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‘A turning point in Kuwait history’


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Juwaihel’s election tent


150 FILS

2Enraged 7 tribesmen 12 torch 20 Civil societies call for unity • Youth groups assert role

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from the editor’s desk

Two wrongs do not make a right

By Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan


housands of tribals invaded the streets of Adailiya and blocked its entrances as they targeted the election camp of candidate Mohammed AlJuwaihel. The candidate is known for his often controversial and politically incorrect comments against tribals and Kuwaitis with dual citizenship. Juwaihel always stated that only those who lived within the old walls of Kuwait are Kuwaitis and those that came later are not real Kuwaitis. Al-Juwaihel has a history of trading insults with tribal MPs and has been attacked in the past for his obscene comments and last night was no different. AlJuwaihel made insulting comments which sparked tribals to attack his campaign camp and burn it down. I don’t agree with many of Mohammed Al-Juwaihel’s political ideas and I hope that nobody in Kuwait ever champions such racist ideas. Firstly, anyone who is granted Kuwaiti citizenship obviously had the right and legal means to earn citizenship and that should be that. Creating a split within Kuwaitis is like committing social suicide and will only cause more damage on what is already looking like a fragile situation between different sects of the Kuwaiti society. Secondly, I don’t believe in wasting government’s efforts on Kuwaitis with dual citizenships. It’s not a crime to have more than one passport and many people do it for convenience more than anything else, but obviously Al-Juwaihel is doing this to claim that tribals have more loyalty to our big neighbor Saudi Arabia or to their tribes or religious sects. Well I am sorry if there is a problem within the Kuwaiti society, but segregation and racism are not the solutions and perhaps we should look at how our young generations are being educated and brought up. Obviously the problem lies both within and outside the old walls of Kuwait. However, I also believe that two wrongs don’t make a right and the laws of the land should be above all. Unfortunately, after the shameful and unpunished rape of the Kuwaiti parliament by opposition MPs and their followers, it seems that many Kuwaitis believe that they can take the law into their own hands. An attack like the one we witnessed on Al-Juwaihel’s camp and the way the roads were blocked is a clear challenging statement by those involved - “we are strong and if you dare cross us, we will take matters into our own hands and the police wont be able to help you”. Unfortunately, the weakness of law enforcement in Kuwait is now more evident than ever and many are starting to feel like they are above the law and are acting like mafia gangs. This is a worrying state of affairs like a volcano waiting to erupt - and is not a good sign for the development of the democratic icon of the Middle East that is Kuwait.

KUWAIT: KOTC Chairman Nabeel Burasli and President and CEO of Daewoo Shipbuilding Nam Sang-tae pose after signing a shipbuilding contract yesterday. — AFP

Kuwait inks $556m deal for 5 tankers KHOBAR: Kuwait Oil Tanker Co (KOTC) has signed a $556 million contract with South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering to build five new tankers, state news agency KUNA reported yesterday. The four double-hull very large crude carriers (VLCC) will be able to carry 2.2 million barrels of crude each while the fifth vessel is for oil products with a capacity of 800,000 barrels, it said. Kuwait will take delivery of the tankers in early 2014. Daewoo Shipbuilding, the world’s No. 2 shipbuilder, is aiming for around $11 billion in new orders this year, the same as it initially forecast for 2011, despite a credit crunch that has seen orders cancelled. — Reuters

KUWAIT: Angry tribesmen surround the burning election headquarters of candidate Mohammad Al-Juwaihel in Adailiya yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat (See Page 3) By B Izzak and Abdellatif Sharaa KUWAIT: Angry protesters from the Al-Mutair tribe burned down the election headquarters of controversial third constituency candidate Mohammad Al-Juwaihel in Adailiya yesterday as clashes erupted between police and hundreds of tribesmen. The tribesmen were angered by Juwaihel’s insulting comments against fourth constituency candidate Dr Obaid Al-Wasmi and the Mutair tribe during a rally at his headquarters earlier yesterday. Despite an unprecedented presence of special forces, fire engines could not reach the scene as nearly a thousand people gathered in front of Juwaihel’s burning campaign tent and traffic ground to a total halt in Adailiya. Interior Ministry Assistant Undersecretary for Public

Security Affairs Maj Gen Mahmoud Al-Dousary was at the scene and ordered policemen to keep a distance from the large number of angry men. The ministry late yesterday issued a summons against Juwaihel after a large number of cases were filed against him. “The minister of interior must put an end to the problem by punishing Mohammad Al-Juwaihel for attacking the Al-Mutair tribe, and hold members of his ministry to account including the Farwaniya governor for attending Juwaihel’s rally,” demanded candidate Majed Mousa. Another fourth constituency candidate, Mohammad Tana Al-Enezi, said the Mutair tribe and all other tribes “are an original part of Kuwait’s history and protected it over the years and will always be a shield against strifecausers”. A number of former opposition MPs, including

Gulf has plans if Hormuz blocked ABU DHABI: Coastguards and naval forces of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) group of Arab countries have contingency plans for a possible attempt by Iran to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a Kuwaiti maritime official said yesterday. Five of the six GCC members Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Kuwait - rely on the world’s most impor tant energy shipping lane being open to export most of their oil or gas. Tehran has threatened to close the narrow shipping lane between Oman, the only GCC member which does not depend on Hormuz, and Iran if Western sanctions aimed at starving Iran’s disputed nuclear program of funds stop it from selling oil. The GCC members, which also rely on the 6.4 km channel being open to import food for their growing populations, has now drawn up a contingency plan in case Iran acts on its threats. “Expor ting oil or impor ting goods and cargo through Hormuz is a main concern for the GCC,” Commander Sheikh Mubarak Ali Al-Sabah, chief of maritime operations at Kuwait’s Coast Guard, told in an interview. “The GCC has a plan as a body - not just Kuwait separately or Bahrain or Saudi Arabia - we have a plan we just hope that everything stays safe,” Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah said, without giving details of the plans. “Awareness and understanding of the consequences of it has increased,” he said. “We have plans how to deal with this but didn’t do field exercises on it.” The official said the planning included coordinating both between coastguards and navies of GCC countries and with Western naval forces patrolling

the area-including US, Australian and French navies. Kuwaiti and Iranian coastguards hold regular meetings on how to manage their shared maritime border, with the next one scheduled for next month. “We don’t go into politics or speak about other issues just what concerns the coastguards and how we can work it out,” he said. Oil tanker flows through the Strait of Hormuz are estimated at around 16 million barrels per day (bpd), or just under a fifth of global oil supplies. A new pipeline from the UAE’s oilfields to the Gulf of Oman could carry most of the Gulf OPEC oil producer’s exports if Hormuz were to be blocked. But even a brief disruption to shipping could stop most of the oil exported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and Iraq from leaving the Gulf, along with liquefied natural gas (LNG) from leading supplier Qatar. In December, the US Fifth Fleet said it would not tolerate any disruption of traffic in Hormuz but analysts say Iran might be able to hinder traffic transiting the Strait by scattering mines in it. “In any navy plan that exists there would be plans for swift coordination to de-mine areas that might have been mined... Or act in coordination preemptively or reactively to prevent Iranian small vessels disrupting shipping,” Christian Le Miere, research fellow for naval forces and maritime security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies said. Earlier this month, Iran’s foreign minister warned Arab neighbors not to side with the United States in the escalating dispute over Tehran’s nuclear ac tivities which the West says includes weapons development and Tehran insists are limited to electricity production. — Reuters

members of the Islamic Constitutional Movement, were meeting late yesterday at the diwaniya of ex-MP Mubarak Al-Waalan after the fracas in Adailiya. Earlier yesterday, civil societies yesterday expressed “deep concern” over what they called attempts to undermine the “social fabric” of the Kuwaiti people and blasted those who incite sectarian, tribal and racist sentiments in a bid to win votes. A statement signed by Kuwait Association for Human Rights, Kuwait Journalists Association and the Transparency Society and four others, strongly decried those “who are trying to drag the country into ideological and racist conflicts” by degrading a section of Kuwaiti people as not Muslim, risking taking the country into hateful struggles. Continued on Page 13


Road to Assembly IV By B Izzak KUWAIT: Kuwaitis head to the ballot boxes to elect the fourth National Assembly since May 2006 in one of the most politically turbulent periods since parliamentary democracy was introduced in 1962. Here’s a look at the main contests in the five constituencies by highlighting the main political groups and leading candidates. Fourth Constituency • Main areas: Farwaniya, Jahra, Andalus, Rabiya, Rehab, Ardiya, Sabah Al-Nasser, Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Omariya. • It has 103,280 voters and is the second largest electoral district in terms of voters. Women comprise 57,517 voters or 56.9 percent and men 45,767 or 53.1 percent of the total voters. This is a major tribal constituency with the presence of small Shiite and urbanite voters, as all the MPs in the past two elections have been from major tribes. Forty-nine candidates are contesting for the 10 available seats. They include eight of the 10 exMPs in the dissolved house, in addition to four former MPs from previous assemblies. There are three women candidates including Thekra Al-Rasheedi who in the 2009 election obtained a good position in this tribal area. The district is an important base for the opposition with seven of the former 10 MPs among the opposition. The most prominent candidates include opposition leader and ex-MP Musallam Al-Barrak, in addition to former MPs Ali Al-Deqbasi, Shuaib AlMuwaizri, Mubarak Al-Waalan, Mohammad Hayef and Dhaifallah Buramia. They also include newcomer Obaid Al-Wasmi, who became very popular after he was beaten up by riot police at a rally in Dec 2010. Continued on Page 13



Hotels host electoral seminars for laid-back candidates, supporters KUWAIT: Some contenders in the race for seats in parliament have chosen hotels as venues for their electoral campaigns, contrary to the norm of holding such activities in residential districts. Explaining some of the motives behind some candidates’ desire to hold their campaigning seminars at the hotels, Basel Selim of Kuwait Regency Hotel said hotels are favored for such activities by some contenders because they relieve themselves of the usual heavy organizational burdens and responsibilities by providing much of the necessary ele-

ments. Hotels provide projectors, audio screens, meals, seats, lighting, beverages, security, parking and order at the gathering halls, he added. Joseph Saadeh, in charge of food and beverages at Safir International, said the hotel hosted many electoral seminars over the past weeks, and that attendees expressed great comfort and satisfaction at the facilities. Fatmah Al-Eidan, an Interior Ministry employee, said the holding of the electoral seminars at hotels spare residents of the districts traffic jams and noise pollution. She added that the

sole advantage of holding the electoral seminars in the residential neighborhoods is the short distance for participants. However, Khaled Al-Bader, another citizen, believes that the holding of electoral seminars in the residential districts carries a more genuine atmosphere. Scenes of traffic jam and large numbers of people moving toward or from the electoral campaigning sites generate an atmosphere that depicts “democratic spirit,” he said, which is missing when such activities are held at hotels. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Bahrain’s Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa and his accompanying delegation arrived in the country yesterday for a one-day visit. He was received at Kuwait International Airport by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. He was also received by the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and a number of sheikhs, ministers, top state officials, as well as ambassadors of both countries.

MPs expected to work for heeding Amir’s aspirations New laws needed to increase production KUWAIT: Kuwait’s private entrepreneurs look forward to see birth of a new parliament with members devoting ample attention to enacting laws aimed at shoring up the national economy and heeding aspiration of His Highness the Amir of guiding the people toward greater production. Such desire in the circles of the national private sector was expressed by Hussein Al-Kharafi, Chairman of the Kuwait Industries Union, who affirmed that strategists of this sector look forward to endorsing planned legislations of economic dimensions. These business decision-makers wish to see greater attention by upcoming authorities to production and abidance by guidelines of HH the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, of transforming Kuwait into a productive, rather than consumer, society, said Al-Kharafi, who was interviewed on occasion of upcoming parliamentary elections. The private sector aspires to see adoption of laws related to economy and amendment of some legislations, concerning tenders, corporates and BOT transactions, said Al-Kharafi, who also called on would-be MPs to center concern on halting excessive spending of public funds, unjustified expenditure, resulting from high hikes on payments and extra financial allotments, granted without convincing considerations. Kuwait, now, possesses 10th of the

globe crude oil reserves, and oil is the state sole source of income, however, this resource is, in the long term, prone to draining and not renewing, thus surplus financial proceeds must be spent in an optimum manner, said the executive. He called on the next parliament to support the government in implementation of the five-year strategy and give it the chance to carry out its executive tasks, “instead of addressing negative criticisms and obstructing its actions through unwarranted excessive usage of supervision prerogatives.” Both state officials and members of the National Assembly should focus attention on the industrial sector, for it is one of the vital sections of the private sector and seek to increase production from three percent to 12, as the state development plan stipulated, Al-Kharafi said. He also called for approving laws intended to spur investments in this sector, so it may turn equal with the oil sector in terms of financial returns. The industrial union has presented a bill aimed at supporting the national product. Moreover, a relevant Amiri Decree had been issued, but it remained under examination by the Fatwa and Legislation Department. Al-Kharafi indicated at the need for follow-up efforts for finalizing the “sole gateway” project for the Public Authority for Industry and the industrial zone venture in

the district of Al-Shedadiah. For his part, Fahad Al-Joan, member of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, also underlined the upcoming MP’s responsibility of pushing for plans and legislations for encouraging the private sector to play a greater role, through creation of new jobs, increasing state financial returns and limiting state subsidies. Al-Joan indicated at the need to amend some laws, concerning the BOT, privatization and citizens’ work in the private sector, also hinting at tangible headways made by the private telecommunication sector. Asserting further increasing necessity of boosting the private sector, Al-Joan noted mounting number of academic graduates, stressing the need to create new work opportunities. “The government will not be able to secure jobs for such a large number of graduates in the coming years,” he warned. He also expressed concern at “random increase” of payments, particularly for personnel in the public sector, a phenomenon that opened eyes of the employees in the private sector and nudged many of them to shift to the government sector. Another member of the chamber, Khaled Al-Khaled said the public sector controls 80 percent of the state utility sector, calling on the government to allow the private sector acquire stakes in the sectors of electricity, water, transports, health and education. — KUNA



KUWAIT: The election headquarters of candidate Mohammad Al-Juwaihel burns after being set ablaze by angry tribesmen in Adailiya yesterday.— Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat and Fouad Al-Shaikh

Activists warn of ‘sectarian voting’ Kuwait facing host of challenges KUWAIT: A statement released by a group of activists recently asserted that Kuwaiti voters should elect a candidate who gives top priority to reform and avoid those who work for sectarian agendas or interests that don’t serve the greater good. “Kuwait faces many risks and challenges as society suffers from the alarming spread of animosity and intolerance between different social groups,” said the Group 26 in their statement. They warned that “national unity has become threatened by sectarian and tribal alignments.” The group, known also as G26, urged voters to avoid fueling sectarian division in society - in a clear reference to the act of voting on the basis of sectarian allegiance solely - and warned that Kuwait isn’t safe from being affected by security and political tensions in the region. The statement comes as citizens prepare to take part next Thursday in what is considered by many as the most decisive parliamentary election in recent years. The election is of particular importance given the need to end political infightings so that the focus may be turned to development. On Sunday, Ahmad Al-Ujail, head of the elections

supreme committee, assured the people that every effort will be made to ensure that the election process will be free from violations. While reiterating that vote counting will be completed manually this year, Al-Ujail revealed plans that citizens may be able to vote using magnetic cards in the future. In the meantime, Ministry of Information undersecretary Sheikh Salman Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah indicated that the Ministr y of Interior referred seven complaints, of the thirty received, about vote buying to the public prosecution for further legal action. Meanwhile, candidates continued making controversial statements during seminars and interviews, with one former MP arguing that previous Cabinet spied on people’s phone calls. “The previous cabinet used three vehicles to spy on phone calls made by MPs, citizens and columnists,” said fourth constituency candidate Dr Daifullah Buramia at the inauguration of his election campaign recently. The former lawmaker revealed that he discovered the spying after first noticing a small vehicle carrying a telecom dish parked suspi-

ciously outside his house. He added that he later noticed the same car was parked near the Iradah Square during an ongoing protest. “After verifying the car ’s license plate number with a senior Ministry of Interior official, it was revealed that the vehicle’s ownership is registered with a company,” he said, before adding that the company is not registered in the Ministr y of Commerce’s records. In the meantime, a recent survey showed that 75.4% of citizens believe that the performance of the previous parliament was below average. The survey was carried out by the research department in the Kuwaiti parliament, and covered a sample totaling nearly half of the total number of voters in Kuwait. In other news, former MP Saleh Ashour is reportedly banned from entering any of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, according to sources quoted recently by Al-Watan. Speaking anonymously, the sources said that the first constituency candidate is likely blacklisted “due to his support for certain parties in Bahrain as well as Shiite-oriented charitable works in some Arab countries”. — Al-Qabas & Al-Watan

Stores closed for rotten foodstuffs By Hanan Al-Saadoun

KUWAIT: Inspection campaign on foodstuff outlets, restaurants, grocery stores and women’s beauty salons in progress.

KUWAIT: The Foodstuff Supervision Unit of the Hawalli governorate carried an inspection campaign on foodstuff outlets, restaurants, grocery stores and women’s beauty salons in Hawalli recently. The campaign resulted in multiple citations being issued and two stores being closed by inspectors. The campaign chief, Daidan Al-Adwani, said 10 shops were inspected and resulted in 8 citations being issued. Inspection was also carried out in a number of grocery stores, factories, produce vendors and beauty salons, which resulted in further 25 citations being issued, sparking the possibility of daily inspections in the governorates to ensure rotten foodstuff is not pumped into the market. The campaigns take place at different hours throughout the day to show offenders that they may be inspected at any time.



LOCAL kuwait digest

kuwait digest

Assessing human advancements

‘Educational system should be saved’

By Dr Essa Al-Omairi

By Rashid Al-Radaan



lthough the 14th parliamentary elections in Kuwait’s history is only a few days away, chaos seems to dominate everything and everybody. We are all worried and depressed when we shouldn’t be. We started hearing the term the ‘motto of the stage’ ever since the 1948 catastrophe in Palestine which was actually the ‘catchword’ used to hinder any development or progress that Arabs could achieve. It’s a continuation of deteriorating freedom and human dignity.

et me spell out in clear terms that the candidate that does not take a strong stand towards foiling the Education Ministry’s plot against general secondary students, does not feel their suffering and does not deserve to be voted to power.

There is no sane man who approves the measures taken by the ministry that is trying hard to lower students’ GPAs, so that it will not face a problem in accepting them at university, and repeat last year’s problem.

But in my humble opinion, I don’t believe that scientific breakthroughs in the fields of space and military are what humanity living on earth really needs. Ever since, Arab leaders, regardless of their ideologies used such mottos to strike any public movement on political openness. Therefore, we eventually found that the battle they meant was actually theirs against their own people with the aim of eradicating their ability to change the demands for freedom of expression. Whoever demanded democracy is either a traitor or an infiltrator....make your choice! However, though democracy was introduced to Kuwait in a smooth manner, we abandoned it and it was forged faster than we thought, starting by passing unconstitutional laws in 1966, forging elections in 1967, attempts to amend the Constitution in 1982 and the unconstitutional dissolutions in 1976 and 1986 that crippled our democracy. It will look like a mirage. Despite people losing faith in democracy and the Constitution, our performance during crises and contingencies proved that our ‘crippled’ democracy was really our savior. Consequently, the only way to avoid democracy is to apply more democracy and reform it. This state of tension, individual political practices and chaotic conflicts amongst sects, groups and individuals is clearly reflected in the mottos used by election candidates that mainly were vague and meaningless. Most of them do not focus on the future and what we need to become. Instead, they’re focusing on what not to become. Political speech has turned into verbal violence and abuse of other candidates including insults and bad names instead of having a full vision. The ‘catchword of this stage’ seems to be ‘how to get rid of and terminate your opponents in a few days’ rather than ‘how to build a future.’ In a previous article, I have predicted that this election would be so fierce in terms of exchanging ‘below the belt blows,’ which, eventually give us more responsibility in making the best choices. These are actually the two main ways to help our country rise and achieve more freedom and stability. — Aljarida

kuwait digest

Spending, yet not developing By Salah Al Allaj


ome surprise me with their strange opinions and logic, with which they defend government failures in successfully handling state affairs, instead holding citizens responsible for them. For example, the government spends without limit and allocated the largest budget to investment in human resources. Their proof for that is in the many organizations, such as the Ministry of Higher Education and Applied Education and the various institutes and schools. However it makes me wonder where the problem is if the government is spending, the NA council is legislating, the laws are in place, scholarships and training and applied education and Universities and committees as well as an excess of information are all available.

If this is the case, then why we are still at square one? I am sure that the government is also wondering why we aren’t developing. Does the government take into consideration the graduates of educational institutions, which the government spent and will continue to spend millions on, for the positions to lead the country’s affairs? Or, at least, to put them on the right track leading to those positions? Does government include such intentions in its plans or its vision, if there is any vision in the first place? The truth, for marginal and simple jobs, is that there are laws and regulations and decisions and nominations and tests and evaluations and CVs and preferred percentages and hierarchy and promotion policy, just to name a few. Whilst in the most important

roles, which affect society and employees and the general performance of the state and government administration as well as the future generations, the standard structure is based on ‘wasta’(connections) and ‘wasta’ alone. The proof is evident all around. Look at the level of service provided by government organizations and how budgets are being spent, and compare it with the services you get, and everything will become clearer. This is solid evidence for, I will not say corruption, but certainly mismanagement. I wish that citizens entering government organizations would try to enquire about the cost of the organization and how much is being spent annually on salaries, training courses, maintenance, business trips and so on.

kuwait digest

Running around in circles By Dr Mohammad Al-Muqatea


lections are expected to end with some old faces returning to the Parliament, and some new ones making the mark. A new Cabinet will be formed, probably comprising ministers who are more interested in having the title ‘minister’ added before their names. Either way, both ministers and MPs are happy with their senior posts that bring them fortune and fame. You probably wonder why I’m giving the impression that ministers and lawmakers work mainly for personal benefits. If we look back at parliamentary work in the past few years, we find that most MPs work alone with almost no team work performed among each other. For example, MPs tend to present proposals individually based on ideas they probably heard at a diwaniya. Eventually, we find multiple proposals forwarded by lawmakers that address a single subject, yet differ drastically in details which provide a complete lack of coordination between them. These proposals are referred to parliamentary committees for discussion. But after that happens (provided that meetings are attended by enough members to avoid lack of quorum), proposals are usually discussed in a weak manner, reflecting lack of proper preparation that committees are required to make before every meeting. Sometimes, members will only read a proposal for the first time during committee meetings. In most cases, the meeting ends after committee members enter into conflicts with representatives of state departments that are invited to explain their point of view on a proposal under discussion. Eventually, a distorted version of the original proposal is approved after four or five meetings are convened. Even when that happens, committee members hardly make efforts to make sure that said proposals are discussed during parliamentary sessions. This sad situation has been ongoing since the Liberation War in 1991. Since then, the most notable contributions of lawmakers are constant seminars, promises and warnings with little achievement made in the Parliament. This is the reason why since 1991, the Parliament has played an active role in Kuwait’s development. In fact, it has contributed toward hindering the development process when its members lack basic principles of teamwork. MPs have never agreed on a unified program that can serve as an alternative to the lack of planning they keep accusing the government of. Even when the government forwards its work program on the state’s development plan, MPs have failed to cooperate as they resort to playing the role of heroes that are devoted to save us from corruption. The Parliament ha became useless after its members turned it into a forum to declare their heroism. Now is the perfect time to introduce reform into parliamentary work by adopting a party system in which the leader of the party with an elected majority is appointed as prime minister. This would help people assess work program, and avoid voting in the future if they fail to achieve development. Either that, or we will be running in circles with only a few number of MPs and state officials changed. — Al-Qabas

What the Education Ministry has been doing with students requires efforts to come together and rescue the future of our children from the mess created by the Education Ministry under the leadership of the undersecretary. Is it enough that she is the general chief of control and directly supervises everything. She asked officials to prepare questions, reduce grades and crush students’ future. There is no sane man who approves the measures taken by the ministry that is trying hard to lower students’ GPAs, so that it will not face a problem in accepting them at university, and repeat last year’s problem. The only thing that it could do to counter the injustice is to see to it that the number of outstanding students are not reduced. The undersecretary is indirectly telling parents : “Look, whether your children study well or not, they will not get the grade because of current circumstances. Only a few graduates can be accommodated into the university.” It is for the first time in the Education Ministry’s history that we are hearing about the undersecretary controlling everything, and intervening in everything minor or major matter besides supervising the exams, questions and all that relates to students. There is an assistant undersecretary for public education. She cannot do anything without the knowledge of the undersecretary. The directors of educational zones cannot act without consulting with her. Even directors of schools cannot make a decision without her knowledge, otherwise they will face stiff punishment. Nobody can blame parents when they call for staging sit-ins and internationalizing the issue and to boycott school because indicators are that the ministry is going ahead with its plans to destroy the future of students by lowering GPAs, especially since the undersecretary and leadership at the ministry are keeping silent. If they have credibility and are sure about their stand, they will hold a press conference to explain matters. This time they are mistaken, and people have uncovered the conspiracy. They were shocked with the reaction, and if this issue is not solved quickly, it will have dangerous repercussions. Exam results are catastrophic and have made students faint, with their families becoming sick because of what happened. The future of Kuwaiti children should not lie in the hands of those that do not deserve to retain their jobs. This is because they do not appreciate the dangers of what they are doing in the form of actions that contradict with justice and international educational treaties. — Al-Watan

kuwait digest

Vote-buying allegations By Thaar Al-Rashidi


here is no smoke without fire, no rumors without the remnants of the truth and no complaints without an element of reality. All of us know are familiar with at least one of these examples. Although they may not be backed by scientific evidence, it does not mean they’re not concealing part-truths. Isn’t doubt the first step in reaching the truth? Stories are stirring that there is a multi-million fund specifically to buy votes for certain candidates and, to be more precise, this currently stands at KD 4 million. Claims have been made that the fund is to buy votes for four candidates in each constituency. If this fund is truly exists, as is being claimed, then we are facing a disaster worse than the scandal involving the millions of dinar deposited into certain accounts. I cannot be certain of the existence of the fund and nor can anyone, especially given that the gossip spreading the rumor is without proof or names. KD 4 million for each constituency, therefore one million for each candidate, means KD 20 million for 20 candidates in the five constituencies. The government is the main suspect in this imaginary fund. But let us suppose for a second that the fund exists. The logical question would be where does KD 20 million come from? The government certainly would not pull it from the ground or summon a genie to materialize it. Surely the money would be from bank withdrawals, and even if it were, the movement of the money would be noticeable and difficult to conceal. Simple logic dictates that the central bank would have noticed the movement, as it’s impossible to miss KD 20 million disappearing. The past scandal of the briberies in the past council were uncovered, so wouldn’t KD20 million to fund candidates be noticed? The bribe taker could be an MP or candidate or a Journalist. Note: My questions are not doubting the existence of such fund, but more a call for the same inspection par ties who revealed the millions deposited in MPs’ accounts to do their jobs once again and uncover whether or not there is money moving around during election time or not. It is a call for investigation so that the rumors can be proved instead of denied. It is our right to know, as transparency should not be limited to certain people. — Al-Anbaa




Pay more attention to disabled people’s issues Al-Naqi’s symposium By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Focusing on the problems facing the disabled in the country, political activist Najla AlNaqi held a symposium titled ‘The Issue of Disabled’ on Sunday at her place of residence in Salwa. Candidates, the disabled and representatives from government bodies participated in the event. Naeema Al-Haay, candidate from Third Constituency noted that she is aware of the problems plaguing the disabled. “I have been experiencing their suffering because my son is autistic. It’s an important issue, and I focused on it in all my campaigns. I know that every mother of a disabled lives in fear of how her disabled child will live after she passes away. Unfortunately, our country is not interested in this issue,” she said. According to Al-Haay, medical services are not made available to the disabled, “When my son was injured and I took him to hospital, we had stay on for 10 hours just to get three stitches done. This is a result of not having qualified staff. Also, there are no government-recognized insti-

tutions that care for them after the age of 21. Where should they go? There is only voluntary group ‘Abeer2’ that takes care of the mentally disabled who are older than 21. They don’t have enough

success. “We have great regulations that are not enforced. Also, there are many who fake disability. These criminals are not arrested. Furthermore, some donors donated KD four million to build

KUWAIT: Safa Al-Hashim (left) and Sheikha Al-Ghanim facilities. People can do something when they heed support in other rich countries,” she added. Kuwait is considered a pioneer in championing their (disabled) cause, but has met with mixed

a hospital for the elderly and mentally disabled. Sadly, this project has not been realized,” concluded Al-Haay. Nabeel Al-Fadel, a candidate from the Third Constituenc y

agreed with Haay. “The government has been taking care of the handicapped since the 1950s. The reason was that most of the sporting achievements were garnered by disabled sportsmen. The attractive facilities provided to the disabled prompt many normal people to fake disability, simply to received all the benefits that they receive. There are 39,000 disabled people in Kuwait. I’m sure more than 70 percent of them are not real. I will fight for their rights in the Parliament,” he stated. Ayid Al-Shimeri, Head of the Kuwait Society for Disabled said, “We should listen to their issues before discussing it publically. They face problems after graduating from some schools. The Ministry of Education does not accept it as being official. I faced the harsh reality when my disabled son died after failing to receive proper medical care. Some MPs refused to agree to build special hospitals for the disabled. In my opinion, these MPs benefit from lousy arguments because the schools here are not competent,” he noted.

Govt probes organized espionage reports KUWAIT: Kuwait has launched investigations into allegations about organized espionage in the country, with phone calls made by certain Kuwaiti figures being tapped, states a recent report quoting sources. Speaking to Al-Rai, sources explained that a large room in the General Department of State

Security equipped with high-tech surveillance devices has “disappeared mysteriously.” According to the report published yesterday, the State Security Department purchased an integrated intelligence system from a former Soviet country last year for KD 4 million, and placed it in a restricted zone inside the

headquarters’ building. Sources added that the system was brought to “monitor suspicious terrorist activities and boost the department’s security capabilities,” noting that the devices allow phone calls to be monitored through landlines and cell phones. But last July, everything the isolated room, including staff members

hired specifically to operate the devices, vanished without an explanation, said sources. An investigation is currently ongoing to unearth the mystery behind the devices’ disappearance, and also examine information which hint that the devices could have been used by a certain unnamed individual to spy on prominent Kuwaiti individuals. —Al-Rai

KUWAIT: The Minister of Public Works and State Minister for Municipal Affairs Dr Fadhel Safar received a high-ranking delegation from Australia led by Agriculture and Forest Minister Joe Loduleng, Head of Staff of Minister’s Office Ceilia Bujaman, Deputy Undersecretary Dr Conal and other officials. Discussions focused on the application of special policy for livestock trade and work mechanism. —Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

Expat implicated in murder KUWAIT: Security sources revealed that the initial report composed in the investigation of the murder of a Kuwaiti couple indicates that an Asian expatriate is responsible for the crime. The couple, who resided in the Al-Andalus area, were murdered two days ago. The investigation revealed that the expatriate scattered the couple’s belongings across the house, and evidence linking him to the crime was found in the kitchen, where the murder of the wife took place, as well as the husband’s room. The question stands regarding the fate of the suspect and whether or not he can be returned to Kuwait to face consequences for his crime. Meanwhile, Dr Owaid Al Mishaan, Psychology Professor at Kuwait University, said that each action has a reaction and that the motives behind crimes, which are increasing lately in Kuwait, must be revealed. The matter demands consideration, study and follow-up from all ministry organizations. Research must also be composed on the standards of the lives of domestic workers. —Al-Anbaa

Kuwaiti loan for Pakistan ISLAMABAD: A subsidiary loan agreement was signed here yesterday to facilitate legality of loan agreement between Pakistan and Kuwait for the construction of a hydropower project. The Subsidiary Loan Agreement of $40 million was signed between Economic Affairs Division (EAD) and Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project Company (NJHPC). The agreement was signed by Abdul Wajid Rana, Secretary EAD, and Lt Gen Muhammad Zubair, Chief Executive Officer of NJHPC, said an official press statement. The Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project is located at Muzaffarabad district of Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK). Upon its completion it will generate approximately 1, 000 MW of electricity. Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) is one of the donors of this project; the other donors being the UAE, Exim Bank China and Saudi Fund for Development. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Naeema Al-Haay delivering her speech and Nabeel Al-Fadel (first left)

KUWAIT: Safa Al-Hashim and Najla Al-Naqi. —Photos by Joseph Shagra



Wataniya Telecom launches Super SIM for customers KUWAIT: Continuing on its path to introduce the latest and most innovative services in the market, and in an effort to deliver the most exciting communication experience, Wataniya Telecom announces the launch of the new and exclusive Super SIM. Similar to any SIM card in shape and design, however the Super SIM is distinguished by offering many additional fea-

Abdolaziz Al-Balool tures. Once Wataniya customers insert the Super SIM into their mobile they can search for any number they want, book it and pay the value of it through either KNET or a voucher number. The list comprises of Gold, Silver and Normal numbers giving the freedom for the customer to choose and customize their own number as they want. After booking the number, the customer can choose their prepaid plan

whether it was Xpress or MaxPress and pay for the number purchased. Super SIM costs the same as a regular SIM card with KD 5 free credit. Commenting on the launch of this exclusive product, Abdolaziz Al-Balool, PR Director at Wataniya confirmed Wataniya’s leading position in the market as it always invests in introducing the latest and most advanced technologies to its customers. ”We are proud to launch Super SIM exclusively from Wataniya Telecom and it is now available at all its branches across Kuwait” he stressed. Al-Balool further added: “Customers can get Super SIM and enjoy many thrilling offers from Wataniya’s distributers by visiting InfoConnect Exhibition which is taking place from Jan 29 to Feb 4. Wataniya will continue in providing special services to all segments of the community adding convenience to their daily communications similar to what the Super SIM is serving. Super SIM provides customers with the convenience of picking and customizing their numbers from the comfort of their homes. For more information on Wataniya’s services and latest initiatives please visit , or follow them on Twitter, or check latest updates on or get the latest news on Wataniya’s blog

Diplomat extols Kuwaiti democracy ROME: A senior Italian diplomat praised yesterday the experience of Kuwaiti democracy and constitutional life that guaranteed civil rights and stability of citizens, saying it is a “model” in the Arab Spring-swept region. “Italy is following the significant legislative elections in Kuwait as part of its special interest in political developments in the region from the Mediterranean to the Gulf countries,” Special Envoy of the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs on the Mediterranean and the Arab region Maurizio Massari said in a statement. He stressed the importance of what he termed “effective stability” based on the constitutional legitimacy, which is what he said allowed Kuwait maintain a responsible role at

the international and regional levels. Massari said that the course of events experienced during the recent months and years confirmed the validity of the democratic experience in Kuwait as a model within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) so as to play an important role in building and consolidating stability in the post-Arab Spring revolutions. The Italian official pointed out that the inception of the State of Kuwait since independence half a century ago on democratic foundations in the framework of a modern constitutional system has regulated relationship between the authorities to guarantee the rights of the citizen and the establishment of a genuine parliamentary life. — KUNA

National Guard officer held for possession of drugs Teenager attacks police officer KUWAIT: A National Guard officer was recently arrested with possession of drugs after driving in an inebriated state from a chalet located south of the country. The suspect was reportedly pulled over by patrol officers who were alarmed at his erratic driving. The man’s arrest was made following an escape attempt, after he tried to drive away after being forced to pull over. A plastic bag containing drug pills was found during the search. He was handcuffed and whisked away to Mina Abdullah police station. There, he was identified as an officer employed with the National Guard. He remains in custody pending further action. Smuggler held A citizen was arrested at Kuwait International Airport after drugs were found in his luggage. The suspect’s suspicious behavior led customs officials to subject him to a thorough search. Forty four grams of hashish was found concealed in his suitcase. He was referred to the proper authorities. Suicide attempt A domestic worker was hospitalized after attempting to end her life by swallowing an

overdose of prescription medications. The Ethiopian housemaid was found lying on the floor of her room at Sabah Al-Nasser, with several empty medication bottles strewn across. She was rushed by her sponsor to Al-Farwaniya hospital. Her condition has since stabilized. A case was filed for investigations. Work mishap A car mechanic died in a mishap that took place at a garage in Al-Rai. The Syrian victim was reportedly wearing a scarf while working on a car’s engine, and its loose end got stuck in the machine when it was started. The scarf was wrapped tightly around the man’s neck and he choked to death before paramedics reached the scene. The body was taken to the forensic department while a case was filed for investigations. Officer attacked A teenager arrested recently in Sulaibikhat is facing multiple charges that includes assault of a police officer on duty. The suspect was pulled over by a patrol officer following a half hour long chase. When the officer approached his vehicle, the sus-

pect sped away in an attempt to escape. The policeman reportedly held on to his car and was dragged for nearly 300 meters before back up police forced the suspect to stop. The officer did not sustain any serious injuries during the ensuing melee. The suspect was taken to the area’s police station, where the officer later dropped charges after reaching a settlement with the teenager’s family. Victim drops charges Three people held for physical assault charges were released recently from AlFahaheel police station after their victim, who sustained broken bones in the assault, dropped the case. The three bedoon (stateless) residents were arrested shortly after the victim, also bedoon, filed a case at the police station. He explained that he was lured by attackers to their camp where the assault took place. Soon after the suspects were placed behind bars, the complainant came over to the police station and asked that charges be withdrawn, saying that personal disputes over which the assault took place have already been settled. — Al-Anba, Al-Rai, Al-Watan

Kuwait keen on cooperation among Islamic parliaments KUALA LUMPUR: Nasser Bareh Al-Enizi, Ambassador of Kuwait to Indonesia, said yesterday that Kuwait’s participation in a conference of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is a part of its belief in the importance of parliamentary work and the enhancement of cooperation and consultation among Islamic countries.

The diplomat said that he represented Kuwait because its parliament had been dissolved, thus it was not possible to send in legislators. Parliamentary elections in Kuwait are due on February 2nd. He added that the Islamic conference aims to serve the common interests of Islamic countries following the latest regional and international devel-

opments, as well as to establish stronger ties and connections to face challenges, namely in the Middle East. He added that Kuwait’s participation reflects its support for parliaments in the organization, and its active role in offering care to Muslim affairs. Al-Enizi said that holding the conference in Indonesia high-

lights the impor tance of the country in exerting tremendous effor ts and adopting Islamic work. Kuwait took part in the meetings of the PUIC in Palembang, Indonesia, held between Jan 27 and 30. It was represented by the Secretar y General of the National Assembly, Allam AlKanderi. — KUNA

Entertainment City launches spring festival KUWAIT: Entertainment City launched its spring festival on Friday, which lasts until the end of the school spring break on Feb 11 and features various programs and activities. “Events organized throughout the festival include a circus show, special activities for children as well as competitions for various valuable prizes,” said telecommunications and activities director at the Touristic Enterprises Company, Yaqoub Al-Duaij, in a statement released recently to the press. The Entertainment City is open to visitors everyday with Mondays exclusive to female visitors.


Jury finds Afghan family guilty in honor killings

China boosts police presence in Xinjiang Page 12

FLORIDA: Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney brings a birthday cake to Los Angeles Times reporter Maeve Reston on his campaign charter plane in Jacksonville, Fla. yesterday.—AP

Romney surges to double-digit lead Gingrich promises bitter fight FLORIDA: Mitt Romney stormed yesterday towards a likely victory in Florida that would all but lock up the Republican presidential nomination, but rival Newt Gingrich promised a bitter fight all the way to the August convention. Polls Sunday showed Romney pulling clear in the Sunshine State after his campaign team went on the offensive, unleashing blistering ads that painted Gingrich as unethical and not fit for office. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and millionaire venture capitalist considered the party establishment’s favorite, was leading Gingrich by 15 points in Florida, 42 percent to 27 percent, according to an NBC/Marist poll. A new Miami Herald poll showed Gingrich behind by 11 points. Hoping to finish off his rival, Romney renewed his assault before a crowd of several hundred supporters in an affluent Naples shopping center. “ The reason that speaker Gingrich has been having a hard time in Florida is that people of Florida have watched the debates, have listened to the speaker, have listened to the other candidates and have said, ‘You know what, Mitt Romney’s the guy we’re going to support,’” he said. Despite the polls, Gingrich said he expected a close race Tuesday in Florida, which will be a key battleground in the November election, pitting President Barack Obama, a Democrat, against the eventual Republican nominee. After attending church services in the community of Fort Myers north of Tampa, a fiery Gingrich insisted “the election will be substantially closer than the two polls” suggest. With time run-

ning out for Gingrich to claw back lost ground in Florida, he turned to the national fight. “Romney has got a very big challenge in trying to get a majority at the convention,” he said, predicting a “wild and wooly” campaign ahead. “We will go all the way to the convention, and I believe the Republican Party will not nominate a pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase moderate from Massachusetts.” Romney, who has switched positions on abortion and is now pro-life, has had to fend off lingering doubts over his conservative credentials dating back to his time as governor of liberal Massachusetts. Gingrich, 68, shocked the party establishment when he thumped Romney, 64, in South Carolina earlier this month, but his support has been sinking fast in Florida and his opponent now appears to be the one with all the momentum. A crucial role is being played by Christian conservative Rick Santorum, who won the first state of Iowa but whose campaign has been flagging since. Gingrich insisted Sunday that the only reason he trailed the more moderate Romney was because of his rival’s “relentlessly negative campaign” and because Santorum, by staying in the race, was splitting the conservative vote. “The fact is, when you combine the Santorum vote and the Gingrich vote... the conservative combined would clearly beat Romney,” he told ABC talk show “This Week.” Gingrich’s campaign got a weekend boost when he won an endorsement from former rival Herman Cain. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, a favorite of the ultra-conserva-

tive Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, also weighed in, telling supporters to “ Vote for Newt” in Florida. Gingrich has sought to rally support by showcasing his conservative credentials, arguing that only a true conservative like himself has a chance of beating Obama. “We nominated a moderate in ‘96 and we lost,” he said Saturday in Orlando. “We nominated a moderate in 2008 and we lost. Only a solid conservative can debate Barack Obama and win.” But a new USA Today/Gallup poll made public yesterday indicated Gingrich might not be that conservative, and his nomination could be a prescription for a Republican defeat in November. In a match-up with Obama today, Gingrich would lose 40 percent to 54 percent, according to the survey. He would fare even worse than libertarian Texas Representative Ron Paul, trailing behind Obama by 43 percent to 50 percent, and Santorum, who was also seven points behind at 44 percent to Obama’s 51 percent. The only Republican who was slightly ahead of Obama was Romney with 48 percent against 47 percent, the poll showed. Santorum put campaigning in Florida on hold Sunday, spending the day in Pennsylvania where his three-year-old daughter Bella was admitted to a Philadelphia children’s hospital. Santorum did not appear to be heading back to Florida. Instead, his spokesman said the former senator planned to expand his campaign nationally this week with stops in Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nevada “in the coming days.” — AFP

Saudi beheads Pakistani drug-smuggler: Ministry RIYADH: Saudi Arabia beheaded a Pakistani man who was arrested as he tried to smuggle drugs into the ultraconservative kingdom, the interior ministry said yesterday. “Salman Khan Taj Mohammed, a Pakistani... was arrested as he was caught smuggling a large amount of heroin” into the country, the ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA. He was interrogated and convicted of drug smuggling, a crime punishable by death according to the kingdom’s strict version of Islamic law. The man was beheaded in Dammam in eastern Saudi Arabia, SPA reported, bringing to five the number of

Saudi executions carried out so far in 2012. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights voiced alarm this month at the almost threefold increase in executions in Saudi Arabia last year. Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty for a wide range of offences, including rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking. At least 76 death row inmates were executed in 2011, according to an AFP count, while Amnesty International has said the kingdom executed 79 people last year. In 2010, 27 people were executed, according to the UN, citing a report by Human Rights Watch. —AFP

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Israeli settler seeks to beat Netanyahu in primary JERUSALEM: A hard-line Jewish settler who wants to pay Palestinians to leave the West Bank and Gaza is running against Israel’s prime minister in Tuesday’s ruling party primary election. Moshe Feiglin has little chance of defeating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but he could deliver an embarrassing blow to the country’s leader in his fourth try for leadership of the Likud, none of which have had a realistic shot at success. Experts say Feiglin could get a third of the vote in the closed party primary, reflecting the view of hard-liners that Netanyahu, despite his uncompromising worldview, is not hawkish enough. “I am providing an alternative,” said Feiglin, 49. “The world expects ... much

more than creating a terrorist country right in the heart of the land of the Bible,” referring to a Palestinian state in the West Bank. Israeli nationalists believe the West Bank must remain under Israeli control for religious and security reasons. Though Netanyahu backed that view for years, his movement has edged toward compromise in recent years, and Netanyahu himself has accepted the concept of creating a Palestinian state. Feiglin founded a nationalist movement that blocked highway intersections around the country in 1995 to protest partial peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians, and he opposes further peace talks. Feiglin proposes annexing the West Bank, retaking

Gaza - Israel withdrew in 2005 - and bolstering a Jewish majority by offering emigration incentive packages of $350,000 to each Arab family in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Such extreme positions have the backing of a small but noisy minority of Israelis. Netanyahu called the snap leadership primary in his Likud Party a year ahead of schedule, raising the possibility of an early general election later this year. Netanyahu is so popular that no Likud Cabinet ministers or lawmakers dared challenge him, leaving Feiglin as the only other candidate. Feiglin has steadily gained support over the last three times he has run for Likud party leadership - from winning 3.5 percent of the vote in his first campaign nine years

ago, to scooping up nearly a quarter of the vote in 2007. Analysts are divided about how the underdog would affect the ruling party. Avraham Diskin, a Hebrew University political scientist, said the stronger Feiglin performs in the primaries, the more Netanyahu will strive to portray a moderate face to the party by endorsing less hawkish lawmakers around him, he said. “It doesn’t look like (Netanyahu) will give in to the extremists,” Diskin said. Analyst Yaron Ezrahi says if Feiglin wins more than 30 percent of the votes in the primaries, it could push the Likud party’s base further right politically and weaken Netanyahu’s claim that the ruling party represents the majority of the nation. “It’s very serious. It hurts the Likud’s

image,” Ezrahi said. He called Feiglin’s camp an “embarrassing minority” for Netanyahu. Feiglin’s expected gains in Tuesday’s primaries come as religious nationalists are preparing for a showdown with the government over plans to evict the unauthorized Migron settlement, which the government says was built on unlawfully seized land from private Palestinian landowners in 2001. Hard-line lawmakers are threatening to bolt Netanyahu’s coalition if Migron is dismantled, and Feiglin’s campaign could add more pressure to Netanyahu to find a solution that will satisfy the settlers. “Netanyahu is fighting a war of survival. But there is no survival without a vision,” said Feiglin. “He is losing credit.”— AP

Assad troops fight back against Syria rebels Arab League to brief UN Security Council

CAIRO: An Egyptian protester holding a national flag shouts anti-Egypt’s Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF) slogans during a protest at Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt yesterday. Hundreds of Egyptians protested in Tahrir Square yesterday demanding that step down from power. —AP

Egypt’s military considers speeding up transition CAIRO: A spokesman for an advisory body to Egypt’s military rulers says the army is studying ways to accelerate the transition to civilian rule, including moving up the timetable for presidential elections. Mohammed El-Kholy said yesterday the panel of civilian advisers wants to “ease the tension” following street protests on the anniversary of last year’s uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, leaving the generals in charge. The protesters want an immediate end to military rule, and accuse the army of mismanaging the transition and committing human rights violations. El-Kholy says one suggestion is to hold presidential elections earlier than by the end of June the military’s current schedule. Activists say the new proposals could inflame tensions because they squeeze the time allotted for drafting a new con-

stitution. An Egyptian security official says gunmen have stormed the branch of a major international bank and robbed an armored car in separate parts of Cairo. The official said that seven gunmen charged yesterday into the New Cairo branch of HSBC Bank on the city’s outskirts, firing their weapons in the air, and took money from tellers. The same day, he said, three gunmen robbed an armored car as it unloaded money at another bank in southern Cairo, fleeing with over 3 million Egyptian pounds ($542,000 dollars). He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to the media. Armed bank robberies are rare in Egypt. Monday’s daring daytime raids come amid reduced police deployments following the uprising that forced President Hosni Mubarak from power last year. —AP

Hamas Gaza chief leaves for regional tour GAZA CITY: The head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, left yesterday for a regional tour expected to include stops in Iran, Qatar and Bahrain, his spokesman told AFP. Haniya “will go to Qatar on a special Qatari plane departing from the Al-Arish airport for a Tuesday meeting with the emir of Qatar,” spokesman Taher Al-Nunu said. Haniya was travelling with his political adviser Yussef Rizq, his minister of housing and public works Yussef al-Mansi and two key Hamas members-Yehia Sinwar and Rawhi Mushtaha-released from Israeli prison last year under a deal that saw captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit freed. During his visit to Qatar, Haniya is expected to hold meetings with Crown Prince Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and key Sunni religious figure Yussef AlQaradawi, Nunu said. The trip is also expected to include stops in Bahrain and Iran, where Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has issued an official invitation to the Hamas leader, Nunu said, without giving a date for the arrival in Tehran. Stops in other countries, including Kuwait, are still

being discussed, according to Hamas sources. The trip will only be Haniya’s second since his Hamas movement swept 2006 elections and then routed Fatah forces from Gaza in fighting that erupted in the summer of 2007. On January 10, he returned to Gaza after a first trip that included stops in Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and Tunisia. Before leaving Gaza, Haniya met the visiting chairman of the West Bank-based Central Election Committee for talks on updating the electoral register, which has not been updated since the last parliamentary and presidential elections, in January 2006. A statement by the commission said that its chairman, Hanna Nasser, thanked Haniya for allowing the body’s Gaza office to reopen last week after a long period of restricted access in the wake of Hamas’s 2007 takeover from Fatah. “Dr Nasser expressed hope that reopening of CEC offices will be the first step towards enabling the commission to carry out its legal mandate in the strip, starting by the registration of voters, it said. It said that an estimated 220,000 new voters would be added to the register. — AFP

RAFAH: The head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniya (R), shakes hands with a border control officer at the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip yesterday as he leaves on a regional tour expected to include stops in Iran, Qatar and Bahrain. —AFP

AMMAN: Street battles raged at the gates of the Syrian capital yesterday as President Bashar Al-Assad’s troops sought to consolidate their grip on suburbs that rebel fighters had taken only a few miles from the centre of government power. Activists and residents said Syrian troops now had control of Hamouriyeh, one of several districts where they have used armoured vehicles and artillery to beat back rebels who came as close as 8 km (5 miles) to Damascus. An activist said the Free Syrian Army - a force of military defectors with links to Syria’s divided political opposition - mounted scattered attacks on government troops who advanced through the district of Saqba, held by rebels just days ago. “Street fighting has been raging since dawn,” he said, adding tanks were moving through a central avenue of the neighborhood. “The sound of gunfire is everywhere.” The rebels said at least 15 people had been killed as they pulled back in Saqba and Kfar Batna. Activists have claimed a death toll of several dozen in three days of fighting in the districts, which have seen repeated protests against Assad’s rule and crackdowns by troops on the 10-month-old uprising. The escalating bloodshed prompted the Arab League to suspend the work of its monitors on Saturday. Arab foreign ministers, who have urged Assad to step down and make way for a government of national unity, are due to discuss the crisis on Feb 5. Syria’s state news agency said six soldiers were killed in a single attack near Deraa in the south and that “terrorists” blew up a gas pipeline, often targeted during the uprising against Assad. Residents of Deraa - where anti-Assad unrest first flared - said firefights between army defectors and government troops killed at least 20 people, most of them government forces. In Homs, the central Syrian city that has seen both heavy attacks by Assad’s forces and sectarian reprisal killings, residents said government troops backed with armour fought rebels near its marketplace. Syria restricts access to the country for journalists and the numbers could not be immediately verified. Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby is to seek support today for the Arab peace plan from the UN Security Council, which France’s foreign minister said, through a spokesman, must act against “crimes against humanity committed by the regime.” Elaraby, who wants

to overcome Russian and Chinese objections to the plan, will be joined by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, whose country heads the League’s committee charged with overseeing the Syrian crisis. Yesterday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Moscow first wanted to hear directly from the observers whom the Arab League sent - a move likely to delay any vote. “Only after that would it be possible to count on a substantive discussion of this issue in the Security Council,” the Interfax news

DAMASCUS: A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows the coffins of five out of 22 Syrian soldiers killed in recent fighting during their funeral in Damascus yesterday. — AFP agency quoted Gatilov as saying. A Syrian government official said any Arab League decision to suspend monitoring would “put pressure on (Security Council) deliberations with the aim of calling for foreign intervention and encouraging armed groups to increase violence”. Russia suggested holding talks with the Syrian government and rebels in Moscow but the rebels immediately rejected the plan. Assad blames the violence on foreign-backed militants. Activist groups based abroad acknowledge troops and security forces are being killed, and the state news agency SANA reported funerals for more than 50 security force members at the weekend.

Scenes of urban warfare on Damascus outskirts HARASTA, Syria: Checkpoints every 300 meters, walls of sandbags, sounds of gunfire and the rumbling of tanks: the towns of Harasta, Douma and Sakba, all less than 15 km north of Damascus, are under siege. “We apologize but this road and all access to Douma is blocked until further notice,” a Syrian soldier at the entrance to Harasta said without offering further explanation. Opposition fighters briefly took control of Douma on January 21 only to later retreat after a brutal push back by Syrian forces. And since Thursday Douma and the surrounding towns have come under an intense army offensive against the increasing ranks of deserter fighters who have taken up arms in these distant suburbs of the capital. Narrow streets are often flooded by the hard winter rain and at night, when electric power is almost always cut, the area is pitched in darkness with sounds of gunfire in the distance signalling another round of fighting. “Last week I was surprised by a Free Syrian Army checkpoint that was controlling traffic in the Ain Terma neighborhood (near Douma),” said Rami, an architect based in Damascus. “This region is partly out of government control,” he said. The Free Syrian Army, based in Turkey, claims 40,000 fighters and that its ranks are swelling with desertions from the military. Still, street after street, regime soldiers take positions behind sandbags, setting up check-

After mass demonstrations against him erupted last spring, Assad launched a military crackdown. Growing numbers of army deserters and gunmen have joined the protesters in a country of 23 million people regarded as a pivotal state at the heart of the Middle East. The insurgency has crept closer to the capital. The suburbs, a string of mainly conservative Sunni Muslim towns known as al-Ghouta, are home to the bulk of the 3 million population of Damascus and its metropolitan districts. The rebel force said yesterday supplies of

points at strategic intersections in search of armed fighters or suspects wanted by security services. In these battle-worn towns, traces of machinegun fire scar the walls. The crumbling facade of a 10-storey government building shelled by rocket fire is testimony to the intensity of the fighting. A billboard reads: “I support the law”. Another says: “The Syrian people are a united people. May God protect them”. Driving past Harasta on the country’s main highway, urban density quickly gives way to patches of vacant lots and grassy fields, a setting conducive to the night-time movements of rebel fighters. “ They hide during the day and attack at night,” a Harasta resident said. Hundreds of soldiers now surround the area in all directions, armed and ready to cut off any rebel manoeuvres. Closer to Damascus to the south, in the restive suburbs of Jaramena and Mleha, all roads heading north are under strict surveillance. It has been more than 10 months since the protest movement against the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad began. The movement, inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings across the region, has turned into an insurgency that the United Nations says has killed thousands, felled by the government crackdown and almost daily scenes of urban warfare. The regime, which denies the contestation is widespread, says opposition fighters are terrorists backed by foreign powers. — AFP

medicine and blood were running low in field hospitals, some established in mosques, and that advancing government forces were carrying out mass arrests. The Damascus suburbs have seen large demonstrations demanding the removal of Assad, a member of the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam that has dominated the mostly Sunni Muslim country for the last five decades. Iran, long Syria’s key ally, said Assad must be given time to implement reforms. Tehran at first wholeheartedly supported Assad’s hardline stance against the popular protests. It has since qualified its backing, but it condemns what it calls foreign interference in the affairs of its main Arab ally. — Reuters

US urges Egypt to lift travel ban on Americans WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta urged Egypt’s military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi to lift a travel ban on Americans working for pro-democracy groups, the Pentagon said yesterday. Meanwhile, State Department officials told AFP that a ‘handful of US citizens’ have taken shelter at the US embassy in Cairo while awaiting Egyptís permission to depart the country. In weekend telephone call to Tantawi, Panetta asked Tantawi to “take steps to lift the travel ban on American citizens wishing to leave Egypt,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement. Panetta also “expressed concern over restrictions placed on NGOs operating in Egypt,” Little added. The Egyptian authorities have banned a number of US citizens working for US-funded pro-democracy non-government organizations, including the International Republican Institute, from leaving Egypt. The ban has further strained US-Egyptian ties after Cairo prosecutors last month stormed the offices of the IRI, National Democratic Institute and Freedom House as part of a probe into allegations of illegal funding from abroad. The State Department, which said four or five have been banned from leaving, has urged the Egyptian authorities to lift the restriction immediately. But there was no sign the Egyptians were moving to lift the restrictions as US officials said a number of US staff from the NGOs took shelter in the US embassy in Cairo. “We can confirm that a handful of US citizens have opted to stay in the embassy compound in Cairo while waiting for permission to depart Egypt,” a US State Department official told AFP on the condition of anonymity. Meanwhile, a high-ranking Egyptian military delegation has arrived for talks with officials from the Pentagon, the State Department and Congress, a US defense department official said on condition of anonymity. — AFP




Jury finds Afghan family guilty in honor killings Cold-blooded, shameful murders: Judge

ONTARIO: Mohammad Shafia, centre, Tooba Yahya, right, and Hamed Shafia, left, arrive at the Frontenac County courthouse in Kingston, Ontario, Sunday. —AP

Kidnapped Mexico ambassador released CARACAS: Mexico’s envoy in Caracas was briefly seized yesterday in the latest high-profile kidnapping in Venezuela, where violent crime is routinely listed as citizens’ No 1 worry, diplomats and local media said. In the classic style of “express” kidnappings that are rife in Venezuela, ambassador Carlos Pujalte was taken in the early hours in his car then released in a Caracas slum before dawn, colleagues in the diplomatic community said. “We’re so happy he was safe, I’ve been up following the case all night,” said a senior European diplomat, whose own security had been increased in recent months. Officials at Venezuela’s interior ministry did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation of the incident. The government has been slow to release details of other kidnappings of diplomats

of late. Senior diplomats from Chile and Belarus have been briefly taken in similar incidents, according to diplomatic sources Robbery was the assumed motive. Late last year, Major League Baseball player Wilson Ramos, a catcher for the Washington Nationals, was also kidnapped for two days during a visit home, before being released during a raid by security forces on a mountain hideout. Crime is arguably the top issue for voters in the run-up to an October presidential election. Kidnappings, armed robberies and murders are common in Venezuela, an OPEC member nation with enormous oil wealth alongside widespread poverty. Police are often involved, and murder rates make Caracas one of the most dangerous cities in the world, ranking with some war-zones. —Reuters

US Marine in hazing suicide case goes to trial KANEOHE BAY: A US Marine accused of hazing a colleague who committed suicide at their remote outpost in Afghanistan is appearing in court after agreeing to a plea bargain. Lance Cpl. Jacob D. Jacoby was referred to a general court-martial in October on charges that he assaulted, threatened, and humiliated Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, who killed himself on April 3. Jacoby will appear yesterday before a special court martial - a venue for less serious crimes than a general court-martial- at a Marine base in Hawaii after reaching a plea agreement. The Marines didn’t release details of the agreement ahead of the trial. Two other Marines have also been accused of hazing Lew, 21, a nephew of US Rep Judy Chu of California, before Lew shot himself with his machine gun. Sgt Benjamin Johns and Lance Cpl Carlos Orozco III will have separate courts-martial at later dates. In a separate but similar case, eight US soldiers are charged in the death of a 19-year-old private, Danny Chen, who shot himself on Oct. 3 after what investigators say were weeks of physical abuse, humiliation and racial slurs. At an Article 32 hearing - the equivalent

of a grand jury hearing in the civilian world - in September, Marines testified Lew had repeatedly fallen asleep while he was on duty. Squad members and officers had tried referring him up the chain of command for discipline and taking him off patrols for more rest. But on Lew’s last night, those efforts escalated, according to charges outlined at the hearing. The Marines were accused of punching and kicking him, making him do push-ups and pouring sand in his face. Most of the questions raised at the hearing focused on whether the fellow Marines intended to humiliate and harm Lew or discipline him so he would stop falling asleep while on duty. Before Lew shot himself, he scrawled a note on his arm: “May hate me now, but in the long run this was the right choice I’m sorry my mom deserves the truth.” A Marine commander in retrospect speculated Lew may have been falling asleep because he suffered from depression or some other medical condition. Chu has issued a statement saying no one deserves being “hazed and tortured” like her nephew was, and the military justice system must hold “any wrongdoers accountable.”— AP

Brazil’s Rousseff due in Cuba, Haiti HAVANA: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff arrived in Cuba yesterday for a two-day visit on issues of economic cooperation. Rousseff, a former leftist guerrilla who heads Latin America’s biggest economy, will also travel to Haiti on her trip, which aims to continue the regional diplomatic efforts of her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva. In Cuba, Rousseff hopes to “increase dialogue and deepen the bilateral cooperation, with an emphasis on the economic agenda,” the Foreign Ministry said ahead of the trip. There was no mention of any discussion on human rights, always a thorny issue in regard to Cuba. Rousseff was due to arrive in Havana at 4:45 pm local time (2145 GMT) and was to meet President Raul Castro at the Revolution Palace. Although not on the official program, a meeting with former president Fidel

Castro, 85, was seen as likely, in view of the Cuban revolutionary leader’s close relations with Lula and the shared history of Rousseff and Fidel Castro as guerrillas. The two nations had record economic exchanges in 2011 of $642 million, making Brazil the second largest Latin American trading partner for Cuba, after Venezuela. This included $550 million in Brazilian exports to the island, making an unbalanced trade situation which both sides want to change. Some observers say Rousseff may also meet with Cuban dissidents, although that was not part of the official agenda. Brazil has granted a visa to Cuban opposition blogger Yoani Sanchez, but she must obtain permission to leave the island, which has been denied. Rousseff departs Cuba tomorrow for Haiti, where Brazil leads a mission of UN peacekeepers. —AFP

KINGSTON: A jury on Sunday found three members of an Afghan family guilty of killing three teenage sisters and another woman in what the judge described as “cold-blooded, shameful murders” resulting from a “twisted concept of honor,” ending a case that shocked and riveted Canadians. Prosecutors said the defendants allegedly killed the three teenage sisters because they dishonored the family by defying its disciplinarian rules on dress, dating, socializing and using the Internet. The jury took 15 hours to find Mohammad Shafia, 58; his wife Tooba Yahya, 42; and their son Hamed, 21, each guilty of four counts of first-degree murder. First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. After the verdict was read, the three defendants again declared their innocence in the killings of sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar 17, and Geeti, 13, as well as Rona Amir Mohammad, 52, Shafia’s childless first wife in a polygamous marriage. Their bodies were found June 30, 2009, in a car submerged in a canal in Kingston, Ontario, where the family had stopped for the night on their way home to Montreal from Niagara Falls, Ontario. The prosecution alleged it was a case of premeditated murder, staged to look like an accident after it was carried out. Prosecutors said the defendants drowned their victims elsewhere on the site, placed their bodies in the car and pushed it into the canal.

Ontario Superior Court Judge Robert Maranger said the evidence clearly supported the conviction. “It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable, more honorless crime,” Maranger said. “The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your completely twisted concept of honor ... that has absolutely no place in any civilized society.” In a statement following the verdict, Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson called honor killings a practice that is “barbaric and unacceptable in Canada.” Defense lawyers said the deaths were accidental. They said the Nissan car accidentally plunged into the canal after the eldest daughter, Zainab, took it for a joy ride with her sisters and her father’s first wife. Hamed said he watched the accident, although he didn’t call police from the scene. After the jury returned the verdicts, Mohammad Shafia, speaking through a translator, said, “We are not criminal, we are not murderer, we didn’t commit the murder and this is unjust.” His weeping wife, Tooba, also declared the verdict unjust, saying, “I am not a murderer, and I am a mother, a mother.” Their son, Hamed, speaking in English said, “I did not drown my sisters anywhere.” Hamed’s lawyer, Patrick McCann, said he was disappointed with the verdict, but said his client will appeal and he believes the other two defendants will as well. But prosecutor Gerard Laarhuis

welcomed the verdict. “This jury found that four strong, vivacious and freedom-loving women were murdered by their own family in the most troubling of circumstances,” Laarhuis said outside court. “This verdict sends a very clear message about our Canadian values and the core principles in a free and democratic society that all Canadians enjoy and even visitors to Canada enjoy,” he said to cheers of approval from onlookers. The family had left Afghanistan in 1992 and lived in Pakistan, Australia and Dubai before settling in Canada in 2007. Shafia, a wealthy businessman, married Yahya because his first wife could not have children. Shafia’s first wife was living with him and his second wife. The polygamous relationship, if revealed, could have resulted in their deportation. The prosecution painted a picture of a household controlled by a domineering Shafia, with Hamed keeping his sisters in line and doling out discipline when his father was away on frequent business trips to Dubai. The months leading up to the deaths were not happy ones in the Shafia household, according to evidence presented at trial. Zainab, the oldest daughter, was forbidden to attend school for a year because she had a young Pakistani-Canadian boyfriend, and she fled to a shelter, terrified of her father, the court was told. The prosecution said her parents found condoms in Sahar’s room as well as photos of her

wearing short skirts and hugging her Christian boyfriend, a relationship she had kept secret. Geeti was becoming almost impossible to control: skipping school, failing classes, being sent home for wearing revealing clothes and stealing, while declaring to authority figures that she wanted to be placed in foster care, according to the prosecution. Shafia’s first wife wrote in a diary that her husband beat her and “made life a torture,” while his second wife called her a servant. The prosecution presented wire taps and mobile phone records from the Shafia family in court to support their honor killing allegation. The wiretaps, which capture Shafia spewing vitriol about his dead daughters, calling them treacherous and whores and invoking the devil to defecate on their graves, were a focal point of the trial. “There can be no betrayal, no treachery, no violation more than this,” Shafia said on one recording. “Even if they hoist me up onto the gallows ... nothing is more dear to me than my honor.” Defense lawyers argued that at no point in the intercepts do the accused say they drowned the victims. Shafia’s lawyer, Peter Kemp, said after the verdicts that he believes the comments his client made on the wiretaps may have weighed more heavily on the jury’s minds than the physical evidence in the case. “He wasn’t convicted for what he did,” Kemp said. “He was convicted for what he said.” —AP



S Sudan accuses Khartoum after 40 killed in cattle raid JUBA: South Sudan yesterday accused its former foes in the Khartoum government of arming gunmen who killed over 40 people in a cattle raid, as the UN warned tensions between the two sides risk regional peace. “A militia group from Unity state penetrated into Warrap state... and attacked people in a cattle camp, killing over 40,” said Interior Minister Alison Manani Magaya, the latest wave of violence in the world’s newest nation. “This militia group was armed by the government of Khartoum,” he added. But Sudan’s army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad denied the allegations, saying: “We don’t have any connection with this. We never support any armed opposition in South Sudan or any place.” South Sudan

seceded peacefully from Sudan in July after decades of war, but both countries have since repeatedly exchanged allegations that each side backs proxy rebel forces against the other. Oil-rich but grossly impoverished South Sudan was left awash with guns after years of conflict, and brutal tit-for-tat raids by rival ethnic groups to steal cattle from each other are common. UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Sunday that tensions and a furious row over oil between the former enemies has become a major threat to regional peace and security. “The situation in Sudan and South Sudan has reached a critical point. It has become a major threat to peace and security across the region,” Ban told an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital. Key issues

unresolved at independence have escalated into bitter arguments, including a row over pipeline transit fees to transport the landlocked South’s oil to port in the rump state of Sudan. Juba said Sunday it had nearly completed a shutdown of its oil production the fledgling nation’s top revenue source-after it accused Khartoum of stealing $815 million of its oil, and AU-mediated talks stalled. In addition, tensions have been raised by their still undemarcated border, parts of which cut through oil fields. AU leaders yesterday were trying to encourage the rivals to seek a deal on the sidelines of the pan-African bloc’s summit in Addis Ababa. The South’s oil-producing border state of Unity is a base for a number of rebel

groups that Juba claims are backed by Khartoum to destabilise the fledgling nation by attacking civilians and laying landmines. Magaya could not name the specific group responsible for the deadly weekend attacks, but claimed that rebel groups in Unity state were collaborating with one another. “The number of wounded is still not clear, but they took a lot of cattle with them,” he said, added that the gunmen were from the Nuer ethnic group, while those attacked were Dinka. He said government teams had been sent to investigate and that the death toll could rise as local officials “were still counting the bodies.” South Sudan is reeling from an explosion of ethnic violence, notably in Jonglei state, where a militia army of

up to 8,000 armed youths attacked a rival ethnic group earlier this month affecting 120,000 people, according to the United Nations. The attacks were a dramatic escalation of centuries old titfor-tat cattle raids, with aid workers reporting horrific killings, including babies beaten against trees and women hacked by machetes. The United Nations has warned that South Sudan faces massive challenges as the world’s newest nation struggles to support hundreds of thousands of fleeing violence. Last year, over 350,000 people were forced from their homes due to violence, according to UN figures, while since June, South Sudan has also taken in over 80,000 refugees fleeing civil war in the north. —AFP

Fresh attacks on Nigerian police stations kill two Escalating violence blamed on Islamists

KIEV: An Orthodox Christian cathedral in winter landscape in Kiev, Ukraine yesterday. Ukraine’s Emergency Situations Ministry said 18 people died of hypothermia and nearly 500 people sought medical help for frostbites and hypothermia in just three days last week. —AP

Winter cold snap kills 32 in eastern Europe BELGRADE: Heavy snow and a severe cold snap killed at least 32 people across eastern Europe and many areas were under emergency measures yesterday as schools closed down, roads became impassible and power supplies were cut off. As temperatures dropped to around minus 20 Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit), authorities opened emergency shelters and urged people to be careful and remain indoors. Ukraine’s Emergency Situations Ministry said 18 people died of hypothermia in recent days and nearly 500 people sought medical help for frostbites and hypothermia in just three days last week. Temperatures in some regions plunged to minus 16 C (3 F) during the day and minus 23 C (minus 10 F) during the night. Authorities opened 1,500 shelters to provide food and heat. At least 10 people froze to death in Poland since Friday as the cold reached minus 26 C (minus 15 F.) Malgorzata Wozniak, a spokeswoman for Poland’s Interior Ministry, told The Associated Press that elderly people and homeless persons were among the dead and police were checking unheated empty buildings to make sure that homeless people don’t freeze to death. Early yesterday temperatures fell to

minus 26 C (minus 15 F) in southern Poland. Until Friday, Poland has been having a mild winter with little snow and temperatures just below the freezing mark. In central Serbia, three people died and two more were missing and 14 municipalities throughout the country were under emergency plans. Efforts to clear roads of snow were hampered by strong winds and dozens of towns faced power outages. Police said one woman froze to death in a snowstorm in a central village, while two elderly men were found dead, one in the snow outside his home. Further south, emergency crews are searching for two men in their 70s who are feared dead. In neighboring Bulgaria, a 57-year-old man froze to death in a northwestern village and emergency “code orange” was declared in 25 of the country’s 28 districts. In the capital of Sofia, authorities set up rescue spots where hot tea was distributed and placed homeless people in emergency shelters. Strong winds also closed down Bulgaria’s main Black Sea port of Varna. In the Czech capital of Prague, city authorities announced plans to set up tents for the estimated 3,000 homeless people. Freezing temperatures also damaged train tracks, slowing railway traffic. — AP

KANO: Gunmen have attacked two more police stations in Nigeria’s second city of Kano, killing at least two people amid a wave of escalating violence blamed on Islamists. One of the attacks occurred at dawn yesterday, setting off a gun battle with police, residents said. On Sunday night, gunmen stormed another police station near a bus station, leaving two civilians dead. It was not immediately clear who was behind the violence, but Kano, the main northern city in Nigeria, has been targeted in recent weeks by attacks claimed by Islamist group Boko Haram. The violence has included coordinated bombings and shootings on January 20 that left at least 185 people dead-the worst attack yet attributed to the group in Africa’s most populous country. Yesterday’s attack was the second in three days against the police station in the Mandawari neighborhood, underlining the apparent inability of the authorities to halt the violence. “It was crazy. These guys came on motorcycles and opened fire on the police station but they met tough resistance from the police, and it lasted around 20 minutes,” Jamilu Muhammad, who lives across the Mandawari station, told AFP. Kano state police commissioner Ibrahim Idris confirmed the raid but said the gunmen “could not get access to the station,” and were “repelled by officers”. He made no mention of

casualties. “From my house I heard gunshots at exactly 5:50 am coming from around the police station,” said a local journalist who lives in the neighborhood. He said motorcycles were racing up and down his street as the sound of gunfire rang around the police station. The attack occurred during Muslim morning prayers near the palace of the emir of Kano, the most important traditional leader in the city. Dozens of soldiers went on patrol in the neighborhood immediately after the assault but most later left, leaving only a truckload with seven soldiers outside the police station. In Sunday’s attack, a large group of gunmen converged on a police station in the Naibawa district, sparking a shootout with police that lasted more than 30 minutes, residents said. “Two civilians were shot dead in the attack on the Naibawa police station,” Idris said yesterday. He said the gunmen threw an explosive inside the police building, causing damage, but said no officers were hurt. Kano remains under a dusk to dawn curfew following the series of bombings and shootings on January 20 that mainly targeted police stations and killed at least 185 people. Yesterday’s attack was the fourth on police buildings since then. On Saturday, a purpor ted Boko Haram spokesman ruled out dialogue with Nigerian authorities and instead warned it would

Trial for murder of S Africa extremist leader resumes JOHANNESBURG: The trial of two black farmworkers accused of killing South African white supremacist leader Eugene Terre’Blanche resumed yesterday with police grilled over their treatment of a teenaged suspect. Terre’Blanche, co-founder of the white-supremacist Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), was hacked to death inside his farmhouse in April 2010, in a case that revived memories of the darkest days of South Africa’s past. Farm workers Chris Mahlangu, 29, and a 16-year-old boy are charged with murder, housebreaking and robbery. Both have pleaded not guilty. The hearing yesterday, three months after the court last heard the case, centred on whether police had treated the teenaged suspect correctly under the new Child Justice Act, which came into effect shortly before Terre’Blanche’s murder. — AFP

Senegal faces turmoil after Wade election bid approved DAKAR: Senegal was facing further turmoil yesterday after the country’s top constitutional body confirmed it would allow octogenarian President Abdoulaye Wade to stand for a controversial third term. The Constitutional Council upheld its Friday decision to allow the 85-year-old Wade to run in the February 26 election, a ruling that sparked deadly weekend riots in one of Africa’s most stable nations. The council’s five “wise men” said early yesterday that appeals against their initial ruling were “unfounded”. The opposition, united under the June 23 Movement (M23), is expected to announce yesterday plans for a fresh protest after calling for mass resistance to force Wade to back out of the election. “M23 launches final assault,” read the headline of Le Populaire newspaper, while L’As warned: “ Threat to civil peace in Senegal.” L’Observateur evoked a humiliating day for Senegal which saw the country also losing a third match in the African Cup of Nations in the city of Bata in Equatorial Guinea.”The zeros of the Constitutional Council, the zeros of Bata,” it declared. The opposition argues that the constitution allows a president to serve only two consecutive terms, but Wade says the law, which was amended in 2008, does not apply retroactively and cannot take into account his previous two terms. Wade, who first took office in 2000, has dismissed the opposition protests as “temper tantrums”. Senegal’s international music icon Youssou Ndour, whose own plans to stand were rejected by the council, branded its ruling on Wade as “shameful” and the last

spread its attacks to another northern city in Africa’s most populous country. In leaflets distributed around Kano over the weekend, Boko Haram warned residents that it would continue to target the security services in northern Nigeria’s main city. Kano had previously escaped the worst of Boko Haram’s violence, and the brazen January 20 attacks highlighted the group’s renewed strength. The sect has been blamed for the deaths of more than 900 people in roughly 160 separate attacks since July 2009. It has claimed attacks that have killed more than 200 people since the start of 2012. In a media interview last week, President Goodluck Jonathan said the group must make clear demands as a basis for dialogue, and calls have grown for talks to end the violence. But Jonathan’s call was “not sincere,” self-declared Boko Haram spokesman Abul Qaqa told journalists by telephone in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, the group’s base. He warned that if members of the group being held by police in the northwestern city of Sokoto were not released, the group would launch attacks similar to those staged in Kano. Boko Haram’s intensified campaign of violence has shaken Africa’s top oil producer and most populous nation, which is divided between a mainly Muslim north and mainly Christian south. —AFP

step in a “constitutional coup d’etat”. “Senegal is ashamed. Senegal is bruised,” said the singer. “We have been betrayed by this shameful decision” said Ndour, urging African nations and the international community to protest. M23 leader Amath Dansokho, speaking to private radio station RFM, described the council, which was appointed by Wade himself, as a “corrupted” body. Aside from Wade, the Council approved 13 other candidates including three ex-prime ministers-Idrissa Seck, Macky

TEHRAN: This Tuesday June 27, 2006 file photo shows Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, as he waves to photographers during a farewell ceremony in Tehran. —AP

Sall and Moustapha Niasse-and main opposition leader Ousmane Tanor Dieng. The opposition had warned Sunday that “the time for talking is over”. “This is an appeal, a solemn, strong and resolute appeal to engage in resistance. We are ready for all sacrifices,” said Amadou Gueye, one of the movement’s leaders. Another anti-Wade movement formed by a group of rappers and calling itself “Y’en a Marre” (We’re Fed Up), has also called for nationwide mobilization. Senegal, often hailed for its vibrant democracy, was rocked by riots on Friday night when a rally erupted in anger at the council ruling. A policeman was killed when youths engaged in running battles with police, torched cars and shops, erected barricades and burned tyres on Dakar’s main roads. Sall blamed the president for the violence and urged people to “make every effort to ensure that Wade retracts his candidacy”. When Wade was elected in 2000 for a sevenyear mandate, there was no limit on the number of presidential terms. He was reelected in 2007 after introducing a two-term limit and reducing the mandate to five years. But Wade again revised the constitution the following year, reverting to a sevenyear mandate, renewable once. On Sunday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, speaking at an African Union summit in Ethiopia, called on the continent’s leaders to respect democracy, although he did not specifically mention Senegal. The Arab Spring revolutions that swept north Africa last year were “a reminder that leaders must listen to their people”, he said. — AFP

ADDIS ABABA: In this photo released by China’s Xinhua News Agency, the 18th African Union (AU) Summit opens at the African Union Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sunday. —AP

AU vote for commission chief ends in deadlock ADDIS ABABA: A vote by African leaders for the head of their bloc’s influential executive ended in deadlock yesterday between Gabon’s Jean Ping, seeking a new term, and challenger Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa. Intense campaigns had preceded the vote and dominated the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, where leaders gathered to discuss broadening trade within Africa as well as tackling conflict hot spots. “We went for an election and none of the two candidates emerged as a winner,” Zambian President Michael Sata said. “The next elections will be held in June.” Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe also confirmed to reporters that neither of the candidates won the vote. The deputy AU commission chief, Erastus Mwencha from Kenya, will serve as the executive council’s chair until the fresh polls at the next summit. AU sources said the election was tight, with Ping holding a slender lead in three rounds of voting in which neither candidate obtained the required two-thirds majority. Dlamini-Zuma was then forced under AU rules to pull out, leaving Ping to face a fourth round on his own, but he still failed to muster the necessary votes in his support, sources said. South African delegates broke into song and dance after the stalemate vote conducted at the two-day summit in the new ultramodern AU headquarters built by the Chinese and unveiled at the weekend. In a pre-vote pledge, Dlamini-Zuma

said that if elected she would “spare no effort in building on the work of those African women and men who want to see an African Union that is a formidable force striving for a united, free, truly independent, better Africa.” No woman has held the post to which Ping was elected in 2008. Mwencha, AU Commission deputy chairman for the past four years, is a Kenyan economist who has spent most of his long career promoting the cause of regional integration and trade. On Sunday, the 54-member African Union elected Benin’s President Thomas Boni Yayi as their new chairman, a rotating post held for one year. On the sidelines of the summit, protracted disputes between South Sudan and Sudan brought a warning from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Sunday that they threatened regional security. Ban said both Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir lacked the “political will” to tackle border and oil disputes since the South seceded last July. “The situation in Sudan and South Sudan has reached a critical point, it has become a major threat to peace and security across the region,” Ban told reporters. Khartoum and Juba are at loggerheads over pipeline transit fees to transpor t the South’s oil to por t in Sudan, while yesterday the South accused its former ruler of arming gunmen who killed over 40 people in a cattle raid. — AFP



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Japan population seen falling 30 pct by 2060 TOKYO: Japan’s population is expected to fall by 30 percent to below 90 million by 2060, with two out of every five people 65 or older, a government agency said yesterday, underlining the financial burden looming over the fast-ageing society. The grim forecast underscores the failure of efforts to encourage people to have more babies and will add urgency to efforts on tax and social security reform, and could also stir debate on immigration. By 2060, the number of people aged 14 or younger is forecast to be less than 8 million while there will be nearly 35 million people aged 65 or older. The population is aging at the fastest pace among developed countries because of a low birthrate and long life expectancy. “The

trend of the ageing society will continue and it is hard to expect the birth rate to rise significantly,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told a news conference. “Thus, comprehensive tax and social security reform is needed.” Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has vowed to double a 5 percent sales tax in two stages by October 2015 to help fund bulging social security costs, which are rising by 1 trillion yen ($13 billion) a year and aggravating a public debt already twice the size of Japan’s $5 trillion economy. But the biggest opposition party, although agreeing on the need for a tax increase, is threatening to block legislation in parliament’s upper house. The opposition argues that the ruling Democrats’ plan to revamp public pen-

sions would require a higher levy than planned. The population is expected to fall below 100 million in 2048 and dip further to 86.74 million by 2060, from 128.06 million in 2010, according to a projection by a research arm of the Health Ministry. By 2060, the number of people aged 14 or younger is forecast to fall by more than half, to 7.91 million. By contrast, the number aged 65 or older is seen rising 18 percent to 34.64 million, accounting for 39.9 percent of the population, compared with 23.0 percent in 2010. The pace of aging has slowed somewhat from the previous estimate made in 2006 but the overall trend has not changed. The fertility rate, the expected number of children born per couple, is

expected to reach 1.35 in 2060 from 1.39 in 2010, below the 2.08 needed to keep the population from shrinking and compared with a global rate of about 2.5. Some experts have called for the liberalisation of immigration rules but many Japanese are cautious about opening the door to foreigners who, many believe, have trouble assimilating in a society where homogeneity has been seen as a source of stability. Hidenori Suezawa, chief strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities, said the government needed to tackle the sluggish birth rate to help fix the nation’s tattered finances and social security system. “It is necessary to reaffirm that policies to address the low birth rate are an urgent and vital issue,” he said in a note. Japan

has been trying for at least two decades to raise the birth rate without success and critics say making it easier for women to work and raise children at the same time is key. The ruling Democrats promised to beef up childcare allowances when it took power for the first time in 2009 but it has had to revise that pledge because of a worsening fiscal problem. The population estimate also showed that average life expectancy will rise by more than four years in 2060, to 84.19 for men and 90.93 for women. The population projection is compiled roughly every five years based on data including a census and demographic statistics and serves as a reference for government social security policy. —Reuters

China boosts police presence in Xinjiang Officers dispatched to combat religious extremism BEIJING : Thousands of additional police officers are being dispatched to combat religious extremism and other security concerns in China’s volatile, heavily

the migrant population and cracking down on illegal religious activities,” it said. The officers will be joined in their tasks by security guards and local militia, who are

native Uighurs and Han Chinese in the regional capital, Urumqi, according to the government. Dozens have been killed or wounded in recent months, and

XINJIANG: In this Aug. 31, 2011 file photo, security officers patrol on a street during the ChinaEurasia Expo in Urumqi, in northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. —AP Muslim northwestern region of Xinjiang, state media reported yesterday. Officials plan to recruit 8,000 officers to ensure every village in Xinjiang has at least one on patrol, the Xinhua News Agency said. Their primary tasks will be “security patrols, management of

typically unarmed, Xinhua said. The beefing up of the police force is a sign of Beijing’s concern over unrest in Xinjiang, where long-simmering resentment against Chinese rule boiled over in 2009, when nearly 200 people were killed in fighting between

authorities have increasingly relied on overwhelming force and heavyhanded policing to control the situation. China has blamed overseas activists for what it described as organized terrorist attacks, specifically Pakistan-based militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Violence has

also worsened in Tibetan areas to the south, following the selfimmolations of Buddhist monks, nuns and former clergy. Police have fired into crowds of protesters, killing and wounding dozens, while barring outsiders from traveling to the area. Xinjiang regional spokeswoman Hou Hanmin confirmed to The Associated Press that the 8,000 officers were being recruited under a “one village, one officer” campaign. She said their main job would be to improve public services. The deployment also appears aimed at avoiding a Xinjiang crisis during a year that will see the start of a generational leadership transition in Beijing. Leading Xinjiang security official Xiong Xuanguo pledged earlier this month to strictly guard against “violent terrorism” and create a “harmonious social environment” ahead of the ruling Communist Party’s national congress due this fall, an event held once every five years. “Local authorities must further improve their capabilities for maintaining social stability and amplify the crackdown on religious extremist activities,” Xiong said. As with Tibetans, Xinjiang’s Uighurs have been angered by restrictions on cultural and religious life, as well as an influx of Han migrants they feel has left them economically marginalized in their own homelands.—AP

N Korea’s young leader gets rock star treatment SEOUL: North Korea’s young new leader gets rock star treatment when he visits his troops - just as his father did. But while the late Kim Jong Il mostly stayed aloof in dark shades, his son holds hands and hugs his soldiers. Kim Jong Un seems to want to bond with his country’s people. The style harkens back to Kim Il Sung, his grandfather and revered founder of the country and ruling dynasty, and may reflect an attempt to turn a corner on the periods of hardship and famine under Kim Jong Il, analysts say. Kim Il Sung’s image as a daring young general fighting Japanese colonial troops is powerfully engraved in the minds of North Koreans. Cheers, applause and calls of “Hurrah!” greet Kim Jong Un as he examines the heating systems of soldiers’ quarters, the pressure of their water faucets, the books stacked in their libraries - even the taste of their food. The North Korean state media reports and video footage of such “guidance visits” provide rare windows into the personalities of North Korea’s leaders for outsiders and for the country’s people alike. Few North Koreans, for instance, even knew what the elder Kim’s voice sounded like, analysts say, despite his ruling for 17 years until his death Dec 17.

In visits made so far by Kim Jong Un, believed to be in his late 20s, North Korea specialists have detected more warmth in his approach than the dour tours made in recent years by Kim Jong Il. The younger Kim may be trying to emulate Kim Il Sung and move away from his father, who ruled during a famine in the midto late-1990s that killed hundreds of thousands, said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea professor at Seoul’s Dongguk University. North Korea also has faced international condemnation and sanctions for its pursuit of nuclear weapons. “He’ll try to look comfortable among the masses. He’ll try to form an intimacy with the people, perhaps more than his father did,” Koh said. Imitating Kim Il Sung is a “positive for Kim Jong Un, because memories of his father Kim Jong Il aren’t very good among ordinary people,” Koh said. “People fondly remember the days of Kim Il Sung.” Kim Il Sung often was pictured surrounded by children, and Kim Jong Un resurrected that image during a recent visit to the Mangyongdae Revolutionary School. As children in military uniforms cheered and clapped, a documentary on state TV showed Kim embracing one child’s face with his hands. During lunch, Kim patted stu-

NORTH KOREA: In this undated file photo released by the Korean Central News Agency and distributed in Tokyo by the Korea News Service on Jan. 21, 2012, military personnel clap as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, unseen, visits the Korean People’s Army (KPA) Unit 3870 at an undisclosed location in North Korea. —AP

dents in encouragement and watched with a grin as two women ladled out soup for students; he poured a drop of sauce on his thumb so he could taste it. His main emphasis, however, has been on military posts - with a half dozen such visits since the New Year. They seek to show citizens that their new leader is firmly in command of the country’s most important institution, its 1.2 million-strong military, and that he is loved and respected by young troops and elderly generals alike. While Kim Jong Il had two decades to prepare for leadership, Kim Jong Un was only publicly unveiled as heir in 2010, and outside observers have raised doubts about Kim Jong Un’s ability to lead a country locked in a nuclear standoff with its neighbors and Washington and with a history of attacking South Korea. Animosity is still high between the Koreas. Six decades after the Korean War, the peninsula remains in a state of war because the 1950-53 conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea to deter potential North Korean aggression. Bloodshed spiked in 2010 when a South Korean warship exploded in disputed waters, killing 46. South Korea said the North torpedoed the warship; the North denied the allegation. North Korea also attacked a front-line South Korean island, killing four. Kim Jong Un clearly has made attempts to appear active and engaged with his soldiers, and this “helps raise troops’ morale and his profile,” said Kim Yeon-su, a North Korea expert at Korea National Defense University. “North Korea is telling its people that Kim Jong Un is capable of doing all these military activities himself.” Kim Jong Un’s first reported military visit after his father’s death came on New Year’s Day. He appeared at ease, laughing and clapping, pulling officers close to give them words of advice, inspecting bunks and testing water faucets. State television has also played a documentary on Kim Jong Un meant to highlight his military experience, showing him in the cockpit of a tank, galloping by on horseback and poring over documents at night. Despite his youth, Kim Jong Un often plays the part of a solicitous father during his meticulously documented military tours. Wearing a dark overcoat similar to one Kim Il Sung favored as a young man or a light-colored parka like the one Kim Jong Il wore, he exchanges handshakes with cheering soldiers and takes group photos, often holding hands with the officers on either side of him. He asks about the soldiers’ warmth, their eating and sleeping arrangements, listens with apparent enjoyment to their musical performances, observes their “militant spirit of training,” offers guidance to officers and takes “care of the soldiers’ living as their real father would do,” according to state media. He even tastes their bean paste. Associated Press writer Sam Kim contributed to this report from Seoul. —AP

HERAT: In this picture taken on January 29, 2012 Taleban fighters walk with their weapons after they joined Afghan government forces during a ceremony in Herat province. —AFP

Afghanistan to press Pakistan for access to Taleban leaders KABUL: Afghanistan will press Pakistan for access to Taleban leaders during a one-day visit to Kabul by Pakistan’s foreign minister, with Afghan officials hoping to ease cross-border strains and lay the ground for peace negotiations with the insurgents. Hina Rabbani Khar will visit Kabul on Feb 1 to discuss reconciliation and nascent plans for peace talks ahead of a meeting between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taleban in Saudi Arabia in coming weeks. Khar’s trip will mark the first high-level meetings between officials from the countries in months. Pakistan is seen as critical to US efforts to stabilize Afghanistan before foreign combat troops leave in 2014. “We hope it will mark a new phase in the relationship between both countries,” Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai said yesterday. Senior Afghan security sources told Reuters that Afghan officials would use Khar’s visit to press for access to Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taleban captured in Pakistan in 2010, as well as other members of a Taleban council known as the Quetta Shura, after the Pakistani city of Quetta where the leaders are said to be based. Afghan officials want direct access to senior Taleban members and advisers because they are the main decision makers for the insurgency and will be crucial to winning support for the fledgling peace process. Pakistan has consistently denied giving sanctuary to insurgents and denies the existence of any Quetta Shura. Baradar, a close associate of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, had been ranked second to Taleban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar. He was captured in Pakistan’s biggest city of Karachi by Pakistani and US intelligence agents in

February 2010. “When the Pakistan delegation visits here, we will be asking for direct access to the Quetta Shura, or access to Mullah Baradar, who has been in Pakistan custody, as a gesture of good faith,” said a senior Afghan security source. “We want sincere cooperation from Pakistan in regards to peace talks,” said the source, who declined to be identified. Ties between the neighbors were severely damaged after the assassination in Kabul last September of Afghanistan’s main peace negotiator, Burhanuddin Rabbani, by an insurgent messenger carrying a bomb concealed in his turban. Afghanistan accused Pakistan of involvement in the attack and of trying to sabotage negotiations with the Taleban , charges Pakistan denied. Critics accuse Pakistan of using militant groups as proxies in Afghanistan to counter the growing influence of rival India there and of trying to use the proxies to ensure a government in Kabul that is friendly towards Pakistan. Pakistan rejects the allegations and says it wants peace in Afghanistan. Another senior Afghan official said no date had been fixed for talks with the Taleban in the Saudi capital Riyadh, but they were expected to go ahead, despite diplomatic sensitivities around the process. The official rejected reports in Pakistani newspapers that Islamabad could be involved in a process that would run separate to US efforts at kickstarting a peace process with the Taleban in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar. Saudi Arabia, along with Pakistan and the United States, backed Islamist insurgents fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and later became one of only three countries to recognize the Taleban government. Riyadh also has considerable influence in Pakistan because of its economic support and it may be able to influence Pakistan’s Afghanistan policy. —Reuters

Judge to probe deadly French troop ambush in Afghanistan PARIS: A judge will investigate the killing of 10 French soldiers in a 2008 ambush in Afghanistan after their families accused military commanders of negligence, a French appeals court ruled yesterday. The court said investigating judge Frederic Digne could continue his probe, opened last year, after prosecutors had appealed against the investigation. The families filed a civil complaint for “endangering lives” and “failing to prevent a crime” over the ambush, which saw 10 soldiers killed and 21 wounded after Taleban guerrillas ambushed a patrol in Uzbin, east of Kabul. Media reports have quoted classified French and NATO documents that concluded the soldiers were poorly equipped and illorganized. French authorities have denied this. “This is a relief because, through the prosecutor’s office, the state had been doing everything possible for this investigation not to be opened,” said Gilbert Collard, a lawyer for the family of one of the dead soldiers. “We had to fight, but we will finally know how these young soldiers were killed, how they were sacrificed.” Collard said he would call for a number of witnesses to be questioned and for a classified report into the ambush to be made public.

The ambush saw Taleban fighters attack a convoy of about 100 NATO soldiers, mainly French, on patrol in a mountain pass and pin them down with machinegun, sniper and mortar fire. NATO forces managed to regain control of the area after a nine-hour battle and the arrival of reinforcements. Media have quoted both French and NATO reports saying the soldiers lacked ammunition and communication equipment. Reports have also cited a lack of air reconnaissance and surveillance. In their complaint, the families claimed the soldiers suffered from “a clear lack of means” and that “some officers were not up to their mission”. “We have never said that a soldier does not face his possible death when he puts on a uniform,” Collard said. “But we have always said that no one has the right to send soldiers to their death without giving them the means to defend themselves, without giving them the means to escape from a trap created by negligence and by carelessness.” The defence ministry did not react to the court’s ruling yesterday, but has previously raised concerns that the judicial probe would open the door to legal action being taken in other cases of military losses. —AFP



Meerkats huddle together as it rains at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok yesterday. — AP

Road to Assembly IV Continued from Page 1 Former MPs from previous assemblies include Mohammad Al-Khalifa, Mohammad Al-Hatlani, Ahmad AlShuraian and Khudair Al-Enezi. Pro-government ex-MPs Askar Al-Enezi and Saad Al-Khanfour are also key contenders. Almost all the tribes in the constituency held their tribal primary elections. The Al-Mutair tribe, the largest in terms of the number of voters and which had five MPs in the dissolved house, elected four candidates but all former MPs like Barrak, Waalan, Hayef and Buramia boycotted the primaries. The Rashayda tribe, the second

largest which had four ex-MPs, held its tribal primaries and elected four candidates but leading ex-MPs Deqbasi and Muwaizri did not take part in them. The tribes of Enezi, Shimmari and Dhafiri also held their own primaries. Opposition candidates have claimed that certain personalities they did not name have been spending lavishly in the district to prevent their success, but such allegations could not be proved through independent sources. The opposition is banking on the outcome of the fourth constituency results as it hopes to win eight to nine seats out of the 10 available. Leading opposition figures have vehemently campaigned in the district in a bid to win as many seats as possible.

Enraged tribesmen torch Juwaihel’s... Continued from Page 1 The statement held the government directly responsible for not curbing such trends that are endangering the Kuwaiti society, especially by people who are serving their selfish interests at the expense of the interests of Kuwait. The societies also criticized candidates who spread hatred and also voters who elect candidates who are responsible for promoting hatred in the society. “We are at a very dangerous crossroads. Either we shape out a better future or continue to slide towards racism and extremism,” warned the societies. The statement came as many candidates have warned that sectarian and factional tensions were growing fast in Kuwait and intensified during the election campaign. Former liberal MP Abdulrahman Al-Anjari said that Kuwait is passing through a very delicate phase because of the impact of the regional tensions on Kuwait. “We are a small country living in the middle of a rough sea,” said Anjari who warned of the unstable situation in Iraq. “We really need political reforms. This constitution was issued in 1962 and everything has changed since then,” he said. Speaking at an election rally held by former MPs Ali AlDeqbasi and Shuaib Al-Muwaizri, the liberal candidate vowed that if the opposition secures a commanding presence in the next Assembly, they will submit a series of political reform laws. “I believe that if the political situation does not improve in the country, crises will continue to happen,” Anjari warned. With two days of campaigning remaining ahead of Thursday’s election, opposition and pro-government candidates traded accusations about the plans and intentions of each group. Leading ex-Shiite MP Adnan Abdulsamad blasted the opposition, saying it comprises members who are aiming at political gains and not serving the interests of the country. Former pro-government MP Salwa Al-Jassar said she has been a victim of repeated and focused attacks of the opposition and called on voters not to vote for them. But opposition candidates fought back fiercely. Former opposition MP Musallam Al-Barrak warned voters against voting corrupt candidates into the National Assembly and warned that the next Assembly is very important since it will pass key legislations for the next 20 years. Islamist candidate Hamad Al-Matar said that “corrupt media” are making false and unfounded accusations against the opposition and warned voters against being misled. Liberal candidate Abdullah Al-Ahmad said Kuwait is on the verge of a very fierce and a decisive battle between the forces of youth and those of corruption, and those who promote reform and others who accept bribes. He stressed that the youth-led moves are the main reason behind the gains that Kuwait has achieved so far, mainly the resignation of the previous government and the dissolution of the National Assembly. Veteran opposition candidate and former MP Ahmad Al-Saadoun praised HH the Amir for responding to the calls of the youth forces by accepting the resignation of the Cabinet and dissolving the Assembly, which led to defusing tension. The youth groups - buoyed by their success in helping to bring down the previous government and parliament - are playing an active role in the elections to achieve their goals for change. Youths inspired by the Arab Spring held protests that helped topple the former premier, dissolve parliament and set the stage for Thursday’s vote. “We are actively taking part in the election campaign helping around 30 candidates who accept our ideas for comprehensive democratic reform,” said Abdullah AlShallahi, a leading activist with the Fifth Fence youth group. “Our goals go far beyond the election period. We

want fundamental reforms including a constitutional monarchy, reforming the election law and legalizing political parties,” Shallahi said. The Fifth Fence, which brings together activists from various ideologies and sects, was the first such group established after riot police beat a number of MPs at a rally in Dec 2010. Since then, several youth groups like Kafi, Youth for Change, September 16 Youths and others were created and are working in close coordination to press for reform and the fight against corruption. Kuwaiti youths have repeatedly said they are not against the ruling family, in power for more than 250 years, but want radical changes. Youth protests, which started in March, intensified when a major corruption scandal involving 13 former MPs was exposed in late August and after leading opposition figures began actively taking part in their protests. “Youths led the protests after we became incapable of enforcing change,” former Islamist opposition MP and candidate Faisal Al-Mislem said at an election rally on Saturday. “They have restored our hope and Kuwait’s.” At the start of the election campaign, youth activists launched the “Kuwait Charter 2012”, an Internet petition that calls for wide-ranging political and economic reforms. Enthusiastic young speakers have become regular guests at evening election rallies, urging voters to elect reformists and to shun pro-government candidates. Besides using online social networks like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, activists have organized lively town-hall style debates for candidates, Shallahi said. Experts attribute the protest movement in part to impotent economic policies and failure by the government to redistribute $300 billion of oil-generated assets into projects and new jobs. Due to a high rate of population growth, 52 percent of Kuwait’s 1.17 million citizens are below 20 years old and 41 percent are under 15, according to official data. “We don’t have candidates representing us, but we have been campaigning hard for at least six hopefuls and expect four to win,” secretary general of the Youth for Change group, Yahya Al-Dakheel, said. “We are backing those who adopt our goals: an elected government led by someone from outside the ruling family; a constitutional monarchy; and a full parliamentary system,” Dakheel said. Some youth groups are coordinating their campaigns in a bid to be more effective. Islamist candidate and human rights activist Adel Al-Damkhi said the youth activists have become a force to be reckoned with. “Youths now are more powerful than parliament. They have been moving and monitoring mistakes and their reaction will be stronger than anyone can imagine,” Damkhi said at an election meeting. Youth activists however insist their activity is not linked to elections only and say they will return to the streets if the next parliament fails to produce results. “Our move is a continuous process to achieve fundamental reform... We are not optimistic the ruling family and the next government will agree to our demands for change and that’s why we will restart protests,” Dakheel said. “Whether the opposition wins or not, we will resume our street protests if we find that the process of comprehensive reforms has not started,” Shallahi said. In another development, two Islamist candidates in the first constituency announced they have joined forces. Osama Al-Shaheen of the Islamic Constitutional Movement and Mohammad Al-Kandari of the Islamic Salaf Alliance told a joint election rally that they have formed an alliance. The first constituency is witnessing high sectarian tensions, being the most crucial for Shiites as seven of the nine Shiite MPs in the previous Assembly came from this constituency.

woman strangled to death for bearing girl KABUL: An Afghan woman has been strangled to death, apparently by her husband, who was upset that she gave birth to a second daughter rather than the son he had hoped for, police said yesterday. It was the latest in a series of grisly examples of subjugation of women that have made headlines in Afghanistan in the past few months - including a 15year-old tortured and forced into prostitution by in-laws and a female rape victim who was imprisoned for adultery. The episodes have raised the question of what will happen to the push for women’s rights in Afghanistan as the international presence here shrinks along with the military drawdown. NATO forces are scheduled to pull out by the end of 2014. In the 10 years since the ouster of the Taleban, great strides have been made for women in Afghanistan, with many attending school, working in offices and even sometimes marching in protests. But abuse and repression of women are still common, particularly in rural areas where women are still unlikely to set foot outside of the house without a burqa.

The man in the latest case, Sher Mohammad, fled the Khanabad district in Kunduz province last week, about the time a neighbor found his 22-year-old wife dead in their house, said District Police Chief Sufi Habibullah. Medical examiners whom police brought to check the body said she had been strangled, Habibullah said. The woman, named Estorai, had warned family members that her husband had repeatedly reproached her for giving birth to a daughter rather than a son and had threatened to kill her if it happened again, said Provincial women’s affairs chief Nadira Ghya, who traveled to Khanabad to deal with the case. Estorai gave birth to her second daughter between two and three months ago, Ghya said. Officials did not have a family name for either Sher Mohammad or Estorai. Police took the man’s mother into custody because she appears to have collaborated in a plot to kill her daughter-in-law, Habibullah said. Ghya, who visited the man’s mother in jail, said that she swears that Estorai committed suicide by hanging. Police said they found no rope and no evidence of hanging from the woman’s wounds. — AP

GAINESVILLE: Aerial view of Interstate 75 in Gainesville, Florida where according to Florida Highway Patrol at least 9 people have died as a result of multiple crashes on Sunday involving 4 commercial vehicles and at least 10 passenger vehicles. — AP

Cause sought for deadly Florida highway pileup GAINESVILLE, Florida: Authorities in Florida were trying to determine yesterday what caused a horrific highway pileup where vehicles collided one after another on a dark highway so shrouded in haze and smoke that drivers were blinded. At least 10 were killed in the early Sunday pileup, and another 18 were hospitalized. All lanes of Interstate 75 reopened late Sunday, but authorities closed the highway again early Monday due to poor visibility caused by fog and smoke. “You could hear cars hitting each other. People were crying. People were screaming. It was crazy,” Steven R Camps said. “If I could give you an idea of what it looked like, I would say it looked like the end of the world.” When rescuers first arrived, they could only listen for screams and moans because the poor visibility made it difficult to find victims in wreckage that was strewn for nearly a mile (1.6 kilometers). At least a dozen cars and six tractor-trailer trucks were involved, and some burst into flames. Hours later, twisted, burned-out vehicles were scattered across the pavement, with smoke still rising from the wreckage. Reporters who were allowed to view the site saw bodies still inside a burned-out sports car. One tractor-trailer was burned down to its skeleton. Before Camps hit

the fog bank, a friend who was driving ahead of him in a separate vehicle called to warn of the road conditions. A short time later, Camps said, traffic stopped along the northbound lanes. “You couldn’t see anything. People were pulling off the road,” he said. Camps said he began talking about the road conditions to a man in the car stopped next to him when another vehicle hit that man’s car. The man’s vehicle was crushed under a semi-truck stopped in front of them. Camps said his car was hit twice, but he and another friend were able to jump out. They took cover in the grass on the shoulder of the road. All around them, cars and trucks were on fire, and they could hear explosions as the vehicles burned. “It was happening on both sides of the road, so there was nowhere to go. It blew my mind,” he said. Authorities had not released the names of victims Sunday evening. Yesterday, the Florida Highway Patrol released an accident report showing there was three-way crash just before midnight Saturday, a few hours before the larger crash. Trooper M.J. Todd noted in his report that “there was heavy smoke in the area, causing low visibility.” The highway was closed to traffic a short time later, then reopened. — AP





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Palestinians drag feet on accord By Selim Saheb Ettaba ival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas are delaying implementation of their reconciliation accord, paying lip-service to the deal while each pursues its own agenda, analysts say. Last April, the rivals signed a reconciliation agreement which stipulated the holding of fresh presidential and legislative elections in May 2012 and the quick formation of an interim government of independents in the meantime. The deal also called for a prisoner exchange, removal of restrictions on the distribution of each movement’s newspapers in the other’s territory and the issue of passports to Gaza residents by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority. But the implementation has been painfully slow, with successive rounds of talks at various levels attempting to speed up the process. Hamas last week gave the long-awaited green light for the reopening of offices of the Central Election Commission in its Gaza fiefdom. But the CEC still awaits a decree from Palestinian president and Fatah chief Mahmud Abbas authorizing it to update electoral rolls unchanged since the last election six years ago. The vote saw the Islamist Hamas score a landslide victory, shocking the long dominant Fatah. Their longtime rivalry erupted a year later in the summer of 2007 into bloody fighting that saw Hamas expel Fatah from Gaza. Both sides have stressed their desire to repair the rift, but political scientist Mukhaimer Abu Saada of Gaza’s Al Azhar University said little of the deal appeared to have been implemented. “On political prisoners, we hear that they are close; that the issue of Palestinian passports, newspapers will be settled,” he told AFP. “Every day we hear new promises.” “They each still have their own calculations,” said Omar Shaaban of Palestinian think-tank Palthink in Gaza, suggesting both sides hope to strengthen their positions. “(Abbas) thinks he can get something out of talks with Israel and Hamas relies on the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. They want to wait.” Earlier this month, independent Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghuti, who heads a committee charged with helping implement the deal, warned that it was not being implemented. “Talks have not started on the formation of the government, giving the impression that the deadlines have no value,” he said. Although surveys of voter intentions give Fatah high scores, the movement fears entering a presidential fight with anything less than a cast-iron candidate, according to Mahdi Abdelhadi of the Jerusalem think-tank PASSIA. “Even though Abbas told them, ‘I’m not running,’ they did not believe him and could not find an alternative,” he said. Within Hamas, he said, a gap has opened between the head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, and the leader of the movement in exile in Damascus, Khaled Meshaal. “There is a power struggle between Hamas in Gaza and Damascus,” he said. Meshaal arrived in Jordan on Sunday on his first official visit there since his expulsion in 1999, a trip seen as a turning point in historically difficult relations between Amman and the Islamist movement. Haniya was to leave yesterday for a regional tour that includes a stop in Iran, which radically opposes any compromise with Israel. Hamas, analysts say, wants assurances that it will not undergo a repeat of the past, where despite its election win it found itself widely shunned abroad over its refusal to disavow violence, recognize Israel and commit to agreements signed by Israel and the Fatah-dominated Palestine Liberation Organization. Despite mutual suspicions, Abu Saada said, Fatah and Hamas are ultimately obliged to be partners. “The guarantee is that there will be a political partnership between Fatah and Hamas in any future government,” he said. “This was agreed during the meeting between Mahmud Abbas and Khaled Meshaal in November.” — AFP


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geopolitical diary

Syria, Iran stoke Iraq-Turkey row By Sammy Ketz isagreement on Syria is one underlying cause of the current diplomatic row between Iraq and Turkey, analysts say, but crucial economic ties are likely to prevent a serious escalation. Despite improving relations and rising trade between their two countries in recent years, the rhetoric between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and his Turk ish counterpar t Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become heated in recent weeks as Baghdad grappled with a political crisis that has stoked sectarian tensions. Turkey and Iraq have summoned each other’s ambassadors to protest unfair criticism on both sides. “The war of words between Iraq and Turkey and some kind of escalation are largely related (to) what is going on in Syria,” said Paul Salem, the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. Before the Arab Spring uprisings against dictatorial regimes in the Middle East, Turkey’s policy was one of “zero problem” and “good relations with everyone,” Salem said. But Turkey was forced to choose between the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, which has been tr ying to crush a popular


uprising since March 2011, and the Syrian people. This has caused “trouble with regime allies and friends, which of course include the Maliki government and include Iran, and that is really the reason for the timing of the escalation of words” between Turkey and Iraq, said Salem. Ankara, which has called for Assad to quit, has been at the forefront of international criticism of the Damascus regime’s crackdown on protests and has also become a haven for many Syrian opposition activists. Turkey and Iraq have traded accusations since Erdogan telephoned Maliki on January 10 to discuss the political crisis engulfing Iraq since US troops withdrew from the country on December 18, pitting the Shiite-led government against the main Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc. Iraqi authorities have charged Sunni Vice President Tareq Al-Hashemi with running a death squad and Maliki, a Shiite, said his Sunni deputy Saleh AlMutlak should be sacked after the latter said the premier was “worse than Saddam Hussein.” In response, Hashemi and Mutlak’s Iraqiya bloc has boycotted the cabinet and parliament, and Hashemi is holed up in the autonomous Kurdistan region,

which has so far declined to hand him over. However, Iraqiya announced on Sunday it would end the parliament boycott, somewhat easing the crisis. Erdogan said on Januar y 24th that “Maliki should know that: if you start a conflict in Iraq in the form of sectarian clashes, it will be impossible for us to remain silent.” Maliki responded by saying that “all Iraqis are proud of belonging to their country and no other. Erdogan has provoked all Iraqis with his comments, particularly those he believes he is defending.” Mahjoob Zweiri, a professor of contemporary history and politics of the Middle East at Qatar University, said there are two reasons for the tension. “Turkey believes Maliki’s policies are delaying the stabilization of Iraq by marginalizing a part of the society,” the Sunnis, Zweiri said, adding that Iraq’s support of Assad’s regime is also at odds with Turkey’s position. Salem added: “I don’t think that Iraq and Turkey will go very much further (as) both countries have many interests together.” Trade between the two countries amounted to $12 billion in 2011, and Turkish economy minister Zafer Caglayan has said Ankara wants this to rise to “$20 billion or $30 billion in

2012.” Some blame a tussle between Iran and Turkey for influence in Iraq for the war of words. Like Iran, Iraq is ruled by Shiites, while Turkey is largely Sunni. Syria is ruled by minority Alawites, a branch of Shiism. The Iraq-Turkey crisis is a “struggle for control of Iraq between Iran and Turkey,” said Joseph Bahout, a professor at Sciences Po in Paris and a Middle East specialist. “The previous Turkish-IranianSyrian condominium fell apart because Syria is in the situation that we know and the departure of the Americans (from Iraq) left a void that the two countries (Turkey and Iran) are trying to fill,” he said. “But ultimately, we are heading for a great Sunni-Shiite divide that stretches from Iraq to Lebanon and passes through Syria. The three countries will become a front line that will see conflict between the two main communal forces (Sunni and Shiite) in the region, and in this context Turkey is obliged” to hold its ground, he said. Zweiri said Iran’s criticism of Sunni-ruled Bahrain’s crackdown on Shiite-led demonstrations and support for Assad and Maliki are often perceived as being motivated by sect or religion, but its policies are “in fact motivated by the will to have a real role in the Middle East,” he said. —AFP

Fear drives new front in Afghan talks By Lawrence Bartlett plan by Afghanistan to open a second front in peace talks with the Taleban in Saudi Arabia-separate from US-led negotiations in Qatar-is driven by fear of being sidelined, analysts say. The move could sow confusion in the tentative process that has brought Washington and its Taliban foes to the point of “talking about talks” to end the decade-long war in Afghanistan, they say. “It looks like both Pakistan and Afghanistan have been concerned that they will be outflanked by what’s been happening between the US and the Taleban and it looks like a new front on peace is opening up,” said analyst Kate Clark. “One might think it is good to have everyone talking to each other but I think there is a danger of confusion,” Clark, of the Afghanistan Analysts’ Network, told AFP. “When you have all these different players trying to open up talks with the Taleban it might look to the Taliban like a deliberate ploy, an attempt to divide and rule or to get some advantage.” Just days after it became clear that Taleban negotiators had already begun holding preliminary talks with US officials in Qatar, news of the Afghan plan for separate talks in Saudi Arabia was leaked on Sunday. Confirming plans for the talks, a senior Afghan government official told AFP: “We will always pursue all roads towards peace in Afghanistan, including contacts with the Taleban that are not limited to the Qatar office.” A member of the Taliban’s leadership council, called the Quetta Shura after the Pakistani city, suggested the Pakistan government supported the move.


“The idea that the Taleban should have a point of contact in Saudi is pushed by the Pakistan and Afghan governments,” he told AFP on condition of anonymity. “This is because they think they have been sidelined. They want some control over peace talks.” But it remains far from clear whether the Taleban, which have resisted talks

Gavin Sundwall, said only: “We support an Afghan peace process that involves Afghans talking to Afghans.” He refused further comment. A US-led invasion in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington toppled the Taleban’s hardline Islamist government for sheltering Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Washington now heads a coalition of

HERAT: A Taleban fighter jumps from a police vehicle with his weapon after he joined Afghan government forces during a ceremony in Herat province. Thirty fighters left the Taleban to join government forces in western Afghanistan. — AFP with the Afghan government, or the Saudis, which have conditioned involvement on the Taliban renouncing AlQaeda, would come on board. Asked for reaction to the move, a spokesman for the US embassy in Kabul,

some 130,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan and its moves towards peace talks in Qatar come ahead of a plan to withdraw all combat soldiers by the end of 2014. “It is not surprising that the Afghan government feels a need to

assert its sovereignty by reaching out to others in the region, in the world at large, who might contribute to this process of discussions with the Taleban,” said analyst Candace Rondeaux. “I think it does not bode well that the Afghan government feels so isolated that it cannot even get on the page with the Qatar office discussions and doesn’t feel it can impact the process between the US and the Taleban.” Rondeaux, of the International Crisis Group, said any Pakistani involvement would be clearer when it was known whether it was mainly civilian or military driven. “Without having a sense of actually who is going to show up to these talks it’s too early to say what we can divine from Pakistan’s participation at this stage.” Afghanistan has announced that Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will visit Kabul on Wednesday, marking what government spokesman Janan Mosazai called a “new phase” in cooperation between the two countries. Khar would meet President Hamid Karzai to “discuss the fight against terrorism and Pakistan’s essential support to the peace process in Afghanistan”, he said. The Kabul government has accused Pakistan in the past of supporting the Taleban and sabotaging all efforts to launch peace negotiations. In Islamabad, an official in the foreign ministry told AFP on condition of anonymity that “talks with the Taleban in Saudi Arabia is one of various proposals being viewed by the Pakistani authorities”. “Pakistan wants to play its role in the stability of Afghanistan and is open to all efforts. But we are waiting for the conclusion of Qatar talks and other options, including this, relate to the results of the Qatar dialogue.” — AFP


sp orts Tiger pleased with progress LONDON: Tiger Woods’ joint third-place finish at the Abu Dhabi Championship showed the former world number one was getting closer to regaining his imperious form of old. For the opening three rounds in the desert heat of the Middle East, the 36-year-old American was almost metronomically accurate with his irons and stunningly precise off the tee. Woods’s putter was cold on the first day but from then on he found his range on the greens and by Sunday’s final round, could be backed with near certainty to hole the sixto-eight footers that have been his nemesis for the last two years. The 14-times major champion eventually finished two strokes behind surprise winner Robert Rock of Britain but chose to accentuate the positives rather than highlight the negatives of his week. “I’m pleased at the progress,” Woods told reporters after a closing level-par 72 gave him an 11under total of 277. “Basically, since playing in Australia (at the end of 2011) my strokeplay events have been pretty good. — Reuters

NBA results/standings NBA results and standings on Sunday. Miami 97, Chicago 93; Toronto 94, New Jersey 73; Indiana 106, Orlando 85; Cleveland 88, Boston 87; Dallas 101, San Antonio 100 (OT); LA Lakers 106, Minnesota 101; Atlanta 94, New Orleans 72; LA Clippers 109, Denver 105. (OT denotes overtime win) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT Philadelphia 14 6 .700 Boston 9 10 .474 NY Knicks 7 13 .350 Toronto 7 14 .333 New Jersey 7 14 .333 Central Division Chicago 17 5 .773 13 6 .684 Indiana Milwaukee 8 11 .421 Cleveland 8 11 .421 Detroit 4 17 .190 Southeast Division Miami 15 5 .750 15 6 .714 Atlanta Orlando 12 8 .600 Washington 4 16 .200 Charlotte 3 18 .143 Western Conference Northwest Division Oklahoma City 16 3 .842 14 6 .700 Denver Utah 11 7 .611 Portland 12 8 .600 Minnesota 9 11 .450 Pacific Division LA Clippers 11 6 .647 12 9 .571 LA Lakers Phoenix 7 12 .368 Golden State 6 12 .333 Sacramento 6 14 .300 Southwest Division Dallas 13 8 .619 12 8 .600 Houston San Antonio 12 9 .571 Memphis 10 9 .526 New Orleans 4 16 .200

GB 4.5 7 7.5 7.5 2.5 7.5 7.5 12.5 0.5 3 11 12.5

2.5 4.5 4.5 7.5 1 5 5.5 6.5 0.5 1 2 8.5

Big names missing in All Star Game OTTAWA: More trade show than sporting showcase, the National Hockey League (NHL) All Star game in the current form is designed to be a fun-filled promotional vehicle for the league and the biggest names. But there was a serious shortage of star power on the Scotiabank Place ice on Sunday. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was sidelined with concussion-like symptoms and a significant neck injury and the NHL’s only other marketing kingpin, Washington Capitals sniper Alexander Ovechkin, discarded his All Star invitation after being hit with a threegame suspension. The result was a free-wheeling contest that featured little defense, no penalties, no hitting but plenty of scoring as Team Chara out gunned Team Alfredsson 12-9. New York Rangers winger Marian Gaborik fueled the win with a hat trick in a four-point performance that earned him Most Valuable Player honours as the NHL brought the showcase back to its wintry roots after last year’s All-Star tailgating party in sunny Raleigh. “For us to have this weekend at home was special,” said the Senators’ Jason Spezza, one of four Ottawa players to take part. “The city, the way they have embraced it, everyone has gotten such a warm welcome. “The fans are genuinely thrilled to have everyone around.” For the second consecutive year, the All Star format honored a childhood hockey tradition played out on rinks around the world with the two captains, the Senators’ Daniel Alfredsson and the Boston Bruins’ Zdeno Chara, picking teams from a pool of All Stars. Gimmick or innovation, the format has proven popular but the game has still not found any of the pizzazz associated with NBA’s dunk-fest or Major League Baseball’s mid-season classic, which has a competitive edge with the winner gaining home field advantage for the World Series. Since the first NHL All Star game in 1934, billed as the Ace Bailey benefit game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and a group of All Stars, the NHL has tried to provide the game some relevance. It has tried Stanley Cup champions against All Star teams, pitted the Wales conference against the Campbell conference and later East against West. With the arrival of more foreign players, the NHL briefly tried to capitalize on the North AmericanEuropean rivalry with a North America against the World All Star tilt before switching back to East verses West format. Part of the problem facing the NHL is the physical nature of the game, the league and owners unwilling to risk players health with playoff runs about to start. — Reuters

Coach Klopp extends deal BERLIN: Borussia Dortmund have extended coach Juergen Klopp’s contract by two years to 2016 and have tied sports director Michael Zorc to the club until the same date, the German champions said yesterday. “We are delighted to have extended the contracts of both,” said Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke in a statement. “Both have put in outstanding work in the past few years.” Klopp joined Dortmund in 2008 from Mainz 05 and led the team to their seventh Bundesliga title in 2011 with what was the youngest league-winning team since the top division was established in 1963. Dortmund are level on points with leaders Bayern Munich in the current campaign and are unbeaten in their last 13

league games. “I am lucky to be working for an amazing football club,” said Klopp, whose touchline enthusiasm and celebrations fit well with Dortmund’s football-crazy supporters who average 80,000 at home games - the second-highest crowd average in Europe behind Barcelona. “We know to appreciate the fact that Dortmund is showing us this long-term trust,” said the 44year-old former striker. A string of Dortmund players, who got first-team action as teenagers under Klopp, have graduated to the German national team in the past two seasons. Among them are defenders Mats Hummesl and Marcel Schmelzer and midfielders Sven Bender, Mario Goetze and Kevin Grosskreutz. —Reuters

India champion fined NEW DELHI: A wild, top-of-the-table celebration is set to cost the new Indian table tennis champion A. Amalraj a quarter of his winner’s purse, the national federation has said in a statement. Pitted against six-time national champion Achanta Sharath Kamal in the final of the men’s event at the 73rd Senior National and Inter-State Table Tennis Championships on Sunday, Amalraj had a difficult job at hand. The 25-year-old paddler conjured up a special performance though to eke out an 11-8, 11-8, 12-10, 9-11, 7-11, 11-8 victory before bursting into a bizarre celebration in the north Indian city of Lucknow. Amalraj, hopeful of qualifying for the London Olympics later this year, first leapt on to the table and hurled his bat before pumping his fists like a man possessed. The umpire first showed him the yellow card but Amalraj did not care and went merrily around the court, inviting a red card. He also forgot to shake hands with his opponent until his coach reminded him. — Reuters

Heat stifle Bulls in Miami MIAMI: LeBron James scored 35 points and reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose wasted two chances in the final 23 seconds as the Miami Heat escaped with a 97-93 win Sunday over the Chicago Bulls. Chris Bosh had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat, who never trailed - but this win in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals was not easy. Dwyane Wade added 15 points for Miami. Rose scored 34 points for the Bulls, but missed a pair of foul shots that would have given Chicago the lead with 22.7 seconds left. He had made all 28 of his free throws in the fourth quarter this season. Rose also had a shot to tie in the final seconds, but his short jumper bounced off the rim. Bosh sealed it with two free throws with 0.1 seconds left for Miami. Mavericks 101, Spurs 100 At Dallas, Jason Terry scored a seasonhigh 34 points, including four in the last 42 seconds of overtime, as Dallas rebounded after blowing an 18-point lead against San Antonio. Terry put the Mavericks back in the lead to stay when he took a pass from Dirk Nowitzki for a 12-foot baseline jumper with 42 seconds left. After Shawn Marion stole the ball from Gary Neal, Terry hit two free throws with 17 seconds left to make it 101-98. Neal, who finished with 19 points, then drove for a layup and was fouled by Marion. But Neal missed a potential tying free throw that was rebounded by Ian Mahinmi, who missed two free throws. Carter had 21 points, his most with the Mavericks. Nowitzki, playing for the first time after a four-game hiatus to strengthen his sore right knee and do conditioning work, had 10 points on 5of-14 shooting with 13 rebounds. Cavaliers 88, Celtics 87 At Boston, Kyrie Ir ving scored 23 points, sinking a layup with 2.6 seconds left as Cleveland scored the last 12 points of the game to beat Boston. Anderson Varejao had 18 points and nine rebounds for Cleveland, which had lost five of six. Ray Allen returned from an ankle injury and scored 22 points, making 4 of 6 from 3-point range. But he missed a jumper from the left corner when Boston still held a one-point lead on its secondto-last possession. Paul Pierce scored 18 points with six rebounds and five assists

for the Celtics, who had won four in a row. Clippers 109, Nuggets 105 At Denver, Chauncey Billups’ homecoming couldn’t have gone better as he scored a season-high 32 points and drew a crucial foul in the waning seconds to help seal Los Angeles’ victory that ended Denver’s six-game winning streak. It was Billups’ first game at the Pepsi

The Pacers snapped a six-game losing streak to the Magic and avoided losing consecutive games for the first time this season. Indiana had a 16-2 edge in secondchance points and got 42 points from its bench. The Pacers also went 8 for 17 from 3-point range. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 24 points and 13 rebounds, but was a dismal 4 for 15 from the free throw line.

Hawks 94, Hornets 72 At New Orleans, Jeff Teague equaled a career high with 24 points despite playing on a sore left ankle as Atlanta beat New Orleans. Willie Green added 16 points and Marvin Williams 14 for Atlanta, which won for the fourth time in five games and handed the struggling Hornets their most lopsided loss of the season. The Hawks broke the game open with a 23-4 run during the last half of the

LOS ANGELES: Clippers guard Chauncey Billups (1) drives past Denver Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo (6) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game. —AP Center since the Nuggets included him in the Carmelo Anthony blockbuster trade nearly a year ago. Those cheers turned to groans when Billups scored a dozen points in the first quarter and swished a trio of 3-pointers in the third. But he saved his best play for the fourth quarter. Chris Paul finished with 25 points, and Blake Griffin added 17. Pacers 106, Magic 85 At Orlando, Florida, Danny Granger scored 24 points, and David West and George Hill each had 16 as Indiana ran past Orlando.

Lakers 106, T’wolves 101 At Minneapolis, Kobe Bryant had 35 points and 14 rebounds, and Pau Gasol scored 28 to give Los Angeles a muchneeded road victory over Minnesota. Andrew Bynum added 21 points for the Lakers, who won for the second time in nine road games this season. They led by 18 in the third quarter, then withstood a furious Timberwolves charge to hang on for their second victory in six games. Kevin Love had 33 points and 13 rebounds and Michael Beasley added 18 points and 12 boards for the Wolves, who lost to the Lakers for the 16th straight time.

third quarter, while New Orleans was in the midst of missing 12 straight shots. Emeka Okafor scored 13 points for New Orleans, which has lost 16 of 18. Raptors 94, Nets 73 At Newark, New Jersey, DeMar DeRozan scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half to lead Toronto over New Jersey. With injuries playing a role in their 7-14 start, the Raptors received a huge lift from DeRozan. He made eight of 12 shots from the field and 11 of 16 free throws. Jerryd Bayless finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. Deron Williams scored 24 for the Nets. —AP

The Gulf Bank team

Ahli United Bank

Gulf Bank win Bowling Triples KUWAIT: Gulf Bank were recently crowned champion of the triples competition in the KBC Bowling Championship, after finishing first ahead of the Ahli United Bank and Ahli Bank.

Meanwhile, the Kuwait Finance House remains on top of the KBC Football League standings with 19 points, followed by the Ahli Bank with 16, the Ahli United Bank with 14 and the National Bank of Kuwait with 12. Al Ahli Bank team




Marshall’s TD catches lifts AFC in Pro Bowl HONOLULU: Brandon Marshall caught six passes for 176 yards and a Pro Bowl-record four touchdowns, and the AFC used a second-half surge to beat the NFC 5941 on Sunday. The Miami Dolphins wide receiver had a touchdown catch in each quarter, including an early

was Marshall’s day. He hauled in a deflected, go-ahead 47-yard TD pass from Andy Dalton, while on his back, to give the AFC a 38-35 lead late in the third quarter. It was Marshall’s third TD catch of the game, tying Jimmy Smith’s Pro Bowl record set in 2004. Marshall, making his third Pro

first to feature two rookie signal callers. While Dalton looked composed, Newton played horribly - struggling to move the ball, stay in the pocket and find his targets, which drew some boos from the sunsplashed, sellout crowd of 48,423. Newton finished 9 of 27 for 186

HONOLULU: New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (rear) of the NFC, can’t pull in a catch over San Diego Chargers free safety Eric Weddle, of the AFC, during the third quarter of the NFL Pro Bowl football game. —AP 74-yarder and a 3-yarder in the fourth, in a game filled with highlight-reel catches. He was selected the game’s MVP and his four TD catches set a Pro Bowl record. The 59 points by the AFC set a Pro Bowl mark, and the 100 points scored by the two teams combined was the second highest, a touchdown shy of the 107 scored in 2004. But it was clear from the start it

Bowl appearance, then nabbed a 3-yard TD pass from Dalton that gave the AFC a 52-35 lead with 8:25 left and put the game away. The game featured 36 firsttimers, including rookie quarterbacks Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers and Dalton of the Cincinnati Bengals, who replaced Super Bowl quarterbacks Eli Manning and Tom Brady. Their selection made this Pro Bowl the

yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Dalton, meanwhile, was 7 of 9 for 99 yards and two TDs. On his first series, Newton overthrew a wide-open Tony Gonzalez over the middle, with the ball sailing into Eric Weddle’s hands. The San Diego Chargers safety popped up to his feet and returned it 63 yards to the NFC 23, leading to a 37-yard FG by Sebastian

Janikowski, which gave the AFC its first lead of the game at 31-28. Newton recovered on the next series, airing out a 55-yard goahead touchdown pass to Panthers teammate Steve Smith, making it 34-31. But he was intercepted again on the next series. With the Pro Bowlers unable to get out of third gear - particularly on the offensive and defensive lines - and hitting each other as though they were having a pillow fight, the Pro Bowl featured some good, bad and real ugly - sometimes on the same play. For example, Aaron Rodgers caught a pass from himself. His throw was deflected at the line and he leaped to catch the ball and backpedaled for a 15-yard loss. Rodgers was 13 of 17 for 141 yards and two TDs, giving him a quarterback rating of 139.6, higher than his NFL record 122.5 rating during the season. But he was watching late in the game as Newton struggled. The NFC had three players with 100-yard yard receiving: Gonzalez (seven for 114), Larry Fitzgerald (6 for 111) and Smith (5 for 118). The AFC and NFC traded score after score, and turnover after turnover in the first half. Rodgers and Fitzgerald connected for a pair of scores on back-to-back plays to put the NFC up 14-0 early in the game. After stopping the AFC on fourth down at midfield, Rodgers drove the NFC down the field and threw a 10-yard TD toss to Fitzgerald. Six seconds later, Rodgers aired a 44-yard rainbow in the end zone to Fitzgerald for another score after the NFC got the ball back with a surprise onside kick. The reception was Fitzgerald’s sixth career TD catch in the Pro Bowl, tying Gonzalez’s record. The AFC came right back and tied it up on two deep TD passes on the right side by Ben Roethlisberger. He threw a 34-yarder to rookie AJ Green, and then connected with Marshall on a 74-yarder. But Drew Brees and the NFC kept the scoring going. Just like in the regular season, Brees and Saints teammate Jimmy Graham hooked up to give the NFC a 21-14 lead in the second quarter. On fourth-and-goal, Brees zipped a pass to Graham for a 6-yard score and would later find Brandon Jennings for an 11-yard TD. Antonio Gates pulled in a 27yard TD from Chargers teammate Rivers as time expired in the half to tie it at 28. Each AFC player earned a record $50,000 for the win, while the NFC players received $25,000. —AP

Abbott wins 3rd US title with mesmerizing grace SAN JOSE: Good thing Jeremy Abbott was the final skater. There was no way anyone could have topped this performance. Needing only to stay on his feet to win his third title at the US Figure Skating Championships on Sunday, Abbott performed with a quiet elegance and superior skill that was simply bewitching. The audience was so spellbound you could hear his blades carving the ice, and it wasn’t until the final notes of his music faded that fans erupted in applause. Abbott finished with a personal-best 273.58 points, a score that puts him within striking distance of world champion Patrick Chan. It is 12 points better than 2006 Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko scored in winning his seventh European title Saturday. Adam Rippon, a two-time junior world champion, was second. Ross Miner finished third for a second straight year. Earlier Sunday, Caydee Denney and John Coughlin won their first pairs title together after winning the previous two years with other partners. Abbott is one of the most technically sound skaters in the world, with beautiful edges that carve the ice like a master craftsman and perfect body control. He’s also one of the few skaters who has managed to maintain the balance between the performance quality that makes figure skating so entertaining and the tough physical tricks the system now demands. But he’s had a tendency to fall apart on the big stage, flopping at the 2009 world championships and again at the Vancouver Olympics. When it happened again last year when a third U.S.

title was his for the taking, Abbott decided he’d had enough. He no longer cares what anyone thinks about him, much less any nasty things that are said. He’s skating for himself and his own enjoyment, concerned only with achieving the goals he’s set. He believes he can contend

with the best in the world and, after this performance, there is no doubt. He landed the only quadruple jump of the day, and his spins were so tight and perfectly centered that coaches will no doubt be asking for a DVD of them. But it was his presence that was truly spectacular.

SAN JOSE: Jeremy Abbott competes in the men’s short program event at the US Figure Skating Championships. —AP

He picked the music for his free skate, a piece by “Muse” that he found on his iPod. And he played a part in the choreography, resulting in perfect harmony between skater and song. It was as if he let the music wash over him and tell his skates what to do. When he finished, he stood at center ice and looked out at the crowd, savoring the moment. When his scores were posted, he let out a scream and buried his face in his hands. Two days after an energetic and fast-paced short program, Rippon was tentative and flat, skating as if he was trying to hold onto his spot on the podium rather than move up. He’s lucky he didn’t get a ticket for loitering as he geared up for a triple axel-step-double toe combination, holding his edge on the entry for what seemed like forever and leaving no doubts about what was coming. Not only did he not do his planned quadruple salchow, he only did a double. A well-done double but a double nonetheless, with nowhere near the point value of a quad or even a triple. What saved Rippon was his artistry. That and mistakes by the skaters below him. Armin Mahbanoozadeh, a distant third after the short program, needed a strong effort to have any chance of moving up and making the world team. He didn’t get it and went the opposite direction, instead, dropping off the podium after taking a big splat on his quadruple toe attempt and turning out on the landings of two other jumps. Miner took advantage, moving up a spot with a strong program that had only one error, a fall on a triple axel. —AP

DAYTONA BEACH: Oswaldo Negri Jr., of Brazil, celebrates and waves his national flag after he and co-drivers with the Michael Shank Racing team won the Grand-Am Rolex 24 auto race in a Ford Riley at Daytona International Speedway. —AP

Allmendinger leads Racing to victory DAYTONA BEACH: The little team with no pedigree knocked off the big boys with all those championships. Michael Shank Racing did it with a pair of drivers hoping Sunday’s victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona is the kickoff to their career comebacks. NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger closed out the twice-around-the-clock win by piloting the No. 60 Ford Riley for the final stint, a nearly threehour drive that included some door-to-door banging with Allan McNish for the lead. It was Allmendinger’s first win in a major series in almost six years, and comes about a month after he landed the job of a lifetime with Roger Penske’s NASCAR team. “I feel very fortunate,” Allmendinger said. “This is one of the reasons why I love this race, because it really kicks off SpeedWeeks. It’s such a prestigious race. It’s one of those races you want on your resume and you want to say that you were part of a victory. “It’s amazing. I’m going to cherish this.” IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson, meanwhile, turned in his own strong performance with a three-hour drive during the morning hours that proved he’s healthy - but more importantly, he’s still fast - after a six-month layoff because of a broken bone in his back. Wilson announced recently he’s reuniting with Dale Coyne Racing for the upcoming IndyCar season. “Hopefully this is the start of a good season,” Wilson said. “We just have to work it out. I think it’s going to be an exciting year. I’m really looking forward to it.” Allmendinger was suffering from severe leg cramps at the end of the race, and had to be helped from the car in Victory Lane. While waiting to start the post-race news conference, he rested his head on a chair with his eyes closed. The two paired with Grand-Am regulars Ozz Negri Jr. and John Pew to give Shank its first win in one of the most prestigious sports car races in the world. Shank, who had a second entry that finished third, was nearly in tears in Daytona’s storied Victory Lane. “I am just grateful,” he said of winning the 50th running of the 24-hour race. It was Shank’s ninth attempt to win Daytona. Allmendinger was suffering from severe leg cramps at the end of the race, and had to be helped from the car in Victory Lane. While waiting to start the post-race news conference, he rested his head on a chair with his eyes closed. “I’m beat. I’m cramping all over,” he said nearly two hours after the race ended. “I’ve never felt anything like this. But it’s a good feeling.” Wilson said he had cramping in his legs and lower back, but said it was unrelated to the broken vertebrae he suffered in an August accident at Mid-Ohio. He had to wear a protective shell for almost three months after the accident. Ryan Dalziel was at the wheel for Starworks Motorsport’s second-place finish, and Felipe Nasr was driving for Shank when he crossed the line in third. Ford swept the top three spots of the Daytona Prototype class, and won the race for the first time since 1999. It required holding off the vaunted teams from Chip Ganassi Racing, which finished fourth

and sixth after both cars had mechanical issues. IndyCar driver Scott Dixon was driving during the middle of the night when the shifter broke in the No. 02 BMW Riley. It put that car four laps down during the repair time, and long green flag runs prevented the team from making up the laps fast enough to get back into contention. NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya was behind the wheel when the “star car” - the lineup also included IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti and NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray - crossed the finish line one lap down, in fourth. Meanwhile, the defending race winner group of Grand-Am champions Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, IndyCar driver Graham Rahal and sports car standout Joey Hand finished sixth, down four laps. Pruett was running inside the top three headed into the final hour, but a late gearbox issue took the defending champions out of contention. “It was an epic race,” Ganassi said. “We just weren’t a part of it. We struggled the whole 24 hours to keep pace with the Fords. It was a stretch for us to do it.” The Ganassi drivers noted many times the Ford were far superior in horsepower, and it was obvious in how the competition drove away from a Ganassi car every time a battle for position reached the oval portion of Daytona’s course. “All you have to do is have a pair of eyes and see what’s going on. We had a pretty big deficit in power,” Pruett said. “We kind of knew where we were at a third, halfway into the race. They could have us. We couldn’t match their pace. They were running a half mph faster than we were easily.” Andy Lally, NASCAR’s rookie of the year last season in the elite Sprint Cup Series, marked his return to sports car racing with a victory in the Grand Touring class for Magnus Racing. Lally struggled through his NASCAR season, but loved every minute of racing stock cars, even though he’s now back in sports cars this year. “Knowing how tough it was going to be, I’d do it all over again,” Lally said. “As tough as it was and as humbling as it was and as much of an underdog as you could be, we were, but it was still a blast. And to come back and drive with talents like (this) ... is cool trying to transition back into it and get back in the swing of things right off the bat.” The race marked the debut of the Corvette in Prototypes, and the Ferrari and Audi in GT. The highest finishing Corvette was Action Express Racing, which wound up fifth. The top finishing Ferrari was from Risi Competizione, at fifth in GT. The highest Audi was APR, at 31st in GT. The Corvettes suffered a huge blow less than an hour into the race when the SunTrust Racing entry blew its engine. “It’s really disappointing but at the same time this is what happens in this game,” team owner Wayne Taylor said. IndyCar driver Marco Andretti was a lastminute addition to the Starworks Motorsport team, and arrived at Daytona after a two-day test session for IndyCar at Palm Beach International Raceway. He had to be treated for dehydration after his final stint in the car. —AP

Patriots arrive in Indianapolis ready for ‘Giant’ challenge NEW YORK: The New England Patriots arrived in Indianapolis ahead of their Super Bowl opponents the New York Giants on Sunday, anxious to add to their championship legacy. The AFC champion Patriots first enjoyed a festive sendoff in front of around 25,000 home fans at Gillette Stadium, but once they touched down at the site of Super Bowl XLVI they were all business. “We have a tremendous challenge with the Giants, they’re a great football team,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick told a news conference. “They’re disciplined, they’re tough and they’ve played really well in the last five weeks. We have a lot of work in front of us.” While the Giants are not scheduled to reach Indianapolis until late yesterday, Belichick and his staff wanted to get an early jump on preparations ahead of next Sunday’s game. New England will begin their week of practice on Monday at the Indianapolis Colts’ facility, an unusual site for a Patriots team that has enjoyed several pivotal AFC clashes with the Colts over the years. “I do think it’s a little strange that we’ll be practicing at the Colts’ facility,” said New England wide receiver Wes Welker. “Hopefully everyone is real nice and cool.” Things promise to be heated next

Sunday in a rematch of the classic 2008 Super Bowl that saw the Giants upset New England and thus ruin their perfect season. The Patriots now have a renewed appreciation for reaching football’s biggest game. The Patriots captured three Super Bowls in four years during the early 2000s but they were humbled by New York in Super Bowl XLII and this is their first trip back. “The Super Bowl is an incredible experience,” said two-times Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Tom Brady. “I try to communicate to younger players how special it is to be here because you really never know when you’re gonna come back.” Brady’s fifth appearance in the ultimate contest could be a meaningful one as a fourth Super Bowl win would tie him with childhood idol Joe Montana. Having grown up in the San Francisco area, Brady has modeled his career on the former 49ers quarterback, delivering pressure-packed performances on the grandest stages. One more win could link Brady with “Joe Cool” permanently, even if he is not prepared to acknowledge it. “I haven’t given much thought to records or anything like that,” Brady said. “For me it’s about one game and the challenges that the Giants present to us.” —Reuters



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Gabon and Tunisia battle to stay in Libreville FRANCEVILLE: The right to stay put in Libreville will be at stake when cohosts Gabon and Tunisia do battle today in a final 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Group C match. Both teams are already through to the last eight of the tournament after they won their first two matches. Today’s clash will therefore determine who wins this group to return to Gabon’s capital city of Libreville for a quarter-final against the secondplaced team in Group D. The runners-up in Group C will stay back in Gabon’s second city of Franceville to take on the winners of Group D, which features Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Botswana. A draw will suffice for hosts Gabon as they already enjoy a better goals difference than Tunisia.

Second place for the Azingo would also mean that if they reach the semifinals, they would have to travel to cohosts Equatorial Guinea for that game. The home team would therefore very much wish to be back in the capital, where they have been lifted by the tremendous support from their fans at the Stade de L’Amitie to go past Niger and Morocco. Les Pantheres of Gabon showed great character to come back from a goal down to beat a fired-up Morocco 3-2 in their last group game in Libreville. “It is not always easy to come back and for the team to find the resources to impose themselves on the game in the final minutes shows that mentally they are very strong,” said German coach Gernot Rohr, who has prepared

his team for the past two years. The co-hosts have already equalled their best ever performance in this competition by reaching the quarterfinals, as they did in 1996. On three other occasions, in 1994, 2000 and 2010, they failed to go past the first round. “Gabon are very ambitious. On paper, we are still not one of the favorites. But with heart, courage and our football, we hope to continue to cause a few surprises,” promised Rohr. Gabon forward Pierre -Emerick Aubameyang has lived up to the star billing leading up to this championship. The Saint Etienne ace was the man of the match against Niger and crowned it with a goal. He then followed up with another against Morocco.

However, the durable Daniel Cousin showed he could also still some damage when he came off the bench to score his first goal of the tournament against Morocco. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have cleared Club Africain defender Bilel Ifa for this game after they first informed Tunisia that the player picked up a second booking against Niger and so he is ruled out for the Gabon game. However, Tunisia contested this ruling, arguing that the player was not booked in an opening Group C match against Morocco and he has now been unbanned. Auxerre striker Issam Jemaa came off the substitute point to score a late match winner against a hard-fighting Niger team and earn the Carthage

Eagles a berth in the quarter-finals. Jemaa has been nursing an injury but he is now expected to be picked ahead of Amine Chermiti, who started the team’s last game against the Mena of Niger. Coach Sami Trabelsi is already looking beyond the Gabon game and has hinted he plans to make several changes to his team as several players are already on a booking and if they are again booked Tuesday, they will miss the quarter-finals. “We have five, six players who have a booking and so we have to make some changes to ensure they are not booked again and miss the next game,” said Trabelsi. Among those on a booking are skipper Karim Haggui, midfielder Khaled Korbi and goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi. — AFP

Ibrahimovic shines as Milan blank Cagliari

GABON: Morocco coach Eric Gerets (third left) talks to his players during a training session. —AP Preview

Pride at stake in ‘dead’ Morocco, Niger Cup tie LIBREVILLE: Eric Gerets, in what could be his last match as coach of Morocco, will expect his players to end their curtailed stay in Gabon with a flourish in the ‘dead’ clash with Niger here today. Both sides are heading home after this final Africa Cup of Nations Group C tie having been trumped in the race for a quarter-final place by co-hosts Gabon and Tunisia. While pride is the only prize at stake it promises to be a hard fought affair, with Niger seeking their first ever Cup points and Gerets hoping his team will show enough to persuade his paymasters that he is worth his reported 200,000 euros a month salary. After Friday’s absorbing 3-2 loss to Gabon which sealed Morocco’s fate the former Marseille manager took refuge in his team hotel lounge, drawing on a large cigar as he contemplated his future. Two games and zero points is not a good return by any yardstick, yet Gerets believes passionately in his mix of veterans like captain Houssine Kharja and a posse of up and coming youngsters. Speaking after that painful defeat in which Gabon scored the winner in the eighth minute of stoppage time the Belgian said: “If they (the Moroccan Football Federation) let me do my job I will continue, if they are not happy with my performance they will let me know. “For 15 months no one has talked about bad performances or a bad coach so it would be a bit surprising (to be sacked), but in my job it can happen — on Monday you are king, 24 hours later you are not a king. “As long as I am coach of Morocco I will take my responsibility and continue with my philosophy of making my players improve, I know the team are capable of better.” Turning to the World Cup in Brazil

in 2014 Gerets was asked whether he still thought Morocco could make it to the finals with qualifying starting in June. “One month ago I would have told you ‘yes’, but after this performance I think it’s better not to answer — I will have to see the reaction of the younger players who have a future but who have to stand up now and fight against this disappointment — only the strong will survive.” He will be looking for evidence of a positive reaction against Niger, whose first ever appearance at the Nations Cup has also harvested zero points with an opening 2-0 loss to Gabon followed by Tunisia’s last gasp 2-1 win. Against Tunisia, Niger had regained much of the form that had seen them qualify in a group that also contained Egypt, winners of the last three editions, and South Africa. An entertaining encounter was heading for a 1-1 draw until substitute Issam Jemaa bagged the 2004 titleholders the points in the final minute. Worryingly, though, all Niger’s qualifying points en route to the 2012 finals came at home in Niamey. Control of the team appears to have passed from African Coach of the Year Harouna Doula to his ‘consultant’, Rolland Courbis, like Gerets a former Marseille manager. Courbis it was who was orchestrating affairs from the touchline in the Tunisia defeat while Doula sat impassively in the dug out. One of the players who has shone for Niger is the tall Belgian-based striker Maazou Moussa Ouwo, whose dazzling runs had the Tunisian defence in difficulties here last Friday. It may have no significance as far as this competition goes but both sides have a point to prove at Libreville’s L’Amitie stadium. —AFP

Libya leave African Cup happy after historic win BATA: In the end, Ihaab Boussefi’s late volley wasn’t enough to send Libya through to the African Cup of Nations quarterfinals. Boussefi’s second goal in Sunday night’s game in Bata, however, did clinch a 2-1 win over Senegal for Libya’s first victory at the tournament on foreign soil, ultimately sending the players home happy at the end of an inspiring adventure. Libya was never expected to even reach the tournament with the civil war raging at home during its qualifying campaign. Some players even left the squad to fight for the rebels on the front line. Somehow Libya made it, and at Estadio de Bata against Senegal the players celebrated an historic victory which was a just reward for the team’s perseverance. “For us, this result was so important because of the situation and the problems, the painful situation in Libya for the people,” said Marcos Paqueta, Libya’s Brazilian coach.

No one illustrated what it meant to Libya more than veteran goalkeeper and captain Samir Aboud, who sank to his knees at the final whistle with his arms held out in front of him to give thanks. After more than a decade with the team, Aboud could celebrate a victory at the African Cup. Libya’s team made the final at home in 1982 but failed to win a game at its only other trip to the tournament in 2006. To reach Gabon and Equatorial Guinea this year, the team had to play its home games in Mali and Egypt as chaos reigned back in Libya. Yet it came through qualifying unbeaten and, despite a loss in its opening game against co-host Equatorial Guinea at the tournament, lifted itself for a creditable draw against Zambia before the success against the Senegalese. At Estadio de Bata, Libya also had to rally after Senegal equalized following Boussefi’s fifth-minute opener. — AP

ITALY: Zlatan Ibrahimovic curled home a stunning freekick and then turned provider as AC Milan moved to within one point of Juventus at the top of Serie A with a 3-0 home win over Cagliari on Sunday. Miroslav Klose scored two goals in two minutes to help Lazio move up to fourth with a 3-0 win at Chievo Verona after Inter Milan slumped to a 1-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Lecce. Sweden striker Ibrahimovic was the differnce between the sides at the San Siro, curling a freekick into the top corner from 25 metres after 32 minutes before chesting the ball down to Antonio Nocerino to volley home a second seven minutes later. Massimo Ambrosini poked home the third goal with a neat finish with 15 minutes remaining in a win that moves Milan up to 43 points. Juventus beat third-placed Udinese 21 on Saturday. Lazio’s Klose grabbed his brace in the 88th and 89th minutes to take his league tally for the season to 11 after Brazilian midfielder Hernanes had opened the scoring in the 21st. “The win was important for lifting the lads’ morale after what they suffered in the two away games in Milan,” Lazio coach Edy Reja told Sky Sport television after a victory that ended a run of three successive away defeats including a 3-1 loss at AC Milan in the Cup quarter-final on Thursday. “It’s very satisfying to have jumped ahead of Inter...are we good enough for third place? We will try and believe in it for as long as possible.” Uruguayan midfielder Guillermo Giacomazzi slowed Inter’s challenge for the Champions League places with a low shot from close-range in the 40th minute at Lecce’s Via del Mare stadium as Claudio Ranieri’s men slipped to fifth. “We have to look ahead,” said Ranieri, who saw two goals disallowed for offside and who took off Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder at halftime to go back to a

more solid 4-4-2 formation. “We are three points behind Udinese...the Champions League threshold is our aim.” Sixth-placed AS Roma were held 1-1 at home to Bologna while seventh-placed Napoli went down 3-2 at Genoa, who had led 3-0 before a late fightback by the visitors.

Juventus earlier in the week. Montenegrin Stevan Jovetic opened the scoring after four minutes and Cesare Natali put the home side 2-0 up with a header in the 63rd. Emanuele Calaio then grabbed a consolation goal from the penalty spot one minute

ITALY: AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, of Sweden, celebrates after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Cagliari. —AP Croatian Igor Budan banged in two headers, one in each half, as Palermo added to Novara’s woes at the bottom of the table with a 2-0 defeat. Atalanta beat Cesena 1-0 with defender Marco Rossi scoring a 76th minute own-goal three minutes before Atalanta’s top scorer German Denis was sent off for a second yellow card. In the Tuscan derby, Brazilian-born striker Amauri helped Fiorentina beat struggling Siena 2-1 on his club debut after signing from

from time after Serbian defender Matija Nastasic handled in the area. Fiorentina moved up to 10th place while Siena remained on the cusp of the relegation zone in 17th place, three points ahead of Lecce in 18th. A group of about 300 Fiorentina fans, unhappy with management and the team’s form, had staged a protest outside the stadium before kickoff with banners declaring “Players and bosses you don’t deserve our support” and “You must spend”. —Reuters

Pumas in trouble for painting logo on pitch MEXICO: Pumas UNAM’s broke FIFA rules by painting a giant letter ‘U’ on their pitch for Sunday’s home league game against Guadalajara and could be sanctioned, the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) said. The university side, held 0-0 by Guadalajara at their Olimpico Universitario ground in the capital in the Clausura championship, were celebrating the 50th anniversary of their promotion to the first division in January 1962. “The reproduction, whether real or virtual, of representative logos or emblems of FIFA, confederations, member associations, leagues, clubs or other bodies is forbidden on the field of play, the goal nets and the areas they enclose,” state the laws of world governing body FIFA. A FMF statement said the “violation of FIFA’s Laws of the Game 2011-2012 committed by Pumas club ... will be forwarded to the Disciplinary Commission of the Mexican Football Federation ... for its analysis and to determine a sanction.” The match was something of a damp squib with a defensive Guadalajara glad not to notch up a fourth consecutive defeat. Guadalajara were under new coach Ignacio Ambriz, appointed during the week to replace Fernando Quirarte, who resigned after the Chivas lost their first three matches, their worst start to a championship. Pumas coach Guillermo Vazquez said both sides were mostly concerned with not losing given the intense rivalry between teams from the capital and the western city of Guadalajara. “No-one wants to lose these kinds of matches, both sides go into them concentrating on not committing errors and the fight (for the ball) in all parts of the pitch is very even,” he told reporters. Ambriz said: “I think both sets of fans are unhappy, what’s important in football are goals, there weren’t any today, perhaps we’re in debt, let’s hope we can improve.” Santos Laguna took a two-point lead in the standings with a 3-1 win at Tijuana. Goals from Colombia’s Darwin Quintero, striker Cristian Suarez and midfielder Juan Rodriguez sent Apertura championship runnersup Santos top with 10 points from four matches. Argentine striker Jose Sand’s had promoted Tijuana back in the game with a 55th-minute penalty but Suarez restored the visitors’ lead within nine minutes. Guadalajara’s arch-rivals America won 3-1 at San Luis on Saturday with two goals from Ecuador striker Cristian “Chucho” Benitez, who also laid on the second for Brazilian midfielder Rosinei. — Reuters

RENNES: Marseille’s French midfielder Morgan Amalfitano (left) challenges for the ball with Rennes’ defender Kevin Theophile Catherine (right) and Julien Feret during their French Division One soccer match. —AP

Marseille stay in touch with leaders PARIS: Olympique Marseille stayed in the chasing pack behind Ligue 1 pacesetters Paris St Germain when a secondhalf goal by Benoit Cheyrou secured a 21 comeback win at Stade Rennes on Sunday. Cheyrou netted with a powerful drive 13 minutes from time after Onyekachi Apam’s own goal had cancelled out Tongo Hamed Doumbia’s opener for the home side. The win lifted Marseille, who have now won their last seven games in all competitions, to fifth place with 37 points from 21 matches, nine points behind PSG after the leaders earned a 10 win at Stade Brest on Saturday. “We struggled in the first half but we managed to turn the situation around and that’s what matters,” Marseille midfielder Morgan Amalfitano told French TV channel Canal Plus. “We improved collectively after the

break, there was more movement, and when we do that it’s much easier.” One day after the top four teams had claimed three points, Marseille also delivered the goods after recovering from a mediocre start at the Stade de la Route de Lorient. Doumbia opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a low 25-metre drive as Rennes were rewarded for their solid start. Marseille, however, looked dangerous on the break and levelled one minute before halftime when a Loic Remy cross from the left was deflected into his own net by Apam. The visitors stepped up a gear after the interval, knocking the ball around nicely although they failed to unsettle a resolute home defence. The pressure finally paid off though when Rennes keeper Abdoulaye Diallo was beaten by Cheyrou’s strike from just outside the box. — Reuters



sp orts

Park issues United rallying cry MANCHESTER: Manchester United’s Park Ji-Sung has urged his team-mates to get over their FA Cup disappointment and concentrate on securing a domestic and European double. Record 11-times winners United were stung by Dirk Kuyt’s late winner which earned Liverpool a dramatic 2-1 FA Cup fourth round victory over their bitter rivals at Anfield on Saturday. But champions United remain just three points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and South Korea midfielder Park, speaking ahead of today’s league match at home to Stoke, insisted United they could not afford to dwell on the Liverpool defeat. “We must quickly forget about this game, move on and look to the future,” Park told Manchester United

TV (MUTV). “We still have the Premier League and the Europa League to focus on.” United are entering a critical spell. After Stoke, they face a huge game at fourth-placed Chelsea on February 5 before entertaining Liverpool in the league six days later. Then Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, who failed to advance past the group stages of the Champions League, face a tricky two-legged Europa League tie with Ajax. Park added United must not lose concentration as they did at Liverpool. “We controlled the ball which is what we wanted before the game,” he added. “We did that well but that couldn’t get the win for us. “In the team meeting, we talked about trying to keep

possession and then make chances. We did that and that’s why we played very well. “But then we lost concentration for a moment and ended up giving them the goal to make it 2-1. Everyone was quiet afterwards because we all feel disappointed.” Ferguson was missing several key players at Liverpool due to injury including England striker Wayne Rooney, Portugal winger Nani and defender Phil Jones. It remains to be seen whether the Stoke game will come too soon for any of them but England defender Rio Ferdinand could return from a back injury. “Rio only had one training session ahead of the Liverpool game,” said Ferguson. “We couldn’t gamble with

that. “He will train on Sunday and Monday. He could be right for today.” Stoke will head to Old Trafford with only two defeats in their last 12 games and boosted by the recent draw at Anfield. Tony Pulis, the manager, made only four changes from the team that lost to West Brom in the Premier League the previous weekend for Saturday’s FA Cup win at Derby and will juggle his squad again. And winger Jermaine Pennant is on a mission to pile more frustration on Ferguson, after United’s late choker against Liverpool. “They are coming off the back of a disappointment against Liverpool so they’ll be fired up and Old Trafford’s never an easy place to go,” Pennant said.

“But on the day they are beatable —- Blackburn proved that. So if we go there, with our style of play, with a bit of physicality, hopefully we can dominate that side of the game and you never know, we’ll see what happens. “We’ll go there positive. A lot of teams go to Old Trafford already beaten, before they’ve got on the pitch, so we’ll get that out of our minds straight away and as soon as that whistle goes, know that anyone can win. “Look at our record against the big teams-we’ve beaten Liverpool at home and drawn with Chelsea and United-we do seem to do well against the big teams. “If we can go there with the same attitude and mentality, hopefully we can come out with a positive result.” —AFP

Kuyt wants league success

VANCOUVER: Team United States celebrate its 4-0 win over Canada following the CONCACAF women’s Olympic qualifying final soccer action at BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia. —AP

Mancini frets over refs as Tevez saga continues MANCHESTER: Carlos Tevez, who last played for Manchester City in September, continues to dominate off-field matters for the Premier League leaders but, ahead of today’s visit to Everton, manager Roberto Mancini was more concerned with the club’s problems with referees. Mancini has been highly critical of a number of high-profile decisions that have affected his side in recent games, the latest coming at Anfield last week where Micah Richards conceded a penalty for handball, presenting Liverpool with a goal that helped them beat City in the League Cup semi-final. Now the Italian has claimed that English referees are over-worked and pointed to the fact that Wednesday’s official, Phil Dowd, was controlling his fifth game in 22 days at Anfield. “I think playing a lot of games is also difficult for them,” said Mancini. “The refs sometimes are tired-to play every two or three days is difficult for the players, and for the referee. The referee is like me, like the players. They can be tired sometimes.” Mancini is looking for an immediate response from his players after exiting the FA Cup and League Cup in quick succession and will be desperate to see his team maintain their three-point lead at the top of the table. The loss, 3-2 on aggregate following a 2-2 draw at Anfield, was particularly hard for Mancini to swallow as he aimed to take City to Wembley and the manager was sticking to his claim that officiating cost his team a chance of silverware. “We scored two goals and that was enough to go to the final,” he said. “We conceded two goals, one of them a penalty which was not a penalty-the referee made a mistake.” Meanwhile, with European clubs such as PSG, AC and Inter Milan apparently out of contention for Tevez’s services

because of City’s high transfer valuation, said to be £25.2 million ($39.6 million), the latest story to involve the controversial Argentine suggests Liverpool may have an interest in him. Reports claim that Liverpool made an unofficial inquiry over a possible swap deal which would have sent their underperforming forward Andy Carroll to City in exchange for Tevez - an “offer” in which City have let it be known they have no interest. Nevertheless, up front remains a problem area for City, with Tevez’s personal “strike” now in its 11th week and Mario Balotelli serving the second of a fourmatch suspension at Goodison Park. While City’s pursuit for the Premier League title is being powered by an expensively-assembled forward line, Everton’s lone striker is likely to sum up the Merseysiders’ relative financial weakness. Denis Stracqualursi, an Argentinian forward on loan from Tigres, is likely to continue in attack after scoring his first goal in English football in the 2-1 FA Cup victory over Fulham. United States midfielder Landon Donovan believes Stracqualursi’s breakthrough could take him on to another level. “For Denis it’s completely foreign and he’s a really nice kid,” Donovan said. “The guys like being around him and he works hard, and you’ll find that in this game if you do those things, people are going to pull for you.” City have only managed one victory at Goodison Park since 1992 and Everton have managed back to back home victories against their wealthy opponents. But manager David Moyes continues to be undermined by a lengthy injury list. First-choice centre-backs Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin are still absent, along with Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell and Seamus Coleman. —AFP

LIVERPOOL: Dirk Kuyt is hoping for an extended run in Liverpool’s side after admitting he has found it “very difficult” not being a regular starter in Kenny Dalglish’s plans. Kuyt climbed off the substitutes bench to hit the dramatic late winner as Dalglish’s side defeated bitter rivals Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday. It was Kuyt’s first goal in a Liverpool shirt since September and the Netherlands striker is now targeting a run of games-starting at Wolves today-after enduring a frustrating campaign. “It has been very difficult,” said Kuyt, who has yet to win a trophy since moving to Anfield in August 2006. “I’m the type of player who needs games in a row. It’s difficult, I’m a player who has been used to playing every game. “The more I play the better I feel. I’ve been used to playing every game for the past 10 years of my career. That’s something I have to prove on the pitch and in training. “Obviously I just want to play every game and convince the manager of that every time I play. “When things aren’t going so well you just have to keep working hard and that’s what I did.”

Liverpool have brought their season to life since slumping to a depressing 3-1 defeat at struggling Bolton on January 21, their last appearance on the Premier League stage. They have advanced to the League Cup final after overcoming Manchester City 3-2 on aggregate as well as securing a place in the last 16 of the FA Cup at United’s expense. But they are six points adrift of fourth place in the league after failing to win their first three top-flight games of 2012. “We have set the standard this week,” added Kuyt. “Everyone was really disappointed about the Bolton game. “We didn’t put enough effort into the game. We weren’t at the level we want to play. “We have proved many times we can compete with the best teams. Now it’s really important to play well against the other teams. That starts with a very important game against Wolves today.” Kuyt is expected to start at second-bottom Wolves while midfielder Charlie Adam and right-back Glen Johnson are pushing for recalls. Wolves manager Mick McCarthy has warned his team they must put an end to their catalogue of “heroic failures” after slip-

ping into the bottom three for the first time this season. Despite picking up creditable draws away at Arsenal and Tottenham, Wolves have failed to win any of their last eight Premier League matches-picking up just four points in the process. “I don’t want people talking to me about how we’ve played good, bad or indifferent,” McCarthy said. We need to win games and we need points. “I don’t want to be in the bottom three at any stage. We are playing well but we are finding every way possible to lose a game and it’s costing us. “Look at the Aston Villa game (which Wolves lost 3-2). There wasn’t a lot more that could have gone wrong in the game-a penalty given away, a sending-off (for Karl Henry), someone carried off (Emmanuel Frimpong). “It was another game we should have won on the back of our terrific first-half performance. “But it goes down as another heroic failure, which I don’t want. It’s been the story of our season.” Henry is suspended for the clash and could be replaced by Nenad Milijas. But Frimpong is expected to recover from the facial injury he suffered against Villa. — AFP

Crespo costliest player in Indian football auction KOLKATA: Former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo was the most expensive player in an auction yesterday for an inaugural Indian football league based on the successful IPL cricket tournament. Crespo was bought for his base price of $840,000 by Barasat, one of the five city franchises which will play in the Premier League Soccer tournament to be held in the eastern state of West Bengal in March-April this year. Italy’s World Cup-winning captain, Fabio Cannavaro, was the next most expensive after costing Siliguri $830,000. Former France midfielder player Robert Pires went to Howrah for $800,000, Nigerian playmaker Jay Jay Okocha to Durgapur for $550,000 and ex-England striker Robbie Fowler was taken by Kolkata for $530,000. Apart from these five “icon” players which had to sign for different teams, other overseas footballers who were the objects of bids included Nigerian defender Robert Egbeta (Kolkata, $350,000) and midfielder Christian Lara of Ecuador (Barasat, $200,000). All teams also received a foreign coach - Fernando Couto of Portugal (Howrah, $240,000), Samson Siasia of Nigeria (Durgapur, $210,000), Teitur Thordorson of Iceland (Barasat,

$210,000), Peter Reid of England ($200,000) and Marco Etcheverry of Bolivia (Siliguri, $200,000). Teams have a salary cap of $2.5 million. The league is organized by a

professionals and experienced coaches. “The response has been fabulous considering this is a new idea,” CMG executive director Bhaswar Goswami said. “We’ll

GENOA: In this photograph taken on November 5, 2009, Genoa’s Argentine forward Hernan Crespo jubilates after scoring against Lille. —AP company called Celebrity Management Group and the Indian Football Association and is expected to boost the popularity of the sport by giving local players a chance to learn from top

now have another auction on Feb. 2 for Indian players.” The tournament was originally planned to have six teams but the city franchise of Haldia failed to find any financial backers.

Organizers also said they would announce new dates for the tournament, which was originally due to be held from Feb. 25 to April 8 but is now expected to begin in mid-March. Indian football has been in the news lately despite its national team being ranked a lowly 158th by FIFA. India qualified for the 2011 Asian Cup by winning a competition for second-tier nations and had also reached the second round of Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup before losing to the United Arab Emirates. National body All India Football Federation, which runs its own competition called the ILeague, has also managed to bring in some money to the game lately. IMG-Reliance - a partnership between IMG Worldwide and Indian company Reliance Industries Ltd. - signed a 15-year deal in 2010 worth $140 million for all commercial rights to promote and market football in the India. Foreign clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich have also been organizing activities and planning academies in the country in a bid to increase their fan base in this cricket-crazy country of 1.2 billion. —AP

Chelsea switch priority this season

ITALY: AC Milan striker Maxi Lopez, of Argentina, holds the team jersey during his presentation in Milan yesterday. —AP

LONDON: Andre Villas-Boas has admitted Chelsea’s targets have changed this season and now his side’s immediate priority is close the gap on third-placed Tottenham Hotspur with victory at Swansea today. The Blues manager has said the Premier League title is now beyond the club in but a 1-0 fourth round win over Queens Park Rangers maintained Chelsea’s interest in the FA Cup-and their Champions League campaign will resume at the end of next month. In the league, though, Villas-Boas’s team lie fourth and know they face a strong challenge for a top four finish from Arsenal, Newcastle United and Liverpool who are currently on the fringes of the leading group. “We are within a five-point margin from the third-placed team and five points more than Arsenal in fifth,” said Villas-Boas. “It’s important to try and reach the top and go to Swansea fully motivated,” the Portuguese added. “They lost to Sunderland but are on a

good run, plus they are one of the teams that play fantastic football. “It should build up to an exciting game, and it’s important for us to show consistency in the away games but do better than at Norwich (where Chelsea drew 0-0). Swansea have impressed at home this season but the trip will be less charged than Chelsea’s short journey to QPR’s Loftus Road. That game marked the first meeting between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand since the Chelsea skipper was accused of racially abusing the Rangers man. Terry’s case will be heard at West London Magistrates Court the day after the Swansea clash but Villas-Boas has no doubt his captain’s focus will remain unaffected. Midfielder Frank Lampard remains an injury doubt, however, after missing the 1-0 victory over Rangers that came courtesy of a disputed Juan Mata penalty, while John-Obi Mikel has been ruled out. “Frank we have to see how he comes back for training, he is still a doubt, a 50 percent chance, and Mikel shouldn’t

make it,” Villas-Boas added. Swansea will undoubtedly be fresh as they look to take another notable scalp in front of their own supporters. Brendan Rodgers made 10 changes to the team beaten 2-0 at Sunderland for the 2-1 FA Cup fourth round defeat at Bolton. Only Ashley Williams survived from the side that was defeated at the Stadium of Light. But Rodgers, who does not expect any more new faces before the transfer deadline closes, defended his decision to prioritise Premier League survival over the FA Cup, despite the Welsh club being currently eight points cushion above the relegation zone. “I wanted to make sure the team was fresh but a lot of players that came into the side at Bolton had already played in the Premier League this season,” Rodgers explained. “I’ve got big respect for the FA Cup and I wanted us to go through.” Swansea will be full of confidence against Chelsea, having beaten Arsenal 3-2 in their previous home match. — AP

Matches on TV (Local Timings) English Premier League Wanderers v Liverpool 22:45 Abu Dhabi Sport HD 7 Tottenham v Wigan Abu Dhabi Sport HD 4


Swansea City v Chelsea Abu Dhabi Sport HD 6


Everton v Man City Abu Dhabi Sport HD 5


Man United v Stoke Abu Dhabi Sport HD 3


African Nations Cup Niger v Morocco 21:00 Aljazeera Sport +9 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD Gabon v Tunisia Aljazeera Sport +9 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD


Heat stifle Bulls in Miami



Crespo costliest player in Indian football auction


Enjoy London’s Olympic spirit without a ticket Page 17

MALABO: Ivory Coast’s Max Gradel (right) challenges Angola’s Mateus in their final African Cup of Nations Group B match. —AP

Ivory Coast too strong for Angola MALABO: A virtual reserve Ivory Coast side cruised to a 2-0 win over Angola yesterday in a lacklustre Group B match at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. Emmanuel Eboue and Wilfried Bony scored for the Elephants, who topped the final table with three wins while Angola lost out to Sudan on goal difference in the battle for second place. Co-title favorites Ivory Coast collected a maximum nine points without ever going into overdrive, Sudan and Angola secured four each and Burkina Faso came last after three consecutive losses. The Ivorians remain in this island city to tackle co-hosts Equatorial Guinea next Saturday while Sudan face Zambia earlier the same day in Bata in the first quarter-final. Coach Francois Zahoui had hinted that he would rest some of his first choices-but leaving nine on the bench came as a surprise with the only regulars in the starting line-up being centre-backs Kolo Toure and Souleymane Bamba.

Kolo Toure, older brother of 2011 African Footballer of the Year Yaya Toure, captained the team in the absence of Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou was grateful for the rest after limping off against Burkina Faso last Friday. Angola made two changes from the team held by Sudan with goalkeeper Wilson replacing suspended Carlos, whose two yellow cards came for time wasting, and Dede coming in for off-form striker Flavio. The first half did little to excite another small crowd in the 15,000-seat Nuevo Estadio de Malabo apart from a goal on 33 minutes by former Arsenal defender Eboue. After carelessly conceding possession in midfield, Angola were caught napping as a surging run from Bony took him into the penalty area and when Miguel failed to clear, Eboue tapped the ball in at the far post. It was the first time in three outings that the Black Antelopes had fallen behind and with Sudan taking the lead in the same minute aginst Burkina Faso, the pressure was on the team from the south west of the continent.

The Angolans fell further behind on 64 minutes when a long pass into opposition territory by substitute Abdul Kader Keita led to a mix-up between centre -back Massunguna and goalkeper Wilson, and a gift goal for Bony. Massunguna panicked under pressure and headed the ball back over his advancing goalkeeper, leaving Bony to run in unopposed and tap the ball over the line. Angola introduced Germany-born Nando Rafael as time ticked away and finally came alive with a header from former Manchester United striker Manucho forcing Daniel Yeboah into a good reflex save. Meanwhile, Rolland Courbis, who has assumed command of the Niger team at the Africa Cup of Nations, is a colorful character with a rich history both on and off the pitch. The Marseille-born son of a policeman was hired by Niger in the role of consultant in December but assumed total control from coach Harouna Doula after Niger’s sham-

Eltaib’s brace takes Sudan into last eight BATA: Sudan consigned Burkina Faso to a 2-1 defeat here yesterday to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals at the expense of Angola. Mudather Eltaib scored either side of half time to bag the precious points which lifted the Sudanese level with Angola, their rivals for the runner-up spot in Group B, and crucially with a better goal difference. To add icing to the cake Sudan also celebrated winning their first Nations Cup match in over three decades. The game was played out in a near-funereal atmosphere, with almost more players than fans at Bata’s stadium, an embarrassment for organisers CAF and co-hosts Equatorial Guinea. Sudan made one change, injured defender Bala Jaber replaced by Ahmed Khalefa. For Burkina Faso the hapless Bakary Kone, who scored an own goal against Ivory Coast, punched a rival player and was instrumental in an Angola goal in the 2-2 draw, was dropped. The Lyon defender was one of three switches, with Ibrahim Gnanou, Djakaridja Kone and

Narcisse Yameogo getting their chance to shine for already eliminated Burkina Faso. The game was only seconds old when Sudan coach Mohammed ‘Mazda’ Abdullah was forced to make another change, when Nagm Eldin had to be stretchered off after a collision in the Sudan box. Musab Omar came on in his place. Sudan took a 33rd minute lead largely against the run of play when Mudather did well to keep going after Hamadou Tall’s sliding tackle to shoot side-footed past the diving Daouda Diakite by the near post. Sudan required all three points here and Angola to get nothing from the simultaneous match against Ivor y Coast in Malabo to stand any chance of qualifying. With the Ivorians having seconds earlier taken the lead it was game on for the side aiming to do better than their first round elimination in 2008 after a 32 year absence. Sudan went off at the break level on points with Angola, but still needing to improve their goal difference to leapfrog the

2010 hosts and take the runnerup spot behind group winners Ivory Coast. On 56 minutes, second half substitute Issiaka Ouedraogo had a decent chance to put Burkina Faso level but his shot went wide. With news filtering through from Malabo that Ivory Coast had gone 2-0 up that meant Sudan and not Angola would progress if things stayed the same for the remaining 25 minutes. Burkina Faso though were looking dangerous, and they had a goal disallowed shortly after for offside. But Sudan wrapped up what by all accounts had appeared an unlikely place in the knockout stages in the 80th minute when Mudather ran onto a high ball, beat the keeper, and slotted in to an empty goal. Ouedraogo’s stoppage time contribution was too little too late to ruin Sudan’s memorable night. Mazda’s men meet Zambia in the last eight in Bata on Saturday. If they believe in omens they will remember that the last time they made it into the last eight, in 1970, they went on to win the title. —AFP

bolic opening game against Gabon. The forthright and controversial 58-year-old has been calling the shots since, but yesterday he disclosed he would be returning to his ‘day job’ as a radio broadcaster after today’s final Cup run out against Morocco. Courbis (given two ll’s in his Christian name by his father “so he can fly higher”) was a libero in his playing days. He was placed on Marseille’s books at the age of 13, lying to the club’s coach Mario Zatelli that he was no longer needed at school. He went on to play for Monaco, with whom he won two French league titles to add to the one he secured with Marseille, and the French Cup. Among the dozen clubs he managed once his playing career ended in 1985 were Toulon, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Ajaccio and his hometown side Marseille. His 1997-1999 spell at the Velodrome included a memorable defeat of the then reigning European champions Manchester United. —AFP

Asia urges green light to wear headscarves

BATA: Sudan’s Ahmed Khalifa (left) vies for the ball with Burkina Faso’s Momouni Dagano (right) during their 2012 Africa Cup of Nations football match yesterday. —AFP

SINGAPORE: Asian soccer’s acting president has urged the sport’s rule-makers to change the laws to permit women to wear a headscarf in official matches. China’s Zhang Jilong reiterated the Asian Football Confederation’s favourable stance ahead of an International Football Association Board (IFAB) review in March. “Many women footballers in Asia wear headscarves,” Zhang said on the AFC’s website yesterday. “I would like to request the IFAB to favourably consider FIFA’s proposal and review the rule and allow women players to play wearing a safe headscarf that covers the neck. “I think it is in the interests of women’s football worldwide. I have personally seen the new designs with a Velcro joined at the neck, which releases if the headscarf is pulled, ensuring the player’s safety,” he added. World governing body FIFA’s Law 4 regarding kit states that a player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player, including any kind of jewellery. It lists the “basic equipment” as a jersey, shorts, socks, shin-guards and footwear. Iran’s women’s soccer team were banned from an Olympic qualifier last June because of their full-body strip, which includes a headscarf and conforms to the Islamic dress code. Opponents Jordan were awarded a 3-0 win and Iranian officials said the decision could cost them a place in the 2012 Games. FIFA’s rules for the 2012 Olympics state: “Players and officials shall not display political, religious, commercial or personal messages or slogans in any language or form on their playing or team kits.” IFAB, formed in 1886, is soccer’s ultimate law-making body comprising four members from FIFA and four from the British associations. It will meet in Bagshot, England, on March 3. —Reuters

Iran delays vote on EU crude export ban


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Sarkozy unveils taxes in pre-election gamble Page 23


Exxon set to sell Japan stake for $3.9 billion Page 25

Power of social media not utilized: Jabali Page 23

MIAMI: In this file photo, a shopper carries purchases while shopping at Dolphin Mall. Consumer spending was flat in December while incomes rose by the largest amount in nine months. — AP

World stocks fall ahead of EU summit EU leaders seek growth as Greece case looms LONDON: World stock markets fell yesterday as uncertainty about a tentative deal to resolve Greece’s debt crisis weighed on investor sentiment ahead of a summit of European leaders. The leaders gathering in Brussels hope to focus on how to stimulate economic growth and create jobs at a time when huge government spending cuts threaten to push many countries back into recession. Experts say Europe’s efforts to cut its high levels of debt will be for nothing if its economies remain uncompetitive. The leaders will also discuss a new treaty on tightening budget controls and setting up a permanent bailout fund. But the meeting will be dominated by another topic that is not officially for discussion - Greece’s debt problem. Greece has reached a tentative deal with its private cred-

itors that could avert a disastrous default this spring. Investors holding euro206 billion ($272 billion) in Greek bonds would exchange them for bonds with half the face value. The replacement bonds would have a longer maturity and pay a lower interest rate. When the bonds mature, Greece would have to pay its bondholders only euro103 billion. But because Greece has been in recession for years, some experts fear it could need more rescue loans from its bailout partners other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund - if it is to remain solvent. Richer countries like Germany, however, are losing patience with giving Athens loans, saying the Greek government is not implementing reforms and austerity cuts quickly enough. A German official even proposed to have an EU official

directly oversee Athens’ government spending. The idea was quickly rejected, however, by both the European Commission and Greek leaders. Despite progress in Greece’s debt talks with private creditors, the continued uncertainty over its finances pushed markets lower yesterday. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.8 percent to 5,689.76 and Germany’s DAX lost 0.9 percent to 6,4552.51. France’s CAC-40 shed 1.1 percent to 3,281.48. Wall Street was also headed for a lower open, with Dow Jones industrial futures falling 0.6 percent to 12,533 and S&P 500 futures down 0.8 percent to 1,302.50. Sentiment, which has been relatively buoyant so far this year on hopes for a recovery in the US, was also dented by Fitch Ratings agency’s announcement late Friday

Qatar eyes Oger Telecom stake DUBAI: Qatar, eager to boost its footprint in Turkey, has made a takeover approach to the majority owner of Oger Telecom, which owns a controlling stake in Turk Telecom, sources familiar with the matter said. Qatar has directly approached Saudi Oger owned by the family of late Lebanese prime minister Rafik Al-Hariri - for its approximately 55 percent stake, the sources said. By acquiring the Oger Telecom stake, Qatar would also get Turk Telecom and its mobile unit Avea as well as South African operator Cell C in which Oger holds a 75 percent stake. Putting a price on the entire deal is difficult because Cell C, South Africa’s third largest operator, is unlisted but the Turk Telecom stake alone would be worth at least $8.6 billion according to Reuters data. Turk Telekom is one of the biggest listed companies in Turkey with has a market cap of $15.6 billion. Any deal could be complicated by Saudi Telecom Co (STC) , which has a 35 percent position in Oger Telecom and first refusal should the stake come up for sale, up to a certain price. “It’s a complicated deal but the Qataris have shown their interest by going to the family straight. Going by the strength of their wallet, this is something they could pull off,” one of the sources said. “There is no guarantee that the approach will lead to a deal given heightened execution risk due to mar-

ket volatility,” one person familiar with the situation said. Saudi Oger declined to comment. STC officials did not respond to requests for comment. Credit Suisse, acting on behalf of Qatar, declined comment. “Qatar is not the only potential solution here. Saudi Oger has options with other people,” another person familiar with the matter said, referring to Saudi Telecom, which he said could be forced to react. Mandates for the transaction went out in the second half of 2010, the sources said, adding completing a deal would take time given the complexity of the ownership and transaction structure. Saudi Oger has hired Citigroup Inc and Deutsche Bank , according to the banking sources who declined to be identified as the matter has not been made public yet. STC, which bought its current stake in Oger Telecom for $2.6 billion in 2008, is being advised by Goldman Sachs. Aside from STC’s right of first refusal, the deal faces other potential hurdles. The sale of Oger’s Turk Telecom stake and a change in control at the Turkish firm would automatically require an offer be made to its minority shareholders. It was not clear whether Qatar would take that step nor if STC would make a counter-bid for Oger Telecom. In October, STC’s international unit chief told Reuters the operator planned major acquisitions in 2012. “At the end of the day, the Qataris and

STC may end up competing for the deal. It’s a complex deal and there are lots of sticking points to complete this,” the source said. Aggressive investor Through its sovereign wealth fund, Qatar has emerged as one of the world’s most aggressive investors, snapping up stakes in high-profile names such as German carmakers Porsche and Volkswagen and has bought positions in banks and highend property in major markets. Qatar Telecom, the Gulf state’s biggest telecom operator, was not involved in the process but may take up a role once a deal is completed, the two sources said. Qatar, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter, has been keen to boost its presence in Turkey, where per capita incomes are up around 40 percent over the past decade and economic growth outpaces many European neighbors. Qatar National Bank, the largest lender in the Gulf state, is seen as a strong contender to buy, the fastgrowing Turkish arm of euro zone debt casualty Dexia. For Saudi Oger, selling its telecom unit will allow focus on its core construction business and move away from other non-core segments, the sources said. Saudi Arabia has embarked on an aggressive multibillion dollar plan to build infrastructure and housing for its rising population. —Reuters

that it had downgraded five eurozone countries, including Italy and Spain. Looking ahead, investors will keep an eye on an Italian bond auction and more earnings, which were mixed yesterday in Europe - airline Ryanair beat expectations but appliances maker Philips disappointed. In Asia, most indexes closed lower as investors there reacted to Friday’s release of data showing the US economy grew more slowly than expected in the last three months of 2011. The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the OctoberDecember quarter, lower than the 3 percent that economists were expecting. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index shed 0.5 percent to close at 8,793.05. South Korea’s Kospi was 1.2 percent lower at 1,940.55 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1.7 percent to

20,160.41. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.4 percent at 4,272.70. Benchmarks in mainland China, Singapore, Indonesia, India and the Philippines also fell. Taiwan and New Zealand rose. Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Corp. plummeted 14.8 percent after the Defense Ministry and the Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center said they would not sign contracts with the electric machinery manufacturer, which acknowledged it had overcharged on defense and space-related projects, Kyodo News agency reported. Traders are awaiting more data this week for clues about which way the US economy is headed. Tomorrow, the Institute for Supply Management will release its manufacturing index for January and the US Labor Department will release monthly employment data Friday. —AP

Spanish economy slumps MADRID: Spain’s battered economy shrank by 0.3 percent in the final quarter of 2011, official data showed yesterday, as it slid towards recession with a 23-percent jobless rate. The eurozone’s fourth-biggest economy now faces a near-certain recession in 2012, the highest unemployment rate in the industrialized world, and the prospect of deep spending cuts to control a blown-out deficit. Gross domestic product (GDP) in last quarter of 2011 dropped by 0.3 percent from the previous three months-the first such decline since the end of 2009, the National Statistics Institute said. The Spanish economy took a hit from weak domestic demand, which was only partially offset by a rise in exports, it said in a preliminary report based in some part on estimates. Over the year as a whole, GDP rose just by 0.7 percent in 2011. The year ahead looks bleaker. The Bank of Spain last week predicted recession with a contraction of 1.5 percent in 2012, followed by 0.2 percent growth in 2013. The International Monetary Fund has forecast a deeper decline of 1.7 percent in 2012 and a further fall of 0.3 percent in 2013. Spain emerged only at the start of 2010 from an 18-month recession triggered by a global financial crisis and a property bubble collapse that destroyed millions of jobs and left behind huge bad loans and debts. The country’s new rightleaning Popular Party government is struggling to slash a bloated public deficit and avoid being dragged back to the centre of a crisis of confidence in eurozone sovereign debt.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy plans 8.9 billion euros ($11.7 billion) in new budget cuts, tax increases to rake in 6.3 billion euros, and an anti-tax fraud campaign to recoup about 8.2 billion euros. But worries are growing that cost-cutting alone will

PAMPLONA: A woman looks at clothes inside a store announcing discounts in the window yesterday. —AP not suffice to cut the deficit. A recession and higher jobless numbers make it harder to curb the deficit because the state must pay more in unemployment benefits while receiving less income from taxes. Spain’s jobless total rose 295,300 to 5.27 million people at the end of 2011, pushing the unemployment rate to 22.85

percent, the highest level among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Among young people aged 16-24, nearly half of the labor force — 48.6 percent-were out of work. On Friday, Fitch Ratings downgraded the sovereign debt of of Spain and four other eurozone countries, citing their vulnerability to sharp turns in market sentiment in the eurozone debt crisis. It cited in particular Spain’s failure to meet its 2011 deficit-cutting target. Rajoy has said the 2011 deficit will be about eight percent of GDP-far beyond the 6.0-percent target-but has promised to abide by Spain target of lowering the deficit to 4.4 percent of GDP in 2012 and 3.0 percent of GDP in 2013. But Fitch said the 2012 and 2013 targets were now unrealistic. “This material fiscal slippage primarily reflects an overshoot at the regional government level and underscores a structural weakness in Spain’s fiscal framework and has undermined the credibility of the fiscal consolidation program,” Fitch said in a report. “In Fitch’s view, the official 2012 deficit target of 4.4 percent is now likely to prove unrealistic. The agency therefore assumes that this year’s deficit will come in at 6 percent, and that the stated 3-percent target will now not be reached until 2014.” The agency said economic re-balancing in Spain was hindered by a rigid labor market. Spain’s statistics institute will publish a final report on gross domestic product figures for the fourth quarter of 2011 on February 16. —AFP




Iran delays vote on EU crude export ban Oil dips below $111

Pro-growth monetary plans begin in India KCIC WEEKLY ANALYSIS


he world’s economy has been looking east for the last five years. While the most developed economies were saddled with a combination of slow growth, ageing population and high levels of debt, India and China emerged as alternative engines to pull the world’s demand. In the case of India, with more than 1.2 billion people and high GDP growth rates, millions of people every year reach a “middle class” status involving increased consumption capacity. However, the country has encountered significant obstacles in its path. Inflation is probably the most relevant among them, since it has been hampering the capacity of the government to stimulate a slowing economy. After a short deflationary period in 2009, inflation went up to over 10 percent in April 2010 and remained around those levelsuntil very recently. The impact on Indian consumers was exacerbated by the strong depreciation of the Indian rupee (INR), almost 20 percent against the dollar in 2011, which made imports of commodities - mostly oil more expensive. In that period, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was forced to hike interest rates 12 times for a total of 375 basis points (bps) or 3.75 percent until it reached its current 8.5 percent. High interest rates have restrained consumer credit, increased savings and prevented firms from undertaking additional investments for expansion. Finally, inflation began to cool inOctober, and investors have been expecting a shift towards growth-supportive policies. That shift only started taking place last Tuesday, when the RBI announced that the percentage of deposits that banks must keep with the central bank in the form of liquid cash, the “cash reserve ratio”, was reduced by 50 bps to 5.5 percent. A new period of pro-growth monetary loosening, which will probably last throughout 2012, has begun with this cut. When a country needs to stimulate its economy, a range of fiscal and monetary policies can be used. The tool most commonly used is the policy rate, which makes credit for the financial sector and consumers more or less expensive. Other instruments are the open market operations, with which central banks inject or

remove liquidity from the system by purchasing or selling bonds, and the cash reserve ratio (CRR). Most financial sectors in the world use a “fractional reserve banking system”. Banks are only required to keep a fraction of their deposits with the central bank in the form of cash with the goal of ensuring liquidity for depositors. In the case of India this ratio was set at 6 percent since May 2010. Under this level of CRR, 3.85 trillions of INR (approximately $77 billion) were locked with the RBI. The 50 bps cut will release $6.4 billion in the Indian economy, increasing liquidity available for firms and consumers which, in turn, should translate into higher levels of consumption and investment, pushing GDP up. Most analysts have reduced their GDP forecasts for India in 2011 and 2012, and the government of India has recently joined them bycutting the expected growth for the fiscal year ending in March 2012 from 7.6 to 7 percent compared to the same period last year. Downside risks persist in 2012. Global demand is weakening, regulatory reforms regarding foreign investment are urgently needed, and inflation is still well above the central bank’s desired level of 4 to 5 percent. The fiscal stance is not in very good shape. But the fundamentals of the Indian economy remain unchanged. The long period of high interest rates kept the savings rate high, and that should increase capital expenditure as rates come down. The government has elaborated a five-year plan, running from 2012 to 2017, with a strong emphasis on improving the poor infrastructures of the country. More importantly, India has a large and, unlike China, young population that is now reaching working age. Indian universities are producing highly skilled English-speaking professionals. These factors create a wide range of opportunities in infrastructure and consumer related sectors that investors, despite the negative performance of Indian markets in 2011, are starting to consider. The Kuwait Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign funds in the world, has recently allocated $1 billion to several India-specialized long-only mutual funds to invest across sectors, mostly in equities.

LONDON: Oil prices retreated yesterday, dipping below $111 a barrel after an expected Iranian vote to suspend crude exports to Europe was postponed and markets continued to wait for a deal on Greek debt. Brent crude futures were down 55 cents to $110.91 a barrel by 0919 GMT and US crude was down 75 cents at $98.81 a barrel. Both contracts gained more than 1 percent last week. Analysts and traders said that prices had retreated a little after an Iranian parliamentary vote expected on Sunday proposing the immediate suspension of crude oil exports to the European Union did not go ahead. Lawmakers had raised the possibility of turning the tables on the EU which will implement its own embargo on Iranian oil by July as it tightens sanctions on Tehran over the nuclear program. “The newsflow regarding Iran will continue to drive prices. If there are further comments about stopping oil exports to Europe, prices will rise, but I rather doubt this will happen. It is just jawboning,” said Carsten Fritsch, an energy analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Christopher Bellew, a trader at Jefferies Bache in London, said that continued uncertainty around Iranian exports was keeping a floor under oil prices. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has a delegation in Iran to try to resolve a row about the nuclear program that Iran says is purely civilian but the West suspects is for nuclear weapons manufacture. India, a major customer for Iranian crude, said it would not join the wider international efforts to put pressure on Tehran by cutting oil purchases. Greek debt Investors are also monitoring the progress of negotiations for a second bailout package for Greece. European leaders meet today to finalise details on a permanent rescue fund for the eurozone but discussions between the Greek government and private bondholders are not expected to conclude before the summit begins at 1400 GMT. Without an agreement on a second bailout Greece will face default when some

14.4 billion euros of bonds mature on March 20. “If nothing falls apart over the next several days it will pave the way for Europe to move a bit more into the background and open the window for risk asset markets to trade more based on the fundamentals ...and not simply whether the EU will implode or not,” Dominick Chirichella of the Energy Management Institute said in a note. Concerns about growth in the eurozone sent shares lower on opening, and the gloomy market sentiment overshadowed commodity markets. “The deteriorating economy in Europe is being priced in and there is a concern on whether we’ll face an EU-led recession,” said Victor Shum, senior partner at oil consultancy Purvin & Gertz. Elsewhere, supply fears eased as top exporter Nigeria resumed Bonny Light crude output after Royal Dutch Shell finished repairs to a damaged oil pipeline. Also, on Sunday Sudan released vessels loaded with South Sudanese oil after they were held at a Red Sea port in a dispute over export transit fees. — Reuters

RBS boss waives £1 million bonus

BEIJING: An investor looks at a stock price monitor at a private securities company yesterday. — AP

China to make Shanghai the world’s yuan centre by 2015 BEIJING: China will make Shanghai the global centre of yuan trading, clearing and pricing by 2015, according to a specific state plan laying out the city’s future as an international financial centre. The detailed plan, published jointly by the country’s economic planning agency and the Shanghai government, shows the scale of China’s ambition in creating its own version of New York, London or Hong Kong. China is aiming to transform Shanghai into an international financial centre by 2020 and analysts said yesterday’s blueprint was likely a part of that longerterm scheme. Currency traders said the statement by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) was also a message from Beijing that the yuan’s movements, which have increasingly been influenced by the offshore market over the past few months, would be decided by the govern-

ment. “There have been recent developments that have put Hong Kong’s offshore market in the spotlight from time to time, such as its pricing of the yuan quite differently from the onshore market,” said a trader at a European bank in Shanghai. “In this sense, the NDRC statement is published at a sensitive time and means the government once again wants to emphasize that it has the final say in the value of the yuan.” The NDRC envisions a trading hub with annual non-forex financial market trading volume of 1,000 trillion yuan by 2015, up from less than 400 trillion yuan in 2010. The plan said the daily mid-point price published by the central bank in the onshore yuan market would be the benchmark for both domestic and foreign yuan trading markets, and the government-backed Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate, or Shibor, would be the benchmark for yuan credit everywhere. — Agencies

LONDON: The chief executive of Britain’s state-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland has turned down his hotly-disputed bonus of shares worth close to £1 million, RBS said yesterday, amid a row over executive pay. Stephen Hester was due to receive a £963,000 ($1.5 million, 1.15 million euro) bonus this year on top of his £1.2 million salary, the bank had said Thursday. That announcement-amid government calls for pay restraint during the continuing economic gloom-sparked outrage from trade unions and the opposition Labor Party. But the bank said Hester would not be taking the shares after all. “I can confirm that he has decided not to accept the bonus,” an RBS spokesman told AFP. The fact that the sum was less than half the £2 million Hester was given a year earlier had failed to dent the criticism. British taxpayers own 82 percent of RBS since it was bailed out at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008. Since then, it has slashed tens of thousands of jobs. Hester’s move was welcomed by finance minister George Osborne. “This is a sensible and welcome decision that enables Stephen Hester to focus on the very important job he has got to do, namely to get back billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money that was put into RBS,” the chancellor said. The announcement came after the opposition Labor Party said it planned to force a parliamentary vote calling for Hester to be stripped of the bonus, as it sought to heap pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government over the issue. The government had been criticized for not stepping in, but ministers insisted it was a decision best left to Hester. “The judgment we had to make was: should we go further, as many of us would like to, and say, let’s have no bonus at all?”, Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, told BBC television. “Have the government taking control directly of RBS, and therefore causing potentially much bigger financial risks to the taxpayer?” Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the government could not interfere with the RBS board and so would have been forced to get rid of the body altogether to strip Hester of his bonus, a move which would have caused “chaos”. “Stephen Hester has done the right thing,” said Labor leader Ed Miliband. “It is a shame that a feeble, out-of-touch David Cameron did not realize he should do the right thing and stand up for the interests of the British people. — AFP

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

.2730000 .4320000 .3620000 .3000000 .2730000 .2910000 .0040000 .0020000 .0751330 .7319980 .3830000 .0720000 .7175920 .0040000 .0430000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2767500 GB Pound/KD .4348020 Euro .3647010 Swiss francs .3024420 Canadian dollars .2758260 Danish Kroner .0490630 Swedish Kroner .0408840 Australian dlr .2930510 Hong Kong dlr .0356790 Singapore dlr .2204300 Japanese yen .0036090 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0753380 Bahraini dinars .7343770 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0738200 Omani riyals .7191110 Philippine Peso .0000000

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES

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

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

.2800000 .4410000 .3700000 .3090000 .2810000 .2990000 .0070000 .0035000 .0758880 .7393550 .4000000 .0760000 .7248040 .0072000 .0520000 .2788500 .4381010 .3674690 .3047370 .2779190 .0494350 .0411950 .2952740 .0359500 .2221030 .0036370 .0056700 .0024550 .0031020 .0033160 .0759500 .7399500 .3944130 .0743800 .7245680 .0065380

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

GCC COUNTRIES 74.150 76.402 722.230 738.540 75.715

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

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 47.500 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 46.282 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.272 Tunisian Dinar 189.860 Jordanian Dinar 392.670 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.865 Syrian Lier 6.003 Morocco Dirham 33.814 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 277.950 Euro 370.650 Sterling Pound 431.930 Canadian dollar 268.420 Turkish lire 153.940 Swiss Franc 300.620 Australian dollar 277.000 US Dollar Buying 277.750 GOLD 315.500 159.000 81.500

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram



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

298.000 739.340 3.690 281.200 546.000 44.400 50.300 167.800 48.060 370.800 36.530 5.830 0.032 0.189 0.249 3.720 394.260 0.188 93.870 46.500 4.280 231.800 1.801 49.000 722.110


296.500 739.340 3.307 279.700

223.000 46.089 369.300 36.380 5.625 0.032

10 Tola

75.700 278.000

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd Selling Rate

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

277.750 280.147 437.589 369.497 301.675 735.511 75.598 76.236 74.026 390.969 46.037 2.431 5.636 3.084 3.302 6.479 681.308 3.671 8.875 5.846 3.567 92.259

Rate per 1000 (Tran)

US Dollar Pak Rupees 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


Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

297.63 280.66 307.90 368.84

441.00 3.70 3.700 5.810 2.650 4.250 3.240 76.15 739.35 48.20 394.25 728.00 77.25 74.60

277.900 3.078 5.625 2.450 3.305 6.505 75.765 74.260 738.800 46.100 442.200 3.190 1.550 372.000 282.700 3.690

Al Mulla Exchange

UAE Exchange Center WLL Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro

438.55 3.68 3.293 5.596 2.440 3.530 3.080 75.66 739.33 46.15 395.43 722.37 76.65 74.22

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co.

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 438.700 278.000

Sterling Pound US Dollar



305.600 4.400 9.140

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


393.930 0.187 93.870 3.540 230.300

3.080 6.490 76.470 74.230 223.020 38.300 2.438 438.700

GOLD 1,807.830

Rate for Transfer

Bahrain Exchange Company

3.190 6.740 76.900 74.230 223.020 38.300 2.655 440.700 42.000 307.100 4.400 9.320 198.283 75.800 278.400 1.290

300.00 282.00 309.00 371.80

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

277.550 369.100 438.500 279.500 3.650 5.615 46.085 2.437 3.250 6.465 3.080 739.300 75.600 74.175


business MENA will stand stronger towards the end of 2012

Steen Jakobsen DUBAI: Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank A/S, the online trading and investment specialist, will be visiting Dubai to discuss with financial media and professional investors of Saxo Bank (Dubai) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Saxo Bank A/S, the current market status in light of the recent crisis and the bank’s outlook for the first quarter of 2012. Saxo Bank’s quarterly outlook takes a deeper look at what 2012 holds for various asset classes including; foreign exchange, commodities and equities and the state of the macro economy and how it will be impacted by policy amendments, monetary policy and the current market turmoil. The bank has forecasted that world growth is to slow further in 2012 to 3 percent. Jakobsen says: “Our common theme for this quar-

ter is a Perfect Storm. Pressures in the eurozone, public sector austerity and social tensions will all conspire to create the storm, in which no nation will be left untouched”. He believes 2012 could be the most pivotal year by far since the global financial crisis of 2008 and notes that a perfect storm in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) area is based on good underlying fundamentals combined with almost imper fect visibility on geopolitical risk. Jakobsen says: “We feel confident that MENA will stand stronger on both accounts at the end of 2012 but first we may need to go through a period of increased volatility. This leads us to a very defensive investment outlook not from a fear of the future rather from a high probability of seeing better entry levels during the course of the year.” Steen Jakobsen, a regular guest host and commentator on CNBC, Bloomberg and other networks, has more than 20 years of experience within the fields of proprietary trading and alternative investment. In 1997, he became Global Head of Trading, FX and Options at Christiania (now Nordea) in New York until he joined UBS in New York in 1999 as the Executive Director in the Global Proprietary Trading Group. He joined Saxo Bank in 2000 and after a brief departure to Limus Capital Partners, where he was Chief Investment Officer for two years, he returned to the bank in 2011 as Chief Economist.

SINGAPORE: Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin (front left) exchanges a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with his Singaporean counterpart, K Shanmugam (front right) while Myanmar’s President Thein Sein, (rear left) and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong look on at the Istana yesterday.—AP

Sarkozy unveils taxes in pre-election gamble Sarkozy fleshes out jobs and growth plan PARIS: President Nicolas Sarkozy used a primetime television interview on Sunday to flesh out a flurry of measures to boost employment and competitiveness which he hopes to rush through France’s parliament before a presidential election in April. Sarkozy, who is running far behind Socialist challenger Francois Hollande in opinion polls for the election, said he would raise the VAT rate to 21.2 percent from 19.6 percent from October to fund a reduction in social charges on companies. The move, which Sarkozy first alluded to in a New Year’s speech, is aimed at narrowing a competitiveness gap with Germany that is weighing on French growth, but it risks angering voters. Among other measures, Sarkozy said he would set up an industrial investment bank in February with a billion euros in capital that will lend to small and medium-sized businesses struggling to obtain financing in today’s climate. He also said companies with more than 250 employees would be obliged to take on interns to the level of 5 percent of total staff, as a way of helping reduce chronic youth unemployment. Sarkozy said he had a duty as president to hold off announcing his re-election bid until as late as possible. Yet his interview, broadcast live across eight TV channels, seemed timed to respond to a series of T V appearances and speeches last week by Hollande, who is campaigning at full throttle for the two-round election on April 22 and May 6. “We have to protect employment, we have to defend it, value it,” said Sarkozy, who has thrown his focus onto growth and jobs since it became clear late last year that his deficit-cutting efforts could not save France from a credit rating downgrade. “I am convinced this decision will save jobs and that it’s the only credible way to stop outsourcing,” he said of his so-called “Social VAT” plan to ease firms’ social contributions. Sarkozy, who turned 57 on Saturday, said a financial transaction tax he is planning for August would set a tax of 0.1 percent on transactions in French securities. He gave no detail on the tax, which France wants to be adopted across the European Union, but a government source later said it would target shares, not bonds, and could raise a billion euros annually. Separately, Sarkozy announced a rise in taxes on individuals’ financial income such as interest and dividends. Ups and downs Sarkozy has worked hard in recent months to present a more austere and presidential

demeanor following criticism of his informal and sometimes brash manner, and he stuck to a highly technical discourse on Sunday. He referred frequently to Germany as an economic model that France should be copying. Setting the stage for what aides say will be an “honest” campaign that admits past mistakes yet seeks to show he is the safest pair of hands to steer France out of economic gloom, Sarkozy sounded a note of humility about his years in office. “I accept the criticism,” he said, adding that there had been “ups and downs” and things he

illustrating the economic challenge ahead, the source said that the government will soon revise down its 1.0 percent forecast for 2012 growth. Both Hollande and Sarkozy are seizing on the euro zone crisis and what many fear is a descent into recession in France as their key focus for the 2012 election. While Hollande blames France’s woes on more than a decade of conservative leadership, Sarkozy is playing on his experience next to a man who has never been a government minister. An Ifop poll published on Sunday showed, how-

PARIS: French President Nicolas Sarkozy looks in a mirror shortly before an interview on French television at the Elysee Palace. — AP regretted. Opinion polls show Sarkozy could lose a runoff against Hollande by 10 percentage points, and some in his UMP party believe he is suffering from his decision to leave launching his campaign until close to a March 16 deadline. Hollande put in an able performance last week in a TV debate against Alain Juppe, Sarkozy’s foreign minister and one of the most talented politicians in his team, and he also unveiled a weighty and fiscally responsible economic plan. In an attempt at one-upmanship, Sarkozy said France’s public deficit for 2011 could come in as low as 5.4 or 5.3 percent of gross domestic product, well below a target of 5.7 percent. Yet

ever, that many see Hollande as the best candidate to tackle debt reduction and unemployment, which is running at a more than 12-year high. The poll found 46 percent of respondents trusted Hollande most to fight unemployment, versus 22 percent for Sarkozy, and 34 percent chose Hollande as the best to handle the public debt, versus 32 percent for Sarkozy. Underlining a belief that Hollande could defeat Sarkozy, Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party said on Saturday that the German Chancellor plans to actively back Sarkozy in his campaign by making joint appearances with him. —Reuters

Myanmar taps into Singapore skills to modernize economy SINGAPORE: Myanmar yesterday signed an agreement with Singapore seeking the financial centre’s help as the country emerges from political and economic isolation after decades of military rule. President Thein Sein arrived Sunday for a four-day state visit to the city-state accompanied by a top-level delegation which included business leaders and top ministers in charge of economic portfolios. Thein Sein yesterday met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the leaders witnessed the signing by their foreign ministers of an agreement under which Singapore will provide training for reforms in the legal, banking and financial sectors. The pact also calls on Singapore to share its best practices in trade, tourism and urban planning. With the West looking at easing sanctions and businesses closely watching sweeping democratic reforms in the formerly military-run country, Myanmar needs to prepare for an anticipated increase in investments and tourism, analysts said. Weakened by half a century of military rule and economic mismanagement, Myanmar nevertheless has rich natural resources, including gold, gas, teak, oil, jade and gems and a large pool of low-cost labor. The Southeast Asian state also boasts of a host of tourism attractions with its appealing colonial architecture, picturesque temples and golden beaches. “If all goes well, Burma certainly looks forward to being welcomed from the political wilderness,” said Song Seng Wun a regional economist with Malaysian bank CIMB, using Myanmar’s former name. “It looks like the Burmese are in a hurry to catch up

in the shortest possible time,” he told AFP. Myanmar will likely tap Singapore’s expertise in financial services, Song said. “After so many years of isolation, their capacity to handle the expected inflow of investments and set up the much-needed regulatory frameworks have to be brought up to scratch as quickly as possible.” A Southeast Asian diplomat also told AFP that Myanmar needs to train accountants, bankers and other people with technical skills as well as in corporate governance. “Singapore is the logical place where it can seek help,” said the diplomat, who asked not to be named. Singapore, a regional financial centre and a favorite hub for global companies, is oft n seen as a model by its neighbors. After nearly five decades of outright army rule in Myanmar, a nominally civilian government took power last year and has since surprised outside observers with its apparent scope and pace of reforms. Thein Sein, a former prime minister and an ex-general who was a member of the junta, was appointed president in February last year after the November 2010 elections. Myanmar and Singapore are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which also includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Under military rule, Myanmar had long been a thorn on the side of ASEAN, hobbling the bloc’s relations with Western powers because of the jailing of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and allegations of widespread human rights abuses.— AFP

Ryanair bounces back into quarterly profit DUBLIN: Ryanair, Europe’s biggest budget airline, raised its annual profit forecast yesterday as a 17 percent rise in fares made up for more expensive fuel and reduced capacity. Underlining the resilience of the low-cost sector as legacy carriers struggle, Ryanair soared past analyst forecasts with net profit of 15 million euros ($19.70 million) in the third quarter to Dec 31. Its shares hit a four-year high before later retracing. The higher fares made up for a 2 percent fall in passenger numbers as the airline grounded 80 of its 270 planes over the winter due to high fuel costs. “Ryanair is doing so well because it can increase its fares and still be lower than the competition,” said Gerard Moore, an analyst with Merrion stockbrokers in Dublin. “Cutting capacity more aggressively than its rivals gives it even more scope to increase average fares and this strategy is paying off.” Ryanair shares initially gained 2.7 percent to 4.262 euros, but later slipped around one percent into negative territory. Analysts warned the good results had been priced into the stock, which has gained 35 percent in the past five months, outpacing the broader Irish market. “They upgraded significantly, but expectations are elevated so no one

was really surprised,” said a trader at Goodbody’s Stockbrokers in Dublin. Ryanair followed British peer EasyJet in posting strong revenue growth as higher-priced rivals are battered by fuel costs and a struggling global economy. German group Lufthansa and Air FranceKLM have cut profit forecasts after being hit by fuel cost rises and slashed plans to expand in 2012. Ryanair’s revenue was 844 million euros in the quarter, ahead of an average forecast of 819 million in a poll of 21 analysts compiled by the company. Quarterly net profit of 15 million euros was well ahead of a 16 million loss forecast. It increased its full-year net profit forecast by 9 percent to 480 million euros. “The EU recession, higher oil prices, the unfolding failure of the package tour operator model, significant competitor fare increases and capacity cuts, has created enormous growth opportunities for Ryanair,” Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said in a statement. Ryanair is examining opportunities in Spain following the collapse last week of lossmaking rival Spanair, Chief Financial Officer Howard Millar told Reuters. “We certainly see it as an opportunity to expand our base,” he said. —Reuters

KUWAIT: (Left) Amine Jabali, Managing Partner, Rogers & Peppers Group is pictured. (Right) John Kirkbright, Chairman of Efma’s Banking Advisory Council addresses the attendees. — Photos by Joseph Shagra

Power of social media is not utilized: Jabali Rogers & Peppers Group host banking, telecom professionals By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: The banking sector, telecommunication companies in Kuwait have not utilized the power of social media yet, said Amine Jabali, Managing Partner, Rogers & Peppers Group. Speaking with the Kuwait Times yesterday on the sidelines of a round-table discussion held for the banking sector at JW Marriott Kuwait City, Jabali said social networking is becoming more and more relevant in today’s world. “Telecommunication companies reacted but they have not used the full potential of social media; they have reacted only by providing the gadgets but the telcos are yet to leverage the use of social networking to generate revenues,” he argued. He said the telecom companies, even the banking sector

can leverage by building advocacy or affinity by developing social clubs for students. “The telecom sectors, banking sectors can create clubs for high school or university students using the power of social media. You can talk to this group of people and know their interest/needs and can bring them forward to be more loyal to you,” he suggested. Jabali noted that customers nowadays are not only intelligent but also becoming more and more demanding. “It’s not about ‘I’ll take what you give’ anymore. It’s about provide what I need. It is a challenge for the company, but we see that companies are adapting to new challenges,” he asserted. “We see more and more customers purchasing smart phones not only because they have cash, but because they know the value of

what they are paying for,” he added. He advised by building good relationships using the tools of social media, they can create more loyal customers which will eventually translate to higher revenues. “ Today, having a Facebook or Twitter accounts is not enough; we need to build a relationship using this media,” he opined. He also advised companies here to take advantage of their current customer base rather than being too focused on investing or buying more companies, opening new branches, retails or new concepts. “If you take a look at what you have today and look at your existing customer base, you will find that in reality, companies in Kuwait are only leveraging maybe not more than 25 percent of what they can get from their existing customers. You can generate and increase

more, maybe by 20-30 percent if you utilize the current customer base,” he said. Jabali suggested understanding why customers are buying products and ser vices: “Know their needs and behavior. Yes, the telecom operators, banking sectors, or other industries, can make a major impact if you understand your customer base.” “Your customers would always drive the company’s profitability. Customers drive what kind of products you should deliver to the market place. You should start thinking out of the box,” he added. The roundtable discussion yesterday focused on retail banking. It was moderated by John Kirkbright, Chairman of Efma’s Banking Advisory Council. Attendees had the opportunity to interact with the speakers and participated in the panel discussion.

Greece’s Alpha Bank, Eurobank trade suspended ATHENS: The Athens stock exchange yesterday ordered a temporary suspension of trade in Alpha Bank and Eurobank shares on uncertainty that a planned merger between the two prominent lenders can be completed. The bourse and the regulator, the Hellenic Capital Market Commission, suspended the shares because announcements and reports meant that they could not ensure protection for investors and the safe operation of the market, a statement said. The merger plan, originally slated for completion in December, was designed to create Greece’s largest lender with major backing from a Qatari investment fund. But Alpha Bank yesterday said it could not inform investors when the deal would be sealed because of ongoing negotiations between Greece and its creditors on a huge debt swap that also impacts on Greek bank holdings. “Due to current macroeconomic developments directly impacting

on the banking sector ... (Alpha Bank) cannot, at present, provide an accurate estimate of the timetable, and the overall development, of the merger between the Bank and Eurobank EFG,” Alpha Bank said. “As soon as definitive facts emerge, the bank will duly update its disclosure,” it added. Eurobank said it was working to complete the merger as soon as possible. “Eurobank informs that it is consulting with Alpha Bank in order to complete the merger process the soonest possible and considers that there are no reasons to delay the completion of the merger,” it said. At the suspension, Alpha shares were up 9.4 percent while Eurobank was down 0.25 percent. Announced in August and approved by the banks’ respective boards in November, the merger aims to restore faith in Greece’s cash-starved banking system amid rising concern about its exposure

to the country’s rock-bottom sovereign debt. A capital increase of 3.9 billion euros ($5.2 billion), backed by Qatari fund Paramount Services Holding, is expected to be carried out in coming months as part of the merger deal. Greek banks stand to lose heavily as a result of a government debt write-down that is part of a second eurozone bailout agreed for Athens in October. The sum of 30 billion euros from that package is to be set aside to help recapitalize Greek banks after private bank creditors and the government seal an accord to write down the value of their government bond holdings by 50 percent. French investment bank Natixis has estimated that Greece’s main four banks National Bank, Eurobank, Alpha and Piraeus Bank-would need around 8.9 billion euros to keep their capital ratio at the required nine percent if the write-down goes through.— AFP



Bourse ends day with mixed indices GLOBAL DAILY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait’s equities witnessed mixed trends yesterday, as investors continued to focusing on mid and small cap stocks. Gains in select investment stocks sent small caps higher, whilst blue chips tumbled. Market indices Global General Index (GGI) ended the day down by 0.09 percent, at 179.33 point. Market capitalization was down for the day, reaching KD 29.34 billion. On the other hand, KSE Price Index closed at 5,865.4 point, shedding 7.80 points (0.13 percent) from its previous close. Market breadth Market breadth was neutral yesterday. Decliners and advancers were tied at 35 apiece in the KSE. Daily trading activity The retreat was accompanied by growing trading activity however. Volume traded increased by 14.91 percent, at 385.62 million shares. Investment Groups accounted for 170.89 million (44.32 percent) of those shares traded. International Financial Advisors Company was the most actively traded stock, with investors exchanging 49.88 million shares, via 460 deals. The scrip was one of the biggest component stocks losing yesterday, with a 7.14 percent slide. Top gainers and biggest decliners In terms of top gainers, Al-Dar National Real Estate Company was the top gainer for the day, adding 9.09 percent to its share value and closing at KD 0.018. On the other hand, share price of Al-Qurain Holding Company retreated by 8.70 percent and closed at KD 0.021, making it the biggest decliners in the market for the day in a row.

Sectors wise Non-Kuwaiti stocks spearheaded decliners, clocking 0.84 percent in sector losses. Sharjah Cement & Industrial Development Company paced the retreat with a 7.69 percent withdrawal. Gulf Cement Company too repor ted a 6.02 percent loss. Global Industrial Index shed 0.39 percent, on the back of a 0.88 percent drop registered by heavy-weight National Industries Group (Holding). The scrip ended the day at K WD0.224. Fur thermore, Boubyan International Industries Holding Company and Qurain Petrochemical Company tumbled by 3.95 percent and 2.70 percent respectively. On the positive side, Global

Food Index came in the lead, up 0.49 percent. Three out of the six listed stocks within the sector landed in green. Livestock Transport & Trading Company closed up by 2.78 percent to at KD 0.196 by the end of yesterday’s session. Corporate news Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) announced that Agility sent a clarification on yesterday’s local press news headlined “Sharia Board OKs Agility’s win of Health Assurance auction”. The logistics services provider said that it did not receive any official reply or approval of the competent authorities in this regard. The company added that it will inform the market of any relevant developments. Kuwait Gazette

announced the establishment of International Cement Group company with a capital of KD 10 million. The company was incepted as a closed shareholding company with a capital of KD 10 million distributed over 100 million shares each valued at KD 100 fils, the gazette said in its latest edition. The company’s mission is to hold construction works such as buildings, roads and bridges. It can provide decor and painting services and manufacture various building materials. Oil news The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $111.31pb on Friday, compared with $111.26pb the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations.

Carrefour CEO replaced PARIS: The chief executive of Carrefour SA is to be replaced by a veteran French clothing retailer after a string of profit warnings sent the French retail giant’s share price tumbling. Lars Olofsson will be replaced by clothing retail executive Georges Plassat at Carrefour’s annual shareholder meeting in June, the company said in a statement. The company said Olofsson had informed its board of directors that he would not seek renewal of his mandate at the general assembly June 18, but no explanation for the decision was given. His exit follows a concerted lobbying campaign to replace him by the company’s leading shareholders, including Colony Capital of the US and Bernard Arnault, the head of luxury group LNMH - the same shareholders who secured the departure of Olofsson’s predecessor. The 60-year-old Swede leaves Carrefour, the world’s second largest retailer by sales, in almost the same troubled condition that he found it when he took over the struggling retailer just three years ago. As then, the company’s performance and strategy are in doubt, the share price is lagging and key shareholders have given up waiting for management’s repeated attempts to turn round the core hypermarkets business. Carrefour shares plunged 38 percent last year, well underperforming the wider CAC40 index as the company’s serial profit warnings and missed earnings targets sent investors scrambling for the exits. Olofsson’s 62-yearold replacement Plassat joins Carrefour from Vivarte, a French fashion retailer he has run since 2004. In Carrefour’s latest profit warning this month, the company admitted its 2011 earnings would by close to 20 percent lower than in 2010, as sales stagnated and Olofsson’s much vaunted revamp of the hypermarkets business failed to pay off with improved margins. The group is scheduled to report 2011 earnings on March 8. Carrefour’s shares were down 3.5 percent in mid-afternoon to euro17.62, underperforming the wider market decline as investors shed risk ahead of

an anticipated EU summit in Brussels. Olofsson’s fate was sealed when he lost the confidence of Carrefour’s biggest shareholders including private equity firms Blue Capital and Colony Capital and Bernard Arnault, one of France’s wealthiest investors and head of luxury goods group LVMH. The three investors own a combined 22.1 percent of Carrefour via a shareholding pact that grants them a heavy say in management’s strategy. These are the same investors who secured the 2009 departure of Olofsson’s predecessor, Spaniard Jose-Luis Duran. Blue Capital, a consortium controlled by Arnault and Colony Capital, took a stake in Carrefour in 2008 with the aim of unlocking the value of the company’s real estate. The investors’ impatience with the pace of Olofsson’s turnaround was compounded by a nearly one-third drop in the value of their investment over his three-year tenure. Carrefour’s weak spot has long been its hypermarkets, which have seen their profitability erode through lower prices and falling foot traffic as well as market share losses to rivals including Casino, Auchan and Leclerc. The group’s French hypermarkets, its largest division by sales, saw revenue shrink by 4.5 percent excluding the impact of higher gasoline prices at its service stations. The company has been engaged in an expensive rollout of a new store format it calls “Carrefour Planet,” effectively giving its hypermarkets a face-lift in a bid to draw customers back to the suburban megastores. A 3.5 percent drop in traffic at Carrefour’s hypermarkets in the fourth quarter showed however that the yearold concept hasn’t paid off. Olofsson was also undone by Carrefour’s Brazilian operations, where a 2010 audit discovered hidden losses more than double the group’s earlier estimates, forcing it take a euro550 million charge and restate its 2009 financial results. Carrefour had tried and failed to sell its Brazilian operations to Wal-Mart in 2009, although a report last summer said the US retail giant was considering a new approach. — AP




Exxon set to sell Japan stake for $3.9 billion Exxon Mobil to supply crude

MUMBAI: John Culver, president of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, attends a press conference yesterday. — AP

Starbucks to open first India store MUMBAI: Starbucks will open its first outlet in India by September through a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, the companies said yesterday. “We’re going to move as fast as possible in opening as many stores as we can so long as we are successful and so long as we are embraced by the Indian consumers,” said John Culver, president of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific. The first store is likely to open in Mumbai or New Delhi, with a nationwide rollout to follow, the companies said. R K Krishnakumar, vice chairman of Tata Global Beverages, said the venture could have 50 stores open by year’s end. The companies said the initial investment will be 4 billion rupees ($80 million). Unusually, the stores will be cobranded “Starbucks Coffee: A Tata Alliance.” The two companies will also develop a tea for the Indian market under the Tata Tazo brand. Starbucks currently operates over 17,000 stores in 57 countries. Last January, Starbucks signed an agreement

with Tata Coffee, a unit of Tata Global Beverages, to source and roast coffee beans in India. The alliance with Tata could help ease one of the main burdens for retailers in India: the high cost of real estate. Krishnakumar said the joint venture would open outlets at properties owned by group companies, for example at the Taj chain of luxury hotels. Culver said the company would also look at opening outlets in shopping malls, office parks, universities, airports and train stations. The alliance will also help Tata Global Beverages expand its international footprint. All coffee beans for the cafes in India will be sourced from Tata Coffee, which also hopes to ramp up exports to regional Starbucks outlets, Krishnakumar said. He said other Tata Beverage brands, like Himalaya water, should also find their way into Starbucks outlets globally. The venture will face competition from existing players like market leader Cafe Coffee Day, which operates over 1,200 outlets in the country. — AP

BlueCrest seeks $235m for new BlueTrend fund LONDON: BlueCrest Capital Management, one of Europe’s biggest hedge fund firms, is looking to raise more than 150 million pounds ($235 million) for a new listed feeder fund into its computer-driven BlueTrend fund, a source familiar with the matter said. The closed-end fund, BlueCrest BlueTrend, will feed into the firm’s main BlueTrend fund, the company said in a statement. BlueTrend manages $13.6 billion in assets and was one of the hedge fund industry’s top performers during the financial crisis in 2008. The computer-driven unit, which is headed by Brazilian-born Leda Braga, the firm’s media-shy head of systematic trading, competes with the likes of Man Group’s AHL unit and Winton Capital’s Futures fund. So-called managed futures funds try to make money by latching onto trends in global futures markets. BlueTrend was one of the few hedge funds to profit in a dire

2008 for the industry, gaining 42.8 percent. Last year it made 0.1 percent, while the average hedge fund lost 5.02 percent, according to Hedge Fund Research. Winton Capital’s main fund gained 6.3 percent last year while AHL lost 6.4 percent. The main BlueTrend fund has been shut to new investors for the past 18 months, but the feeder is being launched after BlueCrest created extra capacity by enhancing the main fund’s computer systems. In 2010, BlueCrest shut a EU-regulated Ucits version of BlueTrend due to its inability to replicate sufficiently the performance of the main offshore fund. BlueCrest was set up by Mike Platt and William Reeves in 2000 and now manages around $28.6 billion in assets. The firm is headquartered in Guernsey, while the bulk of its traders sit in London and Geneva. Dexion Capital is advising BlueCrest on the planned flotation. — Reuters

TOKYO: Japan’s second-biggest refiner, TonenGeneral Sekiyu KK, said yesterday its $4billion purchase of a controlling stake in itself from US oil major Exxon Mobil Corp would help speed business decisions. The purchase of the Exxon Mobil stake comes as domestic oil demand falls and Japanese refiners’ products prove uncompetitive with rivals located closer to the developing economies that are the world’s key drivers of growth. Exxon Mobil will retain a 22 percent voting share in the Japanese oil refiner, down from 50 percent, with the 302 billion yen ($3.94 billion) transaction set to be completed by June 1, TonenGeneral said on Sunday, confirming a Reuters report. “It will enable us to complete the procedure of our decision making within this countr y,” Jun Mutoh, managing director of TonenGeneral, who has led talks on the transaction since last year, told reporters yestereday. A key decision faced by TonenGeneral is how to tackle Japanese government rules aimed at improving the competitiveness of the country’s ailing oil sector that require the firm to either cut its crude refining capacity by about 30 percent or build a new secondary unit. Since analysts see little chance of new investment, the TonenGeneral group, including Kyokuto Petroleum Industries, a 50-50 joint venture with Mitsui & Co, needs to cut capacity to 578,000 barrels per day by March 2014, Reuters calculations show, from 836,000 bpd now. Mutoh declined to comment on how the firm would meet government regulations. “We cannot easily elaborate about our three refineries and our partner’s plant in regard of a future decision related to the regulations,” he said. “We’re hoping to find ways to make every party happy.” Refinery consolidation is sweeping the developed world, with Europe’s biggest independent refiner Petroplus becoming the latest victim, being forced to close three of its five oil refineries after lenders froze credit lines in December. A deal struck on Sunday

will allow TonenGeneral, which uses crude from Exxon and distributes Exxon brand oil in Japan, to operate four times more service stations by bringing under its umbrella those now under the Japanese unit of Exxon Mobil. The TonenGeneral stake purchase could further encourage realignment among Japan’s oil refiners, which have been cutting

form capital alliances with state-run oil companies in the Middle East, some analysts said such alliances were possible to ensure stable crude supply. “An oil company may ask oil suppliers like Qatar to hold a part of its shares now that they are all concerned about stable crude supply,” independent oil economist Osamu

TOKYO: Sherman Glass, president of ExxonMobil Refining (right) and Philippe Ducom, lead country manager of ExxonMobil Japan Group (left) shake hands with Jun Mutoh, representative director of TonenGeneral Sekiyu K K., during a press conference yesterday. — AP capacity to cope with falling demand caused by a weak economy and a shift to more efficient and environmentally friendly forms of energy. In April 2010 refiner Nippon Oil and rival Japan Energy’s parent company, Nippon Mining Holdings, merged to become JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp, the country’s top refiner. Oil demand in Japan, the world’s No 3 consumer, has been falling steadily for more than a decade, to about 3.4 million bpd now, down about 19 percent from a record 4.2 million bpd in 1999. While Mutoh ruled out plans to

Fujisawa said. “But I doubt if people will allow a further fall in the number of oil companies. Retailers are already worried about the refiners’ increased pricing power,” he said. Smaller rival Showa Shell Sekiyu is 15 percent owned by state oil giant Saudi Aramco after Royal Dutch Shell sold down its stake to 35 percent, while Cosmo Oil Co is one-fifth owned by the Abu Dhabi government. Japan’s total refining capacity stands at 4.5 million bpd, down nearly 17 percent from 5.4 million bpd at the peak of oil demand in 1999. —Reuters

Occupy protest resurfaces in Oakland OAKLAND: It started peacefully enough: A midday rally at City Hall and a march. But as the day wore on, Oakland was hit by the most turbulent protests in weeks as Occupy demonstrators clashed repeatedly with police, leaving more than 400 people arrested. The demonstrations in downtown Oakland broke a lull that had seen just a smattering of people taking to Oakland’s streets in recent weeks for occasional marches that bore little resemblance to the headlinegrabbing Occupy demonstrations of last fall. That all changed Saturday with clashes punctuated by rock and bottle throwing by protesters and volleys of tear gas from police, and a City Hall break-in that left glass cases smashed, graffiti spray-painted on walls and an American flag burned. AP photos showing the flag burning including images of masked protesters touching off the blaze, a woman urging protesters not to burn it, and another of an officer stomping out the fire - drew attention on social networking sites. At least three officers and one protester were injured. Police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Thomason said there were more than 400 arrests on charges ranging from failure to disperse to vandalism, On Sunday, Oakland officials vowed to be ready if Occupy protesters try to mount another large -scale demonstration. Protesters, meanwhile, decried Saturday’s police tactics as illegal and threatened to sue. Mayor Jean Quan personally inspected damage caused by

dozens of people who broke into City Hall. She said she wants a court order to keep Occupy protesters who have been arrested several times out of Oakland, which has been hit repeatedly by demonstrations that have cost the financially troubled city about $5 million. Quan also called on the loosely organized movement to “stop using Oakland as its playground.” “People in the community and people in the Occupy movement have to stop making excuses for this behavior,” she said. Saturday’s protests - the most convulsive since Oakland police forcefully dismantled an Occupy encampment in November - came just days after the announcement of a new round of actions. The group said it planned to use a vacant building as a social center and political hub and threatened to try to shut down the Port of

Oakland for a third time, occupy the airport and take over City Hall. After the mass arrests, the Occupy Oakland Media Committee criticized the police’s conduct, saying that most of the arrests were made illegally because police failed to allow protesters to disperse. It threatened legal action. “Contrary to their own policy, the OPD gave no option of leaving or instruction on how to depart. These arrests are completely illegal, and this will probably result in another class action lawsuit against the OPD,” a release from the group said. Deputy Police Chief Jeff Israel told reporters late Saturday that protesters gathered unlawfully and police gave them multiple verbal warnings to disband. Earlier this month, a courtappointed monitor submitted a report to a federal judge that

OAKLAND: Occupy Oakland protesters march down Broadway. on Saturday, Jan 28, 2012. — AP

included “serious concerns” about the department’s handling of the Occupy protests. Police officials say they were in “close contact” with the federal monitor during the protests. The national Occupy Wall Street movement, which denounces corporate excess and economic inequality, began in New York City in the fall but has been largely dormant lately. Oakland, New York and Los Angeles were among the cities with the largest and most vocal Occupy protests early on. The demonstrations ebbed after those cities used force to move out hundreds of demonstrators who had set up tent cities. Caitlin Manning, an Occupy Oakland member, believes that Saturday’s protest caught the world’s attention. “The Occupy movement is back on the map,” Manning said Sunday. “We think those who have been involved in movements elsewhere should be heartened.” In Oakland, social activism and civic unrest have long marked this rough-edged city of nearly 400,000 across the bay from San Francisco. Beset by poverty, crime and a decadeslong tense relationship between the police and the community, its streets have seen clashes between officers and protesters, including anti-draft protests in the 1960s that spilled into town from neighboring Berkeley. Dozens of officers, who maintained guard at City Hall overnight, were also on the scene Sunday. “They were never able to occupy a building outside of City Hall,” Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan said Sunday. — AP

Putin vows Russia ‘new economy’ after protests

EHINGEN: The headquarters of German chemist chain Schlecker in southern Germany, is pictured yesterday. The company had filed for bankruptcy earlier in January 2012 due to cash-flow problems, creating uncertainty for its 47,000 employees around Europe. — AFP

MOSCOW: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised yesterday to build a “new economy” in Russia as he admitted its prosperity was still held back by a litany of ills despite his 12-year domination of the country. In a bid to show he remains Russia’s best hope for economic stability after a wave of protests, Putin admitted the country faced “systemic” corruption, an “unsatisfactory” business climate and an “inadmissible” dependence on energy exports. Putin’s pledges came in an article for business daily Vedomosti, the latest in a series of wordy tracts setting out his vision for Russia ahead of the March 4 presidential poll where he plans to win a third Kremlin term. “To have an economy that neither guarantees us stability, sovereignty or well-being is inadmissible for Russia,” said Putin. “We need a new economy with competitive industry and infrastructure, with a developed services sector, with effective agriculture,” Putin added. He appeared to acknowledge the failure of the much-heralded mod-

ernization program of his protege President Dmitry Medvedev, who Putin plans to succeed as Kremlin chief after his four-year stint as prime minister. “On the initiative of President Medvedev in the last years we embarked on a number of reforms aimed at improving the business climate. There has been no noticeable breakthrough so far,” he said. Putin painted a stark picture of the corruption that has sprouted in Russia in the last years and left it a lowly 143 on the latest anti-corruption index published by watchdog Transparency International. “The costs (of bribes) for a business varyyou pay more or less depending on how well disposed certain people within the state mechanism are towards you,” said Putin. Vedomosti, one of Russia’s few newspapers to have been consistently critical of Putin, printed his article in full but lambasted him in an accompanying commentary for failing to make clear how the reforms will be implemented.” The word ‘must’ is used in the text 32 times, the word ‘will’ 19 times, ‘need’ 17 times

and ‘necessary’ 11 times,” said Vedomosti. “But who is it that ‘must’? And what has he (Putin) been doing all these last years?” it asked. It said Putin failed to understand that major economic change was impossible without political reform. “For Putin, the economy is still a boring chapter in a textbook that is strictly kept separate from the ‘politics’ chapter.” The article comes days ahead of a new rally on Saturday by the anti-Putin protest movement which hopes to attract tens of thousands of people in a march through Moscow exactly one month before the presidential elections. Andrei Yakovlev, pro-rector at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, told AFP that the article was of a “pre-election nature-it does not mention any painful methods to solve these problems.” “It’s hard to see in what way the business climate is going to be improved and corruption restrained.” Ivan Tchakarov, chief Russia economist at Renaissance Capital in Moscow, said: “These are all lofty goals and Putin deserves credit for explicitly enumerating them. — AFP




FASTtelco participates in Info-Connect Expo 2012 Many surprises in store for customers

KUWAIT: The Gulf Bank officials pose for a group photo at the venue.

Gulf Bank partakes in construction expo KUWAIT: Gulf Bank has successfully concluded its participation in the Industries & Construction 1st Exhibition. The inaugural exhibition took place from January 24-27, 2012, at the Regency Hotel, Kuwait. Aly Shalaby, General Manager Consumer Banking Group at Gulf Bank said: “We are very pleased to have been a part of this exhibition. At Gulf Bank, we believe it is essential for the Bank to constantly be present at key exhibitions such as this one. We would like to thank everyone who visited the Gulf Bank

stand and made our presence at the show such a major success. I hope our visitors came away with a clearer understanding of the various services and products that we have on offer.” The bank’s participation was in line with its commitment towards the support of Small & Medium enterprise (SMEs) customers. Gulf Bank offers dedicated banking support and facilities to SME customers and will continue participating in conferences and events that focus on boosting the national economy.

Strong oil dependence on Straits of Hormuz ecent tensions have raised the specter that ships travelling through the Straits of Hormuz may be impeded in the near future. Crescent Petroleum’s President Badr Jafar assesses the likely impact of any such blockage on the region’s oil and gas exports and the wider economic implications. “Geography and geology have combined to create a unique situation in the Gulf.” Badr Jafar, President of Crescent Petroleum says. “While the Gulf region is blessed with 47 percent of the world’s proved oil and gas resources, it only has one seabourne route for them to reach the international market. Consequently, about one third of global LNG exports and seabourne oil pass through the Straits of Hormuz, which is of huge importance to both the regional and global economy”. A full premeditated ‘closure’ of the Straits of Hormuz is unlikely because the shock to world trade from such an action would likely rally support for intervention from currently neutral countries. China, in particular, has maintained a more cautious stance than Europe or America but is dependent for c. 51 percent of its crude imports from the Middle East and its economy could not afford a sustained interruption of supplies. However, a slowing of shipping through the straits is a more distinct possibility, using a legal pretext to impede the passage of some tankers passing through the strait and creating a tanker traffic jam as a result. This would make intervention more diplomatically complex, but still make a big impression. Surprisingly, the economic impact for oil trade might not be as extreme as some expect, in the more plausible scenario where the straits are only partially closed. About 17 million barrels per day of crude passed out of the Straits of Hormuz in 2011. If one were to assume that a strategy were put in place to impede US and Europe bound ships rather than outright blockade of the strait, to mitigate the risk of a military confrontation, then that might reduce flows by 4.3 million bpd. But, depending on the timing of such a blockage, it might be possible for this crude to be routed around the Straits using existing infrastructure. Saudi Arabia’s East-West Petroline oil pipeline has the nameplate capacity to


KUWAIT: (From left) FASTtelco COO Sahand Poladi, VPIT Mohamed Faisal and Chief Technical Officer Midhat Younis are pictured at the event.

KUWAIT: The FASTtelco officials are pictured at the event.

Joyalukkas announces expansion across GCC Badr Jafar ramp up from its current c. 1.6 to 4.5 million bpd while the brand new UAE Abu Dhabi-Fujairah pipeline could transport another 1.5 million bpd. That totals 4.4 million bpd of additional capacity to bypass the Straits of Hormuz, which would be enough, albeit at a greater cost of transport, to negate the impact of the blockage. When one looks to the LNG market in the event of a blockage, options are much more limited than for oil because LNG cannot be piped via alternative routes. Consequently, the impact for Qatar, the main LNG exporter, could be quite substantial as it would have to cut back production. However, the impact for gas importers might be less marked. One reason is that seaborne supplies, such as LNG, makes up a far smaller portion of global gas consumption than they do for oil, approximately 9 percent for gas versus approximately 57 percent for oil. Hence, the overall supply impact would be much more muted, although certain countries heavily dependent on LNG with few alternatives, such as Japan and South Korea, might be hit hard. “Current fears over the oil supplies from the Gulf are best dealt with via cooperation” says Badr Jafar. “Enhancing the region’s physical oil and gas interconnections is one such cooperative step that can be taken. Another is the pursuit of new export routes. Only through such actions can greater confidence in dealing with any shocks to the transport system be achieved.”

IKEA launches annual February celebrations KUWAIT: As the country gears up to celebrate the most auspicious time of the year in Kuwait, IKEA Kuwait is revving up to create that ultimate

KUWAIT: FASTtelco the leading telecommunication service provider in Kuwait, is participating for the second consecutive year in the Info Connect Exhibition held at the Kuwait International Fair Grounds (Hall No 6) in Mishref, from January 29 to February 4. Info Connect is one of the most important annual exhibitions in Kuwait showcasing the latest telecommunications and information technologies, and is considered as the most successful in the region due to its large number of participants and attendees. The show actually draws in active participation from international companies specialized in the telecommunication and IT industries. On its part, FASTtelco is particularly excited about this event which will be a great opportunity for the company to display its latest collection of creative services and products, as well as various offers and surprises on a range of exclusive services. In this perspective, FASTtelco invited many companies to attend this special exhibition and to benefit from its series of promotions on the Internet services, by offering them 1Mbps for only 1 Kuwaiti dinar per day. Moreover, the company never missed the opportunity to invite all its customers to the exhibition where many surprises will be unveiled: a daily draw on 1,500 dollars in cash, in addition to the big draw on Nissan 370Z, and a large number of valuable prizes to be distributed daily to customers such as free internet subscriptions, LED televisions, laptops and I-pods. FASTtelco also stated that this exhibition plays a particular role in strengthening the company ’s relation with its customers, whether individuals or companies, and in receiving honest feedback on the quality of services provided. This way, Fasttelco will be able to keep its current customers more than satisfied and to attract new customers interested in receiving highest quality solutions. Remains, the most important challenge for FASTtelco is taking the advantage of this exhibition to continue serving its customers and to consider further expansion beyond local borders.

experience for all. The February campaign is designed to cater to every segment of the society with amazing prizes to be won at exciting games, contests accompanied by a delicious spread of family meal offers. The much awaited campaign that runs February 1-29, 2012 invites everyone to come along with their friends and families to enjoy a month of fabulous gifts and fun at the IKEA Kuwait store. 20 lucky customers will now get the opportunity to participate in a draw to win IKEA Gift Cards worth up to KD 10,000 for every KD 20 spent during the month long campaign. Last day to enter the draw is February 29th at 10 pm after which the grand draw will take place on March 1, 2012 at 7 pm. IKEA Kuwait has constructed an entertaining ambience with thrilling activities beginning with the guessing game, puzzles and drawing competitions for mothers and their children along with flag making and balloon racing contests. IKEA Kuwait renown for providing the complete shopping experience to its customers urges everyone to visit during the February festival to create a memorable trip.

DUBAI: Joyalukkas Money Exchange inaugurated three of its Money Exchange Centers yesterday in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Padmashri Jayaram the new Joyalukkas Money Exchange Brand Ambassador inaugurated the three centers. “I am proud to represent Joyalukkas Money Exchange and its val-

ues of trust, reliability and best rates. Am looking forward to be an integral part of their growth in the near future”, said Jayaram. The three Joyalukkas Money Exchange Centres inaugurated were the branches in Hamdan Street, Abu Dhabi, Karama and AlQusais, Dubai. “Today on this grand occasion

DUBAI: Padmashri Jayaram inaugurates the Joyalukkas Money Exchange Center.

we commence our journey towards setting up 100 Money Exchange Centres across GCC and India by year 2014. We will ensure the best to our customers at all times and look forward to serving them with innovative solutions, best rates and reliable services at all times” said Joy Alukkas, Chairman, Joyalukkas Group. Joyalukkas Money Exchange currently has centers, located in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. The range of services offered by Joyalukkas Money Exchange, has been created to serve all demographics and includes a wide range to manage all expectations of various types of customers. “We started our Money Exchange business in the year 2006 to give value added service to our customer base. The overwhelming support of our customers has made us plan to grow this business and expand its reach across GCC and India. Like our jewellery business we plan to constantly innovative and expand our scope of services to make it better and more attractive for our customers.”, added Joy Alukkas, Joyalukkas Money Exchange is planning to open their first centre in India in March 2012. The brand Joyalukkas has a strong following and equity in India for their jewellery retail business and they plan to capitalize on this to create a successful Money Exchange operation across India.

Philips posts 2011 losses, sees ‘cautious’ year ahead THE HAGUE: The Dutch global electronics giant Philips yesterday posted a 1.3 billion euro loss for 2011, and forecast a “cautious year” ahead as a result of world-wide economic uncertainty. The company, which had posted a net income of 1.4 billion euros ($1.8 billion) a year before, blamed the poor performance on writedowns and losses within its television business, which is expected to be sold to TPV Technology by the end of the first quarter of 2012. A dividend of 0.75 euros per share for 2011 would nonetheless be proposed to shareholders, Philips said in a statement, after sales grew by four percent to 22.6 billion euros. “We are cautious about 2012 given the uncertainty in the global economy and in Europe in particular,” Philips chief executive Frans van Houten said in the statement. He expected 2012 results to be affected by restructuring and “one-time” investments. The Amsterdam-based industrial group said on October 17 that it was cutting 4,500 jobs, including 1,400 in the Netherlands, by 2014 as part of a cost-reduction exercise aimed at saving 800 million euros. Philips employs more than 120,000 people globally. “Let’s hope that the (economic) world is not going to deteriorate further,” Van Houten said in a telephone conference with news agencies, calling on European Union leaders to “get the (debt) crisis resolved.” Philips’ sales dipped five percent in Europe, its chief executive added. “We are looking for other pastures,” he said including the United States and Asia, where he saw potential high growth. The company has maintained is targets for mid-2013, with sales growth of four to six

percent and a core profit margin set at 10 to 12 percent. The Dutch group also posted a net loss of 162 million euros for the fourth quarter of 2011, as opposed to a 463-million-euro profit a year before, pinning it on a weak European market and a 272-million-euro pre-tax loss related to its

television business. Sales for the period increased by 3.0 percent however to 6.7 billion euros. Philips has long specialized in the manufacturing of televisions and small appliances. In the past decade it has also developed the production of medical equipment such as magnetic resonance scanners and lighting systems. —AFP

DAVOS: Yusuff Ali MA, Managing Director of Lulu Group International shares a light moment with Wipro Chairman Azim Premji at the World Economic Forum being held at Switzerland.



Thailand welcomes Twitter censorship tool BANGKOK: Thailand, which regularly cracks down on Internet content deemed critical of its revered monarchy, yesterday welcomed social media giant Twitter’s controversial new censorship policy. The San Francisco-based networking website announced last week that it can now block tweets on a country-by-country basis if legally required, enraging many users, but Thailand said it supported the move.


BRIEFS Compact cameras LAS VEGAS: Panasonic presented a variety of new cameras and camcorders at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Included in the presentation were the Luxim compact cameras SZ7 and SZ1, which at 21 millimetres are half as thick as their predecessor, the TZ1. Both models are equipped with a tenfold optical zoom. The SZ7, which costs 269 euro (342 dollars), has a pic ture sensor with 16 megapixels while the SZ1, which is 50 euro cheaper, offers 14 megapixels. Similar sensors are also included in the compact cameras Lumix FS40 and FS45, which will hit the market in February with a five-fold zoom for 139 and 159 euro, respectively. In addition, Panasonic presented 11 new camcorders at the show. The V series will enter the market in February and features new sensors for recording in difficult light conditions. The HCV707 has a focal length of 28 millimetres and a 46-fold zoom for telephoto recordings. For athletes and adventurers there are the Active Camcorders HX-WA2 and HX-WA20, which are waterproof up to three metres for 60 minutes. The prices for the new video cameras have not been announced.

External storage Elgato presented a new external memory device with a Thunderbolt connection at the CES. Along with an SSD storage device, the new port is designed for especially fast data transfer. The Thunderbolt Standard - developed by Intel is used especially in Apple computers and some laptops from other manufacturers. Starting in Februar y, Elgato is offering the single Thunderbolt SSD device in 120 or 240 GB sizes for 400 or 650 euros, respectively.

Netgear combines router The WNDR4700 from Netgear combines a router and network storage in a single device. Users of the device, which was presented at the CES, can not only use it to build a home network but also save and share files with its integrated 2 terabyte hard drive. The router allows for fast data transfer thanks to a WiFi Standard 802.11n at 2.4 and 5 GHz. There are also four Gigabit Ethernet ports for cable connections and two USB 3.0 ports. The price for the device has not been set but it is due to hit the market in the third quarter.

Webcam for high resolution Video conferencing in full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (1080p) is made possible with a webcam from Swiss company Logitech. The C920 presented at the CES has a webcam with a Carl Zeiss lens and two microphones for clear stereo sound. In order to get the full splendour of the pixels, users must have the current beta version of Skype 5.7 as other chat programs support a resolution only up to 720p. The webcam should hit shops this month and cost 100 euros.

Huawei announces smartphone Technology manufacturer Huawei announced at the CES plans to release the thinnest smartphone in the world. The Ascend P1 S is 6.7 millimetres thick and has a 4.3 inch display with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels. Inside the thin casing is a 1.5 GHz processor with two cores. Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is due to be pre-installed at the start of sales in April. There are no details about price.

Kinect to hit PCs The gesture and voice control system Kinect will be available for Windows computers starting on February 1, Microsoft said at the CES. As opposed to Kinect for the Xbox 360, there are no plans for games as the technology is more intended for serious usage in this case. The camera and microphone unit costs 249 dollars in the United States, much more than the Xbox version. A European price is not yet set.

“It’s a good idea that Twitter has this policy to take care and prevent its users from violating the law, because freedom of expression must not violate other people’s rights or the laws in each country,” Thai Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap told AFP. “The ICT ministry will continue to ensure no person or group uses social networks to violate the law. I agree with Twitter’s new policy but we will not be

involved with Twitter’s censorship.” The Thai government has removed tens of thousands of web pages in recent years because they were considered insulting to the royal family, an extremely sensitive subject in the politically-divided country. A boom in online discussion on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter is fuelling political debate and challenging Thailand’s long-standing taboo against openly discussing the

Kuwait’s market is most promising in the region Latest technology, IT solution fair By Islam Al Sharaa KUWAIT: Kaspersky Lab is the largest antivirus company in Europe. It delivers some of the world’s most immediate protection against IT security threats, including viruses, spyware, crimeware, hackers, phishing, and spam. Kaspersky Lab products provide superior detection rates and one of the industry’s fastest outbreak response times for home users, SMBs, large enterprises and the mobile computing environment. Kaspersky technology is also used worldwide inside the products and services of the industry’s leading IT security solution providers. During the ongoing InfoConnect, Info-Biz exhibitions being held at Kuwait International Fair Grounds in Mishref, Kuwait Times had the opportunity to interview Kaspersky Regional Sales Manager Khalid Abu Baker. Khalid joined Kaspersky Lab in 2010 as Regional Sales Manager covering the Middle East. His main role is to plan and develop the company’s corporate business across the region, and increase the awareness and demand for its products. Khalid’s role includes assisting the partners and customers to align with the overall firm strategy. Q: How are Kaspersky sales doing in Kuwait ? Kuwait’s market is one of the most promising and fast improving in the region, which is why our company made sure to take part in the Infoconnect exhibition. We hope to double sales in the next two years. Q: How did improvement in the smart phone business affect your company?

KUWAIT: Kaspersky Lab stall at the Info-Connect and (inset) Khalid Abu Baker. — Photos by Joseph Shagra The improvement in the smart phone market left positive effects as it increased our sales after the company started developing software for hand-held devices instead of focusing solely on computers. Our security application sales for smart phones have increased. Q: What is Kaspersky’s status with regards to cloud security? We have the Kaspersky Security Network, which is a group of large servers located at several countries

around the world. This service provides security to subscribers by blocking any malwares registered from any computer of any of users subscribed, and prevent it from spreading to other subscribers. Several ministries and companies in Kuwait replaced their peer-to-peer systems with KSN. Kaspersky focused on improving its security services in the past three years, to create full protection against threats that come from software, USBs, CDs, and other sources.

Gaming with older computers BERLIN: Anyone looking for an escape from everyday drudgery only needs to go to their computer to find a fantasy world, a lush jungle or the adventures of outer space. Gaming is a welcome escape for many computer owners, but if your PC is not top of the line, these trips can become a little more cumbersome. However, they are not impossible. Indeed, where upgrades were once key - faster versions of graphics cards once seemed to come out the moment you’d bought the newest, top-ofthe-line card - they aren’t quite as urgent as before. “Especially with graphics cards, development has slowed down,” says gaming expert Tobias Arns of Bitkom, a German technology industry association. “Current PC titles can be played pretty well with hardware that’s two-years-old.” But contemporary titles like Battlefield 3 or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will not run at the highest resolution or with the best graphic detail on older computers. To make sure the game looks good and still runs fluidly, users have to pick the right settings. A lot of titles have options menus, where details like shadow and transparency effects or the field of view can be set separately. You can get a lot done here, though it can be tedious work to find the right settings. Better to know, in advance, which settings provide the most benefit. Daniel Hoehne, who chairs the computer graphics and visualization department at Dresden’s Technical University, says settings like motion blur or lighting tricks

like Bloom or HDR Rendering should be shut off. “They look very nice, but take up a lot of graphics memory,” he explains. And that is a major bottleneck with gaming PCs. “The working memory of the card often has a lot more influence than the gaming capacities of the graphics processor.” Next on the chopping block are shadow rendering and anti-aliasing effects, which smooth edges. The latter is important in making sure figures appear smooth, and not blocky. “The impact on the picture quality is pretty slim, when compared to the resources it uses up,” says Daniel Moellendorf of the German computer magazine PC Games Hardware. The performance improvement in following such a step is especially big when the graphics card is the weakest link to a gaming computer. And there are other options: shadow rendering often has multiple settings. But choosing the medium setting gives you a picture almost as good as the high setting and allows a lot more spare computing capacity. But keep the texture quality settings - which control the way surfaces and objects appear - as high as possible. “If I turn that down, I don’t just make individual objects, but the whole field of play, ugly,” warns Moellendorf. However, not every game has such a wide array of settings. Still, there are alternatives to activating functions like anti-aliasing, and these might work on all games run on the computer. Owners of faster PCs who want to spruce up some older games can especially benefit from this tip. Right-click on the Nvidia system con-

trols of a Nvidia card or the Catalyst Control Center of an AVI card. The graphics card can also be configured with shareware or freeware programmes like RivaTuner or PowerStrip. Another way to up your game is to regularly update your graphics card’s software. “If you just set up a new driver once a year, you’ve given yourself a lot of playing performance,” notes German computer magazine Gamestar Hardware. And the two big manufacturers of graphics cards, Nvidia and AMD, provide new updates monthly, and sometimes even weekly. The cards might even look for updates on their own. Hoehne also recommends updates. “How much additional gaming power it really brings is hard to measure. But at least this way you’re certain that there aren’t any compatibility problems with new games.” There’s also the issue of setting the graphics card to run at a higher frequency than intended by the manufacturer. Although it provides a boost in performance, there are also risks, warns Moellendorf. “Parts that run at higher than the intended frequency get hotter faster, can crash and cause defects.” Many manufacturers will void warranties if they find proof of frequencies being boosted. But others boost the frequency themselves, offering Overclock Editions with extra cooling. Moellendorf recommends amateurs not to try boosting frequency too much. “I would never risk more than 10 per cent extra frequency as a beginner,” he says. RivaTuner or Power Strip can also be used to fine-tune frequencies. — dpa

Felicity Aston completes record-setting expedition

New connections for Macbooks Owners of sparsely equipped laptops can pep up their hardware in the future with the Thunderbolt Express Dock from Belkin, which was presented at the CES. The device is connected to a Thunderbolt port on the computer and adds a variety of new ports including two for USB 2.0 as well as sockets for Firewire, HDMI and Ethernet. Another device compatible with Thunderbolt can also be connected. The Dock will be available in the United States in summer 2012 for 299 dollars, while a release date and price for Europe are not yet known.

Speaker, headset with Bluetooth The French company Parrot presented two new audio products at the CES. The Bluetooth headset ZIK includes active noise reduction and is operated via a touch-sensitive surface on the right earpiece with a horizontal movement skipping to the next song. Once the headset is taken off it shuts off automatically. The single-piece stereo speaker Zikmu SOLO also operates with Bluetooth, but users can transmit music via WiFi or directly from the computer. Prices and release dates haven’t yet been revealed. — dpa

royal family. In November Thailand asked Facebook to delete more than 10,000 pages of content containing images or text deemed offensive to the monarchy. Anyone convicted in Thailand of insulting the king, queen, heir or regent can been jailed for up to 15 years for each offence, and rights groups have expressed concern about a series of convictions under the tough rules. — AFP

TOKYO: A model displays Sony’s new 3D camcorder “Handycam HDR-TD20V” during a press preview in Tokyo recently. The HDR-TD20V Handycam claimed to have 34 per cent smaller body size compare to the previous model. Sony will put it on the market in March 9. — AFP

LONDON: Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of secure content and threat management solutions, announces the successful completion of the Kaspersky ONE Transantarctic Expedition, which saw renowned British explorer Felicity Aston becoming the first woman in history to cross Antarctica alone. Supported by Kaspersky Lab, Felicity battled the elements for 59 days, covering around 1700km. She started her route on November 25, journeying alone from the Ross Ice Shelf up the Leverett Glacier across the Transantarctic Mountains to the South Pole, where she had her only oneday rest period. She then continued on across the Polar Plateau to the opposite coast of the continent at the Ronne Ice Shelf. Felicity finished her journey on January 22, having set a new world record. Commenting on Felicity’s arrival at her destination, Eugene Kaspersky, Chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said: “I am so proud that we’ve had the opportunity to contribute to this unique project. This is a feat that will go down in history. We congratulate Felicity on her great victory! I’m sure this will be an important milestone in the long list of her achievements. Fighting against the dangerous environment and keeping moving forward is something that unites us with Felicity, and her achievements inspire our whole team around the world!” Upon her arrival at her destination, Felicity said: “I cannot express how happy I am to have finally made it! The Kaspersky ONE Transantarctic Expedition represents a culmination of everything I experienced and learned before on other challenging journeys. I prepared for it physically and mentally for a very long time. And finally here I am having reached my final destination, having got through some rather severe conditions, but most importantly of all having overcome my own fear. I will never forget this moment, and I’m sure the memory will lead me on to other ventures in the future.



Calories count, but source doesn’t matter: Study NEW YORK: People trying to lose weight may swear by specific diet plans calling for strict proportions of fat, carbs and protein, but where the calories come from may not matter as much as simply cutting back on them, according to a US study. Researchers whose results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found there were no differences in weight loss or the reduction of fat between four diets with different proportions of fat, carbohydrates and protein. “The major predictor for weight loss

was ‘adherence’. Those participants who adhered better, lost more weight than those who did not,” said George Bray, at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who worked on the study. Earlier research had found that certain diets-in particular, those with very low carbohydrates-worked better than others, Bray told Reuters Health in an email, but there had been no consensus among scientists. Bray and his colleagues randomly assigned several hundred overweight or


in brief

Sign of dementia BERLIN: Accounts paid twice over or a chequebook in a mess could indicate incipient dementia. Problems in dealing with personal finances are one of the earliest indicators of an onset of senile dementia, according to a range of psychological studies. Elderly people who go on to develop the symptoms typical of Alzheimer’s Disease often show early signs in failing to pay money over properly, being unable to understand their bank statements or carrying out transfers incorrectly, according to neuropsychologist Daniel Mason. These signals should set alarm bells ringing in the family, and relatives should become involved to guard against financial losses as their elderly relatives may be unaware of their declining faculties. In a project at the Alzheimer Disease Research Centre of the University of Alabama 87 patients showing symptoms of memory loss were compared with 76 healthy elderly people, testing them for the way they handled their financial affairs. Twenty-five patients who developed symptoms of Alzheimer’s within a year scored significantly worse in the test. Jogging in winter Cold weather is no reason to stop running to stay fit. Colds and other typically winter ailments can be kept at bay through simple strategies, according to Ronny Moriabadi, a German fitness expert. “The feet, ankles, calf muscles and knees should be prepared and warmed up using movement exercises like foot circles and running on the spot,” he says. Moriabadi recommends wearing several thin layers. “As the body loses a lot of heat through the head, it should be covered with a thin hat that breathes,” he says. Runners should breathe through the nose, as drawing lungfuls of cold air in through the mouth can be uncomfortable. Other advice includes wearing running shoes with a pronounced tread to avoid slipping on icy surfaces. A water-resistant top layer is advisable to keep cold and damp out. The run should be extended to more than half an hour at least three times a week for the sake of maintaining endurance, and cooling down exercises should be done only after the runner has changed into dry clothing. Moriabadi advises jogging through a well lit neighbourhood and wearing a flashing light as well during the long winter evenings. Use your senses to test food Some foods can safely be consumed long after their official shelf life has expired. The shelf life shown on the container is an indication of how long the contents will retain specific characteristics, such as taste and smell, when properly stored. If this date has passed, this does not necessarily mean that the product cannot be consumed. Consumers should trust their own senses , smelling, touching and tasting to ascertain whether it can still be consumed, according to the German consumer authority in Berlin. Shelf life should, however, not be confused with the “use by” date found on the packaging of perishable foods - usually fresh produce - that deteriorate quickly and can be harmful to the consumer’s health. These products should not be consumed after this date, and it is illegal to offer them for sale. — dpa

obese people to one of four diets: average protein, low fat and higher carbs; high protein, low fat and higher carbs; average protein, high fat and lower carbs; or high protein, high fat and lower carbs. Each of the diets was designed to cut 750 calories a day. After six months and again at two years after starting the diets, researchers checked participants’ weight, fat mass and lean mass. At six months, people had lost more than 4.1 kg (9 lbs) of fat and close to 2.3 kg (5 lbs) of lean mass, but they regained some of this by the two-year mark.

four groups ended up getting about 20 percent of their calories from protein after two years. “If you’re happier doing it low fat, or happier doing it low carb, this paper says it’s OK to do it either way. They were equally successful,” said Christopher Gardner, a Stanford University professor uninvolved in the study. “They did have difficulties with adherence, so that really tempers what you can conclude,” he added. In the end, he said, people should choose the diet that’s easiest for them to stick with. — Reuters

Big pharma donates drugs for neglected diseases Illnesses kill and disable millions in poor countries LONDON: The world’s major pharmaceutical companies joined forces with governments and leading global health organisations yesterday to donate drugs and scientific knowhow to help control or wipe out 10 neglected tropical diseases by 2020. Drugmakers have been criticised in the past for not doing enough to fight diseases of the poor as they concentrate instead on conditions more prevalent in rich nations, such as high cholesterol. But in the largest coordinated effort yet to fight diseases such as Guinea worm disease, leprosy and sleeping sickness, the group promised to give away 14 billion doses of medicines by the end of this decade. They will also share expertise and drug discovery work to invent new medicines for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that as yet have no treatments. The AIDS pandemic forced drugmakers in the past decade to pay more attention to the developing world, and a new focus on the economic potential of emerging markets has provided an incentive to promote their brands in poorer countries. In a project expected to affect the lives of

a billion people worldwide, the partnership pledged more than $785 million to support NTD research and development (R&D) and strengthen drug distribution and treatment programmes. World Health Organisation (WHO) director general Margaret Chan, who announced the deal in London, said it “changes the face” of NTDs-illnesses that needlessly disable, blind and kill millions of the world’s poorest people. “These ancient diseases are now being brought to their knees with stunning speed,” she told an audience at the Royal College of Physicians in the British capital. “With the boost to this momentum being made today, I am confident almost all of these diseases can be eliminated or controlled by the end of this decade.” NTDs disproportionally affect people in the poorest countries of the world. Experts estimate more than a billion people are affected by them, including more than 500 million children. “Maybe as the decade goes on people will be wondering whether we should still call these diseases ‘neglected’,” said Microsoft chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates.

The WHO’s first global report on neglected tropical diseases in 2010 said that while they cost billions of dollars in lost productivity, they are often ignored because they affect mainly poor people and do not offer a profitable market for drugmakers. NTDs include illnesses such as sleeping sickness, which is transmitted through tsetse fly bites and threatens millions of people in Africa, and Chagas disease, a debilitating condition caused by a parasite transmitted in infected faeces of blood-sucking bugs. An estimated 10 million people are infected with Chagas, mostly in Latin America where the disease is endemic. Speaking for chief executives of the drug firms involved in the partnership, Andrew Witty, GlaxoSmithKline’s CEO described the impact of the diseases as “horrific” and said he hoped the scale of this new cooperation would beat them. “No one company or organisation can do it alone,” he said. “It’s great to have this commitment, and it’s even better to have a deadline.” Adding the new pledges to existing individual commitments, 13 drug companies

including Pfizer, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and others will donate an average of 1.4 billion treatments a year to people suffering from NTDs. The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) said new R&D collaborations and deals with drugmakers and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) would also give “unprecedented” access to libraries of chemical compounds that may lead to new treatments. Extra funding for the project came from Britain, the United States and United Arab Emirates, the Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. The World Bank agreed to extend financing to help African countries build health systems better able to integrate NTD elimination and control. Gates, whose foundation announced a five-year, $363 million commitment to support NTD product and operational research, said the collaboration would help millions of people build self-sufficiency and overcome the need for aid and serve as a model for tackling future global development challenges. — Reuters

NEGLECTED DISEASES FACT BOX LONDON: Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a group of 17 diseases that disproportionally affect the very poor. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than a billion people worldwide are affected by NTDs, including more than 500 million children. Thirteen major drugmakers made a joint announcement in London yesterday with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the US, British and United Arab Emirates governments and other international donor groups of a coordinated plan to control or eliminate 10 NTDs by the end of this decade. Following are details on the 10 diseases: Blinding Trachoma A bacterial infection of the eye that causes the eyelids to scar and ultimately turn inward. It is the leading infectious cause of blindness in the world and affects around 40 million people in 57 endemic countries. Africa is the most affected continent and India, Brazil and China are the countries with the highest burdens outside Africa. Leprosy A bacterial infection that causes severe and disfiguring damage to the skin, peripheral nerves, lining of the upper respiratory tract, eyes and other organs. Around 200,000 new cases of leprosy are reported each year, concentrated in 17 countries. Southeast Asia is the source of roughly twothirds of newly reported cases. Brazil and South Sudan also have high rates of the disease. Sleeping sickness, or Human African Trypanosomiasis Transmitted by the parasite Trypanosoma brucei through the bite of the tsetse fly, sleeping sickness threatens millions of people in 36 countries in subSaharan Africa. The parasite multiplies in the lymph and blood, causing headaches, fever, weakness and pain in the joints. In time, the parasite migrates to the central nervous system and causes severe neurological and psychiatric disorders, eventually leading to death. Guinea worm disease, or dracunculiasis The largest nematode worm infection affecting humans, growing up to three feet in length. It is transmitted by drinking water containing a small crustacean that serves as an intermediary host. After growing in human tissues, the female worm emerges painfully through the skin, usually in the feet, to release larvae into water bodies. Most cases occur primarily in four endemic countries, South Sudan, Mali, Ethiopia and Ghana, with 97% of the burden occurring in South Sudan.

LISBON: In this undated handout photo released by National Museum of Archeology yesterday, a mummy with oldest case of prostate cancer in ancient Egypt and the second in the world is shown in Lisbon, Portugal. A professor from American University in Cairo says discovery of prostate cancer in a 2,200year-old mummy indicates the disease was caused by genetics, not environment. — AP

People were able to maintain a weight loss of more than 3.6 kg (8 lbs) after two years. Included in this was a nearly 1.4 kg (3 lb) loss of abdominal fat, a drop of more than seven percent. But many of the people who started in the study dropped out, and the diets of those who completed it were not exactly what had been assigned. For example, the researchers had hoped to see two diet groups get 25 percent of their calories from protein and the other two groups get 15 percent of their calories from protein. But all

Lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis A mosquito-borne worm disease usually acquired in childhood that manifests clinically in late childhood and early adulthood. When the worms grow large enough, they block the lymphatic system, potentially leading to lymph fluid buildup that causes radical and disfiguring swelling of limbs and genitals known as elephantiasis. Around 120 million people have lymphatic filariasis, with 1.3 billion at risk. The disease is concentrated in Southeast Asia and Africa with a significant burden in Brazil.

Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis A chronic debilitating condition caused by a parasite transmitted by the infected faeces of blood-sucking bugs. It can also be contracted through transfusion of infected blood, by organ transplantation or congenitally from an infected mother to her foetus. About 10 million people are infected and 25 million are at risk, primarily in Latin America - although cases are increasingly detected in the U.S., Canada and Europe from immigration. More than 10,000 die each year from this disease, mostly from cardiac complications. Visceral Leishmaniasis or kala-azar A parasitic infection spread by sandflies. Its most lethal form, visceral leishmaniasis attacks the internal organs and, if left untreated, is fatal usually within two years. Even when treated, the parasite can reemerge, infect the skin and cause disfiguring lesions. The disease is most prominent in East Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. There are an estimated 500,000 new cases each year, mostly in South Asia, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Brazil. About 50,000 people die from the disease each year. Onchocerciasis, or river blindness A black fly-borne parasitic disease of the skin and eyes caused by a filarial worm. The disease causes skin lesions, severe itching and visual impairment, including permanent blindness, and can shorten life expectancy by up to 15 years. It is the second most common infectious cause of blindness after trachoma. An estimated 37 million people worldwide are infected with the pathogen and 90 million people are at risk. More than 99 percent of those infected live in 30 endemic countries in Africa. The remainder are in Yemen, or in various Central and South American countries. Schistosomiasis or bilharziasis Another parasitic disease transmitted through water-borne parasitic worms. The majority of suffering and deaths associated with schistosomiasis is the result of slow damage to the host organs caused by accumulation of parasite eggs in the tissues over many years. Schistosomiasis is present in the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. The disease is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, which has more than 90 percent of cases. At least 200 million people are estimated to have schistosomiasis and 800 million live in endemic areas. Helminthiasis, or hookworm, roundworm, or whipworm Soil-transmitted helminthes (STH) are intestinal worms transmitted through fecaloral contamination or through the skin. Heavy worm burdens lead to malnutrition, anemia, diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, loss of appetite and impaired cognitive and physical development in children. More than a billion people in tropical and subtropical regions are estimated to be infected. While the disease causes relatively few deaths, around 300 million people suffer severe, debilitating symptoms. — Reuters

Hot yoga takes sweaty path to tranquility BERLIN: It was hot and dry in the dimly lit room. The radiators were humming and hot air wafted from several fan heaters. Blue yoga mats lay on the floor in rows of two. If you closed your eyes, you could imagine being in a desert. In reality, it was an exercise room at Sun Yoga in Berlin, which claims to be the first and largest hot yoga studio in the German capital. At temperatures as high as 40 degrees centigrade, beginners may gasp when they first enter the room. Hot yoga is nonetheless suitable for them, too. Thanks to the heat, the workouts are even gentler on joints and muscles than many other kinds of exercise. Hot yoga is basically suitable for almost anyone. People with high blood pressure or an acute inflammation should be careful, however, and the latter condition could be aggravated, warned Uschi Moriabadi, head of the Relaxation and Group Training Department at the University of Applied Sciences for Prevention and Health Management in Saarbruecken, Germany. “But low blood pressure, too, can easily fall in the heat,” she said. “This is why you should watch yourself during the workout.” The sweat-inducing environment has many benefits, though, as it greatly reduces the risk of injury. “Connective and muscle tissue become softer and more elastic, and it is much easier to move than in a cold room.” While other forms of exercise such as jogging or swimming engage just part of the body, a hot yoga course works out “100 per cent of your body, from bones to skin, from head to toes, to every gland and organ of the body,” writes the Indian yoga gura Bikram Choudhury in his book “Bikram Yoga,” now regarded as a standard work. He developed a set of exercises consisting of 26 asanas, or poses, and two pranayamas, or breathing exercises. Every hot yoga session is structured according to the same principle. It begins with a breathing exercise, performed while standing, that is aimed at stretching the lungs to their full capacity.

“Fix your gaze on a single point in the mirror and pay attention to yourself only,” Clemens, the yoga instructor in the Sun Yoga exercise room, told the class. By that time, the pupils’ faces were flushed and beads of sweat trickled from their armpits. Every week, Sun Yoga sees about 1,000 pupils who want to limber tense backs, necks or shoulders. The sessions have a mental as well as a physical aspect, of course. Like all forms of yoga, hot yoga is meant to quiet the mind and facilitate relaxation. “The set of exercises is simply very effective - you get the greatest possible benefits from 90 minutes,” said proprietor Christoph Mamat. “This is particularly important for people in the city who don’t have much time.” After the first poses - a half-moon, for example, in which the pupil, standing with outstretched arms, alternately bends to the right and the left - tops and trousers are soaked in sweat. A person loses up to two litres of fluid during a hot yoga session, so it is necessary to bring along a large bottle of water. Plenty of fluids should also be drunk before a workout. Beginners notice positive changes after just two sessions, said Moriabadi, adding that it was important to practice yoga regularly. “You can’t expect anything from doing yoga every three weeks,” she remarked. A yoga instructor herself, she advises beginners to arrange a trial session first to see whether the instructor and yoga studio are to their liking. Someone who practices yoga regularly falls asleep more easily at night, she said, because “breathing becomes slower and deeper and you unwind more quickly.” Hot yoga is not pure exertion from start to finish. When half of the session is over, it is time for the shavasana, or corpse pose. As the pupil lies motionless on his or her back, all the tension is supposed to leave the body and the blood flow normalizes. The session ends with this pose, too. The only sound in the room then, apart from some deep breaths, is the crackling of plastic water bottles that have little left in them. — dpa



Don’t blame C-sections for fat children: Study SAN PAULO: Children born by Cesarean section are no more likely to become obese than if they are born vaginally, according to a Brazilian study. Past research from Brazil had found a link between excessive weight and C-sections, leading some scientists to suggest that not being exposed to bacteria from the birth canal could make children fatter, but the latest findings-published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutritionsuggest this doesn’t appear to be the case. The research is of particular interest in Brazil, because in 2009 more than half of the babies there were born by C-section. In the United States, the number has been on the rise for years and is now over 30 percent. “We thought from the beginning that probably what happened with the previous study is that they didn’t adjust for all of the confounders,” said Fernando Barros of the Catholic University of Pelotas, who

worked on the study, referring to factors such as the mother’s height and weight. Barros and his colleagues used data on three groups of several thousand people born in Southern Brazil in 1982, 1993 or 2004. Researchers contacted the children at different ages until the oldest had turned 23. Those born by C-section were more likely to be heavy, with obesity rates between nine and 16 percent, compared to rates of seven to 10 percent of children born vaginally. However, that difference vanished once the researchers accounted for factors such as family income, birth weight, schooling and the mother ’s weight, height, age and smoking habits. “When you factor in all of these other factors, the relationship between obesity and Cesarean sections disappears,” said Barros. The earlier Brazilian study left out many of those factors, including maternal height and weight, Barros’s team wrote in

its report. “The really simple explanation would be that more obese women require more Cesarean sections than lean women... and it’s really not the C-section itself,” said David Ludwig, director of the Optimal Weight for Life Clinic at Children’s Hospital, Boston, who was not involved in the study. He said that things such as a pregnant woman’s diet and smoking habits, and whether or not she has diabetes, might influence a developing fetus. Some believe that C-section babies are different because they are not exposed to bacteria in the birth canal like babies born vaginally. The theory is part of a hypothesis which suggests that a person’s immune system develops differently when they’re not exposed to beneficial bacteria early in life. “We’re not saying this hypothesis is not interesting. It is. We’re just saying, right now, without data, we cannot confirm the finding,” Barros said. — Reuters

Doctors should check blood pressure on both arms PARIS: Measuring blood pressure on both arms rather than only one can reveal an elevated risk of heart disease or even death, according to a study released yesterday. In a review of medical literature, researchers at the University of Exeter found that a difference in the so-called systolic blood pressure between arms can be a useful indicator of the likelihood of heart trouble. People with high blood pressure-also called hypertension-have an increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia, previous research has shown. High blood pressure is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as 140 over 90 millimetres of mercury or more. Mercury is used in blood-pressure gauges. The first number measures maximum heart pressure (systolic), while the second measures pressure when the heart is

in a resting phase (diastolic). Published in the British medical journal The Lancet, the findings suggest that both-arm blood pressure checks should become standard practise, the researchers said. The probe reviewed 28 studies with data on the difference in systolic blood pressure between arms. They concluded that a gap of 15mm of mercury or more was linked with an increased risk of the narrowing and hardening of the arteries that supply blood to the legs and feet. It was also associated with pre-existing cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood supply to the brain and can contribute to dementia. Above this threshold, death rates due to cardiovascular problems likewise went up. Most such cases are “clinically silent” and doublearm checks would better identify those at risk, the study said. — AFP


W H AT ’ S O N


Upcoming events Music album An Indian music album, ‘Pranayam Madhuvasantham’, to be shot in Kuwait invites actors and associates, album’s creator Hari Paravoor said. The 9-songs audio album, which was released at a function at Gulf Indian School about a year ago is penned by Hari Paravoor and tuned by Bashir Koyilandi. The video album of the songs will be released shortly. The album creators would like creative contributions from artistes and common folks who can give a try in creative participation in the album. Please contact: 55442649. Music festival On March 1, 2012, the “Blend Music Festival,” a mellow acoustic get-together of several local musicians, will take place in Bayt Lothan, the official sponsor, host, and curator of the event. This event will be FREE of charge and open to everyone to attend. We hope to see you all there, and here’s to a great start to 2012! The “Blend Music Festival” will be the first of many concerts to be held; there are a handful of musicians on board, and more will be added to the sets at a later stage. Here is the program for March 1st: 1- Ali Sleeq with Gary Ruston & Kevin Owen = JAZZ; 2- Hadi Sarieddine, Bader Nana, & Sarj = ROCK; 3- Lewis Chapman - FOLK / ROCK. Acting workshop The British Academy of International Arts (BAIA) is holding a world class acting workshop over three days. Nona Shepphard, Associate Director of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), will share her expertise as actor, director and playwright. The workshop will involve learning how to transform the written text into a successful performance. Shepphard is head of the audition panel at RADA and will also discuss how best to prepare for auditions. This workshop is a rare opportunity and a must for anyone interested in improving their acting skills and/or considering a career in Theatre. When: February 2nd, 3rd & 4th. For more information: or 6005-2087 Where: Shakespeare Theatre At The British School of Kuwait (BSK) Salwa. Infoconnect expo to be held in Kuwait From January 29th till February 4th Infoconnect will be held at the Kuwait International Fair Grounds. Infoconnect is one of the most professionally organized trade shows in Kuwait, dedicated exclusively to the computer applications and information technology sector. The show ranks high on the popularity count, drawing in a large number of exhibitors as well as qualified business visitors at each of its editions. The line of products put on exhibit at the show is quite extensive and includes computer peripherals, IT security tools, software solutions, data warehousing systems and a host of other related services and accessories. The show draws in active participation from eminent professionals from both the public as well as the private sectors and the latest innovations and developments in the IT industry are closely looked into here. The show is held over a period of seven days at the Kuwait International Fairground and enjoys large scale media coverage too. GLEE-esque show choir This Valentine’s Day step into a musical Love Story performed by Vocal Rhapsody, KLT’s first ever GLEE-esque show choir. Vocal Rhapsody’s “Love Story” - is a show choir production with hit songs from artists such as Journey, Queen, Katy Perry and Meatloaf. It promises to be an exciting evening for all with some classic songs that everyone will enjoy. contact: Cultural program On the 10th of February 2012, Friday at 3:30 pm. A cultural program will be staged at the Carmel School Kuwait, Khaitan. This will include a Book Fair and an Art Competition with a Musical Drama (JanatarDak). It is written n Directed by Rafiqul Islam Bulu and organized by the Bangladesh Udjapon Committee Kuwait. This is an open invitation, All are welcome. Burns Supper The Kuwait Caledonians are pleased to invite you to the 2012 Burns Supper to be held at the Movenpick Hotel, Al-Bida’a On Thursday 2nd February, 2012 Tickets will be available in January Please email Or call 60057882 Sadu weaving workshop This workshop is of four weeks duration, and it will be held twice a week. The morning group sessions are on Monday and Wednesday from 9am to 12pm. The evening group are on Sunday and Tuesday from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. A total of 8 sessions of three hours each. This workshop will be held from January 22nd to February 18th. For more Information kindly contact Sadu House at: 2243-2395 or 9959-7983 Boat show in Kuwait Kuwait City, is like a magnet: indeed it has been attracting Bedouin people from the Arabian interior, in search of a sea breeze and an escape from recurring drought, for centuries. Today the metropolis is still an oasis in a land of desert plains, but rather more of the cultural and epicurean kind. Excellent museums; a corniche ornamented with combed beaches and extravagant restaurants; modern shopping complexes and marinas, and long and lazy retreats at new beach resorts mark the Kuwait City experience. The organizers of the Kuwait International Boat Show expect more than 100 marine companies to display their latest products, boats, yachts, super yachts, electronics, engines and thousands of boating accessories from major marine manufacturers. The Boat Show encompasses more than 120.000 m2 of space, both on land and in water. Where: Souk Sharq Marina & Water Front Boat Show Timings: 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm, February 8- 12. The Wedding Expo The Wedding Expo is an annual event that caters to the elite soon-to-be brides of Kuwait who plan on hosting an extravagant and unique wedding, looking for high range and designer oriented brands, products and services that will aid in executing “the perfect wedding.” It is an elite event, targeted to all members included in the planning and execution process of an elite wedding and all interested parties interested in wedding oriented products and services. The Wedding Expo is a 3 day event. The first day will be an ‘invitation only’ event that will include a catered service and drinks. The second and third day will be open to the public. It will include a list of exhibitors in the fields of designer wear, jewelry, flowers, beauty, catering and wedding planning who will show their products and services to the visiting public.

Omani ambassador hosts spring camp


mbassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Kuwait, Salem Al-Meshany hosted a spring camp at Al-Nuwaiseeb desert recently, featuring participation of several ambassadors and diplomats along with their families, as well as a number of Ministry of Interior officials. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat



W H AT ’ S O N

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

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, AlMutawakel St., Block 4 in Da’aiyah. Please visit our website at The Embassy of Canada is open from 07:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. The reception is closed from 12:30 to 01:00 pm for lunch break. Consular Services for Canadian Citizens are provided from 09:00 until 12:00 on Sunday through Wednesday. Canada offers a registration service for all Canadians travelling or living abroad. This service is provided so that Consular Officials can contact and assist Canadians in an emergency in a foreign country, such as a natural disaster or civil unrest, or inform Canadians of a family emergency at home. The Embassy of Canada encourages all Canadian Citizens to register online through the Government of Canada Travel Website at 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

Egyptian Embassy celebrates first anniversary of revolution


he Egyptian embassy in Kuwait celebrated the first anniversary of the January 25 revolution, featuring Ambassador Abdulkareem Sulaiman, members of the diplomatic corps and a large number of Egyptian citizens.


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

Engineering students at ACK present their projects


tudents of civil and mechanical engineering bachelor students of the Australian College of Kuwait (ACK) presented their graduation projects, which reflect realistic requirements, as the outcome of an educational approach built on practical applications and encouragement of innovation. The students discussed projects relating to renewal energy, vibration patterns, energy generation, as well as project design, construction and management. In a hands-on, on-site experiment of the country’s infrastructure projects, three students of civil engineering department selected the Jahra Road project, which contributed to enhancing their skills and abilities to apply the principles of engineering into real projects. It is worth noting that the students of civil and mechanical engineering department have been working on their projects during the first term under the supervision of Dr. Thafer Sakka, Dr. Husain Ghanim, and Dr Martin Gaeger, while the presentation of projects ceremony was attended by the faculty members and parents.


EMBASSY OF MYANMAR Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar would like to inform the general public that the Embassy will move its office to new location at Villa 35, Road 203, Block 2, 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 from 26 January, 2012. Tel. 25240736, 25240290, Fax: 25240749, nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF PHILIPPINES The Embassy of the Philippines will be closed to public transactions on 29,30,31 January 2012 to give way to its transfer to Faiha, Block 6, Nauman bin Basher St. corner Damascus St. Villa 153. For emergency, please contact the Consular hotline at 65184433. The Philippine Overseas Labor Office and other attached agencies shall continue to operate and hold office in Jabriya until 15 March 2012. All your passports and other consular concerns will be processed at our new location, except of course labor issues. Regular working hours of the Embassy shall resume in Faiha on 01 February 2012. nnnnnnn


high level delegation headed by Mohammad Mesbahuddin, Secretary, Energy and Mineral Resources Division of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is visiting Kuwait to hold bilateral meetings with the counterpart of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and Ministry of Oil of Kuwait. The other members of the delegation are Saraf Uddin Ahmed, Director (Finance) of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) and Nazmul Ahsan, Senior Assistant Secretary, Energy and Mineral Resources Division. The delegation has attended a dinner hosted by Syed Shaheed Reza, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Kuwait at his residence.

EMBASSY OF SRI LANKA The Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka will celebrate the 64th Anniversary of the Sri Lanka’s National Day at the Embassy premises at 8.30 a.m on 04.02.2012. The ceremony will include the hoisting of the national flag, reading of National Day messages, remembrance of national heroes, religious ceremonies followed by serving of refreshments. All Sri Lankan nationals and well-wishers are cordially invited for the event. Sri Lanka Embassy - Jabriya, Block 10, Street 107, Bld 01, Kuwait. (Tel: 25339140/25339150) nnnnnnn

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

Kuwait Marriott Hotel chefs recognized for world class culinary skills at Horeca


Incredible India festival continues


he Incredible India festival at Lulu Hypermarkets continues to draw huge crowds with unbelievable promotions on offer during the festival. Special offers and prices on Indian products are available during the festival which ends today (Jan 31). The Festival also has cultural shows and a large variety of delicious Indian cuisine to take home.

uwait Marriott Hotels recently participated in the globally renowned hospitality and food exhibition ‘HORECA 2012’ in Kuwait, which was held on January 22nd until 24th at the prestigious Arraya Ballroom - Courtyard by Marriott Kuwait Hotel. The event, organized by the Leaders Group for Consulting and Development, covered the hospitality, catering as well as the food industry sectors in Kuwait and across the GCC. Over 39 exhibitors showcased their respective products with a diversified participation of over 100 chefs in 8 categories to impress a renowned panel of judges. During the three-day event, the international culinary art show, along with a series of live competitions proved Marriott’s prowess in dishing up world-class cuisine through its talented chefs. Beginning with the fruits and vegetable carving competition, Chef Gonapenuwala Vipula representing JW Marriott Kuwait City hotel and Chef Sai Tho Kham from Courtyard by Marriott were proud winners of the silver and bronze medals. ‘Live Cooking from the Basket’ competition saw the winning display skills of Chefs Wajira

Attanayaka and Sebastian from JW Marriott and Chefs Wissam Kasdallah and Bryan Bugsy from Courtyard by Marriott who won the silver medals. Chef Raj from Courtyard by Marriott’s famous Indian restaurant, Soul and Spice was pronounced bronze medal winner of the ‘Live cooking from the Basket’ challenge. Chefs Ruwan Bindusara and Manjula Senarathna were awarded coveted silver medals for their winning performance at the three tier wedding cake

competition. Chef Gonapenuwala Vipula also came out as a bronze medal winner in the chocolate showpiece contest with Chef Darshana Kumara from JW Marriott receiving the merit certificate at the live cold sandwich making competition. JW Marriott Hotel’s Chef Heri Purwanto also won the gold medal at the Kuwait Barista Competition that had the best baristas competing to prepare Illy-based coffee. Chef Emalio Barreto from JW

Marriott won the silver medal at the Dilmah Tea Sommelier competition on the final day of the exhibition where participants prepared and presented the jury with tea mock tails and traditional teas in the presence of a large audience. Kuwait Marriott Hotels’ philosophy and intensive chef training programs to reach world-class standards serve as a testament to the organization’s dedication to ongoing professional development and investment in its associates.

George Aoun-cluster general manager for JW Marriott Kuwait Hotel and Courtyard by Marriott Kuwait Hotel and winning Chefs.



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

Human Prey Animal Cops Philadelphia Mutant Planet Dogs 101 Human Prey Dogs 101 Animal Cops Philadelphia Monkey Life Wildlife SOS Orangutan Island Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife Talk To The Animals The Really Wild Show Breed All About It Must Love Cats Dogs 101 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip Escape To Chimp Eden Wildlife SOS Miami Animal Police Animal Cops Philadelphia Mutant Planet Monkey Life The Really Wild Show Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife Talk To The Animals Dogs 101 America’s Cutest Pet Escape To Chimp Eden Breed All About It Dogs 101 Mutant Planet Big Five Challenge Untamed & Uncut

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

Chimp Family Fortunes Lark Rise to Candleford Monarch Of The Glen Last Of The Summer Wine As Time Goes By Dad’s Army Balamory Tellytales The Large Family The Roly Mo Show Buzz & Tell Tweenies 3rd & Bird Nina And The Neurons Balamory Tellytales The Large Family The Roly Mo Show Buzz & Tell Tweenies 3rd & Bird Nina And The Neurons Last Of The Summer Wine As Time Goes By The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Holby City Mutual Friends Dad’s Army Last Of The Summer Wine The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Holby City Mutual Friends The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Holby City Last Of The Summer Wine One Foot In The Grave New Tricks As Time Goes By Dad’s Army Lark Rise to Candleford One Foot In The Grave The Weakest Link Holby City

00:05 00:55 03:10 04:00 04:45 05:30

Antiques Roadshow Masterchef 10 Years Younger Fantasy Homes By The Sea Holmes On Homes Bargain Hunt

06:15 08:00 08:20 09:10 10:25 11:10 12:00 12:50 13:40 15:45 16:30 17:20 18:05 19:00 19:50 20:40 21:30 23:35

Antiques Roadshow Cash In The Attic USA Antiques Roadshow Masterchef Australia Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow Come Dine With Me 10 Years Younger The Boss Is Coming To Dinner Fantasy Homes By The Sea Holmes On Homes Bargain Hunt Antiques Roadshow James Martin’s Brittany James Martin’s Champagne Come Dine With Me The Boss Is Coming To Dinner Bargain Hunt

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

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

00:40 Samurai Jack 01:30 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 02:20 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 03:10 Best Ed 04:00 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 04:25 Adventure Time 04:50 Generator Rex 05:15 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 05:40 Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 05:55 I Am Weasel 06:55 Powerpuff Girls 07:45 Angelo Rules 08:00 Casper’s Scare School 08:30 The Amazing World Of Gumball 08:45 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 09:15 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 09:40 Batman: The Brave And The Bold 10:05 Angelo Rules 10:30 Chowder

10:55 Adventure Time 11:20 Eliot Kid 11:35 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 12:00 Ben 10 12:25 Sym-Bionic Titan 12:50 Courage The Cowardly Dog 13:15 I Am Weasel 13:40 Best Ed 14:05 Cow & Chicken 14:30 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 14:50 Eliot Kid 15:15 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 15:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 16:05 Courage The Cowardly Dog 16:30 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 16:55 The Amazing World Of Gumball 17:10 Adventure Time 17:35 Regular Show 18:00 Cow & Chicken 18:25 Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders 18:50 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 19:15 Angelo Rules 19:30 Total Drama World Tour 19:55 Hero 108 20:25 Sym-Bionic Titan 20:50 Adventure Time 21:25 The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy 21:50 Courage The Cowardly Dog 22:25 The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack 22:50 Cow & Chicken 23:00 Ben 10 23:25 Ben 10

00:00 Kim Possible 00:25 Fairly Odd Parents 01:15 Stitch 02:00 Replacements 02:50 Emperor’s New School 03:35 Stitch 04:25 Replacements 05:15 Fairly Odd Parents 06:00 Hannah Montana 06:20 Recess 06:45 Good Luck Charlie 07:05 Wizards Of Waverly Place 07:30 Suite Life On Deck 07:55 Phineas And Ferb 08:10 Fish Hooks 08:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:00 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 09:25 Handy Manny 09:40 The Hive 09:48 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 09:50 Fairly Odd Parents 10:15 So Random 10:40 Have A Laugh 10:45 Hannah Montana 11:10 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 11:35 Jake & Blake 12:00 Jonas 12:25 Wizards Of Waverly Place 12:45 Phineas And Ferb 13:10 Hannah Montana 13:30 Suite Life On Deck 13:55 Wizards Of Waverly Place 14:20 Have A Laugh 14:30 Phineas And Ferb 15:15 Good Luck Charlie 15:45 Fish Hooks 16:10 Shake It Up 16:35 The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody 17:00 Wizards Of Waverly Place 17:25 Good Luck Charlie 17:50 Fish Hooks 18:15 Suite Life On Deck 18:35 18:45 19:10 19:35 20:00 20:25 20:50 21:15 21:35 22:00 Cody 22:25 22:50 23:15

Have A Laugh Suite Life On Deck Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place Fairly Odd Parents Hannah Montana Shake It Up Fish Hooks Good Luck Charlie The Suite Life Of Zack And Shake It Up Sonny With A Chance Wizards Of Waverly Place


00:15 00:40 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 16:00 16:55 17:50 18:45 19:10 19:40 20:05 20:35

Destroyed In Seconds Moments Of Terror Dirty Jobs Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters How Stuff Works How It’s Made Dirty Jobs Mythbusters Wreckreation Nation One Man Army How Stuff Works Cake Boss Border Security Auction Kings I Shouldn’t Be Alive Overhaulin’ Ultimate Survival Mythbusters Cash Cab Us Border Security Auction Kings How It’s Made How Stuff Works

00:40 The Gadget Show 01:35 Eco-Tech 02:25 The Tech Show 02:50 Building The Biggest 03:40 Mighty Ships 04:35 How Does That Work? 05:00 How Stuff’s Made 05:25 Kings Of Construction 06:20 Catch It Keep It 07:10 Eco-Tech 08:00 How The Universe Works 08:50 How Does That Work? 09:15 How Stuff’s Made 09:40 Building The Biggest 10:35 Mighty Ships 11:25 Kings Of Construction 12:20 Catch It Keep It 13:15 The Gadget Show 14:05 Eco-Tech 14:55 How Does That Work? 15:20 How Stuff’s Made 15:50 How The Universe Works 16:40 The Tech Show 17:05 Catch It Keep It 18:00 The Gadget Show 18:50 Kings Of Construction 19:40 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman

00:15 Mexican Made Easy 00:40 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 01:05 Andy Bates Street Feasts 01:30 Unwrapped 01:55 Andy Bates Street Feasts 02:45 Easy Chinese: San Francisco 03:35 Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam 04:25 Mexican Made Easy 05:15 Kid In A Candy Store 05:40 Unique Sweets 06:05 World Cafe Asia 06:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 06:50 Food Network Challenge 07:35 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 08:00 Food Network Challenge 08:50 Andy Bates Street Feasts 09:15 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 09:40 Kid In A Candy Store 10:05 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 10:30 Paula’s Best Dishes 10:55 Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam 11:20 World Cafe Asia 11:45 Everyday Italian 12:10 Unwrapped 12:35 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 13:00 Ten Dollar Dinners 13:25 Guy’s Big Bite 13:50 Easy Chinese: San Francisco 14:15 Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam 14:40 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 15:05 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 15:30 Unwrapped 15:55 Paula’s Best Dishes 16:20 Mexican Made Easy 16:45 Chopped 17:35 Andy Bates Street Feasts 18:00 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 18:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 18:50 Easy Chinese: San Francisco 19:15 Kid In A Candy Store 19:40 World Cafe Asia 20:05 Guy’s Big Bite 20:30 Food Network Challenge 21:20 Guy’s Big Bite

00:20 Special Agent Oso 00:50 Jungle Junction 01:15 Little Einsteins 01:40 Higglytown Heroes 02:10 Jo Jo’s Circus 02:30 Special Agent Oso 03:00 Jungle Junction 03:25 Little Einsteins 03:50 Higglytown Heroes 04:20 Jo Jo’s Circus 04:40 Special Agent Oso 05:10 Jungle Junction 05:35 Little Einsteins 06:00 Higglytown Heroes 06:30 Jo Jo’s Circus 06:50 Jungle Junction 07:15 Higglytown Heroes 07:45 Handy Manny 08:00 Special Agent Oso 08:15 Jungle Junction 08:45 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:10 The Hive 09:20 Handy Manny 09:35 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 10:05 The Hive 10:15 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 10:25 Timon And Pumbaa 10:45 The Hive 10:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 11:20 Imagination Movers 11:45 Art Attack 12:10 Imagination Movers 12:30 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 12:45 Lazytown 13:10 Handy Manny 13:25 Jungle Junction 13:40 Imagination Movers 14:05 The Hive 14:15 Special Agent Oso 14:25 Little Einsteins 14:50 Lazytown 15:15 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

15:40 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 16:05 Handy Manny 16:30 The Hive 16:40 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 16:55 Imagination Movers 17:20 Lazytown 17:45 Art Attack 18:10 The Hive 18:20 Handy Manny 18:30 Jungle Junction 18:55 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 19:25 The Hive 19:35 Little Einsteins 20:00 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 20:05 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 20:30 Animated Stories 20:35 Handy Manny 20:50 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 21:20 The Hive 21:30 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh 21:33 A Poem Is... 21:40 Jungle Junction 21:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 22:20 Jake & The Neverland Pirates 22:35 Special Agent Oso 22:50 Little Einsteins

00:55 Style Star 01:25 Beauty Queens Gone Wrong 03:15 25 Most Stylish 04:10 Sexiest 05:05 Extreme Hollywood 06:00 Ths 07:50 Behind The Scenes 08:20 E! News 09:15 Scouted 10:15 Ths 12:05 E! News 13:05 Kendra 14:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 15:00 Style Star 15:30 World’s Specials 16:25 Behind The Scenes 16:55 Khloe And Lamar 17:55 E! News 18:55 E!Es 19:55 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 20:55 Chelsea Lately 21:25 Kendra 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

00:00 Enfusion 00:50 The Alli Show 01:40 I’ll Do Anything 02:30 World Combat League 03:20 The Alli Show 04:10 Enfusion 05:00 Ed’s Up 05:50 I’ll Do Anything 06:40 World Combat League 07:30 Ride Guide Mountainbike 2008 09:00 Fim World Motocross Mx3 Championships... 09:25 Fim World Motocross Mx1/Mx2... 10:15 Ticket To Ride 2009/2010 11:05 Freeflow Tour 11:55 Glutton For Punishment 12:45 Pinks: Lose The Race, Lose Your Ride 13:35 The Alli Show 14:25 I’ll Do Anything 15:15 World Combat League 16:05 Glutton For Punishment 16:55 Pinks: Lose The Race, Lose Your Ride 17:45 Fim World Motocross Mx3 Championships... 18:10 Fim World Motocross Mx1/Mx2...

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

Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghost Lab A Haunting Nightmare Next Door Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghost Lab A Haunting Mystery Diagnosis FBI Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery ER Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared FBI Files Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Mystery Diagnosis Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Couples Who Kill Deadly Women

00:00 City Chase: Argentina 00:30 Master of Disaster 01:00 Banged Up Abroad 01:30 Is It Real? 02:00 Banged Up Abroad 02:30 Light At The Edge of The World 03:00 Finding Genghis 03:30 Destination Extreme 03:30 Is It Real? 04:00 Ultimate Traveller 04:30 My Brilliant Brain 05:00 Long Way Down 05:30 Mysteries Of The Moose 06:00 City Chase: Argentina 06:30 Naked Science 07:00 Banged Up Abroad 07:30 Master of Disaster 08:00 Banged Up Abroad 08:30 Is It Real? 09:00 Finding Genghis 09:30 Destination Extreme 09:30 My Brilliant Brain 10:00 Ultimate Traveller 10:30 Light At The Edge of The World 11:00 Long Way Down 11:30 Wild Russia 12:00 City Chase: Argentina 12:30 My Music Brain 13:00 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan


00:15 02:00 03:45 06:00 08:15 11:30 13:30 15:45 18:00 20:00 22:00

Camp Hope-PG15 Jason X-18 Windtalkers-PG15 Ip Man-PG15 The Postman-PG15 The Three Musketeers-PG15 Spiderman 2-PG15 Flight Of The Phoenix-PG15 The Three Musketeers-PG15 The Gene Generation-18 I Come With The Rain-PG15

01:00 Of Gods And Men-18 03:15 Flash Of Genius-PG15 05:15 The Lizzie McGuire Movie-PG 07:00 Battle: Los Angeles-PG15 09:00 Miles From Nowhere-PG15 11:00 Alabama Moon-PG15 13:00 Adventures Of A Teenage Dragonslayer-PG 15:00 Home-PG15 16:45 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star-PG15 18:45 The A-Team-PG15 21:00 Ice Dreams-PG15 23:00 Winter Of Frozen Dreams-18

12:00 Yes Dear 12:30 Dharma And Greg 13:00 Just Shoot Me 13:30 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 16:30 How I Met Your Mother 18:00 Friends 18:30 Friends 19:00 Modern Family 19:30 Parks And Recreation 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Weeds 22:30 Funny Or Die Presents 23:00 Family Guy

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 08:30 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 17:00 18:00 18:30

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 PG15 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

Desperate Housewives Breaking Bad Top Gear (US) Revenge The Gates Good Morning America Kojak Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Martha Stewart Show The View Desperate Housewives Revenge Kojak Live Good Morning America The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street

A Stranger Among Us-PG15 The Grudge 3-18 Assassination Tango-18 The Lost Future-PG15 Clash Of The Titans-PG15 The Sorcerer’s ApprenticeDick Tracy-PG15 Clash Of The Titans-PG15 Flight Of The Phoenix-PG15 Gothika-18 I Come With The Rain-PG15 They Wait-18

00:00 5 Dollars A Day-PG15 02:00 Cry Baby-PG15 04:00 Dr. Dolittle-PG 06:00 Not The Messiah: He’s A Very Naughty Boy-PG15 08:00 Captain Ron-PG15 10:00 Babe: Pig In The City-FAM 12:00 Garfield-PG 14:00 Lost In Yonkers-PG 16:00 5 Dollars A Day-PG15 18:00 Love And Mary-PG15 20:00 My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend-PG15 22:00 Rag Tale-18

01:00 PG15 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

Moonlight And ValentinoTooth Fairy-PG 12 Men Of Christmas-PG15 The Box-PG15 The Fog Of War-PG15 Flipped-PG Love The Beast-PG Charlie St. Cloud-PG15 The Fog Of War-PG15 The Tender Hook-PG15 My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend Garden State-18

00:00 Adventures Of A Teenage Dragonslayer-PG 02:00 The Enchanted Mountain-PG 04:00 Zorro’s Secrets-PG 06:00 Queen Of The Swallows-FAM 08:00 True Story Of Puss’n Boots-PG 10:00 Adventures Of A Teenage Dragonslayer-PG 12:00 Ramses Of Egypt-PG 14:00 Queen Of The Swallows-FAM 16:00 Megamind-FAM 18:00 True Story Of Puss’n Boots

07:00 08:00 09:00 12:00 16:30 17:30 18:00 19:00 20:00

WWE NXT WWE Bottom Line Cricket Twenty20 PGA European Tour Trans World Sport Volvo Ocean Race Highlights WWE NXT WWE Experience Cricket Twenty20

02:30 European PGA Tour 07:00 Scottish League Cup 09:00 FIVB Beach Volley Ball 10:00 World Cup of Pool 11:00 World Pool Masters 12:00 US Bass Fishing 13:00 Trans World Sport 14:00 Scottish League Cup 16:00 Cricket Twenty20 19:00 Scottish League Cup 21:00 Futbol Mudial 21:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 22:00 Trans World Sport 23:00 World Hockey 23:30 Golfing World

01:00 SPL Highlights 01:30 European PGA Highlights 02:00 World Hockey

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


WWE Experience V8 Supercars Championship Speedway Intercontinental Le Mans Cup UFC Unleashed WWE NXT WWE Bottom Line Speedway Le Mans Series Highlights V8 Supercars Championship WWE Bottom Line WWE Vintage Collection Le Mans Series Highlights Speedway Powerboats WWE NXT WWE Experience UFC Unleashed UFC Fight Night

00:00 Hell Boats-PG 01:35 Mgm’s Big Screen-FAM 01:50 The Believers-PG 03:45 Longtime Companion 05:25 Ninja Vengeance-PG 06:50 The Last Of The Finest 08:35 Police Story: The Freeway Killings-PG 11:00 I’ll Be Home For Christmas

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00

Ancient Aliens Ax Men Tales Of The Gun Ice Road Truckers UFO Files Ancient Aliens Ax Men Tales Of The Gun Ice Road Truckers UFO Files Ancient Aliens Ax Men Tales Of The Gun Ice Road Truckers Ice Road Truckers UFO Files Ancient Aliens Ax Men Tales Of The Gun

00:05 How Do I Look? 01:00 Jerseylicious 02:00 Videofashion Daily 02:55 Videofashion News 03:25 How Do I Look? 04:20 Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? 06:10 Homes With Style 06:35 Area 07:05 Clean House 08:00 Videofashion News 09:00 Videofashion Daily 10:00 Open House 10:55 How Do I Look? 11:50 Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? 12:50 Clean House: Search For The Messiest... 13:50 Clean House 14:45 How Do I Look? 15:45 Giuliana & Bill 16:40 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 17:35 Jerseylicious 18:30 Glam Fairy 19:25 Fashion Police 19:55 Elements Of Style 20:25 Open House 22:15 Wicked Fit 23:10 Glam Fairy

00:00 Planet Sports 01:00 Globe Trekker 03:00 The Ethical Hedonist 04:00 Third Class Traveller 05:00 Cruise 1st 09:00 Planet Food 10:00 Globe Trekker 11:00 Luxury Train Journeys in India 12:00 Cruise 1st 12:30 Cruise 1st 13:00 Flavours Of Spain 13:30 Flavours Of Spain 14:00 Globe Trekker 15:00 Sophie Grigson In The Orient 15:30 Cruise 1st 16:00 Cruise 1st 16:30 Inside Universal Studios Japan 17:30 Planet Sports 18:30 Globe Trekker 19:30 Cruise 1st 20:00 Cruise 1st 20:30 Flavours Of Spain 21:00 Flavours Of Spain 21:30 Sophie Grigson In The Home Counties 22:00 Cruise 1st 22:30 Cruise 1st 23:00 Planet Food

01:10 03:05 05:00 06:30 08:00 10:30 FAM 13:05 14:50 16:40 19:15 21:05 23:00

Cannery Row The Formula Spinout-FAM Above Suspicion-PG The Four Horsemen Of...-PG The Shoes Of The FishermanThe Wings Of Eagles-FAM Interrupted Melody-FAM 2001: A Space Odyssey-FAM Where The Spies Are-PG Mogambo-PG Rhapsody-FAM



stars CROSSWORD 574



Aries (March 21-April 19) If you are in sales and the sales have not been going well— stand back, they will be multiplying soon. Mental endeavors are favored as is communication with friends and loved ones. Be as flexible as possible. You take a serious attitude to just about all aspects of your life. This is an excellent time to sit down alone and get many things accomplished. Parental instincts may come to your attention now and you make every effort to appease any discord in the home. Also, there is a strong wish to make your surroundings as pleasant as possible. This could mean a new purchase or some new guidelines for the family members. Someone may invite you to see their vacation pictures. Go . . .you may want to show off your pictures soon.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) You can turn a difficult task into something quite uncomplicated. This is a good time to lead the way on a project—you are able to move things forward quickly. You have a great deal of respect for others, particularly those that seek to achieve and have a difficult time. With a little guidance they learn and begin to shine in their work. Creating a successful end result is your goal and higher-ups will pay attention. You love books and may even have an idea for a story of your own. Certainly, where young people are concerned, you know just what to do to get them involved in a storytelling time they enjoy sharing. Laughter and setting situations up to entertain friends are fun pastimes and that is what tonight is all about— fun and games.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 4. French novelist. 10. A sweetened beverage of diluted fruit juice. 13. A self-funded retirement plan that allows you to contribute a limited yearly sum toward your retirement. 14. On a ship, train, plane or other vehicle. 15. Having undesirable or negative qualities. 16. An unabridged dictionary constructed on historical principles. 17. English scholastic philosopher and assumed author of Occam's Razor (1285-1349). 19. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar. 21. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 22. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 23. Tropical woody herb with showy yellow flowers and flat pods. 24. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 26. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 32. A town in north central Oklahoma. 35. A very poisonous metallic element that has three allotropic forms. 36. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 38. Naked freshwater or marine or parasitic protozoa that form temporary pseudopods for feeding and locomotion. 43. Delicacy highly prized in Japan but highly dangerous. 44. A family of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in southeastern Asia. 47. (folklore) A corpse that rises at night to drink the blood of the living. 50. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 51. The cry made by sheep. 55. Usually large hard-shelled seed. 59. South African term for `boss'. 60. A unit of surface area equal to 100 square meters. 61. A ravine or gully in southern Asia. 63. A mature blood cell that contains hemoglobin to carry oxygen to the bodily tissues. 64. An interest followed with exaggerated zeal. 65. (Greek mythology) One of the three Graces. 66. The syllable naming the sixth (submediant) note of a major or minor scale in solmization. DOWN 1. French couturier whose first collection in 1947 created a style (tight bodice and narrow waist and flowing pleated skirt) that became known as the New Look (1905-1957). 2. A particular geographical region of indefinite boundary (usually serving some special purpose or distinguished by its people or culture or geography). 3. A pilgrimage to Mecca. 4. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 5. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 6. Relating to or applicable to or concerned with the administration of a city or town or district rather than a larger area. 7. A Chadic language spoken in northern Nigeria. 8. A large fleet. 9. Being one hundred more than three hundred. 10. A port city in southwestern Iran. 11. A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn. 12. Mild yellow Dutch cheese made in balls. 18. A small cake leavened with yeast. 20. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 25. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 27. Either extremity of something that has length. 28. An authoritative direction or instruction to do something. 29. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 30. Open-heart surgery in which the rib cage is opened and a section of a blood vessel is grafted from the aorta to the coronary artery to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery and improve the blood supply to the heart. 31. (Old Testament) The eldest son of Isaac who would have inherited the Covenant that God made with Abraham and that Abraham passed on to Isaac. 33. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 34. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 37. Being one more than two. 39. A master's degree in fine arts. 40. A bivalent and trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group. 41. A light touch or stroke. 42. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret. 45. (Zoroastrianism) Title for benevolent deities. 46. Marked by features of the immediate and usually discounted past. 48. A Nilotic language. 49. A state in midwestern United States. 52. A British peer ranking below a Marquess and above a Viscount. 53. A metabolic acid found in yeast and liver cells. 54. United States writer (born in Poland) who wrote in Yiddish (1880-1957). 56. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 57. (Irish) Ancient Irish god (probably a god of the sun). 58. Not in good physical or mental health. 62. (astronomy) The angular distance of a celestial point measured westward along the celestial equator from the zenith crossing.

Yesterday’s Solution

Gemini (May 21-June 20) You display an urge to be recognized by co-workers for your hard work. There is a possibility that during this time, work as a whole will come under scrutiny. You definitely need to feel secure in the professional realm of life just now. The satisfaction of a job well done is one of your greatest incentives. You can control your own progress to some extent and you make every effort to shine in your specific job. Your resolve is strong and there is success in the future. You enjoy good relations with your family and your financial position may improve because of your association with a relative. Consider gathering up the magazines and used books that you have collected over the years and put them in a box to sell at a used book store.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)


Your communication skills are sharp. If you are in business for yourself, redesign or add color to your advertisement. Send out your advertisement or pass around your advertisement to a new area or a new group of people. If you are working for someone else, be sure to let them know you have ideas. On a more mundane level, it is an excellent day to talk on the phone. Others may drain away your energy, making it a difficult time to initiate new projects. Try and keep the interruptions down to a low level. On the positive side, it is a good day to just reflect or help others. Maternal instincts may kick in this afternoon as you make every effort to help a young person. You may want to make some time available for some sort of tutoring.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Being in the spotlight is fun this morning. It is a good time to be humble and see where your efforts can best help. You could experience a sudden and unexpected change of scenery in the workplace. This may entail getting a new boss, new co-workers or embarking on a totally different project or a new field of work. You may have misgivings about your work or your talents at this time. There are many opportunities, however, for you to succeed in the eyes of others. Remember, a display of personal confidence is very important. Constructive communication is paramount with family this evening. Tonight it would be good to have dinner served at the dinner table for communication, instead of the couch for television.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) The stars line up to help you become very inventive. You will impress people in conversations and communicate to loved ones on new levels. If you channel the energy you receive today, you can continue to use this same talent to become influential. Your timing should be perfect and those around you should find you most spontaneous. This afternoon, children may surprise you with their creativeness. This could mean a surprise gift from a friend or a young salesperson at your door. Later, you may enjoy a true hearts and flowers evening—filling you with happy feelings. A new friendship or romance started now has a bright and positive future. If emotional fences need mending, this is a good day for the task. There are positive energies present.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Your imagination and creativity is strong and when it comes to ideas and thinking—you seem to have an answer for all the problems you detect. This, coupled with the ability to put your thoughts into words, allows you to captivate and spellbind. You may be sought after for your advice regarding very personal and emotional issues. You will be able to be understanding and handle this very volatile material. You are able to cut through the red tape and get at what is beneath and behind. A good book or movie would be appreciated too. Besides being creative and affectionate, you are very sociable and magnetic to the opposite sex today. Your love is intensified and any relationship begun at this time will be especially strong.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) There is concern now about the future of business. Your emotions could be intensified and this would cloud your logical reasoning. You may not be very objective—you could make choices you would regret later. If you relax this morning and think about these upcoming decisions, you will overcome difficulties. It would not be a bad idea to delay decisions, as your thinking is clearer this afternoon—but you can find what you need if you give yourself time. An interest in a new intellectual pursuit may be fostered this evening. A volunteer program can be quite rewarding this evening. There are some marvelous opportunities to teach others. You can demonstrate great understanding to others and you are in a good position to lend a helping hand.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You must be very careful in the way that you spend your money just now. It is best not to buy something just because a neighbor, best friend or child has a particularly exciting item. In the workplace you will find good conditions and communication among co-workers, particularly with the opposite sex. This tends to be a productive day in practical affairs. You should enjoy great success and attention through your profession. Being in the spotlight is easy—people come to you for answers. Engaging in any type of social activity is favorable this evening. Meeting new people is fun. Just about anything you do should be both rewarding and enjoyable. Take the time to show your appreciation of a friend or loved one tonight.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


This is an excellent time to sway others to your cause through speeches or clever arguments—your thinking is most lucid. You are buoyed with confidence now to succeed at any project you attempt. If you deal with groups, you will probably be advocating sweeping changes. Just do not become involved in any project that may require a follow-through later. Make sure both your expectations and abilities are realistic before diving into something you may not be able to get out of without harm or embarrassment. In your hunger for emotional excitement, you may seek out new and different kinds of people—or maybe new and different kinds of places to spend the afternoon or evening. Companionship with others is most rewarding.

Yesterday’s Solution Yester

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) This marks a time when relations with a spouse or business partner are on a solid ground. Expressing affections should come easily now and can do much good for your character. Business dealings may be particularly fruitful at present, particularly if you give one hundred percent. Also, romance is heightened in your personal relationships and you should take the time to actively cultivate them. There is a promise of exciting times to come between partners! Your thirst for freedom and excitement, while a definite boon to any relationship, should not completely dominate your decision-making process. This evening there is time to reflect and understand your own situation. A new recipe is worth your attention.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

Communicating and getting your message across to others is at a high just now. Your timing for business consulting should be perfect and those around you should find you most spontaneous and enthusiastic. This is not a good time, however, to make any concrete decisions about a relationship or business deal. There are some mighty powerful energies that spill into your life in unpredictable ways just now. Careful—your decisions and actions now will have long lasting effects. This afternoon, weather permitting, you and your friends can engage in outdoor activities that are both carefree and pleasant. This is a wonderful way to relieve any stress. You should try now to loosen up and enjoy your companions. You will definitely feel the power of love today.



lifestyle G O S S I P


balancing problems

Bunton’s son helped design fashion range

rad Pitt’s injured knee has led to balance problems .The ‘Moneyball’ actor was forced to walk with a cane for a few weeks after sustaining ligament damage when he slipped whilst carrying his daughter Vivienne and Brad admits it had made him “lopsided”. He told Access Hollywood: “I was getting all lopsided. So, I’m trying to balance out now.” Brad also revealed his six children - Maddox, 10, Pax, eight, Zahara, seven, Shiloh, five, and Knox and Vivienne, three - with partner Angelina Jolie have been putting him under pressure to propose and he has now promised to buy her a ring. He explained on CBS show ‘Sunday Morning’: “We’re getting a lot of pressure from the kids. It means something to them. [They asked me to] ‘get mommy a ring, so I said ‘OK, I will! I will.’” Although Brad and Angelina had previously vowed not to marry until gay couples are also allowed to, the 48-year-old has recently revealed a change of heart. He said: “We’d actually like to and it seems to mean more and more to our kids. “We made this declaration some time ago that we weren’t going to do it till everyone can. But I don’t think we’ll be able to hold out. It means so much to my kids, and they ask a lot. And it means something to me, too, to make that kind of commitment.”


Spencer is not happy with her weight

mma Bunton’s son chose the colors for her new children’s fashion range. The 36-year-old singer is releasing the kids clothing collection through British catalogue store Argos and revealed the design process was a family affair with son Beau, four, choosing the shades and fiance Jade Jones also helping out. Speaking on ITV1’s ‘Lorraine’, she said: “I’m doing a kid’s line for Argos, Beau has picked all of the colors, they’re fun and inexpensive because kids grow out of clothes so quickly. It’s been a real family affair. Beau has his


Andre has

a new pet dog

he ‘Behind Closed Doors’ singer took on board the mutt - named Charlie - from Battersea Dog’s Home in London after he was left when his owners moved abroad, and he admits his children Junior, six, and Princess Tiaamii, four, are getting on with him. Peter wrote on twitter: “Welcome Charlie Pug :))) we love him. He is a dude. “He was a rescue Pug at Battersea and me J and P spent some time there and Loved the little champ. The other owners were apparently very good but had to move overseas I’m sure he was really loved by them too . One of us already. (sic)” Peter is not the only celebrity to have recently acquired a new dog. Miley Cyrus bought her boyfriend Liam Hemsworth a puppy for his 22nd birthday. She tweeted: “Got Liam THE best bday pressie ever! (sic)” Miley then posted a picture of the dog, named Ziggy, and when a fan tweeted that she was under the impression the dog’s name was Daisy Dukes, Miley added: “Liam wanted to name her that! I said NOOO WAY! Shes an angel! (sic)”



he star triumphed at last night’s Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) Awards, picking up Best Supporting Actress for her role in ‘The Help’, but is worried about her size. She told “I am not healthy at this weight. Any time you have too much around the middle, then there is a problem. “And when you reach a certain weight, you are less valuable.” But Octavia claims it isn’t just overweight actresses who have a problem getting roles in Hollywood, she also has a lot of sympathy with stars who are too thin. She added: “I feel for the overly thin women as much as I do for the overweight women. It has to change. “We have to start standing up for ourselves and saying, ‘This is who I am.’ “And If more women ate, they would be a lot happier. Let me tell you, I am a lot grumpier when I don’t eat.” Octavia also recently won a Golden Globe for her role in ‘The Help’ - which tells the story of African-American maids who take a stand during the Civil Rights era in the US - although despite her two wins she doesn’t think she is a dead cert to claim an Oscar in February. She added: “I would be lying if I didn’t say to you I would love to win an Oscar. “But we have a group of brilliantly talented actresses, and it’s not a foregone conclusion that because I’ve won these awards then I’ll win [the Oscar]. “I would never be that presumptuous. I mean, Melissa McCarthy, Jessica Chastain and Janet McTeer are in that category. Pretty brilliant.”

Berry‘s daughter recommended for counseling alle Berry’s daughter has been recommended to have counseling by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Family Services is currently investigating claims by the child’s nanny Alliance Kamden that Halle’s ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry pushed her while she was holding the former couple’s three-year-old daughter Nahla. Now is reporting investigators have suggested the tot may benefit from some therapy sessions, even though there has been no suggestion that Nahla was hurt in the alleged incident. Alliance has claimed Gabriel shoved her during an argument earlier this month over the French-Canadian model’s decision to keep his daughter off school. The actress is set to ask a judge to stop the model from having any contact with Nahla until the investigation is complete. Meanwhile, Gabriel is requesting a restraining order against the nanny. The model is said to believe Alliance has sided with his ex in their ongoing custody issues and claims she has fabricated the pushing claims against him.


favorite pieces, he loves the hoodies. “Jade puts the cool in my kids range, he’s done lots of work for me too which is great.” Although Emma’s close pal and former Spice Girls bandmate Victoria Beckham is an award winning designer, Emma says she doesn’t ask her for advice. She previously explained: “Whenever we get together, we just talk about our kids and family stuff. We just hang out like normal friends. We don’t really speak about work so I haven’t mentioned all of this to her. My line and her lines are very different.”

Swinton’s fashion friends

Welch wants her own fashion line he Florence + The Machine singer would love her own clothing range but admits it is something she would want to spend a lot of time perfecting. She said: “[Having a clothing range] really appeals to me. I would definitely think about it in the future. I’m very particular about what I like though, so I’d really need to spend some time on it.” The ‘No Light, No Light’ hitmaker buys most of her clothes online because she travels so much - and despite her success she still thinks twice about buying expensive designer garments. She told LOOK magazine: “I’m on the road quite a lot so I look on the internet at Net-a-porter for things that I think, ‘Hmm one day when I can afford it’ and I’m always on the Topshop website.” Despite her reluctance to splash out on expensive clothes, Florence - who was part of Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel spring/summer 2012 show - admires the work of many designers. She said: “I love Temperley - I wore her designs for my album launch. And I was really lucky that Gucci made all my clothes for the tour. “Everything that Valentino designs is amazing and I love Erdem. And, of course, Chanel.”


ilda Swinton feels “fortunate” to have people who want to dress her. The ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ star - who is renowned for her love of eccentric designer clothes - admits she does not put too much thought into her red carpet outfits and is thankful she has “friends” who help her out with what to wear. She said: “For me, it’s just a matter of having a box cutter to open the dress box. “I turn up in a pair of old corduroy trousers and I’m very fortunate to have friends who send me boxes with gowns. It’s like the Cinderella complex. It ’s the friends that make the effor t, not me.” However, Tilda - who has previously been a muse for Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf - admits she occasionally has to plan in advance what she is going to be wearing at any given event. She added to “There is a little effort that goes into the planning, like, weeks ago.”

Rihanna spends £100,000 T on Marilyn Monroe artwork ihanna has splashed out £100,000 on a portrait of Marilyn Monroe. The ‘We Found Love’ hitmaker commissioned British artist Claire Milner to create the huge picture of the tragic Hollywood icon using 65,000 Swarovski crystals and then spent thousands of pounds to have it shipped to her home in Beverly Hills. Claire told The Sun newspaper: “I tried to show the glitter of the public life and the sadness in Marilyn’s eyes. Because of who Rihanna is everything had to be done through her interior decorators. But they told me afterwards that she loved it. “A 100 per cent Swarovski crystal portrait is very luxurious - people stand and stare because it constantly changes color, sending rainbows round the room.” Rihanna is a huge fan of the ‘Seven Year Itch’ star, previously revealing she and close pal Katy Perry once both chose the same Dolce and Gabbana dress inspired by Marilyn to wear to the Metropolitan Institute Costume Gala. She said: “One time we were going to the Met Ball, and Katy phoned me to check. We were like, ‘Oh My God’, we were both going in this dress by Dolce and Gabbana with Marilyn Monroe’s face all over it. “She was like, ‘You can’t. I’ve had my nails done in mink and it matches the dress. I thought, seeing as she’d gone to all that effort, I’d let her wear it.” —Bang Showbiz




LIFESTYLE F e a t u r e s

Who says good things come only in small packages?

Contestant Barbara Monteiro, from Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state, gestures after winning the Miss Brazil Plus Size Beauty Pageant. —AP

(From left) Contestants Larissa Rodrigues, from Ceara state, Sylvia Barreto, from Sao Paulo state, Roberta Breves, from Rio de Janeiro state, Mirna Tardim, from Mato Grosso state, Laila Gori, from Santa Catarina state and Barbara Monteiro, from Mato Grosso do Sul state, stand on the stage during the Miss Brazil Plus Size Beauty Pageant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday. —AP

Curtains to drop on t’s time for a new stage at Ryman Auditorium, a significant moment in the history of a building known for its significant moments. Scuffed by the heels of “The King,” “The Queen of Soul” and thousands of singers in cowboy boots, scarred by an uncountable stream of road cases and worn by six decades of music history, the Ryman’s oak floorboards have reached the end of a very long, very successful run. “That stage has had a wonderful life,” said Steve Buchanan, senior vice president of media and entertainment for Gaylord Entertainment, owners of the Ryman. The current stage is just the second in the 120-year history of the “Mother Church” after the original was installed in 1901 for a performance of the Metropolitan Opera. It was laid down in 1951 and has lasted far longer than expected. The stage was refinished during a renovation in 1993-94 and even then officials knew it would be the last resurfacing. Today it’s heavily scuffed and scarred, its age easily visible from the Ryman’s balcony. The Ryman is still the building most associated with The


Ryman’s 61-year-old stage

Grand Ole Opry, though it moved to the Opry House in 1974, and has hosted a number of significant moments in American culture.

Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash stood together on those boards and changed music. Cultures clashed there too when the boo birds took on country rockers

File photo shows Grand Ole Opry veteran Bill Anderson performs on the circle of wood at the center of the stage in the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn. —AP

The Byrds. Today the Ryman is a much sought-after destination point for musicians of all genres and many shows take on a unique aura. Dylan recently returned, more than 40 years after “Nashville Skyline.” Taylor Swift sang there recently with her good friends, The Civil Wars. Even the heaviest of rockers get a little nostalgic, like Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, who said it was an honor to get drunk while performing in the building last year. Keith Urban, making his return from vocal surgery, will be among the last performers on the stage when the Opry plays its final winter date Friday at The Ryman. Dierks Bentley will play the last standalone concert Thursday. As a young, aspiring performer in Nashville more than a decade ago, Bentley would run his fingers along the building’s brickwork late at night as he walked home from performing on Lower Broadway, daydreaming of playing on that stage. He calls it “one of the most precious places in Nashville and in country music to me.” “The significance of that stage and

who played there before me will definitely be in the back of my head all night,” Bentley said in an email. “As a member of the Grand Ole Opry, I couldn’t be any prouder.” That a busy venue needs a new stage is not necessarily news. The stage at the Opry’s permanent home, for instance, has been changed multiple times over the years with little comment. But when the Ryman stage is replaced, officials in some sense are altering an icon that is closely watched by sometimes vocal guardians of its cultural significance. Officials are prepared for questions. They point out the building has gone through many upgrades over the years and that each step was vital to preserving the building. Most recently the roof was replaced in 2009. “We’re not in the business of getting rid of old things just to get rid of them,” Ryman general manager Sally Williams said. They will retain an 18-inch lip of the blonde oak at the front of the stage, similar to the way the Ryman stage was commemorated in a circle of wood at the new Opry House. The rest of the

stage will be stored and replaced with a medium brown Brazilian teak that will be far more durable and camera friendly. Beneath the stage, the original hickory support beams will be kept and reinforced with concrete foundations, crossbeams and joist work that will help triple the stage’s load capacity. Work will begin Feb. 4 and continue seven days a week until Feb. 20, when rising country stars The Band Perry will make its Ryman debut with a sold-out show. Tours will continue throughout the work, allowing members of the public to watch. Williams says she’s gotten no negative feedback as word has spread because everyone understands the importance of the project. “I think it will be interesting because I think it’s obvious we’re doing something ensuring that people will be coming here and having those Ryman moments in 120 years,” she said. —AP

ROLLING STONE bets on South African music enowned jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela and heavy metal in Botswana feature in Rolling Stone’s take on music in its new South African edition, which hopes to fill a conspicuously empty niche. The American title launched its latest international edition in South Africa in November, tackling a crowded media market that has not yet cashed in on the country’s rich musical heritage spanning rock to pop and jazz. “Obviously Rolling Stone would be associated with rock but it is more an attitude,” said editor Miles Keylock. The monthly’s first cover profiled Masekela, a 72-year-old jazz musician who campaigned against white-minority rule while living in exile. An ex-husband of late diva Miriam Makeba, his lifetime of sex, booze and cocaine perhaps warrant inclusion in the pantheon of rock. The magazine also hopes to entice readers with exposes on local rock band Blk Jks, on its way to record in the Malian capital Bamako; rising Afro-pop star Zahara; and Afrikaans-language punk rocker Francois van Coke. There’s also a black-and-white photo essay on the heavy metal scene in Botswana, better known for its nature reserves than its leather-clad bikers, shot by South African photographer Frank Marshall. Keylock is coy over sales figures, but said they


“had a very amazing response in some metropolitan areas; they sold out on the first day.” The initial print run was about 30,000 copies, with a cover price of 34.95 rands ($4.30, 3.20 euro) — a healthy run for South Africa but a minnow compared to the parent publication, which puts

‘We need a national platform’ American and British influences have swept South Africa since the 19th century, fusing into colorful mixtures of style in Africa’s largest economy. But white-minority rule suppressed urban black culture, and artists looked to foreign countries for

Veteran jazz composer and producer Rashid Vally, 72, holds the first issue of Rolling Stone magazine’s South African edition inside his music store in the center of Johannesburg.—AFP out 1.45 million copies every two weeks. Keylock, a former music critic at the country’s respected Mail & Guardian weekly, plans to break even within six months. “It’s true, there is an uncertainty. This is not one more magazine but a different kind of journalism, a style, a way to speak with the readers,” says Keylock.

recognition. “Of course, the newspapers had a jazz section, the Sowetan, the Star but there was no dedicated one,” said veteran music producer Rashid Vally, 72. Even jazz musician Abdullah Ibrahim, also known as Dollar Brand, who enjoyed global success with his mellow tune “Mannenberg” in 1974, had to make peace with the relative lack

of publicity back home. “In-depth articles would appear only overseas, and here they would ask about when you’re born and so on,” said Vally, who produced the song. A poor reading culture and the global economic crisis saw many local South African titles close down as advertising dried up in recent years. But that hasn’t deterred international names like Forbes, Top Gear and Playboy from entering the South African market. It’s still unclear if Rolling Stone will make an impression on South African readers. “There is a place, a niche,” said American academic David Coplan, whose book “In Township Tonight!” is considered the authority on black South African music. But he added: “Maybe there is nothing up to now because there is no market.” “Here in South Africa, we don’t expect to read about music. Good jazz commentary is common in Paris or New York but unknown here,” he said. Johnny Clegg, known for bringing African rhythms to a global audience, said he hopes that will change. “We need a national platform to expose and promote all forms of South African music,” he said. —AFP

Rooney Mara speaks with director David Fincher, right, during the Japan premiere of their new film “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” in Tokyo, yesterday. —AP

Sony cancels India release of ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ he Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” will not be hitting theaters in India. The film was to be released on Feb 10, but India’s Central Board of Film Certification insisted that several scenes be edited. Director David Fincher refused to cut two love-making scenes and a rape and torture scene from his R-rated adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling book. Sony acknowledged that it would not be opening the film in India and


released a statement, which read in part, “While we are committed to maintaining and protecting the vision of the director, we will, as always, respect the guidelines set by the Board.” The film has already made nearly $100 million in the US and more than $165 million at the overseas box office, and appears on its way to more than $200 globally, with much of Asia still ahead. —Reuters


lifestyle A W A R D S

Castmembers of ‘The Help’ pose backstage with their awards for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture at the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. From left, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, Ahna O’Reilly, Mike Vogel, Cicely Tyson, Jessica Chastain, Chris Lowell, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Allison Janney and Viola Davis. — AP/AFP photos

‘The Help,’ Dujardin win at lively Awards



inally, an awards show with some surprises and spontaneity. The Screen Actors Guild Awards featured some unexpected winners, including “The Help” for best overall cast performance and French actor Jean Dujardin for best actor in “The Artist” alongside some of the longtime favorites in movies and television. But there was a looseness and a playfulness that permeated the Shrine Exposition Center Sunday night - maybe because it was a room full of people who love to perform, without the rigidity of one single host to lead them. Unlike the great expectations that came with the sharptongued Ricky Gervais’ reprisal at the Golden Globes a couple weeks ago or the much-anticipated return of Billy Crystal to the Academy Awards next month, there was no master of ceremonies at the SAG Awards. The presenters and winners seemed to have more room to improvise and put their own spin on the evening - but mercifully, the show itself still managed to wrap up on time after just two hours. And so we had three of the stars of best-cast nominee “Bridesmaids” - Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy - introducing their comedy with a joke about turning the name “Scorsese” into a drinking game, which became a running gag throughout the night. When HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” won the award for best drama series cast, among the first words star Steve Buscemi uttered in accepting the prize were “Martin Scorsese” - he just happens to be one of the show’s executive producers. One of the more exciting moments of the night was the announcement of Dujardin’s name in the best-actor category for his performance in the silent, black-and-white homage “The Artist.” In winning the award for his portrayal of a silent-film star who finds his career in decline with the arrival of talkies, Dujardin definitely boosts his chances at the Oscars on Feb. 26. Little-known in the United States before this, the French comic bested bigger names like George Clooney (“ The Descendants”), Brad Pitt (“Moneyball”) and Leonardo DiCaprio (“J Edgar”). If he follows this up with an Academy Award, Dujardin would become the first French actor ever to take the prize. Asked backstage how it would feel, Dujardin launched into a jaunty rendition of “La Marseillaise,” the French national anthem. “Pressure, big pressure,” Dujardin then added in his halting English. “It’s unbelievable. It’s amazing already.

Octavia Spencer accepts the award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role for ‘The Help’.

Jean Dujardin holds his award for outstanding performance by a male in a leading role in ‘The Artist’.

Actress Viola Davis accepts the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role award for ‘The Help’. Too early to tell.” Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer continued to cement their front-runner status in the actress and supporting actress categories, respectively, for their formidable work in “The Help.” Both women play black maids in 1960s Mississippi who dare to go public about the bigotry

The cast of ‘The Help’ accepts the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture award from actor Brad Pitt onstage.

Actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

they’ve endured. “I just have to say that the stain of racism and sexism is not just for people of color or women. It’s all of our burden, all of us,” Davis said, accepting the ensemble prize on behalf of her “The Help” co-stars. Backstage, Davis said of her own victory: “A few more people checked my name in the box for whatever reason. This time I kind of fooled them.” Meanwhile, Christopher Plummer picked up yet another supporting-actor prize for his lovely turn as an elderly widower who finally comes out as gay in “Beginners.” Plummer won at the Golden Globes and is nominated for an Oscar. He would become the oldest actor ever to win an Academy Award at age 82, two years older than Jessica Tandy was when she won best actress for “Driving Miss Daisy.” Backstage, Plummer joked when asked if he would like to win an Oscar, an honor so elusive during his esteemed 60-year career that he did not even receive his first Academy Award nomination until two years ago, for “The Last Station.” “No, I think it’s frightfully boring,” Plummer said. “That’s an awful question. Listen, we don’t go into this business preoccupied by awards. If we did, we wouldn’t

(From left) Actresses Viola Davis, Emma Stone, and Octavia Spencer speak onstage.

last five minutes.” The win for overall cast for “The Help,” when “The Artist” and “The Descendants” have been the favorites all along, makes the conversation more interesting but it isn’t necessarily an indicator of how the film will do come Oscar time. The guild’s ensemble prize, considered its equivalent of a best-picture honor, has a spotty record at predicting what will win the top award at the Oscars. While “The King’s Speech” won both honors a year ago, the SAG ensemble recipient has gone on to claim the top Oscar only eight times in the 16 years since the guild added the category. The winners at the SAG ceremony often do go on to earn Oscars, however. All four acting recipients at SAG last year later took home Oscars - Colin Firth for “The King’s Speech,” Natalie Portman for “Black Swan” and Christian Bale and Melissa Leo for “The Fighter.” On the television side, comedy series awards went to “Modern Family” for best ensemble; Alec Baldwin as best actor for “30 Rock”; and Betty White as best actress for “Hot in Cleveland.” “You can’t name me, without naming those other wonderful women on ‘Hot in Cleveland,’” the 90-year-old White said. “This nomination belongs to four of us. Please, please know that I’m dealing them right in with this. I’m not going to let them keep this, but I’ll let them see it.” The TV drama show winners were: Jessica Lange as best actress for “American Horror Story”; and Buscemi as best actor for “Boardwalk Empire.” For TV movie or miniseries, Kate Winslet won as best actress for “Mildred Pierce,” while Paul Giamatti was named best actor for “Too Big to Fail.” The guild gave its lifetime achievement award to Mary Tyler Moore, presented by Dick Van Dyke, her co-star on the 1960s sit-com “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Moore recalled that when she entered show business at age 18 in 1955, there were already six others Mary Moores in the Screen Actors Guild. Told to change her name, she quickly added Tyler, the middle name she shares with her father, George. “I was Mary Tyler Moore. I spoke it out loud. Mary Tyler Moore. It sounded right so I wrote it down on the form, and it looked right,” she said. “It was right. SAG was happy, my father was happy, and tonight, after having the privilege of working in this business among the most creative and talented people imaginable, I too am happy, after all.” — AP

Actor Steve Buscemi accepts the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series award for ‘Boardwalk Empire’ from actress Tina Fey onstage.

Actress Mary Tyler Moore poses with Vice Chair Daryl Anderson and actor Dick Van Dyke after being awarded the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

Actors Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, and Larry Hagman speak onstage.


lifestyle A W A R D S

Complete list of winners

MOVIES: Actor: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist” Actress: Viola Davis, “The Help” Supporting actor: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners.” Supporting actress: Octavia Spencer, “The Help.” Cast: “The Help” Stunt ensemble: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” TELEVISION: Actor in a movie or miniseries: Paul Giamatti, “Too Big to Fail.” Actress in a movie or miniseries: Kate Winslet, “Mildred Pierce.” Actor in a drama series: Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire” Actress in a drama series: Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story” Actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock.” Actress in a comedy series: Betty White, “Hot in Cleveland.” Drama series cast: “Boardwalk Empire” Comedy series cast: “Modern Family.” Stunt ensemble: “Game of Thrones.” Life Achievement: Mary Tyler Moore. —AP

The cast of ‘Boardwalk Empire’ hold their award for best ensemble in a drama series.

Christopher Plummer holds the award for Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor In A Supporting Role, for ‘Beginners’.

Actress Jessica Lange accepts the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series award for ‘American Horror Story’.

Alec Baldwin accepts the award for outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series for “30 Rock”.

Actress Betty White accepts the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series award for ‘Hot In Cleveland’.

Actress Mary Tyler Moore accepts the Life Achievement Award.

Glenn Close and Kenneth Branagh

Jane Lynch

Actress Natalie Portman

Actor Meryl Streep speaks onstage.

Actor Sir Ben Kingsley speaks onstage.

Actress Sofia Vergara holds the award for Outstanding Performance By An Ensemble In A Comedy Series, ‘Modern Family’.

Actors Kathy Bates and Owen Wilson

Connor, right, and Brady Noon pose backstage with the award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series for ‘Boardwalk Empire’.

Actors Shailene Woodley and George Clooney

Laurence Fishburne and Gina Torres Actor Kevin Bacon The cast of ‘Modern Family’ accept the Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series award.

‘The Help,’ Dujardin win at lively SAG Awards



Tony Ward sparkling in Italy

Models wear creations as part of the Italian high fashion designer Tony Ward’s Spring-Summer 2012 collection unveiled in Rome, Sunday.—AP photos

London celebrates Year of the Dragon T

housands of people packed into London’s Trafalgar Square on Sunday to celebrate Chinese New Year, with pyrotechnics and dancers in dragon costumes entertaining the crowds. London Mayor Boris Johnson said the big turnout “shows the way the world economy is going”, as people braced the chilly weather to see performers parade through the city and sample Chinese food. Trafalgar Square is around the corner from London’s Chinatown district. The festivities to welcome in the Year of the Dragon, which officially started on January 23, included a dramatic firecracker display and performers from Britain and China, while acrobats dressed in elaborate dragon outfits leapt from podiums to a backdrop of heavy percussion. “It’s an amazing occasion and we’ve never seen a crowd quite as big as this in all the years that we’ve been doing it. I think it shows the way the world economy is going,” Johnson said

at the event. “London is a global city; you’ve got more Chinese students here in London contributing to the London economy than any other city in the world and I think they love it because it’s a safe city. The point of this kind of event is to celebrate the Chinese New Year but also to intensify those links between London and China.” Zhang Qin, a Chinese traditional doctor, told AFP: “In London, Chinese New Year is so nice. This city makes the Chinese people and the English people get together and makes them happy.” A billion-plus Asians welcomed the Year of the Dragon on January 23 with a cacophony of fireworks, hoping the mightiest sign in the Chinese zodiac would usher in the wealth and power it represents. From Malaysia to South Korea, millions travelled huge distances to reunite with their families for lunar New Year-the most important holiday of the year for many in Asiaindulging in feasts or watching dragon dances. —AFP

Performers in a dragon costume jump across poles in Trafalgar Square in central London during Chinese New Year celebrations on January 29, 2012. —AFP

31 Jan 2012  
31 Jan 2012  

Kuwait Times