Dervish is essentially a follower of the ascetic lifestyle of a Sufi Muslim, and as Cohen’s fascination with Rumi’s teachings grew, he began shedding the trappings of everyday life. He separated from his wife, moved into a caravan and began travelling the country like a nomad. Crediting Rumi with his transformation, Cohen decided in 2005 to travel to the poet’s tomb in the central Turkish city of Konya-”to say thank you”. A chance encounter on a bus put him in touch with one of the Mevlevi Sufi devotees, who invited him to stay with them for a week and learn their mystical spinning dance, known as the Sama. For a Jewish Israeli, such an invitation to enter the heart of this conservative Islamic order was unprecedented. And there, amid the rhythmic chanting and frenetic whirling of the Dervishes, Cohen finally found the elusive peace he had been seeking.

Yelda Yanat Kapkin, a Turkish film-maker who has followed Cohen’s spiritual search for years, was sceptical when he first told her he was going to visit Konya, the most religious city in Turkey. “I told him: don’t be disappointed, they probably won’t accept you. There are other orders in Istanbul which are more accepting, more multicultural,” she told AFP by phone from Istanbul. Despite the language barrier, and a certain amount of suspicion and mistrust, Cohen’s clear devotion paved the way for him to

necting from everything,” he says of his remote mountain hideout, which he has slowly transformed into a home of sorts. There he lives in a spacious round tent which looks like a Mongolian yurt. Inside, a central pillar swathed in purple, green and gold supports a roof draped with brightly-colored fabrics, the floor scattered with mats and cushions. A few battered-looking couches and chairs line the canvas walls, and two rickety bookcases

Miki Cohen, a Jewish Israeli man who is a follower of Sufism, whirls at the garden of his house near the Druze village of Jat in northwestern Israel. — AFP photos be accepted where many before had been turned away. “When Miki met the head of the order, he really believed Miki was a follower,” she said. “If you are a real Rumi follower-not only in shape, but in heart-then you have to accept everybody who follows Rumi.” Joining the order did not mean converting, but he went and studied the Sufi way with them and went back to Konya last summer for a further round of instruction, this time travelling with Yanat Kapkin who was making a documentary on his odyssey for the Doha-based satellite channel, Al-Jazeera. “These guys were much more radically religious than I expected,” she said of the Mevlevi order, explaining that for them, it was more of a problem to accept her in to film. “To be a woman was even more unacceptable than to be a Jew,” she said. They eventually relented. These days Cohen lives on an isolated piece of land on a rocky hillside covered with olive trees near the Druze village of Jat in northwestern Israel. “I can’t describe the joy of discon-


Eleven-year-old Pasha Royden plays on the giant racket built by Ashrita Furman on August 28, 2012 in New York. — AFP

groan under the weight of an eclectic assortment of books. A pile of mattresses serves as a bed. What appears to be a cupboard hides the secret entrance to a cave he has chiselled into the mountainside. Artfully lit by spotlights, and a bare wooden floor, it is sparsely furnished with an armchair, a bathtub and a sink-providing a sheltered retreat for days when the winds become too strong outside. With only solar power at his disposal, he relies on his mobile phone for his Sufi music needs. Outside the tent, on a patch of scrubby grass stands a tile-floored circular cage-like structure where Cohen stands to practice Sama. “All the components of my daily life blur together and for a second there is a deep feeling of harmony,” he explains. “And that, for me, is magic.”— AFP

alk about having a big serve: wacky New Yorker Ashrita Furman has just built a tennis racket the size of a bus. Furman, who holds the record for the most Guinness World Records at one time-currently 151 — hopes his mammoth wooden racket will soon join the list. The contraption is an exact copy of the wooden one used by Billie Jean King in the 1970s when she reigned over women’s tennis at tournaments like the US Open that kicked off in New York this week. The laminated wooden head, brown grip, red trim and inscriptions are a perfect match. The only difference is that the racket measures 50 feet (15.2 meters) long and has a head 16 feet (4.9 meters) wide. The strings are made of water hose and the handle is so big that even a large person would have trouble wrapping both arms around it. “It’s 22.2 times bigger and done to scale,” Furman told AFP. Although it was his idea, this wasn’t the lonely challenge of some of his other Guinness feats, which included balancing 81 drinking glasses on his chin or running a half marathon with a full bottle of milk on his head. “We had members from all over the world. One guy from New Zealand did the wood finishing. We had a guy who’s a professional violinist, and he did the strings. We had a German guy planning the wood,” Furman said. Once the giant sporting device was done, propped up on blocks in a private driveway in New York’s borough of Queens, the next challenge was to decide where to take it-and how to get it there. “We did try to display it at the US Open, but we were told that because it’s over 10 feet high it’s considered a building,” Furman said,

laughing. “You know it would take months to get a permit from the Department of Buildings.” Furman, 57, and his assistants are all devotees of the late guru and peace advocate Sri Chinmoy, who taught that meditation can help people accomplish seemingly impossible tasks, and who was a friend of King’s. The racket was built to honor what would have been Chinmoy’s 81st birthday. Pasha Royden, an 11-year-old from New Zealand, took a turn bouncing around in the strings. He said he isn’t a great tennis player, but he certainly enjoyed becoming a human tennis ball. “It shows the world that anything you want to be done can be done,” he said, pausing to look back at the racket. Royden then thought over the implications of such a big racket. “To play, a giant would probably have to be (the height of) that tree. Three of them on top of each other,” he calculated. “Then he’d need a very big court and a very big opponent and another very big racket and more than one ball.” Furman said it took seven days for his team to get the racket made in the back yard in the leafy residential neighborhood and that they would have gone more quickly if they’d been able. “Our style is kind of work-through-the-night, but the neighbors were complaining.”—AFP

30th Aug  

Kuwait Times

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