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THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

Amir attends NBK’s 60th anniversary ceremony

Rifle passion drives female Kuwaiti shooter


NO: 15465

150 FILS

3 40 PAGES

RAJAB 10, 1433 AH

MPs outraged after Iran slams Kuwait over spies Foreign ministry denies MP insulted ruling family

Max 44º Min 31º High Tide 07:28 & 19:54 Low Tide 12:21 & 13:58

By B Izzak conspiracy theories

Lost identity By Badrya Darwish


rnst and Young, a global accounting firm, released the results of a survey on corruption in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As an Arab citizen, I feel, Ernst and Young did not reveal any strikingly new information about the Arab World that we did not know as citizens. But I want to thank them. They still did a good job in a very dark and underreported area. But they confirmed our street talk. Their report didn’t have the same shocking effect as Assange’s WikiLeaks which shocked the world, especially us in the Middle East. He provided small detailed statements issued by our politicians concerning the way politics works here. Ernst and Young did their homework and specified which countries have more corruption. Now I am telling them: We sink in corruption and I don’t need a survey to prove it. Allow me to brag: We can be crowned on top. If we did not have corruption in the Arab world - leave Africa for the Africans, God bless them, they also have enough corruption on their hands - do you think the Arab world would have been in the mess that you see? Would there be poverty in the Arab world if our leaders were not corrupt? Would Bouazizi be the hero who set himself on fire out of poverty? Would there be lack of advancement and backwardness in science when at one time the Middle East science was booming and Europe was in the dark ages? Now it’s vice versa though we have all the wealth of the world in our land, be it petrol, gold, agriculture and natural resources. I am talking from Maghreb on the Atlantic ocean till the Gulf shores. The Arab world enjoys some of the best weather on earth. We have rich land and rich historical heritage in our countries - Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to mention a few. All these places are full of historical heritage stories whether it is religious places or just historical. Just look at the land of the Pharaohs. It is home to nearly 60 percent of the world’s ruins. Don’t forget other countries as well. We have sea, land, mountains, deserts and wealth. Most of all, we have Islam - the most fair and democratic religion which is, unfortunately, hijacked and abused. I don’t mean the Brotherhood Islam or the Salafi Islam or the Wahhabi Islam. I mean Islam. This is what happens to nations who ignore religion and care only for the small matters in religion and brush off the major rules - the way to govern, the way the economy runs, freedom of speech and opinion and transparency, how wealth should be distributed to all, human rights etc. I am not here to preach. We lost our identity to dictators and hungry and ruthless politicians who give birth to even hungrier offspring. The proper understanding of democracy, transparency and accountability which we need badly is the key! Thanks Ernst and Young!

Taylor handed 50 years in jail LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands: A UN-backed court jailed Liberia’s Charles Taylor for 50 years yesterday for fuelling Sierra Leone’s savage war, known for its mutilations, drugged child soldiers and sex slaves. The former Liberian president, 64, was convicted last month of all 11 counts he faced of war crimes and crimes against humanity for aiding and abetting Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front during the country’s 19912001 civil war. In return, he was paid in “blood diamonds” mined by slave labour in areas under control of the Charles Taylor rebels, who murdered, raped and kept sex slaves, hacked off limbs and forced children aged under 15 to fight, the court found. “The accused has been found responsible for aiding and abetting some of the most heinous crimes in human Continued on Page 13

KUWAIT: A number of bedoons rallied in Taima in Jahra yesterday for citizenship and better rights. They were dispersed by riot police. — Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

KUWAIT: A large number of lawmakers yesterday strongly lashed out at Iran for provocative statements against Kuwait after the appeals court convicted an Iranian spy ring and urged the foreign ministry to respond. The appeals court on Monday sentenced four men - two Iranians, a Kuwaiti and a stateless - to life in prison after convicting them of spying for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The court also acquitted three others, including the only woman in the case. Iran’s foreign ministry yesterday strongly condemned the Kuwaiti ruling and categorically denied that there was any spy ring working for the Islamic republic. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the charges against the men were false and the sentences unacceptable. “We hope that the Kuwaiti government will review its position and that these people will soon be freed,” he said, adding that Iran had protested against Kuwait’s refusal to allow a consular visit. The two Iranians and the Kuwaiti worked for the Kuwaiti army at the time of their arrest in May 2010. Islamist MP Osama Al-Munawer described the Iranian behaviour as very rude. “They send their spies and rings to gather information and to stir trouble whenever they want and still get angry when their agents are arrested,” Munawer said in a statement. “What is more strange is the weak position of the Kuwaiti foreign ministry” which has issued a solitary Continued on Page 13

Ex-Qadsiya chief buying UK club to the club. After completing the review, the contract will be signed and announced, KUWAIT: Kuwaiti businessman Fawaz Al- he said. “Of course anything may happen or Hasawi, who resigned as chairman of Al- come in the way of completing the deal. However, most probably it’s Qadsiya Sports Club this week, definitive,” Mubarak said. was yesterday linked to the News reports quoted Hasawi purchase of Leeds United, one yesterday as saying that a deal of England’s largest football for “a second tier English club clubs, and Nottingham Forest. was indeed imminent”. According Jamal Mubarak, Football to a report in an online newspaManager of Qadsiya Sports per, Hasawi’s negotiations will be Club, confirmed to Kuwait about choosing a coach first, and Times yesterday that Hasawi that Hasawi was eyeing a former will buy a British football club, coach of Queens Park Rangers. but he refused to reveal its According to news reports, name, saying the information Fawaz Al-Hasawi Hasawi bought 100 percent of is still confidential. the shares of the club and is “We can’t reveal the name of the British club, as Fawaz Al-Hasawi waiting for the final signing of the purchase signed an agreement to keep this informa- contract. News reports also said that tion secret. But he will announce the name Hasawi will work on bringing in Kuwait by next week,” Mubarak said, claiming that players to improve their skills. “If I buy the the contract will be realized 80 percent. club, I will support the movement of any According to him, Hasawi is now reviewing Kuwaiti football player to this British club,” the obligations and other matters related he was quoted as saying. By Nawara Fattahova

Death upheld for Kuwaiti woman who killed maid KUWAIT: The appeals court in Kuwait yesterday upheld the death sentence for a Kuwaiti housewife for murdering her Filipina domestic helper but commuted the punishment on her disabled husband. In February, the lower court sentenced the couple to death after convicting them of premeditated murder. But the appeals court reduced the sentence on the husband to 10 years in jail and confirmed the penalty on the wife who was convicted of regularly tortur-

ing the maid before driving over her, according to the court ruling. The names of the couple and the maid were not available. According to the ruling, the woman beat her maid for several days until her health deteriorated. The couple then took the maid “unconscious” to a remote area in the desert where they threw her from the back seat of the car and then drove over her until she died. — AFP

BAGHDAD: Ahmed Haider Ahmed, business development manager for Kuwait Energy, drops his offer in a box during the fourth licensing round for exploration blocks during an auction at the Oil Ministry’s headquarters yesterday. — AFP

Kuwait-led group wins Iraq oil bid BAGHDAD: Iraq’s fourth postwar energy auction got off to a disappointing start yesterday with only one of six offered deals for oil and natural gas exploration ending with a successful bid by a Kuwaiti-led energy consortium. Four deals attracted no bidders and a fifth for oil exploration in southern Iraq was withdrawn when a British-led consortium sought nearly double the government’s proposed payment of $5 per for each barrel of oil equivalent. Yesterday’s lack of interest was a blow to Iraq’s attempts to attract foreign investment and build up its energy sector hit by years of neglect and violence, including the turmoil

following Saddam Hussein’s 2003 ouster. Iraq holds the world’s fourth largest oil reserves and oil revenues make up nearly 95 percent of the country’s budget. In the current energy auction, 12 exploration blocks in different areas of Iraq are on offer over two days, with 39 foreign energy companies registered to compete. Offering a possible explanation for yesterday’s poor showing, senior Oil Ministry official Abdul-Mahdi Al-Ameedi said energy companies told him that the contract terms were problematic. Iraqi officials have said the terms would not be revised. Continued on Page 13

Facebook opens office for MENA

DUBAI: (From left) Joanna Shields, Facebook Vice President and Managing Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Jonathan Labin, head of Global Marketing Solutions for the Middle East and North Africa and Christian Hernandez, Director of Platform Partnerships, attend a press conference yesterday. — AFP

DUBAI: Global social online network, Facebook, opened yesterday a sales office in Dubai, expanding its operations in the Middle East and North African market, where it says it has some 45 million users. Facebook’s MENA team “will work with brands across the region to help them harness the power of the world’s largest social network,” it said in a statement released at a press conference in the Gulf emirate. Joanna Shields, Facebook’s vice president and managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the network has some “45 million users” in the MENA region, adding that the network’s first office in the region was to “share our experience.” “We already have strong partners in the region that are using Facebook in innovative ways to achieve and realise the power of social” network, said Jonathan Labin who will be heading the new office. He named several advertising clients in the region, including Dubai’s Emirates Airlines and Doha-based Al-Jazeera television. Facebook, which boasts 901 million monthly active users, was recently listed on the US Nasdaq stock exchange, but its shares have tumbled since then. On Tuesday, Facebook shares closed with a loss of 9.68 percent at $28.82, dropping below $30 for the first time and ending down more than 24 percent from its offering price of $38 on May 18. — AFP

KUWAIT: What’s the story behind this abused dog? Is it an isolated case or one of many? See tomorrow’s Friday Times.

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


KUWAIT: The Undersecretary of Foreign Ministry Khalid Al-Jarallah (third right) cuts the ribbon along side with some African Ambassadors as they inaugurate the ‘Africa Day’ event at the Regency Hotel in Salmiya on Tuesday. — Photos by Joseph Al-Shagra

Africans celebrate ‘Africa Day’ in style Envoys highlight cultural and economic potential By Chidi Emmanuel KUWAIT: Africans, Kuwaitis and expatriates gathered at the Regency Hotel on Tuesday to celebrate Africa Day. Africa Day is an annual commemoration of the 1963 founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), presently known as the African Union (AU). Its aim is to celebrate African diversity and success and to highlight the cultural and economic potential that exists on the African continent. Celebrations were held in many African countries, as well as by Africans in the diaspora. The event in Kuwait was organized by the African ambassadors in Kuwait. There were cultural displays - with each country showcasing its tradition and cultural heritage in their respective tents. The event also featured food exhibitions, a bonanza, free gift items and traditional dances. “Africa Day provides an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of the Africans and their governments and to reaffirm the support of the United Nations in fostering peace and building a better future. We also use the Africa Day event to promote and encourage investments,” the Benin Ambassador to Kuwait, Taru Abudu, said. “Through this event, we promote and showcase Africa’s culture, tradition and its hospitality. The global community has commended Africa’s efforts in consolidating its peace and security structure, thus rejecting unconstitutional changes of power. We the African people will continue to work in building peace, ending armed conflicts, boosting democracy, and promoting human rights,” the Head of Chancery Nigerian Embassy, Bello H Kazaure, emphasized. On Africa-Kuwait relations, he said that Kuwaitis and Africans enjoy good bilateral ties, “We are not only friends, we are brothers,” the Nigerian diplomat said as he thanked Kuwaiti leaders for their assistance in Africa and in promoting peace in the region. The program attracted many dignitaries, including top diplomats and government officials in Kuwait such as the former Speaker of the Kuwait

National Assembly, Jassem Al-Khorafi. Africa Day is the annual commemoration on every May 25. However, the name and date of Africa Day has been retained as a celebration of African unity. On the 25th of May 1963 African leaders created an umbrella union called Organization of African Unity (OAU). On this day, leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In 1991, the OAU established the African Economic Community, and in 2002 it metamorphosed to African Union (AU). The African Union, comprised of 53 member states, has brought together the continent of Africa to collectively address the challenges it has faced, such as armed conflict, climate change and poverty.

Al Manshar Mall facing demolition By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Al Manshar Mall in Fahaheel is only four years old. It is a lovely little place with small souvenir shops, fashion and electronics shops and restaurants etc, across the street from Kout Mall. From this mall there is an entrance to the Rotana Al Manshar Hotel. Some popular shops closed last year, while the rest seem to be closing now.

Cabinet reshuffle rumors baseless KUWAIT: Ministerial sources denied news of a cabinet reshuffle and said that the issue did not come up during the cabinet meeting: ìIs it the specialization of the cabinet to discuss a cabinet reshuffle? Of course not; it is not the duty of ministers to discuss possible ministerial reshuffles,’ said the sources. ìThe contrary took place, as the cabinet emphasized its support for the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, Ahmad Al-Rujaib, and urged him to continue in his efforts to lift the ban stopping Kuwait from participating in the Olympic games in London next July,î the sources added. The sources further revealed that the government believes that grilling is a constitutional right, and that it is looking for a genuine partnership with the NA Council. Regarding the governmentís plan to deal with MP Al-Saifiís grilling of Minister AlRujaib, the sources said that the grilling is a good opportunity for the minister to prove his ability for reform and lifting the ban stopping Kuwaitís participation in the Olympics games. They added that the initial overview of the grilling shows that it does not contain serious issues and is mostly made up of personal, and not constitutional, issues. The sources further explained that MP’s have no right to judge the personality of the Minister and should concentrate solely on his work and performance. — Al-Anbaa

Rumors are circulating that Al Manshar Mall will be demolished soon. According to a representative from the Al Manshar Rotana Hotel, who wished not to be named, the ongoing work at the Mall are renovating and refurbishing works and not a complete demolition. “They closed the entrance to the Hotel from the Mall three months ago, but we still have the main entrance open. In fact I don’t think this renovation affected our hotel, as visitors and clients are still coming in. I don’t

know if this will affect us in the future,” the hotel representative told Kuwait Times yesterday. Rumors suggested that all the shop owners have been asked to vacate their shops in the Al Manshar Mall by June, so that the mall can be demolished to create yet another mall with higher rent. Kuwait Times was not able to reach any representative from Tamdeen (the company owning the Manshar) to get comments on this issue.

Court orders reopening of investigation in citizen death KUWAIT: The Criminal Court approved on Tuesday an appeal by a female citizen requiring that investigations are reopened into the case of her son, who was found dead in a Jabriya apartment late last year. The Public Prosecution Department shelved the case of citizen Mahmoud Al-Bannai due to a lack of evidence that murder was involved. After that, the victim’s mother filed a case at the Criminal Court. The case was not given much attention during a grilling motion filed against Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah. The victim’s family believe that five friends who were last seen entering his apartment are behind the crime. Meanwhile attorney Mohammad Al-Khaldi, who represented the victim’s mother, explained in a statement following the latest ruling that his argument was

solidified by evidence “which all prove that foul play was involved”. Al-Khaldi depended mainly on the crime scene investigators’ report, which indicates that blood stains were found at the scene, fingerprints were also recovered, and the apartment’s door was opened from outside. The lawyer used the fact that the building’s janitor left Kuwait suspiciously soon after the crime happened, before police had the chance to investigate with him. Following the cour t ruling, police are due to investigate with the suspects whose identities were provided during investigations and repor tedly include “a nephew of a former minister” according to Al-Khaldi. — Al-Rai

New measures to tackle detainee overcrowding at police stations

NETS outlines achievements

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior is taking measures to prevent lengthy detention of expatriate labor forces inside police stations pending legal procedures in the cases they were arrested for, a local daily reported yesterday. The report quotes a decision released recently by Major General Mahmoud Al-Dossari, Assistant Undersecretary for General Security Affairs, outlining measures by which detainees are referred to the proper authorities within short periods following their arrest. For example, the letter says detainees with a travel ban will be given the opportunity to be released on bail. Meanwhile, police are also required to release arrestees without identification who are referred by migration investigators to be held pending procedures carried out by the Criminal Evidence General Department to match their fingerprints. The letter requires a suspect wanted to serve a criminal or civil sentence to be referred directly to the proper authority by officers at the same police station where the suspect is held. Workers without valid residencies are referred to the Migration Investigations Department within 24 hours of arrest, instead of being referred directly to deportation detention where they are held pending investigations at the migration department. A security source said the decision follows complaints about the “spread of diseases at some police stations” due to overcrowding of expatriate workers who cannot be referred to deportation detention as they do not carry passports or are suspected to have escaped from their sponsors. — Al-Qabas


in brief

Soldiers exit visas KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior intends to make it compulsory for all soldiers to obtain exit visas from the place they work before they travel abroad, similar to the procedure followed at Ministry of Defense (MoD). Security sources said the procedure is being approved by the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior. All soldiers have to obtain an exit visa and show it at border points when leaving the state to go anywhere. Sources said such a thing is activated for expatriates working for the Ministry of Interior. It has ordered the cancellation of deployment of about 40 registered Kuwaiti employees to return to their original work. Most of them have no work in the minister’s office and they were simply registered there. The Minister of Interior intends to issue a decision to make it compulsory for expatriates leaving Kuwait for good to bring a letter from the traffic department stating that there are no outstanding citations against them, and that they have paid all penalties registered against them before they leave.

83,000 residencies cancelled KUWAIT: Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor sources revealed that the ministry has cancelled the residencies of more than 83,000 expatriates. From those, 37,000 cases face a travel ban, 27 cases are due to the departure of an expatriate who did not return, 423 cases are due to death and 18,463 cases are at the request of the Ministry of Interior. Changes from visit visas to a residency visa in the private sector reached 13,645 cases, and from a dependent visa to the private sector was 8,186 cases. Changes within the private sector reached 183,822 cases and changes from the private sector to the government sector amounted to 4,986 cases. Sources said that the coming few days will witness thousands of residencies, which will be announced next September.

Violation of constitution KUWAIT: NETS has lauded its business ties with the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). NETS and KOC have recorded success in major projects including the Intelligent Physical Layer Management System (IPLMS) Phase I where it provided a totally integrated solution for all of the voice, fax and data transmissions in the new IPLMS. The Phase II Project which was awarded in March 2012 coincided with the celebrations to commemorate NETS 10-years anniversary. NETS partnered with CommScope and SYSTIMAX Solutions to provide an ‘Intelligent Patching Solution’ to support the Categories 6 & 6A Structured Cabling. The state of the art technology provides the IT managers a real time check on the status of their networks. It added safety and security in their installations by monitoring unauthorized interference and intrusion. It also cost savings by minimizing any possible downtime by immediate restoration of services. By completing the above project, NETS provided an Intelligent Patching through the IPLMS. Some of the projects include the Ahmadi Main Office Complex; Burgan Complex; Al Tameer Buildings; IT Centre and Ahmadi Hospital.

KUWAIT: A number of politicians and those involved in legal affairs considered the suggestion of MP Obaid AlWasmi to cancel the ministers court law as something violating the Constitution and work for National Assembly control over the nation. The full support of MP Musallam Al-Barrak to the proposal indicated to them the start of control over the judicial authority and ultimately deviation from the mission of the legislative authority. Others think that the real reason behind the proposal is to “settle pending accounts” without giving any care for the interests of the state. Hisham Al-Saleh, a constitutional expert, described the proposal as a contradiction to article 132 of the Constitution. He said the proposal will end in failure.

KD3.2 million maintenance fee KUWAIT: Engineer Sameer Al-Asfour, Health Ministry Assistant Undersecretary for services and maintenance affairs, said the maintenance contract of patient calling system in all hospitals has been renewed for five years at a value KD 3.2 million. Al-Asfour said audio and video is used in this system, adding that it will be maintained in all hospitals.


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed, HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed with NBK’s chairman of board Mohammed Abdul Rahman Al-Bahar, his deputy Nasser Musaed Al-Sayer and board members and executives.

HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed receives a copy of the form he filled on opening his first bank account at the bank in 1953 from NBK’s deputy chairman of board Nasser Musaed Al-Sayer and the deputy CEO Essam Jassim Al-Sager.

Amir attends NBK’s 60th anniversary ceremony KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah yesterday attended the ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) at Al-Rayah Hall in Sharq. His Highness’ convoy was greeted upon arrival by NBK’s Board Chairman Mohammed Abdul Rahman Al-Bahar, the deputy Chairman Nasser Musaed Al-Sayer, CEO Ibrahim Dabdoub, and senior bank staff. The ceremony was attended by HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, National Assembly Speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun, former speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi, Sheikhs, Deputy Chief of the National Guard Sheikh Meshal AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness Sheikh

Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Amiri Diwan Minister Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah and other senior state officials. The ceremony began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran followed by a speech by NBK’s Chairman. The speech was then followed by a documentary titled “Story from my homeland”. The Amir honored the bank’s first clients who accompanied the bank throughout its march. Al-Sayer addressed the Amir and the other dignitaries, and extended his gratitude for gracing the occasion. He recalled the highlights of the bank’s history, starting with the proposal of founding a bank by a group of

HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed listening to a briefing from NBK’s CEO Ibrahim Shokri Dabdoub, NBK’s deputy chairman of board Nasser Musaed Al-Sayer and the deputy CEO Essam Jassim Al-Sager.

HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed signing the memorial record of the anniversary.

Vacationing Filipinos required to pay contract agreement and ‘Pag-Ibig’ By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: Summer is here. Schools all over Kuwait will be closing for a summer break. During this period, many employers will allow their domestic helpers to leave and go for an annual vacation to their respective countries. But some employers are not fully aware of the requirements to fill in (at their embassy) before allowing their Filipino domestic helpers to leave Kuwait on an annual leave. The Philippines requires volumes of documents for their domestic helpers, especially if the worker is planning to return to Kuwait. A Filipina domestic helper is required to furnish a new contract, which covers medical and life insurance (can be obtained at any insurance company in Kuwait) and will more or less cost the employer up to KD15.

KUWAIT: File photo of Philippine Labour Attache David Des Dicang during a community gathering held at the embassy. — Photo by Ben Garcia Then, the worker is required to pay a contract verification of KD3. Now the Philippine Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) requires their workers abroad to pay a membership, which costs around KD7.500. (The OWWA membership covers the life insurance and other value added benefits, such as burial and disability benefits that can be claimed in Manila only). The KD7.500 OWWA membership is valid for two years, although the same amount is paid even if you are working for only one year. Then, another 750fils is required to pay for the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) which is a document required at the exit point (immigration) in Manila. The compulsory contribution to the ‘Pag-Ibig Fund (Insurance)’ is additional burden to Filipino Overseas Workers which has been fully implemented since July 2010. Under the Republic Act 9679, Pag-IBIG membership is now a requirement for the issuance of the OEC. The minimum contribution per month is KD2, but workers can pay on a quarterly basis, or at least KD6 for three months. So, a sponsor should prepare at least KD32.250 before his/her Filipina domestic helper can be allowed to leave Kuwait. If a sponsor is willing to pay the whole year for her domestic helper ‘Pag-Ibig Fund contribution, the

merchants in 1952, who were given the green light by then Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah. The decree on establishing the bank was issued in May 19, 1952, despite an existing contract with a British bank at that time which stated that ‘no other banks should be to be granted license’. The bank came to be the first national banking institution and the first shareholding company in the entire Arabian Gulf. The first branch opened for business in November 15, 1952 in the heart of Kuwait City. As the bank marks its 60th anniversary, it takes pride in blossoming from three small offices and modest resources into more than 176 branches in four continents. It also takes pride in being in the forefront of the strongest and most profitable Arab

employer should prepare at least KD50. The amount is reportedly high, and many of the workers and employers are complaining about the cost of the embassy requirements (documents) for their domestic helpers. In fact, several Filipina domestic helpers are being charged (by their employers) for the cost of their embassy transactions. “I am paying myself for all of the required papers and documents at the embassy. I don’t want to explain to my boss about our requirements one by one and why we have that and this, so I keep my mouth shut. I pay and I don’t argue,” said a Filipina domestic helper who spoke with this reporter earlier. The housemaid added: “My perception is that the contract which we are paying at the embassy is useless. Why? Because the employers are also not complying with the provision of the contract, anyway. It says in the contract that the employer agrees to pay a basic minimum monthly salary of US$400, but it isn’t followed. Many of my friends are not receiving the amount stipulated in the contract, so why continue paying it? My salary is KD70 way below the 400 dollars mentioned in the contract” she said. She also mentioned the provision in the contract which says employers agree to give one rest day per week, but it isn’t followed either. “I don’t have a day off, I am begging for few hours day off per month just to send my remittance to my family in the Philippines. So for me, to pay the amount is useless,” the housemaid added. Speaking with the Kuwait Times yesterday, Philippine Labor Attache to Kuwait, David Des Dicang, said the cost of domestic helpers’ required documents must be shouldered by their employer. “The employers are supposed to pay the amount, not the workers,” Dicang clarifies. According to Dicang the contract, which is required by the embassy to be submitted by the employers through their workers, are very important documents in case of complaints. “These are very important pieces of paper that can protect our domestic workers in case of complaints, which we do receive sometimes. We process complaints, we help our workers. There are employers who are not really following the set salary guidelines we stipulated in the contract, but not because there are some employers who are not following our set rules, we’ll stop the regulations. No. Those are set rules and standards we follow from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, not only for Kuwait but in other countries who have our domestic helpers,” he explained. Dicang said the contract, which is duly signed by their employer, could be used in case of worker’s complaints. “If our workers file a complaint to us, we are going to hold them (employers) accountable. We are going to process the complaints according to our regulations. The guidelines we follow are not from us here; it is from our central Manila office and being implemented by our POLO office worldwide, not just in Kuwait. If there is a complaint, we would act upon it,” he mentioned. Filipinos holding visa 18 are not required to furnish compulsory contract documents, unlike the visa 20 holder [or domestic helper] but visa 18 [they] are required to pay the amount for the OWWA membership, OEC and Pag-Ibig Fund, mostly if they are vacationing to Philippines. According to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Interior Migration General Department as of April 30, 2012, there are about 144,633 Filipinos in Kuwait, 84,000 of whom are working as domestic helpers.

banks. “Having started with a capital of about KD1 million, the bank managed to distribute profits to the value of KD6 billion.” “Although there had been some obstacles along the way, the bank overcome them and emerged stronger. Success is as a result of serious effort, rather than spontaneous bursts,” Al-Sayer remarked. He also recalled that the bank has managed two currency switches, the biggest loan in the region for the Kuwaiti government following the liberation, and was involved in major development projects in all sectors. “We are mostly proud of our 2,000 Kuwaitis staff - gentlemen and ladies.” Al-Sayer reiterated the great support of the Amir to the bank which is instrumental to its success. — KUNA

NBK’s chairman of board Mohammed Abdul Rahman Al-Bahar with board members and executives.

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

LOCAL kuwait digest

kuwait digest

Opportunity for reform program

Thieves behind the agreement

By Sami Al-Nisf

By Meshal Al-Thufairi


o one stopped the political parties or the one Constitution which aims to reach a popular government through the National Assembly, similar to the way I stood through several articles and talks over the years. The last was “Muwajaha” (face to face) program last Friday on Al-Watan television channel. I say any delayed reform steps and any delay in fighting corruption are tools in demolishing the walls of traditional governments, and push forward the popular government program. Accordingly, the Dow court decision gives the current government the golden opportunity for a program of reform, which is long awaited and by which the Kuwaiti people will stand up behind their government. They will siege against grillings and crises and local and foreign agendas. The luxurious lifestyle in Kuwait logically pushes people to stand up behind their humane governments. But the facts of life shows that part of the people are still under the effects of this politician or that one, and obey his orders and lies against the government. If the government worked on reform and fought corruption, they would gain the majority of public instead of concentrating on the Majority of MPs, which they already started to lose. Two things will be achieved by the government. The first one is urgent, and that is the criticism of people in the diwaniya. Those who make obstacles for the government, through crisis and grillings, see work and not only words which show a real will for change and reform. The second one is not urgent. In the next elections, people will vote for wise candidates who are close to the reform government and keep away from trouble makers and those who are against the government. The first steps towards real reform will be noticed quickly in our small Kuwaiti society. It is time to eliminate corrupt leaders who are in their position for a long time in ministries, organizations and government companies. Even the companies in which the government owns a par tial share, like Gulf Investment Company, should have their leaders removed. By doing this you gain the brains and hearts of the Kuwaiti public, who are tired of seeing corruption and does not see any reform, in spite of all the talking. It is not strange that voters vote for the candidate who has a stronger voice against government. If the government changes its road map, the voters will change theirs. Achieving reform and firing violators through legislation issued by political group in the National Assembly means that people will follow those groups without being blamed, and leave the current government and support the project of the popular government to be formed by the National Assembly. If the government reaches reform by itself, through steps made voluntarily, people will give their full trust to the government and its Prime Minister. Therefore, why does the government not issue decisions to clean up and reform what needs to be urgently reformed. Such a thing will find acceptance from everyone. — Al-Anbaa


kuwait digest

Useless grilling in parliament By Mubarak Al-Therwa


hy are rumors about a parliamentary dissolution circulating today? It’s reached a point in which the subject has become the talk of town and the main topic of discussion in diwaniyas. According to people’s speculations based on fictional or allegedly informed sources, the current Parliament is predicted to last between six months and two years. But the main question is, why are these rumors spreading now? Why are there too many people talking about and even demanding a parliamentary dissolution? Who would benefit the most if that happens? Is it because a group of people feel that their interests are harmed by the presence of the Opposition as a majority in Parliament? If that’s the case, then pushing a series of serious grilling motions could be the best way to force a dissolution. Parliament has so far featured several interpellations, but were they serious? First of all, I believe we have three types of grilling motion in Kuwait, based on their effect to the minister and political situation as a whole. The first type has a similar effect of an air rifle, like those filed by MPs Mohammad Al-Juwaihel and Hassan Al-Qallaf. The second type has the effect of an AK47, like the one filed against the late

Sheikh Saud Al-Nasser Al-Sabah during his time as Information Minister. The third and most serious type has the effect of a nuclear weapon, like the one filed against former Oil Minister Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah! The first type is intended to leave limited damage to the grilled minister, and instead open the way for incidents such as MPs losing their temper, making verbal assaults and sectarian remarks. The second type can be fatal; as it aims to end the career of the quizzed minister, perhaps to meet

When grilling of the first and second types are filed, it shows shallow thinking and limited ambitions. I don’t think I’d be exaggerating when I say that efforts are made to make sure that all grilling motions filed in Parliament are classified as per the first and second types.

certain hidden agendas. It doesn’t have any effect on the surroundings, however, as parliamentary work goes ahead as soon as the ‘mission is done’. The third type has destructive effects. It addresses serious violations that have for long been overlooked by lawmakers; either unintentionally or deliberately, and involve names of senior officials. Given the seriousness of these grilling motions, senior officials usually work hard to avoid having them filed. When grilling of the first and second types are filed, it shows shallow thinking and limited ambitions. I don’t think I’d be exaggerating when I say that efforts are made to make sure that all grilling motions filed in Parliament are classified as per the first and second types mentioned above. I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories, but maybe useless interpellations are indeed being pushed to hurt the work of parliamentary investigation committees, and suspend legislative work in Parliament! It seems that the dissolution rumors are driving MPs to rush grilling motions without proper studies. Interpellations of the first and second types basically end up with more benefit to the MP filing the grilling than the public good. —Al-Rai

kuwait digest

Our lost humanity Dr Sulaiman Al-Khadari


t seems that our destiny is to become fuel for wars, or commodities used to serve interests of certain individuals with power. I’m not going to specify any country, because their names are not important and aren’t the main reason behind the problem. The problem is in fact us. We are the main reason behind our problems; tyrannical regimes are only utilizing this to their benefit. The problem is that our history is filled with skepticism, hatred and blood which resulted in alliances and blind loyalty by groups to certain social categories that are ready to explode at the slightest bit of instigation. We all share the blame in the ongoing sectarian fire that is spreading through our region and burning everything in its way. Among the things that this fire is eating up are the seeds of coexistence that some of us who dared to free themselves from their sectarian restraints have planted. Today, we face the reality that what we have been supporting all our lives is not enough to keep us moving in parallel with world development. In some countries, a sectarian group thinks that the majority it holds in society gives it the right to lead social and political movements of change, expecting that the minority will follow them without question. Even when the majority allows the minority to act more freely, they consider this a privilege given by a leader to his follower. The majority further guarantees their position in power whenever necessary, by activating the sectarian card through which they can further constrain the minority’s freedom. The story is different in other countries, where a minority group in society fails after assuming power to create a democratic system that protects the principles of freedom and justice. Therefore, they failed to create bridges of trust that connect social groups living today in constant fear of each other. After all that, we still dare talk about human rights in our society? In a society where a victim and a criminal are determined by their sectarian or social group there is no value for the voice of conscience. —Al-Rai

oday we find ourselves at the front line against corruption and thieves of public funds who have abused the wealth of the nation for four decades. They are making use of the government’s weakness, which enabled them to promote their associates to leading posts in the state. Today, Kuwait is living the aftermath of a court ruling by which it is required to pay $2.16 billion to Dow Chemical as a result of mistakes committed by Petroleum Industries Company (PIC). They failed to follow proper legal procedures, which would have helped prevent the squander of public funds. Recommendations of the State Audit Bureau were ignored when a penalty clause was added to the contract, speculating that a party which unilaterally opts out of the deal becomes required to pay 30 percent of the contract’s value in compensation. Kuwait was further set up in a trap when it agreed with Dow Chemical to assign international tribunes to handle potential differences. This stipulation was taken in violation of Cabinet decision 11 made in 1988, which clearly states that any dispute between a state department and an international investor is required to be settled in Kuwaiti courts. Furthermore, the International Chamber of Commerce allows both parties to freely decide the place where their legal disputes can be addressed, adding further fuel to the speculation that something suspicious is behind the deal. The same contract, under article 10 clause 2, states that any party has the right to terminate the contract without falling into the penalty clause if the decision is made before January 2, 2009. Despite the fact that the termination happened in late December 2008, the stipulation was never brought up to prevent the circumstances that led to the court order requiring Kuwait to pay more than 2 billion US dollars from public funds. I hope that a Parliament member will question the Oil Minister on the following: 1 Provide all documents pertaining to the contract with Dow Chemical. 2 Provide the names of local and international middlemen if any, while mentioning their legal status in detail if possible. 3 Provide the names of law firms and lawyers who represented Kuwait during the trial at the International Court. 4 Provide the dates of the trials in the case and the places they were held after the contract was canceled. 5 Was the ruling made after judicial hearings or based on legal documents provided by the two parties? I believe the answers to these questions will be a decisive factor as to whether or not irresponsible exploitation of public funds was involved in the case. Whoever today tries to put any blame on the Popular Action Bloc, for “pushing” the former prime minister to cancel the deal, is wrong and time will prove that their actions were motivated by eagerness to prevent the spread of corruption. —Al-Rai

kuwait digest

No one knew about penalty By Thaar Al-Rashidi


o put the blame on the Popular Bloc, even partially, in the case of compensation for the cancellation of the Dow contract is not precise talking, even it matches the facts of the deal cancellation. To begin with, the two Popular Bloc MPs, Ahmad Al-Saadoun and Musallam Al-Barrak along with MP Saleh Al-Mulla who joined them demanding the cancellation of the deal, are only Parliament members without the right to execute or cancel the deal. Yes, they might threaten to grill some minister or something similar, in case the deal is passed. But for sure they have no power to execute, as that is Government business only. The Government has made the deal and agreed on it and cancelled it. The previous Government is fully responsible, not the MPs who demanded the cancellation of the deal or the Government who responded to their demands. These are the details of the political responsibility in general. MPs are not responsible in any way. They did not negotiate, they did not sign and they did not put the penalty condition, which no one knew about it. Even the Government, the Prime Minister and the Oil Minister: none of them knew about the imaginary penalty condition which was added by the Kuwaiti negotiator in the interest of “Dow” Company. It was kept secret from everyone. It was discovered four days after the Government cancelled the contract. No one knew about the penalty condition neither the MPs nor the Government nor the Supreme Council for Petroleum knew about it. It was discovered in the meeting held by the Supreme Council for Petroleum (SCP)that only three persons knew about the penalty clause. The SCP was not informed about this condition. After it was disclosed, the Government was at a loss as to how to explain it, and how to find a way out of the mess and declared through the Oil Minister that the penalty condition was a “ceiling” for court purposes. This means if Dow sued the Kuwait Government it could not ask for more than $2.5 billion. This is what happened in the court decision in favor of Dow which fined Kuwait $2.1 billion, about $400 million less than the “ceiling” to which the Oil Minister pointed then. What is very clear is that the MPs who caused the cancellation of the deal are not responsible. The previous Government is fully responsible, and the current Government should send all Kuwaiti parties who participated in negotiating the contract with Dow for interrogation and send the one who hid the penalty condition to the court. NOTE: Whoever wants to hold Ahmad Al-Saadoun responsible for the loss the Kuwait Government incurred, because he demanded canceling the deal as MP, is one of two people. Either he doesn’t know the alphabet of politics or he is speaking in someone else’s tongue. — Al-Anbaa

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


KPC mulls K-Dow fine payment PIC officials deny penalty clause KUWAIT: Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) is studying with its parent company, the state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), the possibility of paying the $2.16 billion penalty ruled recently over the cancelation of the K-Dow contract a few years ago. This was disclosed by KPC insiders who said “this is one of multiple scenarios the two firms are discussing” as they try to find a way to handle the payment if it becomes obligatory. Sources, who were granted anonymity to speak, said PIC - which handled the negotiation process with Dow Chemical over the canceled project - would consider taking responsibility for paying the fine if KPC pays part of it as well.

“PIC’s demands are based on the fact that KPC was supposed to fund the K-Dow deal had it gone through”, one source explained. PIC reportedly has 28 days from the date of the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court ruling on Friday to pursue legal procedures in an attempt to appeal the verdict. The sources said the appeal can only be taken into account if PIC provides proof that “major issues” were ignored during the trial or that errors in procedures preceding the ruling happened. Speculations have been ongoing since Friday in Kuwait, given the belief that the government canceled the K-Dow contract on Dec 28, 2008, and ahead of a Jan 2, 2009 deadline after which the penalty clause

‘Dow’ sets precedent for future suits KUWAIT: After the eruption of the Dow-Chemical issue, Kuwait witnessed an unprecedented ruling which called for the compensation of 10 citizens for an amount of KD 5000 each. The government must also change their current residence, which is in the Um Al-Haiman area. The ruling came following complaints to the court claiming that the residences are unfit for dwelling due to the presence of factories nearby. The factories release poisonous gases and can have negative consequences on the health of those residing nearby. Speculation suggests that the trend will continue as it has opened the door for similar complaints to be registered. Several politicians said that the problem is due to the ignorance of some decision-making officials as they reached their posts using recommendations instead of based on qualifications and experience. Lawyer Mubarak Al-Mutawaa renewed his demands that management be given to statesmen, adding that this type of “statesmen” has started to disappear. He said that decisions are no longer being made by those with vision and knowledge of legal matters, adding that investment and debt issues are happening on a regular basis due to the lack of knowledge in terms of decisions being made to ensure laws and legal rules are comprehensive and fair. He added that officials appointed based tribal interventions or recommendations are not up to the job. He predicted further complaints and compensation cases should the situation remain the same. He added that it is important to take interest in societies needs and ensure that people have the opportunity to access information, knowledge and experience so that development may continue.


in brief

‘Speak freely but responsibly’ KUWAIT: Kuwait Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdallah said the government will face the grilling presented by MP Saifi Al-Saifi against Social Affairs and Labor Minister Ahmad AlRujaib according to the constitution. He said the government will study the grilling aspects and will deal with its according with the rules. About the return of political programs to Kuwait TV, Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdallah said “Kuwait’s official media possesses creative and experienced Kuwaitis who present news programs that serve the public interests. Kuwait television is an official apparatus and must absorb all varying opinions. People should be able to speak freely but responsibly too”. Liver transplant operation KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti woman’s life was saved after she was given a new liver in an organ exchange deal with Saudi Arabia. The Kuwaiti, who was suffering from liver failure, was handed the functional liver of a deceased Saudi male in a transplant operation that was carried out at Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre. Since the start of the year, 28 donated organs have switched between the two neighboring countries as part of a Gulf Cooperation Council health deal signed in 1996, said Dr Mustafa Al-Mousawi chief surgeon at Hamid Al-Essa Organ Transplant Center. Bahrain lauds Kuwait ties MANAMA: Bahrain’s Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Mubarak Al-Khalifa has praised Kuwait’s continuing support for the Kingdom. The deputy premier lauded Kuwait’s unwavering stance during a reception of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the Kingdom, Sheikh Azzam Al-Sabah. He also hailed the brotherly ties and the diplomat for playing a role in boosting these relations. On his part, Sheikh Azzam affirmed depth of the BahrainiKuwaiti ties, namely the close family and cordial bonds. MP slams Twitter, Facebook KUWAIT: A Member of Parliament Usama AlMunawer has expressed his displeasure on the lack of supervision on the use of Facebook and Twitter. He said those two social networking sites are pushing the society towards atheism. Al-Munawer said he has received many calls about how people are using those sites to promote atheism. He added that he had made several calls to the Interior Ministry officials to take quick and swift action in this regard, pointing out that there are more than 3000 pornographic sites available for users regardless of their age. “If this matter is not dealt with, there will be dire consequences,” Al-Munawer warned.

could have been activated. Maha Mulla Husain, Managing Director and Chairperson of the PIC Board, argued that the K-Dow agreement became binding the moment the contract was signed on November 28, 2008. She said the period until Jan 2, 2009 was to meet certain preparations regarding the partnership, and not a period during which a party could cancel the deal and avoid the penalty as widely speculated. “The jury did not take our argument, considering instead that the contract was commercial and thus commercial reasons for its cancelation were not present”, Husain said during a recent interview with Al-Rai T V, adding that the Cabinet was warned before the cancelation that they

weren’t giving much attention to the legal repercussions of their decision. Husain also argued that attempts to reach a compromise with Dow Chemical were made between 2009 and 2010 “but ministers gave us no directions after discussing a number of scenarios with them at the time”. The talk show hosted two other PIC officials, including Deputy Managing Director for Financial and Administrative Affairs Saad Al-Ajmi who described the talks about the penalty clause as “a big lie”. “The $2.16 billion fine was ruled as compensation for actual losses as a result of the contract’s termination provided by Dow to the court”, Al-Ajmi explained, adding that the “maximum cap of litigation” prevented Kuwait

from having to pay the entire value of the deal in compensation “as only 40 percent of Dow ’s demands were approved”. Al-Ajmi explained that signing the contract followed recommendations by the Supreme Petroleum Council (SPC) “who chose to go ahead with the deal instead of putting it on hold after the global economic crisis”. Yousef Al-Otaiqi, Deputy Managing Director of the Kuwait Olefins Company, insisted that “the Cabinet was told before signing the agreement that once the contract was signed, Kuwait would be bound by all articles included”. He added that lawmakers ignored their calls to hold a meeting to explain the details of the deal and the profits projected.

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


Vehicle fitness test now launched at Bumper to Bumper KUWAIT: Taking another leap forward, Bumper to Bumper from Yusuf A. AlGhanim and S ons Automotive announced the opening of its branch at Al-Rai with its newly launched “Vehicle Fitness Test” service in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior. The opening ceremony was under the patronage of Maj Gen Dr Mustafa Al-Zaabi and was attended by high ranking officials from the Ministry of Interior and the Traffic Depar tment along with Jassim AlRezaihan - Senior General Manager at Yusuf A. AlGhanim, top management and esteemed members of the media.

With this newly launched “Vehicle Fitness Test” service, car owners can per form all the official and legal requirements at the Bumper to Bumper facility in Al Rai. The Vehicle Fitness Test takes place in 3 stages: in the first stage, the trio test is put into action and measures the condition of brakes, wheel alignment and shock absorbers of the vehicle. The second stage: Vehicles are examined for emissions and gases that are coming from the exhaust and amount of carbon is measured to ensure that it is compliant with the environmental standards of the Ministry

Of Interior. Headlights and car lamps are also tested for functionality and are benchmarked as per Ministry of Interior standards. The third stage: In this phase, the vehicle Chassis is put through a thorough inspection. The vehicle is lifted up for a detailed inspection from below including checking the suspension and if there are any leaks. In addition to that, Bumper to Bumper provides related legal services such as issuing the car’s license, plates, insurance, and a pickup and delivery service. Bumper to Bumper opened its first

branch in Kuwait in 1980. Today it is recognized as one of the top leaders in quality car service due to the extensive investment in professional and qualified technicians and the latest technical equipment to ensure the highest standard of service that provides customers with complete peace of mind. Today BTB is located in 6 different locations: Shuwaik h, Sharq, Al R ai, Jahra, Shuwaikh express lube, and Fahaheel. In addition to its quick service and body shop services, BTB provides additional services such as diesel services, tire garage, car wash, detailing and acces-

sories. Bumper To Bumper’s state of the art facilities also include coffee shops, fully equipped lounges with complimentary WIFI services, and play areas for the kids, in addition to electronic games corner. With its expansion, the accessories corner is providing a wider range of services that include window tinting, rims and other services and products at competitive prices. Bumper to Bumper prides itself in always meeting its promise to provide the best high quality services to all car makes so that the customers get the best care and experience throughout.

Drunk comedian, friends arrested in Salmiya Officer threatened with knife

Zain welcomes students from Colorado University KUWAIT: Zain, the leading telecommunication company in Kuwait, recently hosted a group of students from the University of Colorado and introduced them to the company’s commitment to the latest developments in the telecommunication industry. Speaking on the occasion of the visit, Waleed Alk hashti, M anager of Corporate Communications, Zain said, “Zain is glad to provide youth with the opportunity to get a glimpse of the most successful private companies in Kuwait. The choice to visit the headquarters of Zain demonstrates the positive features and the strong corporate image of the company both at home and abroad.” This positive assessment came during the visit when students praised the company’s unique experience in the telecommunications industry. The students were acquainted with the various units in the company which, in turn, provided a vista of Zain’s multi-layered operational capacity. The students were acquainted with

the major facets in the economic, social and communications fields of the company that set Zain apart from its counterparts. The US delegation was briefed on Zain’s experience. During the visit the students participated in many discussions which focused mainly on the telecommunications industr y, the information revolution and the operation of companies in the Middle East and Kuwait. The meeting served as a platform to exchange views on the latest solutions and applications in information technology. During the meeting, the group of students praised the high level of services offered by Zain. They expressed their admiration about the operational model of Zain which is based on high standards. The students visited the Net works Depar tment where they expressed their satisfaction with the latest equipment and operation systems. They praised Zain for the wonder ful experience and the customer satisfaction, which is considered a priority for Zain’s strategy.

GPA hosts female journalists forum KUWAIT: The Gulf Press Association in cooperation with the Kuwait managed to maintain its possession in Journalists Association. The planned activities also include the Arab and International scene as a training courses for GCC body that includes the journalists focusing on utijournalistic associations in lizing the latest technolothe Gulf Cooperation gies in the press field, AlCouncil countries and Othman added. Yemen, General Secretary The GPA held its third Nasser Al-Othman said in a general conference statement recently. recently in Manama, feaAl-Othman further turing nearly 40 editorsannounced “a series of in-chief from all member activities to help achieve states. An agreement was the GPA’s goals” adopted reached during the conrecently by the General ference to launch an Secretariat, including a annual award system, the forum for female journaldetails of which to be ists in the GCC countries to Nasser Al-Othman announced later. be hosted by Kuwait soon

Mexican medical delegation to visit Kuwait next month MEXICO CITY: A Mexican medical delegation headed by the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health for medical services would visit Kuwait by the middle of June, ambassador of Kuwait to Mexico Sameeh Johar Hayat has announced. The aim of the visit is benefiting from the Kuwaiti experience in this field, specifically in the specialties of public health, diabetes, cancer and heart diseases, Hayat said in a statement, late on Tuesday. This would contribute in enhancing means of cooperation and bolstering bilateral ties between the two nations,

he affirmed. A Kuwaiti medical delegation would also visit Mexico soon to benefit from their experience in the fields of first aid, accidents, and control of epidemics. The ambassador earlier met with the Mexican Minister of Health Armando Awad at the Ministry’s headquarters, during which they discussed means of strengthening relations between the two countries at different levels. The meeting is meant to activate the memorandum of understanding in the medical field, signed between Kuwait and Mexico last February. — KUNA

KUWAIT: A comedian was arrested along with his friends after they were caught inebriated in a car that was involved in an accident with a patrol vehicle in Salmiya. His other friend was later detained when he walked inside the police station intoxicated and accused the officers for damaging his car. Police were in pursuit of the comedian and his friends who drove away after crashing into the patrol vehicle. The two were eventually caught at the Fifth Ring Road and referred to the nearest police station to face charges. Attack attempt Search is currently ongoing for a male suspect who escaped after using a knife to threaten a police officer who busted him in a compromising position with a woman. The officer reportedly approached a vehicle that was parked suspiciously near a park in Sabah AlSalem and asked them for their IDs. When the officer refused the man’s appeals to overlook the incident, the suspect reportedly brought a knife and attempted to attack the officer. The policeman was able to avoid the attack but the

suspect managed to escape, leaving behind his car and his girlfriend inside. Probe in kidnap Investigations are currently ongoing in a case in which a female citizen accused three people of physically assaulting her after kidnapping her from Fintas. The plaintiff further stated that she doesn’t recognize her kidnappers, but believes they were sent by one of her enemies. She told Fintas police station officers that the suspects dropped her off near a hospital after she vowed not to report the case. She provided a medical report showing bruises sustained as a result of physical assault, as well as the license plate number of the car she said was used by the kidnappers. Stepdaughter assaulted A man was released from Sulaibiya police station recently after signing an order obligating him not to physically assault his stepdaughter again. The man was put under arrest after officers raided a house in the area where a girl in her twenties reported being impris-

oned and beaten by her stepfather. The stepfather explained that he was trying to protect the girl from “losing her way”. Thief sets cars ablaze A car thief was hospitalized with burn injuries after he tried to cover up his crimes by setting a vehicle he stole on fire. Police and firefighters rushed to a location in Sulaibiya af ter a repor t about a burning car. Investigations revealed that the 19-year-old Gulf national, who was found with facial burn injuries, is the prime suspect. He admitted during interrogations that the injuries happened when he set the two cars on fire to cover up his crimes. Pakistani collapsed A man was hospitalized in a critical condition after he was exposed to toxic substances inside a garage in Shuwaikh recently. The Pakistani resident reportedly fell unconscious when he was spraying the garage with pesticides, and was rushed by colleagues to AlSabah Hospital.

Kuwaiti exports to Brazil hit $378 million SAO PAULO: Brazilian exports to the Arab countries have reached $ 4.2 billion from January to April 2012, representing an increase by 3% in relation to the same period in 2011. Imports from Arab countries, in turn, have also registered an important increase during the period, by 37% in relation to the previous year, reaching $3.4 billion. According to the ArabBrazilian Chamber of Commerce, the instabilities registered last year in some Arab countries have not affected the results. “Trade relations between Brazil and the Arab countries remained active throughout 2011 and has continued so in 2012,” says Michel Alaby, Director-General of the Arab Chamber. From the total of $4.2 billion in

Brazilian exports during the period from January to April 2012, Saudi Arabia is in the lead as main destination, registering $953 million. Next are the United Arab Emirates ($812 million) and Egypt ($595 million). Among the exported products, the highlights were sugar, meats, ores, cereals and vegetable oils. Of Brazilian imports from the Arab countries, Algeria heads the list with $1.5 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia ($723 million) and Kuwait ($378 million). The main products imported were oil and oil products, fertilizers and plastics. During April, the entity has identified commercial opportunities in the fields of construction and food products. In addition to the traditional products, Arab companies are looking for suppli-

ers of flooring and tiling, powdered milk and nuts, among others. To meet the demand and generate business, the Arab Chamber has been organising roundtables and receiving missions. Recently, two business roundtables were conducted between Dubai exporters and Brazilian importers at the institution’s headquarters. The Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce represents 22 Arab countries. It was established in 1952 with the mission of strengthening commercial bonds between Brazil and the Arab countries, while increasing cultural and tourism exchange between Arabs and Brazilians. The entity provides various services, such as Document Certification, Market Data, Translation, among others,

and promotes events, workshops and courses. It also offers the Commercial Knowledge Center, a reference center for research on commercial relations between Brazil and the Arab countries.

Michel Alaby

Citizen, GCC national killed in accident By Hanan Al-Saadoun

Kuwait, Cambodia discuss more tourism cooperation KUALA LUMPUR: Kuwaiti ambassador to Cambodia Dhrar Nasser Al-Tuwaijri has discussed means of cooperation with the Cambodian Minister of Tourism Dr Thong Khon. The ambassador said, in a phone call yesterday, that Khon considered his presence in the Asian nation as necessary for enhancing and bolstering bilateral ties between the two countries in various fields. Khon, during the meeting, attended by the Ministry’s Director-General, stressed on importance of implementing the tourism cooperation agreement, signed by Kuwait and Cambodia in 2009. He welcomed Kuwaiti investments in Cambodia’s tourism sector through financing projects for enhancing the infrastructure, besides building resorts, hotels and tourist facilities. Al-Tuwaijri highlighted importance of Cambodia being an attracting tourist destination, visited by three million tourists per year. The Kuwaiti diplomat conveyed greetings of the Minister of Information to Khon, hoping to continuously boost the bilateral relations, and wishing his country further progress and prosperity.— KUNA

KUWAIT: A citizen and a GCC national in their thirties were killed when their vehicle overturned and rolled along a highway, said security sources noting that initial investigations revealed that a tire blew up and the driver lost control over the vehicle. Abortion An Asian housemaid was placed under police custody at Farwaniya Hospital when she was admitted by her sponsor with bleeding resulting from an abortion, said security sources. The maid confessed that she had been having an affair with the driver working for the same family. Sheep thief A citizen reported that unidentified robbers climbed into his ranch at Kabd and stole 19 sheep. A case was filed and further investigations are in progress. Bloody fight A bloody fight broke out amongst a group of young men in Ferdous and extended to Farwaniya Hospital, said security sources. Case papers indicate that one of the young men was driving his car recklessly at a roundabout near the assailants’ houses. Their angered and blame developed into a fight. It became more complicated when the driver returned with his friends to retaliate. The fight continued inside Farwaniya Hospital, where some of the young men were taken for treatment for their wounds. Back up police had to be dispatched to the hospital to control both sides. Females fight A fight broke out between two Kuwaiti women in

Salmiya over traffic priority, said security sources. Case papers indicate that the two women filed complaints against each other with Salmiya police where each accused the other of insulting her and calling her bad names. Further investigations are in progress. Drugs An Arab expatriate was arrested in possession of 18 narcotic pills in his car, said security sources. Case papers indicate that the man was stopped for a routine traffic violation. He looked confused, so policemen searched his car and found the pills. A case was filed and the suspect was referred to the relevant authorities. Fraud A citizen accuse her own husband of fraud in Adan, said security sources. Case papers indicate that the wife found out that her husband took a loan of KD 15,000 in her name, but stopped paying the installments for over 18 months. This caused her to be arrested over financial debts. She told her three brothers what her husband did. They assaulted the husband to teach him a good lesson. Another case was filed due to the fight. Adding insult to injury A citizen filed a complaint at Salmiya police station accusing another of insulting her. The accused filed another complaint accusing her of running over her child. Case papers indicate that a citizen hit a child playing with a bike in front of the building his family inhabits in Salmiya. She said she immediately got out to check on the child and make sure he was unharmed. The mother came downstairs shouting and cursing her. “Can’t you see? You must be drunk and just come from a brothel”, said the angry mother.

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

Libya women plunge into politics

13 killed in cold blood in Syria: UN Page 8

Page 8

Romney clinches nomination with Texas win What, no spellcheck? Romney app misspells ‘America’

LAS VEGAS: In this photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks in Las Vegas. — AP CRAIG: Mitt Romney is poised to clinch the Republican presidential nomination after Tuesday’s Texas GOP primary, a largely uncontested election that will formalize the former Massachusetts governor’s status as President Barack Obama’s general election challenger. While Romney’s nomination has been virtually assured for a month, the day marks the culmination of several years of work, dating back to his unsuccessful 2008 effort, and perhaps far earlier. “It’ll be a big day tomorrow,” Romney told reporters aboard his campaign plane Monday evening. “I’m looking forward to the good news.” But Romney’s focus Tuesday will be hundreds of miles north of Texas, where he’s scheduled to court voters and donors in Colorado and Nevada during a two-state swing punctuated by a Las Vegas fundraiser with conservative businessman Donald Trump. The evening event, set for the Trump International Hotel, comes amidst fresh criticism from Republicans and Democrats over Trump’s continued questioning of Obama’s citizenship. Romney hasn’t condemned Trump’s false claims, offering a fresh example of the presidential contender’s reluctance to confront his party’s more extreme elements. There have been other examples in recent weeks that underscore Romney’s delicate push to win over skeptical conservatives while appealing to moderates and independents who generally deliver general election victories. Asked Monday to weigh in on Trump’s support for the so-called birther movement, Romney declined to condemn Trump’s latest suggestion that Obama was born in Kenya. “I don’t agree with all the people who support me. And my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in,” Romney told reporters before flying from California to Colorado Monday evening. “But I need to get 50.1 percent or more. And I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.” Polling suggests that the election between Romney and Obama will be very close, ultimately decided by several swing states, Colorado and Nevada among them. Romney will begin campaigning Tuesday in the northern Colorado town of Craig before flying to Las Vegas for an afternoon rally before the Trump fundraiser. The Texas primary offers 152 delegates; Romney is just 58 delegates shy of the 1,144 needed to become the nominee. His Republican rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich already have endorsed Romney, while Texas Rep. Ron Paul has stopped actively campaigning. Gingrich is expected to attend the Trump fundraiser. Under similar circumstances last week, Romney swept all the delegates in GOP primaries in Kentucky and Arkansas and picked up more endorsements from party leaders. But Romney’s meeting with Trump may generate as much interest, or more, than his tightened grasp on the Republican nomination. “I do not understand the cost benefit here,” conservative commentator George Will said over the weekend. In the meanwhile,

White House hopeful Mitt Romney has meticulously spelled out his vision for a better America while on the campaign trail this year. But in his new mobile app? Not so much. The “With Mitt” application for the iPhone allows users to express support for the recently anointed Republican flagbearer by personalizing a photo with an overlaid Romney slogan. Trouble is, one of the slogans has a howler of a spelling mistake: “A Better Amercia.” Members of the proofreading public recently made the discovery and it went viral on microblogging site Twitter late Tuesday, with people mockingly tweeting photos showing the “Amercia” message. “Some poor app designer is getting strapped in a cage on the top of a car and driven across country tonight. #amercia,” one user tweeted, in a reference to Romney’s hard-to-live-down decision years ago to strap the family dog in its carrier on the roof of the car during a vacation. On Wednesday, the app, promoted by official campaign website, had yet to be corrected, and new downloads contained the spelling error. “Mistakes happen,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said on MSNBC. “I don’t think any voter cares about a typo at the end of the day,” she said, adding that an update had been sent to Apple and was awaiting final approval-and presumably one last spellcheck. — Agencies


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


Libya women enter politics TRIPOLI: Showing that women in Libya can be much more than just sexy bodyguards or accessories to murder, women are dipping into politics in the hope of drafting a constitution which protects their rights. “Women gave a lot of hard work to support the revolution, so why not enter the government now?” asked Samira Karmusi, who is running with the Justice and Construction Party. The party brings together members of the Muslim Brotherhood with other Islamists and independents. Like most emerging parties, it wants to legislate in accordance with Sharia, or Islamic law. Karmusi said the men in her party, most of them professionals and some like her husband former political prisoners, welcome women on board. “We feel that we can do it, that we can make it,” she told AFP. Najia Gajem, a university lecturer who is running as an independent candidate in the district of Ein Zara, says not all men are so openminded. “Many of them think that women and their opinions have to stay at home. When you want to change this concept, you

roles.”What we need to do is reinterpret our religion,” Murabit said, stressing that a major obstacle was the “misuse and misinterpretation of Islam.” Gender was an afterthought in the first anti-Gaddafi protests in the eastern city of Benghazi which were mixed until conservatives pushed the two sexes into separate camps again, she said. Now, women are barely visible in the interim power structures. The NTC is a sea of men, with just two women holding seats in the interim body. Likewise, Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib gave only two ministries, health and social affairs, to women. Since the start of the Arab Spring, elections in the region have largely benefited Islamists and similar results are expected in Libya, which has a strong Sunni Muslim identity. This is why Mubarit enlisted the help of Majida Fallah, one of the top figures in Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood, and the kind of woman no one can argue with because she knows her religion. “We thought that being a politician was a man’s role. This is culture, not religion. As Muslims, we know that women have to play a part in running the country,” Fallah said. While Gaddafi had his own brand of feminism, restricting polygamy and pushing female participation in the workforce, society frowned on the high profile women around him. Examples such as Gaddafi’s bombshell bodyguards and figures such as Huda Ben Amr-known locally as Huda AlShannaga, the executioner-cast women in a negative light. “These negative examples made women withdraw from public life,” Fallah said. “There is a stigma,” agrees Murabit, adding that most women stayed out of politics because they didn’t want to be seen as sexually loose or corrupt. Mawada Bushnaf, a TV presenter in Libya’s Hurra Channel, said it is critical for women to break with the past and run in the elections-even if men still reject the idea of a woman becoming president or prime minister.

TRIPOLI: Zahia Attia, constituent assembly candidate, speaks to the press, during a conference. —AFP

‘Save their rights’ “Men do not accept to be led by women,” she said. “But if women participate in the national election, they will (help) write the constitution and save their rights,” she said. Her mother, Bushnaf noted, ran in Benghazi’s local elections only to come under attack because she doesn’t wear the hijab, or Islamic headscarf. But in a sign that women do stand a chance, also in Benghazi, Najat Al-Kikhia became on May 21 the first woman elected to public office. The NTC has pledged to hold elections for a 200-member constituent assembly by June 19, with two-thirds of the General National Congress seat to be made up of independents and the rest going to candidates from political groups. In January, the interim authorities dropped a 10 percent quota for women in its electoral law. Instead, parties are required to put an equal number of male and female candidates on their lists. Critics like Mubarit call the measure a “copout”. Only 80 seats of the 200-member assembly are reserved for party candidates, with the remainder set aside for independents. The consensus is that women who are working within political parties have a better shot because parties boast larger networks and deep pockets. The real wildcard is whether women independent candidates-who represent just 90 out of 4,000 candidates overallcan succeed. Most female candidates running as independents plan to campaign by word of mouth leaning on the contacts they have made as educators, doctors or directors of charity organisations. —AFP

have to struggle,” she said. The two women are best friends and hope to become ministers or ambassadors. But they are split on whether women have a chance of playing a major role in politics after decades of dictatorship under Muammar Gaddafi. In June, Libyans are due to vote for a constituent assembly which will replace the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC). The upcoming vote offers a good gauge on whether women’s gains in the revolt that toppled Gaddafi last year were fleeting or the start of a tidal change. The Forum for Democratic Libya and the Beirut-based Beyond Reform and Development have been taking the temperature through a series of workshops. Most, the groups found, agree on “equality” as a constitutional principle. But what equality means when it comes to women sparks heated debates between liberals promoting full-political participation and religious conservatives demanding women’s exclusion, they reported. ‘Reinterpret our religion’ Moderates seem to concur that women should be “equal” in rights as long as this does not come into conflict with Islamic law, especially on matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance and custody. Alaa Murabit, founder of the Voice of Libyan Women, said she is disappointed to see men and women slip back into their culturally accepted

Firefighters tell of battle to save children from Qatar fire DOHA: Firefighters in Qatar told yesterday how they tried to rescue 13 children trapped by a blaze in a shopping mall nursery but found most already dead, huddled in the arms of two fellow firemen who died in the rescue bid. All 19 people killed in the inferno at Doha’s Villagio mall on Monday were foreigners, including the two fire fighters as well as 13 children and four teachers. The authorities have ordered that the mall’s owner and four of its senior staff be arrested, reports said. As smoke and flames engulfed the nursery, two of the four teachers sent farewell text messages and made their final calls to family letting them know they would not be coming home. “I’m dying,” one of the three Filipino teachers trapped in the fire told her aunt in a text message before she succumbed, her friend Marilyn Evangelista told the Al-Jazeera satellite news channel. Another teacher, also from the Philippines, called her husband to tell him that she and the children were “trapped, the smoke is too thick,” according to Evangelista, who then broke down in tears. Abdel Khaleq al-Huwari, one of dozens of firemen who responded to the blaze, told AFP that the rescue teams were not informed of the existence of a nursery in the mall “until half an hour after” they arrived on the scene. He said that a mall employee eventually told them that there was a nursery on the first floor of the complex. Huwari was one of the first in the nursery after the fire had died down and said he found his Moroccan colleague, Husam

Shahboun, lying dead on the floor “holding two children in his arms.” “ The other (Iranian) firefighter was barely alive when we found him,” said Huwari. “We tried to save him but he died.” Several other children lay around the firefighters, all dead, said Huwari. “The nursery is difficult to find and it has no emergency exits.” Another firefighter, Amran Mohsen, told AFP that “some of the fire alarms were not working.” Mohsen, who described Shahboun as “a leader to us”, said that all of the children in the nursery had died-”five in the ambulance, three at the hospital and the rest right at the spot.” Attorney General Ali bin Futeis Al-Murri “ordered the arrest of the Villagio mall owner... its manager and its deputy manager,” the official QNA news agency reported late on Tuesday. It said that arrest warrants had also been issued for the mall’s deputy director of security and for the owner of the Gympanzee nursery where the children and teachers died. Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the tragedy amid mounting allegations of negligence, AlJazeera reported. So far, no official statement on the cause of the fire has been released. The Qatari cabinet offered its “condolences” to King Hamad and top officials as well as to the families of the victims. Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad also visited the victims’ countries’ embassies in Doha and offered his condolences, QNA reported. —AFP

13 killed in cold blood in Syria: UN Russia, China oppose any military intervention BEIRUT: UN observers said yetserday 13 bodies had been discovered bound and shot in eastern Syria, days after a massacre of 108 civilians, nearly half of them children, ignited a world outcry. Syrian activists said the victims were army defectors killed by Assad’s forces, but it was not possible to verify their accounts. Outrage at last Friday’s mass killings in the Syrian town of Houla, documented by U.N. monitors, prompted a host of Western countries to step up pressure on Syria on Tuesday by expelling its senior diplomats, and to press Russia and China to allow tougher action by the U.N. Security Council. Yesterday’s observer report underlined how a peace plan drafted by international envoy Kofi Annan has failed to stem bloodshed or bring Syria’s government and opposition to the negotiating table. Major-General Robert Mood, the Norwegian head of the observer mission, said the corpses had been found with their hands tied behind their backs and signs that some had been shot in the head from close range. “General Mood is deeply disturbed by this appalling and inexcusable act,” a statement issued by the observer mission said. “He calls on all parties to exercise restraint and end the cycle of violence for the sake of Syria and the Syrian people.” The U.N. observers said the 13 dead men had been found on Tuesday evening in Assukar, about 50 km (31 miles) east of the city of Deir Al-Zor. Video footage posted by activists shows the bodies face down on the ground, hands tied behind their backs, with dark pools of what could be blood around their heads and torsos. Mood did not apportion any blame for the killings. UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said in New York on Tuesday that the Syrian army and “shabbiha” militiamen supporting Assad were “probably” responsible for massacring 108 people in Houla with artillery, tanks, small arms and knives. Syria denied any responsibility and blamed Islamist “terrorists” - its term for rebel forces. Trying to save his sevenweek-old peace plan from collapse, UN-Arab League envoy Annan told Assad in Damascus on Tuesday that Syria was at a tipping point, but there was no let-up in violence, with more than 100 people killed the same day, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Rights council Diplomats said the UN Human Rights Council would meet in Geneva tomorrow to consider the

Houla killings, the fourth such grilling Syria has faced since an anti-Assad revolt erupted in March 2011, inspired by Arab uprisings elsewhere. “It’s all materialising very quickly. It’s going to have huge support,” said one official. The United States, Qatar, Turkey and the European Union led the push for the session. Assad has so far proved impervious to international scolding and Western sanctions for his ferocious crackdown on peaceful demonstrators and armed insurgents, and has failed to return troops and tanks to barracks as required by the Annan plan.

Britain, France and Germany in expelling Syrian diplomats in protest at the Houla massacre, saying unspecified international “measures” would follow if crimes against humanity continued. But Iran, itself at odds with the West over its disputed nuclear work, decried foreign criticism of its Arab ally. Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani accused US and other Western officials of seeking to “prepare the ground for a new crisis” over Syria, Iran’s Press TV website reported. “The Majlis (parliament) condemns the opportunistic intervention of certain coun-

Yet it is hard to see where a breakthrough might come from. “China opposes military intervention and does not support forced regime change,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said, apparently responding to Hollande’s suggestion. Russia also reasserted its hostility to military action or to any further Security Council measures beyond a nonbinding statement that it backed on Sunday condemning the Houla killings. “We believe consideration in the Security Council of any new measures to influence the situation now would be premature,”

AKKAR: A Syrian woman cries as she carries her injured son who was shot in his hand by the Syrian border guard when they were crossing a river from Syria to Lebanon, at the northern Lebanese-Syrian border town yesterday. —AP However, the UN observers sent in to monitor a notional ceasefire were able to verify the horrors in Houla, producing a wave of world revulsion hard for Moscow and Beijing to ignore. But China and Russia have stuck to their rejection of any intervention or UN-backed penalties to force Assad to change course, while backing Annan’s peace drive, the only broadly accepted initiative to halt the bloodletting in Syria. The West is averse to military intervention, although French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday that could change if the U.N. Security Council backed it - something that is not possible unless veto-wielding members Russia and China allow it. Turkey joined other countries including the United States,

tries in Syria and the US terrorist measures and unwise warmongering messages,” he said. Expulsions Stung by the expulsion of its diplomats around the world, Syria told the Dutch chargee d’affaires to leave. She was one of the few senior Western diplomats left in Damascus. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the expulsion of Syrian diplomats was “counterproductive”. Despite the diplomatic deadlock, Annan, a former UN secretary-general, is pressing on with his mission. “It is important to find a solution that will lead to a democratic transition in Syria and find a way of ending the killings as soon as possible,” he said after talks in Jordan yesterday. “With goodwill and hard work, we can succeed.”

said Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov. Annan’s deputy, Jean-Marie Guehenno, was to brief the council later in the day on his boss’s talks with Assad. Russia and China have twice vetoed Western-backed council resolutions condemning Syria’s violent response to dissent. “The West should not expect China and Russia’s cooperation if it insists on dictating its own values and standards to the world ... It will instead find China and Russia standing in its way,” said the Communist Party’s People’s Daily in Beijing. Wary Western governments have so far avoided any direct or indirect military involvement in Syria, whose sectarian-tinged conflict has already sent refugees spilling into Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey and could further destabilise the Middle East. —Reuters

Quake survivors’ misery as Italy counts the cost SAN FELICE SUL PANARO: Rescue workers ended their search for survivors yesterday after a second killer earthquake in northeastern Italy claimed 17 lives and caused millions of euros of damage. As thousands of jittery survivors fearful of further tremors stayed close to camps where they had sought shelter overnight, communities urgently called on the government for food and sanitary products for the elderly and children. Tuesday’s 5.8magnitude quake, which centred 60 kilometres (35 miles) east of Parma and left 350 injured, hit just nine days after 6.0-magnitude quake killed six and left thousands homeless in the same region. Exhausted rescue workers called off their searches after recovering the body of the last missing person from the ruins of the Haematronic factory in the town of Medolla, where three other workers had been found dead on Tuesday. The head of the Emilia Romagna region, Vasco Errani, said “reconstruction will begin quickly and will be done well”. But as the dust settled, tired and miserable evacuees said they could not take it anymore. “It’s like living through the war again... We’re constantly frightened there will be another big quake,” said Ester, 89, who has been in a tent camp since the first quake on May 20 along with hundreds of other desperate people. “Until yesterday, we had hope. People had begun to work in the factories again... but the new earthquake knocked us flat,” her daughter Serenella said. Italy’s Confindustria business association in Modena said damage caused by Tuesday’s quake was likely to cost 500 million euros ($622 million), while the Coldiretti farming association gave a similar figure for the agricultural sector. The financial fallout for the heavily industrialised region is a severe blow for debt-ridden Italy, which entered into recession at the end of last year. “The earthquake’s epicentre is in a zone which represents one percent of the country’s GDP and we risk seeing production stopped for between three and four months,” said

Giorgio Squinzi, head of Italy’s business lobby Confindustria. Producers of the renowned Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar from Modena have paid a heavy price, with stocks worth millions of euros lost.

MEDOLLA: Italian firefighters carry the body of a worker who died in a factory collapse yesterday. —AP

“The real epicentre of the earthquake has been the world of work,” Labour Minister Elsa Fornero told the Italian Senate yesterday. The government said it was suspending taxes in the areas affected and would try to reboot the economy by lowering interest rates on loans. yesterday morning found shocked residents gaping in dismay at collapsed houses, historic buildings with holes gashed in their sides and razed churches in once picturesque towns scattered across the countryside near Modena. The Archdiocese in Modena said that 45 churches in the region had been “gravely damaged, many irremediably.” “Everything happened so fast, in about seven to eight seconds. I don’t even remember,” said Daniel, three of whose colleagues died when their factory collapsed. “I’m grief-stricken, speechless. I have no tears left to shed.” Those among the weary, dust-covered evacuees who failed to find a place in the government’s overflowing emergency tent camps set up rickety shelters in gardens or slept in cars or on park benches, unwilling to go back indoors. Others bunked down in specially-prepared train carriages. “We’re more comfortable here compared to other places, it’s better, safer,” a frazzled-looking Hussein Mzhar from Pakistan told AFP, after spending the night on board a train with his brother, sister-in-law and two children. Residents in cities across northern and central Italy from Pisa to Venice rushed into the streets in panic when the quake struck at 0700 GMT. “We felt the earth tremble as if we were on a flying carpet, it was terrifying,” said 32-year-old Francesco Graziano. Panicking people broke down as they failed to get through to loved ones on their mobile phones as the network overloaded, while others gazed in horror at the traumatic damage to beloved monuments. Italy’s newspapers were again filled with shocking images, such as the church in the quaint town of Cavezzo, left derelict after its roof caved in. —AFP

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


Ex-Cameron aide held over alleged perjury LONDON: The former top media adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron was detained yesterday on suspicion of perjury in the trial of a flamboyant exScottish lawmaker - the latest case tied to allegations of wrongdoing by British tabloid newspapers. Andy Coulson, 44, was detained by Scottish police at his home in London over an accusation related to testimony he gave in a highprofile case at Glasgow’s High Court in 2010, when politician Tommy Sheridan was himself convicted of offering a false account in a legal hearing. Sheridan had won a lawsuit against the now-defunct News of The World tabloid over its claim that he was embroiled in a sex-and-drugs scandal, but was later jailed for three years after a jury at the 2010 trial ruled that he had committed perjury when he sued the newspaper. Coulson was editor of the tabloid when stories about Sheridan were published, and working as Cameron’s communications director when he gave evidence to the 2010 trial. The ex-aide, who left his post at the News of The World in 2007 after a reporter and a private investigator were jailed over phone hacking offenses, told the court that he didn’t “accept there was a culture of phone hacking” at the tabloid. He insisted that he had ordered his reporters to work within the law and said that police officers were not paid for information. Those assurances have since been called into question by revelations of widespread illegal behaviour at the paper and allegations - denied by Coulson - that he approved and encouraged the shady practices. Cameron has insisted he had been right to offer Coulson a “second chance,” by making him his media chief - but the ex-aide’s resignation early last year, his arrest by London police investigating phone hacking, and yesterday’s detention by Scottish police have raised questions about the British leader’s judgment. The prime minister’s ties to both Coulson and their mutual friend Rebekah Brooks, an ex-chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, have brought the tabloid phone hacking scandal to Cameron’s doorstep. Sheridan, who was freed from jail after serving a year of his sentence - usual practice for crimes of that type in Scotland - said he now hopes to have his conviction quashed.

“We were led to believe by Mr. Coulson and his acolytes at News International during my trial and the initial phone-hacking investigations that the problem was a rogue reporter,” Sheridan told reporters outside his

Andy Coulson home. “Well, I think we all know now that there is no bad apple in the barrel. What there is is a rotten orchard full of bad apples.” Sheridan’s lawyer, Gordon Dangerfield, said he would now appeal the ex-lawmaker’s perjury conviction. In 2006, Sheridan won a defamation suit against the tabloid after it claimed he had visited a swingers’ club, had taken part in orgies and used cocaine. However, a year after his courtroom victory against the newspaper, police arrested and charged Sheridan with perjury in connection with the hearing. The subsequent trial riveted Scotland, with its lurid allegations about sex clubs and tabloid skullduggery. Coulson arrived in Scotland yesterday afternoon for questioning there, but had not yet been formally arrested. In Scotland, which uses a different legal system from the rest of Britain, a suspect can be detained by police to answer questions before being formally arrested. The police department said the case was tied to Operation Rubicon, a Scottish police investigation into allegations of phone hacking, breaches of data protection and perjury. Those inquiries are running separately to major investigations by London police into newspaper malpractice. Coulson is currently on police bail in connection with the London inquiry, meaning he must return to answer more questions from detectives there in the near future. He has also testified to the country’s media ethics inquiry. — AP

Assange loses UK extradition appeal Australian govt refuses to ‘interfere’ LONDON: Britain’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden, but put his deportation on hold to give his lawyers a final chance to reopen the case. The court, which handed down its decision after an 18month legal marathon, rejected Assange’s argument that the Swedish prosecutor who issued the arrest warrant over sex crime allegations was not entitled to do so. “ The request for Mr Assange’s extradition has been lawfully made and his appeal against extradition is accordingly dismissed,” Supreme Court president Nicholas Phillips said as he delivered the ruling to a hushed courtroom. The seven judges were split five to two but their majority ruling was that the prosecutor was a rightful judicial authority, and therefore allowed to issue the warrant for the Internet whistleblower. But in a new twist, Assange’s lawyer Dinah Rose asked for 14 days to consider whether to apply to reopen the case, on the grounds that the judgment referred to material that was not mentioned during the last hearing in February. The judge granted the request, which is highly unusual in the three-year history of the Supreme Court. “With the agreement of the respondent, the required period for extradition shall not commence until 13th June 2012,” the Supreme Court said in a statement. Assange, a 40-year-old Australian national, was not in the central London court for the judgement. One of his supporters, journalist John Pilger, said he was “stuck in traffic” with his mother, who flew in from Australia for the verdict. The Swedish lawyer for the two women who accuse Assange of rape and sexual assault said he would be extradited eventually. “The decision was what we expected... It’s unfortunate that it has been delayed further, but he will ultimately be extradited,” Claes Borgstroem told AFP. Assange is at present wanted for questioning over the sex crime allegations, but Borgstroem said he expected an indictment perhaps within a month after he gets to Sweden. Australia said it would closely monitor the case and added that consular officials were available to help him if he wished. “The Australian government cannot interfere in the judicial processes of other govern-

ments but we will closely monitor the proceedings against Mr Assange in Sweden,” said a spokeswoman for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs. Assange, whose website enraged Washington by releasing a flood of state and military secrets, has been living under tight restrictions on his movement for 540 days, including wearing

Peirce added. If Assange fails to have the case reopened in Britain, he still has the option of a last-ditch appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The white-haired Assange does not deny that he had sex with two WikiLeaks volunteers in Sweden while attending a WikiLeaks seminar, but insists the sex was consensual

LONDON: Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who did not appear at court, put a banner up bearing an image of him on a British Union flag before the verdict was given in his extradition case at the Supreme Court yesterday. — AP an ankle tag and reporting daily to police. He has said he fears his extradition would eventually lead to his transfer to the United States, where US soldier Bradley Manning is facing a court-martial over accusations that he handed documents to WikiLeaks. Outside court, Assange’s principal lawyer Gareth Peirce confirmed that the extradition was stayed while his legal team considers whether to apply to reopen the case, although the judgement still stands. The point in question is the interpretation of the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties, “which was never addressed in the hearing, one way or another, by either side,”

and argues there are political motives behind the attempts to extradite him. Assange’s mother Christine told Australian television ahead of the judgement: “It’s a 24-hour nightmare because we know he is not safe and the biggest governments in the world are gunning for him.” The former computer hacker has been fighting depor tation since his arrest in London in December 2010 on the European arrest warrant issued by Sweden. The Supreme Court is his final avenue of appeal under British law, after two lower courts ruled he should be sent to Sweden for questioning. — AFP

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


Mexico frontrunner suffers poll setback Pena Nieto’s party ‘corrupt and oppressive’: Poll

QUEBEC: A man dressed as Quebec Premier Jean Charest takes part in a protest outside the building where students and the Quebec government are negotiating. — AFP

Quebec protesters and govt close in on deal QUEBEC CITY: Quebec student representatives and provincial government officials emerged from a second day of talks to end a bitter dispute over tuition hikes short of an agreement but confident talks were progressing to possibly end weeks of student protests. Both sides agreed to meet again Wednesday. Student leaders said progress had been made and they would evaluate several proposals presented by both sides. Students have called for a tuition freeze, but the government has ruled out that possibility. Students also object to an emergency law put in place to limit protests. “We will take the night and probably tomorrow morning to evaluate the different scenarios and restart the negotiations during the day in the hope of presenting an offer to our members,” Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, a co-spokesman for the more hardline CLASSE student protest group, told reporters. Asked if a deal was imminent, Martine Desjardins, the head of one of the university student groups, said “it depends how many hours you consider to be imminent.” Student leaders said tuition hikes were on the table while the matter of the law was “broached” but left to be dealt with in greater detail in the future. Any agreement would have to be put to the various student associations for approval. The government was hoping to avoid a repeat of previous talks that ended with an agreement in principle with the leaders that was later rejected by the associations. The French-speaking province’s average undergraduate tuition - $2,519 a year - is the lowest in Canada, and the proposed hike- $254 per year over seven years - is tiny by US standards. Opponents consider the raise an affront a manner of thinking that has its roots in the philosophy of the 1960s reforms in Quebec dubbed the Quiet Revolution. The social movement set Quebec apart from the rest of Canada, and has the Quebecois comparing themselves to European countries where higher education is mostly free, rather than to the neighbouring United States. Protesters in Montreal and Quebec City were back in the streets again Tuesday evening in the latest in a string of consecutive night protests, banging pots and chanting against tuition hikes and the new law. A number of demonstrators gathered again in front of the building where the talks were taking place. Police were noticeably absent Tuesday evening, some protesters going

as far as banging on the door of the building with pots and wooden spoons. On Monday, riot police were deployed as about 200 protesters stood in front of the building where the talks were held. Quebec City Police Lt. Stephane Dufresne said 84 were arrested. It was the first incident of mass arrests since last Wednesday when nearly 700 protesters were arrest. More than 2,500 people have been arrested since a student strike at more than a dozen Quebec colleges and universities began in February. Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who has vowed to shake up the debt-ridden province’s finances since he was elected nearly a decade ago, has refused to cave in. But he attended Monday’s talks with the students for the first time since the conflict began, after being urged to do so by student leaders. Charest said Tuesday he participated in the talks to show the government speaks with one voice at the table and because discussions had reached a new stage. “We all want to turn the page and move onto other things,” Charest said. “I hope it helps send a signal that the government wants to arrive at the best possible solution.” Charest’s government passed emergency legislation on May 18 restricting protests and closing striking campuses until August. The law requires that police be informed eight hours before a protest begins, saying organizers must provide details on the route of any demonstration of 50 or more people. It also prohibits demonstrations within 50 meters (165 feet) of a college and declares that anyone who incites or helps another person break the new regulations can be fined. Amnesty International says the law breaches Canada’s international human rights obligations and called for it to be rescinded by Quebec’s legislature. Groups outside the province have condemned the new law. In Ottawa, labor unions joined major student organizations in a demonstration in support of the Quebec students’ demands. In France, meanwhile, the far left New Anticapitalist Party also supported Quebec’s students and condemned what it considered an unprecedented law “criminalizing all social movements.” The latest round of talks comes at a crucial time for the Quebec government, with Montreal’s peak tourism season fast approaching, a period of international events such as the Grand Prix F-1 race and international jazz and comedy festivals that bring millions in revenue. — AP

MEXICO CITY: Enrique Pena Nieto, the favourite to win Mexico’s presidential election, has suffered his biggest drop in support during the campaign after demonstrators said his party was corrupt and oppressive, an opinion poll showed on Tuesday. The poll by Consulta Mitofsky showed backing for Pena Nieto, candidate of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), at 35.6 percent, still a big lead over Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leftist contender and runner-up in the 2006 election. But the PRI candidate’s support was down 2.3 percentage points from a previous Mitofsky survey published on May 22. That was the sharpest drop since the campaign for the July 1 elections began at the end of March. Pena Nieto’s support in Mitofsky polls has been above 40 percent at times during the race. Backing for Lopez Obrador rose 1.2 percentage points to 21.7 percent. The latest poll by Mitofsky was taken between Friday and Sunday, the first conducted since thousands of protesters took to the streets of Mexico City on May 19 against the PRI, which ruled the country for 71 years until losing power in 2000. Demonstrators said the PRI was corrupt and repressive, and some smaller protests, many of them organized in online social media, have followed since. Lopez Obrador,

who narrowly lost in 2006, has sought to capitalize on the opposition to Pena Nieto, who has led presidential polls for more than two years. In a news conference Monday, Lopez Obrador championed the protesters, although he said he was not involved in organizing the demonstrations himself. “It is a fresh, clean, extraordinarily and creative movement of young people,” Lopez Obrador said. “I am speaking about the independence of this movement, of not intervening.” Josefina Vazquez Mota, candidate of President Felipe Calderon’s ruling National Action Party (PAN), remained in third place with 20.4 percent, a rise of 0.3 percentage points. Support for the PAN has been damaged by a brutal drug war and a sluggish job market, helping to spur the PRI comeback. Opponents have accused the PRI of stealing public money, rigging elections and violently cracking down on dissenters, especially toward the end of its lengthy hold on power. But Pena Nieto argues that the PRI has transformed into a democratic and honest party that can halt Mexico’s crime wave and create enough jobs for its growing population. The latest survey was based on 1,000 face-to-face interviews with eligible voters. It had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. — Reuters

Severed foot sent to party office in Canada

NEW YORK: This image shows host Robin Roberts (right) looking on as first lady Michelle Obama talks with students from PS 102 and 107 from the Brooklyn borough of New York, on “Good Morning America”. — AP

Daughters need thick skin in politics, says First lady WASHINGTON: Michelle Obama says her daughters are learning that even the kids of politicians have to have a thick skin. “Politics is tough,” the first lady said Tuesday. “That’s just sort of the nature of the beast.” But she said daughters Sasha and Malia, at ages 10 and 13, also know that no matter what happens in the November election, “their life is good either way.” Mrs. Obama chatted about family life, this year’s re-election campaign and what’s not ahead for her - a career in politics - during a round of interviews promoting the release of her new book on the White House garden. As for the personal attacks that swirl around her husband in a campaign year, the first lady said: “You just sort of have to have a thick skin in this thing. And your kids do too.” Malia and Sasha “understand that their world is secure no matter what,” Mrs. Obama said on ABC’s “The View.” “They’ve grown to understand that home is wherever we are. ... And Dad is always going to be Dad. So they’re good.” The first lady left no doubt on the question of a

political future of her own. “Those are other people’s rumors,” she said. “I have no interest in politics. Never have. Never will.” She added: “The one thing that is certain: I will serve. I will serve in some capacity.” Mrs. Obama said her work to support military families “is a forever proposition. They will always need a voice out there.” Later, with Jon Stewart of “ The Daily Show,” Mrs. Obama talked about the virtues of fresh veggies and wouldn’t bite at a Stewart suggestion that she use her higher poll ratings as a weapon in any argument with her husband. “I don’t wield it over him,” she said. “One of the things I’ve seen over the last 3 1/2 years, I’ve seen what it takes to be president. I kind of watch this thing pretty closely. You know, the president is getting all the hard decisions, where there is no easy answer.” During her media tour the first lady offered other tidbits about the Obama family, and her efforts to promote healthy eating and exercise: The president isn’t much of a griller-inchief. — AP

Scholar argues US influence waning in Middle East NEW YORK: In his new book, Middle East expert Fawaz A. Gerges argues that the United States is losing influence in the Middle East, and that President Barack Obama has failed to live up to the expectations of many in the Arab and Muslim worlds to improve relations. Gerges, a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is clearly a well-read academic with a solid ability to gather the information he needs to back up an argument. But much of what he writes is fairly obvious to anybody who closely follows news of the Middle East, and even then his analysis is not without flaws. In “Obama and the Middle East: The End of America’s Moment?” Gerges says US influence is waning in the Middle East due to a host of reasons, from the invasion of Iraq, to ongoing alliances with autocrats, to the Arab Spring uprisings that Washington failed to foresee and properly capitalize upon. Obama’s policies have in many cases exacerbated tensions instead of eased them, Gerges posits. It’s hard to argue with many of his points. The Arab Spring uprisings that began in Tunisia and spread to Egypt, Libya and other nations do seem to have undermined America’s strength. Oncereliable allies are no longer predictable American toadies, and only time, an election or two and an injection of Islamist political power will show if they will become outright enemies. And Obama has been, if anything, a

pragmatist who hasn’t applied a broadbrush ideological approach to his foreign policy but instead approached each situation case by case. Sometimes, reality has vastly undercut the president’s seemingly genuine aspirations. For instance, Gerges notes that Obama’s approach to

the Israeli-Palestinian crisis has effectively been neutered, not least because of resistance among members of Congress loath to anger Israeli supporters. But there are some major weaknesses in Gerges’ analysis. On the IsraeliPalestinian feud, his bias in favor of the Palestinians is so obvious that it undercuts some very valid points he is trying to make. Gerges brushes aside or seems to

MEXICO CITY: Enrique Pena Nieto, presidential candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI, attends a meeting. — AP

simply ignore legitimate Israeli security concerns. There was no need to strive for false balance - he has a right to his opinion - but devoting a bit more space to explaining the Israeli psyche would have added much-needed nuance. On the question of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network, Gerges seems utterly oblivious to some key aspects, to the point where it seems he’s downplaying a still real and present danger. For instance, he argues that the US is too obsessed with Al-Qaeda, despite the fact that the terrorist group has largely been debilitated and is down to a few hundred surviving members. A strange argument, considering a major reason that Al-Qaeda is weakened is because the US has been obsessed with it and acted on that obsession. Gerges, understandably, questions the wisdom of the drone strike program, which has been ramped up under Obama and which many say is contributing to the radicalization of young Muslim men. But he doesn’t give enough weight to arguments in favor of such strikes that they are often accurate and have taken out some top militants without requiring US boots on the ground. If you think drones will radicalize people, think what a US invasion of Pakistan would do. And never mind that all it takes is a few terrorists to cause a lot of damage, Gerges even fails to pay enough attention to Al-Qaeda’s greater impact: the way it has become a brand and inspired other movements, some of whom are

even more vicious than the late Osama Bin Laden’s bunch. The Pakistani Taliban, Somalia’s al-Shabab movement, militants fighting in Yemen - to some extent these are all part of Al-Qaeda’s sphere of influence and its legacy. And they are still out there. One could also quibble with Gerges’ seeming disapproval of how Obama has handled Iran. Gerges criticizes the president for not openly backing the 2009 protests in Iran known as the Green Movement, saying that it was because Obama was trying to engage the Iranian government. But he fails to point out that many Iranian reformers adamantly opposed any sort of public US intervention even moral support - because they insisted it would undermine their movement’s claim to being homegrown. The White House was well aware of that sentiment. Again, Gerges’ broader point may be true: America’s influence in the Middle East is eroding. Turkey, Iran and other nations are battling for regional supremacy, and their interests do not always align with those of the White House. But is this a good thing for the world? Is it a bad thing? It would have been nice - OK, perhaps fanciful - to see some predictions, even wild ones, about what the Middle East will look like 20 years from now. Of course, if the Arab Spring taught us anything, it is that even for the most learned of experts, decoding the past is much easier than guessing what’s next. — AP

OTTAWA: A severed human foot was mailed to the headquarters of Canada’s Conservative party and another body part was discovered when police intercepted a second suspicious package, police said Tuesday. Police were called shortly after a receptionist opened a blood-soaked box at the headquarters of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s party. The first officers to arrive saw what appeared to be blood stains on the package and immediately called in a special hazardousmaterial unit. When the specialists opened the package, police found the severed foot inside. Police said the package was addressed to the Conservative Party of Canada and not to a specific person. Harper’s office is not located at the party headquarters. As the investigation developed, Ottawa police late Tuesday night that they intercepted a second suspicious package containing another human body part. Police released no other details about the second find, and said the major crime section continues to investigate. The horror was not confined to Ottawa. Ottawa police were consulting with their counterparts in Montreal after they discovered a severed torso in a suitcase. Montreal police sifted through a heap of garbage in the city’s west end to see if they might turn up any missing limbs. Authorities in both cities are trying to determine if there might be a link to the foot mailed to Conservative party headquarters. — AP

Cuban-American US Senator Rubio visits Guantanamo MIAMI: Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican US vice presidential prospect, made Tuesday his first trip to the island of his parents’ birth to examine the Guantanamo facilities that hold terror detainees. The lawmaker’s office said Rubio travelled to the US Naval base at Guantanamo Bay as part of a Senate Intelligence Committee delegation conducting oversight of the facility, confirming it was his first visit to the communist island. Having returned to Miami, the 41-year-old first-term senator from Florida said little to reporters but noted that the visit was necessary to help him “get up to speed,” with more experienced colleagues on the committee. “We must understand that there, in Guantanamo, are the worst terrorists in the world and these processes are important and necessary,” he said. Rubio, was born in Miami to Cuban parents who emigrated from the island in 1956, and the senator has been a staunch critic of the regime of Fidel Castro and his younger brother Raul, Cuba’s current president. Spokesman Alex Conant said the trip aimed to give Rubio an opportunity to better understand the role Guantanamo Bay plays in US detention operations, and examine how the military commission process for trying terrorists housed there. Rubio’s tour of Guantanamo was to include the complex where military tribunals of detainees have begun, including those for the five accused plotters of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. He had also planned to “tour Camp VI, the building in which detainees are actually held,” Conant said in the statement announcing Rubio’s trip. The 9/11 case marks the second time the United States has tried to prosecute the terror attack suspects under the military commissions system, after the proceedings were put on hold as President Barack Obama sought to bring the case to a federal court in New York. — AFP

WASHINGTON: US Senator Marco Rubio speaks during a seminar on “Is the American World Order Sustainable and Necessary in the 21st Century?” at the Brooking Institution. — AFP


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


NATO kills senior Qaeda leader in Afghanistan Afghan civilian deaths drop 21%: UN

KATHMANDU: Nepalese activists burn an effigy of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai during a protest demanding his resignation yesterday. Nepal’s Maoists branded their rivals “fascists” as bitter fighting between parties dashed hopes of a consensus to guide the country through months of a political power vacuum. —AFP

Pakistan doctor guilty of militancy, not CIA links PESHAWAR: A Pakistan doctor who assisted the CIA in tracking down Osama bin Laden was sentenced to 33 years in prison for conspiring with an Islamist militant commander, a verdict that could make it more difficult for Washington to argue for his release. The judgment against Shakil Afridi debunked the widely held assumption that he had been convicted for his involvement with the American spy agency. The decision referred to unspecified evidence that Afridi had “acted” with foreign intelligence agencies, but went on to say any charges related to that couldn’t be considered because the court didn’t have jurisdiction. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the five-page document, first reported by Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, yesterday. Earlier this week, Afridi’s family and lawyers said he was innocent and would appeal, but said they had not yet seen the court verdict. They refused to comment on his relations with the CIA. The trial was carried out in a court in the country’s tribal regions close to Afghanistan. A political official, in consultation with tribal elders, ruled on the case in secret. The United States has called for Pakistan to release Afridi, and his punishment has become another flashpoint issue in the fractured relations between the two countries. Pakistan’s army was outraged by the unilateral US raid that killed bin Laden in May 2011 because it was a violation of the country’s sovereignty and added to perceptions it was a sponsor of terror. Afridi ran a vaccination campaign on behalf of the CIA to collect blood samples from bin Laden’s family at a compound in Abbottabad where US commandos killed

the Al-Qaeda leader. It was unclear whether he succeeded, but US officials have publicly said he helped the effort to track bin Laden. The fact Afridi was technically convicted for militancy, not helping the CIA, could complicate Washington’s efforts to press for his release. Pakistan could argue that his trial was an internal matter that has nothing to do with the United States. The verdict said Afridi was guilty of conspiring with a militant group led by commander Mangal Bagh. It said he gave money to the group and treated its leaders at a hospital in Khyber when he was stationed there. According to unnamed witnesses, he did this because of his “deep affiliation with the group.” Others, also unnamed, said the group planned terrorist attacks in Afridi’s office. The verdict, which was passed down last week, found Afridi guilty of “conspiring against the state” and other charges. Pakistani officials didn’t attempt to correct widespread reports that the charges referred to his work with the CIA. The verdict triggered anger in the United States and elsewhere, with many questioning how helping kill bin Laden - a sworn enemy of Pakistan - could be seen as working against the state. The full text of the verdict means Pakistan can now, technically at least, deflect that criticism. Afridi’s motivation for working with the CIA or whether he was aware who was employing him has never been established. He was once the top medical officer in the Khyber region. Speaking last week, a friend said he had once been kidnapped by Mangal Bagh’s group and paid a heavy ransom for his release. The friend didn’t give his name because he didn’t want to attract attention to himself. —AP

Italian marines get bail in India THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An Indian court granted bail yesterday to two Italian marines charged with murdering two fishermen in a case that has caused a diplomatic spat, reports said. Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who shot dead the Indian fishermen off India’s southwestern coast on February 15, were granted conditional bail by Kochi High Court, in the southern state of Kerala. They were employed as guards against pirates on an Italian oil tanker and said the fishermen’s boat had behaved suspiciously and ignored warning shots while approaching the ship. The Italians will have to deposit personal bonds of 10 million rupees ($178,000) each and comply with other conditions, including surren-

dering their passports, the judge said, according to the Press Trust of India. Italy has called the detention of the marines illegal and challenged it before India’s Supreme Court. It has also paid compensation of 144,000 euros ($190,000) to the families of the fishermen. Rome says the marines should be prosecuted in their home country because the shootings occurred on an Italian-flagged vessel in international waters, but India says they took place in waters under its jurisdiction. Armed guards are increasingly deployed on cargo ships and tankers in the Indian Ocean to tackle threats from Somali pirates, who often hold ships and crews hostage for months demanding multi-million-dollar ransoms. —AFP

KABUL: A homemade bomb has killed a NATO service member in the south of Afghanistan, the USled coalition says. The coalition says the attack occurred yesterday but did not provide any other details. The death raised the number of NATO troops who have been killed in Afghanistan this year to 173. The blast occurred the day after the coalition announced it had killed AlQaeda’s second-highest leader in the country in an airstrike in eastern Kunar province. Sakhr Al-Taifi, also known as Mushtaq and Nasim, was responsible for commanding foreign insurgents in Afghanistan and directing attacks against NATO and Afghan forces, the alliance said Tuesday. He frequently travelled between Afghanistan and Pakistan, carrying out commands from senior Al-Qaeda leadership and ferrying in weapons and fighters. The airstrike that killed Al-Taifi and another Al-Qaeda militant took place Sunday in Kunar’s Watahpur district, the coalition said. A follow-on assessment of the area determined that no civilians were harmed, it said. The coalition declined to reveal the name of Al-Qaeda’s top leader in Afghanistan “due to ongoing operations and security concerns.” The US-led invasion of Afghanistan was carried out because Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden used the country as his base to plan the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington. Most of Al-Qaeda’s senior leaders are now believed to be based in Pakistan, where they fled following the US invasion. The terrorist organization is believed to have only a nominal presence in Afghanistan. Many senior AlQaeda commanders have died in US drone attacks in Pakistan’s northwest tribal region, and bin Laden was killed by US commandos in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad last May. Bin Laden advised Al-Qaeda militants to leave Pakistan’s North and South Waziristan tribal areas because of the threat of drone attacks, according to letters seized from the compound where he was killed. The documents were later released by the US. In one of the letters, bin Laden recommended they go to Afghanistan’s Kunar province because of “its rougher terrain; too many mountains, rivers, and trees that can accommodate hundreds of brothers without being spotted by the

enemy,” according to the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point, which published the documents. In northern Afghanistan, Taleban fighters attacked a police post in Badakshan province Tuesday evening, killing eight policemen, said the provincial

responsible for the vast majority of the deaths, Jan Kubis, the UN special representative for Afghanistan, told a news conference. Kubis said 79 percent of the casualties were caused by antigovernment forces, nine percent by pro-government forces-includ-

point welcomed by Kubis. But civilian deaths in NATO air strikes have drawn fierce criticism from President Hamid Karzai, who argues that they turn ordinary Afghans against his Westernbacked government. Karzai summoned ISAF commander General John Allen and US ambassador

KABUL: An Afghan policeman examines a damaged vehicle after it was hit by a roadside bomb in Deh Bala district of Afghanistan yesterday. —AP governor’s spokesman, Abdul Maruf Rasikh. The attack in Warduj district triggered heavy fighting for three hours in which six militants were also killed, he said yesterday. The Taleban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to reporters Tuesday by spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid. Two would-be suicide bombers riding in a vehicle packed with explosives in eastern Nangarhar province were killed Tuesday when the vehicle exploded prematurely, said a local government official, Shakrulla. Three others in the vehicle were severely wounded. The explosion occurred on the main highway between Jalalabad city and Torkham, a town on the Pakistani border. In another development, the number of civilians killed in the Afghan war in the first four months of this year dropped by 21 percent over the same period in 2011, the United Nations said yesterday. A total of 579 civilians died and 1,219 were wounded, with Taleban-led insurgents

Taleban deny Haqqani’s death KABUL: The Taleban yesterday denied reports of the death of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the founder of the Pakistani-linked Haqqani network which is regularly blamed for major attacks in Afghanistan. “We strongly dismiss the reports that Jalaluddin Haqqani is dead. He’s alive,” Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP, attributing the reports to “government propaganda”. The Haqqanis, who are closely affiliated with the Taleban, are a key player in the insurgency against US-led NATO troops and Karzai’s Western-backed government, particularly in eastern Afghanistan. Tolo, Afghanistan’s first 24hour rolling news television channel, said Jalaluddin had died from kidney disease, claiming on its Twitter feed that the Taleban had confirmed it. The United States blamed last month’s 18hour assault on Kabul, the biggest to hit the capital in a decade, on the Haqqani network, saying the group’s leaders planned the attack from North Waziristan, in Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt. Before stepping down as chief US military officer last year, Admiral Mike Mullen caused a sensation when he told Congress that the Haqqani network was a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. Haqqani was a mujahedeen leader sponsored by the CIA, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia during the fight against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. He served in the Taleban government after it took power in 1996 following years of civil war. He is known to have close ties to Al-Qaeda, and after the fall of the Taleban regime in the 2001 US-led invasion, he joined the insurgency. In recent years, his son Sirajuddin has taken on increasing leadership within the group from his father, who was born in 1942. —AFP

ing NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) — while the rest were unattributed. “The prevention of civilian casualties... is among the top priorities of UNAMA,” Kubis said, referring to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. “We give proposals addressed to all the parties, we urge them to take measures, and we sometimes see results and I’m very happy to see results.” For the past five years the number of civilians killed in the war had risen steadily, reaching a record of 3,021 in 2011. That year, insurgents caused 77 percent of the deaths while pro-government forces were responsible for killing 410 civilians — 14 percent of the total, the United Nations said in its annual report. The record loss of life was blamed mainly on changes in the insurgents’ tactics, which saw an increased use of improvised bombs and deadlier suicide attacks. The latest figures show that NATO’s share of the blame has fallen by five percent-at least in the first four months of the year, a

Ryan Crocker to the presidential palace earlier this month after a number of civilians were killed in NATO air strikes. NATO and US forces in Afghanistan admitted in a joint statement after the meeting that civilians had died in two separate strikes. The statement gave no details of how many civilians died in each of those incidents but local officials put the total at more than 20, including women and children. “The president will be assured of our commitment to take any and all appropriate actions to minimise the likelihood of similar occurrences in the future,” the statement said. On Sunday, however, Afghan officials said another NATO air strike killed a family of eight, including six children, when it hit their home in eastern Afghanistan. ISAF said it was investigating the claim. NATO has some 130,000 troops serving in Afghanistan, but they are due to withdraw by the end of 2014 and hand responsibility for security to Afghan forces. —Agencies


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


Webmaster sentenced in Thailand royal insult case Verdict ‘threat’ to Internet: Google BANGKOK: A Thai court handed an eight-month suspended sentence yesterday to a website editor for failing to quickly remove posts deemed offensive to the monarchy in a case that adds to growing debate over Thailand’s draconian royal censorship laws. The Bangkok Criminal Court ruled posts on the Prachatai news website ( were offensive to the royal family and that its editor, Chiranuch Premchaiporn, failed to remove them promptly, as

advisers, middle-class bureaucrats and old-money families. She faced a maximum 20 years in jail on 10 counts of supporting illegal content and violating the Computer Crimes Act, a controversial and wide-ranging law passed by a military-installed legislature following a 2006 coup. The suspended sentence is a rare moment of leniency in a series of tough and highly criticised decisions by courts to protect the monarchy, an effort that has

street riots, mob takeovers of airports and a coup in recent years reveal a country divided broadly between a yellow-shirted royalist elite and lower-income red-shirted supporters of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, toppled in 2006. Protest to parliament Tension surfaced yesterday when about 3,000 yellow-shirted protesters marched to parliament, protesting legislation they say

BANGKOK: Chiranuch Premchaiporn, director of Prachatai website, walks past a portrait of King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the criminal court yesterday. —AP requested by the court, allowing at least one to stay online for 20 days. Thailand has some of the world’s toughest lese majeste laws to penalise insults against the king, queen and crown prince, but critics say the legislation is used to discredit activists and politicians opposed to the royalist establishment. Chiranuch, 44, was charged in 2010 in a crackdown on royal defamation under former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, whose supporters include Bangkok’s traditional elite of top generals, royal

increased during what many see as the twilight of the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand’s long-hospitalised 84-year-old monarch. “For someone involved in a lese-majeste content issue, this was a comparatively reasonable sentence,” said David Streckfuss, a scholar and expert on Thailand’s lese-majeste laws. Many Thais revere the king, the world’s longest-ruling monarch, and regard him as a unifying figure, but national unease over what follows his reign has added to recent political turbulence. Deadly

would whitewash Thaksin, a graftconvicted former telecoms tycoon who lives abroad to avoid jail. Although his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was elected prime minister last year on a wave of support from the red-shirted supporters who revere her populist brother, she has said she has no plan to revise royal insult laws or stop authorities who have blocked thousands of Web pages deemed insulting to the monarch. “It was found that the content posted on Prachatai’s website did indeed cause damage to the reputation of

the king, queen and heir apparent,” Judge Kampol Rungrat told the court, adding that Chiranuch had a duty to take care of offensive content. The court sentenced Chiranuch to eight months in prison but suspended the term for one year because she had cooperated. Chiranuch said she might lodge an appeal and warned that publishers could not be expected to censor themselves. “The verdict is acceptable but it is not what I would have wanted,” she told reporters. “The law requires intermediaries like myself to act as police when monitoring online content, this is something that needs to be looked in to.” Prachatai’s web board was shut down two years ago and Chiranuch said she would think hard before reopening the site. A group of university lecturers filed a petition with parliament on Tuesday, calling for an amendment to the law, known as Article 112, part of a movement of academics, journalists and activists pressing for more freedom of speech. This month, Amphon Tangnoppaku, 61, died in jail after being sentenced last November to 20 years for sending text messages defaming and threatening Queen Sirikit. The evidence was felt by many to be flimsy and he denied the charge, saying he did not even know how to send a text message. In the meanwhile, Google branded a webmaster’s conviction yesterday for hosting a comment deemed insulting to Thailand’s monarchy a “serious threat” to the Internet in the country. Chiranuch Premchaiporn was found guilty of failing to speedily delete a post written by others critical of the royal family from her popular news website, and handed an eight-month suspended jail term. “Today’s guilty verdict for something somebody else wrote on her website is a serious threat to the future of the Internet in Thailand,” a Google spokesman said in an emailed statement to AFP. —Agencies

Developing rule of law ‘critical’ for China: Blind activist NEW YORK: The biggest challenge for China’s next leaders is confronting a lawless police state nurtured by the Communist Party’s own drive to put top-down control ahead of human rights, blind activist Chen Guangcheng has written. Chen laid down his challenge to China’s next central leaders, who will be unveiled at a party congress later this year, in an opinion column for the New York Times that appeared online Tuesday night east coast time. “The fundamental question the Chinese government must face is lawlessness,” wrote Chen. “China does not lack laws, but the rule of law.” Chen is in New York where he will study after escaping 19 months of house imprisonment in eastern Shandong province and taking shelter in the US embassy, a drama that focused world attention on China’s poor human rights record. Chen made clear he believed his experience reflected broader abuses by officials who have been told to put “stability before all else” by authorities wary of unrest that could erode their grip on power. “This issue of lawlessness may be the greatest challenge facing the new leaders who will be installed this autumn by the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party,” wrote Chen. “Indeed, China’s political stability may depend on its ability to develop the rule of law in a system where it barely exists,” he added. “China stands at a critical juncture. I hope its new leaders will use this opportunity wisely.” Chen’s comments highlighted how China’s expansion of “stability preservation” and domestic security powers over the past decade has created a contentious legacy for the next party leadership, almost sure to be headed by current Vice President Xi Jinping. The party’s top domestic security official, Zhou Yongkang, also suffered a blow to his authority over a scandal around Bo Xilai, the sacked chief of Chongqing in southwest China. Zhou was widely seen as staying too close to Bo for too long. Chen wrote that although China’s legislation can appear on paper to offer citizens robust protection, in practice the police and officials can ride roughshod over the law. He cited his own experience since 2005: extra-judicial detention in his home village in Shandong and jailing on charges that Chen and his supporters said were concocted to silence him. “On what legal basis, following my release from prison in 2010, did they turn our home into another, equally harsh, prison?” Chen added. Chen accused Shandong officials in 2005 of forcing women to have late-term abortions and sterilizations to comply with China’s strict family-planning policies. Officials moved against him with charges of whipping up a crowd that disrupted traffic and damaged property - charges he adamantly rejected. Chen arrived in New York with his wife and two children on May 19 after China let him leave a Beijing hospital to end a diplomatic rift with the United States. But he has continued to voice concern about relatives in Shandong, especially his nephew Chen Kegui, who he said faced reprisals from officials. Chen Kegui was charged with “intentional homicide” and accused of using knives to fend off local officials who burst into his home the day after they discovered his uncle had escaped house arrest. —Reuters

SAMUT SAKHON: Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi waves to the crowd while leaving a community centre in Mahachai, Thailand yesterday. —AP

On Thailand trip, Suu Kyi visits Myanmar migrants MAHACHAI: Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi received a rapturous reception in Thailand yesterday from crowds of cheering compatriots who flocked to celebrate her first trip outside Myanmar in nearly a quarter of a century. More than 1,000 Myanmar migrants lined the streets waving flags and holding aloft pictures of Suu Kyi as she arrived to give a speech from the balcony of a dilapidated building in an industrial zone on the fringes of the Thai capital, Bangkok. Suu Kyi, who will visit refugees from Myanmar in border camps later on her four-day visit, had refused to leave her country, also known as Burma, for fear of being blocked from returning by the former military junta whose rule she challenged. Dressed in a floral blouse and red traditional longhi, or sarong, Suu Kyi waved and smiled as the crowd chanting “Mother Suu” jostled for a glimpse of her. Labour activists estimate there are at least two million Myanmar migrants in Thailand, many sending home part of their wages to help families in a country where a third of the 60 million people live below the poverty line. Suu Kyi said she would work to improve the rights and working conditions of Myanmar migrants. “I’ve said this time and again - I don’t want to make promises. It’s not good if you cannot keep your promises after you’ve made them, But I can make you one promise - I will try my very best,” Suu Kyi told the crowd, speaking in Burmese. “I wish the migrant workers from Burma good health and wealth, that they be free from danger and can come back home as soon as possible.” Suu Kyi meeting fellow citizens in another country would have been unimaginable 18 months ago, when she was released from house arrest days after an election seen as rigged to favour an armybacked party to entrench the military’s grip on power behind a facade of democracy. ‘Waiting 25 years’ But the quasi-civilian government which emerged from the vote, although approved by a parliament packed with retired and serving military, has surpassed expectations in introducing a series of reforms to try to rid the country of its pariah status after decades of isolation and decay. “This is the first time in my life that I got to see her, I’ve been waiting 25 years for this moment,” said one migrant worker. “I want

to ask Mother Suu to help the country to progress and develop. I believe she can bring that change. I want the country to develop faster. I just want to go home.” Such comments reflect the weight of expectation on the shoulders of the 66year-old Suu Kyi, who has long been seen as Myanmar’s sole hope for democracy due to her steely defiance during years of dictatorship. She became a member of parliament this month following her triumph in a parliamentary by-election that reformist president and former junta general Thein Sein had convinced her to take part in after winning her trust. Suu Kyi made a low-key arrival in Bangkok late on Tuesday. She is due to attend a World Economic Forum on East Asia and will address the conference tomorrow. Yesterday, she urged the workers to learn their rights to avoid exploitation. She said she hoped economic conditions would improve in Myanmar so they could eventually return. Economic sanctions and gross mismanagement by military juntas have squeezed Myanmar’s economy, but the recent suspension of many of the U.S. and European embargoes once backed by Suu Kyi is expected to bring a deluge of investment in the resource-rich and strategically located country. Suu Kyi is due to have talks with Thai opposition leader and former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva later yesterday but will not get to meet Thein Sein in Thailand. He had been due to attend the economic forum but postponed his visit to next week, without explanation. Next month, Suu Kyi is due to visit Switzerland, Norway and Britain. She will address an international labour conference in Geneva on June 14 and give a speech to Britain’s parliament. Thailand is the first country Suu Kyi, the daughter of Myanmar’s independence hero, Aung San, has seen she left her home in Britain in 1988 temporarily - she thought - to return to Myanmar and take care of her dying mother. She arrived just as a student-led democracy uprising was erupting. Suu Kyi was persuaded to lead the movement against dictatorship and was first placed under house arrest in 1989. She spent 15 of the next 21 years in detention and declined opportunities to leave, even when her British husband, Michael Aris, was diagnosed with cancer. He died in 1999. —Reuters

Filipino rebels wound 6, seize guns in attack WUHAN: A woman crosses a flooded street on a row of tables in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province. China is hit by big summer rainfalls every year, as heavy downpours across large swathes of the country trigger flooding, landslides and other rain-related disasters. —AFP

Safe reactors needed: Japan PM TOKYO: Japanese Prime M inister Yoshihiko Noda, keen to restart idled nuclear reactors to avoid a summer power crunch, said yesterday it was necessary to start those whose safety has been confirmed, adding he was winning understanding from local authorities. Nuclear power supplied nearly 30 percent of Japan’s electricity needs before last year’s earthquake and tsunami cripped the Fukushima plant the world’s worst nuclear accident in 25 years. But all of the country’s 50 reactors have since been taken offline for checks. The government has been struggling to win support from local authorities for the restarts, although their permission is not legally required. Noda, talking after a meeting with key ministers to discuss resuming operations at two of Kansai Electric Power Co’s reactors in western Japan, said he would make a final decision once local authorities have made up their minds. A group of regional governors, long concerned about whether it was safe to resume power generation at Kansai Electric’s No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in Ohi, western Japan, signalled their agreement to the restarts as a “limited” step. The governor of the host prefecture of Fukui and the mayor of the town of Ohi where the reactors are located have yet to give final approval, although Ohi’s local assembly has signed off on resuming operations.

“If we get a decision by local authorities, then we will discuss among the four key ministers and I will make the final decision,” Noda told reporters. A decision by Noda and key ministers to restart the reactors would ease worries about power shortages among firms in the region, including struggling electronics giants Panasonic Corp and Sharp Corp. But the move could also irk voters and undermine Noda’s already sagging public support. Noting the central government has yet to set up a new regulatory agency, promised after the disaster, the Union of Kansai Governments said current safety standards were therefore provisional. Parliament began debate on creating the new agency this week after months of delay. Anti-nuclear activists have cast doubt on the government’s assurances that the two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co’s Ohi plant in Fukui, western Japan, are safe. “We have consistently said that none of the safety or emergency measures that have been called for by experts in the community has been completed,” said Greg McNevin, a spokesman for Greenpeace International. “Our consistent position is that this is being rushed.” Kansai Electric has said it would take six weeks to reconnect them to the grid and the government has asked businesses and consumers in its service area to cut summer electricity usage by 15 percent from 2010 levels. —Reuters

MANILA: Dozens of communist guerrillas attacked a military outpost near mountainous tribal communities in the southern Philippines early yesterday, wounding villagers, the military and the rebels said. More than 60 New People’s Army rebels raided the army and militia outpost in San Luis town in Agusan del Sur province before dawn, wounding a soldier and five civilians, mostly militiamen and their relatives working for the military, rebel spokesman Jorge Madlos said. The rebels seized 16 rifles and a pistol after briefly capturing the outpost, which lies near tribal communities, Madlos said. The guerrillas attacked because government troops and the militiamen, who included armed minors, have harassed some villagers, who have been suspected of providing food and money to the

Maoist rebels, according to Madlos. Military spokesman Maj. Eugenio Osias said the rebels were angry because villagers have stopped providing support to the insurgents. He said details of the attack were sketchy but that initial reports showed three civilians were shot and wounded by the rebels. The rural-based Marxist rebellion has raged for 43 years, one of Asia’s longest. Philippine army chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, meanwhile, said the military plans to gradually eradicate its 60,000strong militia force once communist and Muslim insurgencies in the country ease considerably. The militias, often poorly paid and ill-trained, have been linked to human rights violations in the past but are crucial to helping the underfunded military secure far-flung villages from insurgents and outlaws. —AP

Vietnam rejects dissidents’ jail appeal HANOI: Vietnam has upheld the jail sentences of two human rights activists, throwing out an appeal against their conviction for spreading anti-government propaganda, a judicial source said yesterday. After a half-day hearing, “the prison sentences of Ho Thi Bich Khuong and Nguyen Trung Ton were upheld on appeal this morning,” an official at the court in central Nghe An province told AFP on condition of anonymity. Female blogger Khuong, 44, was sentenced in December last year to five years in prison followed by three years house arrest, while activist and pastor Ton, 40, was given two years in jail and two more under house arrest. Rights groups say the ruling is part of a wider muzzling of dissent by Vietnam’s authoritarian communist party, which launched a crackdown on free expression in

late 2009. The party tightly controls the press and cracks down strongly on any signs of dissent, increasingly over the Internet. Khuong and Ton were arrested on November 15 for “collecting documents and writing articles which tarnished the reputation of the Communist Party and the Socialist regime,” state media said at the time. Khuong was also accused of giving interviews to foreign radio stations against the state, posting them on the Internet and of belonging to several human rights groups affiliated with so-called “reactionary” people. She had previously been sentenced in April 2008 to two years in jail for “abusing democratic freedoms to infringe upon the interests of the State” and also spent six months in prison in 2005 for “disrupting public order”. —AFP

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


Employees dangle from ropes to clean the glass facade of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, in Dubai yesterday. — AFP

Taylor handed 50 years in jail Continued from Page 1 history,” said Special Court for Sierra Leone judge Richard Lussick, reading out the ruling yesterday. He detailed a litany of horrors, including rebels cutting open pregnant women “to settle bets on the sex of a child.” Many witnesses were “weeping as they testified. Their suffering will be life-long,” Lussick said. “The trial chamber noticed that the effects of these crimes on the families and society as a whole in Sierra Leone was devastating,” the judge said at the hearing in Leidschendam, just outside The Hague. It was the first sentence against a former head of state in an international court since the Nuremberg Nazi trials in 1946. Taylor - with gold-rimmed glasses and cropped greying hair, a dark suit and gold tie - listened with his eyes closed as the judge handed down the sentence, which Taylor’s team, and prosecutors, have two weeks to appeal. Chief prosecutor Brenda Hollis had asked for 80 years’ prison and said her team would study the sentence before deciding whether to appeal. “The sentence... does not replace amputated limbs, does not bring back to life those who were murdered,” she said. “It does not heal the wounds of those victims of sexual violence and does not remove the permanent emotional and psychological scars of those enslaved or recruited as child soldiers. But it brings back some measure of justice... for those fortunate enough to survive.” Taylor’s legal team indicated it would appeal. In Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, hundreds of survivors of the war, which claimed 120,000 lives, watched the proceedings in silence on a large TV screen. Among them was Al Hadji Jusu Jarka, former chairman of the association of amputees, who had both his arms cut off by the rebels. “The curtain has now been drawn on Charles Taylor,” he said. “I hope he will be haunted by his deeds as he languishes in jail.” Sierra Leone hailed the sentencing as “welcome news to both government and the nation”. “It is a step forward as justice has been done,”

Deputy Information Minister Sheku Tarawali said. In Monrovia, some Liberians said they felt humiliated by Taylor’s sentence, while others voiced relief that a dark chapter in the history of the two neighbouring countries had been brought to a close. But many remain deeply bitter that the atrocities of Taylor’s reign as a warlord in his own country have gone unpunished. “To judge Mr Taylor for what occurred in Sierra Leone and ignore what occurred in Liberia is for me a betrayal from the part of the international community,” said Ruth Mendee, 43. “My two children were raped in front of me, and those who did it are still here. I agree that justice must be done for what happened in Sierra Leone, but are we Liberians not humans who deserve justice?” Taylor’s lawyer Courtenay Griffiths however said the sentence meant that “effectively Charles Taylor will die in prison”. Judge Lussick said that Taylor, as president from 1997 to 2003, “held a position of public trust and higher authority, which he abused”. Throughout the trial, Taylor maintained his innocence and insisted he was instrumental in eventually ending Sierra Leone’s civil war. But the judge said that Taylor “secretly... was fueling hostilities”. The ex-president will now remain in the UN’s detention unit in The Hague until appeal procedures are finalised, his lawyers said. The process could still take several months. Taylor’s sentence will be served in a British prison under a 2007 deal to put him on trial in the Netherlandsbased court. The nearly four-year trial, which wrapped up in March 2011, saw several high-profile witnesses testify. Among them was supermodel Naomi Campbell, who told of a gift of “dirty diamonds” she received in 1997 after a charity ball hosted by South Africa’s then-president Nelson Mandela. Nigeria arrested Taylor in March 2006 as he tried to flee from exile there after being forced to quit Liberia three years earlier, under international pressure to end that country’s own civil war. He was transferred to The Hague in mid-2006 amid fears that putting him on trial in Freetown would pose a security threat. — AFP

Kuwait-led group wins Iraq oil bid Continued from Page 1 “We believe that the contracts are balanced and can achieve benefits for both sides,” Al-Ameedi told reporters. “It sounds like the companies were ambitious to achieve better contract guarantees.” The Iraqi oil minister, Abdul-Karim Elaibi, said that if today’s auction also attracts little interest, Iraqi companies would explore those lots. In the current bidding, conditions appeared less attractive for foreign firms than in three previous rounds held since 2009. Only areas with undetermined hydrocarbon resources are on offer, while previously the rights to known big and medium oil and gas fields were being auctioned off. Operating costs for energy companies could be high because most of the 12 exploration blocks are in remote and unsafe areas and lack infrastructure. The government also added a clause for the first time that prevents companies from signing deals with regional authorities without the approval of the central government in Baghdad. Companies that violate the clause will have their contracts terminated, said Sabah Al-Saidi, the deputy head of the Oil Ministry’s Licensing and Petroleum Contracts department. The new clause came in response to Exxon Mobil’s bold move last year to sign six deals with Iraq’s northern self-ruled Kurdish region without Baghdad’s approval. In return, Baghdad banned the Texas-based company from taking part in the current bidding, but kept a deal to develop the 8.6-billionbarrel West Qurna Phase One oil field in the south. In yesterday’s auction, the only successful bid was made by Kuwait Energy and its partners, Turkey’s TPAO and the UAE’s Dragon Oil. The group won the rights to explore a 900-sq-km area in oil-rich southern Basra province. It will be paid $6.24 for each barrel of oil equivalent they find. An unsuccessful bid was made for oil exploration in an 8,000-square-kilometer (3,100-squaremile) area in the southern Muthana and Najaf provinces. A consortium led by UK’s Premier sought $9.85 for each

barrel of oil equivalent, but the government only offered to pay $5 per barrel and withdrew the lot. The consortium also included Vietnam’s PetroVietnam and Russia’s Bashneft. Iraq is offering the energy companies service contracts in which they will be paid a flat fee, rather than the more lucrative production-sharing contracts in which they receive a share of the hydrocarbons found. Four other exploration blocks attracted no bidders. Government officials said two of the lots for natural gas exploration would be offered again today, but did not name the companies. The Iraqi Oil Ministry had approved 47 international energy companies to participate, but only 39 companies paid the participation fee. Top among the approved companies are the AngloDutch Royal Dutch Shell, UK’s BP, Chevron and Occidental of the US, China’s CNOOC and CNPC, Japan’s Japex, Russia’s Lukoil and others. The blocks had been expected to add about 29 trillion cu ft of natural gas to the current 126.7 trillion cu ft in reserves, and about 10 billion barrels of oil to the current proven 143.1 billion barrels of proven reserves. Nearly 70 percent of them hold natural gas and the rest a combination of oil and gas. Five of the blocks are in Iraq’s western Anbar province or shared between Anbar and neighboring provinces; two are in the northern Ninevah province; one is shared between central Diyala province and neighboring Wasit province while the rest are scattered throughout southern Iraq. Since 2008, Iraq has awarded 15 oil and gas deals to international energy companies, the first major investments in the country’s energy industry in more than three decades. The goal was to boost daily production from about 3 million barrels now to 12 million barrels by 2017. But Iraq is mulling whether the target should be revised downward to fewer than 10 million barrels, considering a possible drop in demand on oil in the international market and infrastructure bottlenecks. — AP

Migrant hunting, smuggling on the Yemen-Saudi border HARADH, Yemen: Unfastening his grubby sling, Ali Yusef let out a gasp as his mangled forearm dropped limply to his side. Jumping out of a speeding pick-up truck to evade kidnappers last week, the young Ethiopian was lucky to get away with only a broken arm. Yusef is one of thousands of Ethiopians lured by the promise of a better life in wealthy oil-rich Gulf Arab states who have found themselves trapped in a lawless and violent stretch of territory on the Yemeni side of the border with Saudi Arabia. “It (jumping) was worth the risk,” said Yusef, showing the blisters on his palms. “I’d rather die than let them catch me.” Plagued by sandstorms, drought, gun runners and drug smugglers, the 1,800-km strip of land along the Yemeni-Saudi border has long been a desolate, dangerous place. But crumbling government control and a surge of migrants, driven out of the Horn of Africa by drought, poverty and persecution, have turned it into a kind of hell where criminal gangs roam freely, trading migrants like commodities. Aid workers in Haradh, a smugglers’ outpost on the border, say that the kidnapping of migrants for ransom is now common practice. “Kidnap, robbery, sexual abuse, it’s part of everyday life here,” said Ali Al-Jafri, a logistics officer from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which runs a camp in Haradh for 3,000 Ethiopians awaiting repatriation. “It’s become a business, an industry in itself.” Exploiting the chaos in the country after mass protests forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down after 33 years in office, more than 103,000 men and women crossed the Red Sea into Yemen in 2011 - double the previous year’s figure, according to the UN Refugee

Agency (UNHCR). The increased numbers are part of an exodus from the Horn of Africa that the UNHCR and IOM say represents one of the largest flows of economic refugees on earth. “What you see in Yemen is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Yacoub El Hillo, the director of the UNHCR’s Bureau for the Middle East and North Africa. “This is a lucrative business, it is a criminal business, and it is growing.” Chris Horwood, director of the Nairobi-based Mixed Migration Secretariat, said the kidnapping racket is already well established in the Sinai and more recently in eastern Sudan. “We are calling it the ‘commoditisation’ of migrants,” Horwood said. “It is a lucrative, underground cash-cow. The proliferation of mobile phone networks and money transfer systems that so assist migrants to communicate and fund their journeys have become a curse used by criminals to extort what little the poorest have left.” About 75 percent of the migrants who come to Yemen are Ethiopians, most heading to wealthy Gulf Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, in search of work. Hussein Regin Suri, a stick-thin Ethiopian in flip-flops trudging along a coastal road toward the Saudi border, said he had left his wife, job and nine-month-old child behind in Addis Ababa. “What I earn in two months teaching in Ethiopia, my brother makes in a week chopping vegetables in Riyadh,” Suri said. For most in Yemen - a country with the highest rate of chronic child malnutrition after Afghanistan - the migrants are a burden, another competitor in an already fierce scrap for limited resources. Criminal gangs have scented opportunity, however. They snatch migrants from the roadside and detain and torture them to extract payment

from their relatives abroad. Nineteen-year-old Aisha Saeed Indris relates how her captors pressed lit cigarettes into her forearm to get her father’s telephone number after they bought her from a Yemeni border patrol. “They poured liniment in my eyes. Then they beat me all over my body with a metal chain,” Indris told Reuters in a Haradh hospital where she was receiving treatment for her injuries. “They took it in turns,” she said, her voice faltering. “One of them held me down while the other raped me. Then they called my father in Ethiopia and told him that if he didn’t wire them money, they’d shoot me.” It was only when a fellow migrant escaped and informed the police of her whereabouts that Indris was released. Rattled by the flow of illegal immigrants, drugs and weapons, Saudi authorities have invested billions of dollars shoring up the border over the last decade. Construction of a 75-km iron fence commenced in 2008. Floodlights, thermal cameras and electric wires have all made the crossing more perilous than before. Sometimes, migrants say, Saudi border guards resort to brute force to repel those trying to sneak across the border into the kingdom in search of work. The damp floor of a rundown hospital in Haradh is where many of those who attempt the journey end up. One man named Yusuf hoisted up yellow shorts to reveal a pair of bulging pink scars running up the backs of his thighs. After shooting him in the legs, he said, Saudi patrolmen slung him in the back of a truck, drove him across the border and left him in a ditch under the baking sun. If not for a Yemeni farmer who found him and took him to the clinic, he would have died. — Reuters

MPs outraged after Iran slams Kuwait... Continued from Page 1 statement saying that they will study the details of the ruling before they act. Munawer said that ministry’s behaviour is very weak because all diplomatic protocols stipulate expelling embassy diplomats when spies are discovered, let alone busting a whole network. The lawmaker called on the Kuwaiti foreign minister to take the necessary actions against Iran and to raise the issue at the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting on Saturday in order to take a position against Iranian terrorism. MP Shaye Al-Shaye also criticized the foreign ministry for not swiftly responding to Iran’s provocative statements and sent a question on the subject to Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah. He asked why the foreign ministry has not immediately responded to the Iranian flagrant interference in Kuwait’s internal affairs by the way of criticizing the Kuwaiti appeals court verdict. He also asked the minister about the foreign ministry’s efforts aimed at limiting continued Iranian interference in Kuwait’s internal affairs. MP Faisal Al-Mislem said the Iranian statements confirm Tehran’s aggressive intentions against Kuwait, while Falah Al-

Sawwagh said that national security is a red line and “we will not accept any interference in our internal affairs”. In another issue, the foreign ministry yesterday officially denied a report in a local newspaper that claimed that a lawmaker who is a member of an investigation parliamentary committee has made a statement undermining the ruling family in the presence of Kuwaiti ambassadors and diplomats. The foreign ministry insisted that no such remarks were issued in the presence of any foreign ministry official. A few days ago, the paper said that a member of the parliamentary committee probing alleged foreign money transfers by the former prime minister spoke against the ruling family during a meeting attended by a number of ambassadors. A number of MPs had strongly criticized the newspaper, accusing it of launching a propaganda campaign against opposition MPs. Also, MP Munawer yesterday submitted a proposal calling on the government to send weapons to the Free Syrian Army fighting against the regime of Bashar AlAssad. He also proposed that fundraising campaigns in favour of the Syrian people should be launched under the government’s supervision.


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012



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BlackBerry maker facing critical test this year By Rob Lever lackBerry maker Research In Motion, losing ground rapidly in the smartphone wars, needs to take bold steps to revive its fortunes and compete with iPhones and Android devices overwhelming the market, analysts say. RIM, which pioneered the smartphone, risks falling further behind the competition, and the Canadian firm may even slip behind Microsoft, which is making a new effort with Nokia to develop Windows-powered devices. The company warned Tuesday it could report a loss in the current quarter and said it had hired investment firms to study its strategic options. JP Morgan Securities and RBC Capital Markets were retained to advise RIM in a “strategic review,” which could mean a sale, alliance or other reorganization of the business. RIM shares slid 8.6 percent in morning trade to $10.27 on the news, down from a peak of $144.56 in 2008. A survey by the research firm IDC showed smartphones powered by Google’s Android software accounted for 59 percent of the global market in the first quarter of 2012, with 23 percent for Apple’s iPhones. That left just 6.4 percent for BlackBerry, compared with 13.6 percent a year ago. In the US market, only around five percent of smartphone buyers opted for BlackBerry in the past three months, according to a Nielsen survey. Roberta Cozza, an analyst with Gartner, said RIM risks becoming a “niche” player in the market, especially with some companies adopting a “bring your own” smartphone policy. “Our outlook is that 2012 will be very tough for RIM,” Cozza told AFP. Cozza said the introduction of the new BlackBerry 10 platform later this year, which is aimed at confronting Apple and Android, may do little to help the company. “Their future relies on the execution of the BlackBerry 10 platform and, unfortunately, the outlook we have is not very positive,” she said. Even if the new platform is successful the introduction may be overshadowed by the expected launch of a new iPhone, as well as new Android offerings from Samsung and others, and an aggressive move by Microsoft. “So this (BlackBerry) will be just another device, amid a lot of noise from other big players,” Cozza said. BlackBerry has traditionally been strong in the government sector, and it got a boost in early May with a big order from the US Defense Department, which cited its strong security features. But the US Transportation Security Administration has unveiled plans to buy 1,000 iPhones, and Apple and Android devices are slowly gaining ground in the congressional market that had been dominated by RIM. A National Journal survey showed 77 percent of Capitol Hill staffers said they have BlackBerrys in January, down from 93 percent in 2009, while 41 percent had iPhones. Some reports said RIM will shed more jobs and take additional write-offs as it prepares for the new platform launch. But this may be too late, according to analysts. Software developers making apps for smartphones “are investing in the iOS (Apple) platform and Android,” said Cozza. “They want to be rich and famous and go where the volumes are. So the BlackBerry 10 will be their fourth choice. Even Microsoft-Nokia is a more interesting proposition.” More bluntly, technology blogger Shelley Palmer said the BlackBerry is dead - mainly because it is incompatible with Google apps. “It’s so sad to see a once-great product die such a slow, agonizing death. But it’s truly over,” he said. “There is nothing, short of reinventing BlackBerrys, that can save RIM.” But Jack Gold of J Gold Associates said RIM is “troubled” but still alive. “They still have a loyal, if shrinking, following in the enterprise and government. And in other parts of the world like Latin America and Indonesia, they are a leading consumer smartphone brand,” Gold said in a research report. “However, without being a leader in North America, long-term prospects are bleak. RIM needs to recover from a market perception of being old, clunky and uncool. It needs a compelling user experience fueling that perception change before it can recapture market momentum.” Ramon Llamas of the research firm IDC said that “in the short term, the general consensus is they need to prepare for dwindling market share”. Llamas told AFP that RIM needs to be “a lot more creative” and that the new platform must “knock the ball out of the park” to keep the company competitive. But because BlackBerry 10 is not yet out, he said, “It’s going to be more challenging before it gets better.” —AFP


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Syria massacre pushes Moscow toward decision ladimir Putin resumed the Russian presidency declaring a moral right to promote Kremlin power on the world stage. A massacre in Syria could now press him towards abandoning his closest Middle Eastern ally, but any backdown would have to be carefully engineered to protect Russian interests and save face. International envoy Kofi Annan said the massacre of 108 people, half of them children, in the town of Houla showed Syria at a ‘tipping point’. He urged President Bashar al-Assad to halt the killing that the West blames squarely on his troops. “I think there may be changes in Russia’s position, because Russia has lost its ability to manage the situation,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the journal Russia in Global Affairs and a foreign policy expert with Kremlin connections. With Western and Arab League pressure on both Syria and Russia after the Houla killings, he said, a Russian shift “is more likely than before - but there is no decision yet”. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking after talks with British foreign minister William Hague, blamed both sides, government and rebels, for the Houla massacre; but he appeared to move a degree towards Western and Arab League positions in acknowledging Assad bears overall responsibility for security. Putin flies to Berlin and Paris this week for talks he had hoped would be led by economic projects to modernise Russian industry. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande may have other ideas. “He did not want to talk about Syria, where Russian influence is overestimated,” said German political scientist Alexander Rahr. “If the West decides Putin is defending Assad, that will spoil his chances to develop partnership with Germany and France, which are very important for him.” Russia has helped Assad play for time through more than a year of bloodshed in which the United Nations says government forces have killed more than 9,000 civilians. The government says thousands of police


have been killed by ‘terrorists’. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters nobody had “unambiguous information” about Houla. “One should not give in to emotion at such an important moment.” “Russia is a country with a consistent foreign policy and pressure is hardly appropriate.” With China, Russia vetoed two Westernbacked Security Council resolutions condemning the government, including one in February that backed an Arab League call for Assad to cede power. The context of that veto might suggest a Russia inured to such atrocities or at least strongly wedded to the idea that Assad’s forces were no more to blame than ‘terrorist’ rebels for the violence. The vote came shortly after hundreds of people were reported killed by government shelling of the city of Homs. Houla, however, is arguably different. The massacre took place with United Nations monitors present in the country. Details emerged quickly and in graphic form. The UN said whole families had been shot dead in their homes while houses suffered intense artillery bombardment. Photographs of the bodies of children appeared on the front pages of newspapers across the Western world. In Russia, the coverage of the massacre was less prominent. Yesterday’s Komsomolskaya Pravda, a mass circulation newspaper that has been used to shape public opinion, carried a picture of a blue-helmeted UN observer and a line of bodies wrapped in sheets, the head and chest of one boy visible. “The West has begun war in Syria with the Belgrade bombing scenario”, the headline read, in reference to the 1999 NATO bombing of Belgrade intended to stop Serbian action against the breakaway province of Kosovo. The story suggested the West was using the Houla massacre as a pretext for military intervention in Syria. Kommersant and Izvestia newspapers, however, allowed that Russia was now under stronger pressure to change its stance. The diplomatic pressure to help press

Assad to go, or to engineer his exit, could move Moscow from its policy of awaiting an ebbing of the violence. “I think we’re beyond this point now, we’ve passed this point with the massacre,” said Vladimir Frolov, a Kremlinconnected foreign policy expert and president of LEFF Group, a Moscow-based government relations firm. Moscow has stepped up criticism of Assad and courted his opponents, suggesting it is hedging its bets and hopes to preserve influence in Syria if he is forced out. The Kremlin, however, does not want to lose its firmest foothold in the Middle East - a client for billions of dollars’ worth of weapons and the host of Russia’s only warm-water naval port outside the former Soviet Union. Nor does it want to look weak, having paid the price for weakness in the immediate aftermath of the disintegration of the Soviet Union when it surrendered one foothold after another from eastern Europe to the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. Putin, flanked by military commanders, set out his vision of a powerful Russia during World War Two Victory Day celebrations this month, two days after resuming the presidency. “Russia consistently follows a policy of strengthening global security and we have a great moral right to stand up determinedly for our positions because our country suffered the blow of Nazism,” he declared, flanked by his military commanders in front of the redbrick walls of the Kremlin. He said the lessons of the war remain valid and that “respect for state sovereignty” is a crucial guarantee it will not be repeated - a warning against Western efforts to promote “regime change”. Russian sensitivities run deep and suspicions of a Western-led diplomatic ‘ambush’ will be hard to overcome. Putin made clear he was incensed when NATO, given the green light for air operations in Libya last year when Russia refrained from vetoing Security Council authorisation, helped rebels oust longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi. Since enraging the West with its Syria veto in February, Russia has strongly backed UN-Arab

League envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan, which is acceptable to Moscow because it includes no direct call for Assad to leave power. Russia has long contended that it supports the peace plan, not Assad, and would accept a political transition as long as it is a product of an internal Syrian political process free of conditions dictated from outside. Meanwhile, analysts say, Russia is watching Syria closely, trying to determine whether Assad can hold onto power and worrying there may be a point when helping him stay there is not worth the sacrifice of global prestige. Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama told G8 leaders including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that Assad must leave power and pointed to Yemen as a model of how political transition could work in Syria. In Yemen, Frolov said, Saudi Arabia “pressured both the opposition and the government to agree on a formula for the political transition. “I think that’s what Moscow is trying to achieve in Syria, but I’m afraid Assad is denying Moscow this opportunity,” he said. Georgy Mirsky, of Moscow’s Institute of World Economy and International Relations, said the evidence forced Russia to acknowledge government involvement in the Houla massacre, but that it is far from giving up on Assad. “It would be a mistake to see ... a signal that Russia is beginning to distance itself from Assad, because Assad has not lost the war yet,” he said. But whether or not Russia is amenable, the limits of its sway over Syria could be the biggest hurdle to a deal for Assad’s removal. Russia does not have the same influence in Syria that Saudi Arabia used to force Yemen’s president to go. Yemen relies on Saudi Arabia for billions of dollars of aid. “Russia cannot tell Assad to get out. Even if we did, it does not mean that he would we’re not in that type of relationship,” Frolov said. “Russia can give him advice and nudge him to do this, but ultimately he makes his own decisions.” There are plenty of other obstacles to make Moscow wary of backing such an arrangement.— Reuters

Referendum puts Sinn Fein in spotlight By Padraic Halpin hen Michael O’Byrne’s son finishes a PhD at Britain’s Cambridge University next year, he plans to return home to Dublin to try and win a seat for Sinn Fein at the 2014 local government elections. It is an unlikely background for a career in the onetime political wing of the Irish Republican Army, the guerilla group known for its decadeslong campaign of violence against British rule in Northern Ireland. But Sinn Fein, which was officially banned from appearing on Irish television until as recently as 1993, has changed. Its popularity has surged and this week’s Irish referendum on the EU’s fiscal treaty has put the party’s success in the spotlight. Sinn Fein has shared power in Northern Ireland for several years, but has had little success in the Irish Republic, despite efforts in working class areas such as O’Byrne’s North Dublin suburb of Donaghmede. Now, with an economic crisis threatening the fortunes of the political parties that dominated Ireland for generations, it is the second most popular party in the country. O’Byrne, attending Sinn Fein’s annual conference in Killarney last weekend, said young, educated members like his son, with no ties to the IRA’s violence, are changing the face of the party. “People feel rejuvenated. The young people in particular are seeing a brighter face to Sinn Fein and are more eager to come on board and shun the other par-


ties,” said the 57-year-old O’Byrne, a long time party member wearing a Dublin Gaelic football jersey. “It’s just blossoming. The people coming down the line, they have fresh ideas and for an old Republican like me, it’s heart-warming. Fianna Fail, Labour and Fine Gael better watch out,” he said, referring to Ireland’s traditionally dominant parties. While opinion polls show today’s vote is likely to carry, Ireland rejected two European treaties in 2001 and 2008, so a shock rebuke to the government cannot be ruled out. Either way, as the only major party rallying against the Germanled plan for stricter budget discipline, Sinn Fein’s high-profile campaign has marked it out further from its rivals. Riding an anti-austerity wave that has seen populist parties throughout Europe - from the far right to the hard left - benefit from a debt crisis, Sinn Fein’s support hit a record 24 percent this week, according to an Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll. That made it twice as popular as left wing rivals Labour, the junior coalition party it is targeting relentlessly. Sinn Fein now trails Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s centreright Fine Gael by a mere eight percentage points. Two trends are particularly telling. When Ipsos MRBI ran a poll ahead of last year’s election in which Sinn Fein captured 10 percent of the vote to more than triple its seats to a record 14, it was supported by just six percent of middleclass voters and seven percent of those over the age of 50. According to Monday ’s poll, the level of support

among these groups has risen to 16 percent and 22 percent respectively. Its message is now tailored more to voters concerned about painful governmentimposed austerity than the past of Northern Ireland’s “Troubles”. Articulate party activists like Eoin O’Broin, the director of elections for this week’s referendum on the fiscal treaty, are helping woo voters who once viewed Sinn Fein at best as irrelevant outsiders, and at worst as political pariahs. Selfdescribed as a “solidly south County Dublin middle class fellow”, O’Broin was educated at the well-heeled Blackrock College, best known for producing exPrime Minister Eamon de Valera and Irish rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll. Like many in Sinn Fein, he became involved in politics at university and was quickly promoted to overseeing key policy areas within the party even though he has yet to succeed in winning a seat at local or national level. O’Broin believes it is this kind of talent spotting that has the potential to set Sinn Fein apart from the other parties. “One of the features of the party, north and south, over the last decade is that the party creates space for young people to hold significant positions,” he said. “So it’s not just that we have lots of young people and very talented young people but they see that the party takes them seriously and I think that encourages others to join.” However as political realities catch up with anti-austerity parties in Europe, Sinn Fein’s policies - from rallying against an

EU/IMF bailout to downplaying the risks of rejecting the fiscal treaty - have come under fire in the mainstream press. The Irish Times ran an editorial this month entitled “Shallow, cynical and wrong” while under the headline of “Sinn Fein: smoke and mirrors”, the Irish Independent wrote that its policies reflected core characteristics of “cynicism, hypocrisy and economic ignorance on a breathtaking scale.” While its membership has risen by 35 percent to nearly 7,000 since last year, it is still a way behind Fine Gael’s 35,000. To win a share of power it will also have to turn its popularity into seats in constituencies where it has never seriously competed before. Like many political analysts, University College Dublin professor David Farrell believes it could take just two more electoral cycles for Sinn Fein to enter government, but that will depend on whether it can further widen its appeal. “There’s no doubt they are a force to be reckoned with and I think many of us would be surprised if they’re not in government in some shape or form sometime in the next decade. But they’re going have to make some hard choices if they want to go all the way to becoming one of the larger parties,” Farrell said. “Are they just going to try and become the strong working class party, go for broke on that one, or are they going to try and eat up some more centrist, middle class voters? To do that they will need to moderate their economic policies.” — Reuters

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

sp orts Balotelli warns racists

UEFA suspends Besiktas

Axed rower Savage to appeal

LONDON: Italy striker Mario Balotelli said he would “kill” anyone who threw a banana at him in the street during the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine next month. The volatile Manchester City player experienced racism during his time in Serie A and there are fears that black players could be subjected to it at the tournament. “I will not accept racism at all,” Balotelli, who was abused by Juventus and Roma fans while playing for Inter Milan in 2009, told France Football magazine. “If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to jail because I will kill them,” he added, referring to an incident in Rome when someone threw a banana at him in a bar. “It was lucky the police arrived quickly because I swear, I would have beaten them. I would really have destroyed them. “I hope it never happens again.” BBC television’s current affairs show Panorama highlighted possible racism in Ukraine and Poland this week in a programme entitled Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate. — Reuters

ISTANBUL: UEFA has suspended Besiktas from European competitions for one year and fined them 200,000 euros ($250,700) due to financial problems at the Istanbul club, Turkish media reported yesterday. The move came after UEFA scrutinised Besiktas’ accounts in the second and third quarters of 2011 and ruled that they breached articles of the ruling body’s financial fair play regulations. Shares in Besiktas tumbled more than 9 percent on the news to 4.29 lira. Besiktas Chairman Fikret Orman and the club’s lawyers attended a meeting with UEFA’s disciplinary committee for a second time on Wednesday after the club was earlier warned about its financial status and high debt. Orman said Besiktas would appeal to the Cour t of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) regarding the ban, but added he was not very optimistic about a ruling in favour of the 13-times Turkish champions. “We will defend the club’s rights until the end, and will appeal to CAS as the first step,” Levent Erdogan, a lawyer and club board member told Turkey’s Dogan news agency. “I think it’s a dramatic decision, and it will hit us pretty badly, but there’s nothing we can do,” he added. —Reuters

SYDNEY: Philippa Savage has been dumped from the Australian rowing team for the London Olympics after falling out with her team mates, Rowing Australia (RA) has said. Savage was due to compete in the quad sculls at Eton Dorney later this year but was “de-selected” on the eve of last weekend’s World Cup regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland and replaced by reserve Amy Clay. The 31-year-old, who finished 10th in the women’s single scull at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was sent home on Tuesday after signalling she would appeal the decision to an RA tribunal. “ The decision follows concerns around the performance of the crew due to incompatibility issues among the crew,” RA national high performance director Andrew Matheson said in a statement. “The incompatibility was affecting the preparation and performance of the crew and came to a head shortly before World Cup 2 in Lucerne. — Reuters

MLB results/standings Chicago Cubs 5, San Diego 3; Kansas City 8, Cleveland 2; Cincinnati 8, Pittsburgh 1; Toronto 8, Baltimore 6; Boston 6, Detroit 3; Chicago White Sox 7, Tampa Bay 2; Atlanta 5, St Louis 4; Miami 3, Washington 1; NY Mets 6, Philadelphia 3; Seattle 10, Texas 3; Minnesota 3, Oakland 2; LA Angels 5, NY Yankees 1; Milwaukee 2, La Dodgers 1; San Francisco 3, Arizona 1. American League Eastern Division W L PCT GB 29 21 .580 Tampa Bay Baltimore 29 21 .580 NY Yankees 26 23 .531 2.5 Toronto 26 24 .520 3 Boston 25 24 .510 3.5 Central Division C’ White Sox 28 22 .560 27 22 .551 .5 Cleveland Detroit 23 26 .469 4.5 Kansas City 20 28 .417 7 Minnesota 17 32 .347 10.5 Western Division Texas 31 19 .620 26 25 .510 5.5 LA Angels Oakland 22 28 .440 9 Seattle 22 30 .423 10

National League Eastern Division Washington 29 20 .592 28 22 .560 1.5 NY Mets Miami 28 22 .560 1.5 Atlanta 27 24 .529 3 Philadelphia 26 25 .510 4 Central Division Cincinnati 28 21 .571 27 23 .540 1.5 St. Louis Pittsburgh 24 25 .490 4 Houston 22 27 .449 6 Milwaukee 21 28 .429 7 Chicago Cubs 17 32 .347 11 Western Division LA Dodgers 32 17 .653 .540 5.5 San Francisco 27 23 Arizona 22 28 .440 10.5 Colorado 19 29 .396 12.5 San Diego 17 34 .333 16

MIAMI: Marlins’ Anibal Sanchez throws in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals. —AP

Marlins see off Nationals MIAMI: Anibal Sanchez allowed only an unearned run in seven innings to remain unbeaten in 19 starts against Washington, helping the Miami Marlins beat the Nationals 3-1 Tuesday to break the club record for victories in a month. The Marlins are 20-8 since May 1, best in major league baseball, and they’re six games above .500 for the first time since last June 4. Greg Dobbs, pinch-hitting for Sanchez, drove in the run that put Miami ahead to stay with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Hanley Ramirez hit his eighth homer leading off the eighth. Sanchez (3-3) allowed only three hits and one walk and lowered his ERA to 2.56. Edwin Jackson (1-3) allowed only two runs, one earned, in 6 2-3 innings. Braves 5, Cardinals 4 At Atlanta, Dan Uggla hit a three-run homer, Michael Bourn also hit a home run and the Braves ended their longest losing streak in more than two years, holding off the Cardinals after eight straight losses. Bourn led off the bottom of the first inning with his fifth homer of the season, tying a career high. Uggla made it 4-0 in the third, hitting one into the seats in left-center field. Randall Delgado (3-5) worked into the sixth, allowing three runs, and the Cardinals closed within a run in the seventh on Yadier Molina’s third RBI of the night, a run-scoring single. Molina went 4-for-4, including a solo homer. But Craig Kimbrel got the final three outs for his 14th save in 15 chances. Jake Westbook (4-4) took the loss. Cubs 5, Padres 3 At Chicago, Alfonso Soriano homered, Jeff Samardzija struck out eight in seven innings and the Cubs beat the Padres. Soriano hit a solo homer to center field in the sixth. After going homerless in his first 30 games this season, Soriano has seven home runs in his last 13 games. Samardzija (5-3) allowed eight hits and was one strikeout from tying his career high. He departed after Will Venable’s RBI triple with no outs in the eighth. Shawn Camp kept the lead

intact, getting Carlos Quentin on a fly to left to end the inning. James Russell got the last two outs for his first career save. Quentin homered and had three hits for San Diego. His drive on the first pitch of the fifth was his first home run as a Padre. Mets 6, Phillies 3 At New York, Jeremy Hefner earned his first victory in the majors, highlighting the occasion by homering for his first big league hit as the Mets beat the Phillies. The 26-year-old rookie became the first major league pitcher to hit his first homer in his first win since 2002, when Dennis Tankersley did it with San Diego, STATS LLC said. Pinch-hitter Scott Hairston had a two-run homer and newcomer Omar Quintanilla doubled twice and singled to help New York win for the fourth time in five games. After a storm delay of 64 minutes in the eighth inning, the Mets improved to 6-2 against Philadelphia this year.

Powerful Angels blast Yankees ANAHEIM: Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo homered and Dan Haren pitched into the eighth inning as the Los Angeles Angels extended their longest winning streak in nearly three years to eight games with a 5-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night. Mike Trout hit a run-scoring triple for the Angels, who have won 11 of 15. After a rough start to a season of high expectations, Los Angeles (26-25) is above .500 for the first time since opening day. Haren (3-5) had seven strikeouts and no walks, coming through with a strong start after the Los Angeles bullpen had to pitch nine innings in relief of injured ace Jered Weaver during Monday’s 9-8 victory. Andy Pettitte (2-2) yielded nine hits and five runs over seven-plus innings for the Yankees. White Sox 7, Rays 2 At St. Petersburg, Philip Humber won for the first time since throwing a perfect game in April, helping Chicago beat Tampa Bay to extend its winning streak to seven games. Hideki Matsui homered in his Tampa Bay debut. The Rays purchased the 2009 World Series MVP’s contract from Triple-A Durham before the game. Humber (2-2) was 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA over six starts since his gem against Seattle on April 21. The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings Tuesday. Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo both had two RBIs for the White Sox. James Shields (6-3) gave up six runs and 10 hits in six innings for the Rays.

Boston, allowing two runs on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks as the Red Sox improved to 25-24. Verlander (5-3) lost his second straight start since taking a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Pittsburgh on May 18. The reigning American League MVP and Cy Young winner allowed five runs on 10 hits, struck out seven and walked one in six innings. Jhonny Peralta and Prince Fielder hit solo homers for the Tigers. Blue Jays 8, Orioles 6 At Toronto, Brett Lawrie had three hits and three RBIs, and Ricky Romero won for the seventh time in nine starts against Baltimore. Romero (6-1) improved to 7-1 with a 2.43 ERA in his past nine starts against the Orioles. Adam Jones hit two homers, extending his hitting streak to 20 games, and Chris Davis added a two-run drive in the ninth but it wasn’t enough for Baltimore. The Orioles have lost four straight and seven of nine, but remain tied with Tampa Bay atop the AL East. Romero allowed four runs and six hits in six innings to win his second in five starts. Jake Arrieta (2-6) gave up seven runs, six earned, and six hits in 4 1-3 innings. Royals 8, Indians 2 At Cleveland, Mike Moustakas had a career-

Twins 3, Athletics 2 At Minneapolis, Josh Willingham hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Minnesota over Oakland. Justin Morneau added two doubles for the Twins, who trailed 2-0 heading into the ninth thanks to a strong start from A’s right-hander Jarrod Parker. Brian Fuentes (2-1) came on and allowed a single and a walk before Willingham hit a 1-0 pitch into the bullpen. Parker allowed four hits, walked four and struck out four in six shutout innings. Glen Perkins (1-1) pitched the ninth for the Twins and Fuentes, the former Twins reliever, blew his second save in six chances this season. —AP

Mariners 10, Rangers 3 At Arlington, John Jaso drove in three runs and Jason Vargas pitched into the seventh inning as Seattle beat Texas to end a fivegame losing streak. Jaso’s two-run homer in the second put the Mariners ahead to stay on the way to matching their highest run total this season. Scott Feldman (0-3) gave up four runs - two earned - with three strikeouts and three walks over 4 2-3 innings. Josh Hamilton hit his majors-best 21st homer for Texas. Vargas (6-4) allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2-3 innings. The left-hander struck out two and walked three. Red Sox 6, Tigers 3 At Boston, David Ortiz homered and hit two doubles as the Red Sox moved above .500 for the first time this season, tagging Justin Verlander for 10 hits in a win over Detroit. Daniel Bard (5-5) pitched 5 1-3 innings for

ANAHEIM: New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels. —AP

Lawrie has eye on making Ryder Cup

Reds 8, Pirates 1 At Pittsburgh, Jay Bruce had three hits, including a pair of doubles, Todd Frazier drove in two runs to cap an eventful day and the Reds cruised by the Pirates. Homer Bailey (4-3) gave up one run on four hits, walking one and striking out four while pitching his second career complete game. Frazier doubled and tripled in his first two at-bats hours less than a day after saving a Pittsburgh restaurant-goer from choking on a piece of steak by giving him the Heimlich maneuver. Charlie Morton (2-6) struggled with his trademark sinker and the Reds took advantage by knocking him around soggy PNC Park following a nearly 2-hour rain delay. Brewers 2, Dodgers 1 At Los Angeles, Ryan Braun hit a tworun homer, getting back at Dodgers fans who booed his every move and leading the Brewers to a victory over Los Angeles. Mike Fiers (1-0) allowed a run and five hits in seven innings, striking out three and walking none in his first major league start and third appearance after being recalled from Triple-A Nashville. — Reuters

best four RBIs to help rookie Will Smith get his first major league win, leading Kansas City over Cleveland. Moustakas hit a two-run homer off Justin Masterson (2-4) in the first and singled in two runs in the second. That was more than enough support for Smith (1-1), who allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. The left-hander rebounded after being thumped by the Yankees in his debut last week. Humberto Quintero added two RBIs as the Royals improved to 15-11 on the road. Masterson allowed seven earned runs in six innings.

VIRGINIA WATER: Scotland’s Paul Lawrie plays a shot from the 4th fairway in this file photo. —AP

NEWPORT: Paul Lawrie goes into this week’s Wales Open knowing his performance at the BMW PGA Championship means he has been pencilled into Jose Maria Olazabal’s Ryder Cup team. “I think Paul’s pretty much in after what he did last week,” Olazabal said. “If he plays just decent golf from now on I think he is pretty much in the team. He proved last week that he must have played really well to shoot 6-under par (66) in the last round and finish second on that golf course, which is a huge challenge.” Olazabal also praised Lawrie’s form since he won the Andalucian Open in March 2011. “I have to take my hat off to him because the last part of last season was extraordinary. He played really well and has kept that level this year.” Lawrie finished second at the Dubai World Championship, the European Tour’s end-of-season event. He went on to win his seventh tour title at the Qatar Masters in February and finished third in the World Match Play Championship the week before Wentworth. Lawrie, who has six top-10 finishes this year, said yesterday that making the Ryder Cup team would rank higher than his victory at the British Open in 1999. “It would be the biggest achievement of my career,” said Lawrie. “I’ve never hidden the fact, this year the Ryder Cup is really the only big thing I am interested in doing. I would love to play in that team. “I’ll not be on that team until the list comes out and my name is on it, mentally as far as I’m concerned,” the Scot said. The Wales Open starts today at Celtic Manor, where Europe won the Ryder Cup in 2010. Defending champion Alexander Noren of Sweden is hoping for a repeat of the same pattern of success he enjoyed last year. In the same week in 2011, Noren qualified for the US Open on the Monday and later in the week won the Wales Open. At the start of this week, he again qualified for the second major of the year. “It was pretty much exactly the same as it happened last year,” Noren said. “I was so pleased to get into the US Open (last year), so I relaxed because I was on a high. Winning here was fantastic and everything went on from there. It’s just nice to be back with all the memories. “The main thing I think is to play the best courses with the best players and you will improve. That is why I am so happy to qualify for the US Open now so I have the chance to do that.” Also entered are Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinaro, and 2002 US PGA Championship winner Rich Beem. —AP


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


Belu leads Romania back into the Olympic limelight

Taufik Hidayat

Indonesian badminton flop raises concern for Olympics JAKARTA: Stinging criticism from several leading current and former Indonesian badminton players over the state of the sport in the country has left officials on the back foot ahead of this year’s London Olympics. The Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) accepted the team had badly underperformed at the recent Thomas and Uber Cup in Wuhan, China. In a bid at damage control before the London Games, which open on July 27, PBSI general secretary Yacob Rusdianto told the Jakarta Post the body “gladly welcomed” the feedback. The PBSI were responding to a petition sent by furious players demanding a transparent probe into Indonesia’s dramatic fall from grace in badminton. “What the PBSI has done so far — upgrading the national training camp’s facilities, providing physical coaches, doctors and psychologists — all came from their suggestions,” insisted Yacob. He also promised an evaluation of Indonesia’s Wuhan flop would come soon but did not pull any punches over the team’s performances. “In singles, we indeed were in deep trouble,” said Yacob, underlining the concerns of the PBSI’s critics by adding: “Also our opponents performed better than us.”

Indonesia, winner of a record 13 Thomas Cups, were embarrassed by Japan in the quarter-finals, prompting an angry reaction. “We’re still trying to figure out what went wrong,” said Yacob, smarting from an outburst from 2004 Athens Olympic champions Taufik Hidayat. “The togetherness among team members on this year’s Thomas and Uber Cup no longer existed,” said Hidayat, who suffered an upset loss by Japan’s Kenichi Tago. Hidayat lamented that players did not socialise or pray together before or after matches. “I’ve been on the Thomas Cup team seven times and this was a first,” he fumed. “One of the team members decided to go to Papua for some exhibition event two days before our departure (for China). The PBSI let him go. Where is the patriotism?” Ivana Lie, 1982 Asian Games gold medallist, accused PBSI officials of ignoring former players, laying the blame at the door of the body’s under-fire chief Djoko Santoso. She and several players turned on Chinese-born coach Li Mao, claiming it was wrong to appoint foreigners. “There’s so much mismanagement,” Lie said. “Directly appointing a foreign coach... should be under the sports development division, but in reality, it wasn’t.” —Reuters

Kiteboarding soars after 2016 inclusion PINGTAN: Kiteboarders from around the world kill time on a Chinese beach as calm conditions keep them grounded, but the 100 or so suntanned athletes seem unperturbed. Ever since their sport was included on the Olympic programme for the 2016 Games their spirits have been sky high. The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) announced the decision to include men’s and women’s kiteboarding at the expense of windsurfing earlier this month, describing it as a “fantastic addition” for the Games in Rio de Janeiro. While the decision to chop windsurfing prompted jeers from leading athletes, those at a recent Kiteboard Tour Asia event in Pingtan, a cluster of Chinese islands in the Taiwan Strait, lauded the recognition for the fast-growing sport. Turkey’s Salih Cakir has already begun training for 2016 and says kiteboarding is on the up. “It’s exciting, it’s fun, easy to learn, and it’s the new extreme sport everyone’s talking about,” added Cakir, who runs a training school in Gokova on the Aegean coast. International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Executive Secretar y Markus Schwendtner estimates there are more than 1.5 million competitive and hobby participants globally for the sport, which sees around 100,000 new learners every year, though numbers are hard to pin down due to the independent nature of the sport. Described as a mixture between windsur fing, sur fing and wakeboarding, freestyle kiteboarders perform daring tricks such as the “hasselhoff” and the “unhooked raley”, though it is the fast-paced course racing discipline that will appear in Rio. “Kitesurfing isn’t just jumping and hopping around,” Cakir said as kites float past

the backdrop of Pingtan’s old stone village houses. “The freestyle side of people are more relaxed, laid back and so on. But the racing people, they can be a little bit more serious.” Proponents of kiteboarding say the sport’s visual appeal, portability and accessibility are ideal to get athletes from emerging economies involved. “I believe there will in fact be tremendous increase particularly from the non-traditional sailing countries in Asia,” ISAF Vice President Low Teo Ping told Reuters this month. KTA founding director Neil Godbold said lower costs for kite equipment compared to other sailing categories could open the sport to a wider range of competitors. “We’re not like sailing, coming through a yacht club system. Kiteboarding has always come from a more commercial angle,” Godbold said, as crowds of Chinese spectators watched the competition under a psychedelic swarm of hovering kites. Ken Nacor of the Philippines, a freestyle Asian champion who also has one eye on the 2016 Olympics, said kiteboarding was a perfect fit for his home island of Boracay thanks to its kite-friendly beaches. “Pretty much anyone can learn, said Nacor, who coaches kiteboarding back home when he is not competing, “if you have good coordination and are not scared of the water”. Critics of the ISAF’s decision have voiced concerns over the safety of kiteboarding, while windsurfing federations have vowed to get their sport reinstated. “For kitesurfing, to disconnect yourself from the kite if something goes wrong is something very difficult to do, especially for kids,” Israeli windsurfer and kiteboarder Amit Inbar. “And I don’t see kids at the age of eight up to 12 dealing with a kite in the same safe manner as they can deal with windsurfing.” —Reuters

BRUSSELS: Somehow in the hands of Romanian coach Octavian Belu, the past can make a comeback - even in gymnastics. And two months ahead of the London Olympics, he already has European Championship gold to show for it. In his broad hands and upon his Olympic return, a Romanian team that was little more than an afterthought a month ago is now squarely in the medal mix. The failures of the last six years under a different coach are already a distant memory, drowned in the cheers and adulation for the latest squad Belu has assembled, the kind his poor eastern European nation seems to throw up at will. “Our target is there in London,” Belu said after his team claimed four of five gold medals in midMay during the Euros in Brussels. “Here we came to try different things.” And work they did. The Romanians dominated the championships where many had expected the Russians to shine, especially former world champion Aliya Mustafina. Still, however awesome beating the Russians is for any Romanian team, the Olympics will throw up even bigger challenges - the Americans and the Chinese. “ They can go head to head with the US team for the gold,” said Nadia Comaneci, who first put Romania in the spotlight when she earned the sport’s first perfect 10 at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Now living and working in the United States, Comaneci still has a keen eye for Romanian gymnastics and a soft spot for their fortunes. It is what has made her especially sad to see the sharp decline between 2005 and 2010, when Belu was on the sidelines. “We have a history, we have a school, we know how to do it. I said ‘ Where did we go away? When did we go away?’” she told The Associated Press in an interview. “ What happened was that Romania stayed in a place and everybody else went ahead. Romania just stopped and everybody else did little steps, and that created the difference.” Belu knows all too well what that means. Belu took over the Romanian team after Martha and Bela Karolyi defected to the United States in 1981. The Karolyis started producing world and Olympic champions in the US, and Belu did likewise in Romania. Each had their gymnastics fac-

“Most people don’t go to a doctor or hospital emergency rooms saying they’ve got pneumococcal meningitis or measles, they walk in and say they’ve got diarrhoea and vomiting, or a temperature, a sore throat and a headache,” he explains. “ We record those symptoms, or syndromes, and we analyse the data on a regular basis to look for changes to normal patterns.” The Olympic and Paralympic Games are set to be one of the largest mass gatherings Britain has handled, with 8 million Olympic and 2 million Paralympic tickets being sold to spectators from all parts of the country and across the world. More than 10,000 athletes from more than 200 countries will take part in events starting on July 27 with the opening ceremony and then spreading across 34 different venues. Little surprise then that the Olympics pose significant public health risks and McCloskey is eager to get ahead. “The main thing is to know what’s happening,” he adds. “That’s our key job, putting in place the surveillance systems which will tell us whether anything unusual is happening. Then our response will be to see what we can do to control it and reduce the spread.” —Reuters

tics really is. All too often, the sport burns up its 16-year-old prodigies within one Olympic cycle, the victims of injury or worn down by the strictest of training regimens. If not that, the physical transition from puberty to womanhood can do likewise. Ponor, the defining gymnast of the 2004 Athens Olympics with three golds, has survived it all, including a long retirement and a brief comeback in 2007.

When Belu looked Ponor straight in the eye and gave the rock-solid veteran the warmest of hugs after Romania won team gold, he also had to stoop to embrace the tiny 15-year-old Larissa Iordache, the revelation of the European Championships. Like Ponor, she finished with two gold medals and a silver. “The Olympic champion comes out and gives confidence and experience and the young ones

BUCHAREST: In this Friday Aug. 6, 2004 file photo, Romanian head coach of the Olympics gymnastics team Octavian Belu (rear center) poses with team members before departing for the Athens Olympics. —AP championships, the first time since 1981 it had failed to win a team medal. It got back on the podium with a bronze in 2007, but it was a distant third behind the United States and China. Same story at the Beijing Olympics, where the Romanians finished more than seven points behind Olympic champion China, and Sandra Izbasa’s gold on floor was the only individual medal. Two years later, Romania asked Belu and longtime coaching partner Mariana Bitang to return. “He’s a great coach,” said Comaneci, who worked with Belu in Romania’s famed Deva training center at one point before leaving the country. A coach, though, is only as good as his disciples. At the heart of his heady mix of youth and experience is 24-yearold Catalina Ponor, swept up again by oceans of time - because that is how long eight years in gymnas-

“It is very, very hard because it is four years when you don’t do anything, just staying in bed, moving my hands, and that’s it,” she laughed. “I wished to bring myself here, and to push this team and try to get myself to the top.” She excelled again on the balance beam and the floor, showing poise and grace that only experience and a full-grown body can bring. Ponor left the Europeans with two gold medals and a silver. “You saw the reaction of the fans,” Belu beamed. “A triple Olympic champion gets respect, especially if she performs like this.” Once she steps away from the apparatuses, her stature increases even further, when she motivates the teenagers with pep talks and her sheer aura. “She is like a big sister for them. She is still too young to be a mother for them,” Belu said.

follow with their dynamism and joy,” Belu said. Yet experience cannot come fast enough. With gold on the line and only Iordache to come, Belu let her do the high-risk toughest routine of jumps and tumbles instead of holding back for a safe routine. “I said, if she can do, she should do it,” Belu said. “You have to give the girl training on how to be able to deal with it at the highest level.” Despite all the joy and confidence surrounding him, Belu realized how little European gold will mean, come London. And let it be known to his powerful pixie Iordache. “I told her: you have now seen the Russians. Now, you have to see the Americans, you have to see the Chinese. You have to nurture a state of mind to deal with all that,” Belu said. “The Olympics are truly totally different.” —AP

Rudisha focused on 800m gold NEW YORK: David Rudisha won’t concentrate on running fast this summer. Make no mistake, the 800-meter world-record holder needs to hold a swift pace and summon a fierce finishing kick to win that elusive Olympic gold medal. But his training focuses on simply winning, in whatever time that takes. Seeking to lower his world record would require a different kind of preparation, which might leave him vulnerable to an upset in London. The 23-year-old Kenyan star won a world championship last year, and now every decision he makes revolves around capturing “the only main title I’m still lacking in my career.” “I don’t want to take any chances of doing anything else before I finish that task,” Rudisha said on a conference call Tuesday.

Disease surveillance during Games LONDON: If someone’s stomach is churning and cramping after eating a burger or club sandwich from a pop-up vendor at the London Olympics, Brian McCloskey plans to be among the first to hear about it. As the man in charge of disease surveillance during the Games, he says the greatest risk will be food poisoning from people eating street snacks in warm weather, failing to wash their hands and using the same toilets as millions of others. But he has a strategy to get ahead of the threat. McCloskey’s Health Protection Agency Olympic co-ordination centre (OCC) will gather data on a daily basis — not only on confirmed cases of diseases such as measles, meningitis, salmonella and flu, but also on the stomach cramps, coughs, headaches and fever symptoms people complain of when they go to walk-in clinics or emergency rooms. “It’s called syndromic surveillance, and it’s kind of a speciality of the UK,” McCloskey told Reuters in an interview. The idea is that as well as waiting for doctors to officially diagnose and report a specific illness up the data chain, a process that may take days, McCloskey’s team will get prior warning by assessing symptoms early.

tory, and their rivalry seemed set to last for decades. But Belu’s program hit trouble about eight years ago. Critics said he drove child athletes too hard and one medalist even sued in 2004 for allegedly being forced to train injured. He quit a year later, after two decades and 272 medals, including 104 gold in top competitions. The decline was swift. Romania finished fourth at the 2006 world

David Rudisha

In 2010, Rudisha’s training was all about the time. He worked on speed and splits, picking fast races to try to break the 13-year-old 800 world record. He accomplished that goal twice. In 2011, though, Rudisha honed in on the world championships. What mattered was tactics. His time of 1 minute, 43.91 seconds was nearly 3 seconds off his record of 1:41.01, but it was plenty quick enough for a dominating victory. Now we’re in an Olympic year, and again winning takes precedence. “Even if the pace is slow in championships, you can still sprint well and still power in the last 200, which is always the main part when the race is slow,” Rudisha said. He must ensure his body and mind are equipped for any scenario. “Championship is a little bit tricky,” he said.

“You have to be ready for all of these. You have to be ready for slow as well as fast race.” Then after the Olympics are over, Rudisha can return to the business of lowering his world record. Setting a new standard demands “good planning,” Rudisha said, and the lead-up to a major championship isn’t the time for that. Rudisha raced a 400 in Sydney early this year to work on his speed, but now he’ll compete only in the 800 so he doesn’t lose his rhythm in his signature event. He ran a 1:43.10 in Doha earlier this month and believes he can post a 1:42 at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York City on June 9, his first appearance in the United States. That’s exactly two months before the 800 is scheduled to be held in London. As Rudisha’s goal of a 1:42 shows, he expects that by now, he should be far along in his training. The fastest 800 ever run on U.S. soil is a 1:42.58 set by Vebjorn Rodal of Norway at the 1996 Olympics. “A 1:42 is not an easy thing to do,” Rudisha said. “You have to be ready. You have to have that speed. You have to have that endurance. Everything is almost in position. It’s just polishing toward the Olympics.” The pressure to win an Olympic medal comes not only from Rudisha’s recent success. His father, Daniel, won silver in the 1,600-meter relay at the 1968 Mexico City Games. The son would love to run in that relay in London, since it comes after the 800. All he needs is for his Kenyan teammates to qualify for the final. Rudisha enjoys speculating about Usain Bolt perhaps anchoring the Jamaican team in that race against him. As a 19-year-old in 2008, Rudisha appeared poised to make the Olympic team, but injuries kept him from qualifying for Beijing. He plans to compete at Kenya’s Olympic trials this year even though he would seem guaranteed a wild-card entry, knowing the marathon world-record holder was left off the team. Rudisha isn’t taking any chances when the goal is Olympic gold. “I need to be ready,” he said, “for any situation that will come.” —AP


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

sp orts

India’s Anand keeps chess crown in ‘Battle of the Armageddon’

BERLIN: In this Aug. 19, 2009 file photo, South Africa’s Caster Semenya celebrates after winning the gold medal in the final of the Women’s 800-meter race at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin. —AP

Semenya now wants her running to do the talking JOHANNESBURG: Seeing her most intimate details reported and debated in the global media robbed Caster Semenya of the chance to really celebrate winning her first world championship at the age of 18. After claiming the world 800-meter title in a stunningly fast time at her first major international meet in 2009, she was subjected to invasive and embarrassing gender tests because of her muscular build and rapid improvement in times. The teenage girl from a tiny village in rural northern South Africa recoiled amid the testing and the resultant whirlwind of speculation over whether or not she was female. The turmoil easily could have killed her resolve, and forced her into premature retirement. But Caster Semenya is running again and, for her, that’s what matters most. After all the public scrutiny, an 11-month IAAF-enforced break from competition, niggling injury and a dip in form, worries if she could afford to keep competing and a split with her former coach, Semenya is back on track for her original goals: winning races and medals. Now for her first Olympics. Still just 21, and already with a gold and a silver from the last two world championships, Semenya heads into the London Games as one of South Africa’s best medal chances. “The plan is to win the Olympics, that’s all,” Semenya said immediately after qualifying for London. “I have to win a gold, that’s what I want. The Olympics is a big step. Everybody wants to win the Olympics.” She believes she’s on course to achieve a rare world and Olympic double in London. And with former world and Olympic 800 champion Maria Mutola as her coach, Semenya has an ideal mentor. There remain unseen scars from her earlier ordeal. Semenya still comes with a brooding distrust of the media understandable considering the rampant public debate over something as intimately personal as her gender. It led to some unsavory presumptions. She rarely gives interviews. Perhaps no other athlete wants as much to let their running do the talking. “I feel comfortable ... running is what I always wanted to do. Every day. So, yes, I think I’m OK. I’m coping,” she said, avoiding referring directly to past controversies as a group of reporters crowded around her after a race at the University of Pretoria eager to get some rare public comments. “I feel OK because I’m able to run good races again, faster. Qualifying for the Olympics is a step forward. Everything is OK. I feel OK. I’m very happy.” Semenya’s rise to international attention began the month before the 2009 world championships in Berlin. She announced herself at the African Junior Championships by winning the 800 in a national record 1 minute, 56.72 seconds - her first recorded time under the two-minute barrier. The time was the best in the world to that point of the year and quickly raised the interest of the IAAF. Overall, she had carved around seven seconds off her personal best in less than a year. “ The 18-year-old Semenya is guaranteed special attention at the World Championships in Berlin,” a glowing IAAF report noted at the time. The writer couldn’t have been more

correct, but for another reason. Three weeks later, and apparently just hours after undergoing gender tests, Semenya clocked 1:55.45 to win the world championships final. She dominated the race completely despite her inexperience, leaving the world’s best women in her wake. The speculation started immediately. Her closely cropped hair and her clenched-fists celebration, with shoulder and biceps muscles bulging, sent the rumor mill into overdrive as news of the gender tests leaked. The words intersex and hermaphrodite emerged in the coverage as Semenya’s story hit front pages. She was sidelined from competition while the IAAF examined results of her tests and even prevented from competing by officials after turning up at a meet in Stellenbosch, in southwestern South Africa. Her frustration was evident. “I have been subjected to unwarranted and invasive scrutiny of the most intimate and private details of my being,” Semenya said in comments released by her legal advisers at the time, adding she had “begrudgingly” submitted to the IAAF’s “process” despite reservations about its “correctness and moral integrity.” While it was suggested that a natural condition that produced excess testosterone contributed to Semenya’s dominant win over more experienced runners and gave her an advantage over other female athletes, the IAAF didn’t release any details of the investigation that eventually cleared her to return in July 2010. The IAAF said Semenya’s case was and would remain confidential, but the sport’s governing body did confirm that a panel of medical experts had determined she could compete as a woman. It’s believed her case was one of the reasons why the IAAF introduced new regulations last year to deal with female athletes who produce higher than usual levels of testosterone - and so are able to build more muscle and have better endurance. However, importantly for Semenya’s Olympic hopes and her competitive future, her raw potential was again in evidence at last year’s world championships at Daegu, South Korea. With no doubts over her eligibility, she finished second to Russia’s Mariya Savinova in 1:56.35 after a year in which she barely trained because of a lower back injury and fell out with former coach Michael Seme. Semenya said she prepared on her own for a month leading up to the worlds - and yet still nearly retained her title. What’s possible, then, in a year with none of the distractions that have characterized her short career so far? Even before she took over as her coach, Mutola told The Associated Press she had “no doubt” that Semenya could break Jarmila Kratochvilova’s near 30-year-old world 800 record of 1:53.28. For the former runner from Mozambique, who has a similarly humble southern African background to Semenya, her 21-year-old prodigy is yet to come anywhere near realizing her full potential. “I think she probably scared a lot of people with the 1 minute, 55 seconds at the world championships at the age of 18,” Mutola said. “That was amazing.” — AP

MOSCOW: India’s Viswanathan Anand retained yesterday his world chess title by outgunning his Israeli challenger Boris Gelfand in a quick-fire shootout forced after their 12-game Moscow epic ended all square. Dubbed the “Battle of the Armageddon” in chess circles, the tie-break saw the two chess titans clash in four nailbiting speed chess games that lasted over four hours and left both players emotionally exhausted. Three of the games ended in draws but a mistake by Gelfand in the endgame of game two as his allotted 25 minutes ran out proved decisive. Anand, known as the “Tiger of Madras”, won that game and then doughtily resisted attempts by the Israeli to break through. “It was incredibly tense,” a drained Anand told reporters after the match. “I think that right now, the only feeling you have is relief. I am really too tense to be happy, but there is relief.” “Today, it is difficult to claim anything. I would simply say that my nerves held on better. I simply hung on for dear life.” With the players knowing one mistake could cost the championships, the match was marked by the almost unbearable tension of past great clashes like the epic world title match between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov in 1984-85. The series had been staged at the Tretyakov art gallery in Moscow, the first time the Russian capital has hosted the world chess championships since the Kasparov-Karpov game that was called off due to fears for their health. Anand will take $1.4 million and Gelfand $1.15 million from a $2.55 million total prize fund, under rules that saw an evening-out of the prize money if the match went to a tiebreak. The thrilling tie-break was worthy of a tournament whose history also includes the historic 1972 clash in Reykjavik at the height of the Cold War between Bobby Fischer of the US and Soviet great Boris Spassky. The Minsk-born Israeli had chances in all

four tie-break games to put pressure on Anand and at times showed magnificently resourceful defence against the Indian’s attacks. Anand, dressed in his usual blue shirt, sat rooted to his chair as the more expressive Gelfand ran his hands through his hair and took long walks away from the board to think out his positions. As tension mounted, Gelfand indulged in his favorite stress-busting habit of repeatedly

gle, not without mistakes, but a lot of fight was shown by both players,” he added. Gelfand used up most of his allotted time in each of the games, leaving him under huge pressure as he made the endgame moves with just seconds remaining. “I think the decisive factor was that fact I did not use my time so wisely,” he said. “My strategy was simple-to take it one game at a time, create the most problems and make the best moves.” The two masters displayed

MOSCOW: World Chess champion Viswanathan Anand from India (right) and his challenger Boris Gelfand, play a FIDE World Chess Championship match. —AP rotating one of the taken bishop pieces in his right hand. But he did not find a way to break down the Anand defence and seeing no chance of the victory he needed in the final fourth game Gelfand offered the draw which gave Anand the tiebreak by 2.5 points-to-1.5 and the title. After four-and-a-half hours of extreme tension, the two men shook hands and immediately left the stage. “Boris had his chances in each of the four tie-break games,” commented Russian grandmaster Peter Svidler. “Today has been a magnificent strug-

titanic control of the board in the regular 12game series earlier this month but it ended level with just a win apiece and 10 draws. Anand lost game seven but then levelled the scores by coming back to win game eight. He revealed Wednesday that he could not “remember such a bad day as after game seven. I mean I could not sleep.” Absent from the world championship process has been the world number one, t h e 2 1 -ye a r- o l d N o r we gi a n p ro d i g y Magnus Carlsen who dropped out in the qualifying rounds as he did not agree with the format. —AFP

Hurdlers line up in Oregon

Jamaica’s Asafa Powell

In Powell’s mind, he’s not competing against Bolt ROME: In Asafa Powell’s mind, he’s not competing against Usain Bolt. His target is simply winning any 100-meter race he enters. “I’m not here to compete against Bolt,” Powell said ahead of today’s Golden Gala meet featuring the current and past world record-holders. “The finish line is my target, not Bolt or anyone else.” Bolt holds a 10-1 career edge over Powell in head-to-head meetings, with Powell’s only win in Stockholm in 2008. But with Bolt coming off a relatively slow performance of 10.04 seconds in Ostrava last week, Powell could seize an opportunity. It was the first time Bolt ran over 10 seconds in three years. “It’s simple,” Bolt said. “If you want to beat Bolt, if Bolt runs 9.79, you run 9.78. If he runs 10 flat, you run 9.9.” Since Powell set a world record of 9.74 in Rieti in 2007, Bolt has broken the mark three times, the last being 9.58 at the 2009 world championships in Berlin. Powell began this season with a 9.88 in a narrow loss to Justin Gatlin in Doha this month, then ran 10.02 in the rain in Shanghai. “At this meet I don’t know what I’ll do,” Powell said. “Unlike some

people who can say they’re going to break records or run 9.7, I’m a human being and I have to wait and see what my body brings.” At last year’s Golden Gala, Bolt narrowly beat Powell, clocking 9.91 after a sluggish start, with Powell crossing in 9.93 and European champion Christophe Lemaitre of France third in 10.00. Lemaitre is also back in Rome. “I learned last year to look at what I can improve during these races,” Lemaitre said. “I want to see where I’m at tomorrow. I’ve had some poor stretches but I’m confident I can do well.” Also entered is 36-year-old Kim Collins, who won gold way back at the 1993 worlds, then took a bronze at last year’s worlds. “If you look at who’s in the race tomorrow, it should be a great race, you need to be really be fast to win,” Collins said. “An Olympic year is not just competition, but mad competition. ... I think this is the year we’ll see eight men under 10 seconds in the same competition, so keep watching.” It’s the ninth Golden Gala for Powell, who matched Maurice Greene’s stadium record of 9.85 in 2006 before seeing it become the property of Tyson Gay, who clocked 9.77 three years ago. — AP

OREGON: In a sports-loving Oregon city thousands of miles from London’s Olympic Stadium, the three fastest hurdlers of all time are set to line up Saturday for what is widely expected to be a preview of the Games’ final. Just weeks before the US Olympic trials at the same site, Cuban Olympic champion Dayron Robles races the man he succeeded as the world record holder, China’s Liu Xiang, and top American David Oliver in the Prefontaine Classic at Eugene, Oregon. The competition will be Robles’s first in the United States and it has major implications. “You can look at Prefontaine and take out the fourth American and then add one other person and you can pretty much say this is the potential Olympic final,” Oliver told Reuters via telephone from his Florida training base. In addition to the three fastest 110 metres hurdlers ever, the Diamond League meeting features US world champion Jason Richardson, US world indoor gold medallist Aries Merritt and British world bronze medallist Andy Turner. Richardson grabbed the world gold after Robles, the race winner, was disqualified for interfering with Liu. The two have not met outdoors since the clash, and their 2012 seasons have gotten off to contrasting starts. The often-injured Robles has lost two consecutive races in the Caribbean after an early-season win but coach Santiago Antunez said the world record holder was in better form than expected at this stage of the year. “There is not even a hint of injury,” Antunez told Reuters after a fullspeed workout in Havana. Liu, despite rainy and cold

conditions, roared to the year’s fastest time when he clocked 12.97 seconds to defeat Oliver in the Shanghai Diamond League meeting. The time was his quickest in five years and cast the 2004 Olympic champion as the early London favorite. He heartbreakingly pulled up lame in the 2008 Beijing Games with a foot injury that required surgery and a long rehabilitation. Oregon’s fickle early June weather could play a role in how fast Saturday’s race goes down, but Oliver expects it will be one to remember. “I definitely would not be surprised to see a sub 13 (seconds) performance,” the US record holder said. “It is incredibly hard not to run that fast if everybody runs and doesn’t make mistakes.” While only two hundredths of a second separate the lifetime bests of Robles (12.87), Liu (12.88) and Oliver (12.89), “the only thing we have in common is we take seven steps to the first hurdle,” the American said. “They are lot more smooth looking (hurdling).” By contrast, the bulky Oliver appears he should be tackling hurdles rather than jumping them. “You look at my lane and I have at least four hurdles knocked down,” he said. “But as long as I am not hitting them so that is going to knock me off balance, it is not a big deal.” When it does, Oliver cannot wait for a rematch. “Me and Liu were kind of right there through eight (hurdles),” he said of his Shanghai loss. “Then at nine I stepped on the hurdle, and it caused me to rock back and I just lost it from that point and ended up with 13.13,” he said. “It was a nightmare.” —Reuters

Kings goaltender Quick to dodge the spotlight

Jonathan Quick

NEWARK: With a baseball cap pushed low over his brow and a hoodie pulled up over his head, Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick looked more like a Hollywood celebrity trying to dodge paparazzi than a seasoned netminder preparing to meet NHL media on Tuesday. Focused on the New Jersey Devils and Game One of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals late yesterday, Quick admitted that fulfilling his team’s media day obligations was not part of his rich playoff experience. A man of few words, the soft-spoken Quick is about as forthcoming as New York Rangers’ tightlipped coach John Tortorella, deflecting questions like opposition slapshots. “Well I don’t, to be honest, really enjoy this,” mumbled Quick. “When I think of the final I don’t think of being here in front of you guys (media). “I think of going and playing a hockey game at the highest level. That’s all I think about.” Playing in one of hockey’s non-traditional markets, Quick has been

able to go about his business in relative anonymity, happily evading the spotlight. Hidden behind a mask and the traditional playoff beard, the 26-year-old American’s face is familiar only to the most dedicated Kings fans. “On the West Coast we have a little less media coverage,” said Kings forward Justin Williams. “It’s just the way it works. “If Quick was on the East Coast, people would know him a little bit more. “His demeanor is very lowkey. He is not a guy that will come in and say, ‘Look at me’. It’s more about the team but I think people are starting to find out how good he is.” Quick has made fans and his peers take notice. He has been the best puck-stopper in the playoffs with a miniscule 1.54 goals-against average, conceding two or fewer goals in 12 of 14 post-season contests. He had 10 shutouts during the regular season and added two more in the playoffs. “I wouldn’t say I was stealing games,” said Quick. “I think it was a team effort. “We are a great defensive club. We’ve done that well for years, so I wouldn’t look at it as stealing

games. “My job is the same as it was in October, stop the puck. That’s it.” Unlike Martin Brodeur, his opposite number in the New Jersey net who has embraced the spotlight as he savors what could be his final playoff appearance, Quick prefers his play on the ice to do most of the talking. A Vezina Trophy finalist as the NHL’s top netminder and a top candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs, Quick has been instrumental in driving the eighth-seeded Kings into the finals for just the second time in the franchise’s 45-year history. “He’s a really good goalie, he’s played at a high level for a few years now,” said Brodeur. “He got himself in a great position with a team and the system they play in. What I like about him is he’s an athlete. “He’s a goalie who is going to make saves and not move. The puck is just not going to hit him, he’s going to go out and compete like crazy. He’s pretty spectacular to watch.” —Reuters


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


All in one rhythm: World Cup slogan unveiled S AO PAU LO : FIFA and Brazilian organizers announced Tuesday that “All in one rhythm” will be the official slogan of the 2014 World Cup, representing the “unique flavor that Brazil will bring” to football’s showcase event. FIFA said the unveiling of the slogan represents a “major milestone in the path” of the World Cup. Secretary General Jerome Valcke said it will help bring fans together for a uniquely Brazilian celebration. “ The official slogan is the result of a joint effort between Brazil and the world of football to find a unifying message which represents the unique flavor that Brazil will bring to the FIFA World Cup,” Valcke said in a statement. “Based

around the central idea of ‘rhythm,’ it will unite fans in Brazil and abroad, around what will be a colorful and vibrant celebration set to a uniquely Brazilian rhythm.” The slogan in Portuguese is “Juntos num so ritmo.” The slogans were developed by Brazilian communications agency Aktuell and were chosen from among 26 versions proposed by six shortlisted Brazilian-based agencies. “Football means everything to Brazilians,” said former Brazil star Ronaldo, a member of the local organizing committee. “That is why it has such potential to bring people together and be a force for good. The rhythm of football is everywhere in Brazil, uniting people both young and old and

from all sections of our society.” Former striker Bebeto, also a member of the local organizing committee, added: “It showcases our creativity, our open-mindedness, our positive approach to life and our friendliness. We are all focused on ensuring that the power of this event is used positively and has a lasting impact on our country.” FIFA said the slogan showcases “the essence of five pillars representing Brazil: cohesive society, power of innovation, striking nature, living football and land of happiness.” Football’s governing body and local organizers said it was important the slogan conveyed a message to all Brazilians. The slogan will influence

marketing and the development of themes for events such as the Fan Fest and the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the briefings of tournament staff and volunteers. “The slogan is an invitation to all Brazilians to join together and celebrate the immense sense of pride in our country’s position on the global stage and our role as hosts of the 2014 FIFA World Cup,” Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said. “I t is also an invitation to ever ybody, Brazilians and international visitors, to find and explore the new rhythm of Brazil: the rhythm of unity and diversity, the rhythm of innovation, the rhythm of nature, the rhythm of football and the rhythm of Brazilian culture.” — AP

Guangzhou in Asian quarters

LONDON: (From left) England’s Wayne Rooney, John Terry, Phil Jones, Frank Lampard and James Milner jog during a training session at the Arsenal football club training facility. — AP

England’s Lampard injures thigh as Euro 2012 looms LONDON: England midfielder Frank Lampard injured his thigh in training yesterday, dealing another potential setback to Roy Hodgson’s plans less than two weeks before the start of the European Championship. Lampard will have a scan and be assessed by medics on Thursday before a decision is made about whether the Chelsea player can remain in the 23-man squad, which has already been submitted to UEFA. On Monday, central midfielder Gareth Barry was ruled out of the tournament because of a stomach injury and replaced by Phil Jagielka. England can make changes to its squad due to injuries, which must be verified by a member of UEFA’s medical committee, any time before the team’s Euro 2012 opener against France on June 11. Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has been put on standby as cover for Lampard. If the 33-year-old Lampard is ruled out, Hodgson could pair captain Steven Gerrard with Tottenham’s Scott Parker in midfield. Parker had been struggling with an Achilles injury, but recovered in time to feature in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Norway. “The injury is fine and being treated by

the England medical team,” Parker said in yesterday’s edition of The Sun newspaper. “The biggest challenge is regaining full match fitness. “I played against Norway and I’m getting stronger and have 10 days of training to get me in shape, so fingers crossed I’ll be fully fit when the tournament gets under way.” England’s final warm-up match is against Belgium on Saturday at Wembley Stadium. The squad travels late yesterday to its Euro 2012 base in Krakow, Poland. Before the injury, Lampard said he had renewed belief about England’s Euro 2012 prospects after Chelsea’s unexpected Champions League triumph earlier this month. The Blues, under interim coach Roberto Di Matteo, won their first European Cup by beating Bayern Munich on penalty kicks. “We will try and bring the fact we’ve achieved something this year, potentially against the odds with Chelsea, and maybe that’s what England will be up against odds-wise this summer,” Lampard said. “We showed what can be achieved and there is nothing wrong with that feeling (of being underdogs) as long as we are focused as a group.” — AP

France step up Euro preparations PARIS: France play host to Serbia in Reims today in their second pre-Euro 2012 warm-up match with coach Laurent Blanc looking for an improvement from their showing against Iceland last weekend. Les Bleus toiled to beat the 131stranked Icelanders 3-2 on Sunday, with defensive frailties exposed as they fell 2-0 behind before coming back to win the game thanks to goals from Mathieu Debuchy, substitute Franck Ribery and central defender Adil Rami. Blanc had always insisted that the first friendly ahead of the European Championship would be about rebuilding fitness and rediscovering rhythm after a short break at the end of the season. But there will be fewer excuses for a poor performance against Serbia- and in their final friendly game, against Estonia in Le Mans on June 5 — as Les Bleus step up preparations for their opening Euro 2012 match against England in Donetsk, Ukraine on June 11. Blanc would love his men to maintain the winning habit and extend an unbeaten run that already stretches back over 19 games. “Top-level sport is always about winning, and if we can do so it will boost confidence both individually and collectively,” he said. “I am also hoping that the players look better physically than they did in the first match (against Iceland). “We are putting everything in place little by little. The plan over these three games was for us to improve in each one so I hope we will see that against Serbia.” This will be France’s first match since Blanc announced his final 23man squad for the Euros, with Lyon playmaker Yoann Gourcuff and Montpellier defender Mapou YangaMbiwa the two men axed from his provisional squad. Blanc has admitted that “many

changes will be made from the team that started against Iceland,” so goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and midfielder Yann M’Vila should both feature this time, and striker Olivier Giroud is a contender to start after coming off the bench to set up two goals against Iceland. Ribery will also hope to feature in the starting line-up. Having themselves failed to qualify for the European Championship, Serbia are building towards the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, when they will come up against the likes of Croatia, Belgium, Scotland and Wales. Former Lazio and Sampdoria defender Sinisa Mihajlovic was appointed coach on a one-year deal last week and oversaw a 2-0 defeat to Spain in Austria in his first match in charge. His squad features seven players from Belgrade giants Partizan and Red Star, and a host of names plying their trade in Europe’s major championships. Two of the squad are based in France’s Ligue 1 — centre-half Milan Bisevac of Paris Saint-Germain and full-back Pavle Ninkov of Toulouse. However, there will be no Adem Ljajic after the Fiorentina player was booted out of the squad for refusing to sing the national anthem prior to the Spain game. “They were outplayed by Spain, but they have talented players,” said Blanc of the Serbian side. “It will be a difficult game. They are very defensive but like to break forward quickly. “But for us, the most important thing is how we play.” There should be a sell-out crowd of around 21,000 at the Stade AugusteDelaune, home of Stade de Reims, one of France’s most famous clubs who were twice European Cup finalists in the 1950s and who recently won promotion to return to the top flight for the first time in 33 years. — AFP

SINGAPORE: World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi led his new Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande into the AFC Champions League quarter-finals with a narrow 1-0 victory over FC Tokyo yesterday. Brazilian striker Cleo’s strike on the half-hour decided a pulsating match in front of a vociferous crowd at Guangzhou’s Tianhe stadium as the hosts got over the line despite spurning a host of chances. At the other end, FC Tokyo’s Brazilian forward Lucas saw a late header come back off the post as the Emperor’s Cup-holders came within inches of forcing extra time. The win, in only Lippi’s third game in charge, takes the highly ambitious Chinese champions into the last eight of Asia’s club showcase and a step closer to their goal of winning the continental title. Argentine midfielder Dario Conca played a starring role with some bamboozling passes but it was Cleo who rounded off an attractive move for the game’s only goal. Guangzhou’s other Brazilian marksman, Muriqui, played a killer ball over the defence which Cho Won-Hee half-volleyed goalwards for Cleo to bundle over from close range. Italy’s Lippi became China’s biggest coaching acquisition when he replaced South Korean Lee Jang-Soo at big-spending Guangzhou, who also smashed the Chinese transfer record in acquiring Conca. Meanwhile South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai sent Japanese title-holders Kashiwa Reysol crashing out with an entertaining 3-2 win. Ulsan were aided by a Naoya Kondo own-goal as they became the only K-League side to reach the quarter-finals, after 2010 Asian champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma were ousted a day earlier. Kim Shin-Wook put the hosts ahead on 54 minutes before Brazilian midfielder Leandro Domingues equalised for Kashiwa. But Kondo’s blunder restored the lead for Ulsan, who got their third on 88 minutes through Lee Keun-Ho. Kashiwa’s Junya Tanaka rifled home a left-footed volley in injury-time but it came too late for a revival by the J-League side, who impressed at last year’s Club World Cup under their Brazilian coach Nelsinho. Next month’s draw for the quarter-finals, will also feature Australia’s Adelaide United and Uzbek champions Bunyodkor, who won on Tuesday. Last week, three Saudi teams booked their places-two-time winners Al Ittihad, Al Hilal and Al Ahli-along with Sepahan of Iran. — AFP

GUANGZHOU: FC Tokyo’s Yohei Kajiyama (in blue) jumps for the ball during a match against Guangzhou Evergrande at the AFC Champions League. — AP

Premier League wages hit record levels LONDON: English Premier League clubs have been warned to bring their spending under control, after a new review into football finances showed that players’ wages were at record levels, outstripping growth in club revenues. Wages went up by £201 million (251 million euros, $312 million dollars) in the 201011 season to almost £1.6 billion-a 14 percent rise-while overall revenues at clubs rose by 12 percent to £2.27 billion, according to analysts Deloitte. With the top 20 clubs splashing out on big salaries in an increasingly desperate bid for success, wages now account for a record 70 percent of the revenue generated by Premier League clubs. Alan Switzer, director in the sports business group at Deloitte, warned big-spending Premier League owners that wage con-

trol was now essential, especially with UEFA’s financial fair play (FFP) rules coming into force soon. “If the wages to revenue ratio is 70 percent or higher it’s very difficult to make an operating profit,” he said. “In our view it is too high as a league and the clubs need to be edging back to the low 60s. Every one percent that it drops should increase operating profits by £20 million to £25 million.” The wage rises at some of the league’s bigger clubs have been offset by significant rises in commercial income at some sides, including Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City. The figures are for the 2010-11 season and will be the last before UEFA start taking them into account for their FFP calculations, where clubs in European competition have to break even or risk fines and even suspen-

sion from competitions. Switzer said league champions Manchester City and Champions League winners Chelsea, owned by Abu Dhabibased Sheikh Mansour and Russian Roman Abramovich respectively, faced the greatest challenges in conforming to the FFP rules. “Chelsea and Manchester City are the clubs which have recorded the biggest losses so they are the two which have the most to do, and to be fair to them they have been pretty public about needing to take action,” he added. “A significant number of clubs around Europe have some distance to travel on the road towards compliance.” The Deloitte report does not cover the most recent season but it does show the effect of Britain’s 50 percent tax band coming into play-the 92 league clubs paid nearly £1.2 billion in tax, up 20 percent. — AFP

Drogba may follow Batista to Shanghai SHANGHAI: Ex-Argentina manager Sergio Batista said Chelsea’s Didier Drogba could soon join him at Shanghai Shenhua as he was unveiled as Chinese football’s latest star acquisition yesterday. Batista indicated Drogba, who has already announced his departure from the European champions, could arrive within weeks at the Chinese club, where he would link up with former Chelsea team-mate Nicolas Anelka. “The people from the club are doing the best things to get Drogba here,” Batista told journalists through a translator, adding the Ivorian striker could soon be a Shenhua player “if everything is okay”. “I think every coach in the world wants to get Drogba on the team and I hope everything is okay. Anelka too,” he said. Batista, who lifted the 1986 World Cup as a player and led Argentina to Olympic gold in 2008, takes the job vacated by Frenchman Jean Tigana, who was sacked in April after a weak start to his first season in charge. He joins World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi, who arrived at Guangzhou Evergrande two weeks ago, in the ever-growing ranks of big names in the Chinese Super League, whose ambitious club-owners are on a recruitment spree. French striker Anelka, who became the league’s most famous signing in December, had reportedly opposed Batista’s appointment after he was named as player-coach following Tigana’s ousting. But Batista, 49, played down speculation of a rift and said he was hoping for a strong con-

Didier Drogba

tribution from the much-travelled staralthough final decisions would rest with the coach. “It’s another moment. He’s a player. I’m open to hear Anelka and all the players on the team speak about what’s happening on the field. Obviously, the final decision is from the coach,” he said. Batista added: “Anelka can give to all the players his experience, on the field and off the field. “I don’t want Anelka to play only to score goals. He is one of the best players in the world, but I want to keep him back on the field to play with his partners on the team.” Shenhua officials said they hoped Batista’s South American approach could boost their

team, now lying ninth in the 16th-club league. They said Batista has signed a six-month contract, taking him through the rest of the season, with an option for another year. His salary was not revealed. He will coach his first league match on June 16 against Changchun Yatai, now just ahead of Shenhua in the table. Batista is accompanied by two long-serving assistants, Alberto Osvaldo Rodriguez and Alejandro Daniel Tocalli. Drogba, 34, departs Chelsea after a match-winning performance in this month’s Champions League final and as one of the English Premier League’s most feared strikers. — AFP

India’s Anand keeps chess crown

Rudisha focused on 800m gold



THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

English Premier League wages hit record levels

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Mariam Erzouqi

Rifle passion drives female Kuwaiti shooter Second Kuwaiti woman to compete at Olympic Games KUWAIT: Mariam Erzouqi grips her Germanmade air rifle with carefully-manicured hands, steadies her footing, eyes the target and slowly pulls the trigger until a soft crack echoes through Kuwait’s cavernous shooting range. The 24-year-old, who is set to become the second Kuwaiti woman to compete at an Olympic Games, has an affinity for her rifle and will take dead aim at a medal in the 10 and 50 metres air rifle in London. She first held a rifle at Kuwait’s shooting club aged 17 and recalls that date — June 16, 2004 — without a moment’s hesitation. “At the beginning I practiced it was just to fill my time, then afterwards I discovered that I was very attached to the rifle,” said Erzouqi, dressed in multi-colored team jumpsuit emblazoned with her family name, a black headscarf and heavy duty boots. “I loved the sport and it quickly turned into a profession rather than a hobby.” Erzouqi comes from a family of female shooters

who helped form her vital support base. All four of her sisters took up the rifle under the guidance of their watchful mother Awatif, who is also a shooter and competition judge. Mariam and her 14-year-old sister Heba pursued the sport and are now friendly rivals. “Heba tells Mariam — watch out, I will beat you!” her mother recounts with a laugh in between inspecting Mariam’s scores and checking her rifles. She makes sure her daughter keeps to a timetable drawn up by her coach which has her juggling training sessions at the Kuwait shooting complex up to six days a week alongside her studies. “My female friends teased me in the beginning, but when they saw me winning trophies at home and abroad they encouraged me,” Erzouqi said with a small smile. “Shooting is not just for young men, there are also girls doing it. It is not rough. It calms my nerves and helps me to focus.” Erzouqi is seen as especially fortunate with

the support she has received in Kuwait, where women can find themselves unwelcome at other sporting clubs or on the receiving end of disapproving comments from more conservative corners of society. There are also questions over Kuwait’s participation in the Olympics this year. The International Olympic Committee suspended Kuwait in 2010, saying there was evidence of political interference in the Kuwaiti sports organisations. Kuwaiti officials have said they were working with the IOC to solve the issue in time for the Games and that they expected Erzouqi and her teammates to be able to fly the national flag in London. But a decision by the IOC at a recent meeting in Quebec means that Kuwaiti competitors could participate under the Olympic flag with the title “Independent Olympic Athlete”. Erzouqi is following in the footsteps of Danah Al-Nasrallah, the first female Kuwaiti athlete to

compete at an Olympics. Nasrallah took part in the 100m in 2004, ranking 61st of 63 competitors in the first round. Erzouqi’s chances look better. The petite business administration student finished second in the Asian qualifiers in the 10m rifle category, her best discipline. She won two gold medals at the recent Arab Games and is competing in one of Kuwait’s traditionally strong sports. The country won its only Olympic medal — a bronze — in the double trap shooting competition at the 2000 Sydney Games. The Kuwaiti media has been full of positive coverage of her achievements and the shooting club says it encourages female participants to take up the sport. This is in stark contrast to neighboring Saudi Arabia which has never sent a female athlete to the Olympics and discourages women from sport altogether. Around 45 girls and women come to the Kuwaiti shooting club on a regular basis, com-

Venus put out of orbit

Federer beats Connors’ mark, Djokovic cruises PARIS: Roger Federer set a new record of 234 Grand Slam match wins yesterday to reach the French Open last 32 where he was joined by top seed Novak Djokovic whose date with tennis destiny edged a little closer. Federer, the third seed, overcame a mid-match wobble to beat Romania’s Adrian Ungur 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, and go past Jimmy Connors’ long-standing record of 233 wins at the majors which he’d equalled in the first round. The 16-time Grand Slam title winner will face Nicolas Mahut of France for a place in the last 16. On a subdued day at Roland Garros, Federer’s post-match news conference was spent discussing Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee. “I had lunch next to the queen, that was exciting,” said Federer, recalling the monarch’s visit to Wimbledon in 2010 after a 33-year absence. “She was very sweet, very nice, very polite, of course, and a pleasure to be around.” The 27-year-old Ungur, the world number 92, knocked out Argentine veteran David Nalbandian in the first round on his Grand Slam debut, having failed to qualify for any major on 13 previous occasions. He was swept aside on the first two sets on Wednesday, but once he had saved two match points in the third set tiebreaker, he came alive to take the second round clash to a fourth set. But normal service was soon resumed with Federer, playing in his 50th straight Grand Slam event, taking the match when the colourfully tattooed Ungur slapped a backhand return wide. Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion Djokovic edged closer to history with a 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 win over Slovenia’s Blaz Kavcic. The world number one, bidding to become only the third man after Don Budge and Rod Laver to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, put down a gutsy challenge from world number 99 Kavcic. Djokovic fired 41 winners past the Slovenian, taking victory on a fourth match point, to set up a clash with French qualifier Nicolas Devilder, the world number 286. “I gave him the opportunity to come back after I had had a perfect first seven games,” said Djokovic. “But I expected him to fight. He had nothing to lose and he showed his fighting qualities.” Argentine ninth seed Juan Martin Del Potro, the only man outside of Djokovic, Federer and Rafael Nadal to have won a major in the last seven years, clinched a 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/3), 6-4, 6-4 win over France’s Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Del Potro, battling a knee injury, and who had to call the trainer onto the court for the second match in a row, faces Croatian 21st seed Marin Cilic. “The knee always worries me but I try not to think about it on the court. I get treatment and then do all I can just to get ready for my next match,” said the 2009 US Open winner and a semi-finalist in Paris in 2009. Cilic put out 2003 French Open winner and former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain 7-6 (7/4), 6-2, 6-3. —AFP

pared to 160 men on the national team. As an international competitor, Erzouqi receives a 400 dinar ($1,428) monthly stipend from the government. As the Olympics falls in part during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Erzouqi will be fasting, but she says this should not affect her performance thanks to her training. “If the tournament or training is held in the morning during my fasting times, my performance is not affected because here in Kuwait, we already used to come and train in the mornings,” she said. “We used to feel exhausted but now we can overcome that and we can endure tiredness, even while we’re fasting.” Her mother can testify to her daughter’s focus and endurance, having travelled with her to different countries on many occasions for competitions. “Sometimes I told her, let’s go look at the market, we want to see the country! But no, for Mariam it is shooting, shooting.” — Reuters

PARIS: Croatia’s Petra Martic reacts as she defeats France’s Marion Bartoli during their second round match in the French Open tennis tournament. —AP

PARIS: Victoria Azarenka and Samantha Stosur moved closer to a potential quarter-final showdown at the French Open yesterday with both coasting to straight sets wins in the second round. Former champions Ana Ivanovic (2008) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (2009) also made it through to the third round, but Venus Williams failed in her bid to keep the family flag flying following sister Serena’s shock defeat late Tuesday. Top-seeded Azarenka from Belarus defeated German qualifier Dinah Pfizenmaier 6-1, 6-1 while Australian sixth seed Stosur saw off Irina Falconi of the United States 6-1, 6-4. It was a very different showing from the world number one compared to her first round struggle when she stared defeat in the face at a set and 40 down against Italy’s Alberta Brianti before clawing her way back to win. Up against a player who was making her Grand Slam debut at Roland Garros, Azarenka needed just 55 minutes to move through, allowing her opponent to dig her own grave with 29 unforced errors. Azarenka won the Australian Open in January and is seeking to become the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win the first two Grand Slam tournaments of the year. “It was a different game for sure today,” she said. “I didn’t really know my opponent and it took a few games to understand what she does. “But after a few games I found my rhythm and definitely played much better today.” Stosur was the runner-up here in 2010 when she was upset in the final by Francesca Schiavone of Italy, going on last year to defeat Serena Williams in the final of the US Open for her first Grand Slam title. In two rounds so far at Roland Garros this year she has dropped just nine games and she looked very comfortable against Falconi, ranked 112 in the world, who had reached the second round for the first time. The Australian said the easy wins were no grounds for complacency with former top tenner Nadia Petrova her third round opponent. “It’s still only the third round and there is a long way to go yet before you are holding the

trophy. “I think it’s just one of those things - you have to knuckle down. I know that I’ve had good runs here in the past. Now I’m up to the third step of that.” Also looking to put together another strong run at Roland Garros was the 2008 winner Ivanovic, who stormed past Shahar Peer of Israel 6-2, 6-2. The former world number one has failed to reach the quarter-finals here in the last three years and has yet to reach a tournament final this year.But the 13th seed’s form against Peer looked good and she has a decent looking draw through to the last eight where third seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland could be waiting. “I’ve been playing more consistently, improving with each week,” Ivanovic said of her own game. “I am starting to play a lot freer and building points. I am actually starting to enjoy the process again.” Kuznetsova, who succeeded Ivanovic as champion in Paris, ousted Taiwan’s Chan YungJan 6-4, 7-6 (7/4). Williams, playing in her 15th Roland Garros, was no match for third seeded Radwanska, falling 6-2, 6-3 to complete a miserable 24 hours for the Williams family. Sister Serena late Tuesday crashed out after being a set up and 5-1 in the second set tie-break to France’s Virginie Razzano. Among the other qualifiers for the third round were rising US player Sloane Stephens, who defeated compatriot Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1, 6-1, and 15th seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia who beat Vania King of the United States 6-0, 6-2. China’s 31st seed Zheng Jie went down 6-2, 64 to Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada, who goes on to play top seed Azarenka in the third round. French hopes, high after Razzano’s thrilling win, were given a further boost early on Wednesday with Mathilde Johansson defeating 24th seeded Czech Petra Cetkovska 7-6 (7/1), 6-2. But there was then heartbreak for last year’s beaten semi-finalist Marion Bartoli. The French number one and eighth seed lost 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to Petra Martic of Croatia. — AFP


China’s top agency gives Kuwait AA credit rating Page 22

Gulf Islamic issuers see appeal of ringgit market

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

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ECB rejects Spanish scheme for Bankia

Steadfast Ireland faces major risks: EU panel Page 24

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ATHENS: Auxiliary firemen block a main road in the center of Athens yesterday during a demonstration to sign their contracts. Greece’s pro-bailout conservative party, the conservative New Democracy, has a narrow lead over the anti-austerity radical leftists, an opinion poll showed yesterday ahead of a election crucial for the debt-hit country’s future. — AFP

EU throws Spain two lifelines EU Commission calls for euro-zone banking union BRUSSELS/MADRID: The European Commission threw Spain, the latest frontline in Europe’s debt war, two potential lifelines yesterday, offering more time to reduce its budget deficit and direct aid from a eurozone rescue fund to recapitalize distressed banks. Spanish government borrowing costs lurched higher and the Madrid stock market hit a nine-year low with investors rattled by the parlous state of its banking sector fleeing to the relative haven of German bonds. EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said Brussels was ready to give Spain an extra year until 2014 to bring its deficit down to the EU limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product if Madrid presents a solid two-year budget plan for 2013-14, something it has committed to do. The concession, which Madrid has not publicly requested, was on condition that Spain effectively reins in overspending by its autonomous regions, makes further financial sector reforms and recapitalizes its troubled banks. While the Commission is responsible for proposing laws, it is member states that decide whether to adopt them. EU paymaster Germany has so far firmly opposed any collective European banking resolution and guarantee system or any use of

bailout funds without a country having to submit to a politically humiliating EU/IMF austerity program. Rehn said there were no grounds for giving Italy a similar extension to balance its budget, due in 2013, since unlike Spain its economy is forecast to start growing again next year. In an economic policy document which laid out some of the dramatic policy proposals which analysts say are needed to tackle the debt crisis, the European Union’s executive arm said the vicious circle of weak banks and heavily indebted states lending to each other must be broken and called for a banking union in the euro-zone. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said tighter euro-zone integration could include a joint bank deposit guarantee scheme to prevent a bank run and euro area financial supervision, saying the mood had changed since member states unanimously rejected a joint deposit guarantee fund only months ago. “In the same vein, to sever the link between banks and the sovereigns, direct recapitalization by the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) might be envisaged,” the repor t said. Permitting the ESM to lend directly to banks would require a change to a treaty in the midst of ratification by member states that might come too late for Spain’s needs.

More candidates emerge for top OPEC post LONDON: Two more countries are likely to field candidates for OPEC’s next secretary general, OPEC sources said yesterday, widening a competition within the oil producer cartel for its top administrative post. Ecuador, OPEC’s smallest producer, has nominated a potential successor to current OPEC Secretary General Abdullah Al-Badri, whose term ends at the end of 2012, a source said. Iran, its second-largest producer, is expected to do so. “There is a process for nominating a candidate and Iran is always active on this issue,” an OPEC delegate who declined to be identified told Reuters. The secretary general, the main representative on the world stage of the 12-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, helps formulate the group’s output policy and is in charge of OPEC’s Vienna secretariat. Candidates from Iran and Ecuador would bring the number of countries competing for the role to four. OPEC will discuss the issue at its next meeting on June 14 in Vienna. The two declared candidates are Thamir Ghadhban, the top energy adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, and Saudi Arabia’s longtime OPEC governor, Majid Al-Moneef. OPEC appears to have given itself little formal meeting time when it meets on June 14 for discussions on the secretary general and its production policy. Still, ministers will have plenty of scope to talk on the sidelines. According to an agenda on OPEC’s website, the OPEC meeting starts at 3 p.m. (1300 GMT) Vienna time on June 14 and ends with a news conference at 5 p.m. The closed session of ministers, where policy is usually decided, is scheduled to last just one hour. —Reuters

Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy backs the idea but Rehn appeared cool to it. “Direct disbursements to banks are not foreseen as such in the treaty, and therefore this is not an available option ... in terms of direct recapitalization,” Rehn told reporters. Spain’s banking woes - the result of a burst property bubble aggravated by recession have combined with growing uncertainty about Greece’s survival in the euro zone to reignite Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. That drove the euro to a two-year low below $1.2450, while European shares also fell after Italy had to pay heavily to sell bonds. Madrid said its bank rescue fund would issue bonds to inject funds into nationalized lender Bankia, but that looks expensive with 10-year borrowing costs at 6.65 percent near their euro era peak and close to levels at which Ireland and Greece were forced to seek international bail-outs. Investors unnerved by Spain’s deepening financial crunch pushed Italy’s funding costs sharply higher at a bond sale, with 10-year yields topping 6 percent for the first time since January. In a sign of heightened anxiety in Washington, top US Treasury official Lael Brainard was dispatched to hold talks in Greece, Germany, Spain and France “to dis-

MADRID: Spain’s Economy Minister Luis de Guindos pauses during a news conference at the Moncloa. cuss their plans for achieving economic stability and growth in Europe”, the Treasur y Department said. Barroso said Europe’s G8 partners, at a summit in the United States 10 days ago, had

Most Gulf markets extend declines on euro woes MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Most Gulf markets extended declines yesterday as renewed fears emerged on euro zone debt, while Egypt’s bourse lost the day’s gains after news the two sons of the country’s ousted president will face charges in a criminal court. Saudi Arabia’s market closed on sharp declines after the index broke a key technical support, with most sectors closing lower. The kingdom’s index fell 0.8 percent, breaking below the key psychological level of 7,000. “Saudi moving from near 8,000 to dipping below 7,000 seems to be the case of summer starting early - clearly investors have lost their enthusiasm a little bit,” said Julian Bruce, EFG-Hermes director of institutional equity sales. Stocks in the United States opened lower yesterday as rising bond yields for Italy and Spain and the latest poll results in Greece worsened fears about a spiralling of a euro-zone debt crisis. The banking index slipped 0.5 percent and the petrochemical stocks benchmark shed 0.8 percent. Brent crude slid $1.61 to $105.07 per barrel by 1203 GMT. It was down nearly 12 percent so far in May, its biggest monthly fall in two years. Saudi petrochemical stocks tend to track oil prices, seen as a proxy for global economic activity and therefore demand for petrochemical products. “While you see pressure on oil prices and concerns over growth elsewhere, I don’t see a short-term upside, especially considering that we’re going into sum-

mer,” said Bruce. The benchmark neared 8,000 points in early April, hitting a three-and-a-half year peak, and fallen over 11 percent since. In the United Arab Emirates, bourses slipped again as financial stocks dipped, with Abu Dhabi’s benchmark hitting a new four-month low. Dubai’s index finished 0.3 percent lower, down for a third day this week. Mid-caps dragged with Commercial Bank of Dubai and Dubai Islamic Bank down 4.9 and 1.6 percent respectively. Abu Dhabi’s index shed 0.2 percent to its lowest close since Jan 30. Banks were also lower in the capital with First Gulf Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank slipping 0.8 and 0.7 percent. “Markets are very much treading water - it’s generally a risk-off environment, which is clearly not encouraging buyers to come back,” said Bruce. “We’re in limbo at the moment.” In Qatar, the measure recovered early-session declines and ended near-flat. Qatar Telecom weighed, slipping 0.8 percent. Doha Bank shed 0.7 percent. Elsewhere, Oman’s index climbed 0.6 percent and Kuwait ends 0.5 percent higher. In Egypt, the index finished 0.04 higher, having risen as much as 1 percent intra-day, after the public prosecutor’s statement on state TV said former president Hosni Mubarak’s sons will be tried for charges of market manipulation. —Reuters

asked the euro zone to go further with financial and economic integration. A sudden economic deterioration in Europe would pose a serious threat to the US economy and hence to President Barack Obama’s re -election prospects in November. Rajoy has insisted his government has no intention of seeking an EU/IMF bailout either for its banks or for the state. But the abrupt resignation of Bank of Spain Governor Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordonez on Tuesday, a month before his term was due to end, added to doubts about the handling of the Bankia crisis and relations with European institutions. Highlighting Spain’s difficulty in meeting fiscal targets while gripped by a deep recession, the outgoing central bank chief said tax revenue may fall short of government estimates and spending may be higher than expected. Less than three weeks before a crucial second general election that may determine whether Greece stays in the 17-nation currency area, Greeks were warned by their biggest bank that they face economic catastrophe if they leave the euro. Living standards would plummet, incomes would be slashed by more than half, and inflation and unemployment would skyrocket, the National Bank of Greece said. — Reuters

‘Cheap’ UAE gasoline: Citizens and industry square up DUBAI: Emiratis’ love of cheap gasoline has caused a fissure in the UAE establishment, setting a top government body, nervous of Arab Spring unrest, against national oil companies fighting to stem losses from producing underpriced fuel for the home market. Two years ago the United Arab Emirates considered phasing out generous subsidies that mean both citizens and the larger immigrant population only pay $0.47 for a liter of gasoline. But thoughts of raising fuel prices have been swept away by the Arab Spring that has put pressure on regimes to maintain social benefits, despite foreigners, who make up 89 percent of the population, being the biggest beneficiaries of subsidies that squeeze state coffers and fuel retailers. This month members of the Federal National Council (FNC), which has no legislative powers, unanimously approved plans to cut gasoline prices for everyone, after complaints that citizens pay too much to fill up. The oil ministry is opposed to any reduction in price but it will be up to the cabinet whether to accept the FNC’s recommendation. “The oil ministry strongly opposes any increase in subsidy we are trying to improve our economy and a subsidy increase would be a huge set back,” a source close to the ministry said. Behind the government and its long term strategy for a modern, diversified economy less shackled to oil and without the feather bedding of state energy subsidies, lies a formidable industrial lobby. In an irony for a Gulf oil economy, domestic gasoline retailers have been hit with numbing losses, partly thanks to subsidies but also due to imbalances between the Emirates. —Reuters

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


China’s top agency gives Kuwait AA credit rating Rating reflects country’s financial strength TOKYO: Dagong Global Credit Rating Co, Ltd, China’s leading credit rating agency, yesterday assigned a local and foreign currency sovereign credit rating of AA to Kuwait, each with a stable outlook, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. “The rating reflects the country’s robust fiscal and foreign exchange strength, as well as its complex geopolitical environment and economic vulnerability,” Dagong said, according to the report. It is the first time that Dagong rates Kuwait’s sovereign credit status. AA is the third highest investment grade on its scale of 19 and

the same level as Saudi Arabia. Taking high international energy prices and steady demand from the country’s main trading partners into consideration, Dagong predicted that Kuwait’s economic growth will hit 6.6 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively, in 2012 and 2013. “The limited effects of economic diversification will not reduce the country’s vulnerability to sudden deterioration due to tensions in Iran,” Dagong said. The rating agency said Kuwait’s ample fiscal power, including a budget surplus that accounts

Mideast July crude sold at discount despite Iran fears SINGAPORE: Most Asian refiners bought Middle East crude for July loading at discounts amid ample supply, dashing expectations that Western sanctions on Iran will reduce volumes from the region, traders said. Demand for extra barrels of Middle Eastern oil was also weak, and may stay so in August, which would keep supplies plentiful even as buyers struggle to find insurance cover for Iranian cargoes and as the standoff between Iran and the West showed no signs of being resolved any time soon. A European ban on insurance for shipping Iranian oil will take effect on July 1 while U.S. sanctions aimed at reducing Iran’s oil revenues take effect in late June. Both measures had raised concerns Iran’s oil exports would be severely reduced and that Asian buyers would seek large volumes of high sulfur oil in the spot market as a replacement. However, crude supply rose in the second quarter as OPEC producers, led by Saudi Arabia, pumped more oil, while refineries shut for maintenance in the low demand season. Refiners had little appetite to process more barrels as a slowdown in global manufacturing activities, especially in China, hurt fuel demand and weakened refining margins. “July was a good test. All the refineries were pricing their supply as if they have to replace Iranian,” a trader with a Western firm said. “Sour grades are not strong globally.” OPEC oil output in May hit its highest since 2008 as Saudi Arabia kept rates high

Sudan pound again under pressure after devaluation

despite a drop in prices and Iranian shipments did not fall much further ahead of an EU embargo, a Reuters survey showed. Asia is also getting more oil from the West as supply from the Atlantic Basin increased with new production and weaker demand in Europe. Crude inventories were bloated in the United States while domestic shale oil production grew. The oil market has lost about 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian crude since the announcement of sanctions, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said last week. To fill the shortfall, Asian refiners are receiving more term supply from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi while buying similar quality high sulfur grades such as Oman, Iraqi Basra Light, Murban, Banoco Arab Medium and Russian ESPO. The opening of two new floating single point mooring (SPM) terminals has eased export constraints in Iraq and boosted oil exports significantly. The higher OPEC output depressed spot differentials for crude from Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Iraq even after producers reduced their official selling prices (OSPs). “There is plenty of oil out there despite what people say about Iran,” a second trader said. Sanctions are unlikely to deter China from buying more Iranian barrels if needed, traders said. “Iran has 40 million barrels of floating storage and if China needs to buy something they can buy these barrels,” one of the traders said. — Reuters

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s pound is under renewed pressure on the black market, with licensed exchange bureaux struggling to meet demand for dollars ahead of the summer travel season, dealers said. The African country is in a severe economic crisis after losing three-quarters of its oil output to South Sudan, which seceded in July. Crude revenues were Sudan’s main source of state income and foreign currency. Sudan has avoided an “Arab spring” like Egypt or Tunisia but social pressures and annual inflation close to 30 percent is hurting ordinary people wearied by years of violent conflicts and US sanctions. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday Sudan needed to undertake emergency steps to overcome “daunting” economic challenges. Sudan effectively devalued its pound earlier this month by allowing licensed dealers to trade dollars at a devalued rate to stabilize the currency and curb the black market. Foreign exchange bureaux were trading dollars at a rate of around 5 pounds on Wednesday, according to its business association, compared to the official rate of about 2.7 pounds. The pound’s decline has driven up inflation because Sudan has to import many of its needs and has also hit foreign companies such as telecoms operators. The central bank had not provided enough dollars to meet demand, driving people back to the black market, dealers said. The central bank has been struggling since July to provide sufficient dollars, a shortage now exacerbated as Sudanese try to get hard currencies for summer vacations. Black market dealers quoted rates of 5.4 and 5.5 pounds to the dollar yesterday, compared to rates between 5.2 and 5.4 last week. Before the new measures the rate had temporarily hit 6.2 when border fighting with South Sudan escalated last month. “You need to come at 6 a.m. if you want to get dollars. Afterwards it’s often too late,” one owner of a foreign exchange bureau in downtown Khartoum said. “There is a huge demand for dollars after the new policies were announced but we cannot satisfy it,” said another exchange bureau owner. “Central bank allocations have not increased yet.” It is unclear how much foreign currency the central bank has at its disposal to supply the market. Local media quoted the central bank’s deputy governor last week as saying the bank received a “large amount” of hard currency from abroad, but did not elaborate. In September, the central bank governor asked fellow Arab countries to deposit $4 billion with the bank and commercial lenders. Central bank officials have been touring Gulf and other Arab countries to ask for financial assistance. Sudanese media have speculated Arab countries such as Qatar or Libya might have given substantial assistance to Sudan, but nothing has been confirmed yet. The central bank could not be reached for comment. — Reuters

Iraq signs housing deal with S Korea’s Hanwha BAGHDAD: Iraq signed a final contract worth $7.75 billion with South Korea’s Hanwha Engineering & Construction company to build 100,000 housing units on the outskirts of Baghdad as part of the government’s plan to alleviate a severe housing shortage. The project is part of a proposal by Iraq’s National Investment Commission, announced in 2010, to build one million new housing units, valued at an average of $50,000 each, for a total value of $50 billion. “This is the start, we hope it will be followed by other projects in different provinces ... to provide one million housing units as we promised,” Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki said after a signing ceremony

for 17 percent of its GDP, will be further strengthened by high energy prices, while a persistent current account surplus will guarantee the repayment of external debt. Founded in 1994, Dagong is a specialized credit rating and risk analysis research institution as well as a key credit information and credit solution service provider in China. As the nation’s largest and most normalized credit rating agency, Dagong has all franchise qualifications granted by the Chinese government, and is an official institution providing credit rating services for all bond issuers in China. —KUNA

broadcast on state television. Iraq faces an acute shortage of housing after years of war and sanctions and needs between 2 and 3 million new homes for its growing population, officials have said. The housing shortage, crumbling infrastructure and daily power shortages are among the most pressing concerns for Iraqis and progress on the ground to address the problems has been slow even nine years after the US-led invasion. Besides housing, OPEC-member Iraq needs to invest to expand its vital oil sector, develop agriculture and lift power production to try to curb chronic shortages that force many to rely on generators. — Reuters

BEIJING: Workers stand on the scaffolding of a modern commercial building in Beijing yesterday. China is rolling out a mini-stimulus to fight its economic slump but is moving cautiously after its massive response to the 2008 global crisis left a painful hangover of inflation and debt. — AP

Global Investment Q1 net loss narrows DUBAI: Global Investment House, the Kuwaiti investment firm currently undergoing its second debt restructuring in three years, saw its first-quarter loss narrow compared to the opening three months of last year, it said in a statement yesterday. The company made a loss of 11 million dinars ($39.3 million) in the three months to March 31, versus a KD22 million loss for the same period of 2011, the statement to the Dubai stock exchange said. The improved performance was helped by a drop in writedowns, with gains on investments recorded at KD746,000 versus a 10.6 million dinar loss in Q1 2011. Global said in September it would ask creditors to delay repayments on its debt so it could undertake a second restructuring of its obligations since the global financial crisis hurt its financial portfolio. The

company had reached a deal with creditors in December 2009 to reschedule $1.7 billion in debt and entered into new threeyear facilities with each of its 53 lending banks. Last week, Global said it won a long-running legal battle over an aborted buy of a stake in National Bank of Umm Al Qaiwain after an appeals court ordered the Abu Dhabi-listed bank to return its $250 million deposit plus $79 million in interest. Sources said in January that Global had laid off 17 percent of its staff, or 60 employees out of 350, across the Gulf region as part of cost-cutting measures at the debt-laden firm. Shares in Global have not traded on the Kuwait Stock Exchange since December after the bourse suspended the stock for having accumulated losses which exceeded 75 percent of its capital. — Reuters

Saudi Aramco seeks $12.5bn in debt for Dow project DUBAI: State -owned oil giant Saudi Aramco is seeking to raise $12.5 billion in debt to help finance its joint venture with Dow Chemical, according to a report in Project Finance International (PFI), a unit of Thomson Reuters. Saudi Aramco has sent an information memorandum to local and international banks detailing the $20 billion project with Dow Chemical. The project is due to be completed in 2016, and will produce more than 3 million tons a year of petrochemicals. The multi-tranche, multi-tenor financing strategy will include an export credit agency (ECA) portion, a commercial bank tranche and a capital markets part, most likely a 144a issue, open to US investors, or

an Islamic bond. The overall financing will mature after 16 years while the ECA portion will have a tenor of 17 years. The financing includes completion and construction guarantees from Aramco and Dow Chemical. Banks have eight weeks to respond to the memorandum, with bids due after the Holy month of Ramadan which is expected this year to end in the third week of August. A spokesman for Saudi Aramco declined to comment. Indicative sizes for all the three tranches range from at least $5 billion from the ECA portion to about $2.8 billion from commercial bank lending potentially in both Saudi riyals and dollars, and about $1.4 billion from a bond deal. — Reuters

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

.2735000 .4350000 .3470000 .2890000 .2710000 .2720000 .0040000 .0020000 .0758910 .7393880 .3830000 .0710000 .7248380 .0040000 .0430000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2798500 GB Pound/KD .4370140 Euro .3490150 Swiss francs .2906020 Canadian dollars .2731840 Danish Kroner .0469690 Swedish Kroner .0387890 Australian dlr .2742530 Hong Kong dlr .0360480 Singapore dlr .2187350 Japanese yen .0035220 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0762220 Bahraini dinars .7426030 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0746470 Omani riyals .7271660 Philippine Peso .0000000

.2835000 .4450000 .3550000 .3000000 .2800000 .2820000 .0070000 .0035000 .0766540 .7468190 .4000000 .0770000 .7321220 .0072000 .0500000 .2819500 .4402930 .3516340 .2927830 .2752340 .0473210 .0390800 .2763110 .0363190 .2203770 .0035490 .0050530 .0021420 .0030460 .0034570 .0767940 .7481760 .3987980 .0752070 .7326230 .0065270

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Currency

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

280.700 3.040 5.065 2.135 3.429 6.470 76.525 74.995 746.200 46.460 446.900 3.990

Yemeni Riyal Euro Canadian Dollars Nepali rupee

1.550 356.100 279.900 3.170

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

Al Mulla Exchange Currency

Transfer Rate (Per 1000)

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

280.600 354.900 442.500 276.300 3.570 5.062 46.465 2.135 3.425 6.435 3.037 746.600 76.350 74.900


Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro US Dollar 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

278.28 277.33 295.35 352.39 280.65 440.92 3.61 3.433 5.003 2.133 3.142 3.034 76.48 747.28 46.47 399.84 730.42 77.50 75.05

288.00 279.50 300.00 355.00 281.50 445.00 3.65 3.550 5.330 2.400 3.850 3.200 76.95 745.00 47.85 396.00 730.00 77.55 75.25

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd Rate for Transfer

Selling Rate

US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Bahrain Dinar

281.000 276.500 439.785 350.925 292.150 743.935

COUNTRY Australian dollar Bahraini dinar Bangladeshi taka Canadian dollar Cyprus pound Czek koruna Danish krone Deutsche Mark Egyptian pound Euro Cash Hongkong dollar Indian rupees Indonesia Iranian tuman Iraqi dinar Japanese yen Jordanian dinar Lebanese pound Malaysian ringgit Morocco dirham Nepalese Rupees New Zealand dollar Nigeria Norwegian krone Omani Riyal Pakistani rupees Philippine peso Qatari riyal Saudi riyal Singapore dollar South Africa Sri Lankan rupees Sterling pound Swedish krona Swiss franc Syrian pound

SELL CASH 278.900 747.570 3.670 278.000 552.100 45.800 48.200 167.800 48.160 354.700 36.890 5.260 0.032 0.161 0.239 3.640 398.360 0.190 92.500 44.400 4.320 217.400 1.821 48.000 730.170 3.150 6.640 77.760 75.050 221.370 36.300 2.678 443.000 40.000 296.400 4.300

9.280 198.263 76.640 281.200 1.350

9.050 76.540 281.100

GOLD 1,663.560

10 Tola Sterling Pound US Dollar

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 441.000 281.100

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co.

Bahrain Exchange Company

UAE Exchange Centre WLL COUNTRY

Thai bhat Tunisian dollar UAE dirham U.S. dollars Yemeni Riyal

76.485 77.130 74.895 395.550 46.537 2.128 5.003 3.038 3.436 6.443 689.290 4.530 8.935 5.915 3.270 89.150

SELL DRAFT 277.400 747.570 3.433 276.500

Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Malaysian Ringgit

3.553 5.072 3.053 2.141 3.173 220.090 36.173 3.425 6.439 8.876 89.338 GCC COUNTRIES 74.883 77.158 729.380 745.850 76.464

221.400 46.584 353.200 36.740 5.010 0.031

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

398.320 0.189 92.500

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 48.250 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 46.466 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.309 Tunisian Dinar 176.65 Jordanian Dinar 396.190 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.884 Syrian Lier 4.899 Morocco Dirham 32.64

3.150 215.900 729.990 3.072 6.440 77.330 75.050 221.370 36.300 2.130 441.000 293.900 4.300

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 280.700 Euro 354.52 Sterling Pound 441.820 Canadian dollar 274.79 Turkish lire 152.400 Swiss Franc 295.01 US Dollar Buying 279.500 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

GOLD 293.000 148.000 75.250

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


Egypt bourse awaits Mubarak verdict; Gulf cautious MIDEAST WEEK AHEAD CAIRO/DUBAI: The verdict in the trial of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, due on Saturday, is a new cloud hanging over Egyptian stocks which were hammered this week after the country’s two most divisive figures made it to the presidential election run-off. Mubarak, 84, was charged with graft, abuse of power and ordering the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising that ousted him on Feb. 11, 2011. Court hearings in the trial concluded earlier this year and the verdict is due on June 2. A not-guilty verdict would probably work against Ahmed Shafiq, who was Mubarak’s last prime minister, in the presidential election run-off but analysts say any violent street protests against such a verdict could work in his favor. “The consequences of Mubarak’s verdict could be huge, whether for Shafiq’s candidacy or for the street,” said Ahmed Abu Taleb of Pharos Securities. “Next week all depends on Saturday’s verdict. Volatility will be high.” The benchmark index lost 3.5 percent on Sunday and 1.3 percent on Monday

after it became clear that Ahmed Shafiq, a 70-year-old former air force chief, would be pitted against senior Muslim Brotherhood official Mohamed Mursi in the June 16 and 17 run-off vote. The index fell a further 1.1 percent on Tuesday to a six-week low after an arson attack on Shafiq’s headquarters added to the tension surrounding the landmark election. “I don’t think anyone is paying attention to individual stocks. They are just looking at the political situation,” said Mike Millar, head of research at Naeem Brokerage. An exception might be Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) , which plans to separate its construction and fertiliser businesses into two new companies. It got shareholder approval on May 17 and is now awaiting a final go-ahead from the regulator. The market could also be affected by any number of other political events, Abu Taleb said. “Foreigners have been dumping for the last few months. Only some specula-

tive Arabs have been buying,” he said. Gulf investors will remain cautious next week as eyes are trained on developments in the euro zone’s spiraling debt crisis, while trading volumes will be depressed as many investors and traders escape the summer heat. A lack of regional news has seen local bourses track declines on global markets but volatility has lessened in lackluster trade. Many institutional investors are waiting for clarity on the global front before they can increase positions. Saudi Arabia’s market, the largest in the Arab region with a market capitalization of $368 billion, is seen holding its ground though, with chances of gains in the coming sessions following recent declines. “The short-term view may be slightly dull due to summer, but we feel a small rebound is likely in Saudi next week given that the market is oversold and selling pressure has abated,” said Sleiman Aboulhosn, assistant fund manager at Al Masah Capital. The kingdom’s index has tumbled 11.3 percent to levels near 7,000

since early April’s three-and-a-half year peak. It rallied 31 percent early this year, boosted by confidence in the local economy. The medium-term outlook is also upbeat for the world’s top oil exporter whose real estate and infrastructure sectors are benefiting from a $93 billion handout from the king announced in March last year during the Arab Spring. This included $66.7 billion for building 500,000 new homes. “We’re seeing continued growth in bank deposits, up 8 percent year-on-year, and oil revenues are ensuring that spending plans remain intact. Of course, there will be a time lag when it comes to project awards but we expect to see a lot more before year-end,” Aboulhosn said. For those investors willing to sit through the traditionally slower months of summer, current levels are attractive, according to investors. “After the rally we had in the beginning of the year, this is a very good place to reallocate funds - for some people who didn’t participate, they can jump in to catch up with the gains,”

said Faisal Al-Othman, portfolio manager at Riyadh-based Arab National Bank. Technical analysis however, points to a dip towards 6,800 levels before the market can rebound towards 7,200 points. Al-Othman said the market will be caught within this range for the coming few months. Elsewhere in the Gulf, Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s bourses have seen little volatility and trading volumes have tapered off as euro-zone gloom and approaching summer spurred many investors to cut risk. “In the bigger global picture, I think many equity markets are due for further declines after a short-term rally. That could put pressure on UAE and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council)markets,” said Bruce Powers, head of research and analysis at Trust Securities. He said the Dubai index was hovering around a support area near 1,470, which could hold for a rally. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark, which closed at 2,450 on Wednesday, may target 2,462, with a bullish divergence on the relative strength index, a commonly used price momentum indicator. — Reuters

Gulf Islamic issuers see appeal of ringgit market Malaysian investors remain target

NEW YORK: Specialist Allison Gamba works at her post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. US stocks are opening sharply lower as concerns about the stability of Europe’s financial system return to the fore. —AP

US stocks plummet as outlook in Europe dims NEW YORK: Fear about Europe’s financial stability caused traders to retreat from most investments seen as risky yesterday, punishing US stocks and pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to a record low. Major US stock indexes fell more than a percentage point in the first half-hour of trading. Traders dumped European stocks and government bonds and the euro fell to a nearly two-year low against the dollar. Borrowing rates for European governments rose sharply, even for relatively stable nations such as France. Rising demand for low-risk, easily tradable securities pushed the yield on the 10-year Treasury note to 1.64 percent, the lowest on record, from 1.74 percent late Tuesday. German government bond yields also plunged. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 131 points to 12,449. The Dow has had a miserable May. It’s down 5.9 percent for the month, putting it on track for its first losing month since September. Concerns about Europe seemed to lurk around every corner: Europe’s executive body said consumer confidence fell sharply last month. Spaniards withdrew money from their banks, spreading fear about that nation’s ability to go on without bailouts. Spain’s main stock index fell two percent. If Europe’s financial crisis plunges it into a deep recession, global economic growth will likely falter, reducing demand for commodities and machines that power growth. Fearing that outcome, traders pushed heavy equipment maker Caterpillar and aluminum company Alcoa to the biggest declines among

the 30 companies that make up the Dow. In other US trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 15 to 1,317. The Nasdaq composite average slid 35 to 2,835. Metals, food and energy commodities all fell sharply. Crude oil lost more than $2 to $88 a barrel, a large move. Crude has been falling steadily since the beginning of May, when it traded as high as $106 a barrel. The euro fell as low as $1.2405, the lowest since the summer of 2010. Spain’s borrowing costs soared to the highest level since the country joined the euro. Traders are worried that the country won’t be able to navigate a real estate crash that has hobbled one of its biggest lenders, Bankia. The yield on Spain’s 10-year bonds, a key indicator of market confidence in a country’s ability to pay down its debt, shot as high as 6.67 percent, matching the level it hit at the height of the euro crisis late last year. Agricultural company Monsanto was one of the few big gainers in a sea of red. The stock jumped 3 percent after the company’s CEO told investors that earnings will likely surge 25 percent this year, far more than Wall Street had been expecting. Sales were strong in its seed and chemicals business, including Roundup herbicides. Blackberry maker Research in Motion plunged 10 percent to $10 after the company said late Tuesday it had hired a team of bankers to help it weigh its options - Wall Street jargon for a possible sale or reorganization. RIM’s business has been crumbling as smartphone users move to iPhone and Android devices.— AP

DUBAI: Companies in the Gulf Arab region are looking at issuing Islamic bonds that target Malaysian investors as a way to diversify funding sources and tap Asian demand for Middle East debt. Bahrain-based lender Gulf International Bank, owned by the government of Saudi Arabia, announced this week it had set up a new 3.5 billion Malaysian ringgit Islamic bond, or sukuk, programme, and could potentially issue a bond soon. The bank’s Chairman Jammaz bin Abdullah Al-Suhaimi said tapping the ringgit market was a strategic move to diversify funding avenues and currencies. “The Malaysian ringgit market is increasingly an attractive alternative for Gulf entities looking to raise money,” said Nick Stadtmiller, head of fixed income at Emirates NBD in Dubai. “Malaysian banks are highly liquid, and there is a developed set of other institutional buyers in the market.” Issuers in the Gulf are seeking to diversify their financing as dollar funding becomes scarce in the wake of the euro-zone crisis. Islamic bond markets have been more resilient to the crisis and have seen increased activity since late last year. The $300 billion domestic Malaysian ringgit bond and sukuk market i s dominated by Malaysian issuers, with a more than 95 percent market share, and more international ringgit issuance would offer investors a chance to broaden their portfolios, Stadtmiller said. In February, state-owned oil and gas compa-

ny Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA) raised 650 million Malaysian ringgit ($206.15 million) from a 10-year sukuk at a profit rate of 4.65 percent. It increased the issue size from a planned 500 million ringgit as demand was much stronger than anticipated. The ringgit sukuk was trading at 101.4 levels to yield 4.5 percent this week. In comparison, TAQA’s $750 million 10-year 5.875 percent dollar-denominated b o nd , issued in December 2011 and maturing in 2021, was trading at 108.25 levels to yield 4.78 percent. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, the emirate’s third-largest lender by market value, issued a ringgit-denominated conventional, or nonIslamic, bond worth $101 million in its third ringgit foray in two years last month, carrying a coupon of 4.3 percent. Globally, risk aversion has taken precedence in financial markets since the start of May as concerns over a Greece exit from the euro zone have dampened investor sentiment. The spread on the iTraxx SovX CEEMEA, Markit’s index used to hedge exposure to East European, Middle Eastern and African sovereigns, has widened by more than 60 basis points since May 1 to around 339 bps this week. In comparison, the average spread, on the HSBC Nasdaq GCC sukuk index, a regional benchmark tracking the return of an emerging GCC sukuk portfolio, has widened by only about 5.7 bps since the start of this month to 286.98 basis points on May 28, signalling relative stabili-

Commerzbank denied right to appeal bonus dispute

ATHENS: Pigeons fly in front of the national bank of Greece headquarters in Athens yesterday. The June 17 general election, called after an inconclusive May 6 ballot, will determine whether Greece will complete vital reforms tied to a multi-billion EU-IMF loan agreement that has so far shielded the country from bankruptcy.—AFP

US pending home sales drop in April

VILA NOVA DE GAIA: Germany’s Economy Minister Philipp Roesler (right) shakes hands with his Portuguese counterpart Alvaro Santos Pereira with the Douro river and downtown Porto in the background yesterday.—AP

ty in regional credits. “As global markets emerge from the financial crisis, there is a clear shift with Gulf issuers looking East. We see a growing appetite for quality, high-grade names from the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) among Malaysian investors,” said Sanjay Uppal, chief financial officer at Malaysia’s Hong Leong Bank. “As Asian investors get more comfortable and familiar with the GCC, the market presents an investment and diversification opportunity.” Gulf International Bank’s (GIB) sukuk program is rated AA1 by Malaysian rating agency RAM Ratings, the same as Taqa’s program. GIB is a wholesale bank, 97-percent owned by the government of Saudi Arabia. “GIB’s major customers are government and quasi-government entities, government-related entities, major private-sector corporations and financial institutions,” RAM Ratings said in a ratings statement. Market sources say that investors are likely to view any eventual issue as Saudi risk given GIB’s ownership. “It’s currently viewed as a Bahraini credit although essentially it’s Saudi risk. I would actually think of it as quasi-sovereign risk or as close to sovereign risk as can be because of its ownership structure,” said one UAE-based trader, speaking on condition of anonymity. In the last two years, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Kuwait’s Gulf Investment Corp (GIC) have also raised ringgit financing. Both benefit from full or majority government ownership.— Reuters

WASHINGTON: US pending home sales plunged in April but an overall upward trend remained firmly in place amid a slowly recovering housing market, an industry group said yesterday. The National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales, or contracts signed but not closed, dived 5.5 percent to 95.5 in April, from a downwardly revised 101.1 in March. An index level of 100 generally indicates a healthy pending home sales pace. The decline snapped three straight months of solid gains but nevertheless pending home sales were notably higher in April-by 14.4 percent-than a year ago. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said the onemonth setback had not derailed the fundamentally improving housing market conditions. “Home contract activity has been above year-ago levels now for 12 consecutive

months. The housing recovery momentum continues,” he said. Ian Shepherdson, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics, pointed out that the average level of the index in March and April, which helps to smooth the impact of Easter seasonal adjustment distortions, was 1.1 percent higher than the January-February average. “The April reading looks to us like a lot of noise and not much signal. A repeat performance in May would be a different story, but it would also be a big surprise,” Shepherdson said. The US housing market is still bottoming out six years after a price bubble burst, stymieing the economy’s recovery from a deep 2008-2009 recession. Despite mortgage rates at record lows, a high 8.1 percent unemployment rate, tightened lending conditions and falling home prices have kept many would-be buyers on the sidelines. — AFP

LONDON: Commerzbank, Germany’s second-largest lender, has failed to win the right to appeal a judgment that it must stump up 52 million euros ($65 million) in unpaid bonuses to 104 London-based bankers and faces some 18 million extra in costs. Rejecting an appeal request with no prospect of success, High Court Judge Robert Owen said on Wednesday the bank acted in a “highly reprehensible” manner and “was unreasonable to the high degree that warrants an order for indemnity costs”. Commerzbank, which slashed 2008 discretionary bonuses by 90 percent after its Dresdner Kleinwort investment banking arm ran up vast losses during the financial crisis, said it was considering whether to petition the Court of Appeal directly. “The cost of petitioning the Court of Appeal will not be material and there is nothing to lose in doing it,” said Stefan Martin of law firm Allen & Overy. “We have not seen the end of this case, but I cannot see it getting any better for Commerzbank.” Lawyers for the bankers said it was time to draw a line in the sand. “Having been refused an appeal, and having had the conduct of Commerzbank condemned by the judge in such strong terms, we hope that (Chief Executive) Martin Blessing will have Commerzbank finally comply with its obligations and allow everyone to move on,” said Daniel Naftalin, a partner at law firm Mishcon de Reya, who represented some of the bankers. If the bank decides against

any further appeal attempt, it will be ordered to make a prompt payment of 5.3 million pounds ($8.3 million) to the bankers to cover half of their expected legal bill of around 10.6 million. It will also pay most of the bankers, whose claims range from around 15,000 euros to 2.6 million euros, interest on their damages at a rate of five percent above base rates. Twenty one bankers, whose offer to settle was rejected in 2010, will get an interest rate of 10 percent from March 2010. “I am satisfied that the appropriate rate at which to compensate the claimants for being kept out of their money is the cost of unsecured borrowing by individuals,” Owen said. A Commerzbank spokeswoman said the interest charges and costs would bump up the total cost of the claim to roughly 70 million euros. The dispute hinged in part on whether the bank’s promises of bonuses constituted a contractual agreement and whether it had been within its rights to introduce a “material adverse change” clause in bonus letters after the Dresdner takeover in 2009.—Reuters


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


Gold falls for 2nd day as Spain fears dent euro LONDON: Gold fell for a second day yesterday, under the influence of a weaker euro as the euro-zone debt crisis engulfed Spain and sent investors scrambling for a safe haven in the form of US dollars. The euro fell sharply against the yen and remained around two-year lows against the dollar as concerns intensified about the solvency of Spanish banks and Madrid’s ability to bail out its financial sector. Spot gold was down 0.5 percent on the day at $1,547.39 an ounce by 1021 GMT. The price has fallen by nearly 7 percent in May, marking its worst monthly performance since December, when it fell by nearly 11 percent. “As we’ve seen during other periods of extreme risk aversion, investors go into Treasury bonds, which are yielding record lows, or they stay in cash. It’s preservation of capital ...

so for the moment, gold is unloved, but I think it means if you are still a bull, you will get better levels at which to express that,” Robin Bhar, an analyst at Societe Generale, said. “We look at the most recent lows around the $1,520 level as a target and possibly below there as this storm continues,” he said. The European Commission will set out its economic strategy for the euro zone on Wednesday, spelling out measures to balance growth with unpopular fiscal consolidation that will be particularly pointed for Spain and Italy. Spanish borrowing costs remained stubbornly above 6.5 percent, the highest yield for the benchmark 10-year bond in six months, while the cost of insuring fiveyear Spanish debt against default hit a record high.

Euro zone economic sentiment fell more than expected in May as pessimism among manufacturers and retailers in particular worsened, although consumers became slightly less downbeat about the economy for the year ahead. Gold’s correlation to the euro softened a touch yesterday, easing to 52.0 from closer to 57.0 a week ago, meaning that the two assets are still more likely to move in sync with one another than they were in early May, when this relationship was at its weakest in six months. “The song remains the same as well as the market slavishly follows the euro on its ups and downs. The situation in Europe seems to be going from bad to worse, with Spain now teetering on the brink as well as Greece,” Marex Spectron head of precious metals David Govett

said in a note. He said gold was likely to stick to a range between $1,540 and $1,580 for the time being. This week holds a number of event risks for the precious metals market. US economic growth figures for the first quarter are due today, while monthly employment data is due on Friday, and both are likely to offer investors some sort of indication on what policymakers at the Federal Reserve will signal at their rate meeting in June. Investors in gold via exchange-traded products have cut their holdings to a four-month low of 69.590 million ounces in May, which has witnessed the third consecutive monthly net outflow of metal, the longest stretch of declines since late 2009. On the derivatives market, investors in ETP options are positioned heavily for

another drop in the gold price. Nearthe-money options on the SPDR Gold Trust show a heavy skew in favour of bearish put options, which give the holder the right, but not the obligation, to sell shares in the fund at a predetermined price by a set date. Put options on SPDR shares expiring on June 16 at 145.0, a level that equates to a spot gold price of approximately $1,494.00, show the most open interest, with 52,453 lots, equal to 524,530 ounces of metal. In other precious metals, silver fell 0. percent to $27.65, on course for a third successively monthly fall, after having lost nearly 11 percent so far in May. Silver ETP holdings are still up on the month, around 489.38 million. Platinum was down 1.5 percent at $1,403.49, while palladium was down 1.4 percent at $592.97. —Reuters

Steadfast Ireland faces major risks: EU panel Dublin’s export-led recovery plan in question

TOKYO: Traders watch the monitor at a money brokerage in Tokyo yesterday. Investors unnerved by Spain’s worsening financial condition and a report that China has no plans for a major economic stimulus dragged Asian stock markets lower yesterday.—AP

Japan PM, Ozawa still split on tax TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda edged closer yesterday to a possible deal with the opposition to push through his plan to double the sales tax, after party heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa refused to support his signature initiative. Former finance minister Noda has pledged to bring the plan to vote in the current session of parliament that ends on June 21, and requires masterful maneuvering to get it passed. The tax hike is seen as an essential part of efforts needed to curb Japan’s snowballing public debt. Ratings agency Fitch cut the nation’s credit rank last week, citing scant progress in coping with swelling social security costs. Without the votes from Ozawa’s group, the Democratic party’s biggest faction, Noda needs opposition help to pass the bills both in the lower house which is controlled by the Democrats, and the upper house where the opposition has the majority. The main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has long insisted only an early election could pave the way to an agreement on the tax plan, has cracked the door open to a compromise in the past few weeks. A senior LDP lawmaker told Reuters last week the party could back a proposed hike in the tax to 10 percent by 2015 if Noda agreed to drop elements of the tax and social security reform that could lead to more spending. Another senior lawmaker close to LDP leader Sadakazu Tanigaki told Reuters earlier

this week that a clean break with Ozawa and a promise to call an early election after the passing of the tax law could secure Noda opposition backing. “If Noda could say ‘let me just do this (raise the tax) and if this could be achieved let’s call an election’ ... that would be a major step towards paving the way for our cooperation,” said the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter. Ozawa stuck to his line that other reforms should come before a tax rise that was not part of the party’s platform that brought it to power in a 2009 landslide. “Before making people shoulder a big tax burden the government has things to do and (tax hikes) should come after those things get done,” Ozawa told reporters after meeting Noda. “As sales tax hikes are big tax hikes worth about 13 trillion yen ($163.54 billion), if I am asked now whether to support this or not I cannot support it.” Noda, speaking to reporters later, acknowledged the two failed to bridge the gap, though the disagreement was about the timing rather than the merits of a tax rise. Since a court cleared him last month in a political funding case, Ozawa has repeatedly called for Noda to drop the tax plan that many in his own party fear will damage them at the polls. Noda, however, has repeatedly stated that he would rather sacrifice his political career and risk a rift in his party than give up the tax plan. — Reuters

Oil falls on Spain, China worries LONDON: Brent crude oil fell yesterday, as fears intensified about the future of Spain’s banks, while China signalled it was not planning a large stimulus package, dimming demand prospects. Oil recovered some losses after the European Commission called for sweeping reforms to restore investor confidence. However, the move failed to turn around the negative tone of the market. Spain will soon issue new bonds to fund its ailing banks and indebted regions, even while its borrowing costs neared the unsustainable 7 percent level, which forced other euro-zone countries to seek international aid. Feeding fears that China, the engine of global growth, will not grow as fast has hoped, influential academics said Beijing should shun aggressive fiscal stimulus, in remarks published in leading state-backed newspapers yesterday. They joined a chorus of commentary countering market expectations that China might unveil a stimulus package similar to the 4 trillion yuan ($630.1 billion) in spending unleashed during the global financial crisis. Brent crude slid $1.61 to $105.07 per barrel by 1203 GMT. It was down nearly 12 percent so far in May, its biggest such fall in two years. US crude was down $1.18 at $89.58 per barrel. For the month, the US benchmark has fallen even faster, weighed by a surge in domestic stockpiles. It has fallen 14.6 percent, its biggest fall since late 2008. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, storage hub, delivery point of the US crude oil future contract, have risen to a record high of 46.8 million barrels. “The European

debt crisis and concerns about Chinese economic growth together mean that sentiment is on the very bearish side,” said Andy Sommer at EGL in Dietikon, Switzerland. But oil’s losses may be checked by supply concerns as Iran’s dispute with the West over Tehran’s nuclear program remains unresolved. Some analysts also saw scope for support as the increase in supply from some countries is seen as levelling off. “Oil will gradually climb higher, with the ban of Iranian oil starting to make an impact,” said Sommer at EGL. “Demand is always higher in the second half, while we won’t continue to get incremental growth to supply from Libya, and Saudi Arabia won’t go on increasing production.” Tehran is refusing to grant United Nations inspectors access to a facility at Parchin, which is suspected of being used to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its aims are entirely peaceful. Iran has ramped up its production of low-enriched uranium in the past five years, and it could be used for at least five nuclear weapons if refined further, the US-based Institute for Science and International Security said. Iraq, which has the potential to increase supply substantially, said average oil exports in May were at 2.4 million barrels per day so far, compared with an average of 2.508 million bpd for April. Iraq started its fourth energy bidding round to allow international companies to compete for exploration deals on 12 new oil and gas areas as the OPEC-member country seeks to expand its crude reserves and become a major gas exporter. — Reuters

BRUSSELS: Ireland must continue to steadfastly meet its bailout targets to minimize the major risks posed by adverse developments in the euro area and possible weaker-than-anticipated growth, the European Commission said yesterday. Ireland is halfway through its three-year, 85 billion euro ($106.56 billion) EU/IMF bailout program, and the Commission said that on top of progress made to date, available information suggested it was broadly on track to meet the demands of future quarterly reviews. However, Dublin’s plans for an export-led recovery are in question due to a slowdown in its trading partners, and with the Commission predicting economic growth slowing to 0.5 percent this year from 0.7 percent in 2011, it cautioned that major challenges lay ahead. “Key risks in the period ahead relate to the adverse external environment and in particular the risk of unfavorable developments in the euro area,” the Commission said in its annual set of policy recommendations to member states. “To minimize vulnerability, it is essential that the program continue to be steadfastly implemented. It said other risks included increasing related challenges to bank deleveraging and funding, the complex nature of the reorganization of the financial sector and possible budgetary pressure should economic activity prove weaker than anticipated. The OECD gave a similar prognosis last week when it said Ireland’s slow recovery should gain further momentum next year but risked being derailed by the fallout from the euro-zone’s sovereign debt crisis. While not-

ing that the recapitalization of Ireland’s banks has been mostly completed and that deleveraging targets were exceeded in 2011, the Commission said more work needed to be done. “It is essential to further develop the financial sector strategy to underpin the viability of domestic banks, with a view to

improving prospects for their timely return to market funding and, ultimately, private ownership,” the report said. It added that structural reforms to improve competitiveness and create more jobs were significantly advanced, and sheltered sectors of the economy were being opened up. — Reuters

CLONES: Liptons shop proprietor Tony Morgan reaches into his till with old Irish currency, the punt, euro notes and Clones vouchers at his shop in Clones, Ireland yesterday. Businesses in the town of Clones are taking part in an experiment to boost a town ravaged by the economic downturn. — AFP

Top insurer pulls cover for exports to Greece FRANKFURT/LONDON: The world’s biggest trade credit insurer, Euler Hermes, has stopped covering exporters shipping to Greece because of the mounting risk of them not getting paid in the event the debt-laden nation is forced out of the euro. “Euler Hermes has decided no longer to cover deliveries to Greece for the foreseeable future,” a Euler Hermes spokesman told Reuters yesterday. Existing contracts will be honored, but Euler Hermes will not underwrite any new Greek business, the spokesman said, adding that the insurer would reconsider “as soon as the situation improves.” A Greek exit from the euro-zone would force companies there to revert to the drachma, which would likely fall sharply against the single currency to reflect Greece’s fiscal crisis. That would restrict Greek importers’ ability to pay eurodenominated invoices, potentially

inflicting big losses on their European suppliers. Euler Hermes had warned last week that it might restrict cover for Greece-bound exports. Trade insurers have been reviewing their Greek exposure ahead of the country’s June 17 general election, amid fears victory could go to parties that oppose spending cuts agreed as part of an international bailout deal, hastening a euro exit. “It’s a watershed - everyone’s watching what happens and trying to make contingency plans,” said Richard Talboys, head of political and trade credit risk at insurance broker Willis. “There are smoke and flames coming out of Greece but we don’t know if it can be put out, or if the Greeks will pour oil on it by voting against restructuring and austerity.” Trade credit insurers have also been trimming their exposure to Spain and Italy, heavily-indebted and mired in recession, although

not immediately at risk of quitting the euro, said Vincent McCue, trade credit client team leader at insurance broker Marsh. “What we’ve seen in terms of Italy and Spain is that trade credit, which is effectively the oxygen of business, is being slowly turned down,” he said. Trade credit insurers were criticized during the 2008 crisis for abruptly withdrawing cover, disrupting supply chains and forcing several European governments to plug the gap with state-backed insurance schemes. The industry has since tried to build up better data on their customers’ trade partners to gauge the risk of non-payment more accurately and avoid the need for rapid adjustment during economic or financial market crises. Euler Hermes, majority-owned by German insurer Allianz , insured export deals worth 702 billion euros ($880.03 billion) last year. The

company’s operating assumption is that Greece will stay in the eurozone, its spokesman said. Most European export deals are uninsured. About 15 percent of British exporters buy trade credit insurance, compared with about 25 percent in export-focused Germany, according to informal estimates from industry sources. Greece imported 45.6 billion euros’ worth of goods last year, more than double the 20.2 billion it exported, according to International Monetary Fund figures. The reduced availability of trade credit insurance for Greece could make it harder for Greek manufacturers to source imported components and raw materials, Marsh’s McCue said. No one at Atradius, the second-biggest trade credit insurer, was immediately available for comment. The company said last week it was still underwriting Greek business on a “very selective” basis.— Reuters

S&P lowers outlook on Japan’s Marubeni

JAKARTA: A service station worker fills up a customer’s tank at a petrol station in Jakarta yesterday. Indonesia late Tuesday said it plans to restrict the use of subsidized fuel in an effort to relieve the state of inflating costs after the government failed to pass a fuelprice hike through parliament in March. — AFP

TOKYO: Standard & Poor’s yesterday downgraded its credit outlook on Marubeni to negative from stable, citing the Japanese trading house’s $3.6 billion purchase of US grain giant Gavilon Group. The global agency also said it would keep Marubeni’s ‘BBB’ credit rating in place, but warned that volatile markets and an uncertain recovery in the global economy could hurt the firm’s prospects. A report by Dow Jones Newswires said the Gavilon deal, announced Tuesday, may balloon to $5.0 billion including debt. “Against this backdrop, a drop in commodity prices and weaker global demand may hurt Marubeni’s financial performance,” S&P said. “And in light of its increased leverage, Marubeni’s credit profile will become more susceptible to financial stress.” However S&P also said Marubeni had a “strong revenue base and adequate liquidity”. The firm will become one of the world’s biggest grain traders following the purchase of Gavilon, which is based in the US state of Nebraska, and handles corn, wheat and other grains. The deal is the biggest cross-border acquisition by a Japanese company so far this year, according to data provider Dealogic. Japanese companies have been aggressively seeking mergers and acquisitions abroad in recent years, taking advantage of the yen’s strength to diversify their operations and make them globally competitive. Trading houses particularly have moved to scoop up resources and commodities. Marubeni has spent around $11 billion abroad since the start of 2011.— AFP


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


ECB rejects Spanish scheme for Bankia Euro-zone lending still weak: Report

NEW DELHI: Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin’ Brands and President of Dunkin’ Donuts US, poses with a donut and coffee at a newly-opened outlet in New Delhi yesterday. —AFP

Dunkin’ Donuts plans 100 new India outlets NEW DELHI: Dunkin’ Donuts said yesterday it aimed to open 100 stores in India over the next five years as it goes head-to-head with rival Starbucks, which is due to open in the country in the coming months. Dunkin’ Donuts, which set up its first Indian outlet earlier this month, is among a growing number of Western fast-food chains heading to Asia’s third-largest economy to cater to an increasingly affluent market in cities. Along with its usual range of products, the group has created some offerings adapted for the Indian palate such as spicy sandwiches, mirroring efforts made in China to woo local consumers. Getting its products to “suit the market is very important to our success”, company chief executive Nigel Travis told AFP on the sidelines of another store opening, its third this month. The world’s biggest donut seller

entered neighboring emerging market giant China in 2008 and now has some 80 Dunkin’ Donut outlets in the world’s second-largest economy. “We see a young, fast-growing middle class here in India-the country is ready for entry,” he added. Dunkin’ Donuts will be competing against domestic rivals such as Cafe Coffee Day and Barista, as well as US giant coffee chain Starbucks, which plans to open in August or September. Other fast-food US brands McDonald’s, Domino’s and Pizza Hut are already expanding fast in India, leading to concern among some health experts about their link to growing obesity rates among India’s middle classes. Dunkin’ Brands, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts, aims to open 550 to 650 new outlets around the world in 2012, of which a “disproportionate number” will be in the Asia-Pacific region, said Travis. — AFP

TOKYO: Michael Woodford (center), former Olympus president and chief executive officer who was dismissed from his posts last October in Tokyo. — AFP

Olympus, whistle-blowing ex-chief reach settlement TOKYO: Japanese camera maker Olympus has reached a settlement with whistleblowing former chief Michael Woodford over an unfair dismissal claim he filed in Britain, the company said yesterday. “Both sides will repor t to the Employment Tribunal (in London) once the agreement is ratified by the Olympus board,” a spokesman in Tokyo told AFP, but he declined to confirm a reported 10 million pound ($15.6 million) payout. The tribunal had been suspended since Monday so the two sides could negotiate terms for an out-ofcourt settlement, said the Olympus spokesman. “Both sides have agreed that Woodford will discontinue the lawsuit once the Olympus board ratifies the terms for the settlement,” he said. The Financial Times repor ted that had Woodford served out the remainder of

his contract with Olympus, he would have received a 10 million pounds salary. Japan’s Kyodo news agency said the Olympus board meeting was set for June 8. Woodford, the first non-Japanese person to lead the camera and medical equipment maker, was fired in October after questioning $1.7 billion in losses at the firm. In April during an emergency general meeting of shareholders in Tokyo, Woodford demanded to know why he was sacked shortly before exposing a scheme that saw huge losses moved off the firm’s balance sheet. Olympus executives rebuffed the demand by the Briton, who later filed the lawsuit for unfair dismissal with the London tribunal. The scandal has led to the arrest of former top executives at the firm, including the president, and hammered Japan’s corporate governance image. — AFP

PARIS: The European Central Bank has rejected a scheme by Spain to recapitalize its distressed bank Bankia, the Financial Times newspaper reported yesterday, citing unnamed European officials. Bankia, a leading Spanish bank, has called for government aid of 19 billion euros ($24 billion) as part of an overall package of 23.5 billion euros to strengthen shareholder funds. Spain, itself facing severe difficulties in funding its public deficit and debt, had drawn up a scheme whereby the state would issue debt bonds to Bankia so that the bank could use them as collateral for fresh funding from the ECB, the Financial Times said. It said the central bank had judged this arrangement to be “unacceptable”. The sources said this method amounted to direct financing of the Spanish state by the central bank, counter to the ECB’s statutes. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported more cautiously that the ECB would reject such a scheme if it were proposed, citing unnamed sources. A spokeswoman for the Spanish economy ministry said on Tuesday that the government’s priority in dealing with the problem at Bankia was to borrow money on the capital market. But early yesterday the gap between the rate which Spain must pay to borrow money for 10 years rose to a record risk premium above the German rate, which fell to a record low level. Euro-zone lending to the private sector remains weak, suggesting the vast amounts of cheap cash pumped into banks earlier this year provided only scant relief from the crisis, data showed yesterday. The European Central Bank said in regular monthly statistics that growth in loans to the private sector slowed to just 0.3 percent in April from 0.6 percent in March. The slowdown will disappoint central bank officials given that, in two special measures in December and February aimed at averting a credit squeeze in the 17-nation euro-zone, the ECB lent more than 1.0 trillion euros ($1.25 trillion) to banks at a rock-bottom rate of 1.0 percent for a period of three years. The thinking behind the unprecedented moves was that banks would lend the cheap funds to businesses and households and keep credit flowing in the debt-wracked euro-zone economy. However, the cash does not appear to be trickling through into the real economy so far, the data suggested. A key contributing factor seems to be that overall demand for credit remains weak, rather than the unwillingness of banks to make loans available, analysts say. Last month, in its regular quarterly survey on bank lending, the ECB found that a tightening of credit conditions had eased “substantially” in the first three months of this year and banks were expecting that trend to continue in the second quarter as well. Nevertheless, small- and medium-sized businesses still complained that getting bank loans had become harder, according to a separate ECB survey. The data “add to the evidence that the LTROs (long-term refinancing operations) only provided a temporary relief,” said Berenberg Bank economist Christian Schulz. IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer agreed. Lending to businesses “remains anaemic and there is still little evidence that the 1.019 trillion euros (are) feeding through to markedly boost lending to the private sector,” he said. Tight credit conditions

“remain a serious concern for euro-zone growth prospects,” Archer said. The ECB also calculated that growth of the euro-zone money supply, a key indicator of demand in the economy, slowed unexpected-

BARCELONA: Passengers wait among rubbish and paper during the second day of a strike by the cleaning staff against budget cuts at Barcelona’s airport in Barcelona yesterday. The cleaners have put torn paper onto the floor as part of the action. —AP ly in April, with the M3 indicator falling to 2.5 percent last month from 3.1 percent in March. The ECB regards the M3 figure as a key guide to inflation pressures and uses it to set interest rates accordingly. The central bank seeks to keep euro-zone inflation below but close to 2.0 percent and it eased slightly to 2.6 percent in April from 2.7 percent in March. All in all, the new data pointed to deflationary tendencies in the single currency area, said Schulz at Berenberg Bank. On Tuesday, consumer price data for Germany showed that inflation in Europe’s biggest economy slowed to 1.9 percent this month, the first time in 17 months that it has been below the key level of 2.0 percent. And that could open the door to additional

explosion in bad debts. China’s growth fell to 8.1 percent in the first quarter of this year from 9.2 percent in 2011 as a whole, as woes in key export markets such as Europe and the United States hit its overseas sales. The government this month cut banks’ required reserve ratio, freeing up funds they can lend to clients, after unexpectedly low figures for April, with exports up just 4.9 percent year on year and imports virtually flat from a year earlier. On Monday, the China Business News daily reported that the NDRC wanted to speed up approvals of altogether 130 billion yuan of projects in the steel and transport industries to boost the economy. “They’re focusing on growth but the government seems quite insistent in its branding of this new expansionary policy,” said Andrew Polk, a Beijing-based China economist with the Conference Board, a private research group. — AFP

lower rates at the June governing council meeting,” said Newedge Strategy analyst Annalisa Piazza. ECB interest rates are currently at historical lows of 1.0 percent. Archer at IHS Global Insight doubted the prospect of new cuts from the euro-zone central bank. “We doubt that the ECB will be willing to cut interest rates at their June 6 policy meeting and will prefer to wait and see what happens with the Greek elections and their aftermath, as well as with near-term growth and inflation developments,” Archer said. “However, we do expect the ECB to trim interest rates in the third quarter, with July a very real possibility,” the analyst concluded. — AFP

No euro-zone hopeful fit to join single currency yet: ECB FRANKFURT: None of the eight countries on the waiting list to adopt the euro meets all the required membership criteria at the moment, the European Central Bank said yesterday. The ECB publishes a Convergence Report at least once every two years on the progress made by EU member states that have not yet adopted the euro towards joining the single currency. Ten of the EU’s 27 member countries have not yet done so, but two of them Britain and Denmark-have opt-out clauses, allowing them not to join the euro. Of the remaining eight-Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Sweden-no single country currently meets the euro membership criteria, the ECB found in its latest report. The report examines the prospective euro-zone members with regard to their track record on inflation, government finances, exchange rates, long-term interest rates and legal convergence. In none of the eight countries examined was the legal

framework fully compatible with all the requirements, the ECB said. “Incompatibilities remain regarding central bank independence,” the bank complained. Hungary, in particular, has recently come under fire over changes to its central bank law which are seen as damaging the independence that is enshrined in eurozone statutes. Another prerequisite is that countries peg their currencies to the euro for at least two years, and Latvia and Lithuania are the only two of the eight which currently do so. Last week, Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis told AFP in an interview that his country intends to join the euro-zone in 2014 despite the debt crisis, hoping it will bring an element of economic stability. Lithuania has not given a date for euro membership. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has also said his country is still ready to join the euro, even if the single currency area’s reputation has been dented by the debt crisis. —AFP

Cape names new CEO to tackle Algeria troubles

China to resist major stimulus package BEIJING: China’s state news agency has sought to dampen hopes of a major stimulus package to boost the slowing economy following days of market speculation. Xinhua said in an online report that China’s top planning agency National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) had denied “false reports” it would repeat the huge spending drive it launched in late 2008. “The NDRC held a media briefing to clarify false reports that there would a new round of stimuli, a version 2.0 of the four trillion yuan package,” said the Tuesday report, which appeared only on the agency’s weibo, or microblog. Beijing responded swiftly to the global recession, unleashing a four-trillion-yuan (586billion-dollar) stimulus package in late 2008 and ordering state-owned banks to boost lending to spur economic activity. The move returned the economy to double-digit growth, but also led to raised inflation and concerns about an

ECB interest rate cuts soon, analysts said. The M3 data “confirm the picture of weak activity and falling underlying inflationary pressures in the medium term. Given the current scenario, the ECB will have further reasons to

MADRID: Demonstrators of the association “Affected by mortgages” shout slogans to stop the eviction of Ecuatorian Luz Maria Reyes Coral who is unable to meet her mortgage repayments in Madrid yesterday. —AFP

ALGIERS: Cape Plc named a new chief executive yesterday, filling a post that has been vacant since March, in a move that comes less than a week after a shock profit warning from the resources industry services provider. The company said Joe Oatley, former CEO of British engineering company Hamworthy, will take over as CEO at the end of June, replacing Martin May, who stepped down unexpectedly earlier this year after six years at the helm. Oatley joined Hamworthy-another provider of equipment and services to the marine, oil and gas, and industrial sectors- as CEO in 2007. He led the company through the financial crisis until it was eventually bought by Finnish ship and power plant engine-maker Wartsila. Investors welcomed the news of Oatley’s appointment, sending Cape’s shares up 8 percent to 249.24 pence at 0845 GMT and making them one of the top percentage gainers on the London Stock Exchange. The stock had shed about 29 percent of its value since Cape issued the profit warning last week. “... I think he’s the right guy, so I think it’s a very good catch for Cape to get somebody of Joe’s capability,” Investec Bank analyst Keith Morris said of Oatley. Morris added that Oatley’s ability to reorganize businesses to maintain profitability was just the sort of skill Cape needed, given his track record of steering Hamworthy through the financial crisis when orders dried up. “... When times were tough and Hamworthy went through periods in the cycle, certainly during the financial crisis ... he took early steps to restructure the Hamworthy business and cut costs and streamline the business to ensure that they maintained margins and profitability.” News of Oatley’s appointment comes two months after the company stunned investors and analysts by announcing May’s departure soon after Cape said the timing of the work releases on a key project had been slower than anticipated. Just last week the company said it would take a charge for losses on that project in Algeria-one of its two largest contracts-that will hit profit for the year. “It’s not the easiest time to come into the company, but management were quite reassuring that it was just specific issues in Algeria,” Northland Capital Partners analyst Andy Hanson said. “He is generally very well respected, and Hamworthy was a very wellrespected business ... so I do think it is a good appointment.” — Reuters


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


LG launches record-breaking 2012 cinema 3D smart TV series in Kuwait The new product line to further establish LG’s market leadership KUWAIT: LG Electronics, a global leader and technology innovator in consumer electronics, together with its local partner Al-Babtain Electronics announced the launch of the its latest 2012 Cinema 3D Smart TV line-up in Kuwait. Unveiling the new product line at a grand event held at the The Regency Hotel, LG revealed the cutting-edge 3D bezel TV that is sized at almost zero mm, setting a new world record for the narrowest bezel 3D TV. The LG Cinema 3D Smart TV, being equipped with the most advanced 3D technology, enables a smoother and more immersive 3D viewing bringing a limitless world of 3D entertainment at the tip of your magic remote. LG, which has established its number one position across premium 3D

Smart TV segment as per data provided by GFK, a leading global market research company, takes the 3D TV user-experience to superlative levels. Offering expansive, yet easy-to-use Smart TV eco-system, the LG Cinema 3D Smart TV is composed of an impressive Cinema screen, wireless display, premium content services, over 1,200 Smart TV apps globally and Magic Remote. The new line-up also features Dual Play function for gamers and an expansive selection of 3D movies, sports and games, offering a world of 3D waiting to be discovered through LG’s 3D World. At the launch of LG’s 2012 3D Smart TV line-up, James Kim, TV Marketing Manager of LG Electronics, Gulf FZE, said: “The new 3D Smart TV line-up endorses our endeavor to

bring the biggest innovations that technology has to offer today. We have avidly explored the model of Smart TV to create a product that offers a superlative TV viewing experience, offering useful, easy-to-use TV apps and premium content. With a world record for narrowest bezel 3D TV, the product is not only stylish in its design, but breaks boundaries in quality and content as well.” “LG’s quality innovations and growing market share have ensured its position as number one across the premium 3D Smart TV segment. With the new Smart TV line up, we are certain that our growth would continue on the upward ladder, further strengthening our already established leadership position in this segment globally,” Kim added.

Entertainment turns larger than life with LG’s 2012 Cinema 3D Smart TV. LG Cinema 3D meets a wider and ever-expanding world of 3D entertainment at the tip of your remote. Offering simple control over your home entertainment experience, the main features of the LG Cinema 3D Smart TV include: ● Cinema Screen: Leveraging upon LG’s state-of-the-art display technology, LG has reduced the width of the bezel to insignificant levels, to almost zero bezel. By doing so, physical obstructions have been removed to deliver ultimate simplicity and most immersive Cinema 3D viewing experience reminiscent of an actual movie cinema. ● Magic Remote: LG’s Smart TV remains easy to use, thanks to the

enhancements in the Magic Remote, an all-in-one device that combines the functions of Pointing, Gesture and Wheel the most conventional and advanced TV remote among others ● 3D World: provides access to a constantly growing library of 3D movies, games, sports and TV shows at the tip of ones remote ● 3D Depth Control: A new 3D visual technology that lets users adjust the depth, or the distance between the on-screen objects, of a 3D movie or TV show they are watching. ● 3D Sound Zooming: Immersive 3D experience is accompanied by 3D Sound Zooming which generates a 3D sound that is synchronized with the displayed 3D content, allowing

users to not only see, but also hear in 3D. ● Dual Play function: for gamers, LG allows dual-player games to be played on a Cinema 3D Smart TV without having to split the screen. ● Wireless Display: The new Cinema 3D Smart TVs offer a variety of connectivity features. The newest among them is Wireless Display, which enables easy and quick connection between TV and personal computer (PC) with Intel’s WiDi Technology. ● 2D to 3D conversion engine converts all existing 2D movies and TV shows into 3D. Whether 3D or Smart TV, LG’s 2012 Cinema 3D Smart TVs offer the best in terms of quality as well as user convenience and experience.

X-cite by Alghanim Electronics holds appreciation event to honor Gulf Bank and Knet

The new Safat Home opens its doors in Shuwaikh KUWAIT: Safat Home, one of Kuwait’s leading home furniture and accessories store, has opened its new branch in Shuwaikh. Safat Home is famous for having a comprehensive variety of homeware, from classic designs to modern pieces, that suits every type of home and taste. The new Shuwaikh showroom features a new and wide range of items including home furniture and accessories, a variety of tiles and sanitary items.

Safat Home makes one’s home renovation more convenient as it provides free delivery and installation of furniture, flexible credit conditions and free warranty for one year on furniture items. In addition to having free delivery and free warranty, a design center is available for all customers who wish to purchase tiles and sanitary items so as to provide design solutions. The newly opened Safat Home in Shuwaikh also designated a

special engineering solutions division that caters to specific requests such as elevators and air conditioning installation and other engineering mechanics that go into one’s home. Such an addition further makes Safat Home as being everyone’s one-stop shop for all home needs. Apart from the thrilling new ranges of furniture and home accessories, the newly opened Safat Home also has exclusive opening offers that are valid for two weeks. There are great discounts on furniture items and a special 20% discount on all accessories. Furthermore, anyone who enters the showroom with the coupons distributed with the flyers, can enjoy a KD 50 voucher on any purchase worth KD 250. In the sanitary and tiles department, the new Safat Home has a special package offer worth KD 69 on high end Grohe products including faucets, showerheads and rinsers. Another great bargain available exclusively in the new Safat Home store is a KD 29 shower box. A great value offer on sanitary ware is a six-piece set that includes a bathroom sink, WC, faucet, showerhead and rinser all worth KD 29. Visit the newly opened Safat Home today located in Shuwaikh to enjoy the new and wide collection of homeware and the exclusive offers available.

KUWAIT: Gulf Bank and Knet were recently honored by Alghanim Electronics, for their contributions toward the development and launch of’s eCommerce payment gateway. An appreciation event took place at Ricardo’s Restaurant, Sheraton Hotel, on Wednesday, 23rd May, to recognize the exceptional collaboration and achievements of the teams from Gulf Bank, Knet and A number of key representatives attended from the three organizations. Samer Sayegh, Vice President Alghanim Electronics said: “The launch of re-emphasizes our continuous commitment to innovation and customer convenience. As a responsible market leader, we have always been successful in bringing international best practices to our consumers in Kuwait. With the help of the Gulf Bank and Knet, we now offer our customers round-the-clock, secure access to our vast range of products and services.” Eman Ali, Assistant General Manager, Consumer Banking Group at Gulf Bank said: “At Gulf Bank, we have identified the importance of eCommerce and customers’ reliance on online shopping. eCommerce is a growing industry, and with the assistance of both Gulf Bank and Knet, an eCommerce payment gateway was set up to cater for’s customers, allowing them to pay via their credit card or Knet debit cards

when shopping online. We strongly believe in the importance of security and ease of procedures for our customers, and through this collaborative effort, Gulf Bank along with Knet and’s team were able to facilitate payments through their portal.” Abdulla Al-Ajmi, Knet General Manager said: “Since the launch, customers have been actively shopping online and making use of the payment gateway, and we can confirm that sales have been going strong. By allowing customers to shop online, Knet has given Kuwait a definite eCommerce advantage over other countries in the region.” X-cite by Alghanim Electronics’ eCommerce website ( offers customers a secure shopping environment, wide range of electronics categories, and a whole host of engaging and captivating features. also provides free delivery and installation. Gulf Bank’s credit cards offer customers more flexibility and convenience when shopping, as well as regular offers and great discounts at many stores across Kuwait. To find out more about Gulf Bank’s promotions, customers can either visit the Bank’s bilingual website at, or call the Customer Contact Center on 1805805, or visit one of Gulf Bank’s 56 branches for assistance and guidance.

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


Proposed new Internet neighborhoods to unveil June 13 SAN FRANCISCO: The agency in charge of website addresses has picked June 13 as the day it will reveal proposed new names for online neighborhoods breaking the “.com” mold. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) said in an online post that it will stop taking applications for Generic Top Level Domains at the end of yesterday in the GMT time zone and reveal the requests in June. In January, ICANN began taking applications from those interested in operating Internet domains that replace endings such as .com or .org with nearly any acceptable words, including company, organization

or city names. Outgoing ICANN president Rod Beckstrom has championed the change as a “new domain name system revolution.” The new system will allow Internet names such as .Apple or .IMF or .Paris. ICANN says the huge expansion of the Internet, with two billion users around the world, half of them in Asia, requires the new names. Registration costs $185,000 with a $25,000 annual fee after that. ICANN has taken in more than $352 million in application fees, according to Beckstrom. There are more than 2,000 applications in ICANN’s system. “It is going to be very interesting

on reveal day,” Beckstrom said. Revelation of “gTLD” name requests will mark the start of a period during which anyone in the world will be able to have formal objections weighed by ICANN. The objection period will include resolving conflicts that arise from domain names similar enough to be confusing and those requested by multiple applicants. Unchallenged gTLD names could get through the approval process in as few as nine months, while those facing opposition could be bogged down for a year or two, according to Beckstrom. There are currently 22 gTLDs, including .com. At least half of the

new names being sought could eventually become online venues for websites. “We will move from .com or .biz to company names, brand names, city names... that is going to give the whole domain name space a different look and feel,” Beckstrom said. “And we will, for the first time, have gTLDs in non-Latin script,” he continued. “I think it is a revolution.” The ICANN board has already committed to another round of gTLD name applications and there is pressure from some parties to do it soon, according to Beckstrom. — AFP

Google, Samsung unveil new version of Chromebook Chromebooks have less to offer than tablets

ORLANDO: Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of Research In Motion, delivers the keynote speech during the BlackBerry World conference in Orlando Fla. The struggling Blackberry-maker warned that it will have an operating loss in the current March-June quarter and said there will be significant layoffs this year. — AP

Battered BlackBerry maker weighs options TORONTO: BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion has hired a team of bankers to help it weigh its options as its business erodes in the face of an exodus to the iPhone and Android smartphones. RIM issued a dire warning about its business Tuesday, saying it is losing money for the second-consecutive quarter and will lay off a “significant” number of employees. The company based in Waterloo, Ontario said it has hired J.P. Morgan and RBC Capital Markets to help it evaluate its options. Those including partnering with other companies, licensing software and overhauling its business, it said. RIM made no mention of selling of the company. But new Chief Executive Thorsten Heins did not rule that out after RIM’s last earnings report in late March. Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Financial, said the company is in a downward slide that’s not slowing. He said he doesn’t see any buyers for RIM coming forward soon. “Unfortunately, it falls into the too little, too late category,” Gillis said. “It doesn’t mean somebody won’t try it. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be a savior for the company either.” The statement from RIM did not detail the coming layoffs, other than to say the company expects “significant spending reductions and headcount reductions in some areas throughout the remainder of the year.” Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said he expects RIM to announce as many as 5,000 layoffs soon. The company has about 16,500 employees now after cutting 2,000 jobs in July. RIM said the company looks to save $1 billion - even as it transitions to its muchdelayed “BlackBerry 10” software platform expected out later this year. RIM’s stock fell 7 percent, or 80 cents, to $10.43 in extended trading following the release of the company’s statement. Before Tuesday’s announcement, the stock had lost almost 75 percent in the last year. The com-

pany that pioneered the smartphone market with its BlackBerry phones is facing the most difficult period in its history. RIM’s U.S. share of smartphones dropped from 44 percent in 2009 to 10 percent in 2011, according to market researcher NPD Group. It still has 78 million active subscribers across the globe, but Apple Inc.’s iPhone and smartphones from companies including Samsung and HTC that use Google Inc.’s Android software are gobbling up market share. “The on-going competitive environment is impacting our business in the form of lower volumes and highly competitive pricing dynamics in the marketplace,” Heins said in Tuesday’s statement. He said the company will likely post an operating loss when it reports its fiscal first quarter results on June 28. Heins, formerly a little known chief operating officer at RIM, took over in January after RIM founder Mike Lazaridis and longtime executive Jim Balsillie stepped down as co-CEOs after the company lost tens of billions in market value. RIM has tried to make phones with touchscreens that resemble the iPhone, but those offerings have largely flopped. And so has RIM’s tablet, the PlayBook, which uses the ver y software that will be in the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones. The company is following the same trajectory as struggling Finnish handset maker Nokia and California-based Palm, both of which attracted consumers with trend-setting phones and technologies in their heyday, only to be outmaneuvered by competitors. In Canada, there is fear that the nation’s biggest technology company could go the way of former Canadian tech giant Nortel, which declared bankruptcy in 2009 and was picked over for its patents. RIM was “the leader and this is what happens in the technology cycle of creation and destruction,” Gillis said. “They rode the first wave of the smartphone revolution and Apple is riding the next one.” — AP

Facebook valuation questioned SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Inc shares slid below $29 to a new low as nervous investors fled the company’s shares, concerned about the social network’s longterm business prospects and an initial offering price that proved too rich. Shares of the No. 1 social network fell 10 percent to an all-time low of $28.65, before closing at $28.84, or down 9.6 percent. Since its market debut on May 18, the eight-year-old company has shed approximately $25 billion in value-roughly equivalent to the market capitalization of Morgan Stanley , the lead underwriter of Facebook’s IPO. Wall Street has harbored concerns that Facebook, while boasting nearly a billion users worldwide and dominating Internet social-networking, would have difficulty translating its growing presence on smartphones and other mobile devices into revenue. Rivals Google Inc and Apple Inc are currently dominate the mobile arena. Facebook’s quest to monetize mobile is spurring widespread speculation over its next moves. Technology bankers say the company would benefit from tacking on mobile operating software through an acquisition of Norway’s Opera, which has been on the auction block for a while. The New York Times over the weekend cited sources dredging up a longstanding rumor that Zuckerberg was pondering building a Facebook phone, with the new wrinkle that an easy way to acquire the hardware expertise needed was to buy troubled Research in Motion. Research in Motion said late on Tuesday that it hired J.P. Morgan and RBC Capital Markets to help the company and its board with a “strategic review.” “They are clearly looking at smartphones

and are trying to become more vertically integrated with their users,” said Ryan Jacob of the Jacob Internet Fund. “They just don’t want to be another app on Google’s or Apple’s platform.” “Speculation that Facebook is dabbling outside their main expertise and possibly planning another large acquisition may be unsettling to some investors,” he added. “But I think options trading is behind today’s drop in the shares.” Facebook options began trading on Tuesday, presenting a tempting target as more investors bet the underlying stock would head south. They piled into put and call options-granting investors the right to sell or buy stock at a certain price- marking one of the busiest debuts ever in the options market. “ The fact that the stock has been weak on the first day of options trading means people are betting on future declines or buying insurance,” Jacob said. “Investors may want to hold the stock but are buying protection in case the price falls further.” Jacob said he did not buy Facebook shares in the IPO and has not bought the stock since the debut. “If the price is right we would consider buying,” he added. “It’s not quite there yet.” Janet Tavakoli, president of Tavakoli Structured Finance Inc in Chicago, said she bought puts expiring in September with a strike price of $25, at a cost of $210 per contract-with each contract representing 100 shares. “The valuation is a complete bluff. There is still a long way to go down from here,” she said. “There will be insiders selling their shares on Aug. 20, when the first lockout period is over. There will be a lot of shares that will hit the market and more in coming months.” —AP

SAN FRANCISCO: Google will try to win more converts to a computer operating system revolving around its popular Chrome Web browser with a new wave of lightweight laptops built by Samsung Electronics. Tuesday’s release of the next-generation Chromebooks will give Google and Samsung another opportunity to persuade consumers and businesses to buy an unconventional computer instead of machines running on familiar software by industr y pioneers Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc. Unlike most computers, Google’s Chromebooks don’t have a hard drive. They function like terminals dependent on an Internet connection. The laptops come with 16 gigabytes of flash memory - the kind found in smartphones, tablet computers and some iPods. Two USB ports allow external hard drives and other devices to be plugged into the machines. Chromebooks haven’t made much of a dent in the market since their debut a year ago. In that time, more people have been embracing Apple’s iPad and other tablet computers - a factor that has contributed to a slowdown in sales of personal computers. The cool reception to Chromebooks has raised questions about whether Google misjudged the demand for computers designed to quickly connect to its dominant Internet search engine and ever-expanding stable of other online services, ranging from email to a recently introduced file-storage system called Drive. “The Chromebooks have had less to offer than tablets, so they haven’t been that interesting to consumers,” said Gartner analyst Mika Kitagawa. Google says it always intended to take things slowly with the Chromebooks to give its engineers time to understand the shortcomings of the machines and make the necessary improvements. “This release is a big step in the journey to bringing (Chromebooks) to the mainstream,” said Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of Chrome and apps. The upgraded laptop, called “Series 5 550,” is supposed to run two-and-half times faster than the original machines, and boasts higher-definition video. Google also added features that will enable users to edit documents offline, read more content created in widely used Microsoft applications such as Word and Excel, and retrieve material from another computer at home or an office. More empha-

This product image provided by Google shows the newly released Chromebook laptop computer from Samsung. The release of the next-generation Chromebooks will give Google and Samsung another opportunity to persuade consumers and businesses to buy an unconventional computer instead of machines running on familiar software by industry pioneers Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc. — AP

sis is being placed on Chrome’s Web store, which features more than 50,000 applications. The price: $449 for models that only connect to the Internet through Wi-Fi and $549 for a machine that connects on a 3G network. Samsung’s original Chromebooks started out with prices ranging from $429 to $499. Like the original Chromebooks, the next-generation machines feature a 12.1 inch screen display and run on an Intel processor. Google Inc. and Samsung also are introducing a “Chromebox” that can be plugged into a display monitor to create the equivalent of desktop computer. The box will sell for $329. The latest Chromebook and new Chromebox will be available online only, beginning in the US on Tuesday, followed by a Wednesday release in the United Kingdom. The products will go on sale in brick-andmortar stores for the first time in still-to-bedetermined Best Buy locations next month. The expansion beyond Internet-only sales signals Google’s determination to attract a mass audience to its Chromebooks, just as it’s done with smar tphones running on its Android software. More than 300 million mobile devices have been activated on Android since the software’s 2008 release. Without providing specifics, Pichai said several other computer manufacturers will release Chromebooks later this year. Google plans to back the expanded line of

Chromebooks with a marketing blitz during the holiday shopping season in November and December. One reason Google is confident Chromebooks will eventually catch on is because the Chrome Web browser has attracted so many fans in less than four years on the market. The company says more than 200 million people worldwide currently are using the Chrome browser. Like other laptop and desktop computers, the Chromebooks will have to contend with the accelerating shift to the iPad and other tablets. The iPad 2, an older version of Apple’s tablet line, sells for as little as $399, undercutting the new Chromebook. Other low-cost tablets are expected to hit the market later this year. One of them might even be made by Motorola Mobility, a device maker that Google bought for $12.5 billion earlier this month. Google so far hasn’t commented on Motorola’s future plans for the tablet market. The new Chromebooks also are hitting the market at a time when some prospective computer buyers may be delaying purchases until they can check out machines running on Windows 8, a makeover of Microsoft’s operating system that is expected to be released in September or October. Microsoft designed Windows 8 so it can be controlled through touch as well as keyboards. That versatility is expec ted to inspire the creation of hybrid machines that are part laptop, part tablet. — AP

Apple chief vows innovation in TV RANCHO PALOS VERDES: Apple chief Tim Cook vowed that creativity would remain in the company’s “DNA” and hinted that products on the horizon could come in the area of television. Cook was the star opening guest at a prestigious All Things Digital conference hosted by the Rupert Murdoch-owned technology news website at a resort in the Southern California town of Palos Verdes. “We’re going to introduce some great stuff,” Cook said. “I think you are going to love it.” Cook declined to reveal details of products set for release by the Cupertino, California-based maker of iPads, iPhones, iPods, Macintosh computers, and Apple TV devices. The first unveiling could take place as soon as June 11, when Apple kicks off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. “Juices are flowing and we have some incredible things coming out,” Cook said. “For years Apple’s been focused on innovation, and this will not change.” While avoiding specifics, Cook said that the Apple TV business is “an area of intense interest for us.” Apple has long referred to Apple TVboxes that route content from the Internet to television screens-as a hobby. “We’re not a hobby kind of company, as you know,” Cook said. “The company tends to put a lot of wood behind a few arrows. We’ve stuck to this.” Apple sold 2.8 million Apple TV devices last year and nearly that many in the first few months of this year, according to Cook. Apple’s nascent iCloud online data storage service and close relationships with film and television studios that sell digital content for viewing on its gadgets could support a new Apple TV offering. Last month, Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek noted that the improved outlook of display-related companies might be due in part to early “iTV” production. Cook spoke of lessons learned from late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who turned the helm over to Cook in August of last year after becoming too ill to continue, and of finding his own stride out of his predecessor’s shadow. “I learned a lot from Steve,” 51-year-old Cook said during an interview with All Things Digital writers Kara Swisher and Walter Mossberg. “It was the saddest day of my life when he passed away,” he said. “But at some

Apple TV

point last year somebody kind of shook me and said it’s time to get on. The sadness was replaced by this determination to continue the journey.” Lessons learned from Jobs included focusing on doing a few things exceptionally well, shunning mediocrity, and casting the rest aside, according to Cook. “He also taught me that the joy is in the journey,” Cook said. Cook recalled going to Jobs’s home to discuss taking over as Apple chief, saying Jobs talked about how Disney had floundered after its legendary founder died and decisions were made based on what Walt Disney would have done. “So he looked at me with these intense eyes and he asked me to never do that, just do what is right,” Cook said. Under Cook’s watch, Apple has implemented a philanthropic program matching donations made my employees and embarked on a campaign to improve working conditions at plants in China where its gadgets are made. When asked who he looked up to, Cook said that the list included Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King along with Disney chief executive Robert Iger, who is on the Apple

board of directors. In an indirect swipe at Microsoft’s touting of its next generation Windows operating system as being designed to work on all kinds of devices, Cook said software can’t power tablets and personal computers without sacrifices. “You’re not building the best products when you try to converge,” Cook said. “If you force them together I think the PC is not as good as it could be and the tablet is not as good as it could be.” Cook said Apple is “micromanaging” its contractors in China to improve working conditions and curb excessive overtime, which has been “tricky” since there are employees who want to rack up lots of hours to make extra money. He referred to patent wars being waged by Apple and other technology firms as a “pain in the ass” but maintained that Apple was rightfully defending its creations. “Apple can’t take all of our energy and all of our care and finish a painting and have someone else put their name on it,” Cook said. He added that the notoriously tight-lipped company was going to “double-down” on product secrecy. — AFP

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


World can feed more people more efficiently: FAO MILAN: The world can feed itself with less food output than previously forecast if it turns to sustainable farming, cuts waste and stops excessive consumption, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said yesterday. If current consumption patterns persist, the world will need to raise food output by 60 percent by 2050 from 2005-07 levels to feed a population expected to rise to 9 billion from

about 7 billion now, according to FAO estimates. However, it is possible to feed the population with a smaller rise in food output than that, the FAO said in a policy report ahead of a sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro. On the production side, agricultural and food systems should reduce their negative environmental impacts, including soil and water depletion as well as greenhouse gas emissions, the report said.

On the consumption side, people need to cut food losses and waste which amount to 1.3 billion tonnes a year, roughly one third of world food production for human consumption. “To ‘beat the projections’ we need to make bold policy decisions that will affect income growth patterns, changes in dietary preferences, levels of food waste and how agricultural production is used for non-food purposes,” the report said. The govern-

ments attending the Rio summit in June should commit themselves to speed up efforts to reduce hunger and malnutrition and use the UN’s voluntary guidelines on the right to food, the FAO said. The Rio meeting on June 20-22 is expected to attract more than 50,000 participants, with politicians under pressure from environmentalists to agree goals for sustainable development, in the spirit of the Rio Earth Summit 20 years ago.

Sustainable development is impossible without eradicating hunger in a world where over 900 million people do not get enough to eat, the FAO’s Director General Jose Graziano da Silva said in the report. “We cannot call development sustainable while this situation persists, while nearly one out of every seven men, women and children are left behind, victims of undernourishment,” he said. — Reuters

Obama’s health care aid to small firms disappoints About 30% companies offer health coverage

LEAD: A scientist works Tuesday, in an above-ground version of a laboratory to be opened nearly 4,900 feet beneath the earth in Lead, S.D. The lab’s experiments will include the world’s most sensitive dark-matter detector. Scientists say that the Sanford Underground Research Facility — housed inside the now-shuttered Homestake Gold Mine — could help scientists understand the origins of the universe. — AP

New lab turns US gold town into scientific hub LEAD: Nestled nearly 5,000 feet beneath the earth in the gold boom town of Lead, South Dakota, is a laboratory that could help scientists answer some pretty heavy questions about life, its origins and the universe. It’s hard to spot from the surface. Looking around the rustic town, there are far more nods to its mining past than to its scientific future, but on Wednesday, when part of the closed Homestake Gold Mine officially becomes an underground campus, Lead’s name will be known in scientific circles as the place where the elusive stuff called dark matter might finally be detected. Unimpressed? Consider this: It’s sure to earn itself a reference on TV’s “The Big Bang Theory.”“This year, 2012, is going to be a very significant year because we get to turn the ... detector on and know very soon whether we have actually found dark matter or not,” said Rick Gaitskell, a scientist with Brown University who has worked alongside dozens of scientists over the past few years to move forward with the Large Underground Xenon experiment - or LUX - the world’s most sensitive dark-matter detector. For most people, dark matter is a term that made their eyes glaze over in science class. But for Gaitskell and scientists like him, it’s the mystery meat of existence. “It makes up a huge amount of the universe,” said Kevin Lesko, of Lawrence Berkley National Lab, who is the principal investigator for the Sanford Underground Research Facility. Problem is, scientists can’t see it. “It has to be there because of its effects through gravity, but it also has to have properties that make it very unusual - otherwise, we would have detected it already,” Lesko said. Regular matter - people and planets, for example make up about 4 percent of the total massenergy of the universe, he said. Dark matter makes up about 25 percent. “So it’s five times as much as us, and yet we’ve never directly observed it.” Scientists hope the lab buried 4,850 feet beneath the earth’s surface will change that. Yesterday, Gov. Dennis Daugaard is to give tours of the underground lab for scientists, dignitaries and media. William Brinkman of the federal Department of Energy confirmed his plans to attend Tuesday, said Bill Harlan, spokesman for the research facility. The unveiling has been a long time coming: The Homestead mine opened during the Black Hills’ gold rush in 1876 and outlasted

many counterparts. In the late 1990s, it still employed about 1,000 people, but as the value of gold dropped, it became clear that the mine’s days were numbered. It shuttered for good in 2003. The science community seized on the closure. Dark matter is too sensitive to detect in normal laboratories, but one so far underground would help shield it from pesky cosmic radiation. Also, the LUX detector is submerged in water, further insulating it. Gaitskell said he’s worked with 70 scientists and 14 institutions over the past four years to finally make the LUX experiment a reality. That detector will be in the Davis Campus, named after Ray Davis, who won a Nobel Prize for Physics for an experiment he started in 1965 inside the then-working mine. Nearby in a new hall called the Transition Area will be the Majorana Demonstrator Experiment. That’s aimed to search for a rare form of radioactive decay, which could help physicists understand how the universe evolved. Experiments are set to begin this year, Harlan said. All told, the site has cost more than $300 million - a mix of private donations and state and federal funding. Among the contributors: a $10 million Housing and Urban Development grant, $40 million from the South Dakota Legislature and $70 million from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.About 70 former mine workers now work for the lab. Greg King, a lifelong Lead resident, is one of them. “The whole town was built up around the Homestake,” King said. “As the property closed and people left, a lot of employees left. Now, there’s a lot of excitement in town. People are very thrilled that the Homestake is once again, albeit not as a mine.” Liz Tiger, who owns a consignment store on Main Street, said the resurrection of the mine represents hope for Lead, a town of about 3,100 residents about a half-hour from the Wyoming border. Three generations of Tiger’s family worked for the mining company. “The economy up here really died after Homestake shut down,” she said. “It was absolutely devastating.” Had it not been for Deadwood, Lead’s higher-profile neighbor that draws about 2 million tourists a year, the town might have gone under, she said.”I was raised through Homestake. I was very sad when it was shut down. (The mine) definitely needed to be used for something.”—AP

This 2012 photo released by Mission: Allergy, Inc. shows a house dust mite as seen with an electron microscope, enlarged about 200 times. Experts say dust’s constant accumulation has nothing to do with poor housekeeping. Dust is a naturally and continually forming collection of some pretty gross stuff. — AP

WASHINGTON: It seemed like a good idea at the time. But a health insurance tax credit for small businesses, part of President Barack Obama’s health care law that gets strong support in public opinion polls, has turned out to be a disappointment. Time-consuming to apply for and lacking enough financial reward to make it attractive, the credit was claimed by only 170,300 businesses out of a pool of as many as 4 potentially eligible million companies in 2010. That’s put the Obama administration in the awkward position of asking Congress to help fix the problems by allowing more businesses to qualify and making it simpler to apply. But Republicans who run the House say they want to repeal what they call “Obamacare,” not change it. “They completely missed the target on this thing,” Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., said of the tax credit. “I don’t think expanding it is going to make any difference whatsoever.” Graves chairs the House Small Business Committee. It doesn’t help the administration’s plea that the biggest small-business lobbying group is a lead plaintiff asking the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The National Federation of Independent Business isn’t likely to spend much time tinkering with the tax credit or promoting it to members. Small businesses represent the crumbling edge of the nation’s system of employer-based health care. Only about 30 percent of companies with fewer than 10 workers offer health

coverage, and they often pay more for insurance than large businesses. The credit, which once had support in principle from lawmakers of both parties, was supposed to help businesses already providing coverage afford the premiums. And maybe it would even entice some to start. “We agree it is not a panacea for all costs,” said John Arensmeyer, founder of Small Business Majority, an advocacy group that supports the health care law and disagrees with the much larger independent business federation. The problem is all the negative publicity around the health care law has discouraged business owners from applying for the credit, he says. “There has been more heat than light shone on this,” Arensmeyer said. “There is no reason why small businesses shouldn’t be taking advantage of this credit.” About 770,000 workers were covered by the businesses claiming the credit in 2010. However, a recent report by Congress’ nonpartisan Government Accountability Office identified several issues with the credit itself. To begin with, the GAO said, the tax credit is structured so its biggest benefits go to very small companies paying low wages. About 4 out of 5 such businesses don’t offer coverage, and the tax credit is not sufficient to encourage them to start doing so. “Small employers do not likely view the credit as a big enough incentive to begin offering health insurance,” the report said. The average credit claimed in 2010 was about $2,700, although some companies qualified for much

more. Many small firms did not qualify because they paid fairly decent wages. The GAO report quoted an unidentified tax preparer who explained that “people get excited that they’re eligible and then they do the calculations and it’s like the bottom just falls out of it and it’s not really there.” It’s almost a bait and switch. Complexity has been another obstacle. IRS Form 8941, which employers must complete to claim the credit, has 25 lines and seven worksheets, the GAO said. Some tax preparers told the agency it took clients from two to eight hours to pull together supporting information and tax professionals another three to five hours to calculate the credit. Trying to help, the IRS identified “three simple steps” employers needed to follow, but the GAO found “the three steps become 15 calculations, 11 of which are based on seven worksheets, some of which request multiple columns of information.” Arensmeyer said claiming the credit will be simpler once it becomes standard in tax-preparation software. As it stands now, the credit is only temporary, expiring in 2016. That’s another reason Congress appears unlikely to adopt the administration’s proposed fixes, which would cost an estimated $14 billion that has to be offset with cuts elsewhere. If the health care law withstands Supreme Court scrutiny, more employers could start claiming the credit. Otherwise, it may just go down as a missed opportunity, for policymakers and small-business owners alike. —AP

Common painkillers tied to lower skin cancer risk COPENHAGEN: People who had taken aspirin, ibuprofen and related painkillers - especially at high doses and for years at a time - were less likely to get skin cancer compared to those who rarely used those medications, according to a study from Denmark. The findings, which looked at records from more than 18,000 people from Denmark and were published in the peer-reviewed journal Cancer, add to growing evidence that long-term use of the medications, known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), may help protect people against skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest. “NSAIDS work by inhibiting specific enzymes involved in inflammation,” said lead author Sigrun Alba Johannesdottir, from Aarhus University hospital, in an email to Reuters Health. “Previous studies show that elevated levels of these enzymes are found in skin cancer and that they are involved in important steps of cancer development.” Not all research has been unanimous about the impact of the drugs. One large 2008 report found no link between NSAIDS and melanoma. The drugs have also been linked to an increased risk of kidney cancer and come with known bleeding risks, so more research is necessary to weigh the possible harms and benefits of the drugs outside of pain relief, researchers said. And they conceded that there were some limitations to their study, including that they didn’t have information on other possible risks for skin cancer, such as exposure to ultraviolet light. In addition, not all Danish cancer cases were included in their registries. “More work needs to be done to examine this association,” said Maryam Asgari, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, who was not involved in the study. “I don’t think I’d recommend to people, ‘Hey, take an aspirin a day to prevent skin cancer.’ I don’t think we have enough data to say that. I think we do have enough data to say, certain NSAIDS appear to be promising.” Johannesdottir and her team looked at records from more than 18,000 people in nor thern Denmark with skin cancer, both melanoma and less risky forms, between 1991 and 2009. They matched each of those cancer cases with another ten people of the same age and gender without cancer, and compared their prescription drug records for the years before the cancer patients were diagnosed. Thirty-eight percent of people without cancer had filled more than two prescriptions for an NSAID. People with a history of using aspirin and other NSAIDS had a 13 percent lower risk of melanoma compared to non-NSAID users, and a 15 percent lower risk of squamous cell carcinoma, a less-deadly form of skin cancer. There was no difference in the risk of basal cell carcinoma, another type of skin cancer. When researchers looked specifically at people who had filled prescriptions for the drugs over at least seven years, and used them twice a week or more, they found a stronger link. Long-term, high-intensity NSAID users had a 46 percent lower risk of melanoma, a 35 percent lower risk of squamous cell carcinoma, and a 17 percent lower chance of basal cell carcinoma. — Reuters

BEIJING: A child views a Pacific white-sided dolphin inside a tank at the Beijing Aquarium yesterday. The aquarium, which is the largest in China and shaped like a huge conch shell, was named by state media as a “Beijing civilized Tourist Scenic Spot” and houses more than 1,000 marine species and freshwater fish. — AFP

Scientists warn of heart attacks in cold water LONDON: Plunging into cold water during hot weather can cause heart attacks even in young, fit and healthy individuals, according to new research yesterday. Scientists are warning that entering cold water suddenly, without taking time to acclimatize, may cause abnormal heart rhythms that can be fatal. The research comes after several people died after going into water during the recent heat wave, although the cause of death in these cases is not yet known. Professor Mike Tipton, who runs the Extreme Environments Laboratory at the University of Portsmouth, southern England, said entering cold water should be done with caution. He said: “As the recent sad spate of immersion deaths confirm, we have entered the most dangerous time of the year for waterrelated deaths. “As air temperatures rise dramatically, people start to go into water that remains dangerously cold. “The body’s responses to immersion in cold water are profound, uncontrollable and can result in drowning and heart problems within seconds.” In the study, published in the

Journal of “Physiology”, Prof Tipton and Prof Mike Shattuck of King’s College London explain how rapid submersion in cold water, combined with holding one’s breath, automatically activates two powerful responses in the body which may interact and cause conflict for the heart. The body’s cold shock response speeds up the heart rate and causes hyperventilation which can conflict with the diving response, which does the opposite and which acts to conserve oxygen. This can lead to autonomic conflict, causing the heart to go into abnormal rhythms and, on occasions, causing sudden death. Prof Tipton said: “Those wanting to enter the water should do so in a slow and controlled fashion to minimize these hazardous responses. “Individuals should also realize the water they felt comfortable in at the end of last year is colder, and they are less prepared for it at the start of the summer. “The prevalence of heart problems on immersion in water tends to be underestimated because electrical disturbances to the heart are undetectable post-mortem”. — KUNA

SOWETO: A mother gets antiretroviral (ARV) drugs at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, South Africa’s largest public hospital, in Soweto. The medicines reduce the viral load in the pregnant woman’s body, so the infant has a smaller risk to contract the virus through the umbilical chord or exposure to bodily fluids during birth or breastfeeding. — AFP

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


Kuwait Doctors Association hosts awareness on Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis disease Devastating disease found in endangered Tennessee bats TENNESSEE: A disease that has killed millions of hibernating bats in the United States has been detected for the first time in endangered gray bats in Tennessee, a finding that government scientists described as “devastating.” White-nose syndrome, a disease named for the fungal residue left on the muzzles of infected bats, does not appear to have killed any gray bats so far. But federal biologists said the latest emergence of the disease constitutes a grave threat to the cave-dwelling winged mammals added to the U.S. endangered species list in 1976. The gray bat is now the second federally protected species, and the seventh species in all, documented with the fungus in 19 states east of the Rocky Mountains. White-nose syndrome, first discovered in New York state in 2006, has killed an estimated 5.5 million bats that hibernate in caves and mines. “The news that another federally endangered bat species, the gray bat, has been confirmed with white-nose syndrome is devastating for anyone who cares about bats and the benefits they provide to people,” US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said in a statement. Insect-devouring bats save agricultural industries billions of dollars each year in pest-control costs, one reason the sharp drop in bat populations across the Northeast and in mid-Atlantic states is alarming scientists.The disease causes bats to fly outdoors in daylight in winter months, when they should be hibernating and when no insect prey is available. Gray bats are found in only

a few limestone caves in the southeastern United States, where their droppings, called guano, are a critical source of nutrition for other cavedwelling creatures, sa i d Paul McKenzie, an endangered species coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service. Scientists on Tuesday confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome in gray bats in two counties in northern Tennessee. The killer fungus is mostly transmitted from bat to bat, but scientists say it also can be carried by spores that attach to clothes, boots and equipment of humans who explore caves inhabited, or formerly inhabited, by sickened bats. Government land managers have closed caves and abandoned mines to the public in many states but have been unable to check the spread of the disease. Environmentalists have pressed the US government to close caves on public lands across the West, where the disease has not yet been detected. Such closures are strongly opposed by caving enthusiasts. The Center for Biological Diversity on May 16 filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service demanding the agency more fully disclose its plans to protect bats in the Northern Rockies. That came the same day officials overseeing national forests in Montana and northern Idaho and some grasslands in the Dakotas said they were seeking closures of caves and mines except by permit. Under the plan, permit holders could explore caves if they agreed to decontamination and other measures designed to protect bats.— Reuters

Dr Ahmad Al Fadhli KUWAIT: In lieu of World Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Day, the Kuwait Doctors Association of Gastroentology and Hepatology recently hosted, in collaboration with Abbott, an awareness campaign in Kuwait at Holiday Inn, Salmiya. The interactive session was held in the midst of renowned doctors to bring to light the growing concerns of the two important types of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). “ This educational forum was aimed to advance the awareness of a rising epidemic and communicate

the best practice methods to manage the disease. We believe that well-informed patients feel more in control of their health and, therefore, are more likely to take the right steps to minimize their risks and manage their illnesses.” said Alaa Tosson, General Manager, Abbott Kuwait. Crohn’s disease is a serious chronic, inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that affects millions of people worldwide. Crohn’s disease is most commonly present in late adolescence or young adulthood (from 20 to 40 years of age). Common symptoms of the disease include diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, weight loss, fever, and in some cases, rectal bleeding. In Ulcerative Colitis, the immune system responds abnormally causing inflammation in the large intestine, which includes the colon and rectum. The disease begins in the rectum and extends into areas of the colon. The damage seen in UC is usually found in the innermost lining of the intestinal wall. Dr Ahmad Al Fadhli, Consultant Gastroentology and Hepatology / Head of Gastroentology and Hepatology at Mubarak Al Kabeer Hospital, in Kuwait, said: “The rate at which the number of diagnosed IBD patients are progressing is alarming and has risen from 1,400 to nearly 3,000 - 5,000 since last year. The key, is to address the issue and accommodate patients concerns on treatment through medical therapies to reduce the frequency of flare ups”. “ The main cause of IBD is still unknown but genetic and environmental factors are involved. Ulcerative Colitis may develop at any age, but there are two incidence peaks. The first peak, which is larger, is at 15 to 30 years, and the second

peak is at 60 to 80 years with men and women being equally affected. Former cigarette smokers have an increased risk of UC compared with those who have never smoked,” added Dr. Massouma AbdulRahman Ali, Consultant in Gastroenterology and Therapeutic Endoscopy at Thunayan Al Ghanim Center for Gastroenterology. “A number of methods and medications are used to treat Crohn’s disease, most important of which is through biological medicines, discovered over 10 years ago.” said Dr. Salim Farhan Al Shemri Consultant Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Head of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Unit at Al Adan Hospital, and a member of the Kuwait Gastroenterology and Hepatology Association. “These medications have brought forth a major and positive change in

treating this disease, as it reduces symptoms and the need for other types of medications while also decreasing the number of times a patient is admitted to the hospital for treatment. It is, however, inevitable that some procedures help to extract the injured area and studies have shown that 75% of Crohn’s patients will need to have an operation at some point in their lives. Those are usually ones who suffered a relapse within the first five years.” Dr Fahad Al Ibrahim, IBD Specialist and Consultant Gastroentologist at Thunayan Al Ghanem emphasized on ,” The importance of timely and proper treatment which can help in controlling the disease from increasing further. While there is no permanent cure, the patient can go symptom free for long periods of time, if they adhere to right proper and regular treatment. “


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

WHAT’S ON Greetings

Happy wedding anniversary to Frankey Ferrao & Zita Ferrao. Wishes coming from Clayton & Cinetta & fly.

Prizes awarded at Al Mulla Exchange’s Glitter, Watch and Vroom promotion l Mulla International Exchange, the premier exchange company in Kuwait, held its bumper prize draw on the conclusion of their Glitter, Watch and Vroom promotion, on Sunday, 13th May, at the Fahaheel Branch premises. A representative from the Ministry of Commerce supervised the Lucky draws, which were held in front of large gathering of customers, Al Mulla Exchange management and staff. “Thanks to God for granting me this prize from Al Mulla Exchange Company,” said Shakil Kabil Ahmed, a Bangladeshi

A Ashitha


Mariyam Kanchwala

Mariym Huda

taxi-driver as he distributed sweets to friends on winning one of the two brand new Mitsubishi ASX SUVs from Al Mulla International Exchange. “I have been working in Kuwait for past eight years and never won anything like this before,” said Mr. Ahmed as he proudly displayed the keys to his new vehicle. The four-month long promotion that started on January 10th and ran till May 10th was open to all customers when they made a transaction through any branch of Al Mulla Exchange. Four lucky winners during each month of the promotion,

walked away with Gold worth KD500, KD300 and KD200, and the fourth winner took home a 32-inch LCD television. The winner of the second Mitsubishi SUV, Shakeel Mohammed Shafi, an Indian national and owner of Al Muzaina Laundry in Mangaf, was ecstatic on receiving keys to his new vehicle. “I am grateful to God for his blessings and to Al Mulla Exchange for giving me this wonderful prize,” said Mr. Shafi. He added, “For almost seven years I have been sending my money through Al Mulla Exchange and I participated in many of their other promotions,

but this is the first time I won a prize.” Speaking about the services at Al Mulla Exchange, Mr. Shafi remembered that in the early days he used to send money by drafts and it sometimes took three or four weeks for his family to receive the money. “Now I use the latest electronic money transfer at Al Mulla Exchange and I get confirmation of deposit within three seconds of making the transfer,” said Shafi.

Carmel students excel again hey did it again! The students of class X have achieved great success once again in the examination conducted by The Central Board of Secondary Examination(CBSE) New Delhi for the academic year 2011-2012. This term at Carmel was full of promises as the students have won tremendous accolades in various co-curricular activities and have now accomplished great results at the Board Exam, as well. This feat has proved that every student at Carmel gains academic excellence, sporting and artistic skills, thereby nurturing students with well developed personalities who will become responsible citizens, tomorrow . The Carmelites have excelled in their overall performance. Ten students secured an outstanding cumulative grade point average CGPA of 10; 4 secured a (CGPA) of 9.8 and 6 students obtained a CGPA 9.6 40 students secured CGPA 9 and above. Grade Point 10: Minithra Manohar, R.S. Priyadharshini, Aleena Thomas, Dale Noronha, Pooja Dhami, Simollah Fernandes, Sharon John, Stephi Solomon, Rudhashini Ilangovan, Tany Thomas. Grade Point 9.8: Anusha Fernandes, Nikhil Lobo, Alain Fernandes, Jeslin Elizabeth. Grade 9.6: Likhitha Paul, Mohammed Hamza, Shivani Vani, Alonzo Paul, Angel Thomas, Mikhaya Seby. Grade above 9 : Bobby Varughese, Mrinali Thakur, Arewa Zakir Ali, Fatematuzzahara Mohammed, Kaynaan Philip Remedios, Noor Abbas, Chris Gadde, Janice Fernandes, Anam Aman, Avinash Francis, Kulasekharan Harshita, Rachel Kerr, Fatema Manasi, Aleena Rehan, Mayur Kodikal, Aabha Mathews, Twinkle Gilbert, Ben George Cherian, Pearl Fernandes, Myron Chris Menezes, Sharat Menon.



Riya Tomy



IIS excels in Class XII CBSE exams ndia International School students have secured excellent results in the Senior Secondary Examinations for the academic year 2011-2012 conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi. Out of the 28 students who appeared for this exam, 16 students are from science stream & 12 of them are from commerce stream. IIS rejoices in announcing the names of the school toppers. In the science stream, Muneera is the topper with an aggregate of 87% and in the commerce stream, Mariyam Kanchwala achieved this distinction with an aggregate of 89% The subject toppers are as follows English Mariyam Huda 95 Physics Ashitha 84 Chemistry Riya Tomy 95 Maths Sulthan, Ashitha 67 Computer Asif 90 Biology Tharun 82 Informatics Muneera 98 In commerce stream Mariyam Kanchwala proved her excellence in all subjects by achieving the top place in English (95%) Economics (86%), Business studies (91%),Accountancy (87%) and informatics (86%). Director Malayil Moosa Koya, Principal F.M Basheer Ahmed Vice-Principal Mrs Narinder Kaur and the staff congratulated the students for their performance.


Summer scrabble for kids ood news for Kids who are going to be facing the heat this summer and would love to play mind games and learn Scrabble. This is open to all kids aged between 9 and 19. Basics of Scrabble as well as competitive play will be taught to all, together with lots of quizzes, mind games and vocabulary learning. It’s more fun than learn so register quickly before the 3rd of June. Classes will start on June 7 and will be held once a week at the UCMAS Centre in Salmiya. The course is for seven weeks for each batch. For more information, call Rohaina at 66634224. Classes will be on Thursday afternoons from 3 pm to 4:30 pm.


Legal seminar tomorrow alakkad Pravasi Association of Kuwait, the association of Palakkad natives living in Kuwait and ‘Indian Lawyers’ Forum’, (ILF) the association of Indian Lawyers and Law graduates in Kuwait is conducting legal seminar, tomorrow (June 1), at 11 am at Mangaf - Friends of Kannur (FOKE) auditorium. All Indian community members in Kuwait, especially Palpak members, families and friends are cordially invited to participate. Your legal doubts/questions can be send by email to: and it will be answered in the seminar. For further information contact, P.N.Kumar, 99771830, Aravindhashan 68535989.



ennifer Saleem recently graduated in KG2 from Al-Salam International Academy. Congratulation from father, mother, uncles and her friends.


Carluccio’s Italian fiesta now at your doorstep arluccio’s the authentic Italian restaurant, located at the Avenues is all set to treat its customers to a complete Italian experience at their homes. When it comes to flavours and tastes from around Italy, at Carluccio’s, the choice is yours with a delicious menu infused creatively with great tastes and the freshest ingredients. The multi course home delivery menu features a range of antipasti such as ‘Arancini’ (deep fried rice balls filled with melting mozzarella and meat ragu) and ‘Bresaola’ (thinly sliced cured beef served with rocket leaves and shaved parmesan). For pasta lovers, there’s an appetizing choice of Penne Giardiniera, Lasagne, Seafood Linguine, Ravioli and Penne Arrabiata. The menu also includes a range of soups, salads, risottos and wood-fired authentic Napolistyle pizzas. Rounding of the scrumptious feast is a fine selection of dessert, which includes Tiramisu, Crosta di Fragole, Lemon Tart and Chocolate Bread and Butter pudding. Commenting on the new service, Sajan Alex, Country Operations Manager, Foodmark Kuwait said: “We’ve made


things a lot easier for all those craving real Italian food, this minute. We have demarcated our delivery trade area in such a way that the food reaches every customer’s doorstep hot and fresh while maintaining safe speeds. Just a call away and a mouth-watering fiesta will be at

your doorstep. If you can’t make it to The Avenues, we’ll simply make it to your place.” He added, “Carluccio’s has a reputation for offering the finest Italian cuisine and service. We will be refreshing our menu soon to include some of Antonio

Carluccio’s famed rustic recipes. The hot pastas, delicious pizzas, and healthy salads are a few of the plainly irresistible specialties that are perfectly cooked for all those paying huge respect to the authentic Italian cuisine.” “We also invite guests to try out our breakfast specialties all fresh and full of taste. At Carluccio’s we offer the best possible choice to our guests, from a relaxed breakfast or afternoon coffee and cake right through to a weekend family feast or a candle-lit three-course meal” concluded Alex. With a fine selection of traditional Italian specialties, Carluccio’s presents a slice of Italy in all its glory. The home delivery service is a must try for all discerning food aficionados who wish for a complete Italian gastronomic experience. Delivery service covers the whole governorates of Farwaniya, Kuwait City, Hawally and Jahra. For Mubarak Al Kabir residents, the service includes Adan, Messila, Sabah Al Salem, Sabhan Industrial, Wista and South Wista.


THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


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. ■■■■■■■

Indian property exhibition to open tomorrow Right time to invest in Indian property ndus India Property Exhibition will be held for the 7th time in Kuwait tomorrow at the Ramada Hotel, Kuwait. NRIs looking for investment in real estate India would have access to first-hand information on upcoming and current real estate projects, as a range of property options, from residential apartments, plots and bungalows, to commercial properties would be on display. India Property Exhibition will be open from 10.45am to 8.30pm and entry is free. More than 80 projects across various metros, tier I and tier II cities will be on display during the Exhibition. Reputed and leading developers and builders from across


India are participating in the exhibition and offering a wide range of properties for the NRIs in Kuwait to choose. Properties on display include from Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Jaipur, Pune, Hyderabad, Rajahmundry, Vizhag, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Ooty, Trichy, Pondicherry, Hosur and Gurgoan among others. Luxury Villas, Apartments, Independent villas, Beach side properties, Hill station properties, Plots, Independent Houses, Gated community projects etc., Mall space is expected to increase dramatically in the coming year, according to a recent report by Merrill Lynch. Property

development is no longer merely constructing a building and leasing it out. The tenants of today are well versed with professionally managed buildings. This has made the developers in India appreciate the need to maintain and manage their property in a systematic manner. NRI Care is a special initiative for the welfare of NRIs. As a part of the exhibition, Indus group have taken an initiative to have a platform where useful and highly informative tips will be provided for the NRIs in Kuwait. Free Vastu consultancy and Investment Options are part of the initiative. The exhibition is being sponsored by

Nahar Group, Mumbai, Nirmal Lifestyle, Mumbai, Mantri Group and organized by Indus group which has created wonderful platform for NRIs worldwide in organizing India Property Exhibitions and India Education Exhibitions. Indus brings the right builders at right time with right properties. The group has organized more than 40 India education exhibitions and 20 India Property Exhibitions across 18 countries. In Kuwait the exhibition is being co-organized by Response Events and Exhibitions.

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

EMBASSY OF CYPRUS The Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus would like to inform the public that from 3rd June 2012, the Consulate section located at the premises of the Embassy will start issuing Visas. Address: Salwa-Block 3, AlMutanabbi Street Building No. 35, Tel : (965)25620350, Fax: (965)25620470, Email : Working hours 9:00am till 12:00pm everyday except Friday & Saturday Hence, The Honorary Consulate of Cyprus in Kuwait city will stop issuing Visas from the same date. ■■■■■■■

EMBASSY OF FRANCE For the first round of voting for the French parliamentary elections, the French Embassy in Kuwait will be closed on Sunday, June 3, 2012. ■■■■■■■

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


Scintillating results by IPS students he much awaited Class - XII results of All India Senior Secondary Certificate Examination - 2012 conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, was released on 28th May 2012 and as usual Indian Public School students came a cropper. The scintillating results achieved by the


students, shows that time and again Indian Public School students despite all odds, proves its mettle by their achievements. This year 54 students attempted the examination and 98% passed. The topper was a surprising candidate from the commerce stream Master Aswath Ramani with

a whopping (474/500) aggregating 94.8%. A student also achieved 100/100 in Economics, a distinctive rarity in this form at the Class - XII result declaration. Much credit goes to the teachers, students and the management of the Indian Public School for creating this wonderful environment and excellent teaching learning

practices in the class room for such accolades to be achieved. The Principal wishes to put on record the school - collectives’ appreciation to the students for their remarkable performance at the A.I.S.S.C.E - 2012.

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

EMBASSY OF MEXICO The Embassy of Mexico is pleased to inform that it is located in CLIFFS Complex, Villa 6, Salmiya, block 9, Baghdad street, Jadda Lane 7. The working hours for consular issues are from 9:00 to 12:00 Sunday through Thursday. The reception is closed from 14:00 to 15:00 hours for lunch break. The Embassy of Mexico kindly requests all Mexicans citizens in Kuwait to proceed to the e-mail: in order to register or update contact information. Other consultations or/and appointments could be done by telephone or fax: (+965) 2573 1952 ■■■■■■■

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

EMBASSY OF NEPAL The Embassy of Nepal has moved to a new location in Jabriya, Block 8, St. 13, House No. 514, effective from 15th April, 2012. Till the new telephone connections are installed, the Embassy may be contacted by email:

Awards Function at FAIPS AIPS conducted its Annual Scholar Badge ceremony for the Middle and Senior School on May 17, 2012 to honour the students who have achieved academic excellence throughout the year. In keeping with the DPS tradition, a scholar blue tie was awarded to students who had shown excellent academic performance consistently for the past five years. For their consecutive achievement for three years, a scholar green tie was awarded while the high achievers of the current academic year were recognized with a scholar badge and a certificate was given to the meritorious ones. The event conducted in three segments had 158 scholars from grade 6 and 7 and 165 scholars from grade 8 & 9 receiving their ties and badges respectively while 89 students from the Senior Section were honored with scholar badges and ties. The


dignitaries to grace the occasion were the Dr.Hanan Al-Mutawa, CEO, The British School, Nasser Khaled, Mohammad Al Shuaibi

and Hemant Agarwal for the morning sessions. Stephen Raj Anand was the Chief Guest for the evening. The programme

began with the ceremonial lighting of the lamp. The auditorium packed with beaming parents were treated to a wide range of

cultural programmes. An invocation song followed by a spectacular group dance performance and a skit were highly appreciated by the chief guest and the audience alike. The highlight of the programme was the flawless orchestral recital which was soulstirring and melodious. The award ceremony was conducted in a meticulous manner with each scholar walking smartly up to the stage to collect the badge and certificates. It was a proud moment for the parents to watch their wards add yet another feather to his/her pedagogic cap. The chief guest in his address motivated the students to always aspire high and strive to fulfill their dreams. The function was a grand success.


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

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

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

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


00:45 Untamed & Uncut 01:40 I’m Alive 02:35 Wildwives Of Savannah Lane 03:30 Wildest Arctic 04:25 Safari Vet School 04:50 Safari Vet School 05:20 Wildlife SOS International 05:45 Escape To Chimp Eden 06:10 Cell Dogs 07:00 Shamwari: A Wild Life 07:25 Breed All About It 07:50 Breed All About It 08:15 Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild 08:40 Talk To The Animals 09:10 Project Puppy 09:35 Extraordinary Dogs 10:05 Safari Vet School 10:30 Safari Vet School 11:00 Animal Precinct 11:55 Animal Cops South Africa 12:50 Wild Africa Rescue 13:15 Wild Africa Rescue 13:45 Bondi Vet 14:10 Wildlife SOS International 14:40 Safari Vet School 15:05 Safari Vet School 15:30 Shamwari: A Wild Life 16:00 Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild 16:30 There’s A Rhino In My House! 17:25 Dogs 101 18:20 Safari Sisters 18:45 Safari Sisters 19:15 Wildlife SOS International 19:40 Escape To Chimp Eden 20:10 Great Ocean Adventures 21:05 Wildwives Of Savannah Lane 22:00 Ray Mears’ Wild Britain 22:55 Snake Crusader With Bruce George 23:20 Snake Crusader With Bruce George 23:50 Last Chance Highway

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

Zeinab Badawi 19:30 World Business Report 19:45 Sport Today 20:00 BBC World News America 20:30 Hardtalk 21:00 BBC World News 21:30 World Business Report 21:45 Sport Today 22:00 BBC World News America 22:30 Asia Business Report 22:45 Sport Today 23:00 BBC World News 23:30 Asia Business Report 23:45 Sport Today

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

Duck Dodgers The Perils Of Penelope Pitstop Tom & Jerry Kids A Pup Named Scooby-Doo The Jetsons Puppy In My Pocket Popeye Tom & Jerry Looney Tunes Scooby Doo Where Are You! Droopy: Master Detective Wacky Races The Flintstones A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Popeye Classics Dexters Laboratory Bananas In Pyjamas Baby Looney Tunes Gerald McBoing Boing Ha Ha Hairies Pink Panther And Pals The Garfield Show Dastardly And Muttley A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Scooby Doo Where Are You! The Flintstones Duck Dodgers Tom & Jerry Kids Droopy: Master Detective Wacky Races Jelly Jamm Baby Looney Tunes Ha Ha Hairies The Garfield Show Scooby Doo Where Are You! Dastardly And Muttley Looney Tunes Puppy In My Pocket Pink Panther And Pals Pink Panther And Pals Tom & Jerry Moomins The Garfield Show Dexter’s Laboratory Jelly Jamm Baby Looney Tunes Ha Ha Hairies Gerald McBoing Boing Bananas In Pyjamas Pink Panther And Pals Tom & Jerry Looney Tunes Scooby Doo Where Are You! Droopy: Master Detective The Flintstones Wacky Races Dastardly And Muttley New Yogi Bear Show

00:30 Bakugan: New Vestroia 00:55 Bakugan: New Vestroia 01:20 Powerpuff Girls 02:10 Courage The Cowardly Dog 03:00 The Amazing World Of Gumball 03:25 Ben 10 03:50 Adventure Time 04:15 Powerpuff Girls 04:40 Generator Rex 05:05 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 05:30 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 05:55 Angelo Rules 06:00 Casper’s Scare School 06:25 Eliot Kid 06:50 The Amazing World Of Gumball 07:15 Adventure Time 07:40 Regular Show 08:05 Grim Adventures Of... 08:55 Courage The Cowardly Dog

09:45 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 10:10 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 10:35 Powerpuff Girls 11:25 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 11:50 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 12:15 Ed, Edd n Eddy 13:05 Ben 10: Alien Force 13:30 Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders 13:55 Redakai: Conquer The Kairu 14:20 Camp Lazlo 14:45 Powerpuff Girls 15:35 Angelo Rules 16:25 Grim Adventures Of... 17:00 Total Drama: Revenge Of The Island 17:25 The Amazing World Of Gumball 17:40 Adventure Time 18:05 Regular Show 18:30 Ben 10 18:55 Bakugan: Mechtanium Surge 19:20 Hero 108 19:45 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 20:10 Courage The Cowardly Dog 21:00 Ben 10: Alien Force 21:25 The Powerpuff Girls 21:50 Cow And Chicken 22:00 Codename: Kids Next Door 22:50 Ben 10 23:15 Ben 10 23:40 Chowder

00:15 Surviving The Cut 01:10 Destroyed In Seconds 01:35 Unchained Reaction 02:30 James May’s Man Lab 03:25 Inventions That Shook The World 04:20 Surviving The Cut 05:15 How It’s Made 05:40 How It’s Made 06:05 Gold Rush 07:00 Chop Shop: London Garage 07:50 Mythbusters 08:45 Ultimate Survival 09:40 Border Security - Series 6 Specials 10:05 Dealers 10:55 How It’s Made 11:25 Sons Of Guns 12:20 Battle Machine Bros 13:15 Extreme Explosions 14:10 Dealers 15:05 Gold Rush 16:00 Chop Shop: London Garage 16:55 Wheeler Dealers On The Road 17:20 Ultimate Survival 18:15 Mythbusters 19:10 How It’s Made 19:40 How It’s Made 20:05 Border Security - Series 6 Specials 20:35 Dealers 21:30 Sons Of Guns 22:25 Nothing Personal 23:20 Kidnap And Rescue

00:35 01:25 01:50 02:40 03:35 04:00 04:25 04:50 05:20 06:10 07:00 07:50 08:15 08:40 09:35 10:25 10:50 11:20 12:15 13:05 13:55 14:20 14:50 15:15 15:40


Nasa’s Greatest Missions The Tech Show Weird Or What? Invisible Worlds How Does That Work? How Does That Work? Stunt Junkies Stunt Junkies Ultimate Power Builders Prototype This Nasa’s Greatest Missions How Does That Work? How Does That Work? Weird Or What? Invisible Worlds The Gadget Show The Gadget Show Prototype This Ultimate Power Builders Nasa’s Greatest Missions How Does That Work? How Does That Work? Stunt Junkies Stunt Junkies The Tech Show

16:05 Prototype This 17:00 The Gadget Show 17:25 The Gadget Show 17:50 The Sun 18:40 Wallace & Gromit’s World Of Invention 19:05 Wallace & Gromit’s World Of Invention 19:30 Bang Goes The Theory 20:20 The Gadget Show 20:45 The Gadget Show 21:10 Prototype This 22:00 Wallace & Gromit’s World Of Invention 22:25 Wallace & Gromit’s World Of Invention 22:50 Bang Goes The Theory 23:40 Ultimate Power Builders

00:10 00:35 01:00 01:25 01:50 02:15 02:40 03:05 03:30 03:55 04:20 04:45 05:10 05:35 06:00 06:15 06:40 07:05 07:30 07:55 08:20 08:31 08:45 09:10 09:25 09:35 09:45 10:00 10:25 10:50 11:15 11:40 12:05 12:30 12:55 13:20 13:45 14:10 14:35 15:00 15:25 15:50 16:01 16:15 16:40 17:00 17:30 17:55 18:20 18:45 19:10 19:35 20:00 20:25 20:40 20:50 21:15 21:40 22:05 22:30 22:55 23:20 23:45

Fairly Odd Parents Fairly Odd Parents Brandy & Mr Whiskers Brandy & Mr Whiskers Replacements Replacements Emperor’s New School Emperor’s New School Brandy & Mr Whiskers Brandy & Mr Whiskers Replacements Replacements Fairly Odd Parents Fairly Odd Parents Fish Hooks Recess So Random Wizards Of Waverly Place Good Luck Charlie Shake It Up Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Jake & The Neverland Pirates Handy Manny The Hive Mouk Recess So Random Hannah Montana Fish Hooks Jake & Blake Sonny With A Chance Wizards Of Waverly Place Phineas And Ferb Recess Jessie A.N.T. Farm Good Luck Charlie Suite Life On Deck Shake It Up Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Jessie A.N.T. Farm Recess Wizards Of Waverly Place So Random Fish Hooks Shake It Up Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Shake It Up Jonas So Random Good Luck Charlie Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place Kim Possible

06:00 Kid vs Kat 06:20 American Dragon 06:45 Rekkit Rabbit 07:10 Phineas And Ferb 08:35 Phineas And Ferb 08:50 Kick Buttowski 09:15 Zeke & Luther 09:40 I’m In The Band 10:05 Phineas And Ferb 10:30 Kid vs Kat 10:55 The Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes 11:20 Aaron Stone 11:45 Rekkit Rabbit 12:10 American Dragon 12:35 Kick Buttowski 13:00 Phineas And Ferb 13:25 I’m In The Band 13:45 Kid vs Kat 14:10 Pair Of Kings 14:35 Zeke & Luther 15:00 Rekkit Rabbit 15:25 Pokemon: Black And White 15:50 Timon And Pumbaa 16:15 Rated A For Awesome 16:40 Rated A For Awesome 17:05 Zeke & Luther 17:30 Mr. Young 17:55 Phineas And Ferb 18:20 Phineas And Ferb 18:30 Phineas And Ferb 18:45 I’m In The Band 19:10 Kickin It 19:35 Kick Buttowski 20:00 Pair Of Kings 20:25 Zeke & Luther 20:50 Escape From Scorpion Island 21:20 Aaron Stone 21:45 The Avengers: Earths

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

Kendra Style Star E!es THS Behind The Scenes Extreme Close-Up Sexiest Extreme Hollywood THS Behind The Scenes E! News Scouted THS E! News Ice Loves Coco Ice Loves Coco Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami Style Star E!es Behind The Scenes Khloe And Lamar Khloe And Lamar E! News E!es Kourtney & Kim Take New Kourtney & Kim Take New

York 20:55 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 21:25 Giuliana & Bill 22:25 E! News 23:25 Chelsea Lately 23:55 Fashion Police

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

Ghost Lab A Haunting I Married A Mobster Scorned: Crimes Of Passion Stalked: Someone’s Watching Dr G: Medical Examiner Ghost Lab A Haunting Disappeared Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? True Crime With Aphrodite Disappeared Street Patrol Street Patrol Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? True Crime With Aphrodite Disappeared Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Mystery Diagnosis Who On Earth Did I Marry? True Crime With Aphrodite Disappeared Killer Kids Deadly Women Dr G: Medical Examiner

01:25 The Resurrected 03:10 A Girl To Kill For-18 04:40 Psych-Out 06:10 Dangerous Game 07:50 The Glory Stompers-PG 09:15 Women vs. Men-PG 10:40 How To Succeed In Business Without Trying-PG 12:40 Ghoulies 14:00 Grow Old Along With Me 15:30 Haunted Honeymoon-PG 16:55 Love Or Money 18:25 Hair-PG 20:25 Welcome To Woop Woop-18 22:00 De-Lovely

00:00 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 01:00 Deadliest Journeys 01:30 Deadliest Journeys 02:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 03:00 Banged Up Abroad 04:00 Treks In A Wild World 05:00 Endurance Traveller 06:00 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 07:00 Deadliest Journeys 07:30 Deadliest Journeys 08:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 09:00 Banged Up Abroad 10:00 Treks In A Wild World 11:00 Endurance Traveller 12:00 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 13:00 Deadliest Journeys 13:30 Deadliest Journeys 14:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 15:00 Banged Up Abroad 16:00 Treks In A Wild World 17:00 Endurance Traveller 18:00 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 19:00 Word Travels 19:30 Word Travels 20:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 20:30 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 21:00 Food School 21:30 Food School 22:00 Long Way Down 23:00 Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy

00:00 Megastructures 01:00 Ancient Secrets: Mystery of The Silver Pharaoh 02:00 Is It Real? 03:00 Megastructures 04:00 Caught In The Act 05:00 Hunter Hunted 06:00 Banged Up Abroad 07:00 Inside 08:00 Megastructures 09:00 Ancient Secrets: Mystery of The Silver Pharaoh 10:00 Is It Real? 11:00 Megastructures 12:00 Caught In The Act 13:00 Hunter Hunted 14:00 Banged Up Abroad 15:00 Inside 16:00 Megastructures 17:00 Ancient Secrets: The Sphinx 18:00 Is It Real? 19:00 Megastructures 20:00 World’s Deadliest Animals 21:00 Shark Men 22:00 Lockdown 23:00 Inside

00:00 Animal Underworld 01:00 Anaconda: Queen Of The Serpent 01:55 Hooked 02:50 Expedition Wild 03:45 Caught In The Act 04:40 Wildlife Rescue Africa 05:35 The Living Edens 06:30 Hooked 07:25 Expedition Wild 08:20 Caught In The Act 09:15 Hippos: Africa’s River Beast 10:10 Ape Genius 11:05 Animal Underworld 12:00 Planet Carnivore 13:00 Hooked 14:00 Expedition Wild 15:00 Caught In The Act 16:00 Spine Chillers: Vampire Bats 17:00 Swamp Troop

THE AMERICAN ON OSN CINEMA 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Animal Underworld Hooked Expedition Wild Caught In The Act Hippos: Africa’s River Beast Ape Genius

00:00 Animal Underworld 01:00 Anaconda: Queen Of The Serpent 01:55 Hooked 02:50 Expedition Wild 03:45 Caught In The Act 04:40 Wildlife Rescue Africa 05:35 The Living Edens 06:30 Hooked 07:25 Expedition Wild 08:20 Caught In The Act 09:15 Hippos: Africa’s River Beast 10:10 Ape Genius 11:05 Animal Underworld 12:00 Planet Carnivore 13:00 Hooked 14:00 Expedition Wild 15:00 Caught In The Act 16:00 Spine Chillers: Vampire Bats 17:00 Swamp Troop 18:00 Animal Underworld 19:00 Hooked 20:00 Expedition Wild 21:00 Caught In The Act 22:00 Hippos: Africa’s River Beast 23:00 Ape Genius

00:00 The Ward-18 02:00 Empire-18 04:00 The Perfect Host-PG15 06:00 Friday Night Lights-PG15 08:00 A Lonely Place For DyingPG15 10:00 Jesse Stone: Innocents LostPG15 12:00 The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen-PG15 14:00 A Lonely Place For DyingPG15 16:00 Game Of Death-PG15 18:00 The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen-PG15 20:00 Kalifornia-18 22:00 Carrie-18

01:00 My Bloody Valentine-R 03:00 Oceans-PG15 05:00 According To Greta-PG15 07:00 West Is West-PG15 09:00 Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides-PG15 11:15 Tomorrow, When The War Began-PG15 13:00 Justice For Natalee HollowayPG15 15:00 Dear John-PG15 17:00 The Art Of Getting By-PG15 19:00 Due Date-PG15 21:00 Red Riding Hood-PG15 23:00 The American-18

00:00 King Of The Hill 00:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 01:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 01:30 Louie 03:00 The Simpsons 03:30 Raising Hope 04:00 Weird Science 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Seinfeld 06:30 Melissa And Joey 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon how With Jay Leno 12:30 Weird Science 13:00 Seinfeld 13:30 Melissa And Joey 14:00 Raising Hope 15:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 16:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:30 Wilfred 19:00 The League 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Eastbound And Down 22:30 Hung 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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

Justified Game Of Thrones The Closer Revenge Pillars Of The Earth Good Morning America Charlie’s Angels Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Martha Stewart Show The View Justified Revenge Good Morning America Charlie’s Angels The Ellen DeGeneres Show Emmerdale Coronation Street White Collar Private Practice House The River Pillars Of The Earth

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

Pan Am The Closer Game Of Thrones Justified Revenge Eureka Pan Am Emmerdale Coronation Street The Practice The Closer Justified Revenge Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Practice Pan Am Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Surface White Collar Royal Pains House The River True Blood

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

The Siege-18 Quarantine 2: Terminal-18 RoboCop 3-PG15 The Warlords-PG15 Planet Of The Apes-PG15 Ladder 49-PG15 StreetDance-PG15 Planet Of The Apes-PG15 Star Trek: First Contact-PG District 9-PG15 13 Assassins-18 Storm Warning-18

02:00 Cool Runnings-PG15 04:00 The Addams Family-PG 06:00 Paper Man-PG15 08:00 Everybody Wants To Be Italian-PG15 10:00 The Parent Trap-PG 12:15 102 Dalmatians-PG 14:00 Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement-FAM 16:00 The Parent Trap-PG 18:15 Napoleon Dynamite-PG 20:00 Life As We Know It-PG15 22:00 Barry Munday-18

01:00 Shampoo-18 03:00 The Silence Of The Lambs-18 05:00 Strange Culture-PG15 07:00 Veronica Guerin-PG15 09:00 Cinema Verite-PG15 11:15 Across The Sea Of Time-FAM 12:30 Desperate Hours: An Amber Alert-PG15 14:30 Unstrung Heroes-PG15 16:45 Cinema Verite-PG15 19:00 The Fantastic Water Babes-PG 21:00 The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee-PG15 23:00 Agora-18

01:00 True Grit-PG15 03:00 Evan Almighty-PG15 05:00 Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale-PG15 07:00 Call Of The Wild-PG15 09:00 Jumping The Broom-PG15 11:00 Glitter-PG15 13:00 Gasland-PG15 15:00 A Soldier’s Love Story-PG15 17:00 Jumping The Broom-PG15 19:00 Rio-FAM 21:00 13-PG15 23:00 Predators-18

00:00 Super-18 02:00 The Winning Season-PG15 04:00 Double Wedding-PG15 06:00 Bustin’ Down The Door-PG15 08:00 The Flyboys-PG15 10:00 Life In A Day-PG15 12:00 Legend Of The Guardians-PG 14:00 How To Go Out On A Date In Queens-PG15 16:00 The Flyboys-PG15 18:00 Paper Man-PG15 20:00 Morning Glory-PG15 22:00 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules-PG15

00:00 07:00 08:00 11:30 12:30 13:00 21:00 23:00

Test Cricket Super Rugby Highlights Premier League Darts Volvo Ocean Race Volvo Ocean Race Highlights Live Test Cricket NRL Premiership Super Rugby Highlights

00:30 01:30 02:30 06:30 07:00 09:00 11:00 11:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 17:30 18:30 19:30 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:30 22:00 23:00

European PGA Tour Highlights AFL Premiership Highlights Super League Top 14 Highlights NRL Premiership Super League City Center Races Adventure Sports Super Rugby Highlights AFL Premiership Highlights Top 14 European PGA Tour Highlights Golfing World NRL Full Time Top 14 Highlights Mobil 1 The Grid Futbol Mundial SPL Highlights European PGA Tour Highlights Golfing World

03:30 Top 14 Highlights 04:00 NRL Premiership 06:00 World Cup Of Pool 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 AFL Highlights 09:00 Top 14 Highlights 09:30 Super Rugby Highlights 10:30 Pro 12 12:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 13:00 AFL Highlights 14:00 Golfing World 15:00 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 15:30 NRL Premiership 17:30 Super League 19:30 Volvo Ocean Race Highlights 20:00 Super Rugby Highlights 21:00 Super Rugby 23:00 NRL Full Time 23:30 Super Rugby

00:00 01:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 12:00 12:30 13:00 14:00 15:00 17:30 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 23:00

UFC Unleashed PrizeFighter UFC The Ultimate Fighter UFC Unleashed WWE NXT WWE Bottom Line PrizeFighter V8 Supercars Extra UAE National Race Day WWE Bottom Line WWE Vintage V8 Supercars V8 Supercars Extra WWE NXT WWE Experience UFC The Ultimate Fighter UFC Unleashed WWE SmackDown

Classifieds THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012



Flt 185 148 539 267 620 211 853 305 370 67 612 138 503 770 154 170 201 555 412 157 529 206 382 53 302 332 352 284 362 855 125 605 132 4161 617 55 301 436 213 404 165 618 470 9621 341 201 610 219 672 57 645 472 140 500 640 788 257 546 134 8053 118 535 357 303 857 215 510 982 177 328 777 127 176 474 502 542 125 438 786 63 104 624 9623 3553 618 674 614 572 774 562 389 61 647 403 146 221 229 859 135 307 43 129 136 372 513 981 217 981 239 636 772 411


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THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

stars CROSSWORD 691



Aries (March 21-April 19) Someone may tend to put the damper on what you say or think, or in some way manage to restrict your ability to communicate. Patience, you will get an opportunity to have your say! Timing is important all day long. Serving a customer or helping a client, you come up with some very witty ideas and this encourages people to come back to you again and again. Perhaps you are into some type of job that requires some sort of design ideas. Travel gets the green light now; you could be planning for a trip very soon. This afternoon you might challenge family members to put together some ideas of where they might want to go or what they might want to do on a family vacation. You are likely to hear some good news this evening.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) You have a strong desire for beauty and harmony. Your creative abilities are heightened. There is a real opportunity to complete and work out difficulties and projects that require much effort and discipline. Careful—you could be prone to confusion later today as you are tempted to put a love interest on a pedestal or fall in love with an ideal. If you are romantically available, there is the possibility that you will discover a new love in a very unlikely place. Caution should be exercised before entering into any type of relationship or transaction impulsively. This evening you may find that circumstances bend to your will and things seem to have a way of working out smoothly. You may find new insights into your needs and perhaps those of a romantic partner.

POOCH CAFE ACROSS 1. A hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland that controls the degree of pigmentation in melanocytes. 4. West Indian tree having racemes of fragrant white flowers and yielding a durable timber and resinous juice. 10. An antiviral drug used in the treatment of AIDS. 13. Leaf or strip from a leaf of the talipot palm used in India for writing paper. 14. Pertaining to one of the small sacs (as in a compound gland). 15. An enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of many body compounds (e.g., epinephrine and norepinephrine and serotonin). 16. Japanese ornamental tree with fragrant white or pink blossoms and small yellow fruits. 17. A natural body of running water flowing on or under the earth. 18. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 19. Aristocratic Italian family of powerful merchants and bankers who ruled Florence in the 15th century. 21. A grant made by a law court. 23. The great hall in ancient Persian palaces. 26. A trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group. 27. A shoe consisting of a sole fastened by straps to the foot. 31. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 34. Plant with an elongated head of broad stalked leaves resembling celery. 35. Using speech rather than writing. 39. A light touch or stroke. 41. Lower in esteem. 43. A French abbot. 45. Group of people related by blood or marriage. 48. Tropical starchy tuberous root. 52. Large ornamental tropical American tree with bipinnate leaves and globose clusters of flowers with crimson stamens and sweet-pulp seed pods eaten by cattle. 54. In a murderous frenzy as if possessed by a demon. 55. Painter (born in Germany, resident of France and the United States) who was a cofounder of Dadaism. 58. Imperial dynasty that ruled China (most of the time) from 206 BC to 221 and expanded its boundaries and developed its bureaucracy. 59. Not widely known. 60. (Irish) Chief god of the Tuatha De Danann. 61. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 62. A note appended to a letter after the signature. DOWN 1. Informal terms for a mother. 2. A natural and periodic state of rest during which consciousness of the world is suspended. 3. A member of a seafaring group of North American Indians who lived on the Pacific coast of British Columbia and southwestern Alaska. 4. Dried bark of the cascara buckthorn used as a laxative. 5. One of the proteins into which actomyosin can be split. 6. (Irish) The sea personified. 7. Again but in a new or different way. 8. The cry made by sheep. 9. A large fleet. 10. Type genus of the Amiidae. 11. A Chadic language spoken in northern Nigeria. 12. Any of various tailless stout-bodied amphibians with long hind limbs for leaping. 20. Conforming to an ultimate standard of perfection or excellence. 22. An ambitious and aspiring young person. 24. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 25. A gonadotropic hormone that is secreted by the anterior pituitary and stimulates growth of Graafian follicles in female mammals, and activates sperm-forming cells in male mammals. 28. (Irish) Mother of the Tuatha De Danann. 29. Type genus of the Apidae. 30. Remove with or as if with a ladle. 32. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 33. Tag the base runner to get him out. 36. Declared but not proved. 37. A line of text serving to indicate what the passage below it is about. 38. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 40. A heavy odorless colorless gas formed during respiration and by the decomposition of organic substances. 42. Limbless scaly elongate reptile. 44. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 46. A Tibetan or Mongolian priest of Lamaism. 47. (Roman mythology) God of love. 49. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 50. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 51. The template for protein synthesis. 53. The 7th letter of the Greek alphabet. 56. An intensely radioactive metallic element that occurs in minute amounts in uranium ores. 57. A state in north central United States.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) You could find yourself mentally working out the problems of future work activities before they happen. Write a list of the things you think would help in the common problem areas you have observed and set the solution ideas aside for review later. Stop worrying so much . . . keep to your plan and make it a habit to take notes that will help you stay on your successful path. Your intuition is sharp and you may find some new insights today. You draw emotional sustenance and a sense of security from ideals, friends and social involvement later this afternoon. If a friend is available, you may want to ask him or her along for a bike ride in or around a nearby park. Try each day to begin to look on all things with patience, appreciation and open-mindedness.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Your mind may be very clear at this time and your thoughts brought to a sharp focus. It will be easy to organize your thoughts— communication of all kinds is furthered. Write that book, take that course or teach that subject. Your thoughts count now, so use your mind and communicate. Friends, group projects and community concerns could play a key role in your afternoon. Working with a charity functions will give you time to ready yourself for a presentation later this evening at a community meeting. You could feel real support and harmony for circumstances and those around you. You think a lot about appearances—how things come across or might appear to others. If you feel you need to buy new clothes for this event tonight, you have time.


Leo (July 23-August 22) Your sense of taste and discrimination are excellent—you may decide to purchase a fine piece of art today. Perhaps you are working for a museum, furniture or art dealer. Practical decisions come easily—particularly as you find yourself presented with some very nice products to sell or trade. You are most persuasive with others and your sales potential is impressive. Your imagination and creativity are amazing when it comes to ideas and thinking. If asked to be in charge of the store later today, you may decide to take a notepad and write out some of the thoughts you have that will help bring attention to the store. You express yourself with a flair in social surroundings this evening and can appoint all the right people to help you be successful.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) This morning you may agree to help a neighbor and you can be assured that this neighbor will be eager to return your favor. A fence may need mending or water has made a path that needs discouraging. You have great understanding and sensitivity to the needs of others and may find yourself leading a neighborhood project. Soon you will work together to pull off a block party or a multifamily garage sale, creating funds for neighborhood projects. At work today, you are in a good position to communicate concerning groups and your work efforts will show positive results. If you are wanting to start or stop some long time habit or routine in your life—now is the time to begin those changes. Expect three days in which to change this habit or thinking.

Libra (September 23-October 22)


Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Someone may have a different opinion from you today. This may, or may not call for a trip to the drawing board to try again. Little slowdowns will not actually slow your efforts. Satisfying results can happen with your quest to discover, improve, invent or reshape. This afternoon there are food temptations. It has been easy to overindulge in sweets or fattening foods lately and you may decide to spend some time with the new recipes for low-fat cooking. You may enjoy cooking for others just to get some input. Healthy discoveries are available to help you decide on some healthy alternatives that you and perhaps the other people in your life can enjoy. There are surprises to enjoy this evening. A sense of support and harmony make for happy times.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Charisma prevails! If you are going after a job today, do not mail your resume! Go after the new job in person! If ever you had a day to make a great first impression, this is it! Additionally, this is a great day for working with others. There is enthusiasm around the office or business regarding some new project this afternoon. Your warmth can build confidence and solve problems. This could be a profitable time. Later today you might enjoy a little relaxation time . . . perhaps a massage. This afternoon affords you plenty of time to spend with friends. Your good cheer today enhances your social life and may intensify romance this evening. Love is high on the list of feelings today and you will not go unrewarded.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)


Yesterday’s Solution

You are doing pretty well with your budgeting, whether you think so or not. You and a co-worker friend might want to make plans to check on some good buys in garage sales. You can be successful in finding the best buy in clothes—if that is what you need. You could write a book on where to find the best buys in your part of the city. Some higher-up may be testing the limits when it comes to meeting some quota today. This person may have been under some pressure so, if you can exhibit some patience, you will be happy with the outcome. There is an opportunity to join your friends this evening in some fun get-together. There may be a dietary worry, but if you pay attention to the sugar, fat and salt that you eat you should be fine.

Yesterday’s Solution


There is a feeling that anything is possible today. There are optimism, faith and a tendency to take chances at the deepest emotional levels. This is a time of exploring your feelings, a kind of restlessness for new emotional experiences . . . divine wanderlust, if you will. Realize that there may be energies to slow your activities, especially if you are speaking or teaching—patience. Do not pick out that new car today, because your sense of value may be stressed. Make sure you understand others and that others understand you—repeat yourself. You want to belong on a private, intimate, personal level and to be needed; you will enjoy a little time with a loved one this evening. This is a good evening to be with your beloved.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) With little effort, this can be an easy, calm day. Everything should be running in a smooth manner. Ideas and interaction with a co-worker create an opportunity to negotiate or speak for the betterment of a group. The two of you are wise and discerning and can be formidable leaders. This may mean negotiating through a group raise or time changes or any number of changes that would be helpful to the work production as well as employee benefits. You may have an increase in finances due to speculation or a contest today. You may enjoy some athletic or exercise activity with young people or your friends—bike riding perhaps. Close personal ties to other people create special times for you later this afternoon. Romance is possible tonight.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

Word Sleuth Solution

Make sure both your expectations and your abilities are realistic before diving into something you may not be able to get out of without a great deal of frustrations. A request for you to put in some overtime or take on a new job description will mean you may want to take a little time to think through your answer. This could all be temporary or it could mean some positive changes that you will like. This is a good time to make changes if you decide you want to comply. Friendships and involvement with group activities play an important part of your afternoon. Friends are among your true riches and the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing things in cooperation with others is something no one can take away from you.

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

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THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

lifest yle G o s s i p


US police to quiz over photographer clash detectives plan to question Justin Bieber after a press photographer claimed the teen idol hurt him during a scuffle over the weekend, a sheriff’s department spokesman said. The alleged incident occurred on Sunday at a shopping center near Bieber’s home in Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles, as the lensman tried to take pictures of the singer and his actress girlfriend Selena Gomez. “Singer Justin Bieber and actress Selena Gomez were at The Commons at Calabasas shopping center,” said




n “Game of Thrones,” Peter Dinklage’s character is constantly steeped in battle over control of a mythical kingdom. After the show’s season finale on Sunday, Dinklage plans to take his fight to the farm. Dinklage, 42, will spend his off season promoting a campaign to change the way society treats farm animals as national spokesman for Farm Sanctuary’s annual Walk for Farm Animals. The actor, who has been a vegetarian since he was 16, has won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his role in the HBO series. He said he joined the cause because he felt “animals used for food are treated like unfeeling machinery.” Farm Sanctuary, which provides care for more than 1,300 rescued farm animals, will put on walks in more than 35 cities across the country this fall.

panish pop star Alejandro Sanz says he got married last week to long-time girlfriend Raquel Perera, and that they held a party at his farm over the weekend to celebrate with friends and baptize their 11-month-old son. The Latin Grammy winner says the couple married in Barcelona on May 23, then headed to Sanz’ farm in southeastern Spain for the wedding party and baptism on Saturday. Sanz and Perera said Tuesday in a statement released by his Spanish agency that the religious wedding ceremony was held “in the strictest privacy” and that Saturday’s event took place at his farm in the town of Jarandilla de la Vera. The two have been together four years, and it’s his second marriage. He is 43 and she is 37.

Lohan was on drugs on SNL, says father indsay Lohan’s disastrous ‘Saturday Night Live’ performance was due to prescription drugs, her father has claimed. Michael Lohan claims the troubled actress is no longer taking any illegal substances but says medicine provided by her doctors prevented her from showing her true acting ability when she performed on the comedy sketch show in March. However, Michael insists he convinced her to stop taking prescription medication ahead of her recent ‘Glee’ cameo and believes she is now once again showing her potential. He told “I have to say this...on ‘SNL’, Lindsay was not using any illicit drugs or drinking but she still is on prescription drugs that they gave her. And the meds that they give her are meds that they say she needs, but she doesn’t need them. But


ohn Travolta is reportedly in talks to agree a settlement with one of the men who accused him of sexual battery. The ‘Hairspray’ actor has been the subject of accusations from a number of male masseurs, with two filing lawsuits against him, and though the proceedings were later dropped, his legal representatives are said to be working on a financial agreement with one of the men. A source told “John Travolta’s lawyer is currently in settlement talks with one of the accusers. The goal is to have a settlement reached very quietly and quickly because John just wants this scandal to go away. “No money has been paid yet, but it’s almost a done deal. It will be an out of court settlement and John Travolta’s name won’t even be in the agreement to ensure complete confidentiality, along with a clause that states if


planned to interview other witnesses and the Canadian singing sensation about the incident. The TMZ celebrity news website said Bieber could not immediately be interviewed because he was in Norway. Coincidentally, Bieber was pictured “training” with former boxing champion Mike Tyson days before the alleged incident, the Huffington Post reported, quoting Tyson as tweeting alongside an online video: “JB’s got the moves!”


to bat for farm animals


spokesman Robert Wiard of the Malibu/Lost Hills sheriff’s station. “As the victim attempted to take a picture of Bieber, Bieber and the victim were involved in a physical altercation,” he added. The 30-year-old photographer, whose identity has not been revealed, called 911 and requested sheriff’s deputies and paramedics. He complained of pain in his upper torso and was taken to a hospital where he was treated and released, Wiard said. Bieber left the scene before deputies arrived, the spokesman added, saying that detectives

they kind of make her flat. She’s not acting at a full potential. It’s like the screen is down over her. “And now when she did ‘Glee’ I said, ‘Linds, get off the damn medication and let people see who you really are.’ And for a couple days before ‘Glee’, she went off this stuff. And there were tears in my eyes when I watched ‘Glee’. THAT was Lindsay. Yeah that was her acting. That is Lindsay Lohan at the ‘Parent Trap’, ‘Freaky Friday’ and ‘Mean Girls’ potential. That is what she was.” In 2010 Lindsay’s probation papers indicated she was on antidepressants Zoloft and trazodone, stimulant Adderall, Nexium for acid reflux and painkiller Dilaudid for dental problems.

David says Victoria is a sexy mother

the man ever goes public with his story, he will be sued for at least twice the amount of the settlement.” The accuser currently in negotiations with John’s team claim he was groped by the actor within the last two years, which is within the limitations of being able to file a civil lawsuit, which he is prepared to do if a settlement isn’t reached. The source added: “If the accuser who is in talks with John’s lawyer right now is unable to reach a settlement, he is absolutely prepared to file a lawsuit against him. “The man isn’t intimidated by John’s celebrity status and just wants the actor to be held accountable for his actions.” John - who has children Ella Bleu, 12, and 18-month-old Benjamin with wife Kelly Preston - has vehemently denied the allegations against him.

avid Beckham finds his wife Victoria “sexy” because she is such a good mother. The couple - who married in 1999 - have four children Brooklyn, 13, Romeo, nine, seven-year-old Cruz and 10-month-old Harper together and the soccer star particularly loves the way his ex-Spice Girl spouse always puts their kids first. He said: “She’s a great mum. Everything revolves around the children, as busy as she is, and that’s what I love her for. Well, there are many other things that I love her for, but being an amazing mother is a very sexy quality and an adorable quality.” David and Victoria renewed their wedding vows four years ago and the sportsman admitted he planned the whole ceremony as a surprise - and even chose a dress for the fashion designer to wear. In an interview with the UK edition of Elle magazine - which has made the sportsman its first ever male cover star - he said: “The most romantic thing I’ve ever done was probably when we renewed our wedding vows. It was a whole surprise, Victoria knew nothing about it. I had it all organized. I told her we were going out for lunch and I packed her bag. “I had a dress ready for her to change into on the plane. I picked the dress. I picked everything. It was just a simple white Dolce & Gabbana dress I think. “This is going back a few years, when I was playing in Spain. So then we renewed our vows, flew on to Paris and had a night in Paris.”


Stewart not worried about film success K risten Stewart never thinks about how successful her movies are going to be when she signs up. The 22-year-old actress - who has starred in one of the bestreceived movie franchises of all time as Bella Swan in the ‘Twilight Saga’ - no longer thinks about how her films affect people because she has to decide if she likes them first of all. She said: “I couldn’t imagine doing a project with the idea of how it’s going to affect people. It really has to affect you first, and if it does, then maybe it will affect other people ... I think that people who don’t have that are clearly choosing things to become famous actresses. “They’re clearly choosing things to make money. I mean, I love Los Angeles - I love living here. But I

wish that we could make things without the need to hit a home run every single time.” Kristen - who is dating her ‘Twilight Saga’ co-star Robert Pattinson - admits she feels very grateful to have experience so much success in her shirt career and she realizes she is privileged to have worked with so many talented actors. Kristen - who stars in new movie ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ with Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth - said: “I feel so extremely successful - and not just because I can green light a movie now. It’s because I’ve really only worked with people that I truly love. However, she admits she has not always had good experiences on-set. She told Interview Magazine: “I’ve only had bad experiences with one or two directors. I think it always boils down to people not being there for the right reasons, and not being there for the same reasons. It’s a miracle when things come together. But sometimes it just doesn’t happen - and when it doesn’t happen, you still have to finish the movie.”—BangShowbiz

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

lifestyle T R A V E L

Kuwait-India partnership continues to thrive

Kuwait Times Editor-in-Chief Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan is pictured with Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari during the KJA visit to India. NEW DELHI: Members of the delegation are pictured in monumental places during their visit to India. By Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan Editor-in-Chief

KUWAIT: India and Kuwait have always shared a special bond. Historically, economically and culturally, India and Kuwait have partnered in many fields and on many levels. This fact stood out during my fiveday visit to India as par t of Kuwait Journalist Association (KJA) delegation’s trip to what is known as ‘the largest democracy in the world’. What was once a destination for IT know-how and technological solutions in addition to myriad of opportunities for commercial exchange has today become a powerhouse on par with the world’s leaders. India of today has embraced a forwardlooking vision that cements high growth rate driven by a clear vision and strategy in policy-making and in implementation. This came out during the visit of members of Kuwait Journalist Association to India. Then, high-ranking officials from India

emphasized the volume of trade and size of the commercial and economic exchange between Kuwait and India. Only last year, the trade exchange between the two countries totalled $12 billion. Furthermore, Kuwait is India’s main oil supplier. India has always been a partner and a friend to Kuwait. We cannot forget India’s position during Saddam’s invasion when the first demonstration in suppor t of

Members of the delegation are pictured in front of a known monument in India.

around the world collapsed,” he said. Kuwait took place in Jaipur, the capital The Kuwaiti delegation visited the of Rajasthan. The history of bilateral Indian Parliament, described as the trade goes back to spice, textile largest in the world, where members imports and pearl diving. Even the met the speaker of the lower house, first car in Kuwait, a Minerva, was and the speaker of Ansari. imported from India in 1912 for the late Amir Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah. Good bilateral relations The K JA visit was fruitful and Ansari said that the two countries enriching culturally, economically and have enjoyed good bilateral relations politically, due to several meetings from the past till the current era as with Indian officials. One of the very well as before the discovery of oil. He interesting places we visited was the said that the Indian community occupropaganda and adver tisement pies an important share of Kuwait’s department organized by the Indian market place and lauds business ownForeign Affairs Ministry in the form of ers there. a direct debate between Indian jourThe speaker of the lower house nalists and media personalities with Kuwait’s media delegation. The most Kuwait Times Editor-in-Chief is seen with Indian Lower praised old friendly relations between vivid memories from this trip would House Speaker Meira Kumar. — Photos by Majed Al-Sabej the two sides and focused on the fact that Kuwait and India share a good be the celebration that the Indian democratic basis and a written constiForeign Information Affairs Ministry held in investors to invest in infrastructure, it transpired that there are no special laws geared tution. She reflected on the role of the honour of the Kuwaiti delegation. woman saying that there are one million The delegation had a chance to visit the to attract foreign investment. Among the most notable meetings was female representatives elected in India at Indian Planning Committee, which is concerned with the investment fields and met that with Indian Vice President Hamid various levels, from villages to companies Ansari, Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. and local authorities. Women also occupy Krishna, Indian Parliament Speaker Mira some senior posts in Indian politics, such as Kumar, the spokesman of the Indian speaker of the lower house, head of the Foreign Ministry Sayyed Akbar Al-Dein and opposition and president of the United Progressive Alliance. senior Indian journalists. One of the highlights of our trip was the Al-Dein said his countr y pays great Kuwaiti cultural days abroad. Kuwait’s attention to the delegation’s visit because it includes an influential media group includ- Ambassador to India Sami Al-Suleiman ing senior editors and journalists, who opened the cultural event saying that the came to meet various Indian groups in the distinguished relations between Kuwait fields of information and commerce, in and India in various fields especially the political and commercial ties cast a shadow addition to high ranking Indian leaders. Krishna confirmed the deep relations on the cultural relations that are on the and strong ties between the two countries, upswing between the people of the two adding that there is a vast field for Kuwaiti countries. Ambassador Al-Suleiman investors to strengthen the bilateral trade expressed his gratitude to the Indian culwith Deputy Chairman of the Committee which reached $12.3 billion last year. tural relations council and India’s Foreign M. Singh. He informed us that foreign Everyone stressed the role that free media Ministry for their extensive and effective investment in his country in the fields of in India and Kuwait play in bringing the contributions in fulfilling this wish which has been long awaited. infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, petro- two countries closer. The cultural week included a concert by Krishna spoke about strengthening the chemicals, especially in the field of hotel construction, creates good opportunities current trade volumes. “Investments in for investment. According to him, Kuwait India are always safe and strong and have can take advantage of these opportunities relatively higher returns despite the global and invest in those fields. Meanwhile, as slowdown. India has grown at a satisfactory Indian officials encouraged Kuwaiti rate since 2008, when advanced economies

Kuwait’s Television Band is performing as part of the Cultural Week of Kuwait held in India.

Kuwait Television Band, which performed a mixture of Kuwaiti and Indian tunes. Director of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Suresh Kumar lauded the band’s performance, and considered it a fantastic occasion to give the Indian audience an opportunity to enjoy Kuwaiti music and dance. Meanwhile, the Indian culture and art centre called the Red Fort Academy in New Delhi hosted an exhibition of art works by Kuwaiti artists.

Members of the delegation are sampling some sumptuous dishes during a dinner reception in India.

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

lifestyle M o v i e s


oc Watson, the blind Grammy-award winning folk musician whose music was embraced by generations and whose lightning-fast style of flat picking influenced guitarists around the world, died Tuesday at a North Carolina hospital, according to a hospital spokeswoman and his manager. He was 89. Watson died at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, where he was hospitalized recently after falling at his home in Deep Gap, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He underwent abdominal surgery while in the hospital and had been in critical condition for several days. Arthel “Doc” Watson’s mastery of flatpicking helped make the case for the guitar as a lead instrument in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was often considered a backup for the mandolin, fiddle or banjo. His fast playing could intimidate other musicians, even his own grandson, who performed with him. Richard Watson said in a 2000 interview with The Associated Press that his grandfather’s playing had a humbling effect on other musicians. The everhumble Doc Watson found it hard to believe. “Everybody that’s picked with you says you intimidate them, and that includes some of the best,” Richard Watson told him. Country and bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs said Tuesday evening, “An old ancient warrior has gone home.” “He prepared all of us to carry this on,” Skaggs added. “He knew he wouldn’t last forever, He did his best to carry the old mountain sounds to this generation.” Doc Watson was born March 3, 1923, in Deep Gap. He lost his eyesight by the age of 1 when he developed an eye infection that was worsened by a congenital vascular disorder, according to a website for Merlefest, the annual musical gathering named for his late son Merle. He came from a musical family - his father was active in the church choir and played banjo and his mother sang secular and religious songs, according to a statement from Folklore Productions, his management company since 1964. Doc Watson’s father gave him a harmonica as a young child, and by 5 he was playing the banjo, according to the Merlefest website. He learned a few guitar chords while attending the North Carolina Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, and his father helped him buy a Stella guitar for $12. “My real interest in music was the old 78 records and the sound of the music,” Doc Watson is quoted as saying on the website. “I loved it and began to realize that one of the main sounds on those old records I loved was the guitar.” The wavy-haired Watson got his musical start in 1953, playing electric lead guitar in a country-and-western swing band. His road to fame began in 1960 when Ralph Rinzler, a musician who also managed Bill Monroe, discovered Watson in North Carolina. That led Watson to the Newport Folk Festival in 1963 and his first recording contract a year later. He went on to record 60 albums, and wowed fans ranging from ‘60s hippies to fans of traditional country and folk music. According to the Encyclopedia of Country Music, Watson took his nickname at age 19 when someone

couldn’t pronounce his name and a girl in the audience shouted “Call him Doc!” Seven of his albums won Grammy awards; his eighth Grammy was a lifetime achievement award in 2004. He also received the National Medal of the Arts from President Bill Clinton in 1997. “There may not be a serious, commit-


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of the Appalachian region plus whatever other styles we were in the mood to play,” Doc Watson is quoted as saying on the festival’s website. “Since the beginning, the people of the college and I have agreed that the music of MerleFest is ‘traditional plus.’” Doc Watson has said that when Merle died, he lost the

shed. Guitarist Pete Huttlinger of Nashville, Tennessee, said Doc Watson made every song his own, regardless of its age. ‘He’s one of those lucky guys,” said Huttlinger, who studied Watson’s methods when he first picked up a guitar. “When he plays something, he puts his stamp on it - it’s Doc Watson.”

In this April 17, 1998 photo, Doc Watson performs with kids on stage at the MerleFest in Wilkesboro, NC. — AP/AFP photos ted baby boomer alive who didn’t at some point in his or her youth try to spend a few minutes at least trying to learn to pick a guitar like Doc Watson,” Clinton said at the time. Folklore described Watson as “a powerful singer and a tremendously influential picker who virtually invented the art of playing mountain fiddle tunes on the flattop guitar.” Countless guitarists tried to emulate Watson’s renditions of songs such as “Tennessee Stud,” “Shady Grove,” and “Deep River Blues.” Doc Watson’s son Merle began recording and touring with him in 1964. But Merle Watson died at age 36 in a 1985 tractor accident, sending his father into deep grief and making him consider retirement. Instead, he kept playing and started Merlefest, an annual musical event in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, that raises money for a community college there and celebrates “traditional plus” music. “When Merle and I started out we called our music ‘traditional plus,’ meaning the traditional music

best friend he would ever have. He also relied on his wife, Rosa Lee, whom he married in 1947. “She saw what little good there was in me, and there was little,” Watson told the AP in 2000. “I’m awful glad she cared about me, and I’m awful glad she married me.” In a PBS NewsHour interview before a January appearance in Arlington, Virginia, Watson recalled his father teaching him how to play harmonica to a tune his parents had sung in church, as well as his first bus trip to New York City to perform in the early 1960s. He gave an early solo performance at Gerde’s Folk City in Greenwich Village, a hot spot for the folk music revival, and later played Carnegie Hall. Telling the stories in a folksy manner, he broke into a quiet laugh at various points. He said he still enjoyed touring. “I love music and love a good audience and still have to make a living,” Watson said. “Why would I quit?” Musician Sam Bush, who has performed at every Merlefest, began touring with Doc and Merle Watson in 1974, occasionally substituting for Merle when he couldn’t travel. “I would sit next to Doc, and I would be influenced by his incredible timing and taste,” Bush said after Watson’s recent surgery. “He seems to always know what notes to play. They’re always the perfect notes. He helped me learn the space between the notes (are) as valuable as the ones you play.” Bush said he was also intimidated when he began playing with the man he calls “the godfather of all flatpickers.” “But Doc puts you at ease about that kind of stuff,” Bush said. “I never met a more generous kind of musician. He is more about the musical communication than showing off with hot licks.” His blindness didn’t hold him back musically or at home. Joe Newberry, a musician and spokesman for the North Carolina. Department of Cultural Resources, remembered once when his wife called the Watson home. Rosa Lee Watson said her husband was on the roof, replacing shingles. His daughter Nancy Watson said her father built the family’s utility In this July 24, 1963 file photo, Doc Watson, center, performs with the Watson Family on the opening night of the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, RI.


hen Bollywood film-maker Kunal Deshmukh set out to make “Jannat 2” (Heaven 2), a raunchy taleabout arms dealing with plenty of swearing and bare skin, he ended up shooting two versions - one for cinema audiences, and the other for television. Deshmukh was not being extravagant. Like many Indian movie producers and TV broadcasters, he walked a tightrope of catering to the tastes of a rap-

idly modernizing but largely conservative country, whose censors have scant tolerance for adult content. Movie-makers like Deshmukh risk seeing their work chopped to pieces on a censor’s editing floor, or banned from television altogether if it is deemed unsuitable for family viewing. “I didn’t want to take a chance. TV rights

for movies are important revenue earners and I would like my movie to be shown at a prime-time slot,” Deshmukh told Reuters. “I would much rather spend some time and re-shoot certain scenes so that they are fit for TV.” The tussles over what is and what is not acceptable material reflect a wider debate about censorship in a country proud of its status as the world’s largest democracy, but which has witnessed several controversies over free speech this year. “It’s ridiculous. You would think there would be some space for self-regulation, but this has become arbitrary,” says Paritosh Joshi, a former member of the Indian Broadcasting Federation, an industry body that looks at content regulation. In February, Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal sought to calm fears of a China-style crackdown on companies like Google and Facebook after a court ordered two dozen firms to block material that could offend religious groups. Thinking of everyone Regulating content is an unwieldy job in a country of 1.2 billion that has witnessed an explosion in its TV and media industry since the start of India’s economic boom more than two decades ago. In that time, the country went from having two state-run channels to nearly 500 private ones. India had 146 million TV-viewing households in 2011, more than the United States with 114 million, according to an estimate by the global information company Nielsen. TV penetration was at 61 percent last year as compared to 98 percent in China, according

to consulting firm KPMG. Only movies aired on TV are required to get a censor certificate. Broadcasters have a set of regulations that they have to follow. Making content suitable for family audiences includes beeping out words such as “ass”, commonly heard on American shows. The subtitles in India for such shows often swap an offensive word with a more palatable substitute - so “ass” could become “rear” or “behind”. Also on the black list are words such as “beef”, as the cow is considered holy by India’s Hindu majority, and “sucks”. Deshmukh isn’t the only one to have struggled in India, home to the world’s largest movie industry. “The Dirty Picture”, a film about the life of a 1980s South Indian soft-porn star, which won accolades from audiences and critics alike, was stopped hours before its television premiere in April after two court petitions objected to its content. This was after the makers of the film were asked to make 59 cuts in the movie so that it could be rated U/A, India’s version of a Parental Guidance rating, for television. —Reuters

This May 1, 2009 file photo shows US folk singer Doc Watson performing at the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans.

He changed folk music forever by adapting fiddle tunes to guitar at amazing tempos, Huttlinger said. “And people all over the place were trying to figure out how to do this,” he said. “But Doc, he set the bar for everyone. He said, ‘This is how it goes.’ And people have been trying for years to match that. “He took it (the guitar) out of the background and brought it upfront as a melody instrument. We’re no longer at the back of the class. He gave the front to us.” Wayne Martin, executive director of the North Carolina Arts Council, said recently that Watson took southern Appalachian forms of music such as balladry, oldtime string music and bluegrass, and made them accessible. “He takes old music and puts his own creativity on it,” Martin said. “It retained its core, yet it felt relevant to people today.” Said Bush: “I don’t think anyone personifies what we call Americana more than Doc Watson.” North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue said in a statement Tuesday evening that Watson will be missed. “Over his long and brilliant career, Doc Watson traveled the world playing the music he loved, but his heart never strayed far from his home in Deep Gap, North Carolina ...,” Perdue said. “Our state was fortunate to have such a worldwide ambassador of North Carolina’s culture and heritage.” In 2011, a life-size statue of Watson was dedicated in Boone, North Carolina, at the spot where Watson had played decades earlier for tips to support his family, according to the Folklore statement. At Watson’s request the inscription read, “Just One of the People.” — AP

Japan film director Shindo dead at 100


apanese film director Kaneto Shindo, known for hard-hitting works dealing with human nature and the effects of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, has died at his home in Tokyo, his office said yesterday. Shindo, who celebrated his 100th birthday last month, died early Tuesday, producer Tetsuo Satonaka said. Shindo directed nearly 50 films, with his final work, “A Postcard” winning the special jury prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2011. Born in Hiroshima, he studied screenwriting while working as an art assistant for the renowned director Kenji Mizoguchi. After making his debut as a director in 1951, he came to international attention with “Children of Hiroshima” when it was premiered at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival. — AFP

This file picture taken on October 23, 2010 shows Japanese film director Kaneto Shindo at the Tokyo International Film Festival in Tokyo. — AFP

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012

lifestyle M o v i e s

In this Friday, May 25, 2012 photo, Muslim hardliners of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) hold banners during a protest against Lady Gaga in Jakarta, Indonesia. — AP photos


itin Karisma parades onto the stage wearing a rhinestone bustier and matching bottoms, with sequin fringe that jiggles wildly to the rhythm of the beating drums. Preteen boys watch the singer wide-eyed as she straddles a speaker, whipping her long hair wildly. She licks the microphone and drops to the ground, repeatedly thrusting her pelvis toward a camera. Lady Gaga’s onstage antics are almost tame compared to this act, known as dangdut, the most popular genre of music in this predominantly Muslim nation of 240 million. But while the pop star’s show was effectively banned from Indonesia, tens of thousands of young women here put on performances like Karisma’s every night. They shake and grind in smoky bars, ritzy nightclubs, at weddings, even circumcisions. In most cases the hosts say the sexier the better. The apparent double standard highlights divisions between Indonesia’s largely tolerant majority and a vocal minority of Islamic hard-liners. The conservatives hold outsized influence in government, and have successfully picked high-profile battles like the Lady Gaga show, but they haven’t been able to stop dangdut, which has a long tradition here. Karisma’s stage shows have gotten nearly a million hits on YouTube. Julia Perez, an actress and wannabe politician, is dubbed the “sex bomb” for her racy act. Another performer, Dewi Persik, is known for her powerful back-and-forth hip thrusting “saw move” and public acknowledgments that she had surgery to become “a born-again virgin” to please her future husband. The up-and-coming “Trio Macan,” made up of three Gaga look-alikes, with dyed hair and catlike poses, often simulate sex with male customers on stage. Members of the Anti Apostasy Movement, Indonesian Mujaheeds Council and the notoriously thuggish Islamic Defender’s Front, better known as FPI, are quick to say they go after provocative dangdut performances. From time to time their followers jump in vans and ransack dangdut bars and nightclubs in the capital, Jakarta, and its outskirts.

But they know this won’t get them the kind of attention they crave, said Andrew Weintraub, a professor of music at the University of Pittsburgh and author of the book “Dangdut Stories.” “Lady Gaga is a big name,” he said. “It’s a big stage for conservative Muslim organizations to promote their own agenda. They’ll get a lot of attention internationally - which is also what makes the state nervous.” All 52,000 tickets for the concert Lady Gaga planned to give June 3 sold out within days, but members of the FPI had vowed to meet her at the airport if she dared step off the plane. Others bought tickets to her show saying, if it went ahead, they’d wreak havoc from inside the packed stadium. As the weekslong controversy raged, conservative politicians and members of more mainstream Muslim organizations piled onto the anti-Gaga wagon. And police - for the first time ever - denied a permit to one of the many Western stars passing through, citing security. Lady Gaga eventually pulled the plug. “We hold huge concerts here all the time,” said Desi Anwar, a local television anchor, noting that crowd control is nothing new. “This is what happens when the government is perceived as weak and not consistent.” Indonesia is often held up by US and others as a beacon of how Islam and democracy can coexist, and in many ways they are right. Most of the secular nation’s 210 million Muslims practice a moderate form of the faith and accept differences in others, with schoolgirls in headscarves regularly seen in shopping malls walking arm-in-arm with friends wearing tiny short shorts and T-shirts. Sweeping reforms that followed the ouster of Gen. Suharto’s 32-year dictatorship in 1998 have allowed citizens to directly pick their own leaders, while vastly improving human rights, opening up the media and allowing artists freely express themselves for the first time in decades. But a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years, using its influence to push through controversial laws banning everything from kissing in public to showing too much skin.


US President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to musician Bob Dylan during a ceremony on May 29, 2012 in the East Room of the White House in Washington. — AFP photos

Obama honors


Dylan with top US honor


an-in-chief Barack Obama invested legendary singer songwriter Bob Dylan Tuesday with America’s highest civilian honor, praising the gritty folk legend’s never ending quest for truth. Dylan joined other honorees including former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth and novelist Toni Morrison to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “By the time he was 23, Bob’s voice, with its weight, its unique gravelly power, was redefining not just what music sounded like, but the message it carried and how it made people feel,” Obama said. “Today, everybody from Bruce Springsteen to U2 owes Bob a debt of gratitude. “There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music. All these years later, he’s still chasing that sound, still searching for a little bit of truth, and I have to say that I am a really big fan.” Dylan, hiding behind trademark dark glasses, gave no noticeable sign of appreciation or emotion as he was summoned to receive the medal from Obama. “I remember in college listening to Bob Dylan and my world opening up, because he captured something about this country that was so vital,” Obama added. The revered singer-song writer was last at the White House in February 2010, when he performed protest anthem “The Times, They are a Changin’” nearly 50 years after belting out songs of revolution on Washington’s National Mall. Obama also had warm words for Albright, the first woman to serve as US secretary of state, during former president Bill Clinton’s second term.—AP


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Muslim hardliners of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) shout slogans during a protest against Lady Gaga in Jakarta, Indonesia.

They’ve also become more violent, going after Christians and members of other religious minorities with batons and machetes, usually without paying any price. More recently, mobs attacked Alex Aan, an atheist, now in jail for his beliefs, and rampaged a book discussion by visiting Canadian liberal Muslim activist, Irshad Manji. That’s one reason hard-liners felt they could take on Gaga the biggest international star in the world, said Sidney Jones, a Jakarta-based analyst with the International Crisis Group think tank. They were emboldened by a string of successes. “These guys are on a roll,” she said, adding they have learned that by mobilizing various conservative groups and politicians, “they can set the agenda and underscore the importance of abiding by Islamic values.” Critics say President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, whose government relies on the support of Islamic parties, is largely to blame for rising intolerance for remaining silent. But the passivity of the majority also plays a role, staying out of the debate unless their own liberal lifestyles are at stake - as was the case with Lady Gaga. Dangdut, which got its name from the rhythmic “dang” and “dut” of the drum, is an occasional target of conservatives, though Weintraub, the music professor, says most of its singers are not raunchy. Introduced in the 1970s, the genre is partly derived from Malay, Arabic, and Hindu music. For many years, it was mostly the music that expressed the hopes and disappointments of the downtrodden, spilling into the streets and back alleys from bars and restaurants, taxis and public buses. After Suharto’s downfall, when media restrictions were lifted, dangdut made the leap to commercial TV. Once maledominated audiences expanded to include the middle- and upper-class women, many of whom felt empowered by overt expressions of sexuality. From that emerged Inul Daratista, a village girl from East Java province who wowed fans nationwide with her rapid-fire, pelvic “drill dancing.” Hard-liners were mortified, calling her lewd and a threat to national morals.

ashingtonians paid last respects Tuesday to Chuck Brown, “the Godfather of Go-Go,” whose infectious funk riffs and marathon gigs gave the US capital its own soundtrack when it needed it most. Brown, 75, who embraced music while serving time in prison for murder in his early 20s, died May 16 in a Baltimore hospital of multiorgan failure from sepsis, leaving behind a unique genre of African American music. The public viewing at the Howard Theater-with thousands of mourners lining up around the block-came one month to the day before Brown was scheduled to play at the historic and recently restored venue. “Hip-hop came to DC (in the 1980s and 1990s) but it could never take over Go-Go,” said retired firefighter Ditalian Raufu, 56, wiping the sweat off his brow in the midday heat on Chuck Brown Way outside the theater’s main door. “Hip-hop is sampling. Go-Go is pure beat,” added Raufu, explaining how Go-Go gigsin venues as varied as tiny nightclubs and wide-open parks-would “Go-Go” on and on, with the congas and drums never stopping between songs. “Chuck could take that beat and rock that beat for two hours, three hours or more, and just come up with different lyrics, different playback to the crowd ... and before you knew it, it was daybreak.” Fans filed past Brown’s coffin inside the Howard Theater at a rate of 1,200 an hour, starting at 11:00 am (1500 GMT) following a private service attended by family and close friends. In a black pinstripe suit with satin lapels, together with his trademark black hat,

sunglasses, and salt-and-pepper goatee, he looked splendid. Flowers spilled off his coffin. His Gibson electric guitar was at the side. Mayor Vincent Gray shook hands with mourners, giving the 11-hour public viewing the flavor of a full-dress civic funeral, as soft jazz tunes played in the background. Brown’s 1979 R&B hit “Bustin’ Loose” heralded the arrival of Go-Go at a time when Washington, despite being the political heart of a global superpower, was riddled with crime and crippled by a crack cocaine epidemic. He went on to record a raft of other upbeat floor-fillers such as “We Need Some Money,” “Go Go Swing,” “We the People” and “Run Joe,” and became a beloved folk hero in the hometown of Duke Ellington and Marvin Gaye. “You know, I could play jazz or R&B or rock and roll or gospel tomorrow if I wanted to, but Go-Go is still what gets (Washington) people to come out,” Brown told National Geographic in a 2010 interview. Brown, who never knew his Marine father, was born in North Carolina-the ancestral state of many black Washingtonians-and moved to the capital as a child, eventually dropping out of school and working odd jobs. Serving eight years in prison for fatally shooting a man in what he called an act of selfdefense, he swapped five cartons of cigarettes for another inmate’s guitar-a life-changing moment. Upon his release on parole, he started off playing backyard barbecue parties, then joined a group called Los Latinos in 1965 before starting up his own ensemble, the Soul Searchers.

They held protest rallies, forced her to cancel shows and dismantled a statue of her built near her home. Within a few months, the then 24-year-old largely disappeared from the limelight, in part because of legislation proposed in response to her wiggling derriere that eventually led to the country’s controversial 2008 anti-pornography law. The law has been applied arbitrarily since than, usually with hard-liners leading the charge. It was used to jail the editor of Indonesia’s now-shuttered version of Playboy, even though there are many smuttier magazines on the streets. The lead singer of a local pop band, Peter Pan, also is behind bars after a homemade sex video of him and two girlfriends found its way on the Internet, even though several lawmakers caught in similar sex scandals are still sitting in Parliament. Dangdut’s influences have changed over the years to include everything from American and British rock to salsa, house and remix, and styles of dance today are shaped by MTV and Western pop stars. Hard-liners cite those outside influences as another reason they don’t like it. Conservative opponents of dangdut don’t worry fans like Imam Siswanto, who says the genre is powerful because it often touches on issues that resonate with the masses: heartache, social inequality and, sometimes, faith. He said that although critics sent Gaga packing, “I can firmly and confidently say that dangdut will never die.”— AP

A vender sells Chuck Brown shirts to people waiting in line for a viewing of musical artis Chuck Brown. — AFP “I’ll put it this way: when Chuck played for four hours, people stood up for four hours and partied,” said shopkeeper Nia Barnes, 57, who recalled one show that ran without any interruption to the music from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am. Kenny Gross, 32, who succeeded his uncle as the Soul Searchers’ drummer, said he still has the telephone voicemail that Brown left him on the evening in 2007 that he invited him to join the band. “Chuck was a special guy. —AFP

Inseparable lives in A Separation By Sunil Cherian


Separation’ is about the gulf between necessities and luxuries, responsibilities and aspirations, and lives that are torn between truths and lies. The religious, economical and gender dichotomies and disparities play a crucial role in this dramatic Iranian social labyrinth that deserved the Best Foreign Film Oscar this year. More than a couple’s separation - the issue here is to leave Iran for the sake of a child or reamin for the sake of the father. A battle between tradition and modernity, the film is full of questions captured in the daily routines of life. The audience is the judge. Life is at first manageable and easy going, as Nader the protagonist seems to think, but he encounters problems and issues along the way, making life as rough as a sandstorm. The writer-director Asghar Farhadi scans a few lives that are ultimately inseparable and he seems to say Tehran - with its bustle and beauty - is not very far from us. Along with Iranian film gems Makhbalbaf and Panahi, Farhadi builds his sequences cleverly forcing us to go back to the early scenes to see who said what. There is a conflict between ‘I ought to’ and ‘I want to’ among the characters, who range from an upper mid-

Sareh Bayat plays a poor, countryside woman who works as a caretaker of an old man without her husband’s knowledge in the Iranian Oscar winning film A Separation. Her deeply religious character consults a religious hotline when she is in doubt of cleaning the old man’s body.

dle class banker to a cobbler and a pregnant maidservant. The film takes an empathetic tone with the 11year-old sixth grader, who is sandwiched between her poles apart parents even when the film ‘narratively’ tries to be neutral. A contrasting study is well sketched between the apparently well to do, city-dwelling young girl and the most-of-the-time silent daughter of the home nurse,

who hails from the countryside. There are undertones that are fully baked but half served - like the deeply religious woman who keeps secrets from her husband, a sick old man who gradually loses the ability to speak, and a dominating husband who is also a ‘self beater’. This self-inflicted pain is part of the film’s structure. As the film gently progresses, the audience is doomed not negatively - to witness the accounts of the suppressed feelings of the characters. In one scene the hero, separated from his wife and frustrated by the maid, bathes his frail father and sobs uncontrollably without the old man noticing. The wife is also seen crying to an unresponsive father-in-law - he suffers from Alzheimer’s - saying ‘he never asked me to stay’. The veiled beautiful faces of the young generation seem like candles - lighted but burning within. ‘A Separation’ is in Kuwait from June 21. Watch it if you would like to be showered in that candle light.

Folk musician Doc Watson dies at 89

THURSDAY, MAY 31, 2012


‘Martian Pink’ diamond fetches $17million in Hong Kong


he “Martian Pink” diamond fetched $17.4 million at auction in Hong Kong this week when it went on sale for the first time in 36 years, more than double the estimated price. Billed as the “largest round fancy intense pink diamond” ever to come up for auction, the stunning gem was the highlight of a Christies’ jewellery auction that raised $80 million on Tuesday, the auction house said. “Having appeared on the market for the first time in 36 years, The Martian Pink sold by Harry Winston in 1976 created a sensation during its worldwide exhibition tour and achieved a staggering US$17.4m after a 10-minute bidding war,” said Vickie Sek of Christie’s Asia. The diamond was bought by an anonymous buyer, the auction house said. “The US$80m auction was highlighted with top prices across the board, culminating in a world record price of US$551,000 per carat for a perfect Burmese ruby of 6.04 carats,” Sek said. Hong Kong has emerged as the world’s third biggest auction centre after New York and London, thanks largely to the growing luxury market in mainland China.—AFP

In a picture taken on May 8, 2012, model Lisa S holds a Martian Pink Diamond at Christie’s Hong Kong office. — AFP

Theron’s evil queen wears feathers, beetle wings


harlize Theron’s evil queen costumes for “Snow White and the Huntsman” called for hundreds of hand-cut rooster feathers, thousands of iridescent beetle wings from Thailand and one particularly imposing crown. The outfits, some of which are on view at an LA pop-up gallery ahead of the film’s June 1 US opening, represented a number of firsts for Academy Awardwinning costume designer Colleen Atwood. From the leather piping on the pleats of the queen’s wedding gown to the gauzy green metal trim on the beetle-wing dress, the nine-time Oscar nominee and three-time winner experimented with materials for director Rupert Sanders’ dark take on the classic fairy tale. “The idea of the fairy tale sets you free in a way because you can make it up,” Atwood said. “And I love to make up stuff.” She created an armored ensemble fit for a queen by dressing up chain mail with rolled leather and horsehair trim and topping it off with a particularly pointy metal crown. “We wanted to have a formidable silhouette,” Atwood said, “and from a distance it’s spooky with the crown and her height and everything.” In Sanders’ version of the Snow White story, Kristen Stewart portrays the only woman in the land fairer than Theron’s evil queen Ravenna. The queen dispatches a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to kill the young woman, but instead he becomes her mentor and protector. Atwood took on the project after finishing work on Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows,” starring Johnny Depp. Atwood and Burton are frequent and successful collaborators: Her most recent Oscar was for his 2010 film “Alice in Wonderland,” and she earned nominations for her costumes in Burton’s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and “Sleepy Hollow.” Atwood’s “Snow White” costumes are far from “Dark Shadows.” “They don’t resemble each other in any way,” she said, “so it was fun to shift from one to the other and have a whole different world to think about.” “Snow White” director Sanders said Atwood’s wardrobes “blend seamlessly into this world, and they speak volumes about the world and its characters.” Theron agreed. From the wedding dress, with its architectural shoulders that appear to be made from bones, to the twice-embroidered gown that eventually resembles an old, peeling skin, Atwood’s costumes reflect the evil queen’s obsession with appearances. “Every costume had a feeling of not quite what it seems,” Theron said. “In a way, these dresses were like


torture devices for Ravenna. I love that because I feel like Ravenna was, in a way, more torturous toward herself than to the people she was killing.” To minimize the actual on-set torture, Atwood employed a team of about 50 people to help the actors in and out of the elaborate costumes. But the beetle wings remain dangerous. Thousands of the hard, brittle wings decorate the evil queen’s regal dress of silk and metal mesh. “They’re incredibly sharp, so I had to be careful about how I used them. If you hit them, you can hurt yourself,” the designer said. “They’re quite treacherous, which really suited the character.” — AP

Academy Award-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood with costumes from the film “Snow White and the Huntsman”.

Costumes from the film ‘Snow White and the Huntsman.’

true classic from the House of Chopard, the Imperiale watch collection is welcoming new variations. This year sees the introduction of a steel chronograph, while the majestic lines of this collection are enriched with yellow gold. When the codes of contemporary elegance echo the grandeur of the Roman Empire, a true classic is clearly in the making. Born in the 1990s and entirely revisited in 2010, the Imperiale radiates an appeal stemming first and foremost from its harmonious proportions and refined details. Endowed with a powerful and symbolic character, it asserts itself as the natural choice for women impelled by an all-conquering spirit. The serene strength of its details distils a wealth of details that are all nods to the heyday of the imperial age. These include the Roman numerals punctuating the dial and marking off the hours. This elegant frame surrounds a centre subtly reminiscent of a painting by great master, featuring a delicately carved mother-of-pearl backdrop graced with motifs calling to mind the embroidered cushions that used to bear the royal insignia. This refined canvas is swept over by exquisitely curved hands evoking the sharp daggers used by sovereigns in combat. A crown delicately curved like a lotus flower and set with an amethyst cabochon is fitted to a case middle with pure, sleek

A costume and necklace from the film “Snow White and the Huntsman”.

sides designed to give the model a lighter and more luminous glow. The shape of the lugs echoes the tradition of ancient columns that are famed for their perfectly balanced proportions, while the gold models are enhanced by an ultimate touch of refinement in the shape of amethyst cabochons set on the lugs. The sheer wealth and finesse of its details make the Imperiale collection an eminently feminine model, and its timeless chic revives the spirit and the splendour of imperial classicism. With these latest models, yellow gold makes its grand entrance into the watches of this collection, setting off the perfection of their majestic lines to magnificent effect. The chronograph with a steel case that is also being introduced brings a resolutely contemporary twist to the Imperiale collection.

31st May 2012  

Kuwait Times