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No: 15501

SHAABAN 17, 1433 AH




Emiratis want crackdown on skimpy dress

State security releases leader of Eneza tribe

Federer makes 8th Wimbledon final, trounces Djokovic

150 Fils

Assad under pressure as top general defects Max 49º Min 32º

46 killed across Syria PARIS: International leaders yesterday urged the UN to ratchet up pressure on Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad by threatening his regime with tough sanctions, as the defection of a top general rocked his inner circle. Some 100 nations and organizations meeting in Paris called on the UN Security Council to adopt a transition plan for Syria backed by economic sanctions if the regime refuses to comply. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also issued a clarion call for all nations to do more to push for political change in Syria and end the 16month conflict, while lambasting Russia and China for “blockading” progress. The Friends of Syria talks in the French capital took place amid news that one of Assad’s most trusted inner circle had defected in what would be a major blow to the regime as it battles the opposition. “General Munaf Tlass defected three days ago,” a source close to the Syrian government said on condition of anonymity. Tlass, the highest-ranking military officer to have abandoned the Assad regime, was on his way to Paris to join his wife and sister, Nahed Ojjeh, widow of Saudi millionaire arms dealer Akram Ojjeh, said the source. A general in the elite Republican Guard charged with protecting the regime, he is the son of former defense minister Mustafa Tlass, a close friend of Assad’s late father and predecessor, Hafez. “A senior official from the Syrian regime, a commander in the Republican Guard, has defected and is headed for Paris,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed at a news conference, although his final destination was unclear. Participants at the Paris meeting called on the UN Security Council to urgently adopt the six-point peace plan drawn up by UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan under the UN Charter’s Chapter 7. But the final statement stressed that any immediate action under Article 41 provided only for non-military intervention. French President Francois Hollande also pushed for the Security Council to get tough with Damascus, while the Syrian opposition called for humanitarian corridors and a no-fly zone. “This is a major blow to the Assad regime,” Abdel Basset Sayda, the head of the main opposition Syrian National Council told journalists in Paris. “We cannot comment where he is. We are going to seek some cooperation with him. We call for other defections.” The Pentagon hailed Tlass’s defection saying it signals cracks in Assad’s inner circle. A rights watchdog reported at least 46 people were killed across Syria yesterday, including 29 civilians, as protesters took to the streets in several provinces after being urged to call for a “People’s liberation war.” Earlier Sayda also called on the international community to set up humanitarian corridors and establish a no-fly zone, claiming Assad’s regime “is about to fall”. Morocco will host the next Friends of Syria meeting, but no date has been set. — AFP

KUWAIT: Kuwait Special Forces disperse protesters at Taima area yesterday. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Special Forces storm Taima By A Saleh KUWAIT: Kuwait Special Forces storm the Taima area as bedoons demonstrate after Asr prayers yesterday. Troops and security patrols dispersed the protesters at Taima’s main streets and surrounding areas. Protesters responded to calls via

the social websites to gather at the Taima square yesterday. The bedoons are demanding for an instant solution to their problems. They accused the government of backing down on its promises on their naturalization and rights. Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry said that the bedoons do not have the right to

gather and demonstrate on the streets. Human rights groups have urged Kuwait government to solve the bedoons issue and end their 50 years of suffering. In a recent statement, rights groups called on the government to naturalize more than 30,000 bedoons who (the government admitted) deserve citizenship.

in the


Selling organs online

France outlaws hijab

US fraud suspect freed

WARSAW: Twenty-three people have been indicted in Poland for attempting to sell their own organs, mostly kidneys, over the Internet, national police headquarters said yesterday. “None of these people found a buyer. We found no evidence to indicate that,” national police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski said. Recent reports suggest that economic hard times are seeing a rise in the number people offering their own organs for sale on the Internet across the globe. According to Sokolowski, those charged in Poland came from “a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.”

PARIS: The French Football Federation (FFF) said yesterday that it would “not authorize players to wear a veil” while playing for France or in organized competitions, a day after world footballing authorities said the hijab could be worn on the pitch. “Regarding the participation of female French national team players in international competitions on one hand, and the organization of national competitions on the other, the French Football Federation reiterates its duty to respect the constitutional and legislative principles of secularism that prevails in our country and features in its statutes,” declared a statement from the FFF.

DUBAI: A Dubai court has freed on bail American Zack Shahin, who was in jail on fraud charges and has been on a hunger strike since May 14, media reported yesterday. The National daily said Shahin was freed on Thursday and turned his passport over to the court, where he must make an appearance on July 23. Shahin, at the time managing director of property developer Deyaar, was arrested in 2008 and charged the following year with embezzling more than 98 million dirhams (then $27 million). He was also charged with taking bribes. However, he has never been convicted of any offence and been held ever since.



UAE checks for Syrian funds after economic sanctions DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates’ central bank has asked lenders and financial institutions in the Gulf Arab state to start an investigation into any funds or investments by top Syrian officials, a local newspaper reported yesterday. The move, aimed at raising pressure on Syrian President Assad to stop a military crackdown on a popular uprising, was in keeping with sanctions imposed on Damascus by the Arab League, European Union and United States, according to the Khaleej Times, citing a central bank circular issued on Thursday. The central bank gave financial organisations and banks three days to submit details of any assets or transactions made by 139 Syrian officials including Assad, his wife Asma and other family members, the daily said.

The circular named 59 Syrian banks, energy companies and other military and media agencies as well as Iranian individuals and entities including Iran Revolutionary Guards’ Al-Quds Force, which focuses on military operations outside the Islamic Republic, and the force’s commander Qasem Soleimani. The central bank called for an immediate “search for any accounts, deposits or investments” owned by the persons and institutions in question and for the central bank to be informed of “any credit facilities, safe deposit boxes or financial transfers”, according to the Khaleej Times. Officials at the central bank were not immediately available for comment on Friday, the start of the weekend in the UAE, a US ally and regional business and

trade hub. Dubai, the commercial hub of the UAE, has been regarded as a regional safe haven for wealth. Since the outbreak of Arab Spring revolts against repressive rulers began 18 months ago, funds from across the Middle East have been shifted to Dubai banks and tucked away in areas such as real estate. Iran, which backs Assad’s government, is under international sanctions as well due to its controversial nuclear programme. In May, the EU froze the assets or imposed travel bans on more than 120 senior Syrian officials in an effort to isolate Assad’s government and press it to carry out a ceasefire and political transition plan drawn up by a UN-Arab League envoy. The United States has frozen Syrian

assets and banned US businesses from dealings with Syria, adding to broader US measures against Syria which had been in place since 2004. Arab League states last November also decided on the economic sanctions against Syria, the toughest ever on a member state. They included a suspension of dealings with the Syrian central bank and its state-owned Commercial Bank, and of trade agreements and bank transactions. Iraq and Lebanon, neighbours of Syria which have sensitive sectarian, strategic and trade relationships with Damascus, have declined to join the League’s sanctions campaign. Jordan, another neighbour, has been reluctant to carry out the sanctions out of concern for damage to its economy. — Reuters

in the


Power outage in Jleeb KUWAIT: Two areas in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh experienced a power outage due to a malfunction in a secondary transformer owing to overload. The Ministry of Electricity and Water’s (MEW) control room received a call about the power outage and teams were sent, and resolved the situation in two hours. Many homes steal electricity and connect it illegally, increasing load and causing disruptions in power supply. This act may lead to the explosion of many secondary transformers in the area.

Port’s fourth phase cancelled KUWAIT: Kuwait will not proceed with the fourth phase of the Mubarak Al-Kabeer port project to settle for three phases and 24 dockyards instead of the planned 60, Dr Fadhel Safar, Minister of Public Works, Planning and Development, announced. Safar also noted that the construction of an artificial island would be cancelled because it would block navigation towards Iraqi ports. Safar explained that the decision was made after a recent agreement was reached between the Kuwaiti and Iraqi governments. Speaking on a seminar held by the Constitutional Unity Block (CUB) on various development projects, Safar explained that Kuwait only needs 12 docking yards for the near future.

MoI raids ‘ruqya’ centers KUWAIT: The Fraud and Financial Crimes Department from the Interior Ministry is conducting raids on various ‘ruqya’ ( religious healing) centers located around the country, Colonel Adel Al-Hashash, Acting Manager of Public Relations and Moral Guidance Department at the Interior Ministry said. Al-Hashash also noted that citizens frequenting such places seeking ‘treatment’ will also be also be nabbed and held legally accountable. He said that clear instructions were issued to various vehicle technical (safety) examination departments to double check vehicles upon renewing their registrations to ensure that they do not carry remote-control-operated license plates. He added that such vehicles would be detained and their owners fined.

‘Penalties for companies that hike prices’ KUWAIT: The Co-operative Societies’ Union has stated that it will penalize companies that hike prices without consulting with the prices committee and receive the Union’s approval. The Union has instructed the heads of co-operative societies to comply with the union’s circular and decision regarding raising the price of any item without approval. They were also asked not to yield to pressures and threats from companies and traders.

KUWAIT: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (center) poses next to Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani from Qatar (center left), Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah from Kuwait (center right), Abdulbaset Sieda from Syria (second center left) and with all his counterparts who attended the “Friends of the Syrian People” meeting in Paris yesterday. — AP

Kuwait affirms full support for efforts to save Syria World should bear responsibilities PARIS: The State of Kuwait affirmed here yesterday its support for international efforts aimed at nudging the Syrian government honor its obligations toward the world community regarding domestic crisis of the troubled nation. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid AlHamad Al-Sabah, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister, said in an address to the international conference of the “Friends of Syria” which opened here earlier yesterday, that broad participation in the convention reflected great concern of the international community for plight of the brotherly Syrian people. Noting that the world should bear responsibilities of political, humanitarian and moralistic dimensions toward the Syrian people plight, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid, also the minister of state for cabinet affairs, called on the attendees “to translate their broad presence” into concrete measures in support of legitimate aspirations of the of the Syrian people for establishing a plural and democratic political system. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid held talks here yesterday with British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Syria and other regional issues. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid held the meeting with Hague on sidelines of the international conference for “Friends of Syria,” that got underway in the French capital earlier yesterday. The Kuwaiti-British discussions addressed the deepening crisis in Syria, prospects for the conference to drum up further international support for aiding the Syrian people and enable them cope with their hardships, in addition to various other regional and

international topics of common concern for Britain and Kuwait The meeting was attended by the Kuwaiti ambassador to France Ali Suleiman Al-Saeed, the deputy director of the foreign minister’s office and Minister Plenipotentiary, Saleh Al-Loughani. Earlier, Kuwait’s Permanent Delegate to the Arab League Ambassador Jamal AlGhunaim participated in a preparatory meeting for the “Friends of Syria” conference. The conference gains additional importance due to various changes and the rapid developments that “have taken place in the situation in Syria since the second conference of the group of states in Istanbul last April,” Al-Ghunaim said. The latest development required holding a third gathering to reinforce international solidarity with the “Syrian people and lobby for ending the crisis in Syria,” he noted. Kuwait, being the current rotating president of the Arab League Council, including its active role in the “region and internationally, was included among the 15 nations in this preparation meeting here,” Al.Ghunaim added The Kuwaiti Ambassador also noted that tomorrow’s conference comes less than a week from the Geneva Conference on Syria, and also it’s vital because it comes before UN-Arab League Special Envoy Kofi Annan submits his report to UN Security Council on July 21st Kuwaiti delegation in the conference will be headed by Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. — KUNA



‘Five constituency system spells trouble for next NA’ Why pause at the half truth?

KUWAIT: Bedoons demonstrating after Asr prayers in Taima’ area yesterday. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Land line cuts suspended till September KUWAIT: Coinciding with the holy month of Ramadan, the Ministry of Communication has announced that it has temporarily suspended the automated telephone landline disconnection service against unpaid bills during this month and August, the system will be resumed in September. On this regard, MoC’s PR Manager, Ahmed Ramadan said that the decision was made after receiving direct orders from Salem Al-Othainah Minister of Communication and Acting Minister of Social Affairs and Labor. He explained that the decision is aimed at reducing subscribers’ burden. Furthermore, Ramadan said that the automated system has proven successful over the years , in collecting millions of dinars by sending automated warning messages before disconnecting the line. “When a KD 50 limit is reached at homes and commercial enterprises reach a limit of KD 100,” he explained. In this case, owners will no longer be able to make payments in installments in case of a delay. He also said that lines are usually cut if subscribers fail to pay the annual subscription fee for over six months for both home and commercial lines. “Subscribers can pay their bills through MoC’s website or the e-government website. They can also inquire about their bills by calling 123,” he concluded.

KUWAIT: Continuing the five-constituency system will ultimately result in the next parliament being annulled, said Dr Mohammad AlMugate, Constitutional law professor. He explained that the number of constituencies contradicts with Article 108 of the Constitution because the voters can exercise their franchise only up to 40 percent of representatives. Secondly, it strengthens the group that does not agree with the constitutional prelude, while the last is undermining the justice and equality system in distributing constituencies. Meanwhile, MP Saleh Al-Mulla said “doubting the judiciary is a scary thing, especially if there are talks doing the rounds about constitutional opinion, but what about interference and a conspiracy. He said, “Who is interfering? Why pause at the half truth? He said some of those who are criticizing the judiciary remain silent, starting with the oil tankers case.”

Meanwhile deputy speaker of the 2012 assembly Khalid Al-Sultan stated on his Twitter account “the government defused a strife with its decision that the 2009 parliament be dissolved, and that voting be done according to the current law with four votes for each voter. He said that the correct way for bringing about amendment should be by submitting oa government proposal in the upcoming assembly. Al-Sultan should announce its commitment not to interfere in the upcoming elections and make sure that they are clean, while making public arrangements to disallow the use of political money. He said, “if it is necessary to pass an urgent decree, then let it be by establishing an independent commission with men of good repute to supervise the upcoming elections, and it should have the authority to stop political money or interference by any department in the elections.” This is because they played a role in

the previous elections by creating some outcasts that have been rejected by the Kuwaiti people, and “we will keep an eye open,” he asserted. Meanwhile, Information Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdallah AlMubarak said earlier that the upcoming elections will be held according to the five-constituency electoral system and that each voter will vote for four. The minister condemned claims by some MPs that the government intends to amend the electoral system by changing the number of constituencies or reducing the votes to one or two instead of four. Al-Abdallah who spoke during an interview on Al-Arabiya Television said, “I gave my opinion at the Council of Ministers that the 2009 assembly must be allowed to hold its sessions to implement the Constitutional Court ruling. By paying due respect to Speaker Jassim AlKharafi he said,” I still believe that the reasons behind dissolving the 2009 assembly are still valid.”

Dust continues, Ramadan to be very hot KUWAIT: The dusty wind that hit Kuwait on Thursday and Friday is expected to last today as well, according to Meteorologist Dr Saleh AlOjairi. He explained that the dust resulted from 30to 48 kilometers north westerly winds that blew over Kuwait, carrying dust from the vast dry desert in the border between Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Ojairi predicted that woing to the Indian monsoon depression, the dusty wind will get stronger by daytime and dust will settle during night. He also predicted that the holy month of Ramadan will be extremely hot this year, with some occasional mild dust-laden winds. Osama Al-Methen, Head of Agriculture and Hydrology Department at the Weather Forecast department of the Civil Aviation Authority, agreed with Ojairi’s predictions about the dusty wind on Saturday, noting that the dust will block sun rays from reaching earth, resulting in temperatures reducing to 44 to 45 degree Celsius. He added that dusty wind was a

KUWAIT: An expatriate covers his head with paper as he walks on the pavement of a street in Kuwait city yesterday. The dusty wind that hit Kuwait on Thursday and yesterday is expected to last today as well. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

normal phenomena at this time of the year locally known as ‘Al-Bawareh season.’ Notably, owing to Thursday’s strong dusty winds sea navigation at both Shuwaikh and Shuaiba ports

was suspended after visibility dropped to as low as one kilometer while wind speed reached 40 nautical miles, which called for halting all vessels’ movement. — Annahar

858 monthly increase in housing applications KUWAIT: The total number of housing applications presented to the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW)Department till the first of July has reached 97,441 in all, at a monthly increase of 858 in the number of citizens meeting the conditions. Ahmed Al-Haddab, Manager of Applications and Research Department at the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) said. He added that 4,083 applications were made over

the past six months. Further, Al-Haddab stressed that 4,176 applicants had not updated their data. Therefore, the rent allowance allowed was discontinued. Speaking about priorities, Al-Haddab stressed that citizens with special needs were prioritized and their waiting time will not exceed a maximum of five years from the date of application. “At least 3,000 disabled applicants have so far utilized this priority,” he

underlined. Meanwhile, PAHW started demolishing 126 houses in Al-Dhahar area that had was abandoned due to some troughs that reach the depth of 25 meters in some cases. Commenting on the case, Shuaib AlMuwaizri, Minister of Housing Affairs stressed that block number one, where the houses are being demolished, will be turned into a recreational park. — Al-Watan


TASHKENT: Kuwaiti high-achieving students, currently in Uzbekistan met yesterday Kuwait’s Ambassador to Tashkent Khalaf Bu Thuhair. The tour is organized by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. The students toured on their third day of their visit the electrification railway project in Tashkent. The Ambassador urged the students to do even more for the best interest of their homeland and to continue their superiority in all spheres.

More details emerge about citizen’s death in Egypt

Prisoners’ house arrest to ease crowded jails

Stranded boat passengers rescued

KUWAIT: Kuwait is studying adopting a concept similar to house arrest, in which electronic bracelets are attached to supervise prisoners before their release. This was revealed by Managing Director of Correctional Facilities Major General Khalid Al-Dayeen, who said the house arrest program has been designed to “reduce the current load on jails”. Meanwhile, the senior Interior Ministry official indicated that his department currently allows prisoners to trade the remaining periods in their jail terms for carrying out social service activities “as long as they have less than six months remaining, have exhibited good conduct and will work a maximum of 7 hours a day”. Maj Gen Al-Dayeen also talked about prisoner exchanges between Kuwait and Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which he said are possible “in misdemeanor and felony cases, as long as the sentences are similar and the prisoner approves of the transfer”. However, prisoners held for state security cases “connected to terrorism” or political cases are not eligible for exchange, AlDayeen said in his interview with Al-Rai daily. And while he denied rumors that certain prisoners are given special treatment inside Kuwait’s jails, Al-Dayeen insisted that the lack of incidents of disturbances among prisoners “prove that prisoners stay in suitable environments”. The official further noted that deportation orders are implemented “as per orders of the Minister of Interior”. In other news, the Ministry of Interior agreed to support efforts of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs to launch a campaign at the beginning of Ramadan to reduce begging. According to sources familiar with recent meetings between officials from both ministries, their coordination would help police promptly handle begging cases reported near mosques around Kuwait. Hundreds of beggars were arrested in recent years during the holy month; a majority of whom were discovered to have entered Kuwait using visitor’s visas solely to beg for money.

KUWAIT: In a follow up to the case of 37year-old citizen Fahad Nafe Al-Harbi’s death after falling from a Cairo hotel last week, Egyptian authorities ruled out the possibility of a homicide and revealed that the deceased had slipped and fallen from the 25th floor, said security sources. A forensic examination revealed no traces of violence or resistance to assault. Meanwhile Egyptian police released a Moroccan girl living next door to the deceased. She was interrogated after it was learnt that Al-Harbi tried to climb into her room’s balcony after she refused to let him into her room. The girl told police that she sat in her room with another girl when they heard a loud thud. Rescue operation Coastguard rescue 14 citizens’ who were stranded at sea near the Kubbar island because of bad weather and rough seas, said security sources. They added that rescue forces received a radio S-O-S message from two boats ( 23 and 31 feet long) with 14 citizens on board, who could not sail back to the mainland because of harsh weather conditions. The stranded people were evacuated by coastguard boats back to Al-Kout harbor near Fahaheel were two ambulances awaited to treat them from fatigue. Only one was taken to hospital for further treatment. Cable thieves Three bedoons and one Saudi national

were arrested while a fifth accomplice escaped arrest at the Amghara scrap market after stealing electric cables from a major company’s construction site. During the arrest, the suspects assaulted the police, injuring one of them. A case was filed, the suspect were referred to relevant authorities while a search is ongoing to locate the fifth suspect. Drunk citizen A drunk citizen was arrested while driving his car along a slalom course with a 16 year old girl, who was reported missing a few days ago. Case papers indicate that a highway patrol cast suspicions on the manner in which the vehicle was being driven, and stopped it to find that the driver was heavily intoxicated. Upon inquiring about the girl, she was found missing by her parents four days earlier and that she had been spending time with him at a private chalet. The girl said that her friend had encouraged her to elope and they were in a physical relationship and attended some ‘indecent’ parties. Brothers arrested Two Egyptian brothers were arrested in connection with forgery. Case papers indicate that one of the two brothers had come to Kuwait on a visit visa five years ago and that he had violated residency laws, refusing to return home, lest people taunt him for failing to find a job in Kuwait. In an attempt to convince him to return, the fam-

ily asked a relative to issue a visit visa for his brother, so that they could have a close talk. After evading arrest for five years, , the first suspect was arrested in Hawally and referred to Farwaniya police station. At the station, he convinced police that he was in Kuwait on a visit visa and produced his brother’s visa and was released. Unfortunately, someone called the police, reporting the fraud. They were both detained for 21 days pending further investigations. Expat harassed An expatriate saleswoman reported that a colleague was harassing her for four months. She had remained silent about the abuse fearing that she might be expelled, said security sources. The woman finally decided to tell her husband and file a complaint when the salesman. A case was filed and the suspect was summoned for further investigations. Fire incidents Firefighters received a report of fumes and smoke emitted from a manhole at Ahmed Al-Jaber street, said security sources. Firefighters learnt that the smoke was caused by a small fire that resulted from dropping a lit cigarette butt onto a waste and paper dumped in the manhole. A huge fire broke out in three buildings under construction in Salwa, said security sources.

Hit and run in Mirqab area By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A 44-year-old Egyptian fractured his left leg after being run over by a car in Mirqab. He was admitted to Amiri hospital. Car accidents A 31-year- old Bangladeshi suffered from spinal cord injury and multiple bruises following a car accident that took place in Rai. He was admitted to Al-Sabah hospital. A 63-year old Lebanese woman suffered a head injury dur-

ing a car accident that took place on Baljat road. She was admitted to Mubarak hospital. A 24-year-old Egyptian suffered a chest injury during a car accident that took place near Shuwaikh. He was admitted to Sabah hospital. Two 14-year-old female citizens and a threeyear-old toddler suffered several bruises in a car accident that took place near the skating rink. They were admitted to Amiri hospital. A 29-year-old female citizen suffered a neck injury, in addition to fracturing her right hand in a car accident that took place near Fintas. She was admitted to Adan hospital.



KUWAIT: Members of the Eneza tribe receive Shaikh Jedan Bin Mahrouth Al-Hathal, leader of their tribe, as police release him yesterday. —- Photos by Yasser AlZayyat and Fouad Al-Shaikh

State Security releases leader of Eneza tribe Hathal pledges loyalty to Amir KUWAIT: Police released Shaikh Jedan Bin Mahrouth Al-Hathal, leader of the Eneza tribe after being arrested upon his arrival at Kuwait International Airport. He had explicitly stated, on his Twitter account, his intention to participate in bedoon demonstrations planned for yesterday. “Tomorrow, the airport will be flooded with our forces and armors and we will stop them with dignity. Yes, they have the ability to intimidate and frighten but we have dignity which is priceless,” posted Al-Hathal on his Twitter account before arriving in Kuwait. In brief statements addressed to fellow tribesmen outside his diwan in Yarmouk upon his release, Al-Hathal urged them to show loyalty to Al-Sabah family and stressed that he was fully dedicated and loyal to HH the Amir and to Al-Sabah family. He added that he would not make further comments for political reasons, and that his earlier tweets were only made for humanitarian reasons and by sympathizing with the bedoons. “However, be rest assured that the issue is now in safe hands and I was told that it will be solved soon,” he underscored, praising what he described as the decent treatment received from security forces. Speaking to visitors on Thursday, Al-Hathal asked for a two-week grace period to present bedoon’s concerns to the highest authorities,

stressing that the final decision lay in the hands of HH the Amir. Sources close to Al-Hathal said that Sheikh Jedaan is a Kuwaiti and the son of a Kuwaiti national. They noticed that he holds Saudi citizenship and lives in Saudi Arabia. He arrived in the country from Jordan, and holds the country’s citizenship as well. Sources highlighted that besides Kuwaiti citizenship, Al-Hathal holds Saudi, Jordanian, Bahraini and Iraqi citizenships. Commenting on his arrest, MP Askar Al-Enezi, currently abroad, condemned it and

urged the government to apologize for what was described as Ministry of Interior’s abusive approach toward Al-Bathal. On another angry comment, MP Nayef AlMerdas from the nullified 2012 Parliament condemned the arrest and described it as an insult to Kuwait, its government and people. This is because the man supported Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion after which he was granted citizenship. “The leader(Sheikh) does not belong to interrogation rooms, he should be received and honored in diwaniyas.”

Mexico, Kuwait discuss boosting ties, cooperation MEXICO CITY: Kuwait’s ambassador to the Federal States of Mexico has discussed with Mexican Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari ways of cementing bilaterat relations and mutual cooperation between the two countries. The ambassador discussed with the Mexican official, during a meeting held at headquarters of the ministry of economy, prospects of increasing Kuwaiti investments in the country, particularly in sectors where feasible ventures have been promoted. Hayat briefed the Mexican side about investment opportunities in Kuwait and possibility of establishing coordination between the private and public sectors in this field. Moreover, the two sides, during the meeting, discussed a final draft of the agreement for encouraging investments between the two countries, due to be signed very soon. Ferrari expressed satisfaction at the current level of bilateral ties between Kuwait and the federal state, affirming his keenness on strengthening the economic and com-

mercial relations that have remained largely lower than the level of the political ties, bounding the Gulf State and Mexico. Furthermore, he called for increasing the

commercial exchanges between Kuwait and Mexico. Mexico chairs current session of the group of top industrial states (G-20). Its economy ranks 10th qloballv. — KUNA

MP, Dr Jamaan Al-Harbash insulted AlHathal. “Al-Hathal should have been received instead of receiving Moqtadha Al-Sadr,” he stressed. Lawmaker Mubarak Al-Waalan expressed amazement at Al-Hathal’s interrogation and asked him for forgiveness. “Sorry Ben Hathal because we are living in a country where everything goes illogically against nature. You and your tribe should be fully respected. It is Al-Sadr and his friends who ought to be arrested and interrogated, not you!” he said. — Al-Watan

Major role for private sector KUALA LUMPUR: Kuwait’s ambassador to Cambodia Dherar Nasser Al-Tuweijri held talks with Kith Meng, Chairman of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce on means of promoting economic relations between Cambodia and Kuwait. In a telephone statement made to KUNA, on Friday, the diplomat underscored the necessary role played by the private sector for strengthening relations between the two countries. He also noted the necessity in this respect by organizing mutual visits by entrepreneurs of the two states. Meng, during the meeting, proposed inviting a delegation of the Kuwaiti Chamber of Industry and Commerce to dispatch a delegation to the Asian nation to explore its human and natural resources, particularly in agriculture, tourism and energy. — KUNA



KFAED present in Turkish development ISTANBUL: Through a KD7.7-million loan agreement, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) has taken a step in the path of reconstruction and development in Turkey, two local officials said. Developing sanitation projects in earthquake-stricken areas aim at protecting public health and natural environment, Sinam llhan, environmental engineer in the southeastern Anatolia Sirnak Province told KUNA. Her remarks came on the sidelines of welcoming a KFAED-sent delegation of high achieving female students. The annual trip is part of the Fund’s (Become A High-Achiever) program for high school students KFAED contributed in supervising the four-year execution period of the project,” llhan noted, lauding at the same time visits of Kuwaiti delegations to her country On his part, environmental engineer Othman Qout pointed out that KFAED has played a major role in preserving natural environment in five Turkish municipalities by establishing a complete sanitation grid. During the tour, students were briefed with water treatment and purification process taking place in the project. The sanitation project is part of reconstructing areas that were the worst affected by the 1999 earthquakes; in lzmit, northwestern Turkey in August and the Bolu earthquake in November. —KUNA

Gulf sabres rattle as Iran sanctions bite US, Tehran work to avoid escalation LONDON: Iran and the United States might be talking up their readiness for war in the Gulf but beneath the rhetoric, all sides appear keen to avoid conflict and prevent accidental escalation — at least for now. This week, a string of hawkish Iranian statements - including a renewed threat to close the Strait of Hormuz and destroy US bases “within minutes” of an attack helped push benchmark Brent crude oil prices above $100 for the first time since June. Western military officials and analysts say Tehran does have the capability to wreak regional havoc. But the current sabre-rattling, they believe, is more about moving markets and trying to give the West second thoughts over the ever-tightening oil sanctions aimed at cutting back Tehran’s nuclear programme. A European Union ban on trading Iranian oil announced earlier in the year entered force on July 1, while the United States is also tightening financial restrictions. Even Asian buyers such as China that had hoped to keep taking Iranian crude appear to be scaling back purchases, struggling to find shipping insurance or banking - leaving Iran increasingly isolated. “What we tend to see is that rhetoric from Iran tends to peak when you have developments around the sanctions issue,” US Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Vice Admiral Mark Fox told a naval conference at London’s Royal United Services Institute. “We saw this in 2010, we saw it in January this year. They use rhetoric and military exercises to make their point ... but it is always best to be prepared, and we always are.” Washington has highlighted its own military buildup, pointing to new minesweepers, patrol craft and the assault ship USS Ponce joining its Fifth Fleet, which includes the USS Abraham Lincoln and Enterprise carrier battle groups. Iran has often threatened reprisals for

any Israeli or U.S.-led strike on its nuclear sites, whose activities it says are purely peaceful but the West suspects are geared to developing arms. But this week’s statements were more aggressive than most. In one headline on its website, state-run Press TV described Western warships in the Gulf as “sitting ducks”. An Iranian parliamentary committee said it would pass a bill allowing Tehran to block passage through Hormuz, the conduit for all Gulf oil exports, to ships of any country backing sanctions. “Iran is essentially reminding the U.S. and its regional allies that if it were attacked, it is capable of responding,” said Michael Connell, an Iran specialist at the Centre for Naval Analysis, which provides analysis to military and other clients as part of larger US government-funded think tank, CNA. “There is also a domestic component reassuring their own populace that their armed forces are respected and feared.” Four months before a US presidential election in which the economy could prove the deciding factor, Iran probably sees the ability to influence global oil prices as a potent and much more usable weapon than actual military action. “As the impact of European sanctions ... begins to create some economic hardship for Tehran, the timing of this announcement suggests that Iran is trying to imply that it in turn can cause economic pain for the world,” said Nikolas Gvosdev, professor of national security studies at the US Naval War College. Whatever the intent, the growing number of military forces in close proximity brings obvious dangers. “The risk of Iran actually carrying out the actions they are threatening is low,” said Ari Ratner, a former Middle East adviser to the State Department earlier in the Obama administration and now a fellow at the leftleaning Truman National Security Foundation. “However, there is an increasing danger that this rhetoric or the increas-

ing provocative actions by the Iranian side ... could result in a miscalculation ... The Gulf is becoming a tinderbox and an accidental spark may come at any time.” Military experts say the opening salvos of any such conflict could prove hugely damaging, with even sophisticated warships vulnerable to suicide speedboats, midget submarines or truck-mounted missiles. But the ultimate outcome, they say, would never be in doubt: a massive US-led retaliation that left Iran’s military devastated. For all the talk, however, naval officers say tensions in the Gulf between US-led forces and their Iranian counterparts are if anything lower than several years or even months ago, with clear signals that Tehran itself is holding back. Last week, US Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert told a news briefing that the Iranian navy continued to be “professional and courteous”. Confrontations with Revolutionary Guard naval units - in which they came too close to US warships for comfort - were also down in number, he said. Despite occasional talk of Iran refusing to allow US carriers through Hormuz, US naval officers say that in fact Iranian units appear to have had instructions to steer well clear when the giant ships transit the strait. When foreign warplanes approach Iranian air space, they find themselves swiftly warned off with a simple but firm radio warning in English. For its part, the US Navy says it has rescued dozens of Iranian sailors from Gulf and Indian Ocean waters, including several from a dhow held captive by Somali pirates. “I have never worked harder to prevent a conflict,” said Vice Admiral Fox, formerly commander of US naval forces in the region. “We are going out of our way to send the message that we are not there to overpressurise (the situation).” The current increase in forces in the Gulf, naval insiders say, was planned months ago

- but tough choices lie ahead. Washington says it plans to keep two carriers in the region for at least the next fiscal year and will shortly decide on the next. Maintaining those forces in the longer run, particularly given the planned US “pivot” to Asia, may be harder to sustain. But the focus on Hormuz, some suggest, may simply be missing the bigger picture. “Yes, we’re seeing another spike in sabre-rattling from Iran and to a lesser extent from the United States,” said Henry Smith, regional analyst at London-based consultancy Control Risks. “But neither of those countries has any intention of starting a war in the Gulf. The country you need to watch as the protagonist is Israel.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has long said it reserves the right to strike directly at Iran if it does not believe Washington and others are doing enough - through diplomacy or sanctions to stop it going nuclear. Such action could still take place this year, despite doubts among many analysts that Israel has the capability to deliver a truly knockout blow and could simply end up motivating the Iranians to work faster to achieve nuclear capability. But there are growing perceptions that this prospect may already be receding, with Israel and the United States likely instead continuing to rely on covert tactics such as the computer worm Stuxnet to slow Iran’s nuclear progress. Netanyahu may himself already have decided to wait, hoping that a newly elected Republican president, Mitt Romney, would prove more supportive and at least give Israel the sophisticated bunker-busting munitions. With perhaps no one genuinely willing to risk escalation for now, the face-off in the Gulf is likely to continue largely unchanged, albeit with periodic market-moving bouts of high profile tension. —Reuters


Africa faces sharp rise in Islamic extremism


3 ‘Dirty War’ figures jailed for baby thefts


Asylum seekers risk all for Australia dreamland


LONDON: A photo shows the Lexington Building, a proposed site for stationing surface-to-air missiles, near London’s Olympic Park as residents march against the proposal. Lawyers for the residents have launched legal action, saying proposals to deploy the missiles on the block of more than 100 local-authority owned flats is a breach of tenants’ human rights. — AFP

7 nabbed in UK anti-terror raids Britain on high alert ahead of London Games LONDON: Seven men have been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences in Britain after weapons were found in a vehicle stopped on a motorway, police said yesterday, as security forces are on high alert ahead of the London Olympics. The vehicle was pulled over in a routine stop on the M1 motorway in South Yorkshire, northern England, on Saturday and impounded on suspicion of the driver having no insurance. Firearms, other weapons and other unspecified material were later found inside which prompted police to trace and arrest the driver, passenger and other suspects. “As soon as the items were discovered in the impounded vehicle, our priority was to protect the public by pursuing and arresting those we believed to be involved,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Kenny Bell, Head of the West Midlands region’s Counter Terrorism Unit. A police source said there was nothing to suggest any link to the Olympics, which start in three weeks’ time. Six men, all aged in their 20s and from the city of Birmingham in central England, were arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a 43-year-old from northern England was held on Thursday, all on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation

of acts of terrorism. There were no further details about what the men were suspected of planning or the weapons found. The news came a day after police in London arrested five men and a woman on suspicion of planning terrorism attacks, although officers said this were not linked to the Olympics. The police source said the two operations were not linked. Armed police also closed both carriageways of the M6 motorway near Birmingham for four hours on Thursday after reports of a man acting suspiciously on a coach heading to London. It later emerged the alert was caused by someone using an electronic cigarette on board. Britain has spent millions of pounds beefing up security in preparation for the Olympics and last month Jonathan Evans, head of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency MI5, warned the Games presented an attractive target. The national threat level is assessed at “substantial” - meaning an attack is a strong possibility - but that is one notch lower than it has been for most of the years following the July 2005 suicide bomb attacks in London which killed 52 people. Security chiefs have repeatedly said they have no intelligence that the Olympics are being targeted. However as the Games approach, commentators

have suggested heightened vigilance could lead to an increase in the number of arrests. David Anderson, Britain’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, has said he would be watching the police carefully to check there was no overreaction. “We have a lot of people in intelligence

agencies manning their desks, having their leave cancelled, and no doubt there will be a temptation for people to use that time as the Olympics become closer to arrest people,” he said in an interview with the Muslim News newspaper. “I am watching like a hawk.” — Reuters

Mali’s kids raped, maimed, recruited by armed groups DAKAR: The United Nations Childrens’ Fund said yesterday that armed groups occupying northern Mali were recruiting children, while others had been raped and killed by explosive devices. UNICEF said in a statement that evidence collected since the end of March, when Islamists and other armed groups seized the northern half of Mali, showed at least 175 boys aged between 12 and 18 had been recruited into armed groups. The agency also noted that at least eight girls were raped or sexually abused. Two boys were killed by explosive devices and another 18 children maimed. Theophane Nikyema, UNICEF’s

representative in Mali, said that in addition to this, some 300,000 children had been affected by the closure of schools and were at higher risk of recruitment, violence and exploitation. “These numbers are reason for alarm especially because they represent only a partial picture of the child protection context in the north an area where access for humanitarian workers is limited,” he said. Children in the desert region are further facing a severe nutritional crisis which has put some 560,000 young children in Mali at risk of acute malnutrition this year, the statement said. —AFP


Miserable wait for Southerners stuck in Sudan KHARTOUM: The Dar es Salaam camp for South Sudanese resembles a junk yard wrapped in hessian. Residents have tied cloth bags around metal crates, beds and other possessions to form crude shelters. With no jobs, no running water and not even a toilet in their dusty Sudanese outpost, they have only one wish: to somehow reach South Sudan, which separated from the north one year ago. “We don’t want money; just want to move,” says a woman who has spent months in the camp, sharing one hut with nine other family members. The UN says there are almost 40 “departure points” like Dar es Salaam around the Sudanese capital, and they are home to an estimated 38,000 South Sudanese. “Of course, the main demand of these people is to be moved to South Sudan,” says Philippa Candler, assistant representative for protection with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Sudan. The UN estimates that 500,000 South Sudanese are left in the north but the government’s IDP (internally displaced persons) Centre says there are at most 200,000. Many have spent their entire lives in the north or came to Sudan when they were children, as millions fled a devastating 22-year civil war. The fighting ended in a 2005 peace deal which paved the way for South Sudan’s independence on July 9, 2011 following a near-unanimous vote for separation in a referendum. Those who remain face uncertainty after the April 8 expiry of a deadline to either formalize their status or leave the country. “Now we are foreigners,” said a South

Sudanese church worker. “The South Sudanese people here are in a very miserable situation. They want to go back,” he said, requesting anonymity. “So now... we are here as hostages.” The status of each country’s nationals in the other nation is among the critical issues which the UN said Sudan and South Sudan must settle within three months under African Union-led talks being held in Addis Ababa. The deadline came in a May 2 Security Council resolution after fighting along the border. Aid workers say there is no plan for returning those who want to go South, while people wishing to stay are not sure

how to formalize their status. “We’re still facing a situation where it’s unclear for those who want to go how they can physically get there, because the transport routes are very limited,” said Candler, adding the two governments must resolve the issue. “And it is also unclear for those who don’t want to move to South Sudan but would like to remain here how they can do that.” Funding the ‘main issue’-Jill Helke, who heads the International Organization for Migration office in Sudan, said neither government has done what is necessary “to ensure that proper processes are in place and accessible to the people.”

KHARTOUM: South Sudanese refugee children play with batteries outside a make-shift hut at the Dar es Salaam refugee camp in the capital Khartoum. — AFP

Sudanese authorities hunt down protesters KHARTOUM: Fear is a factor keeping more Sudanese from joining unprecedented demonstrations against a regime relying on an extensive internal security network for control, activists and others say. They say the National Intelligence and Security Service is playing a key role in suppressing the demonstrations-not only behind the scenes but also on the streets themselves. “The protests in Khartoum, there’s an element of fear in it. People are afraid to go out into the streets because they know what’s going to happen”, said an activist who was detained by NISS during the demonstrations. While police almost inevitably fire tear gas at the demonstrators, activists said plainclothes NISS officers are the ones who actually make the arrests. “I think NISS is being used specifically as the force to bring down these protests,” the activist said. “NISS represents the regime’s right arm.” Protests against high food prices began on June 16 at the University of Khartoum. After President Omar Al-Bashir announced austerity measures, including tax hikes and an end to cheap fuel, demonstrations spread to include a crosssection of people around the capital and in other parts of Sudan. Another round of demonstrations was expected on Friday, which has become the focus of unrest which initially occurred with groups of 100 or 200 daily burning tyres, throwing stones and blocking roads in a call for regime change sparked by high inflation. “People are still scared. People are not going out,” said a businessman who has not protested but said his friends had been arrested during demonstrations. Even those who evade the initial security dragnet are being rounded up after the protests, he said, describing the state intelligence system as very strong. “People are working for them everywhere,” the businessman said. He declined to be named and added that the security service also operates online, where activists are mobilizing through Facebook and Twitter. “It is very extensive indeed. I mean, this is what is keeping the state going,” one veteran activist said of the intelligence system. —AFP

South Sudan’s embassy in Khartoum began only in April to issue the passports and other identity documents required for South Sudanese to obtain residency in the north. “We’re not aware of any individuals who’ve managed to actually regularize their status using their passports,” says Candler, though she admits it is still early because many only recently received them. For now, Sudanese police have issued plasticised photo identity cards to South Sudanese. IOM airlifted almost 12,000 Southerners to the South’s capital Juba in May and June after local authorities ordered them out of Kosti town where they had been waiting months for transport. IOM called the Kosti case “exceptional”, and said it had virtually no donor money left to transport other Southerners. “That is the main issue,” said Ismail Ibrahim, national consultant for the IDP Centre, which would facilitate and coordinate the return of Southerners-as it did with Kosti-if funds are provided by South Sudan or other countries. Some South Sudanese have sold belongings to buy their own air tickets, said Canon Sylvester Thomas, dean of All Saints Episcopal Cathedral in Khartoum. But that costs thousands of dollars for a roundabout journey because there have been no direct flights from Khartoum to Juba since April. Thomas says families have been left divided, with some having reached the South while others are still in Sudan. A few turned to his church for help, saying they managed to get an air ticket but didn’t have 1,000 Sudanese pounds ($227) for the exit fee. —AFP

Africa faces sharp rise in Islamic extremism Fears of new ‘arc of terror’ on the continent DAKAR: From east to west Africa, a rise in Islamic extremism has led to a surge in deadly attacks and kidnappings by groups linked to Al-Qaeda, sparking fears of a new “arc of terror” on the continent. While these groups are mostly occupied with domestic issues, their anti-western rhetoric and targeting of foreigners pose a wider challenge. So too does growing evidence of ties between armed groups from the Sahel and east Africa and Nigeria, observers say. The three main Al Qaeda-linked groups are Somalia’s Shebab in the Horn of Africa; Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) which is active across the Sahel; and Boko Haram, which has sharply increased its attacks in Nigeria since 2010. “We do have enough evidence of some communication between Boko Haram and AQIM and affiliated groups,” a Washington DC-based analyst focused on the Sahel said. However while both Boko Haram and AQIM had claimed support or training from Shebab, this had not been confirmed, he added. General Carter Ham, head of US African command AFRICOM, warned in September 2011 that the various Islamist groups had said they wanted to “more closely collaborate and synchronize their efforts” in training and operations. “If left unaddressed, you could have a network that ranges from East Africa, through the centre and into the Sahel and

Maghreb, and I think that would be very, very worrying.” The seizure by hardline Islamists of northern Mali has also stoked fears abroad. Long a base for AQIM, involved in drug trafficking and the kidnapping of westerners for ransom, the region is now in the hands of Islamists intent on installing sharia law, who have openly allied with the Al-Qaeda franchise. Former colonial power France has repeatedly raised concerns that the vast desert could become a new breeding ground for terrorism. AQIM grew out of the Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat which linked with Al-Qaeda in 2006. “We pray to God that they will be a thorn in the side of the American and French crusaders and their allies,” Al-Qaeda’s then number two and now leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri said at the time. In January a United Nations report said ties had been established between Boko Haram in Nigeria and AQIM, along with its splinter group, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) - and the Islamist fighters Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith), who currently control Timbuktu in Mali. Northern Mali lawmaker Abdou Sidibe has said “a good one hundred” Boko Haram fighters had been seen in Gao, which is controlled by MUJAO. They are believed to be attending a MUJAO-run training camp. In Nigeria, Boko Haram has dramatically stepped up attacks

on churches, government installations and other targets since resurfacing in 2010 after being crushed in a deadly government offensive a year earlier. The US State Department, which last month designated three Boko Haram leaders as global terrorists, says the group has killed more than 1,000 people since the beginning of 2011. Despite some evidence of links to other African jihadists however, some observers insist the group has a narrow domestic focus in a region crippled by poverty. Professor Kyari Mohammed of Modibbo Adama University in Yola, a specialist on Boko Haram, is skeptical of claims that the group has extensive foreign ties. “It’s a local insurgency, but they are aware of global events,” he said. Statements boasting of its foreign links were possibly a bid to raise its stature as a global, extremist Islamist movement, he argued. The links between Shebab and west African Islamists are also disputed. On Monday, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga expressed concern the Shebab “could link up with other terrorist groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria.” He was the day after masked gunmen killed 17 people in attacks on two churches, the worst such attack for a decade. But the Shebab themselves have offered little public support for other African Islamists, speaking instead of ties to the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. —AFP


Siberian ‘academic city’ eyes return to Soviet glory AKADEMGORODOK: It was once one of the most prestigious places to live in the whole Soviet Union, with good salaries, an idyllic waterfront and away from the prying eyes of the secret services. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Akademgorodok-a highbrow town outside Siberia’s main city of Novosibirsk, created in the 1950s for academics to live and work-fell on hard times. But now Akademgorodok, which means ‘little academic town’ in Russian, is hoping to stage a remarkable turn of fortunes by becoming a centre for Kremlin-backed efforts to spearhead the rebirth of innovation in Russia. Sitting amid pine woods on the edge of the man-made Ob reservoir, it now hosts a number of high-tech start-ups and earned the nickname “Silicon Forest”. The symbol of the revival is a gigantic orange building with a futurist look that now dominates the scene in the peaceful town created in 1957 on the orders of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. The building-which stands in stark contrast to the crumbling Soviet-era edifices around it-houses a number of innovation-based firms specialized in bio and nanotechnology. “Akademgorodok is the trailblazer of science in Siberia,” said Vassily Fomin, deputy head of the Siberian department of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The town was hit hard by the collapse of the Soviet Union which caused funds to dry up and sparked an inevitable brain drain, with the best minds heading abroad. But now, according to Fomin, things are picking up. “We survived back then, thanks to help from foreign academics. They gave us grants, they signed contracts with us and joined us up with various programs,” he said. “We learned how to work effectively, to have responsibilities, to edit and properly present the results of our research and to fight to get grants.” And after a few years a “new demand for scientific research” became evident in Russia as the country started to enjoy economic growth. ‘We have come through it’-The Russian authorities-belatedly seeing the need to modernize to catch up with Western and Asian economies-started to cautiously improve financing and give Akademgorodok the chance of a new lease of life. “We have come through it, we are there and we will continue to

work,” said Fomin. Seeking to wean the economy off its dependence on oil exports, the Russian authorities have sought to refocus on innovation and technology that lay forgotten in the chaos and cynicism after the Soviet collapse. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has made the Moscow suburb of Skolkovo the hub of Russia’s innovation drive, but the effects of the change in attitude can also be felt in Akademgorodok. The town now hosts high-tech start-ups like globally successful games producer Alawar Entertainment. “In the last years we have felt a certain return to science,” said Pavel Kostrikov, a former researcher who now works in the

exhibition centre in Akademgorodok. “Before, students did their studies and, once they got their degrees, they left for the West. Now many are staying here as the salaries in the universities are getting better and they are given accommodation.” Marking out his words, several new buildings are being constructed in the city. However the sense of relative optimism in Akademgorodok is not necessarily felt across Russia, with the brain drain estimated at levels up to 20 percent in areas like biology. “Here, the situation is considerably better than elsewhere in Russia,” said Kostrikov. “The most important thing is that a positive dynamic is retained.”— AFP

AKADEMGORODOK: People walk past the new IT Center towers in Akademgorodok, some 30 km outside the Siberian city of Novosibirsk. — AFP

Emiratis want crackdown on women’s skimpy dress UAEDressCode says ‘no’ to hot pants ABU DHABI: With the number of foreigners dwarfing that of locals in her hometown of Abu Dhabi, Asma Al-Muhairi has become increasingly anxious at the prospect of her younger nieces abandoning their full-length black robes in favor of Western attire that seems to be everywhere she goes. But it wasn’t until the 23-year-old marketing worker came face to face with two scantily-clad female foreigners at one of the many luxury shopping malls in the United Arab Emirates that she decided to take action. “While going to a mall, I saw two ladies wearing ... I can’t say even shorts. It was underwear,” said Al-Muhairi, whose black abaya - a long garment worn by conservative Gulf women - is offset by a gold Versace watch and egg-shell blue handbag. “Really, they were not shorts,” she said. “I was standing and thinking: ‘Why is this continuing? Why is it in the mall? I see families. I see kids around.’” Failing to persuade the mall to intervene, Al-Muhairi and another Emirati woman, Hanan Al-Rayes, took to Twitter to air their concerns in May. They were inundated with responses that prompted them to launch a Twitter campaign dubbed (at)UAEDressCode that aims to explore ways to combat the growing number of shoppers in low-cut dresses and hot pants. As the campaign picked up steam, it also has served to symbolize the growing concerns among Emiratis, a tiny minority in their own country. Emirati citizens account for a little more than 10 percent of the 8 million people living in the Gulf nation. Most of the population is made up of Asian, African and Middle Eastern guest workers, as well as Western expatriates living here temporarily. The overall population more than doubled over the past

decade as the country embarked on a building boom that transformed Dubai, up the coast from Abu Dhabi, into the Arabian Gulf’s financial hub and a popular tourist draw. “I think in an increasingly tumultuous region and in an era of powerful and often intrusive globalizing forces, citizens of the UAE are increasingly concerned that their traditions and core values are being eroded,” said Christopher Davidson, an expert on Gulf affairs at Britain’s Durham University. “In some senses, it is a grassroots reaction to authorities and leaders that have for many years done little to check this erosion,” he added. “We’ve seen reactions to alcohol, so now we are seeing a reaction to immodest dress.” Jalal Bin Thaneya, an Emirati activist who has embraced the dress code campaign, said it is a way for Emiratis to show they are concerned about the loss of traditions. “If we were the majority and had the same make up, things would be different,” Bin Thaneya said. “You wouldn’t need anything. You would see Emiratis everywhere and you would be afraid of offending them ... Now, we’re a minority so you feel the need to reach out to an authority.” As the number of foreigners has increased, so have the stories of them violating the UAE’s strict indecency code, which limits drinking to bars and nightclubs and bans public displays of affection. A drunken couple was caught having sex on the beach and another allegedly having sex in a taxi. A Pakistani was deported for flipping the middle finger at a motorist, and the courts are filled with cases of foreigners having sex out of wedlock. Most Emiratis rarely come face-to-face with misbehaving foreigners. The malls, however, are a different story. They are one of the few places where everyone comes together to escape the

brutal summer heat. The cultural clash is hard to ignore, as families of traditionally dressed Emiratis shop and relax in cafes alongside foreign women wearing tank tops, shorts and even transparent gowns over bikinis. Most malls have policies in place that require “conservative” dress and encourage shoppers to avoid showing shoulders and knees, but few publicize them or enforce them. The police didn’t respond to a request for comment but told the Gulf News newspaper there is nothing they can do since there are no specific laws against immodest dress. “People were seeing it for a long time but they didn’t say anything,” Bin Thaneya said. “You can’t go to the police for such stuff. There is no one to go to. You can’t go to the mall management. The mall security guard gets paid less than someone at McDonald’s. He isn’t going to do anything.” Al-Muhairi’s campaign is just one of several over the years led by Emirati women who have tried in vain to enforce the dress code - handing out brochures, confronting foreigners. But hers has benefited from the growing popularity of social media as well as the Arab Spring popular uprisings, which has given Emiratis a sense they can speak out on some social issues. The UAEDressCode feed has more than 3,300 followers with a lively discussion that includes plenty of support for a code but also concerns that it would unfairly target foreigners or create divisions between locals and foreigners. Unlike similar campaigns in Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, the impetus for a code has not come from Islamic hard-liners, but from moderate locals like AlMuhairi who love their Starbucks and Western movies but just want foreigners to respect local customs.—AP


West Virginia struggles with power outages amid storms LEWISBURG: Six days after violent storms hit the eastern United States, the state of West Virginia was struggling to recover on Thursday, with nearly a third of electricity customers still without power and new storms putting more people in the dark. Electric utilities said more than 566,600 homes and businesses were without power from Ohio to Virginia, leaving them without air conditioning amid a scorching heat wave. West Virginia, with a population of about 1.9 million, was the hardest hit. Utilities warned that some people could be without power for the rest of the week. A fresh batch of damaging storms that pushed across southern West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina on Thursday afternoon caused more outages and the weather was blamed for two deaths in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One man riding a motorcycle was killed in an accident blamed on the weather, and a woman died after being struck by a falling tree, said park spokeswoman Melissa Cobern. Numerous trees were knocked down inside the park, blocking roads and stranding motorists who had to be rescued, she said. Huge trucks loaded with ice and bottled water roared through the picturesque West Virginia mountain resort town of Lewisburg to supply thousands of residents in the region who lacked power or water. Plants that shut down during the initial power outages have resumed pumping but had not generated enough pressure to supply far-flung residents, Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester said. Repair crews from as far away as Arkansas have set up a temporary campground on the town’s outskirts, where an empty field was filled with dozens of electrical trucks. Jerry Morehead said he and his crew had been working up to 18 hours a day. “We turned some people on today - did some good work,” he said. Katie Gwynn of Lewisburg said that until her power went back on Thursday, one of her neighbors had kept her refrigerator running with his generator and extension cords for six days - and would not accept any payment. “The conditions have been ripe for great difficulties, but people have pulled together,” Manchester said, noting there had been no deaths or serious injuries in Lewisburg related to the storm. The temperature in Charleston, the state’s largest city, reached 93 Fahrenheit (34 Celsius) on Thursday and was expected to top 100 F yesterday and today before returning to the mid-80s F Monday, according to Adding to the snarl and the strain on local infrastructure, tens of thousands of visitors streamed in to attend a professional golf tournament at The Greenbrier, a famed resort in White Sulphur Springs near Lewisburg. Thousands more were expected for weekend concerts at the resort featuring Rod Stewart and Jon Bon Jovi. BAD NEWS FOR MIDWEST FARMERS The continued heat wave was bad news for Midwest farmers, with the corn crop suffering from drought in the middle of a crucial growth phase. The US Drought Monitor showed an expanding area of abnormally dry and drought conditions in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Missouri. Corn prices surged to their highest in over a year and soybeans were near a record high on Thursday as the heat scorched crops. “It’s not only abnormally dry, but now you have 100degree heat combined with the ongoing drought and it’s too much for the crop,” senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said, adding that Washington, DC, could on Saturday break its all-time record of 106 F set in 1930. The Midwest and East should start seeing more normal temperatures next week, when the extreme heat returns to the West and brings triple-digit temperatures to parts of Idaho, Utah, Washington and Oregon. The temperature in Chicago hit a record 103 F on Thursday, before dropping 19 degrees with the arrival of a thunderstorm in the early afternoon. Summer school was canceled at 21 public school buildings without air conditioning.—Reuters

Ex-player charged with four slayings Smith accused of torturing 3 victims LOS ANGELES: Former Oakland Raiders defensive end Anthony Wayne Smith, whose murder trial stemming from a 2008 shooting death ended in a hung jury, was charged this week with three more Los Angeles County slayings from several years earlier. The new criminal complaint, filed on Monday, charges Smith, 43, with a total of four counts of first-degree murder, incorporating the original case against him and the kidnap-killings of three other men - one in 1999 and two in 2001. Special allegations listed in the complaint say the three earlier victims were tortured before being killed. An arraignment has been set for July 17 on the new charges, and Smith remains held without bond, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Sandi Gibbons, said on Thursday. Smith’s lawyer, Michael Evans, said his client would plead not guilty to all the charges and that the new criminal complaint came as a “surprise to all of us.” Smith, a first-round 1990 draft pick of the Raiders, then based in Los Angeles, and an 11th pick overall for the National Football League that year, played all seven seasons

of his NFL career for the Raiders, first in Los Angeles and then in Oakland. Evans said he was informed of the new charges just 45 minutes before jury selection was set to begin on Monday in the retrial of the original case charging Smith with murder in the October 2008 slaying of an associate named Maurilio Ponce. The first jury deadlocked 8-to-4 in favor of a guilty verdict, leading to a mistrial. The latest felony complaint charges Smith with three additional counts of first-degree murder in connection with the November 1999 slayings of brothers Kevin and Ricky Nettles, and the June 2001 killing of Dennis Henderson. According to Gibbons, the Nettles brothers were abducted from a car wash in Los Angeles by two individuals posing as police officers and were found shot to death the next day. About 19 months later, Henderson and another man, Terry Ware, were kidnapped in Los Angeles by several armed suspects, placed in separate cars and driven away. Ware was freed but Henderson’s body was found in the back of a rental car the next day. He had been beaten and stabbed to death, Gibbons said. Gibbons said she had

no further information about a possible motive or circumstances behind the killings. She said prosecutors would decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Smith. Homicide detectives assigned to the case were not immediately available for comment. Smith was charged in February 2011 along with two other men in connection with the slaying of Ponce, who was found shot to death on a remote roadside in Lancaster, California, north of Los Angeles, on Oct 7, 2008. The defense has acknowledged that Smith and Ponce were once involved together in a cargo theft, and that Smith was seen driving Ponce’s car a month after he was slain. But Evans has insisted that his client had nothing to do with Ponce’s murder and argued during the trial that police lacked any physical evidence, such as DNA, fingerprints or gunpowder residue, linking him to the crime. He said Ponce had given Smith his car when Ponce stopped being able to make payments on it. Evans said he could not comment in detail about the three additional slayings because he had not yet seen evidence that prosecutors will be required to share with him. — Reuters

ST LOUIS: Peter Ely cools off in a lagoon at Forest Park in St Louis. — AP

No relief in central US from oppressive heat DETROIT: There’s been no relief day or night from a scorching heat wave in the central US, and the deadly temperatures were heading east yesterday after Midwest cities like Chicago, St Louis and Milwaukee set record highs. So far at least 13 heat-related deaths have been reported by US officials. When the air conditioner stopped in Ashley Jackson’s Southfield, Michigan, home, so too did normal conversations and nightly rest. “Inside the house it was 91 degrees. (33 Celsius) ... I wasn’t talking to anybody. Nobody was talking to anybody,” said Jackson, 23, who works as a short-order cook in Detroit. “We mostly slept, but it was hard to sleep because of the heat. I probably got about four hours of sleep each night.” The National Weather Service reported late Thursday that the record-breaking heat that has baked the nation’s midsection for several days was slowly moving into the mid-Atlantic states and Northeast. That forecast followed excessive-heat warnings Thursday for all of Illinois and Indiana, as well as parts of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.

St Louis hit a record high of 105 (40.6 C) on Wednesday and a nighttime record of 83 (28 C). In Wisconsin, the coolest Milwaukee and Madison got was 81 (27 C) in the early morning, beating previous records by 2 and 4 degrees respectively. Temperatures at night didn’t fall below 79 (26 C) in Chicago, 78 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and 75 (24 C) in Indianapolis. “When a day starts out that warm, it doesn’t take as much time to reach high temperatures in the low 100 (38 Celsius),” said Marcia Cronce, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “You know it’ll be a warm day when you start out at 80 (27 C) degrees.” In Chicago on Thursday, the Shedd Aquarium lost power as temperatures soared to 103 (39.5 C) degrees, a record for July 5. Officials said emergency generators immediately kicked in and the outage never threatened any of animals, but several hundred visitors were sent back out into the heat. The heat returned Thursday and not even the setting of the sun brought respite as temperatures hovered around 90 degrees (33 C) downtown at 10 pm. —AP



California high-speed rail plan faces tough vote SAN FRANCISCO: The California state Assembly has approved an $8 billion high-speed rail financing plan that likely will face a tougher vote in the Senate over the system’s projected $68 billion cost and concerns about its management. The project, expected to take decades to complete, has the backing of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who says a bullet train network will boost job creation and provide an alternative to car and plane travel in the country’s most populous state. Unions also have lobbied hard for what is the most ambitious public works project in California, which has a 10.8 percent unemployment rate. But Republicans oppose the plan, predicting it will be a massive financial burden for the state. The plan passed the Democrat-controlled Assembly by a 51-27 vote on Thursday. Its fate in the Senate, which has a slimmer Democratic majority, is uncertain because six Democratic senators have expressed reservations about the plan. If it is approved, California could begin selling bonds for the project and lock in federal funds for a line in the state’s Central Valley. Senator Leland Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco, said the plan’s supporters have their work cut out winning him over, a sentiment other Democratic senators have shared with Reuters in recent days. “Right now, my choice is not to support this particular arrangement,” Yee said. Voters approved the sale of nearly $10 billion in general obligation bonds in 2008 to build the system, but many have soured on the idea, which assumed the US government would help pay for the system and the private sector would help fund it. Support for the project has ebbed as California has struggled in recent years with large deficits that forced deep spending cuts to the state’s most basic programs. INTENSE SCRUTINY The authority in charge of planning for the highspeed rail network also has seen its plans for routes, financing, cost estimates, ridership and travel times subjected to intense scrutiny and stinging criticism. California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, which studies state finances, released a report in April that said the California High-Speed Rail Authority had “not made a strong enough case for going forward with the project at this time.” Brown has sought to salvage the authority by appointing Dan Richard, a veteran board member of the San Francisco region’s Bay Area Rapid Transit rail system, to its board. He took charge earlier this year and jumped into tackling concerns raised in the Legislature by the authority’s previous leadership. But the Obama administration’s insistence that initial federal funds for California’s highspeed rail network be spent in the state’s Central Valley farming region remains a key problem. The White House sees California as critical to keeping its plans for high-speed rail projects on track after Republican governors in Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida rejected federal funds for projects in their states. “California is the signature high-speed rail project in the nation,” said Petra Todorovich, a rail policy expert at Regional Plan Association in New York, a nonprofit urban planning group. “It has the potential to have transformative impacts on the state, on its geography, and how people get around.” Some Democrats in California’s Senate say money should go to urban coastal areas, where improved rail service could ease traffic congestion and generate revenue to cover the costs of building and operating speedier rail lines. Those concerns have found their way into the funding plan headed to the state Senate. It proposes California sell $2.6 billion in bonds to unlock $3.2 billion in funds from Washington to build a Central Valley track. The plan would also spend more than $2 billion in a mix of federal, state and local funds on rail projects in urban areas to prepare to link them to a statewide system. It remained uncertain whether enough Democrats in the Senate would rally behind that plan, which does not account for the tens of billions of dollars needed to fully extend the rail system across the state. — Reuters

Navy pushing on biofuels despite congressional ire Republicans worry about wasted funds, skewed priorities WASHINGTON: The Pentagon is pushing ahead with a $420 million effort to build refineries to make competitively priced biofuels, despite anger in Congress over the price the Navy paid for alternative fuel to test a carrier strike group this month. The Pentagon plans provide $210 million in matching funds to help private firms build three refineries, each able to produce at least 10 million gallons of biofuel a year for military jets or ships, according to documents released this week. The military’s spending on alternative fuels has drawn criticism from Republican lawmakers, with Senator Jim Inhofe charging that President Barack Obama’s priorities are “completely skewed” and Representative Mike Conaway accusing Navy Secretary Ray Mabus of “squandering precious dollars.” But Mabus warns that US dependence on foreign oil is a strategic vulnerability that can only be addressed by reducing the military’s reliance on petro-

fuel was then mixed with 450,000 gallons of petroleum to achieve a 50-50 blend that cost about $15 a gallon. The Navy expected the jet and marine biofuels to last about a day during the exercises.

ARLINGTON: US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta speaks during a news briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. — AFP

CONGRESSIONAL BACKLASH The cost of the biofuels for the exercises has produced an angry backlash in Congress. Republican lawmakers denounced the spending at a time of Pentagon budget cuts and are working to halt the purchase of biofuels that are not competitively priced. Obama’s opponents see the military’s green energy push as another attempt by the White House to promote alternative fuels even if they don’t make economic sense, as in the case of the governmentfunded solar panel maker Solyndra, which went bankrupt last year. President Obama is “pressing forward with his plan to force the DoD (Department of Defense) to spend $30 million on its so-called green fleet, all while he’s gutting our military,” Inhofe said in a statement provided to Reuters. Conaway authored a provision, included in a bill authorizing defense programs, that would prevent Pentagon spending on biofuels unless they were competitively priced. The bill passed the House of Representatives, and a similar biofuels provision was approved by a Senate committee. Conaway said he was not opposed to the Navy buying alternative fuels so long as the price was not greater than that of fossil fuels, but paying $27 a gallon versus $4 a gallon for petroleum “makes no sense.” “It’s not about proving the technology. It’s Mabus wanting to waste money ... on a publicity stunt for his green fleet,” he said. Conaway said he thought biofuels should be developed in the private sector, not with the Pentagon in the lead. But he said there was not as much support in Congress for trying to block the latest Navy project with the Energy and Agriculture departments because it involved research and development funds. “We didn’t have the support to rein that in,” he said, acknowledging that the Navy was making “a bit of an end run” around opponents of the biofuels program. Proponents of alternative fuels warn that attacking the effort is short-sighted. “Simply saying that we can’t afford to develop an alternative fuel strategy for our military is penny-wise and pound-foolish,” said Democratic Senator Chris Coons.

leum as the sole source of fuel to power its jets, ships and tanks. The Navy initiative announced on Monday to help private firms build biofuel refineries “will enhance our national security,” Mabus said in discussing the $30 million first phase of the project. “It’s going to help support the creation and commercial viability of a defense critical industry, and that’s in domestic biofuels,” he said. The announcement came as the Navy is preparing to test a carrier strike force using alternative fuels on July 18 during the six-week, 22-nation Rim of the Pacific exercises, the largest annual global naval maneuvers. The Navy purchased 450,000 gallons of biofuels for $12 million, or nearly $27 a gallon for the exercises. The

FUELS OF THE FUTURE Coons said firms like Dupont in his home state of Delaware are making big strides in developing a competitive advanced biofuels industry. He said the defense authorization bills in Congress should permit work on biofuels but require the Pentagon to justify the spending each year. Daniel J Weiss, director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, pointed to the damage that volatile oil prices wreak on the Pentagon’s budget. Mabus said a $1 per barrel increase in global oil prices costs the Navy alone $30 million. “It’s very short sighted to oppose investments in the cleaner fuels of the future,” Weiss said. — Reuters

US army plans fiber optic link to Gitmo WASHINGTON: The Pentagon plans to install a $40 million fiber optic cable between the US military jail at Guantanamo Bay and the US mainland, a spokesman said yesterday-an indication the facility will not close anytime soon. According to a “feasibility study” conducted by the US Defense Information Systems Agency, the project will cost an estimated $40 million, Pentagon spokesman Todd Breasseale said. The project-part of the budget for the fiscal year 2013 must be approved by Congress, he

said, confirming a Miami Herald report. The construction of a fiber optic link would greatly improve telecoms access for those living at the US military base in Cuba. Detention camps at the naval base currently house 169 inmates. President Barack Obama had promised the detention center would be closed, but Congress has so far blocked any substantive measures. News of the fiber optic cable project comes after the recent construction of a football field for Guantanamo

inmates, at a cost of $744,000. “It would be a mistake to assume that some potential use of fiber optic communication lines” at Guantanamo Bay “is any indication of how long the detention center will be around,” said Breasseale. “Our goal remains to close the detention facility. We have no plans to close the naval station there.” The Guantanamo Bay naval base is built on Cuban land leased to the United States in 1903. Terror suspects have been detained at the prison there since 2001. — AFP



China-again the villain in US election AKRON: Barack Obama has played the anti-China card beloved of US presidential candidates, covering his flank against the more direct Beijing bashing of his Republican foe Mitt Romney. Obama announced in Ohio, a swing state and an engine of the American auto industry, that his government had filed a World Trade Organization complaint against tariffs on $3 billion of US autos entering China. “Just this morning, my administration took a new action to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices that harm American automakers,” the president said near Toledo, home to General Motors and Daimler Chrysler plants. Officials denied he was playing politics-but criticizing the Asian giant is an easy applause line as voters chafe at the flight of US jobs abroad. However, Obama’s move was fairly tame, especially compared to the rhetoric of Romney who

brands the president a “supplicant” to the communist giant. In fact, Obama aired US grievances without hot rhetoric directed at Beijing and followed established practice for using the WTO to usher Beijing into a rule-based international system. Obama has previously complained over China’s subsidies for its auto parts sector, slapped tariffs on Chinese tire imports and lodged a case against Beijing’s export restrictions on rare earth elements used in hi-tech products. Hammering Obama on China makes sense for Romney, as he fans resentment over the president’s management of the US economy with which Beijing is inextricably linked. Romney is also seeking a window to skewer Obama on an area of perceived strength: foreign policy. While Romney can vent at Beijing, Obama is constrained by his responsibility to steer perhaps the most

important and complex diplomatic relationship in the world. Still, the fanfare around his WTO moveincluding a front page leak to an Ohio newspaper-shows concern that China can make for dicey domestic politics. China is also a campaign device for Obama, highlighting Romney’s time as a venture capitalist when he reportedly helped firms “pioneer” the transfer of US jobs overseas. “You’ve got to give Mitt Romney credit,” Vice President Joe Biden said recently in Iowa. “He’s a job creatorin Singapore, China, India.” Romney has joined the long tradition of candidates, including Bill Clinton who lambasted the “Butchers of Beijing,” who seek to exploit an incumbent president on China. He has vowed to prevent a “Chinese century” pledged to brand Beijing a currency manipulator on Day One of his presidency and to

3 ‘Dirty War’ figures jailed for baby thefts Junta leaders found guilty of systematic baby stealing BUENOS AIRES: Three key figures from Argentina’s “Dirty War” got hefty jail terms for the systematic theft of babies from political prisoners during the 1976-1983 dictatorship, an Argentine court ruled on Thursday. The missing children - stolen from their parents and illegally adopted, often by military families - are one of the most painful legacies of the crackdown on leftist dissent in which rights groups say up to 30,000 people were killed. Just over 100 of the children have discovered their true identities, but many families are still searching more than three decades later. Activists say there could be several hundred more individuals who do not know they were taken as babies from their parents. “This is what we were seeking. We never wanted revenge, we were never hateful, we didn’t ask for anything more than justice and justice has been done,” an elderly man who identified himself as Francisco Madariaga’s grandfather told local television. The sentences in the case known as “The Systematic Plan” investigated the theft and illegal adoption of 34 of the stolen infants. The 11 defendants included former junta leaders Jorge Rafael Videla, 86, and Reynaldo Bignone, 84, and ex-navy officer Jorge Acosta known as The Tiger. They are already serving life sentences for previous human rights convictions. Videla was sentenced to 50 years in prison as the architect of the plan, while Acosta got 30 years and Bignone 15. The other defendants were also ordered to serve sentences of various lengths. Videla, who is unrepentant about rights abuses committed by the

state, described himself as a “political prisoner” during the trial and said any abductions that did take place were not part of a systematic plan. “The women giving birth, who I respect as mothers, were militants who were

them with their parents’ relatives painstaking and lengthy. Most of the 34 children in the case have been identified. They include pro-government city legislator Juan Cabandie, now 34, who was born at the infamous

BUENOS AIRES: People and members of human rights organizations hold signs (reading: Give the Children Back) during the reading of the sentences against former Argentine dictators for their involvement in the kidnapping of babies from leftist activists killed during the 1976-1983 dictatorship. — AFP active in the machine of terror,” the former dictator said in his closing remarks. “Many used their unborn children as human shields.” TORTURE CENTERS Some of the stolen babies were born to women held at clandestine torture centers. Nurses have told how some babies were breast-fed by their mothers for several days, while others were taken away immediately. There were no birth certificates, making the task of identifying them and reuniting

ESMA Naval Mechanics School when his 16-year-old mother Alicia was held there. He was adopted by a policeman and given a new name. Another is leftist lawmaker Victoria Donda, whose parents were also kidnapped and held at the ESMA before disappearing without trace. Others, like Clara Anahi Mariani, are still missing. As a threemonth-old infant, she was kidnapped when state security services raided her home in 1976, killing her mother and fellow leftist activists in the central city of La Plata. —Reuters

throw obstacles in the way of China’s rise to “regional hegemony.” “Candidate Obama may talk a tough game on standing up to China and fighting for American manufacturing-but President Obama just hasn’t delivered,” said Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul on Thursday. But just as there is a tradition of lashing Beijing on the stump, there is precedent for presidents to tone it down once elected. Top Chinese leaders, increasingly wise to the ways of US politics, are understood to have told Obama that they expect a measure of antiBeijing rhetoric in the US election. But Beijing seems interested in a return of managed stability after November-evident in the negotiated exit from a crisis over blind dissident Chen Guangcheng, who took refuge in the US embassy in Beijing. History would suggest things will smooth over next year. — AFP

Mayor to residents: Shave or save 18-inch mustache SALT LAKE CITY: The mayor of Murray has put all 18 inches of his handlebar mustache up for a Fourth of July vote. Residents of the Salt Lake City suburb told Mayor Dan Snarr to either save it or shave it by giving a thumbs-up or thumbs-down sign during the annual parade Wednesday. The mayor’s wife, April, said she was tired of being poked by the facial hair and living with a “freak.” She campaigned to have it removed, even carrying a giant pair of wooden scissors during the parade to convince voters. “A nice trim would make me happy,” April Snarr said. “I try to kiss him but can’t find a way in. And he pokes me in the eye. I think he loses his credibility.” Snarr, who dressed as Uncle Sam and carried a giant poster in the parade that read, “I Want You to Save My ‘Stache,” wants to keep his stiff upper lip. “My plan is to keep the ‘stache,” said the 62-year-old. “People have said, ‘That’s your whole identity.’ I can’t take away my identity.” But he said the vote was too close to call after thousands showed up for the parade. He had city officials and family members reviewing parade footage to determine the number of votes cast along the 21/2-mile route. Snarr has been growing the mustache for the past 31 months, but it hasn’t been easy. He said it took about three months and $100 worth of hair products to keep it from drooping. He spends 10 minutes each morning prepping it. The secret: Big Sexy Hairspray, followed by a cold blast from the hair dryer for five minutes a side, topped off with Crew Superglue styling gel. Snarr has been mayor of Murray for nearly 15 years, proclaiming himself a member of the DWR Party - Do What’s Right. He had a regular mustache through most of his political life but grew it long as a goal for Murray’s centennial celebration in 2003. In 2009, he had residents vote on whether he should shave as a way to raise money for a local children’s hospital. He got creamed in the votes and shaved it in May 2009, bypassing an offer to have Ellen DeGeneres do it live on her daytime talk show. He started growing it again that December, and has kept the white whiskers ever since. He has support from the St Louis-based American Mustache Institute, a tonguein-cheek group dedicated to defending a man’s right to sport a mustache even though they fell out of favor in the 1970s. “They think it’s great,” Snarr said. — AP



Indonesia ill-equipped for asylum-seeker rescue JAKARTA: Indonesia has failed to assist several boats in trouble near its shores in the past month, with observers saying it has neither the ability nor the inclination to save asylum seekers stranded at sea. Australia has repeatedly been forced to lead rescue missions off Java Island, and on Wednesday dispatched rescue ships after a distress call from a rickety vessel stuck in rough seas. The Australian navy rescued more than 160 people on the boat, which ran into trouble just 63 nautical miles off Java in the same stretch of waters where an estimated 90 people drowned on June 21. Australia had alerted Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) about the earlier boat two days before it capsized. But Basarnas failed to reach the vessel, forcing Australian rescuers to intervene and save the remaining 110 on board. Four died when another vessel capsized barely a week later. “Indonesia is still reluctant to carry out this kind of rescue operation, so the emergency response is slow,” Bantarto Bandoro from Indonesia’s National Defense University said. “Unlike Australia, Indonesia seems to have no standard operating procedure, so when something happens at sea, the coordination is all very ad hoc, and the different agencies like to blame each

other when something goes wrong.” Bandoro acknowledged that Indonesian leaders lacked the political will to tackle the issue, as they essentially see the issue as an Australian problem. “The attitude of Indonesian politicians is they’d prefer to mind their own business. They tend to see asylum-seekers as Australia’s problem.” Basarnas admits it is dismally ill-equipped for the rough Indian Ocean stretch between Indonesia and Australia’s Christmas Island, which is closer to Java than mainland Australia. “We still lack the equipment and skills to carry out these operations well. Australia has been assisting us in recent years, but we know we need to improve our response,” said Basarnas chief Daryatmo, who like many Indonesians uses only one name. He said that Basarnas had only two boats on Java equipped for rough seas, which on Wednesday also slowed down Australian rescue efforts. Indonesia does little to patrol the southern waters that asylum seekers traverse to reach Australia as the country has “no security threats there”, defense ministry spokesman Hartind Asrin said. “Our maritime security is focused mainly in the northern part in the Malacca Strait (between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) because we have issues with pirates there,”

Asrin said. Asylum seekers mostly from the Middle East and Sri Lanka have for years used Indonesia as a transit hub and board rickety fishing vessels to make the perilous journey, with many drowning along the way. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard agreed in Darwin in northern Australia this week to boost cooperation in rescue missions. Indonesia accepted four Hercules aircraft decommissioned by Australia to help the country better monitor its own waters. Canberra gave Indonesia five police boats in 2002 for the same cause. “The Indonesian search and rescue authorities have neither the capacity nor the inclination to go chasing asylum-seeker boats that have left Indonesia. They’re happy to see the back of them”, Tony Kevin, a former Australian diplomat who has written books on refugee boat disasters said. That was the case in the June 21 incident, he said, adding that the disaster was a “result of Australia simply batting the problem to Indonesia”. “Occasionally we seem to sit on our hands, pass the message to the Indonesian search and rescue authority and say ‘they’re in your search and rescue zone, you handle it’,” he said. —AFP

Gunmen close Libyan oil terminals ahead of vote RAS LANUF: Armed federalists have forced two oil terminals in eastern Libya to close in protest over not being granted more seats in this weekend’s first elections since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown. An oil industry expert on Friday downplayed the incident, predicting that it will all blow over after the elections, and noting that many major oil firms had evacuated expats, anticipating some unrest. “This is just people jockeying for position,” he said, requesting anonymity. “In terms of worldwide ramifications, it is a minor disruption because it will be for a short term, until elections are over.” Thursday’s move to shut down pumping and loading at Haruj in Ras Lanuf came as people seeking autonomy in the oil-rich east threatened to boycott or even sabotage Saturday’s election for a General National Congress. Ibrahim Al-Jadhran, a protest leader, said demonstrators also blocked the port of Al-Sidra, 35 kilometers west of Ras Lanuf, and were heading east to the Brega oil terminal. Earlier suspected arsonists ravaged a depot containing electoral material in the eastern city of Ajdabiya. And on Sunday, armed men ransacked election offices in the eastern city of Benghazi, cradle of the revolution that ousted Gaddafi last year and a bastion of the federalist movement that wants greater autonomy from Tripoli. The weeks before the election have been marred by fighting between different communities, with bloody clashes in western hilltop towns claiming more than 100 lives and fighting in Kufra in the south leaving dozens dead. “The harbor is closed... The pumping and loading of oil has been stopped... The group that came were federalists,” Tumi Shakari, a supervisor at a terminal in Ras Lanuf, said. “A group of 15 people came around 9:30 pm (1930 GMT) and in a very peaceful and amicable manner asked us to shut down operations. “This group has certain demands

that they want to see fulfilled and they have asked us to stop our work for 48 hours,” he said, adding that workers had complied. “The government must do something about this. This is their way of seeking attention for their demands,” Milad Mohamed Ali, superintendent of the Al-Haruj terminal west of Ras Lanuf, said on Friday. Anti-aircraft guns-Tareq Al-Tahi, senior superintendent at Al-Sidra, confirmed the terminal had been shut. “At 7:30 pm (1730 GMT) a group of people came to us in armored vehicles loaded with anti-aircraft guns and asked us to stop producing oil and loading cargo,” he said. Federalist demands in the east are not the only concern ahead of the election. Security services have warned that supporters of the former regime may seize the opportunity to disrupt the vote for a national assembly tasked with appointing a new government. And Islamist groups in the east also oppose the vote, saying the devoutly Muslim country needs no constitution other than the Quran. The outgoing National Transitional Council (NTC) said on Thursday that Islamic law (sharia) should be the “main” source of legislation, and that this should not be subject to a referendum. One of the central demands of the federalist movement is an equal allocation of seats in the 200-member assembly. The interim authorities allocated 100 seats to the west, 60 to the east and 40 to the south, based on demographic considerations. The new assembly was to have become an interim legislature, appoint a new government and a panel to draft a new constitution. But on Thursday, the NTC abruptly changed the rules it had itself set, saying the constituent authority must be elected separately rather than appointed.That decision strips the General National Congress of what was to have been a core function, but it will retain legislative powers and the prerogative of appointing a government. —AFP

KARBALA: Shiite pilgrims pound their hands during a major religious festival at the Imam Abbas shrine in Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq. — AP

Shiite rituals reach climax in Karbala Pilgrims commemorate Imam Mehdi’s birth KARBALA: Millions of Shiite pilgrims commemorated the birth of a central figure in Shiite Islam yesterday morning under heavy security measures after a series of recent attacks targeting worshippers. They gathered in the central shrine city of Karbala to commemorate Imam Mehdi’s birth, with children lighting 1,176 candles, representing the number of years since the birth of Shiite Islam’s socalled 12th imam. Worshippers also marched to a holy site once visited by the imam, which lies around one kilometer away from the centre of Karbala. They also chanted religious poems and shared foods and sweets with each other. “The Shabaniyah visit ceremonies ended successfully without any security violations,” Karbala provincial Governor Amal Al-Din Al-Har said. Authorities estimated that six million Iraqi visitors came to Karbala for the ceremonies, along with 150,000 foreign pilgrims. Security forces this month began blocking roads leading to the shrine of Imam Hussein, the grandfather of

the 12th imam, in the centre of Karbala, where the ceremonies were held. Security was further tightened after twin car bombs in a market near Karbala killed four people on Tuesday. Some 38,000 soldiers and police were helping secure the city, with measures including 2,000 policewomen for women-only checkpoints, sniffer dogs and explosives detecting devices, officials said. Shiite pilgrims are a frequent target for Sunni insurgents, especially during times of commemoration ceremonies. The rituals came amid a spike in attacks in Iraq, with the country suffering a wave of unrest in June. At least 282 people were killed, according to an AFP tally, although government figures said 131 Iraqis died. So far this month, 62 people have been killed in attacks, with the deadliest of the violence striking Shiite towns and cities. While unrest in Iraq has declined dramatically since its peak in 2006-2007, attacks remain common across the country.— AFP


Asylum seekers risk all for Australia dreamland CISARUA: Rahmatullah Afzaly says the thought of boarding a rickety Indonesian fishing boat in roiling seas, crammed with hundreds of other asylum seekers, is terrifying. But it’s nothing compared to his fear of the Taleban. His lips quiver and he struggles to keep the tears inside as he allows his memory to drift back home to Afghanistan, where scores of ethnic Hazaras like himself have been captured, tortured and killed by Islamic militants. He and thousands of other asylum seekers from various war-ravaged and impoverished countries have made it to Indonesia, but Australia is where they seek a better life. And they are risking death to find it. Unwilling to languish for years here in detention centers while their cases are heard, many board smugglers’ boats to attempt the 500-kilometer trip to Australia’s Christmas Island. Concern over the journey has escalated in the past three weeks. Two boats capsized and another was rescued in rough seas while en route to Christmas Island, which is closer to Indonesia than mainland Australia. More than 90 people are believed to have died, and hundreds more have

drowned in similar accidents that have become commonplace over the past few years. “We know that we can die on our way ... but there is no life in our country,” Afzaly says, weeping softly. Four other men from his homeland, all minority Shiite Muslims, cover their faces to hide their own emotions inside the small rented house they share in West Java province. “If we can reach the safe country, then we will have a better future,” he says. “That’s why we choose to take whatever risk.” The incidents have sparked a fresh wave of fierce debate in Australia, where the two main political parties agree that the asylum seekers should be sent elsewhere but remain deadlocked over where to take them. Meanwhile, the dilapidated boats keep coming, loaded with migrants who believe their cases will be processed faster if they make it to Australian shores. The number arriving by boat has more than doubled since 2000. So far this year, more than 70 vessels carrying about 5,200 migrants have reached Australia, according to immigration officials. When boats sink, it is often the Australians who respond. Indonesia says it lacks the resources to con-


in brief

Record cocaine bust HONG KONG: Hong Kong customs officers said yesterday they had made the city’s largest ever cocaine bust, after finding almost 650 kilograms of the drug-with a street value of about $98 million-in a shipping container. The officers, acting on tip-off from US counterparts, seized the 649kilogram (1,431-pound) haul from a container from Ecuador as it was being transported by truck to an industrial area in the remote New Territories on Wednesday. Authorities intercepted the truck, arresting three local men including the driver. “This is the biggest ever cocaine seizure made in Hong Kong,” Customs Drug Investigation Bureau head John Lee told reporters. He said officers found 22 bags with a total of 541 slabs, each with around 1.2 kilograms of cocaine. Lee said he believed most of the cocaine was to be transported to Southeast Asian countries, but denied the southern Chinese city has become a transit route for drugs smuggling. The seizure was the second in a week. On Tuesday a 63-year-old man travelling from Brazil was arrested for allegedly smuggling almost two kilograms of cocaine in his specially adapted underpants and shoes. China defies Vatican BEIJING: China’s state-run Catholic Church ordained a bishop yesterday in defiance of the Vatican, authorities said as they dismissed protests from the Holy See as “rude and unreasonable”. The ordination of Father Yue Fusheng occurred in the northeastern city of Harbin yesterday morning, said Yang Yu, a spokesman for the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA). The Holy See had warned this week it deemed the consecration illegitimate and vowed to excommunicate priests who participated. But the government’s State Administration for Religious Affairs hit back in a statement on its website yesterday. “The attitude was extremely rude and unreasonable,” it said.

duct large search-and-rescue sea operations. Sometimes, the smugglers sabotage the boats or issue false distress signals, hoping to be rescued and whisked off to Christmas Island. Afzaly, a 32-year-old furniture maker, left his new bride with nothing more than a

area about 80 kilometers southeast of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. It has become a stopping point for many fleeing persecution who hope to reach their Australian dreamland. When they make it to Indonesia, many register with the UN to apply for refugee status overseas.

CISARUA: Asylum seekers stand outside their temporary home in Cisarua, West Java, Indonesia. — AP promise that he would bring her to a better life - or die trying. He sold his family’s shop for $40,000 to pay a network of people smugglers for passage first to Pakistan and Malaysia by plane, then to Indonesia by boat. He’s living in Cisarua, a mountainous

Nearly 6,000 people there have done so and are waiting to be resettled, but as time passes with no word about their status, many grow frustrated and impatient. Others skip the step entirely, unwilling to wait at the end of the line of applicants in cramped

Indonesian detention centers. In recent years, Australia has resettled more than 13,000 refugees annually from both offshore sites and from within its borders. Most come from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. A spike in boat arrivals was seen in 2009, not long after Australia relaxed its immigration policies and closed a detention center on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru, where boat arrivals were housed for long periods. Prime Minister Julia Gillard reached a deal to send them to Malaysia last year, but the High Court struck down her effort to implement it without parliament’s approval. The opposition, citing concern about Malaysia’s human rights record, wants the asylum seekers sent back to Nauru. Ian Rintoul, spokesman for the Sydney-based Refugee Action Coalition, says the problem could be eased if Australia did more to help those waiting in Indonesia. Only 57 of them had been resettled through the first five months of this year, he said. “Australia is willing take people from camps in other parts of the world, but it is unwilling to take them from its own back door,” Rintoul said. — AP

No corruption ‘explosion’ under my watch: India PM Prime minister hits back at critics NEW DELHI: India’s prime minister has hit back at critics of his graft-tainted government, stressing his own “high standard” of personal integrity and lauding his administration as a beacon of transparency. In an interview yesterday in the Hindustan Times newspaper, Manmohan Singh also argued that the Indian economy was healthier than media “pessimism” suggested, and promised further measures on tax issues that have rattled foreign investors. Singh rarely grants media interviews, but has ramped up his public statements since taking on the finance ministry portfolio last month, in what analysts see as an effort to secure his legacy. Singh is not expected to continue as premier after elections in 2014 and his personal reputation has taken a beating during his second term, amid a series of high-profile corruption scandals and accusations of policy drift. “Coming to the personal criticism, not only have I maintained a high standard of integrity in my conduct, I have endeavoured to raise the levels in the system as well,” Singh said. Citing legislation like the Right To Information Act and a Whistleblowers Bill, the premier

said his administration had made important strides in improving official accountability that would benefit future generations. “Never before in the history of India have so many steps been taken in such a short time to bring in transparency into the functioning government, make government accountable to the people for its actions and bring in measures to control corruption,” he said. “Just as the pessimism over the economy is more in the markets and less on the ground, even in the case of corruption, I do not think there has been any explosion in corruption under my watch,” he added. Singh’s ruling coalition has been embroiled in a series of scandals. The most high profile case involved former telecom minister A. Raja, who quit in November 2010 over the sale of second-generation (2G) telecoms licences at far below their commercial value to selected companies. Raja was later arrested and is currently on trial. Singh, who as finance minister in 1991 was credited with opening the Indian economy after decades of quasisocialist planning, took over the ministry again last month, after Pranab Mukherjee quit to run for president. Since then he has urged officials to

revive the economy’s “animal spirit” and reverse a “climate of pessimism” that has set in over recent years. Global ratings agencies have warned they may downgrade India’s debt to junk status with the economy reeling from gaping fiscal and current account deficits and stubbornly strong inflation. The economy grew by 5.3 percent between January and March-its slowest quarterly expansion in nine years-and the rupee has lost more than a quarter of its value against the US dollar over the last 12 months. “The India growth story is intact,” Singh insisted, while acknowledging that the country was passing through “challenging” times. Promising to bring “complete clarity” on all tax measures, he stressed the importance of reassuring foreign investors at a time of decreasing capital inflows that have exacerbated India’s current account deficit. “We want the world to know that India treats everyone fairly and reasonably and there will be no arbitrariness in tax matters,” he said. His remarks will fuel speculation that the government is ready to back away from efforts to aggressively tax past financial transactions involving firms like British phone giant Vodafone. — AFP


Greece strives to save debt rescue program


Cyprus blames Greek deal for crisis, seeks Russia aid



Peugeot Citroen reports sales slump, shares drop


US hiring stuck in low gear in June


BEIJING: A bride has her makeup applied prior to a photoshoot in Beijing yesterday. China cut interest rates for the second time in a month on Thursday. International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde warned yesterday that the IMF would cut the outlook of the global economy this month. — AFP

IMF warns over global economic outlook Europe not doing enough to fix debt crisis: Lagarde TOKYO: International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde yesterday warned the global economy was slowing and said the situation could get worse because Europe was not doing enough to fix its debt crisis. Lagarde said the IMF would cut its growth forecast in its global outlook to be released later this month. “What I can tell you is that it will be tilted to the downside and certainly lower than the forecast that was published three months ago,” she told an economic forum in Tokyo during a week-long Asian tour. “And that is predicated on the right set of actions being taken in Europe in order to avoid very significant deterioration and to eliminate major threats.” In April, the IMF hiked its global growth forecasts to an annual rate of 3.5 percent this year, accelerating to 4.1 percent in 2013, up from the January forecast of 3.3 percent and 4.0 percent respectively. Lagarde declined to elaborate on the IMF’s new assessment due later this month, but said conditions since the last forecast had “regrettably” become “more worrisome”, although she hailed recent steps to tackle Europe’s woes. The IMF chief cited measures adopted

after a European leaders’ meeting in Brussels last week and the European Central Bank’s move on Thursday to cut interest rates to historic lows as proof of progress. Stimulus measures and emergency aid to troubled Italy and Spain were “significant steps in the right direction”, Lagarde said. But “from the IMF perspective, we believe that more needs to be done in order to really complete the architectural job of the euro-zone: a monetary union, a banking union followed by a fiscal union”. “It’s also a question of implementation-diligent, rigorous, steady implementation,” Lagarde added. On Thursday, central banks in Europe and China ushered in easing and stimulus moves in a bid to help power the global economy, just days after the IMF pared its growth forecast for the US economy. The Washington-based organization estimated 2012 US economic growth at 2.0 percent, down from an April forecast of a 2.1 percent expansion for the world’s biggest economy-and warned that the Obama administration may be slicing the deficit too fast for the weak economy. Lagarde’s comments came a

International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde speaks at a press conference at a hotel in Tokyo yesterday. — AFP

day after Beijing’s second interest rate cut in less than a month surprised markets and stoked worries about the world’s secondbiggest economy. Then, the European Central Bank cut its main interest rate to a record low

0.75 percent, while the Bank of England kept its rate even but announced 50 billion pounds ($78 billion) in additional stimulus. Lagarde applauded Asian nations, particularly China, for turning their focus away from depending on exports to measures that boost demand at home, adding that the “rebalancing that came with the crisis shouldn’t go with the crisis”. She also acknowledged that the yen was “moderately overvalued” after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told her earlier yesterday that Japan’s economy was “suffering a serious, adverse impact” over the currency’s strength. The Japanese unit hit record highs against the dollar last year, and remains strong as traders eye safe-haven currencies amid worries about the euro and greenback. But the strong currency hurts Japanese exporters, who were already struggling after last year’s quake-tsunami disaster, by making products pricier overseas while shrinking the value of repatriated foreign earnings. Lagarde will be in Jakarta on July 8-10, and in Bangkok on July 11-12, where she will participate in a seminar organized by the IMF, the Bank of Thailand and the Asian Development Bank. — AFP



India cuts June Iran oil imports 18% y/y NEW DELHI: India’s oil imports from Iran fell 18.2 percent in June from a year earlier in a third straight monthly decline, although the pace slowed as refiners built stocks ahead of Western sanctions against Tehran’s nuclear program that took effect by this month. The sanctions are designed to restrict the flow of funds to Iran because the West believes the Islamic Republic is trying to build nuclear weapons, but Tehran says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes. India, one of the biggest buyers of crude from OPEC’s second largest producer, last month secured a waiver from US sanctions by reducing imports by more than 20 percent. In June, refiners imported about 346,600 barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian oil, up 42.5 percent from May, tanker

discharge data made available to Reuters showed. Monthly imports from Iran may fall 13 percent to 300,650 bpd this month, when the OPEC member’s daily oil exports could decline to a maximum of 1.1 million bpd, about half of the 2011 average, industry sources told Reuters. In April and May India imported about 40 percent less oil from Iran than in corresponding period a year earlier.Energy-hungry India, which imports about 80 percent of its oil needs, has allowed state refiners to buy oil using Iranian ships and insurance cover to lock in supplies from its third biggest source for a period of six months. Falling imports have pushed Iran down to fifth position in the list of India’s biggest crude oil suppliers in the

second quarter, compared with the third position it enjoyed a year ago and second in the first quarter of 2011. In the January-June period, India’s oil imports from Iran rose 4 percent to 367,800 bpd from a year ago, the data showed. Refiners are expected to cut volumes by more than 20 percent under the term deals they started inking on April 1, according to Reuters’ calculations, while the government says it aims for imports to be down 11 percent from 2011/12, to about 310,000 bpd. India is making up for the shortfall in Iranian cargoes by raising imports from the world’s largest exporter, Saudi Arabia, and fellow OPEC member Iraq, which emerged as the second biggest oil supplier to New Delhi, replacing Tehran. The 12-member Organization of the

Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pumped 31.63 million bpd in June, almost steady with May, a Reuters survey of sources at oil companies, OPEC officials and analysts found. India’s overall oil imports in the January-June period rose about 11.7 percent from a year ago to 3.6 million bpd as the country expanded its refining capacity. State-run Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd was the biggest Indian client of Iran in June, shipping in 160,000 bpd, a jump of more than 270 percent from May and about 40 percent from a year ago. June volumes are higher as MRPL took delayed delivery of its cargoes scheduled for May, when its refinery was shut. MRPL’s annual imports from Iran between January and June declined about 38 percent to 93,800 bpd. — Reuters

Greece strives to save debt rescue program Euro-zone struggles as markets turn skeptical

CAHTEAULIN: Employees of the French group Doux, Europe’s top producer of poultry and processed chicken, demonstrate yesterday at the Doux headquarters in Chateaulin, western France. Seven French companies, led by oilseed group Sofiproteol, submitted a joint offer for debt-burdened poultry group Doux, which went into administration in early June. —AFP

SEC to clarify rules for murky resource sector JOHANNESBURG: Murky deals between resource companies and governments in Africa and elsewhere face tougher scrutiny after US authorities clarify disclosure rules next month, although intense lobbying by industry giants may have ensured the changes are limited. The rules require energy and mining firms with US listings to disclose payments to foreign governments. Enacted two years ago under the Wall Street Reform Act, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has not finalized the requirements, frustrating investors and activists alike. On Monday, however, the SEC said it would vote on them on Aug. 22. The stakes have been especially high in Africa, where vast oil and mineral wealth has not translated into wider prosperity, a state of affairs widely referred to as t h e “resource curse”. That takes several guises. Sometimes oil or mining crowd out other industries, or a country’s economy dances to the beat of volatile commodity or energy markets. As governments tend to control access to natural resources, graft becomes a problem if states become addicted to the spoils that can be reaped from the resource sector. The payment disclosure rules were widely hailed as the most sweeping measures yet to try and tackle the problem as they hit the primary cause: opaque deals between governments and industry. But two years of foot-dragging have raised concerns the final rules will be rendered toothless after a barrage of lobbying, from the oil industry in particular. One point of contention has been whether or not exemptions should be made if a country has laws that forbid a company from disclosing the payments it makes to the government. US oil lobbyists, who have claimed this kind of legislation exists in countries such as Angola, have been pushing for such exemptions. — Reuters

ATHENS: The new Greek government presents a strategy to salvage its debt rescue program yesterday, to win favor with EU-IMF auditors and gain room to renegotiate terms with its creditors. But the state of the economy is grim and the euro-zone climate is tough. Creditors have warned Greece that it is too far short of targets to merit a new deal, financial markets have again turned skeptical about euro-zone prospects. And the IMF is gloomy about the global outlook, warning that growth could turn down even faster if the eurozone crisis drags on. Meanwhile Greece must win the confidence of the auditors to obtain the next slice of aid money which it needs to pay current expenditure. Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras has told reporters that Greece’s recovery program is “off-track in certain areas” after two electoral campaigns in two months, and that Greece still faces “difficult years ahead.” A finance ministry source told AFP yesterday: “We are not abandoning the renegotiation claim but certain things need to be done first.” The Financial Times reported on Thursday that Greece had altogether dropped its demand to ease rescue terms, citing the new finance minister. “We can’t ask for anything from our creditors before we get it back on course,” it quoted Stournaras as saying. Greek ministers have been instructed by the government to furnish data and refrain from making renegotiation requests, other reports said. The labor ministry told auditors Thursday that unit labor costs were down by eight percent and on track towards a 2014 target of 15 percent, ANA said. And many companies had signed new labor agreements since February with salary cuts of up to 30 percent, the agency said. Euro-zone and EU finance ministers meet early next week to follow up on a summit last week, presented as a breakthrough in getting on top of the debt crisis, but decisions by the European Central Bank on Thursday dis-

appointed markets, despite a rate cut. Portugal is also struggling to meet its rescue targets and might extend a pay cut for civil servants to all employees after the constitutional court struck down the initial measures. The cost of borrowing for Spain and Italy is again on the rise, even though Ireland made a successful return to the debt market. Athens will on July 10 seek to raise 1.25 billion euros ($1.56 billion) in sixmonth treasury bills, the debt management agency said. Until the EU and IMF release more funds, the Greek government needs all the income it can find. Tax authorities this week said they had only managed to successfully conclude less than five percent of tax arrears cases. Out of over 13.2 billion euros in tax fines owed Greece, tax officers have so far managed to reclaim 630.7 million euros, the general secretariat of information systems said in a statement. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will unveil his government’s strategy on revising the country’s EU-IMF bailout amid creditor warnings that the country is too far

behind its targets. Samaras will address parliament after 1530 GMT at the start of a three-day debate culminating in a vote of confidence tomorrow which the threeparty coalition supporting his government is expected to win. The 61-year-old former foreign minister took office after June 17 elections, promising an austerity-weary nation that he would re-examine salary cuts, tax rises and job losses. The economy is in the fifth year of recession. In his speech to parliament, he is expected to announce an acceleration of Greece’s privatization drive, to satisfy Brussels and the IMF, while simultaneously promising Greeks that more job and pay cuts are out of the question. In a letter to EU leaders last week, Samarashousebound at the time after major eye surgery-wrote that Greece must obtain “necessary modifications” to its rescue program in order to fight off recession and reach its economic goals. Greece has been rescued twice, and in April benefited from a big write-off of debt owed to private investors. — AFP

ATHENS: Poul Thomsen, the International Monetary Fund mission chief in Greece (third left) leaves the Labor Ministry after a meeting in Athens yesterday. — AP



Banks’ debt lifeline for Spain starts to fray MADRID: Domestic banks that have backed Spain’s debt auctions with heavy buying could be reaching a limit for absorbing sovereign bonds, say financial analysts and two market makers, undermining the country’s efforts to stave off a full-blown bailout. If Spain had to cancel an auction due to lack of demand from big domestic banks, it could be forced to seek outside help for state finances on top of the up to 100 billion euros of aid already negotiated for its lenders, triggering a dangerous new phase in the euro zone debt crisis. Spain’s financing costs soared to euro-era highs in June as international investors dumped the country’s debt, and on Friday its benchmark 10-year yields again breaching the 7 percent level that triggered an upward spiral in borrowing costs for Ireland and Portugal prior to their

bailouts. Until now, Spain’s banks have filled the funding void, but the market makers say many of the lenders have reached or are close to limits on how much debt they are willing to buy of a country whose risk premiums are continuing to rise. The limits vary from bank to bank, as they are based on internal risk controls rather than technical levels set by regulators. But there are signs that a sector already burdened by billions of euros of underperforming loans is reaching a saturation point. “Spanish banks were net sellers of Spanish debt over the last two months. That to me is a clear sign that banks have already reached a level where they feel uncomfortable holding more debt,” said Luca Cazzulani, deputy head of fixed income for UniCredit. One large Spanish bank and one mid-sized bank told Reuters they can

still take on more Spanish sovereign debt, but one market maker warned that smaller Spanish banks are staying away from primary auctions. Domestic banks held 28 percent of Spain’s national debt in May, according to data from the Treasury, up from 17 percent at the end of 2011 as they spend funds tapped in two huge injections of cheap threeyear money by the European Central Bank. But they cut their exposure to national debt in April and May - and it wasn’t international investors who picked up the slack. Rather, Spanish institutions such as the public social security fund increased their holdings - bringing the state uncomfortably close to buying up its own debt. The situation in Spain carries unwelcome echoes of events in Portugal last April, when the country’s banks threatened to stop buying national

debt as yields soared, which finally pushed the country to call for a bailout. Spain as well as Italy last week won pledges from a European summit to let EU rescue funds step directly into the bond markets, temporarily easing pressure on their sovereign yields. But details are patchy on how and under what conditions the rescue funds would be deployed or how a planned direct recapitalization of Spain’s ailing banks would work givinginternational investors little incentive to pile back into the country’s debt. “The summit result is positive and should encourage investors to buy Spanish debt. But the problem is that what is decided on will take time to implement,” said one market maker. “Spain is solvent. It’s not a solvency problem, it’s about liquidity. — Reuters

US hiring stuck in low gear in June Economy struggling amid growing global crisis

SEOUL: South Korean Finance Minister Bahk Jae-Wan speaks during a press conference in Seoul yesterday. South Korea’s growth is likely to slow down in the second half of this year as the export-dominated economy grapples with a global slowdown, Bahk said. — AFP

S Korea growth to slow in second half: Minister SEOUL: South Korea’s growth is likely to slow down in the second half of this year as the export-dominated economy grapples with a global slowdown, Finance Minister Bahk Jae-Wan said yesterday. “The country’s full-scale economic recovery is being delayed,” Bahk said. “Growth in the second half will be lower than expected.” The ministry last week cut its full-year growth forecast for Asia’s fourth largest economy to 3.3 percent from its December projection of 3.7 percent. “Deteriorating external conditions, like the fiscal crisis in Europe, are delaying full-scale economic recovery,” it said in a report. Bahk told a press conference the Korean economy has “performed pretty well” despite Europe’s debt crisis and slowing growth in other major economies, with solid job growth and easing inflation. But he cited the sluggish housing market and rising household debt as major challenges in the short term. Household debt stood at 857.8 trillion won ($756 billion) at the end of March. The Financial Supervisory Service called this week for action to curb the figure, saying it poses a great risk to growth. Longer-term, Bahk stressed the importance of securing adequate fiscal capacity to cope with problems caused by the rapidly ageing population. — AFP

WASHINGTON: US employers hired at a dismal pace in June, raising pressure on the Federal Reserve to do more to boost the economy and further imperiling President Barack Obama’s chances of reelection in November. The Labor Department said yesterday non-farm payrolls expanded by just 80,000 jobs in June, falling short of forecasts though a tad higher than a revised May reading of 77,000. Job creation during the month wasn’t enough to bring down the country’s lofty 8.2 percent unemployment rate. The report appeared sure to fuel concerns that Europe’s debt crisis is shifting the Us economy into low gear. “We’re just crawling forward here,” said Nigel Gault, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts. Mitt Romney, Obama’s Republican challenger, is focusing his campaign on the weak jobs market that has dogged Obama’s presidency. US stock index futures extended their decline following the data, while yields on US government debt fell. There were other unsettling details in the report. The government said the economy created 1,000 fewer jobs during April and May than previously estimated. The somber report might push the Federal Reserve closer to taking new actions to lower borrowing costs to encourage companies to increase hiring. Analysts polled by Reuters expected an increase in payrolls of 90,000 jobs. Debt woes have bogged down much of Europe, sending some countries into recession. The eurozone crisis in turn has dulled economic growth around the world from

China to Brazil. A survey on Monday found US manufacturing contracted for the first time in nearly three years in June. Europe is not the only worry weighing on the US outlook. Washington plans enough belt-tightening at the start of 2013 to easily send the economy into recession. Cautious observers wonder if lawmakers can avoid this “fiscal cliff.” “If you are an American employer, with the uncertainty that you have in front of you for the next six months, there is just no reason to go out and do a lot of hiring right now,” said Jeff Savage, an investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank in the Northwest, located in Portland, Oregon. Job creation averaged 75,000 per month during the second quarter, compared with an average increase of 226,000 in the first quarter. Part of the slowdown could be because mild weather led companies to boost hiring in the winter at spring’s expense. But recent weakness in everything

from retail sales to business sentiment suggests something more fundamental is at play. “We’re not expecting things to take off in the second half of the year,” Sara Klein, an economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said before the report was released. “Weather wasn’t the only factor.” Until recently, the United States had been a relative bright spot in the global economy, especially in manufacturing. Most economists still expect lackluster growth over the rest of 2012 rather than a slip toward recession. Moreover, Friday’s report did show some hopeful signs. Average hourly earnings rose 6 cents to $23.50. Also, the length of the average work week increased to 34.5 hours and 156,000 workers entered the labor force. But economic weakness abroad has lately become a formidable hurdle, as Obama has acknowledged, and global policymakers are acting like a storm is brewing. — Reuters

LOS ANGELES: Unemployed Americans pick up job applications from a prospective employer at the National Careers Fair in Los Angeles. —AFP


Cyprus blames Greek deal for crisis, seeks Russia aid Moscow says Cyprus asking for 5bn euros

MADRID: Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (right) shakes hands with the president of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno during the official opening of the new headquarters of the InterAmerican Development Bank in Madrid yesterday. —AP

German construction sector lifts industrial output in May BERLIN: German industrial output increased in May, propelled by a sharp increase in activity in the construction sector, official data showed yesterday. Despite the better-than-expected data, analysts nevertheless said that caution was warranted. Industrial production increased by 1.6 percent in May from the level the previous month, the economy ministry said in a statement. That was a sharper increase than expected: analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had been pencilling in a more modest rise of around 0.4 percent. In April, output had fallen by 2.1 percent month-on-month. Construction output jumped by 3.1 percent in May, and manufacturing output rose by 1.6 percent, with output of consumer goods up by 3.8 percent. Energy output, on the other hand, was down by 1.6 percent, the data showed. Data released on Thursday showed that industrial orders in Germany rose by a faster-than-expected 0.6 percent in May, driven by strong export orders. “The bounce in German industrial production in May does not change the picture of a sharp slowdown in the sector previously seen as the economy’s main engine of growth,” said Capital Economics economist Jonathan Loynes. “Given the volatility of the data, another monthly fall in June would be no surprise and would leave industry’s contribution to overall (economic) growth in the second quarter much weaker than that seen in the first quarter,” he warned. Berenberg Bank economist Christian Schulz said that “together with resilient consumption, the construction sector may counterbalance some of the inevitable weakness in other sectors due to the European confidence crisis.” But he, too, said caution was warranted. “Sentiment indicators show that the European crisis is dampening activity. Falling investment and net exports are likely to drag down overall growth over the summer,” the analyst said. “Only once the financial market tensions are brought under control, will the positive fundamentals return the economy to trend growth again.” — AFP

NICOSIA: Cyprus blamed the decision to restructure Greece’s debt for destroying its own economy yesterday, and defended its right to seek financial assistance from Russia, calling it a strategic partner of the European Union. Euro zone leaders agreed in late 2011 to write down the value of private-sector holdings of Greek government bonds to try to cut Greece’s debt by around 100 billion euros - a process known as PSI, or private sector involvement. It was a controversial decision and one that the former president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, warned EU leaders could have severe repercussions. For Cyprus, the euro zone’s third smallest economy, with a GDP of just 17 billion euros and a large exposure to Greece, it meant Cypriot banks had to write off around 80 percent of the value of their Greek bond holdings. That in turn made it harder to access inter-bank borrowing or to post collateral with the ECB for overnight liquidity. Cyprus now needs as much as 10 billion euros to restore order to its finance and banking sector, officials estimate. The island of 1 million people has already taken a 2.5-billion-euro loan from Russia to help meet its financing costs, and Russia’s finance minister said on Friday it was asking for a further 5 billion euros. At the same time, Cyprus is in discussions with the EU about a bailout program, which is likely to come with much stricter conditions than the loan it has so far taken from Moscow. Cyprus has also hinted at talks with China and the Gulf states. In Moscow, the head of the Russian finance ministry’s debt department, Konstantin Vyshkovsky, said that in considering Cyprus’ loan request, Russia would also take into the account the decision of the European Union.Cypriot Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly, a former top banker, said Cyprus’s economy, fuelled by a once-buoyant property sector and strong services industry, would not have run into such severe problems were it not for the PSI decision. “Effectively, because of our close proximity, financial proximity to (Greece), we were called upon to pay a very heavy price,” he told journalists during briefings

Italy to cut spending by 26bn euros over 3 years ROME: The Italian government agreed overnight on a series of measures to slash public spending by 26 billion euros ($32 billion) over three years, including major payroll cuts. “The economies in this measure will be 4.5 billion (euros) in 2012, 10.5 billion in 2013 and 11 billion in 2014,” said Prime Minister Mario Monti. Much of the savings will be found in the health and public administration budgets, said Monti. Deputy Economy Minister Vittorio Grilli said the planned measures would lead to a 20 percent reduction in the number of public sector managers and a 10 percent cut in the ranks of ordinary public sector workers. Such cuts will further upset the country’s trade unions and heighten the threats of strikes. In April, the government had decided in principle to cut 4.2 billion euros off this year’s spending account, but now Rome sees the need for deeper cuts. Monti said the cuts were needed to avoid a two percentage point hike in sales tax which would otherwise be necessary. The Italian cabinet met for seven hours before reaching agreement on the measures, a sign of the difficulty the government is having in finding areas in the budget from which the savings can be extracted without hitting services, and public sentiment, too hard. “We wanted to avoid across-the-board cuts, preferring a more complex but more effective plan,” said Monti. — AFP

in Nicosia as Cyprus takes over the presidency of the European Union. “Cypriot banks that owned Greek sovereign bonds lost about 80 or 81 percent of their total investment, which in actual terms amounts to 4.2 billion euros,” he said, pointing out that the sum was equivalent to a quarter of Cypriot output. “The real problem stems from that particular investment. If you ask me whether this was a fair way to deal with it, I would say no, this was not a fair way of dealing with it.” Instead the minister argued that 100-billion-euro writedown of Greece’s debt - a process that has not yet restored the country to debt-sustainability - should have been distributed on the basis of the size of each euro-zone economy. That would have meant Germany paying the most - around 27 percent of the total - and Cyprus just 0.2 percent. “What we should have done is share that loss fairly, on a level playing field, as the Europeans do,” Shiarly said. “If our share had been fairly evaluated ... our total loss might have been in the order of 200 million euros - one would

say petty cash these days.” Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, who was educated in Moscow, is the EU’s only communist leader and has built close ties with Russia, firmly defended his decision to take aid from the country, calling it a strategic partner of the EU. “We maintain the right to have relations with third countries,” he said at a news conference with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, smiling and touching Barroso on the arm to reassure him. “I would like to say that in Russia what they have is a capitalist system. Don’t worry, we won’t be bringing communism to Cyprus because we are in relations with Russia. Please, they are restoring capitalism in Russia,” he said. On the same day that inspectors from the EU and International Monetary Fund finished their first fact-finding visit to Cyprus to establish how much aid it may need once a program is agreed, Christofias said Cyprus needed to be cut some slack and allowed to make its own decisions. “Give us a bit of margin and allow us to resolve the financial problems our country is facing,” he said. — Reuters

NICOSIA: European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding (left) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso confer during a meeting with government officials at the Filoxenia Conference Centre in Nicosia yesterday. — AFP

Oil drops below $100 as Norway strike nears end LONDON: Oil fell below $100 a barrel yesterday on expectations the Norwegian government would end an oil workers’ strike and as enthusiasm over central bank rate cuts waned. Norway’s government could wade into a dispute between offshore oil workers and employers over pensions as early as yesterday to force an end to a strike that has oil markets on edge. The strike, which began on June 24, has already slowed crude exports and cut Norway’s oil production by around 13 percent and its gas output by around 4 percent. Brent dropped $1.03 to $99.67 by 0907 GMT. US crude shed $1.18 to $86.04. “Brent is supported by the escalation of the labor dispute in Norway, but the focus remains on demand,” said Victor Shum, a senior partner

at oil consultancy Purvin & Gertz. “China’s rate cut was a surprise and although it was meant to stimulate, it was interpreted as a sign of more trouble in the economy and it didn’t really inspire.” Worries about supply from Norway drove Brent to a one-month peak above $102 per barrel on Thursday, but prices gave up some of their gains as the euro slid against the dollar after the European Central Bank cut rates. Investors are now focusing on the allimportant US jobs data due later yesterday, which is expected to provide clues on the state of the world’s biggest economy. Central banks in China, the euro zone and Britain eased policy on Thursday, highlighting concern over the fragility of the global economy that has muddied the demand outlook for commodities. — Reuters



Peugeot Citroen reports sales slump, shares drop France may roll out stimulus to push auto sector

HONG KONG: Commercial and residential buildings in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is facing “unprecedented challenges” amid the global economic crisis, the city’s finance chief said as leader-elect Leung Chun-ying announced his new cabinet. — AFP

China bank shares pull down Hong Kong HIS HONG KONG: Chinese banking shares tumbled in Hong Kong yesterday after China’s second interest rate cut in weeks raised concerns that bank net interest margins would erode and that growth in the world’s second-largest economy is weaker than feared. Losses in the sector dragged down Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, which closed flat on the day. For the week, it posted a 1.9 percent gain largely due to a bounce on Tuesday that lifted the index to its highest close since May 15. On the mainland, gains in the property sector fueled a late rally helping the Shanghai Composite finish up 1 percent and the large-cap focused CSI300 up 1.7 percent. For the week, the Shanghai index was off 0.1 pct and the CSI300 inched up 0.4 pct. China’s ‘Big Four’ banks all fell, with China Construction Bank the weakest, down 2.7 percent. Agricultural Bank of China lost 2.5 percent while ICBC, the world’s largest bank by market value, was the best performer, dropping 0.7 percent. “I think the net interest rate margin will hurt the earnings prospects for the mainland banking shares,” said Patrick Yiu, managing director, Cash Asset Management Ltd. “The momentum for banking shares is not very good because there is still a chance for China to cut interest rates once more in the second half,” said Yiu. Underscoring the heavy influence of Chinese banks on the Hong Kong market, weakness in their shares offset gains in insurers, property firms and consumption companies. Chinese property shares rose on expectations that decreased borrowing costs would boost transactions as mortgage rates drop while insurers rallied on expectations their bond portfolios would benefit from lower interest rates. The Shanghai property sub-index jumped 3.5 percent helping Hong Kong property shares to a 1.3 percent gain. Late on Thursday, China cut its benchmark one-year lending rate by 31 basis points to 6 percent and gave banks more leeway to set lending rates. Analysts said the move was aimed at stimulating borrowing by creating a more competitive landscape. However, market players remain doubtful that the rate cut will boost the economy. Weakening demand from the West is hitting exports, while the key property sector remains pinched by the government’s tightening and domestic consumption is not showing signs of picking up the slack. “Businesses only borrow money when they are confident that they can put that money back to work in the real economy and earn a return and not only because borrowing costs are lower,” said Andrew Sullivan, principal sales trader at Piper Jaffray in Hong Kong. “Right now growth is clearly slowing. The way the market is trading, we could very well see another leg down,” said Sullivan. China will have difficulty meeting its 10 percent trade growth target this year, Vice Premier Wang Qishan said in comments published late on Thursday. Next week China will announce its second quarter growth rate, which analysts expect to have dropped for a sixth successive period. The People’s Bank of China has also lowered the lending rate floor while maintaining the deposit rate ceiling a move that will put pressure on banks’ net interest margins. Analysts at Deutsche Bank estimate that the move, along with the two rates cuts made this year, could potentially lower listed banks’ net interest margin by 10.4 basis points and pretax profits by as much as 6.1 percent. —Reuters

PARIS: The French auto group PSA Peugeot Citroen reported yesterday a 13percent fall in its first-half global car sales, and its shares dropped 6.51 percent to 7.17 euros. The group, which has tied up with US giant General Motors, is in financial difficulties and is expected to announce restructuring measures. The government is expected to announce action next week to help the French auto sector. At Global Equities, broker Xavier de Villepion said: “The future of the group is gloomy.” The alliance with GM, announced at the end of February, had come late in the day, given PSA’s poor state, he said. A spokesman for the group told AFP that it had not asked the French state for a loan. He was responding to remarks by the coordinator of a recent review of the group, Philippe Bonnin, who had said that PSA wanted such a loan. Nobody at the industry ministry was available to comment. At Citigroup, analysts said that the latest sales figures were disappointing, but had been expected. “What worries us most regarding PSA is the state of its cash holdings, and this could affect its credibility with credit rating agencies and make financing more difficult,” the Citi analysts said. The capital of the company is controlled by the

Peugeot family. General Motors owns 7.0 percent since the alliance. PSA, the biggest French automaker ahead of Renault and second-biggest in Europe after the VW group, reported that in the first half of the year it had sold 1.62 million vehicles, either complete or in kits for assembly. It blamed the fall in sales on weak conditions on European markets and the halting of its activities in Iran owing to the effects of sanctions. Sales in Europe fell by 18.0 percent to 980,000 cars and commercial vehicles, and the firm’s share of the market fell to 12.9 percent from 13.9 percent. PSA underscored that “the markets which are usually the best (France, Spain and Italy) are in deep crisis.” Sales outside Europe rose with the exception of a 21.0percent fall in Latin America to 122,000 vehicles. Sales in Russia rose by 17.0 percent to 41,000 vehicles, and in China by 7.0 percent to 209,000. In the rest of the world sales rose by 12.0 percent to 124,000 vehicles. PSA achieved 39.0-percent of its sales outside Europe from 38.0 percent in the first half of last year. The group was hit by a fall of 31.3 percent in sales of kits, mainly for Iran. The tightening of sanctions again Iran was preventing the company from financing parts for the Iranian operation and the group had

had to suspend this activity. The price of shares in PSA showed a drop of 5.59 percent to 7.241 euros to lead losers in midday trading on the Paris stock exchange. The CAC 40 index of leading shares was off by 0.41 percent overall. PSA Peugeot Citroen has already taken action to cut costs and company president Philippe Varin warned recently that “extra measures will be needed.” The group is expected to say more at two special meetings of its works committee on July 12 and 25. Trades unions expect that management will announce the closure of a factory at Aulnay-sous-Bois near Paris and will shed 1,000 jobs at a factory in Rennes, north western France. On Wednesday, Labour Minister Michel Sapin said that Varin should be clear about the “real situation” of the company, saying that this has been concealed before the recent presidential election in France, in which socialist Francois Hollande won power from right-wing Nicolas Sarkozy. But Sapin said that he did not think that the measures for the auto sector next week would resurrect a cash-for-clunkers subsidy introduced at the height of the recent financial crisis but since ended. The French car market has turned down since the scheme was phased out. — AFP

Hungarian lawmakers pass revised central bank law BUDAPEST: The Hungarian parliament passed yesterday a revised law for the central bank aimed at restarting key loan talks but the government now plans to tax the bank, which could create a new obstacle. The revised text replaced one which the European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) had objected to, and passed with 283 deputies for, 30 against and three abstentions, the parliament said on its website. In late 2011, the European Union (EU) and IMF broke off credit talks with Hungary after the country adopted a law that would have put the central bank (MNB) under political pressure. The Hungarian forint initially gained in value against the euro following the vote on Friday, but later fell back again to trade at 287.20 forints/euros. Conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban played down the need for EU and IMF loans, saying they were not “a matter of survival,” but also said just before lawmakers voted that IMF representatives “could now arrive at any moment.” EU/IMF credits are meant to serve as guarantees that would allow Hungary to obtain financing on sovereign debt markets at sustainable rates. The country’s long-term debt is currently considered speculative by international ratings agencies. But Budapest might have found a new way to pursue a chronic conflict with the MNB and its governor, Andras Simor. Orban is considering an extension of a new financial transactions tax to include the central

BUDAPEST: Hungarian MPs vote at the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest yesterday during the voting of the new version of the Hungarian Central Bank law, after the European Union criticized the old one. — AFP bank, to finance a billion-euro ($1.24 billion) plan drawn up to cut unemployment. Simor said Thursday that would be another way of intervening on the central bank’s prerogatives, because “passing the tax on would force (the central bank) to markedly ease its monetary policy.” Otherwise, the central banker estimated, it would have to pay 100-120 billion forints (350-420 million euros, $433-520 million) in 2013, doubling its predicted losses for the year. “This would jeopardize price stability and the stability of the

financial system, and, consequently, it would be contrary to the statutory primary objective and basic tasks of the MNB,” Simor said. Budapest has informed the European Central Bank of its plans, and according to MNB supervisory board member Peter Rona, the ECB is certain to reject the idea.Rona, who is also an Oxford University economics professor, was quoted by the Hungarian daily Nepszava as saying: “This project totally contradicts an EU directive adopted on September 11.” — AFP



Finland would rather exit euro than pay for others Minister says Helsinki prepared for all scenarios

Travellers want to fly more, but greener Airbus study finds people want quieter aircraft LONDON: Over 60 percent of people worldwide want to fly more by 2050, but almost all - 96 percent - believe aircraft need to be more environmentally efficient, according to a study from aircraft-maker Airbus. With findings drawn from a 10,000-strong survey, the planemaker also consulted with 1.75 million people in 192 countries over a two-year period to better understand the public perception of air travel’s future. Released three days before the Farnborough International Airshow, the study indicates that quieter aircraft are important (backed by 66 percent of respondents), while almost 40 percent felt the air-travel experience is increasingly stressful. Respondents’ gripes included queues at passport control; slow check-in and baggage collection; sitting on the tarmac; and circling in holding patterns around airports. “Capacity constraints are a sign of things to come unless the industry can work together to cut delays, and with aviation set to double in the next 15 years, that’s what we’re looking at,” Airbus executive vice president, engineering Charles Champion said in a press statement. Airbus, part of European aerospace group EADS, carried out the research alongside development of a “Concept Plane” which illustrates what air transport could look like as early as 2030, though more likely by 2050. The graceful, spaceship-like prototype brandishes long, slim wings; semi-embedded engines; a Ushaped tail and light-weight fuselage. The result, Airbus says, will be lower fuel burn and a significant cut in emissions. Airbus has also rethought cabin configuration, replacing first, business and economy classes with personalized zones. Passengers would be able to stargaze through a transparent wall membrane from “morphing” seats that harvest body heat for power. Champion told Reuters the Concept was built to add to the debate and try to visualize what future flight could look like. “We wanted to know if people still wanted to fly - what are the priorities of the generation of today. It was an interesting exercise and enthusiasm for flight has motivated our engineers into designing great new ways to fly in the future.” Despite social media and video messaging revolutionizing the way people keep in touch, 60 percent of respondents in the Airbus study did not think technology will replace the need to see contacts face-to-face. “Aviation is the real World Wide Web,” Champion said. “The world is woven together by a web of flights that creates ever-expanding social and economic networks: 57 million jobs, 35 percent of world trade, and $2.2 trillion in global GDP. Airbus says that more than 90 percent of the 2 billion euros it spends annually on research and development is directed at improving the environmental performance of its aircraft, and points out that a passenger on its flagship A380 uses just three litres of fuel to travel 100km - the same as a small family car. Once it enters service in late 2015, the A320neo’s engines will, the planemaker predicts, provide up to 15 percent in fuel savings, while the lightweight carbon-plastic A350 XWB is set to provide a 25 percent step-change in fuel efficiency from its planned early2014 launch. The aviation industry as a whole has, says Airbus, reduced fuel burn and emissions by 70 percent and noise by 75 percent in the last 40 years. Carbon neutral growth is a target for 2020, with a 50 percent net CO2 emissions reduction by 2050. Half of these savings will come from better air traffic management, says Airbus. In the meantime, the planemaker isn’t finding local environmental regulations helpful. Airbus has blamed European Union moves to tackle carbon emissions for the suspension of long-distance jet orders worth up to $14 billion, and has backed China’s refusal to accept the EU’s emissions trading scheme. —Reuters

HELSINKI: Finland would rather leave the euro-zone than pay down the debt of other countries in the currency bloc, Finnish Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen said in a newspaper interview yesterday. “Finland is committed to being a member of the euro-zone, and we think that the euro is useful for Finland,” Urpilainen told financial daily Kauppalehti, adding though that “Finland will not hang itself to the euro at any cost and we are prepared for all scenarios.” “Collective responsibility for other countries’ debt, economics and risks; this is not what we should be prepared for,” she added. Urpilainen’s spokesman Matti Hirvola stressed to AFP that the minister’s comments did not mean Finland was planning to exit the eurozone. “All claims that Finland would leave the euro are simply false,” he said. In her interview with Kauppalehti, the finance minister meanwhile insisted that Finland, one of only a few EU countries to still enjoy a triple-A credit rating, would not agree to an integration model in which countries are collectively responsible for member states’ debts and risks. She also insisted that a proposed banking union would not work if it was based on joint liability. Urpilainen also acknowledged in an interview with the Helsingin Sanomat daily Thursday

that Finland “represents a tough line” when it comes to the euro-zone bailouts. “We are constructive and want to solve the crisis, but not on any terms,” she said. As part of its tough stance, Finland has said it will begin negotiations with Spain next week in order to

obtain collateral in exchange for taking part in a bailout for ailing Spanish banks. And last year, Finland created a significant stumbling block for the euro-zone’s second rescue package for Greece, only agreeing to take part after striking a collateral deal with Athens in October 2011. — AFP

BEIJING: A woman sits with a sleeping child on a street in Beijing yesterday. China cut interest rates for the second time in a month, a surprise move that analysts said may indicate the world’s second-biggest economy was slowing more quickly than expected. — AFP

Aviva raises $494m from Delta Lloyd stake sale LONDON: Aviva, Britain’s second-biggest insurer, has begun to exit more than a quarter of its businesses by selling half its stake in Dutch rival Delta Lloyd for 318 million pounds ($494 million). Aviva sold 37 million Delta Lloyd shares at 10.75 euros ($13.31) each, it said yesterday, one day after unveiling a program of disposals and cost cuts aimed at appeasing investors irked by its flagging share price. Aviva shares were up 3.4 percent at 0955 GMT, making the company the biggest riser in the Stoxx 600 European insurance index, which was flat. Delta Lloyd shares were down 3.3 percent. “We see this as early evidence of a new determination to re-focus the group on businesses that make a reasonable return,” Investec analyst Kevin Ryan wrote in a note. Aviva acquired Delta Lloyd in 1973 but began offloading its 92 percent stake via an initial public offering in 2009 after an unsuccessful attempt to challenge corporate governance rules that limited its control over the Dutch insurer. Aviva’s shares have lost about a third of their value in the past year, lagging a 10 percent decline for the European sector. The company’s weak stock market performance, which led to the removal of Chief Executive Andrew Moss in May, partly reflects concerns over its heavy exposure to the ailing euro zone, source of 40 percent of its profit last year. — Reuters

Euribor interbank rate falls to record low 0.549% PARIS: The main reference interest rate in the euro-zone, the three-month Euribor, fell to a record low level of 0.549 percent yesterday, down sharply from 0.641 percent a day earlier. The former record for the Euro Interbank Offered Rate of 0.634 percent dated from March 31, 2010. The Euribor reflects the terms on which European banks are prepared to lend funds to each other. It has fallen steadily since the European Central Bank began refinancing banks for up to three years at the end of December. Trading volumes on the interbank market are weak at the moment however, for several reasons. One is that banks are wary of lending to other banks located in euro-zone countries that currently face financial problems. Another is that in early 2013, banks will have to hold higher levels of core capital reserves to protect against costly failures to taxpayers under the terms of the Basel III regulations. They have caused commercial banks to curb interbank lending and either hold on to surplus cash or place it in safe-haven instruments like German 10-year bonds or US Treasury notes. The fall in the three-month

Euribor followed a cut on Thursday by the European Central Bank in its main refinancing rate to a record low of 0.75 percent from 1.0 percent previously. At the same time, the ECB lowered its overnight deposit rate, what commercial banks earn if they place money with the central bank overnight, from 0.25 percent to zero. BNP Paribas bond trader Patrick Jacq said the drop in the Euribor arose in large part from the decline in the ECB’s overnight rate, “because we are in a situation of very strong liquidities for the banks.” In a bid to boost economic activity, the ECB has carried out two long-term refinancing operations (LTROs) that involved pumping more than one trillion euros ($1.24 trillion) into the euro-zone banking system. That money has not filtered down to the wider economy however. Jacq forecast that the Euribor might fall by another 10 basis points, or 0.1 percentage point. He did not think it would have a significant effect on the level of lending between banks however. “We will have the same lack of volume, but at lower rates,” the trader said. — AFP


Oliver Stone pits hippies against Mexico drug barons Page 24

Rising R&B stars debut at Essence Fest in Big Easy Page 29

A meerkat looks around in his enclosure at the zoo in Cottbus, eastern Germany yesterday. Meerkats live in large underground networks with multiple entrances which they leave only during the day. —AFP



he 50-year-old actor - who was “blindsided” when his wife Katie Holmes filed for divorce from him last week after five years of marriage and sought legal custody of their child - intends to go to court in Los Angeles in person to ensure he is legally allowed to see the youngster. Katie filed for the divorce in New York because she believes she has a better chance of winning custody, but Tom has been encouraged to file in California. A source said: “Tom has told Dennis Wasser and Bert Fields, his long-time entertainment lawyer, that his first priority is getting a court order in place, obviously a temporary one, that will allow him to legally see his daughter. “Team Cruise has extensive documentation to prove that Los Angeles is where the case should proceed, because this is where he says they have lived. Tom is extremely disappointed that Katie filed in New York, and he feels that she is trying to cut him out of their daughter’s life. “Tom won’t tolerate it and told his lawyers that if he personally needs to go to court and

make a plea in front of the judge for an order allowing him to see his daughter, he will.” It is believed Katie wants legal custody because she is worried about Tom’s devotion to sci-fi cult Scientology and the effect the quasi-religious sect may have on their six-year-old daughter. Meanwhile, an interview with Katie from next month’s ELLE magazine hints that she may not have been happy in the relationship for some time. Discussing turning 33, she told the US publication: “I definitely feel much more comfortable in my own skin. I feel sexier. I’m staring to come into my own. It’s like a new phase.” Asked about her marriage, she admitted she wanted to focus on herself. She said: “He has been Tom Cruise for 30 years. I know who I am and where I am and where I want to go, so I want to focus on that.”

Mischa Barton keeps life interesting by moving often


has natural birth to avoid ‘drugged up’ baby

Miranda Kerr

he 29-year-old model watched a number of birthing videos before giving birth to Flynn, now 17 months old - her child with husband Orlando Bloom - and Miranda was concerned if she had an epidural it would negatively impact on her son. She explained in the August issue of Britain’s Harper’s Bazaar magazine: “I had made a decision that I wanted to do it [naturally]. “I had been watching all these baby bonding videos and [without an epidural], when the baby comes out it goes straight onto the breast.” Miranda added in situations where the mother had received medication to help with the birth, “the baby was a little bit drugged up and I was like, ‘Well, I don’t want that’. I wanted to give him the best possible start in life I could.” The Victoria’s Secret model also revealed she is happiest when she is spending time with her son. She explained: “What’s surprised me most is just how incredible the bond is between you and your child. To watch him grow and evolve every day is really inspiring. “[My perfect day is] to wake up to the sound of my son saying, ‘Mama, mama!’ It’s the best sound ever. Then I just love to get him out of bed and he can jump into bed with us, and we have cuddle time!”


he former ‘O.C.’ actress travels a lot because of her work but rather than it making her feel unsettled, it is something she enjoys. She said: “I live in a lot of different places because I like to keep it interesting. I’m always travelling for work anyway but I mostly spend my time between London and Los Angeles.” Mischa particularly loves returning to the UK because it allows her to reconnect with her childhood and she finds London “comforting”. She added to Grazia online: “I’m originally English which most people don’t know. I find all of the comforts of it remind me of my childhood, the people and the sense of humour and I miss my sister if I don’t come back for a while and my friends, so there’s a lot of things I love about London “It’s got so much going on. People are more politically active here which I also find interesting.” And the actress will soon be spending more time in the UK as she is set to open a boutique in Shoreditch, east London.



he ‘Wide Awake’ hitmaker is amused by the fact that 91-year-old Ann Hudson who appears in her new documentary film ‘Part of Me 3D’ - “doesn’t acknowledge” her success and can’t understand the fuss that surrounds her famous granddaughter. Katy said: “My grandmother is in the movie and she steals the show, she is living in Las Vegas and she doesn’t acknowledge my success at all, which is

exactly what I need. “When she was at the Hollywood premiere she was like, ‘Oh, why are you here?’ and I was like, ‘It’s my movie,’ and she was like, ‘Oh is it?’ She thought everybody was there to see her!” The 27-year-old pop superstar is now planning to take a break from music because she fears being overexposed. She added in an interview with The Sun newspaper: “I will take a catnap, take a pause, plug

into the matrix - but I won’t go away. “What I need to do is let the dust settle and take the temperature of what the world wants musically. “I am definitely going to recharge because you can get over-exposed and I am balancing that tightrope at the moment, having my own movie about myself.”



he single 47-year-old actress is besotted with her pooch Jack and she admits they share such a close bond she sometimes thinks of the mutt as the man in her life. In a feature for Us Weekly magazine entitled 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me, she revealed: “I have been known to refer to my American bulldog, Jack, as my boyfriend.” Unlucky-in-love Teri was previously married to Marcus Leithold and Jon Tenney, with whom she has a 14-year-old daughter, Emerson. The former ‘Desperate Housewives’ star is comfortable on the dating scene but she hates it when guys play games in a relationship. However, she loves playing games as a hobby and is a skilled bowler and poker

player. She explained: “I love games. Board games, iPad app games ... just not relationship games. My high score in bowling is 195. Yes, I’m a total nerd. And I’m a closeted poker player.” When she isn’t busy playing games, Teri likes to spend her time watching TV and she also enjoys a trip to Disneyland when she can fit it into her schedule. She said: “My favourite thing to do is watch TV show marathons and I can’t get enough of Disneyland’s Space Mountain!”


lthough the ‘Boyfriend’ hitmaker knows he couldn’t beat the boy band if they all attacked him as a group, he is confident he could hold his own individually against Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne. He is quoted as saying: “I’d get my ass kicked (against all of them). But one-on-one I’d take them. I’d try a spin-kick. To the face.” The ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ group should be wary of going one-onone against the teen heartthrob because he was recently taught to box by former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. The 18-year-old pop star put his pugilistic skills to the test while visiting the 45-year-old retired sportsman - who famously once bit part of opponent Evander Holyfield’s ear off during a bout - in Las Vegas. Mike posted a YouTube video of Justin - who is known to be a big fan of champion boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. pounding his fists into a punch bag that the boxing legend is holding, and afterwards the pair high-fived each other. In a description of the clip on his YouTube page, Mike wrote: “Justin swung by my place during the weekend of the Billboard Music Awards to say hi to the family. We took him straight to garage and had him hit the bag. JB’s got the moves! (sic)” Justin was also recently accused of assaulting

he 43-year-old actress is in a relationship with actor Justin Theroux and although she is always quizzed about when she is going to remarry or start a family she doesn’t worry about other people’s expectations of her. Instead, Jennifer has learnt to just enjoy life if she is happy because there’s no point always searching for something else. When asked if she is bothered that her personal life is always being scrutinised, she told the new issue of

a photographer. The ‘Never Say Never’ hitmaker was allegedly involved in a physical altercation with a paparazzo, who was trying to take pictures of him and his girlfriend Selena Gomez in Calabasas, California.

GQ Spain: “A perfect life? I think that’s sort of cliche, isn’t it? Like, if you want to be happy, you should have the house, the husband, the kid ... Kids are messy!” Jennifer was previously married to Brad Pitt who is now engaged to Angelina Jolie, with whom he raises six kids with. Things are getting serious between Jennifer and Justin - who started dating in May 2011 - and the former ‘Friends’ star recently bought a $21 million in Beverly Hills for the couple to live in. The property, which comes with its own vineyard, is currently being refurbished before they move in.— Bang Showbiz


Oliver Stone pits hippies against Mexico drug barons O liver Stone’s latest movie pits a pair of Californian neo-hippy cannabis growers against Mexican drug barons aiming to move their business north of the border, with predictably violent results. In what he stresses is fiction, Stone’s “Savages” returns to the theme of drugs and violence that he explored as the screenwriter of “Midnight Express” (1978), for which he won one of his three Oscars, and “Scarface” (1983). The film, based on the critically acclaimed book “Savages” by US author Don Winslow, tells the story of two Californians-Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch) — and their shared girlfriend Ophelia (Blake Lively). They divide their life between surfing, smoking, shopping and a flourishing cannabis-growing business. Everything is going swimmingly until a cartel run by Elena (Salma Hayek) suggests an alliance. Ben and Chon refuse, prompting heavies played by Benicio Del Toro and Demian Bichir to kidnap Ophelia. The two hippies decide to take up arms and launch a merciless fight against the cartel with the help of a dirty drug enforcement agent played by John

Director Oliver Stone attends the “Born On The Fourth Of July” special screening at MOMA on July 5, 2012 in New York City. —AFP Travolta. “This is a hypothetical fiction. This is not ‘Traffic,’ said Stone, referring to Steven Soderbergh’s 2000 movie on the US-Mexico drugs problem. “‘Traffic’ was a wonderful movie but it’s much more documentary-like.”But this one is hypothetical. It hasn’t hap-

pened yet,” he told reporters at a recent film promotion in Beverly Hills. As usual, Stone has done considerable research and met a lot of people in preparation for making the movie, and he says he learned a great deal about drugs and violence. “There has not been any kind of major violence on this side of the border yet,” he said, compared to the 50,000 deaths since the launch of Mexico’s military crackdown on powerful cartels in 2006. “It’s in the interest of the Mexican cartels to keep it south because if they start to move here, they’re gonna get a lot of bad publicity and there’s gonna be a lot of consequences.” But he acknowledges that cartels are not completely absent in California. “They are here, they are growing. We know that. There’s been busts. They may have deals here in California because the best laboratory in the world is now here,” said Stone. The director, a staunch supporter of decriminalizing drugs, trumpets the quality of Californian cannabis, the sale of which is legal in the Golden State for medical purposes. “We do have an independent grow-

ers market here, which is like a boutique business, and they are very good people. They grow great stuff, the best I’ve ever had in 40 years,” he said. If Stone’s sympathies clearly lean towards the neo-hippies, his director’s eye does not shrink from showing the grisly violence and wrenching choices that are part and parcel of the modern drug trade. “We show some of the cruelty. We didn’t show all of it because it’s too rough. But you certainly have to deal with it. If you do otherwise, you’re just sanitizing the situation,” he said. He chose Mexican actress Hayek to play the cartel’s merciless female chief. “She’s tough. She came from Mexico, she just propelled herself to Hollywood. I guess she didn’t speak much English when she got here,” he said. “I met her years ago, when I did ‘U Turn,’ and the first time I met her, she said: ‘You son of a bitch, you didn’t even see me for U Turn. You gave it to Jennifer Lopez.’ I was stunned,” said Stone. For his latest film, “I wrote her a note in Europe and I just said: ‘You’re the one.’ When Universal asked me: ‘Is she tough enough?’ I said: ‘Oh yes, she’s tough.’” — AFP

‘Spider-man’ set to climb to the top of the box office


he Amazing Spider-Man” has cast quite a web over the North American box office, and there’s not much room left for poor Katy Perry and Oliver Stone to break through. The pop singer and the provocateur are facing the unenviable task of trying to attract moviegoers to their latest offerings in a crowded field. After swinging into theaters to the tune of $35 million on Tuesday, Sony is projecting that its Spider-Man reboot will command $130 million over its first six days of release. That’s a good start for a movie that cost $230 million to produce and, like “Batman Begins,” had to ensnare audiences with a fresh approach to a familiar franchise. In a summer season that has suffered from something of a tentpole bottleneck, “Spider-Man”‘s success is bad news for Stone’s “Savages” and the music documentary “Katy Perry: Part of Me.” “Savages,” a $45 million drama about a pair of pot dealers who get on the wrong side of a Mexican drug cartel, opens in 2,627 theaters on Friday. It stars John Travolta, Salma Hayek, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively and Taylor Kitsch, the hunky actor still reeling from the twin disappointments of “John Carter” and “Battleship.”

“Savages” has received decent reviews and a 63 percent “fresh” rating on critics aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, but the violent, hallucinatory thriller will have trouble dragging enough males away from “Spider-Man.” It stands to make $10 million over the weekend, according to pre-release tracking. “It will do respectable, but not earth-shattering business,” Phil Contrino, editor of, told TheWrap. “Universal is definitely being aggressive with its marketing, but there’s too much overlap with the audience for ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘Ted.’” As for the former Mrs. Russell Brand, “Katy Perry: Part of Me” is unlikely to match the success of “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” a similar tween-skewing film that opened to nearly $30 million in 2011. Paramount will unveil the PG-rated music documentary on about 2,700 screens Thursday. Expectations for the film are in the $13 million range for the four-day weekend. On the bright side, the Paramount Insurge production did not represent a huge risk for the studio, costing a mere $12 million to produce. In addition to its domestic debut, “Katy Perry: Part of Me” is also bowing in the UK, Australia and New Zealand this weekend. — Reuters

Duplass brothers amuse with ‘The Do-Deca-Pentathlon’


Bollywood actresses Huma Qureshi (R) and Richa Chadda pose during the “Gangs Of Wasseypur” success party in Mumbai. —AFP

hen I was a kid and would fight with one of my five siblings and then go crying to my mother, she would tell me to get over it and make up with them. “She’s your sister and she’s going to be your sister for the rest of your life, so you had better learn to live with her,” Mom always said (or, alternatively, “He’s your brother and ”). Her parental wisdom - it turns out Mom was right came rushing back while watching “The Do-DecaPentathlon,” an amusing and perspicacious comedy about two adult brothers locked in near mortal combat while each trying to vanquish the other in a made-up athletic competition. “Do-Deca” is yet another low-budget, indie offering from Jay and Mark Duplass, the talented

sibling duo who together wrote and directed “Cyrus,” “Jeff, Who Lives at Home” and other earlier films and are key figures in the naturalistic mumblecore film movement. (Mark is also an appealing actor, most recently starring in “Safety Not Guaranteed,” “Your Sister’s Sister” and “Darling Companion.”) In this amiable little movie, Mark (Steve Zissis) and Jeremy (Mark Kelley) are two brothers nearing 40 who return for a visit to their childhood home to visit with their mother (Julie Vorus). Once there, they decide again to take each other on in a self-invented, 25event athletic contest, the Do-Deca-Pentathlon, which they first tried back in their teens. The events include laser tag, ping-pong, swimming contests, hitting baseballs from batting cages, and more. —Reuters


Travel Postcard

48 hours in London just ahead of the Olympics W

hen the Olympic Games founded to honor Zeus began in ancient Greece around 776 BC, London didn’t exist. More than two millennia later, the city of nearly 8 million people is in the final stages of redeveloping whole boroughs to accommodate the swarms of spectators who have been able secure a ticket for the 2012 Olympic Games. With less than a month to go before the opening ceremony, here’s one way to spend 48 actionpacked hours warming-up those limbs and getting into shape for the biggest sporting event on the globe.

swimming events will finish. 9 pm After dismantling your wheels and stretching out your aching calves, head over to The Sports CafÈ in the heart of London’s West End to rehydrate and replenish those calories burned off, before turning in for the night and dreaming of gold. SATURDAY 9 am The true extent of Londoners’ obsession with running and fitness is best demonstrat-

so what better way to kick off your Saturday than chase a personal best time? All parkruns are free but you must register on the website in advance. 10:30 am To satisfy your adrenaline fuelledappetite, head into the city for a late Olympic-themed brunch at Bonds on Threadneedle Street where you can order “The Cyclist”, “The Swimmer” or “The Gymnast”-even if your cartwheels and back flips are yet to be perfected. Head Chef Stephen Smith once worked under Michel Roux Sr. and certainly knows how to feed a hungry sportsman. 1 pm After brunch, stroll over to Bank and catch the DLR to Stratford - the heart of the 2012 Olympic site. Beware though: during the Games, much of the city’s public transport system will operate an amended service. Check out the Transport for London website for details. Weather-permitting, join one of the many walking tours of the Olympic park. The one that starts from Bromley-on-Bow underground station at 2 p.m. every day takes about two hours and takes you along a tow path through the Lower Lea valley. While enjoying views of the Olympic stadium and other 2012 constructions-such as the Aquatics Centre and The Orbit- you’ll learn more about the athletes and the venues and but also what plans there are for the future of the site after 2012. 5 pm Athletes and coaches share the view that relaxation is almost as essential to performance as training. After a busy day in the city, take some time out to visit one of London’s urban spas. Choose from Spa London on Old Ford Road, Thai Square Spa on Shelton Street near Covent Garden or Away Spa on Wardour Street near Leicester Square They might set you back a few more pennies than in other cities, but the pure bliss induced by the warm Jacuzzis, fragrant bathrobes and soothing lighting will quickly have you forgetting money woes. Your body is a temple.

FRIDAY 8 pm Friday nights in the British capital are often about hitting the pub and downing some pints to drown the stresses of the working week. But as Olympic fever spreads across the city, why not get your pulse racing and secure yourself a natural high by strapping on some skates and joining the London Friday Night Skate? The marshalled street skate event kicks off at 8 p.m. most Friday nights at Hyde Park Corner. The route meanders through Hyde Park - the largest of London’s royal parks, where the Olympic triathlon and marathon

ed on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. when athletes of all shapes and sizes meet in various parks across London to compete in parkrun - a free 5 km timed running race which gives you a chance to check your sporting progress and compete with likeminded hobby and professional athletes. Parkrun was first held in Teddington, southwest London, eight years ago, but these days events are held simultaneously in dozens of parks across the city and even as far afield as Australia, Denmark, Iceland, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa and the United States. More than a million runners have so far taken part in one of the events

8 pm Finish the day by heading over to Shoreditch-an area of East London within the borough of Hackney, which has enjoyed a massive cultural revamp in the lead up to the Games. British design star Terence Conran once called Shoreditch “London’s new Soho” and there’s certainly no shortage of places to wine and dine or sample some of the city’s finest pints and cocktails. Head to The Boundary, a bar and garden restaurant offering a panoramic 360 degree view of Canary Wharf, the Gherkin and the rooftops of East London. If you’ve still got some tiger left in your tank, mingle with Shoreditch’s hippest in one of the numerous clubs. Try East Village for some house sounds, Plastic People for some techno beats or Rich Mix - less a club and more of

an arts venue which regularly hosts musicians, dramatists, dancers and poets. SUNDAY 10 am After breakfast, strap on a helmet and jump on one of the bright blue communal bikes - affectionately dubbed “Boris Bikes” after the city’s flamboyant and ecologicallyaware mayor who introduced them. The cycle-share scheme was launched in June 2010 and these days, more than 5,000 bikes can be found all around the city, to pick up wherever you wish. Mayor Boris Johnson once said that he “hoped the bikes would become as common as black cabs and red buses in the capital”. Once you’ve become accustomed to your two new wheels, begin your tour of Olympic venues beyond Stratford. Head east and out to the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, where the shooting events will take place. The barracks are famous for having the longest continuous Georgian building facade in the country as well as for having the largest parade square of any UK barracks. Continue on to Greenwich Park where the modern pentathlon and equestrian competitions will be held. If the weather’s lousy, duck into the Royal Observatory, commissioned in 1675 by King Charles II, which is the home of the Prime Meridian of the World and therefore Greenwich Mean Time. It’s also home to London’s only planetarium and the UK’s largest refracting telescope. 1 pm As well as being a World Heritage site, Greenwich also boasts a plethora of places to eat and drink. Head to Bar du Musee on Nelson Road, which is thought to be one of the oldest wine bar bistros in London, for some top notch food and quality wine to wash it down. Alternatively, head to Greenwich Market for some spicy paella straight from the pan at Hola-Paella, a wholesome treat at Pie in the Skyz, or a tender bit of meat at Red Cow Covery ( 3 pm Belly full and legs recovered, get back on your bike and enjoy a slow cycle back to the city along the Thames. Drop off your steed at any of the 315 odd docking stations around the capital and head over to the British Museum. Between February and September the museum is hosting an exhibition documenting the production of the medals for the Olympic and Paralympic Games-from the mining of the metal to the creation of the designs by David Watkins and Lin Cheung and finally, the production by the Royal Mint. Round off your weekend by a visit to the gift shop where you might even be able to pick up a souvenir, possibly adorned with pictures of the Games’ two outlandish-looking mascots Wenlock and Mandeville. — Reuters


Huge China art gift boosts Hong Kong culture district T

he donation of a major collection of Chinese art has breathed new life into plans for a cultural development on Hong Kong’s waterfront that more than once appeared to be on the brink of collapse. Leaders of the almost $3 billion integrated development known as the West Kowloon Cultural District are now more confident than ever that the project, already 14 years in the planning, will become a reality from 2017. As a master plan by British architect Norman Foster for the harbour district edges forward, the artistic foundation stone was laid in June in the form of a donation of 1,463 works of contemporary Chinese art valued at $163 million by former Swiss diplomat Uli Sigg. The collection, consisting of works by more than 300 artists including Ai Weiwei, Ding Yi, Fang Lijun and Geng Jianyi, is considered by many to be the largest and most important collection of Chinese contemporary art in the world. “It’s a phenomenal donation because in one go it defines this museum,” said Lars Nittve, executive director of the yet-to-bebuilt M+ museum where the Sigg collection will be displayed from 2017. “You can build big buildings, that’s not so difficult, but to have a collection ... that’s a major step,” added the Swedish former director of the Tate Modern gallery in London. ‘A major impetus to get the thing done’The beauty of the Sigg collection is that unlike most private collectors, who generally buy what appeals to their personal tastes, Sigg set out to create a historical record of Chinese art, in all its forms, over the past 30 years. “In the early 1990s I realised that nobody was collecting Chinese contemporary art even remotely

This photo taken on June 19, 2012 shows Lars Nittve, executive director of the yet-to-bebuilt M+ museum, posing during an interview in Hong Kong. —AFP

systematically-neither individuals nor institutions in China or abroad,” the former Swiss ambassador to China said in a statement. “That seemed odd for the biggest cultural space in the world, and for what will be in hindsight a very important period. “So I decided to change my approach and collect like an institution would...I set out to create that ‘document’ about Chinese contemporary art that is missing in China, and missing outside as well.” West Kowloon Cultural District Authority chief executive Michael Lynch, the Australian former director of the Sydney Opera House who is in charge of the whole Kowloon development, said the Sigg donation was a breakthrough.

This photo taken on June 19, 2012 shows the West Kowloon waterfront where the three billion USD integrated development known as the West Kowloon Cultural District wil be completed in 2017 in Hong Kong. —AFP

“It will serve as a major impetus for us to get the thing done,” he told AFP at his office overlooking the site for the proposed development, which will include theatres, parks, residential apartments and an exhibition centre. Conceived in 1998 just after Britain handed Hong Kong back to China, the West Kowloon development was intended to give the southern city-better known as a glitzy financial and shopping hub-a world-class cultural space. But the government’s initial plan to develop the 40-hectare (100-acre) project in partnership with one of the city’s property tycoons met a firestorm of public opposition and had to be scrapped. Lynch’s British predecessor lasted only a few months in the post before returning to London to join

the British Council. ‘Uncertainty over’- When Lynch-who was chief executive of the South Bank Centre in London from 2002 to 2009 — took over a year ago, the job was regarded by many as a poisoned chalice. But the veteran arts administrator said the days of uncertainty are now over and the project is on budget and ahead of schedule, with the “digging” to start next year and the centrepiece M+ museum on course for a 2017 opening. That is when Hong Kong’s new leader, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, has promised full suffrage instead of the “small circle” vote by a pro-Beijing electoral committee that appointed him in March. It’s a timetable that is not lost on 61-year-old Lynch, who talks about the Kowloon cultural district as a “democratic space“ where art, commerce and the outdoors will come together in an environmentally sustainable development. “The next five years for us are going to be absolutely critical, as they will for the government that faces an election in 2017. I would have thought our interests are quite shared in that way,” he said. He hoped the development would “make Hong Kong a great world city” and “embody the best of cultural districts from other parts of the world”. The Sigg donation was proof that “this is a project to be taken seriously”. “I guess we’ve now solved a major part of the problem-of what goes in the museum,” he said.—AFP


Farm parody of ‘Sexy and I Know It’ goes viral K

ansas State University student Greg Peterson and some friends were unwinding at a drive-in restaurant when LMFAO’s song “Sexy and I Know It” came on the radio. He groaned. But as the chorus droned on, the 21-year-old found inspiration. He switched “sexy” to “farming” as he began rapping. Then he started coming up with lyrics. It would be fun, he thought, to do a video parody with his brothers when he returned home to the family farm in central Kansas. Peterson said the brothers aimed the video at their city friends on Facebook because they “hardly knew anything about the farm.” They ended up educating the world. “I’m Farming and I Grow It” video has become an Internet sensation with more than 3.2 million views since it was posted June 25 on YouTube. Its success has been hailed by farm groups, documented by newspapers and even won the brothers a whirlwind trip to New York City for a television appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends.” Peterson said he and his family have been a little bit overwhelmed by all the attention and he’s doing “some normal things” now to keep sane. On a recent morning, he was out swathing - or mowing - the prairie hay used to feed the family’s cattle. “I am just trying to rest my brain a little bit and get back to, you know, this is reality,” he said by cellphone. “This is something I can understand, whereas when I was in New York, everything was just hitting my mind, and it was kind of like, ‘I can’t believe this, I can’t believe this.’”

This frame grab from video shows Nathan Peterson from video parody on LMAFO’s “Sexy and I Know It.” The parody, that has gone viral on YouTube and Facebook, shows Nathan and his two brothers rapping their farming mission on the family’s Saline County farm. —AP The 21-year-old Kansas State University senior isn’t the first to parody LMFAO’s club hit. Spoofs include “Elmo and I Know It,” which features the popular “Sesame Street” character, “I’m Average and I Know It,” and “Santa and I Know It.” Most have only a few thousand hits, although the Elmo version has garnered roughly 12.7 million hits in about seven months. Peterson’s 3:32-minute video begins at the break of dawn with him and his brothers, Nathan, 18, and Kendal, 15, walking across a field of golden wheat that sways gently in the wind. The scenes then shift rapidly to the song’s beat, showing the brothers doing

chores, driving combines and tractors and jumping on hay bales. It ends with the three walking off into the sunset across a field where the wheat has been harvested. One scene shows Peterson feeding cattle as he raps, “When I step to the bunk, yeah, this is what I see: All the hungry cattle are staring at me. I got passion for my plants, and I ain’t afraid to show it, show it, show it. I’m farming, and I grow it.” Peterson, who’s majoring in agriculture communication and journalism and minoring in music performance at Kansas State, said the video was produced with iMovie and GarageBand software. His 11-year-old

sister, Laura, shot some of it on the family farm near Assaria. Steve Baccus, the president of the Kansas Farm Bureau, said what the Peterson brothers did on their own is exactly what agriculture groups have been trying to get other farmers to do use social media to show consumers the real faces of agriculture. Individual farmers and industry groups have started using Twitter, YouTube and other social media in recent years to counter the messages put out by tech-savvy environmental and animal rights groups concerned about everything from water quality to the size of cages chickens are kept in. “We think it is a great way to communicate with the consumer and give them an idea of what exactly goes on in agriculture on the farm,” Baccus said. “We are being painted by some different groups in a pretty nasty vein, and that is not at all true. I think we need to get the message out there is another side of agriculture.” He said he loved the Peterson brothers’ video: “I liked the way they incorporated humor into it, and I just thought they did a fantastic job.” The Peterson brothers have posted other videos about the family farm on YouTube, and Peterson said they’ll make more. He keeps his iPod Touch with him as he farms, occasionally pulling it out and filming things. “That doesn’t take any extra time, or really any extra thought,” he said. “It is just like, ‘This is what I am doing. So I will continue to make those kinds of videos.’” — AP

Art historians claim to find new Caravaggio works


In this Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 file photo visitors admire the portrait of Caravaggio by an unknown painter during the presentation to journalists of an exhibit dedicated to the Lombard painter titled: “Caravaggio in Rome”, in Rome. —AP

wo Italian art historians claim to have discovered as many as 100 works, most of them drawings, by a very young Caravaggio in a collection long attributed to a master Milanese artist he studied under while a boy in the late 1500s. It was not possible to immediately evaluate the claim Thursday by Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli on the eve of the publication of two ebooks laying out their case. But one expert familiar with the collection said it was unlikely that more than a few at most were actually done by Caravaggio and that none show the mature hand of the temperamental artist who was famed for his dramatic chiaroscuro effect of dark space contrasting with light, vivid still life and the then-scandalous use of models from the lower walks of life for religious scenes. The works were culled from the collection of Simone Peterzano, whose many pupils included Caravaggio from 1584 to 1588. The Peterzano collection, which is kept in Sforzesco Castle, a Milan landmark, contains nearly 1,400 works. Bernardelli, in brief remarks to The Associated Press, said that until now experts had considered the collection to contain only works by Peterzano. “Evidently no one entertained the hypothesis that there were works” of his pupils, including future star artist Caravaggio, among the drawings, Bernardelli said. Neither Conconi Fedrigolli nor Bernardelli returned calls for further comment after a first conversation by cell phone was terminated because of poor reception. The Italian news agency ANSA said the two spent two years poring through the collection. They used a computer to study similarities between details in some of the art school drawings with details in paintings by Caravaggio decades later. A website promoting the ebook says 83 of these drawings contain details strikingly similar to

those in works of the mature artist. Claudio Strinati, a prominent expert in 16th-century art, said in a phone interview that the claim that some 100 works in the collection were actually done by Caravaggio, born in 1573 as Michelangelo Merisi, was “completely absurd.” “If you consider that Peterzano had so many pupils, there were probably 50,000 drawings,” most of them likely thrown away, Strinati said. “No one knows which were done by the pupils.” —AP

Francesca Rossi, curator in charge of the Sforzesco Castle drawings collection, looks at a work by Umberto Boccioni, in the same room where sketches by mannerist painter Simone Peterzano are preserved, in Milan yesterday. —AP



ew York City’s legendary CBGB punk-rock club, which helped launch the careers of music greats Patti Smith, the Ramones, Blondie, and the Talking Heads, is to be reincarnated as a festival-which organizers hope will revive the original venue’s avant-garde spirit. The first “CGBG Festival,” which runs Thursday through tomorrow, nearly six years after its namesake shuttered, will showcase 300 groups on 40 stages across Manhattan and Brooklyn. The festival will also feature music business conferences and film screenings. “Focusing on new music and emerging young bands, the CBGB Festival will stay true to the original mission of the CBGB & OMFUG club that once lived on the Bowery,” (in southern Manhattan) the organizers said. American club owner and musician Hilly Kristal founded CBGB & OMFUG in 1973, using an acronym that stood for “country music, bluegrass, blues and other music for uplifting gormandizers”-the sounds that he intended to feature. But in the 70s and early 80s, as the disco era reached its height, CBGB became the temple of New York’s underground rock scene. Its tiny stage, perched at the end of a narrow, graffiti-covered bar, became the “in” place for punk and rock groups. The Ramones debuted there, as did Blondie, and The Talking Heads. Brit group The Police also had its first US concert at the legendary music club, which closed in October 2006 with a Patti Smith performance. In the spirit of the original club, festival organizers say their goal is “to help new artists grow, gain visibility and be seen by the music industry.” Concerts will combine performances from established artists, such as the New York Dolls lead singer David Johansen, or Glen Matlock, the Sex Pistols’ former bassist, with rising acts like “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah” and “War on Drugs.” “We are thrilled to provide bands the opportunity to open for a headliner or one of their musical inspirations,” said festival promoter Tim Hayes. Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic made a keynote address at the opening of the conference on Thursday, and a concert is planned on Saturday at Times Square. The film screenings, over two days, will feature “some of the best rock films and documentaries ever made,” organizers said, noting that several have never been seen in New York before.— AFP

Photo taken on March 24, 2011 shows members of the German band Rammstein (L-R) Christian Lorenz, Christoph Schneider, Till Lindemann and Paul Landers at the “Echo” music awards in Berlin.—AFP


he lead singer of German metal band Rammstein says he “hates noise” and likes to withdraw to the country to listen to the “phenomenal” sounds of nature, in an interview published yesterday. Till Lindemann, 49, who fronts the hard rock group whose lyrics have at times proved controversial, said that when bustling Berlin gets him down, he goes to his village in northern Germany to be with family and friends. “I hate noise. I hate chatter. When I


A handout picture released by the Byblos International Festival shows US blues legend B.B. King performing during a concert at the Byblos International Festival in the Lebanese city of Byblos, north of Beirut, on Thursday.—AFP

expose myself to that, it is sheer masochism. And so I have to protect myself from it. Noise drives you nuts. It kills you,” he told the magazine supplement of yesterday’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung. “I fish. I hunt. I gaze at the lake. I sleep at night in the woods and observe. I listen to nature. Phenomenal, what you hear at night in the woods. It’s indescribably lovely,” he added. In 2009 German authorities banned the sale of Rammstein’s album to fans under

itbull, the gravelly voiced rapper known for hits “I Know You Want Me” and “Give Me Everything,” may be going to a far-flung Alaska town after a promotional contest that promised he would pay a visit to the mostliked Wal-Mart store on Facebook. The Wal-Mart on the island of Kodiak, which can only be reached by plane or ferry, had more than 60,000 “likes” by Thursday, which Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sarah Spencer said puts it in the lead. She could not say which Wal-Mart was in second place. “If they do win, he is definitely headed there,” she said of the city of Kodiak, 250 miles (402 km) south of Anchorage. The borough that includes Kodiak has a population of 13,592. The contest, cosponsored by Wal-Mart and Sheets Energy Strips, began on June 18 and

18 for what they deemed explicit sadomasochist lyrics. The band, which formed in 1994 and takes its name from Ramstein, the site of a 1988 air crash, did a song about Armin Meiwes, a German man dubbed the “cannibal of Rotenburg” jailed in 2006 for killing and eating a willing victim. — AFP

runs until July 15. It promised the mostliked store would receive a visit and concert by the rapper, prompting an online campaign to send him to remote Kodiak. The Internet campaign, #exilepitbull, was created by David Thorpe, a writer for the Boston Phoenix. He said in an email that he and a fellow writer “just thought it would be funny to make Pitbull go to the weirdest possible place.” Pitbull seems to be in on the joke. On June 30, he tweeted “I hear there’s bear repellant at Kodiak, Alaska.” The rapper has also invited Thorpe to Kodiak with him on Twitter. “I’m delighted that he’s such a good sport about the whole thing,” Thorpe said. — Reuters



he first of four nights spotlighting R&B music kicked off Thursday with performances at the Essence Music Festival by industry newcomers, including the Disney Channel’s Coco Jones and rapper Diggy Simmons. Opening day was all about recognizing the young and rising stars to the music scene, while the rest of the weekend was geared toward veterans in the industry, including Aretha Franklin, Charlie Wilson and Mary J. Blige. For the first time in more than two years, fans will also get to see rap artist Eve, who isn’t calling her Essence appearance a “comeback,” but rather a “reintroduction.” Though out of the American music spotlight for more than two years, the rapper and actress has regularly performed in venues across Europe and Asia. Still, she said she’s excited about her US return and Sunday closing night performance at the Superdome, which will include two shows in one of the music festival’s SuperLounges. “I’m happy to be a part of such an amazing event,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to go (to the festival) just as a fan, but now, to be able to go and perform, I know it will be great. Everybody I’ve talked to who has done it said they’ve enjoyed it. I know it’s gonna be fun.” Eve said she has no doubt that her show will reinforce the decision by event organizers to book her - even though she’s been under the radar. “They will see that I haven’t lost a thing, haven’t missed a step, haven’t skipped a beat,” she said. “I’m sure there will be some who haven’t seen me live in years or maybe ever, but I’m most comfortable on stage and I’m sure I will get them in.” Coco’s high energy Essence debut included a cover of “1, 2 Step,” the hip-hop song recorded by Ciara and Missy Elliott. The set was full of “fun songs about empowerment, having a party, living a stress-free life. It’s all good messages.” After the show, she said she “loved the experience.” “I was able to see the fans’ faces and I could see they were having a good time,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about. The OMG Girlz, Roshon

Diggy Simmons performs at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Thursday.

Fegan, Katlyn Nichol, Square Off and New Orleans’ own The Roots of Music also performed. Fegan, who rocked the stage with his club, hip-hop style that he described as along the lines of an “upbeat Bruno Mars,” said he would remember his performance for a long time. “It was amazing,” he said. “Stepping on a stage this huge and knowing I’m performing where other great performers have is truly amazing,” said Fegan, 20, who produces and writes his own songs and also plays three instruments. Simmons, too, said the experiencing was incredible. “It really makes me feel good to know that I’m headlining and participating in an Essence event,” he said. “Focusing on the youth doing positive things and knowing that I’m a part is really a good feeling.” As in years past, the festival tackles themes of importance to African Americans, such as education and the coming presidential election. But above all, Essence is a celebration of music. Other veteran artists scheduled to perform include Ledisi, Fantasia, Chaka Khan, Trey Songz and D’Angelo, who last month gave his first live performance in the United States in 12 years at Bonnaroo. R&B singer-songwriter Vivian Green said she’s looking forward to her second opportunity to take a stage at the event. Green performs Friday night while fellow R&B singer Stephanie Mills is slated to deliver two shows - one last night and another today. “This is a really big deal,” said Green, who will entertain fans with her hits including “Emotional Rollercoaster” and “Gotta Go Gotta Leave (Tired).” “It’s the biggest black music festival in the United States. What an amazing platform to have the chance at that type of exposure,” she said. “A lot of our fans are from small venues that we as artists don’t always get to and this event allows us to reach them because the audience includes people from all over.” Green said the festival exudes “great energy.” “There’s always a crowd that gives out a lot of love,” she said. In addition to the music, education will be at the forefront of discussions throughout the

Singer Coco Jones performs at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.—AP photos

Zonnique Pullins of The OMG Girlz performs at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, Thursday. This is the first day of the four day music festival. weekend because many Essence readers have said they feel the demands on young people have become “more sophisticated” in the areas of science and technology, said Essence Communications President Michelle Ebanks. “There’s a big difference even from just a generation ago. Many feel as though the opportunities, the ability to pursue opportunities for the next generation, will be harder. There’s a global economy that our children will have to be competitive in,” Ebanks said. The July issue of Essence magazine features an interview with President Barack Obama, and the festival will expound on issues surrounding the coming election, such as the economy, “being able to pay the bills from day to day, hardships and challenges such as unemployment,” as well as the housing market crisis, Ebanks said. Among the opening-day speakers were New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who launched a mentoring project called “Saving Our Sons,” to help curb crime and violence in the city. His wife, Cheryl, also talked about her program, “Girl Up NOLA,” which seeks to inspire and motivate young girls. “Crime is an epidemic in every major city across the nation,” Ebanks said. “The mayor is calling on the entire community to invest in the lives of young men to help prevent violence by putting them on a path to where they are able to focus more on school, on getting an education, to be less likely to get involved in violence.” Essence is one of the premiere music festivals celebrating black culture and music. It’s been held every Independence Day weekend since its inception in 1995, when it marked the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine. — AP


Internet shutdown looms for some as US fix expires WASHINGTON: Tens of thousands of computer users around the world infected with malware last year may lose their Internet access Monday with the expiration of a fix by US authorities, security experts say. The problem stems from malware known as DNS Changer, which was created by cybercriminals to redirect Internet traffic by hijacking the domain name systems of Web browsers. The ring behind the DNS Changer virus, discovered in 2007, was shut down last year by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Estonian police and other law enforcement agencies. Because the virus controlled so much Web traffic, authorities obtained a court order to allow the FBI to operate replacement servers which allow traffic to flow normally, even from infected computers. But that order expires Monday, when experts say infected computers will face an “Internet doomsday.” The FBI, Facebook, Google, Internet service providers and security firms have been scrambling to warn users about the problem and direct them to fixes. According to a working group set up by experts, more than 300,000 computers remained infected as of June 11. The largest number were in the United States (69,000), but more than a dozen countries-including Italy, Germany, India, Britain, Canada, France and Australia-are also believed to have infected computers. Security experts say it’s not clear how many of those computers are active. “Reaching victims is a very hard problem, and something we have had issues with for years,” said Johannes Ullrich, a researcher with the SANS Security Institute. But he said he expected the impact to be “minimal” because many of these systems are no longer used or maintained. Users who think they are infected may perform a test at the DNS Changer Working Group’s website or others operated by various security firms. The security firm Internet Identity said last week that at least 58 of all Fortune 500 companies and two out of 55 major government entities had at least one computer or router that was infected with DNS Changer. That’s an improvement over January, when half of Fortune 500 companies and US federal agencies were infected. “DNS Changer is an insidious form of malware affecting everyone from the everyday consumer to a large chunk of the Fortune 500,” said IID chief executive Lars Harvey. IID said that the malware also compromises computers by preventing antivirus software updates. “This enables criminals to view any data, messages exchanged and more on a victim’s computer, depending on what the victims’ machines are infected with,” the company said. The security firm McAfee, which also offers a diagnostic tool at, said users must act before Monday to clean their computers. “If users’ computers have the wrong DNS settings for the servers, they will not be able to access websites, send e-mail or use Internet services,” a McAfee statement said Thursday. Google said in May it was seeking to notify 500,000 users of likely infections who were using the FBI servers. Google spokesman Jay Nancarrow said Thursday it was not clear how many remain infected. “We’ve notified many people and have seen some clean-up as a result, but we expect others with affected devices will likely encounter problems after the deadline passes,” he said. For computers affected, the blackout will be total, experts say. “Connectivity will be lost to the Internet PERIOD,” said a blog posting from the security firm Symantec. “If your computer is still using DNS entries that are pointing to the FBI servers on July 9, you will lose TOTAL access to the Internet. No connecting to the office from home, no updating Facebook, nothing until the DNS settings are fixed.” Six Estonians and a Russian were charged last November with infecting computers, including NASA machines, with the malware as part of an online advertising scam that reaped at least $14 million. The Internet fraud, which took place between 2007 and October 2011, involved redirecting users searching for websites such as iTunes, Netflix and even the US tax collection agency. At least four million computers located in over 100 countries may have been infected. — AFP

Biomechanical legs ‘a giant step for robot-kind’ US corporations express interest PARIS: Scientists in the United States say they have made the world’s most advanced pair of biomechanical legs, bringing the goal of human-friendly household robots a bit closer. About half the size of their human counterparts, the legs are the first to mimic walking in a biologically accurate, energyefficient manner, say the researchers. They have the slight up-and-down movement of human legs, using load sensors in the feet that help a small computer adjust the motion according to the surface. “One of the ideas is that we build what I call soft robots, which can be used around human beings,” said Anthony Lewis, who worked on the invention with Theresa Klein, both of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona. “In this robot, if you push against the legs, they’ll give away freely, they won’t resist you. “But conventional robots derive their heritage from industrial robots and they are very stiff-they wouldn’t be safe around

grandma. So this is a step in that direction.” The research appears on Friday in a peerreviewed publication, the Journal of Neural Engineering. The sensors are one component in a triple system that aims at imitating the human gait, which has been honed by millions of years of evolution to be as smooth and energy-efficient as our anatomy will allow. The “skeleton” of the legs copies the three joints in the lower anatomy-the hips, knees and ankles-and the muscles are straps, which move up and down as actuators. The actual movements are determined by an electronic imitation of the central pattern generator (CPG), a neural network in the lower region of the spine that is semi-autonomous from the brain. The CPG generates rhythmic muscle signals after gathering information from various parts of the body that respond to the environment. This explains why we can walk without having to think about it. “We combined the three elements, the

biomechanics and a complex central pattern generator with sensory feedback,” Lewis said in an interview with AFP. “When we put all three together, the resultant movement was very much like a human being’s and we know that because we saw a very good agreement with what we saw in human studies, particularly in the movement of the robot at the hip and knee.” The next phase will be to incorporate vision to control gait as well as other tactile sensors, “so that if you stumble, the system will correct itself and not fall over,” said Lewis. The legs are intended for fundamental research into understanding how humans learn to walk, but there could one day be gains for doctors trying to recover walking ability for patients with spinal-cord injuries, the researchers hope. In robotics, “two major corporations in the US have expressed interest in this work, and we are currently looking at transferring this technology to one of them,” said Lewis. —- AFP

RABAT: The Swiss-made solar-powered plane, Solar Impulse piloted by Bertrand Piccard, takes off from Rabat airport yesterday. The experimental solar-powered aircraft left for Madrid on its return journey to its home port in Switzerland. — AFP

Solar plane leaves Morocco for Spain RABAT: A solar-powered aircraft left the Moroccan capital yesterday for Madrid on its return journey to its home port in Switzerland, an AFP correspondent reported. Piloted by Bertrand Piccard, the Solar Impulse, an experimental plane which flies without fuel, took off shortly after 6:00 am (0700 GMT), heading towards Barajas airport in Madrid. The hi-tech aircraft, which has the wingspan of a jumbo jet but weighs no more than a medium-sized car, is fitted with 12,000 solar cells feeding four electric motors driving propellers. Strong winds had grounded the Swiss-made aircraft in Morocco on Tuesday, after it arrived in Rabat a week ago following a successful flight over the Moroccan desert. It is not known exactly when it is due to return to Switzerland-capping its first round-trip between Europe and North Africa. Last month, the solar-powered plane made the 2,500-kilometre (1,550-mile) journey from Madrid to Rabat, its longest to date and its first between continents, after an inaugural flight to Paris and Brussels last year. The flights are intended as a rehearsal for the goal of a round-the-world trip in 2014 by an updated version of the plane. — AFP

Megaupload boss takes ‘freedom fight’ to Twitter WELLINGTON: Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has taken to Twitter as a self-styled “freedom fighter” as he waits to find out if the United States can extradite him from New Zealand to face online piracy charges. The German national has amassed more than 56,000 followers in less than three weeks since he began tweeting on June 19, which he gleefully pointed out Friday exceeded New Zealand Prime Minister John Key’s 52,500 following. “Next stop @BarackObama,” he joked, setting his sights on matching the US president’s 17.2 million followers on the microblogging website. Dotcom is free on bail after armed New Zealand police, cooperating with a US investigation, arrested him at his sprawling Auckland mansion in January-a raid a High Court judge later ruled illegal. US authorities allege Megaupload and related file-sharing websites netted more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and cost copyright owners more than $500 million by offering pirated copies of movies, TV shows and other content.—AFP


New technology to catch drug mules MELBOURNE: The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service has begun a trial of body scanning technology to detect internal drug concealments. “This is a smarter, faster, way to catch drug mules,” Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare said on Thursday. “Instead of taking people suspected of concealing drugs to the hospital, this technology can confirm this on the spot. “It saves the time and resources of Australian Federal Police and local hospitals. “About half of the heroin and cocaine detected at our airports is internally concealed,” Clare said in a

statement. Travellers will only be asked to undertake a body scan where there is reasonable suspicion that they are carrying drugs internally and have given consent. The Customs and Border Protection Service is using the internal body scanner at an Australian airport as part of a 12-month pilot programme. For operational reasons the location of the body scanner will not be publicly disclosed. The body scanner will produce images of a person’s internal cavities similar to a medical X-ray image but with significantly lower radiation exposure.

The images produced by the scanner focus on internal body tissue, the skeleton, and where present, internal drug concealments within body cavities. On June 29, a pregnant Malaysian woman, who swallowed 34 pellets of heroin in Kuala Lumpur before her arrest at Melbourne airport, was jailed for a minimum 14 months after pleading guilty to importing heroin. County Court Judge Gabriele Cannon criticised Norazlinda Ramli, 35, from Puchong for putting her unborn baby’s life at risk. — AFP

Samsung smartphones flying off the shelves $5.9 billion profit recorded

LONDON: An electric car charging from an onstreet station.

New charging technology could help drivers cut the cord VANCOUVER: While British Columbians have started taking a strong interest in electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles as alternatives to gasoline-fuelled cars, there’s still hesitation in the market about all the strings attached. And by strings, I mean cords. Today’s drivers have no choice but to “plug in” to recharge the battery on their electric vehicles, at least for now. But automakers know other options are a necessity. Enter the latest innovation in automotive technology - electricvehicle charging mats. There are multiple companies that are developing ways to cut the cord, so to speak. One of the results is magnetic resonance - or the ability for drivers to replenish their battery wirelessly with a mat about the size of a laptop that sits under the vehicle. Coils on the underside of the car engage the charger when the car is parked over them. The mats are plugged in while the car isn’t. Expect to start seeing the chargers for sale around 2015. Among the companies working on this new technology are Nissan, Volkswagen, and Mitsubishi. General Motors has invested $5 million in a private company called Powermat to help find new ways to keep its Chevy Volt powered up. Right now, the technology is available for powering electronic devices used in the vehicle. GM also recently announced changes to the storage capacity and chemistry of

the Volt’s battery, which will extend the 2013 model’s range to 61 kilometres on a single charge. That’s an increase of around five kilometres. Not a lot in most respects, unless you consider where the technology was even just a few years ago. As a comparison, Toyota’s plug-in Prius is capable of travelling 24 kilometres on electricity alone, before switching over to its fuel backup. Tesla, maker of the Model S, is taking a unique approach to keeping its cars powered up. At some time in the future (the automaker is being coy about dates), Tesla plans to reveal what it calls the Supercharger network, which can re-power one of its cars in less than an hour. Speculation is that the network will involve battery swapping and solar panels. These options, combined with efforts to build a strong network of car-charging stations across the province, mean next summer’s road trip could take on a whole new electrifying look. Auto Notes: Congratulations are in order for Christian Chia, president and CEO of Richmond’s Open-Road Auto Group, who was recently named the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association 2012 Innovator Laureate. Individuals recognized as Laureates join an elite club of the industry’s finest dealers and Christian Chia most certainly fits the bill. —- AP

SEOUL: Soaring sales of the Galaxy smartphone drove record quarterly profit of $5.9 billion at Samsung Electronics, though the South Korean tech giant is sweating over how Europe’s debt crisis is denting demand in its biggest market for televisions and home appliances. The flagship Galaxy smartphones are likely to have stretched their lead over rivals Apple and Nokia - despite a parts shortage that meant it struggled to keep up with stronger-than-expected demand for its latest S III model. While strong handset sales grab the headlines, more than doubling profit growth, other businesses such as chips and consumer electronics are battling weak prices and demand and a limp euro, which eats away at repatriated profits. In a sign that the euro zone crisis is exercising minds in boardrooms around the globe, Samsung executives said this week the group was operating to a contingency plan. “Europe is our biggest consumer electronics market and we may have to initiate cost cuts and product price increases should the euro fall further from the current level,” said one executive who didn’t want to be named as the plan is internal. “Our smartphones are flying off the shelves, with some outlets reporting 40-60 percent sales growth, but that’s distorting the overall trading outlook which is more challenging due to the weak global economy and a weak euro.” The euro has fallen around 5 percent against the Korean won since April, and about 8 percent in the past year, to 2-year lows. In its April-June earnings guidance yesterday, Samsung, valued at $170 billion and the world’s leading maker of TVs, smartphones and DRAM memory chips, estimated operating profit jumped 79 percent to 6.7 trillion won from a year ago - in line with an average forecast in a Reuters survey of 23 analysts. That would be 14.5 percent higher than the previous record quarterly profit in January-March. Samsung estimated its second-quarter revenue at 47 trillion won ($41.4 billion), just below a 50 trillion won forecast. “Revenue is below our forecast, which suggests price pressure was

more severe than had been expected in products such as televisions and home appliances,” said Nho Geunchang, analyst at HMC Investment Securities in Seoul. “Earnings will be stronger in the current quarter as sales of the highend Galaxy S III will increase dramatically and drive the telecom division’s earnings to above 5 trillion won,” he said, predicting shipments of the S III would hit 19 million this quarter. Samsung is due to release its full second-quarter results - the first since its components chief Kwon Oh-hyun took over as CEO - towards the end of this month. Samsung and local rival LG Electronics are among the few global TV makers making money and gaining market share from stumbling Japanese rivals Sony, Panasonic and Sharp. But, spooked particularly by a weak chip market, Samsung shares have dropped 15 percent in the past two months, while the broader Korean market has fallen just over 5 percent, and Apple has gained almost 3 percent. The stock lost another 2 percent on Friday, closing at 1.16 million won ($1,000) in a market down 0.9 percent. “Samsung’s profits have yet to peak, and with smartphone sales and recovering chip prices to propel earnings even higher in the second-half, the bar’s been raised so high that even in-line earnings disappoint some opti-

mists,” said Lee Jin-woo, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities. Smaller Taiwanese rival HTC, which once boasted the biggest share of the US smartphone market, on Friday reported that its quarterly net profit more than halved as European sales disappointed and US sales were delayed by customs inspections. Profit from Samsung’s mobile division is likely to have more than doubled to around 4.4 trillion won from a year ago, with sales of around 50 million smartphones - at a rate of 380 every minute. Current quarter mobile profits are expected to forge further ahead as the latest Galaxy model enjoys a boom before the next iPhone launch. Samsung’s overall third-quarter operating profit is likely to be between 7.3 trillion won and 9.1 trillion won, an increase of as much as 36 percent from the second quarter, according to a Reuters survey of 14 analysts. The mobile business brings in more than 70 percent of Samsung’s earnings. While the next iPhone, expected later this year, will likely slow Samsung’s handset earnings growth, it will boost the Korean firm’s semiconductor earnings as Samsung is the sole producer of processing chips used to power the iPhone and iPad, and also supplies Apple with mobile memory chips, NAND flash and display screens.—Reuters

SEOUL: Chinese children try out Galaxy smartphones at Samsung’s showroom in Seoul yesterday. Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest maker of memory chips, mobile phones, flat-screen panels and televisions, said yesterday that its preliminary second-quarter operating profit jumped nearly 80 percent from a year ago to a record high. Analysts said the sharp rise was driven by Galaxy smartphone sales. — AP

TV listings


Brothers 20:10 The Looney Tunes Show 20:35 What’s New Scooby-Doo? 21:00 Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries 21:25 The Garfield Show 21:50 The Flintstones 22:15 Droopy & Dripple 22:40 Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo 23:05 Popeye 23:20 The Jetsons 23:45 Duck Dodgers

00:45 Crime Scene Wild 01:40 Untamed & Uncut 02:35 Shark Attack Survival Guide 03:30 Up Close And Dangerous 03:55 Up Close And Dangerous 04:25 Wildest India 05:20 Cheetah Kingdom 05:45 Predator’s Prey 06:10 E-Vets: The Interns 06:35 E-Vets: The Interns 07:00 Karina: Wild On Safari 07:25 Meerkat Manor 07:50 Bondi Vet 08:15 Corwin’s Quest 09:10 Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild 09:35 Breed All About It 10:05 Crocodile Hunter 11:00 Dogs/Cats/Pets 101 11:55 Michaela’s Animal Road Trip 12:50 Wildlife SOS 13:45 Animal Planet’s Most Outrageous 14:40 Animal Planet’s Most Outrageous 15:35 Animal Planet’s Most Outrageous 16:30 Animal Planet’s Most Outrageous 17:25 Animal Planet’s Most Outrageous 18:20 O’shea’s Big Adventure 19:15 O’shea’s Big Adventure 20:10 Great Ocean Adventures 21:05 Wildest Africa 22:00 Cats 101 22:55 Whale Wars: Viking Shores 23:50 Untamed & Uncut

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

Doctor Who Confidential Walk On The Wild Side Doctors Live At The Apollo The Royle Family The Impressions Show Allo ‘allo! Balamory 3rd & Bird Bobinogs Nina And The Neurons Teletubbies Boogie Beebies Little Robots Balamory 3rd & Bird Bobinogs Nina And The Neurons Teletubbies Boogie Beebies Doctor Who One Foot In The Grave Dinnerladies As Time Goes By The Weakest Link Coast Robin Hood After You’ve Gone 2 Point 4 Children Casualty Eastenders Eastenders Monarch Of The Glen Doctor Who Doctor Who Confidential Robin Hood Allo ‘allo! Rev. Gavin & Stacey Live At The Apollo Fawlty Towers Great Ormand Street The Impressions Show Twenty Twelve The Weakest Link

00:30 Celebrity Fantasy Homes 01:15 Celebrity Fantasy Homes 02:00 The Boss Is Coming To Dinner 02:25 Nigel Slater’s Simple Suppers 02:50 New Scandinavian Cooking With Andreas Viestad 03:15 Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey 04:10 MasterChef 05:00 Living In The Sun 05:50 The Boss Is Coming To Dinner 06:15 Bargain Hunt 07:00 Antiques Roadshow 10:20 Antiques Roadshow 11:10 Masterchef: The Professionals 12:05 Masterchef: The Professionals 12:30 Bargain Hunt

MONSTERS ON OSN ACTION HD 13:15 Bargain Hunt 14:00 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 15:20 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 16:00 Come Dine With Me 16:50 Antiques Roadshow 20:10 Antiques Roadshow 21:00 Cash In The Attic 21:45 Cash In The Attic 22:30 Bargain Hunt 23:15 Bargain Hunt

00:00 BBC World News America 00:30 BBC World News America 01:00 BBC World News 01:30 Newsnight 02:00 BBC World News 02:30 Our World 03:00 BBC World News 03:10 Weekend World 03:30 Collaboration Culture 04:00 BBC World News 04:30 Rendezvous With Zeinab Badawi 05:00 BBC World News 05:10 Faster, Higher, Stronger 06:00 BBC World News 06:30 Fast Track 07:00 BBC World News 07:10 The Intelligence Squared Debate 08:00 BBC World News 08:30 Middle East Business Report 09:00 BBC World News 09:30 Click 10:00 BBC World News 10:10 Weekend World 10:30 Collaboration Culture 11:00 BBC World News

11:10 World Football Focus 11:30 Rendezvous With Zeinab Badawi 12:00 BBC World News 12:10 The Culture Show Special 13:00 BBC World News 13:10 World Features 13:30 Newsnight 14:00 BBC World News 14:30 Our World 15:00 BBC World News 15:10 Weekend World 15:30 One Square Mile 16:00 BBC World News 16:15 Sport Today 16:30 Fast Track 17:00 BBC World News 17:30 Dateline London 18:00 BBC World News 18:10 Faster, Higher, Stronger 19:00 BBC World News 19:30 Click 20:00 BBC World News 20:10 The Intelligence Squared Debate 21:00 BBC World News 21:15 Sport Today 21:30 Fast Track 22:00 BBC World News 22:30 Click 23:00 BBC World News 23:10 World Features 23:30 Dateline London

00:10 00:35 01:00 01:25 01:50 02:15

Puppy In My Pocket Tom & Jerry Kids Scooby Doo Where Are You! The Flintstones Pink Panther And Pals Looney Tunes

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

Popeye Classics Dexter’s Laboratory Tom & Jerry Looney Tunes The Scooby Doo Show Johnny Bravo The Flintstones The Jetsons Wacky Races Johnny Bravo Dexter’s Laboratory A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Bananas In Pyjamas Jelly Jamm Baby Looney Tunes Gerald McBoing Boing Ha Ha Hairies Pink Panther And Pals The Garfield Show What’s New Scooby-Doo? What’s New Scooby-Doo? Droopy: Master Detective The Looney Tunes Show Dexter’s Laboratory Johnny Bravo Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch Johnny Bravo Pink Panther And Pals The Garfield Show Wacky Races Dastardly And Muttley The Scooby Doo Show Dexters Laboratory Dexter’s Laboratory The Garfield Show Looney Tunes Tom & Jerry Tom & Jerry Pink Panther And Pals Pink Panther And Pals Johnny Bravo Johnny Bravo Scooby Doo Meets The Boo

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 Ed, Edd n Eddy 06:25 Casper’s Scare School 07:00 The Powerpuff Girls 07:15 Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi 07:40 Total Drama: Revenge Of The Island 08:05 The Amazing World Of Gumball 08:30 Adventure Time 08:55 Regular Show 09:20 Batman Brave And The Bold 09:45 Young Justice 10:05 Thundercats 10:35 Hero 108 11:00 Redakai: Conquer The Kairu 11:25 Grim Adventures Of... 12:15 Courage The Cowardly Dog 13:05 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 13:30 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 13:55 Powerpuff Girls 14:45 Thundercats 15:10 Generator Rex 15:35 Ben 10 16:00 Ed, Edd n Eddy 16:50 The Amazing World Of Gumball 17:15 Adventure Time 17:40 Regular Show 18:05 Powerpuff Girls 18:55 Ben 10: Alien Force 19:20 Ben 10: Alien Force 19:45 Ed, Edd n Eddy 20:35 Bakugan: Mechtanium Surge 21:00 Star Wars: The Clone Wars 21:25 Redakai: Conquer The Kairu 21:50 Grim Adventures Of... 22:00 Codename: Kids Next Door 22:50 Ben 10 23:15 Ben 10 23:40 Chowder

00:00 00:30 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 05:45 06:00 07:00 07:30 08:00 08:15 08:30 09:00 09:15 09:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 14:00 14:30 15:00 15:30 16:00 16:30 17:00 17:30 18:00 18:15 18:30

Amanpour World Sport Piers Morgan Tonight World Report Anderson Cooper 360 Piers Morgan Tonight Quest Means Business CNN Marketplace Africa The Situation Room World Sport Inside The Middle East World Report CNN Marketplace Africa Backstory World Report CNN Marketplace Middle East Eco Solutions World Sport Living Golf The Best Of The Situation Room World Report Backstory The Brief Inside Africa World Report Cnngo Talk Asia Business Traveller World’s Untold Stories Backstory International Desk African Voices CNN Marketplace Europe CNN Marketplace Africa The Brief

19:00 19:30 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:30 22:00 23:00 23:30

World Sport Mainsail International Desk Inside Africa International Desk Inside The Middle East The Best Of The Situation Room World Report World’s Untold Stories

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

Weird Or What? One Way Out How Sports Are Made How Sports Are Made Wheeler Dealers Revisited Fifth Gear Fifth Gear Weird Or What? How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Gold Divers How It’s Made Building The Future Mega Builders Extreme Engineering Cut In Half Man, Woman, Wild Alaska’s Great Race Ultimate Survival Ultimate Survival World’s Toughest Jobs Coal Extreme Fishing Hillbilly Handfishin’ Tornado Road Finding Bigfoot Gold Rush Deadliest Catch Hillbilly Handfishin’ Extreme Fishing River Monsters: Lair Of Giants

00:35 01:25 02:15 02:40 03:05 03:35 04:25 05:15 06:05 07:00 07:25 07:50 08:15 08:40 08:43 09:10 09:40 10:30 11:20 12:10 13:00 13:50 14:45 15:35 16:30 17:20 18:10 18:40 19:30 20:20 21:10 22:00 22:50 23:40

Superships Science Of The Movies Game Changers Game Changers The Gadget Show Smash Lab Space Pioneer Superships Science Of The Movies Game Changers Game Changers Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger Head Rush Things That Move Things That Move Engineered Sport Science Sport Science Sport Science Sport Science Sport Science Prophets Of Science Fiction Ecopolis Future Weapons Meteorite Men Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger Scrapheap Challenge Mega World Brave New World Weird Or What? Dark Matters Brave New World Prophets Of Science Fiction

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 06:25 06:40 Cody 07:05 07:30 07:40 07:55

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 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Jake & The Neverland Pirates The Suite Life Of Zack And So Random Phineas And Ferb Phineas And Ferb Shake It Up

TV listings

SATURDAY, JULY 7, 2012 08:20 08:45 09:10 09:35 10:20 10:25 11:40 12:05 12:30 12:55 13:15 13:20 13:45 14:10 14:35 15:00 15:20 15:25 15:50 16:15 16:40 17:00 18:20 19:05 19:10 19:35 20:00 20:25 20:50 22:05 22:30 22:55 Cody 23:45

Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place Jessie Disney Princess Tangled Ever After Aladdin & The King Of Thieves Disney Princess Fish Hooks Shake It Up Good Luck Charlie Tangled Ever After A.N.T. Farm Austin & Ally Jessie Wizards Of Waverly Place Good Luck Charlie Tangled Ever After Phineas And Ferb Shake It Up So Random My Babysitter’s A Vampire Princess Protection Program Disney Princess Tangled Ever After Disney Princess Wizards Of Waverly Place Good Luck Charlie Jessie Aladdin & The King Of Thieves So Random Fish Hooks The Suite Life Of Zack And

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

The Haunted Mysterious Journeys True CSI On The Case With Paula Zahn Extreme Forensics The Haunted Mysterious Journeys Disappeared Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery ER Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Mystery ER Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Forensic Detectives Murder Shift Real Emergency Calls Mystery ER Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared The Haunted Ghost Lab A Haunting

Sonny With A Chance

04:30 Geo Sessions 05:00 Banged Up Abroad 06:00 Travel Oz 07:00 Meet The Natives: USA 08:00 Which Way To 09:00 Deadliest Journeys 09:30 Chasing Che: Latin America On A Motorcycle 10:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 11:00 The Ride: Alaska To Patagonia 12:00 Eccentric Uk 13:00 Banged Up Abroad 14:00 Travel Oz 14:30 Travel Oz 15:00 Meet The Natives: USA 16:00 Which Way To 17:00 Departures 18:00 Treks In A Wild World 19:00 One Man & His Campervan 20:00 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 21:00 Travel Madness 22:00 Twister Tours 23:00 A World Apart

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00

Trapped Stonehenge Decoded (1 hour) Ancient Megastructures Fight Science Hunter Hunted The Known Universe Cruise Ship Diaries Bite Me With Dr. Mike Leahy Trapped Stonehenge Decoded (1 hour) Ancient Megastructures Fight Science Hunter Hunted The Known Universe Untamed Americas Perilous Journeys Master of Disaster Apocalypse: The Second World

War 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Big, Bigger, Biggest World’s Deadliest Animals Shark Men Banged Up Abroad Sea Patrol Salvage Code Red

00:00 Wild Russia 01:00 Built For The Kill 01:55 World’s Wildest Encounters 02:50 Swamp Men 03:45 Fairy Penguins: The Secret of Sydney Harbour 04:40 Expedition Wild 05:35 Shark Men 06:30 Salmon Wars 07:25 World Wild Web 07:50 Savannah 08:20 Dam Beavers 09:15 Caught In The Act 10:10 Leopard Queen 11:05 Dangerous Encounters 12:00 Built For The Kill 13:00 Wild Chronicles 13:30 Wild Chronicles 14:00 Kangaroo Kaos 15:00 Expedition Wild 16:00 Dangerous Encounters 17:00 Hunter Hunted 18:00 Killer Dragons 19:00 Expedition Wild 20:00 Dangerous Encounters 21:00 Hunter Hunted 22:00 Killer Dragons 23:00 Built For The Kill

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Burning Bright-PG15 8 Mile-PG15 Monsters-PG15 The League Of Extraordinary

00:00 Departures 01:00 Extreme Expeditions 02:00 First Ascent 03:00 Meet The Natives: USA 04:00 Keeping Up With The Joneses 04:30 Geo Sessions 05:00 Banged Up Abroad 06:00 Travel Oz 07:00 Meet The Natives: USA 08:00 Which Way To 09:00 Deadliest Journeys 09:30 Chasing Che: Latin America On A Motorcycle 10:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 11:00 The Ride: Alaska To Patagonia 12:00 Eccentric Uk 13:00 Banged Up Abroad 14:00 Travel Oz 15:00 Meet The Natives: USA 16:00 Which Way To 17:00 Departures 18:00 Treks In A Wild World 19:00 One Man & His Campervan 20:00 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 21:00 Travel Madness 22:00 Twister Tours 23:00 A World Apart

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00

Departures Extreme Expeditions First Ascent Meet The Natives: USA Keeping Up With The Joneses

Gentlemen-PG15 08:00 True Justice: Dark Vengeance-18 10:00 The Lost Future-PG15 12:00 The Warrior’s Way-PG15 14:00 True Justice: Dark Vengeance-18 16:00 Jesse Stone: Innocents LostPG15 18:00 The Warrior’s Way-PG15 20:00 Sniper: Reloaded-18 22:00 Anaconda-PG15 23:45 Bram Stoker’s Dracula-18

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

Camp Hope-PG15 Return To Sleepaway CampThe Borrowers-PG Love Hurts-PG15 Letters To Juliet-PG15 Attack The Block-PG15 The Dukes-PG15 District 9-PG15 Prom-PG15 Fast Five-PG15 Tamara Drewe-18 Spread-R

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:30 Curb Your Enthusiasm 02:00 Curb Your Enthusiasm 02:30 Enlightened 03:00 New Girl 03:30 Melissa & Joey 04:00 Til Death 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 The Simpsons 06:00 Friends 06:30 10 Items Or Less 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Til Death 08:30 New Girl 09:00 The Simpsons

09:30 30 Rock 10:00 Modern Family 10:30 10 Items Or Less 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Friends 12:30 Til Death 13:00 The Simpsons 13:30 10 Items Or Less 14:00 Melissa & Joey 14:30 Modern Family 15:00 30 Rock 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:30 Friends 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Best Friends Forever 18:30 Bent 19:00 The Office 19:30 Breaking In 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 22:00 Saturday Night Live 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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

Jane By Design Smash The Bachelor Fairly Legal True Blood Good Morning America Terra Nova Castle The Martha Stewart Show The View Jane By Design Fairly Legal Smash Live Good Morning America Terra Nova Criminal Minds Criminal Minds C.S.I. New York Law & Order: Criminal Intent The Killing

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 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

Unforgettable Smash Boardwalk Empire Fairly Legal Smash Jane By Design Unforgettable The Ellen DeGeneres Show Inside The Actor’s Studio Jane By Design Fairly Legal Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Castle Unforgettable Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Body Of Proof Criminal Minds Criminal Minds C.S.I. New York Law & Order: Criminal Intent Boardwalk Empire

01:00 Assassination Tango-18 03:00 D.E.B.S-18 05:00 Kull The Conqueror-PG15 07:00 From Paris With Love-PG15 09:00 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within-PG 11:00 Kull The Conqueror-PG15 13:00 Spider-Man-PG 15:15 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within-PG 17:00 Aeon Flux-PG15 19:00 Double Impact-18 21:00 Anaconda-PG15 23:00 Outcast-R


00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00

The Slammin’ Salmon-18 Made In Dagenham-PG15 The Open Road-PG15 Fat Albert-PG Elevator Girl-PG15 A Guy Thing-PG15 Nothing Like The Holidays-

PG15 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00

My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend-PG15 A Guy Thing-PG15 The Extra Man-PG15 40 Days And 40 Nights-18 Team America: World Police-18

01:00 03:00 05:15 07:30 09:15 11:00 12:45 14:45 16:30 19:15 21:15 23:30

Body Of Evidence-R L’armee Du Crime-18 Random Hearts-PG15 Divorces!-PG15 Soapdish-PG Unstrung Heroes-PG15 Inside Job-PG15 Soapdish-PG My Name Is Khan-PG15 The Associate-PG15 Sideways-18 Arlington Road-PG15

01:00 Hitch-PG15 03:00 According To Greta-PG15 05:00 Hop-PG 07:00 The Girl In The Park-PG15 09:00 Dear John-PG15 10:45 How Do You Know-PG15 12:45 Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story-PG 14:15 Senna-PG15 16:00 Dear John-PG15 18:00 Knight And Day-PG15 20:00 A Closed Book-18 22:00 No Strings Attached-18

02:30 Super Rugby 06:30 Futbol Mundial 07:00 Live AFL Premiership 10:00 Futbol Mundial 10:30 Live Super Rugby 12:45 Live Cricket One Day International 20:45 Super Rugby 22:30 Volvo Ocean Race

00:00 02:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 10:00 10:30 12:30 14:30 15:30 16:00 18:00 20:00 21:00 23:00

WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line Super League NRL Premiership WWE Bottom Line Super League PGA European Tour Weekly Live NRL Premiership Live Super Rugby WWE Bottom Line Futbol Mundial Live Super Rugby Live Super Rugby UFC Countdown WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line

00:30 02:30 05:00 06:00 07:00 11:30 12:00 12:30 15:00 19:00 19:30 22:00

Super Rugby AFL Premiership Golfing World World Pool Masters European PGA Tour Mobil 1 The Grid NRL Full Time Live NRL Premiership Live European PGA Tour Mobil 1 The Grid AFL Premiership NRL Premiership

00:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter 01:00 WWE Smackdown 03:00 WWE Bottom Line 04:00 UFC Unleashed 05:00 UFC 148 Countdown 06:00 UFC Unleashed 07:00 Mobil 1 The Grid 07:30 V8 Supercars Extra 08:00 Live V8 Supercars 10:00 WWE SmackDown 12:00 NRL Full Time 12:30 Live AFL Premiership 15:30 Live Volvo Ocean Race 17:00 Live Sailing World Match Racing Tour 19:00 V8 Supercars 21:00 WWE Bottom Line 22:00 UFC 148 Countdown 23:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter


Announcements Indian Embassy passport and visa Passports and Visa applications can be deposited at the two outsourced centers of M/S BLS Ltd at Sharq and Fahaheel. Details are available at and .

Hoshdur Khan hosts reception for IKFS patron Sami Bubere


he President of Mill Council and a well-known businessman Hoshdur Khan hosted a warm reception to the visiting Patron of Indo-Kuwait Friendship Society Sami Bubere at his premises in Mirghab. Hoshdur Khan in his welcome speech congratulated Sami as being the Patron of IKFS as well as a well-known journalist in Mumbai whose father Abdul Hamid Bubere was a contemporary of Senior Indian Leaders such as Moulana Abdul Kalam Azad and Jawahar Lal Nehru. Sami in his reply speech thanked Hoshdur Khan Saheb as being chief guest of the event and indicated that he has enthralled with the good humanitarian works of Kuwait’s two most admiring philanthropists Hoshdur Khan and Muzammil Malik. Some of the Urdu poems instantly edited by Sami were given to a great applause from the audience. Dr Ghalib Al-Mashoor, President of IKFS also invit-

ed in the event with several other dignitaries such as Muzammil Malik (a nominee of Padmashri award) and Shaikh Anwar Salafi, a Senior Islamic scholar from “Islamic Heritage Committee of Kuwait”, Shaikh Isaaq of Cuddapa Muslim Welfare Society and Khalid AlAzmi. During the function, a class was also conducted about the “Significance of Muslims’ 8th month of Shaaban” and scholarly discussions were also held during the Q&A session. Renowned Islamic Scholar Saikh Anwar Salafi was given the keynote speaker’s responsibility and said that The Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) loved to fast during this month and used to fast most of the month of Sha’ban. We should also note here that anyone who has any missed fasts to make up has to make them up before the next Ramadan comes. It is not permissible to delay it until after the follow-

ing Ramadan except in cases of necessity (such as a valid excuse that continues between the two Ramadans). Whoever is able to make them up before the (second) Ramadan and does not do so, has to make them up after the (second) Ramadan. Another benefit of fasting in Sha’ban is that it is a kind of training for the Ramadan fast, in case a person finds it difficult to fast when Ramadan starts, if he fasts in Sha’ban he will get used to fasting and he will feel strong and energetic when Ramadan comes. Sha’ban is like an introduction to Ramadan and it has some things in common with Ramadan, such as fasting, reciting holy Quran and giving charity. Salamah ibn Suhayl used to say: “The month of Sha’ban is the month of “Reciters” (of the Holy Quraan -”When Sha’ban came, ‘Amr ibn Qays Al-Mala’i used to close his store and devote his time to reading the holy Qur’an.

Competitions in Patriotic songs


ndo-Kuwait Friendship Society, Kuwait ( is planning to conduct competitions in Indian and Kuwaiti Patriotic songs. This is the first time in Kuwait, an Indian Association is organizing contests in “Patriotic Songs” for both Indian and Kuwaiti School students. The first 3 places will be declared separately by Judges who are experts in Indian and Kuwaiti Patriotic songs. Several prizes and awards will be handed over for the winning schools. Pradeep Rajkumar and A K S Abdul Nazar said that IKFS wants let our children learn what they mean as a “Patriotic” to their home country. 4 pages of spot Essay competition related to “Patriotism” also will be held in the same day as a spot registration. 1 Girl and 1 Boy student from each School can participate in the ESSAY contest. Dr. Mohamed Tareq, Chairman of the First Indian Model School in Kuwait “ Salmiya Indian Model School (SIMS) already confirmed as a Co-Sponsor of the Program. Conditions apply: 1. The competitions are meant for all the Schools located in Kuwait and should be nominated by school authority. 2. Each school can select group of 7 students for the “PATRIOTIC SONGS (Indian and Kuwaiti)” and nominate separately. 3. Children of above 12 years till 17 years (VII classes to

XII classes) are eligible for the contest. But if School is permitted 4. Musical instruments or KARAOKE mixer should be accompanied by the participating students/Children and the school team should operate and select the mixers. 5. Time frame: 7 minutes - Names will be called as “First come” in the Registration. The Event will be held at the auditorium of “Salmiya Indian Model School” on Saturday, 27th October 2012 from 09:30 am onwards. It will be a full day program with fun and full of entertainments. Food-stalls of different Kuwaiti and Indian tastes will installed. Dr. Ghalib Al-Mashoor said in a press release that Invitations for all schools located in various parts of Kuwait are already been sent. Schools under one management but from different locations can also participate in the contest individually. As per the school directory, there 23 Indian schools in Kuwait. The last date of receiving names of the Participants is scheduled on 2nd day of October, 2012 (INDIA’s GHANDI JAYANTHI DAY). The entry is free to all and due to 2nd day of Eid Al-Adha holidays, a large crowd is expected to attend in addition to, Senior Kuwaiti and Indian citizens will also grace the function. All the applications of interest should be sent to: Phone:99430786

Consular Open House Consular Wing is providing daily service of Open House to Indian citizens on all workings days from 1000 hrs to 1100 hrs and from 1430 hrs to 1530 hrs by the Consular Officer in the Meeting Room of the Consular Hall at the Embassy. For any unaddressed issues, Second Secretary (Consular) can be contacted. Furthermore, the head of the Consular Wing is also available to redress grievances. Indian workers helpline/helpdesk Indian workers helpline is accessible by toll free telephone number 25674163 from all over Kuwait. It provides information and advice to Indian workers as regards their grievances, immigration and other matters. The help desk at the Embassy (Open from 9AM to 1PM and 2PM to 4:30PM, Sunday to Thursday) provides guidance to Indian nationals on routine immigration, employment, legal and other issues. It also provides workers assistance in filling up labour complaint forms. For any unaddressed issues, the concerned attachÈ in the Labour section and the head of the Labour Wing can be contacted. Legal Advice Clinic Free legal advice is provided on matters pertaining to labour disputes, terms of contracts with employers, death/accident compensation, withholding of dues by employers, etc. by lawyers on our panel, to Indian nationals on all working days between 1500hrs to 1600hrs. Ambassador’s Open House The Open House for Indian citizens by the Ambassador is being held on all Wednesdays at the Embassy for redressal of grievances. In case Wednesday is an Embassy holiday, the meeting will be held on the next working day. ‘Leniency of Islam’ An unprecedented initiative of KTV2 (English channel) is the new program by the name ‘Leniency of Islam’ presented by Shaikh Musaad Alsane and directed by Hamid Al-Turkait. The program is mainly meant to address the expatriates living in Kuwait. Religious questions are received through the program email and sms can be sent to- 97822021 and answered by the lecturer and Imam in Awqaf Ministry Shaikh Musaad Alsane - a Master Degree holder in Sharia and fiqih from Kuwait University. So don’t forget to watch the program every Friday at 1:00 pm. Free Arabic course IPC is opening an Intensive Basic Arabic Course for ladies commencing from June 3 to July 8, 2012. The class will be from 5-7 pm for three days a week. Registration is on! For information, call 22512257.

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


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

(Sitting from left to right): Dr.Vinod Grover; Dr. Amir Ahmed; Ambassador Satish Mehta; Dr Nampoory; Dr Usha Rajaram. (Standing from left to right): Dr Jafer Ismail; Dr Jaganath RC; Dr Sameer Humad; Dr Nazim Parker; Dr Jasneet Narang; Dr. Sankar Narayana; Dr Radhakrishna Panicker and Dr Suraj Davis.

IDF delegation calls on Indian Ambassador


delegation of the office-bearers of Indian Doctors Forum (IDF) headed by President, Dr Amir Ahmed and Chairman, Dr Nampoory called on Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Satish Mehta. The Ambassador congratulated the new team and conveyed his wholehearted support to the various community welfare activities of the IDF. He extolled the new committee to continue to conduct frequent free med-

ical consultation camps which were of great help and benefit to the lesser privileged members of the Indian community. Various issues of concern to the Indian doctors working in Kuwait were discussed at the meeting. The Ambassador assured the delegation that all necessary steps are being taken to implement the MOU signed between officials of the Ministries of Health - India and Kuwait. As per the MOU, the post

graduate medical degrees from medical colleges recognized by Medical Council of India would be accredited and recognized by the Ministry of Health, Kuwait. The delegation requested the Ambassador for his continued patronage, advice and support for all IDF activities and assured the Ambassador that the new committee would strive hard to further enhance and strengthen IndoKuwait relations.

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 nnnnnnn

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 has started 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. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF KOREA The Embassy of the Republic of Korea wishes to inform that it has moved to Mishref. New Address: Embassy of the Republic of Korea Mishref, Block 7A, Diplomatic Area 2, Plot 6 The Embassy also wishes to inform that it will be opened to the public on the following office hours: 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 nnnnnnn


ASSE Kuwait Chapter holds ‘HAZOP leader training’


merican Society of Safety Engineers, Kuwait Chapter organized a three-day training program on “HAZOP Leader Training” at Kohinoor Hotel, Fahaheel, Kuwait, in collaboration with International Risk Control Asia (IRCA), India. The three-day training program was held from July 1, 2012 to July 3, 2012. The training session was commenced with a welcome note and the tutor Rajneesh Kumar, was introduced by G Sampath Reddy, Secretary ASSE Kuwait chapter. Rajneesh Kumar, IRCA operations in India started the session with his curriculum, Risk Management, Hazard Identification Techniques, HAZOP - Introduction and

Methodology, HAZOP recommendations and Reporting, Qualitative Risk Assessment, HAZOP of a Batch Process, Role of HAZOP Leader, HAZOP of Procedures, SIL Analysis and HAZOP Software etc...with session wise workshops and related video presentations. The final exam conducted on 3rd July 2012. The delegates attended the training were Nada AlSaleh, Tariq Maqbool, Joseph George, Venkata Surya Prakash Tata, Khaled Mahmoud Yousry, Balaji Santharam, Jacob John, Periasamy Natarajan, B Sekar, Sunil N S, Sesh KS, Safdar Ali khan, Jino George and Mohammed Jabbar Ahmad.

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. nnnnnnn

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



Pfizer yanks breast, colon claims for Centrum vitamins Company to remove claims after watchdog threat

JAVA: Tori, a 15-year-old orangutan, holds a cigarette stub between her fingers inside her cage at Satwa Taru Jurug zoo in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia yesterday. Zookeepers said they plan to move Tori, who learned to smoke about a decade ago by imitating people, away from visitors who regularly throw lit cigarettes into her cage so they can watch and photograph her puffing away and exhaling smoke. —AP

Alaska aquarium cares for abandoned beluga calf SEWARD: Marine mammal specialists from across the country have descended on an Alaska aquarium to help care for a baby beluga whale that became separated from its mother shortly after its birth. The male calf is under 24-hour care at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, being fed by a stomach tube while learning how to suckle from a bottle. “He’s currently doing very well, swimming on his own and he has been from the first time he got here, learning to take food from a bottle, which has been challenging,” said Tara Riemer Jones, the center’s president and CEO. It’s believed to be the first baby beluga rescue in the United States, at least since federal record keeping began in 1972, she said. Other attempts at rescue resulted in calf deaths or in one case, the calf being returned to its pod. It’s such a rare event that specialists have been helping with the animal’s care, including staff members from the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and SeaWorld in San Diego. “It’s actually a pretty unprecedented event in certain ways,” said Dennis Christen, the Georgia Aquarium’s director of animal training who was in place 29 hours after the calf arrived in Seward. The whale was estimated to be 2 days old when it was found near South Naknek, in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, on June 18. Officials believe a storm likely separated the calf from its mother. Tim Lebling, the Alaska SeaLife Center’s stranding coordinator, flew to South Naknek that afternoon to retrieve the calf. It was flown 90 minutes back to Seward in dry transport. Lebling said the calf was placed on an air mattress in the plane, placed so its weight wouldn’t put pressure on vital organs and then constantly covered with wet towels. Lebling said it was touch-and-go for the first part of the flight, probably because of stress. “We thought he took his last breath at one point,” Lebling said, but then he breathed again. Even though the beluga is still in critical care, caregivers are guardedly optimistic about his rehabilitation. Survival odds for an animal this age coming into a stranding program are low, said Brett Long, the husbandry director at the center. —AP

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON: Drug company Pfizer Inc, bowing to allegations of deceptive advertising lodged by a consumer watchdog group, has agreed to drop “breast health” and “colon health” claims from the labels of its widely used Centrum multivitamin supplements. Although Pfizer said it disagreed with complaints lodged by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), it agreed to remove the claims from some Centrum product labels over the next six months and to withdraw them from websites and advertising within 30 days. Watchdog groups such as CSPI have taken the lead in recent years in policing the accuracy of supplements’ health claims amid widespread criticism that the US Food and Drug Administration is not doing enough to help consumers navigate conflicting information. The Government Accountability Office has also said the FDA needs more power to regulate supplements. The center sent a lengthy letter to Pfizer Chief Executive Ian Read in April alleging that separate Centrum products carried deceptive claims on their labels - that they support “energy and immunity,” “heart health”, “eye health,” “breast health, “bone health” and “colon health.” The group threatened to sue Pfizer, which acquired the Centrum franchise

through its purchase of rival US drugmaker Wyeth three years ago, unless the claims were stripped from labels of the products. Pfizer agreed to remove the claims related to breast health and colon health, and to modify language relating to heart health and energy. “The company disagrees with CSPI’s concerns, but has agreed to make these changes in order to fully resolve the issues raised by the organization,” Pfizer said in a statement provided on Thursday. A company spokesman declined to elaborate when asked about the scientific basis for the various health claims. Labels for Centrum Ultra Women’s and Centrum Silver Women’s multivitamin supplements stated that those products supported “breast health.” Likewise, labels for Centrum Ultra Men’s and Centrum Silver Ultra Men’s supplements claimed to support colon health. “Those claims of breast and colon health implied that the supplements would prevent breast and colon cancer - disease prevention claims that supplement manufacturers can’t legally make,” the watchdog group said in a release. The group said Pfizer partly based the breast and colon claims on the presence of vitamin D in the products, despite inconsistent or inconclusive evidence of vitamin D’s protective role

against breast and colon cancer. Various other Centrum products will continue to claim they foster bone health and eye health, despite CSPI’s earlier objections to the claims. “A settlement is, by its nature, something where neither side gets all it wants,” said Stephen Gardner, director of litigation for the center. “Once Pfizer agreed to drop the breast and colon cancer claims, we felt that that was too important to let things fall apart over eye and bone health.” Gardner said the vitamin claims might be interpreted as helping the structure of bone and eyes, a stronger argument than preventing complications. For Centrum products claiming “heart health,” labels and advertising will now note they are “not a replacement for cholesterol-lowering drugs.” For products promoting “energy,” language will be added to show they do not directly provide an energy boost, but instead support metabolic function, the consumer group said. Many other companies continue to make unsubstantiated health claims for supplements, Gardner said. “It’s a tremendous problem. The supplement companies want consumers to buy their supplements instead of FDA-approved actual drugs. So they make claims of disease prevention.”— Reuters

This summer is ‘what global warming looks like’ WASHINGTON: Is it just freakish weather or something more? Climate scientists suggest that if you want a glimpse of some of the worst of global warming, take a look at US weather in recent weeks. Horrendous wildfires. Oppressive heat waves. Devastating droughts. Flooding from giant deluges. And a powerful freak wind storm called a derecho. These are the kinds of extremes experts have predicted will come with climate change, although it’s far too early to say that is the cause. Nor will they say global warming is the reason 3,215 daily high temperature records were set in the month of June. Scientifically linking individual weather events to climate change takes intensive study, complicated mathematics, computer models and lots of time. Sometimes it isn’t caused by global warming. Weather is always variable; freak things happen. And this weather has been local. Europe, Asia and Africa aren’t having similar disasters now, although they’ve had their own extreme events in recent years. But since at least 1988, climate scientists have warned that climate change would bring, in general, increased heat waves, more droughts, more sudden downpours, more widespread wildfires and worsening storms. In the United States, those extremes are happening here and now. So far this year, more than 2.1 million acres have burned in wildfires, more than 113 million people in the US were in areas under extreme heat advisories last Friday,

two-thirds of the country is experiencing drought, and earlier in June, deluges flooded Minnesota and Florida. “This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level,” said Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona. “The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about.” Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in fire-charred Colorado, said these are the very record-breaking conditions he has said would happen, but many people wouldn’t listen. So it’s I told-you-so time, he said. As recently as March, a special report an extreme events and disasters by the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned of “unprecedented extreme weather and climate events.” Its lead author, Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution and Stanford University, said Monday, “It’s really dramatic how many of the patterns that we’ve talked about as the expression of the extremes are hitting the US right now.” “What we’re seeing really is a window into what global warming really looks like,” said Princeton University geosciences and international affairs professor Michael Oppenheimer. “It looks like heat. It looks like fires. It looks like this kind of environmental disasters.” Oppenheimer said that on Thursday.

That was before the East Coast was hit with triple-digit temperatures and before a derecho - a large, powerful and longlasting straight-line wind storm - blew from Chicago to Washington. The storm and its aftermath killed more than 20 people and left millions without electricity. Experts say it had energy readings five times that of normal thunderstorms. Fueled by the record high heat, this was among the strongest of this type of storm in the region in recent history, said research meteorologist Harold Brooks of the National Severe Storm Laboratory in Norman, Okla. Scientists expect “non-tornadic wind events” like this one and other thunderstorms to increase with climate change because of the heat and instability, he said. Such patterns haven’t happened only in the past week or two. The spring and winter in the US were the warmest on record and among the least snowy, setting the stage for the weather extremes to come, scientists say. Since Jan. 1, the United States has set more than 40,000 hot temperature records, but fewer than 6,000 cold temperature records, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Through most of last century, the US used to set cold and hot records evenly, but in the first decade of this century America set two hot records for every cold one, said Jerry Meehl, a climate extreme expert at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. —AP




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Prayer timings Fajr: Duhr: Asr: Maghrib: Isha:

03:20 11:53 15:27 18:52 20:22

information SATURDAY, JULY 7, 2012



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C R O S S W O R D 7 2 9


Word Sleuth Solution

Yesterday始s Solution

ACROSS 1. Aromatic bulb used as seasoning. 4. A member of an agricultural people in southeastern India. 10. Measure of the US economy adopted in 1991. 13. The cry made by sheep. 14. Of or relating to or associated with the uvula. 15. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 16. A spacecraft that carries astronauts from the command module to the surface of the moon and back. 17. Open to change. 18. A local computer network for communication between computers. 19. A midnight meeting of witches to practice witchcraft and sorcery. 21. (Sumerian) Goddess personifying earth. 23. Source of a tough elastic wood. 25. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 26. Loose or flaccid body fat. 28. An intensely radioactive metallic element that occurs in minute amounts in uranium ores. 29. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 30. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 32. A fine grained mineral having a soft soapy feel and consisting of hydrated magnesium silicate. 38. Scarabaeid beetle considered divine by ancient Egyptians. 41. A condensed but memorable saying embodying some important fact of experience that is taken as true by many people. 43. The second largest of the Hawaiian Islands. 45. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 46. Relating to or having the characteristics of bees. 49. Submerged aquatic plant having narrow leaves and small flowers. 51. A baroque musical composition (usually for a keyboard instrument) with full chords and rapid elaborate runs in a rhythmically free style. 53. A Bantu language spoken by the Kamba people in Kenya. 57. The provision of money temporarily (usually at interest). 58. Small terrestrial lizard of warm regions of the Old World. 61. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 62. A unit of area (4840 square yards) used in English-speaking countries. 63. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 64. A reptile genus of Iguanidae. 65. Bony flesh of herring-like fish usually caught during their migration to fresh water for spawning. 66. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 67. A workplace for the conduct of scientific research. DOWN 1. A bachelor's degree in library science. 2. The United Nations agency concerned with atomic energy. 3. The 11th letter of the Greek alphabet. 4. A Russian prison camp for political prisoners. 5. A new embodiment of a familiar idea. 6. Give a nickname to. 7. Having the same or similar characteristics. 8. An island in Indonesia east of Java. 9. A unit of surface area equal to 100 square meters. 10. A mountain peak in the Andes in Argentina (21,654 feet high). 11. Any of numerous low-growing cushion-forming plants of the genus Draba having rosette-forming leaves and terminal racemes of small flow-

ers with scapose or leafy stems. 12. A large heavy knife used in Central and South America as a weapon or for cutting vegetation. 20. An imaginary elephant that appears in a series of French books for children. 22. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 24. Not reflecting light. 27. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 31. A genus of Lamnidae. 33. Type genus of the Amiidae. 34. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 35. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 36. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 37. A young woman making her debut into society. 39. A member of the Caddo people who formerly lived in the Dakotas west of the Missouri river. 40. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 42. An informal term for a father. 44. Not subjected to an aging process. 45. Resembling or similar. 47. Informal terms for dogs. 48. (of complexion) Blemished by imperfections of the skin. 49. The act of slowing down or falling behind. 50. Jordan's port. 52. The basic unit of money in Bangladesh. 54. A heavy long-handled hammer used to drive stakes or wedges. 55. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 56. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 59. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 60. An adult male person (as opposed to a woman).

Yesterday始s Solution


Nationals edge Giants 6-5 on nostalgia night ST LOUIS: Washington’s Bryce Harper scored the winning run when San Francisco’s first baseman Brandon Belt couldn’t dig out a short-hop throw on a potential double-play ball in the ninth inning, giving the Nationals a 6-5 win over the Giants on Thursday. Washington completed a sweep on a night in which the US capital celebrated fond memories of the 1924 World Series. It was throwback night in Washington, as the “Senators” topped the “New York Giants” with a two-run rally off Santiago Casilla (2-4). The NL East leaders recovered from a four-run deficit and have won four straight. Tyler Clippard (2-2) pitched the ninth to get the win for the Nationals. The home team went all-out to recreate the nostalgia of ‘24, even though the game featured neither of the franchises from the Series the Senators won in seven games. The Giants moved to the West Coast in 1958, and that version of the Senators switched to Minnesota in 1961. The current Nationals are the former Montreal Expos, who moved to Washington in 2005.

with a double off Jonathan Papelbon (2-3). A sacrifice moved pinch-runner Ronny Cedeno to third before a strike out. Papelbon then hit Jordany Valdespin with a pitch and walked Ruben Tejada to load the bases. David Murphy lined a shot off Papelbon’s leg to tie the score, setting the stage for Wright. Bobby Parnell (2-1) pitched the ninth to take the win for the Mets. MARLINS 4, BREWERS 0 In Milwaukee, Carlos Lee doubled and scored in his Miami debut as the Marlins split the four game series against Milwaukee. Lee, acquired in a trade with Houston on Wednesday, started at first base. Miami starter Mark Buerhle (8-8)

struck out a season-best eight over 7 2/3 scoreless innings. He was challenged in the fourth when Milwaukee had runners at the corners with two outs, but a strike out ended the threat. The Brewers failed to advance a runner to third for the rest of the game. Milwaukee’s Mike Fiers (3-3) allowed two runs.

has won eight of nine to vault into first in the NL Central. Houston’s Bud Norris (5-6) gave up two runs in seven solid innings but the Astros’ offense sputtered a day after trading slugger Carlos Lee. Houston managed four singles and didn’t get a runner to third base until the ninth while losing its eighth straight game.

PIRATES 2, ASTROS 0 In Pittsburgh, Jeff Karstens pitched eight scoreless innings as surging Pittsburgh blanked Houston. Karstens (2-2) struck out a season-high eight against just one walk as the Pirates completed their first fourgame sweep of the Astros at home since 1979. Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee each drove in a run for Pittsburgh, which

PADRES 2, REDS 1 In San Diego, Everth Cabrera hit a basesloaded single in the ninth inning to lift San Diego over Cincinnati. Rookie Yasmani Grandal hit a leadoff triple in the ninth against Logan Ondrusek (3-2), who then intentionally walked a batter. Cameron Maybin followed with a bunt that bounced high in the air and left no play, loading the bases. The Reds brought in both infield and outfield but Cabrera’s fly ball hit the leftfield wall on one bounce, giving the Padres their season-high sixth straight win. San Diego’s All-Star Huston Street (2-0) pitched the ninth for the win. CARDINALS 6, ROCKIES 2 In St. Louis, Lance Lynn struck out seven in six shutout innings to steer St Louis past Colorado. Lynn (11-4) had been 0-2 with a 9.98 ERA in his three previous starts. The Cardinals got two RBIs apiece from Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran. Colorado starter Christian Friedrich (4-6) gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings.

DODGERS 4, DIAMONDBACKS 1 In Phoenix, Scott Van Slyke and Elian Herrera hit solo home runs as Los Angeles sent Arizona to its sixth straight loss. Van Slyke went deep off Wade Miley and Herrera hit his first big league homer to chase Arizona’s lone All-Star representative in the seventh inning. Diamondbacks starter Miley allowed four runs in 6 2-3 innings. Dodgers starter Nathan Eovaldi (15) finally notched his first win in his eighth start, allowing only one run in six innings. METS 6, PHILLIES 5 In New York, David Wright singled with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting New York over Philadelphia, preserving pitcher R.A. Dickey’s 11-game winning streak. Mets catcher Josh Thole prevented a run in the eighth when he held on to the ball despite being barreled over at home plate. New York’s Ike Davis began the ninth

SAN DIEGO: Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is airborne avoiding the slide of San Diego Padres’ Chase Headley during the sixth inning of a baseball game. — AP

MLB results/standings Detroit 7, Minnesota 3; Chicago White Sox 2, Texas 1; Miami 4, Milwaukee 0; Cleveland 3, Tampa Bay 1; Washington 6, San Francisco 5; Pittsburgh 2, Houston 0; Kansas City 9, Toronto 6; Atlanta 7, Chicago Cubs 3; NY Mets 6, Philadelphia 5; St Louis 6, Colorado 2; LA Dodgers 4, Arizona 1; San Diego 2, Cincinnati 1; LA Angels 9, Baltimore 7. American League Eastern Division W L NY Yankees 49 32 Baltimore 44 38 Tampa Bay 43 40 Boston 42 40 Toronto 42 41 Central Division Chicago White Sox 45 37 Cleveland 43 39 Detroit 41 42 Kansas City 37 44 Minnesota 35 47 Western Division Texas 50 33 LA Angels 46 37 Oakland 41 42 Seattle 35 49

PCT .605 .537 .518 .512 .506

GB 5.5 7 7.5 8

.549 .524 .494 .457 .427

2 4.5 7.5 10

.602 .554 .494 .417

4 9 15.5

National League Eastern Division Washington 48 32 NY Mets 45 38 Atlanta 43 39 Miami 40 42 Philadelphia 37 47 Central Division Pittsburgh 46 36 Cincinnati 44 38 St Louis 44 39 Milwaukee 38 44 Houston 32 51 Chicago Cubs 31 51 Western Division LA Dodgers 47 37 San Francisco 45 38 Arizona 39 43 San Diego 34 50 Colorado 31 51

.600 .542 .524 .488 .440

4.5 6 9 13

.561 .537 .530 .463 .386 .378

2 2.5 8 14.5 15

.560 .542 .476 .405 .378

1.5 7 13 15

BRAVES 7, CUBS 3 In Atlanta, Jason Heyward and Brian McCann each hit two-run homers in the first inning, setting up Atlanta’s win over Chicago. Freddie Freeman and Juan Francisco also connected for Atlanta, which salvaged a split of the four-game series. Braves starter Mike Minor (5-6) held the Cubs without a hit until the fifth and gave up three hits in 6 1-3 innings overall. Chicago’s Matt Garza (4-7), who could be one of the top starters on the market ahead of this month’s trade deadline, allowed five runs in four innings. — AP

Quintana steers White Sox past Rangers CHICAGO: Chicago rookie Jose Quintana allowed just two Texas hits in eight stellar innings as the White Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Rangers with a 2-1 win over their rival American League divisional leaders on Thursday. On a scorching day at US Cellular Field, Quintana (4-1) walked only one and struck out a career-high eight. He gave up only a leadoff single in the first and an RBI single in the fourth on a line drive that hit the pitcher near the hip and bounced past first base. With a thunderstorm hitting the ball park in the ninth, Addison Reed pitched the final inning for his 12th save in 13 chances. Kevin Youkilis took Rangers AllStar Matt Harrison (11-4) deep in the sixth to break a 1-1l tie; his second homer since joining the White Sox in a trade from Boston last month. INDIANS 3, RAYS 1 In Cleveland, Josh Tomlin pitched seven stellar innings to guide Cleveland past Tampa Bay. Tomlin (5-5) limited the Rays to two hits; easily his best outing since April. Shin-Soo Choo led off the first with a homer off Jeremy Hellickson (4-5), Michael Brantley connected in the second and Travis Hafner homered in the eighth. The Rays

have scored more than four runs only once in their past 11 games. Luke Scott went 0 for 3 and set the Tampa Bay record by going 39 straight at-bats without a hit. ROYALS 9, BLUE JAYS 6 In Toronto, Luke Hochevar won despite leaving the game with a sprained ankle, guiding Kansas City past Toronto. Hochevar (6-8) gave up four hits in five innings before leaving with his injury. He sprained his right ankle while running to cover first base on an infield single in the fifth. Eric Hosmer had three RBIs for the Royals, who had a seasonhigh 16 hits. Blue Jays starter Henderson Alvarez (57) gave up five runs in 5 1-3 innings. TIGERS 7, TWINS 3 In Detroit, Prince Fielder hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to break a tie and lift Detroit over Minnesota. Delmon Young followed with a solo shot as the Tigers split the four-game series. The damage all came against Alex Burnett (2-1), who came in at the start of the eighth. Octavio Dotel (2-2) got the win in relief, allowing one hit in 1 1-3 innings. — AP


Armstrong, cycling’s doping ghosts haunt Tour SAINT-QUENTIN: The Tour de France is shadowed again by Lance Armstrong and doping. The subject returned with a vengeance to cycling’s greatest race Thursday, and caught in the turmoil were four riders and a team manager who years ago helped Armstrong on the way to his seven Tour titles. All this on a day when Germany’s Andre Greipel won the fifth stage - his second in a row in a sprint after the 122-mile trek from Rouen to Saint-Quentin, north of Paris. Fabian Cancellara kept the race lead for a sixth straight day. The ride got off to a bumpy start after a Dutch newspaper reported the former Armstrong teammates cut a deal with the US Anti-Doping Agency for their testimony in a doping case against him. Daily De Telegraaf, citing “well-informed sources,” said USADA had given sixmonth bans to Jonathan Vaughters, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde. Later Thursday, The New York Times reported online that four of those riders - all but Vaughters would testify in the agency’s case. The paper cited two unidentified people with knowledge of the case who requested anonymity because the investigation was ongoing. Vaughters, now a team director at the Garmin-Sharp team, called the Dutch report “completely untrue.” The others declined to comment, though Hincapie said his thoughts

were with Armstrong. “I’m sad he is going through this,” said Hincapie, the only rider to have been on all of Armstrong’s Tour-winning teams. “He’s done so many things for the sport. His accomplishments are incredible.” The revelations amount to a new twist in a swirling drama over the legacy of cycling’s greatest global superstar - this time putting some of his former friends and teammates on the spot. USADA refused to confirm the report, while cautioning in a statement that the five named could be subject to “unnecessary scrutiny,

threats and intimidation.” As is often the case, the riders are likely to put their heads down, and hope that the affair blows over in time. Vande Velde and Zabriskie rode away from questions about the issue before Thursday’s start. But it’s a cloud that could chase them throughout the Tour, an additional complication and distraction in a sport that’s already physically and mentally grueling. Vande Velde, who crashed this week, and fellow Garmin-Sharp rider Zabriskie want to help Canadian teammate Ryder Hesjedal win the Tour. Leipheimer,

METZ: Netherlands’ Wouter Poels (center) is pictured after the crash of around 30 riders 26 km before the end of the sixth stage of the 2012 Tour de France cycling race starting in Epernay. — AFP

France set to lead judo challenge to Japanese ROME: Japan is the birthplace of the Olympic sport of judo and the Japanese are by far the most successful team in its history but they will face a strong challenge from France in London. Since judo became an Olympic sport, Japan have won 35 gold medals compared to 10 from the next best country, France. In the World Championships they have won more than twice as many medals as second placed France and more than three times as many as third place South Korea. But France is the home of the biggest star in judo, five-time heavyweight world champion Teddy Riner, who is chasing his first Olympic title. They also have three women’s world champions in Gevrise Emane (63kg), Lucie Decosse (-70kg) and Audrey Tcheumeo (-78kg). But Japan, who almost always top the medal table, are the only country that can field a competitor capable of winning in every weight division. Yet, while they can field two fighters per weight at the worlds, they can only pick one at the Games. Japan will likely dominate the women’s lighter divisions but selectors face a tough choice between world champions Misato Nakamura (-52kg) and Aiko Sato (-57kg) or the respective world number one’s in Yuka Nishida (-52kg) and Kaori Matsumoto (-57kg). At under-48kg the choice is perhaps slightly easier as Haruna Asami is number one and the twice reigning world champion, although Tomoko Fukumi is the number two and former world champion. The best female hope for the French is Decosse, not least because she is the star of the women’s team and widely considered, even by the Japanese, as the best women’s fighter on the circuit. A three-time world champion and four-time European champion she was beaten in the Beijing Olympic final by long-time rival Ayumi Tanimoto and is now looking to make amends. That won’t be easy, though, as Japan’s Haruka Tachimoto beat her, albeit narrowly, in the Paris Grand Slam final in February. Emane has a wonderful record with two world titles and four Europeans but she faces world number one Yoshi Ueno of Japan, herself a twice world champion. Riner, however, will clearly be the biggest draw in London and an undisputed favorite. Japan’s 1984 Olympic champion and a legend of the sport Yasuhiro Yamashita said after last year’s world championships: “Teddy Riner is a wall. Before these worlds the Japanese didn’t realize that. — AFP

the leader of the Omega Pharma QuickStep team, has long-shot victory hopes of his own. From afar, Armstrong - who has unfailingly denied doping during his career reiterated his charge that USADA was looking for a “vendetta” against him. After leaving the Tour for good in 2010, the Texan’s travails in the doping case have revived memories of a dark era in cycling in the late 1990s and 2000s when scandals badly tarnished the sport’s image. Sport authorities have since taken steps to root out drugs cheats. Cancellara worried that Armstrong’s case might linger over the sport. “For cycling this is not good, that’s for sure,” he said. “That makes me sad. But on the other hand, we have to deal with that and I hope it’s not something that is going to take three or four years like ... in other cases. “That is my biggest concern: That this is going to shut down fast.” Garmin, a team that has been vocal in its efforts to crack down on doping, finds itself in the center of the controversy, with three of the five people cited. The team got another dose of bad news when American sprinter Tyler Farrar had a fourth crash already this Tour, tumbling to the ground as the frenzied pack accelerated with just over two miles to go. Farrar straggled across the line later alone, blood streaming down his right elbow and knee. — AP

Sky, BMC play down stage seven yellow jersey battle METZ: Fans hoping to see a first yellow jersey duel between Bradley Wiggins and defending champion Cadel Evans on the first summit finish of this year’s Tour de France may have to look beyond today’s seventh stage. After a crashmarred week of bunch sprints, the pedaling rhythm and racing intensity will change for the first day in the hilly Vosges region. But who will take over the race lead from yellow jersey holder Fabian Cancellara, who expects to lose it, is anybody’s guess. The Swiss, who won the opening prologue last Saturday, spent his 27th day in the yellow jersey yesterday-a record for a rider who has not won the race overall. But Cancellara believes the final, 5.9 km climb on the 199 km ride from Tomblaine to the Planche des Belles Filles, which has steep gradients of up to 14 percent, will end his spell in yellow. “I really expect to lose the yellow jersey there,” says Cancellara, who has a 7sec lead on Wiggins and 17 on Evans. “It’s too steep for me.” Hopes of a first skirmish between Londoner Wiggins, the bookmakers’ favourite and 2011 champion Evans may be premature, however. Wiggins’ Sky team believe the stage sufficiently tough to merit a visit earlier this year, but team principal Dave Brailsford does not expect fireworks. “It’s a steep final but the climb isn’t tough enough to give us any indication of where everybody’s at,” said Brailsford, who expects the stage to entice a number of ambitious riders into a breakaway. “It’s a different type of terrain, the race changes its rhythm and tomorrow people might have a bit of purpose to get into the

breaks. “And then later on, I think certainly we’ll see some attacks and people trying to take their first opportunity to make some time differences.” Even if Wiggins and Evans go toe to toe, Brailsford believes the prizes will be minimal. “I don’t think the climb’s long enough for a big selection,” he added. “It’s very steep. That last little kick, we could see something happening there. But it’s not hard enough to separate the leading climbers, for example.” Stage seven is one of several in the medium mountains that race director Christian Prudhomme hopes will tempt those who, unlike Wiggins and Evans, have little hope of using a strong time trial performance to win the race. One such rider is RadioShack’s Frank Schleck of Luxembourg. “At the risk of repeating myself, I’m not the big favorite because of the long time trials,” said Schleck. There is little chance, however, he will be given carte blanche to jump into a breakaway, following his third place finish on the race last year. “Every day we will try to take time off our rivals, and not just Sky,” said Evans’ manager at BMC John Lelangue. “There’s other guys in the race who are dangerous too, like (Robert) Gesink, (Vincenzo) Nibali and Frank Schleck.” But he admitted: “It’s more of a transition stage after the flatter, more nervous stages earlier this week and ahead of next week’s climbs. “It will be nice to get into the medium mountains and to reach the first summit but I don’t think we’ll see big time gaps there.” — AFP


Buoyant Pakistan out to ruin Lanka’s party PALLEKELE: Pakistan will look to deny Sri Lanka a long-awaited series victory when they take on the hosts in the third and final Test in Pallekele from tomorrow. Sri Lanka, who won the first Test in Galle and drew the second in Colombo, have their best chance of winning their first series in three years since defeating New Zealand 2-0 at home in 2009. But Pakistan have been boosted by a gutsy display with both bat and ball in the rain-hit second Test on a placid wicket at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) to aim for a serieslevelling win. “If the weather had not intervened, we could have pushed for a result,” said Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq. “But everyone is encouraged by the way we played the second Test. “Hopefully we can repeat that performance in the final Test and draw the

series.” The batting flourished with Mohammad Hafeez making 196 and Azhar Ali 157 in the first innings total of 551-6 declared after Sri Lanka surprisingly chose to field on winning the toss. Pakistan then dismissed the hosts for 391, grabbing the last five wickets for 21 runs, after centuries from Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan had lifted Sri Lanka to a comfortable 236-1. Young left-arm seamer Junaid Khan claimed a five-wicket haul on a pitch that offered him no help and was deservedly named the man of the match in the batsmen-dominated Test. But there was no time to force a result after bad weather allowed just 71 of the stipulated 180 overs to be bowled on the second and third days. Pakistan had enjoyed an impressive run before the current series, winning seven of their last nine Tests, including a bril-

liant 3-0 whitewash of top-ranked England earlier this year. But the tourists must first find a way to remove Sangakkara cheaply if they are to win the final Test. The accomplished left-hander made 199 not out in the first Test and 192 in the second, toying with the Pakistani attack that included prolific spinners Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman. Sangakkara’s disappointment at missing out on two double-centuries in successive matches may have faded by the news that he has regained the number one spot in the official rankings for Test batsmen. Sangakkara, who first shot to the top of the rankings in December 2007 and then again in November last year, had slipped to number two behind Shivnarine Chanderpaul of the West Indies in March. But Sri Lanka’s batting has proved vulnerable in the

Lincicome, Salas and Kerr share Open lead WISCONSIN: Long-hitting Brittany Lincicome birdied two of her last four holes in energy-sapping heat to surge into a three-way tie for the lead in Thursday’s opening round of the US Women’s Open in Kohler, Wisconsin. Lincicome, who claimed her only major title at the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship, fired a three-under-par 69 at Blackwolf Run to end a marathon day level with fellow Americans Cristie Kerr and Lizette Salas. “I was very in control of everything today, which is a nice feeling, obviously,” a beaming Lincicome told reporters after recording five birdies and two bogeys. “I knew exactly where my tee shots were going. I knew exactly where my irons were going. “The putts, even if I read them wrong, I still kind of got back on track, and I was making them. It was one of those days where you were like, ‘That was easy’.” Kerr, winner of the 2007 US Women’s Open, parred her final 11 holes after recording three birdies in her first seven while LPGA rookie Salas mixed four birdies with a lone bogey as the trio took joint control of the year’s third major. “My goal is to kind of play like this consistently for the rest of this week and we’ll see where it falls,” said world number eight Kerr, who has not triumphed on the LPGA Tour since her second major victory at the 2010 LPGA Championship. “I’ve been pretty inconsistent this year, but I’ve found that determination, that fire in my belly today. You never know when the light switch turns on, and I feel like it has.” Japan’s Ai Miyazato, who clinched her ninth LPGA Tour title at the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday, was among a group of four players one stroke off the pace after she opened with a four-birdie 70. BURIED MEMORIES The in-form Miyazato played most of her round before the temperature peaked at around 98 degrees Fahrenheit

(36.66 degrees Celsius) and said she had intentionally buried memories of her victory four days ago. “Last week was just last week,” the 27-year-old world number three said. “I try to forget about my winning because this week is just a completely different golf course and dif-

Miyazato birdied four of her last nine holes to finish the opening round level with Americans Jennie Lee and 17-yearold Lexi Thompson as well as Spaniard Beatriz Recari. Taiwan’s world number one Yani Tseng, who has claimed five of the last 10 major titles, carded a roller-

KOHLER: Brittany Lincicome watches her tee shot on the ninth hole during the first round of the 2012 US Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin. — AFP ferent conditions, too. “I just trying to shake off everything and make a fresh start, and that’s why I think I played really well today.” Asked how difficult it had been to cope with the soaring temperatures and high humidity, Miyazato replied: “I’m lucky because I played in the morning, so it wasn’t too bad. “But the last five holes it was really hard. I had the ice pack in my golf bag ... and that helped. It wasn’t easy to keep really strong focus. You are just trying to stay in the present, and not really think about this heat.”

coaster 74 that included four birdies, one double-bogey and a triple-bogey at the par-four 11th. “I only had two bad holes,” said Tseng, who ended the opening round level with Michelle Wie and South Korea’s Ryu So-yeon, who won last year’s US Women’s Open in a playoff with compatriot Seo Hee-kyung. “I hung in there, didn’t give up any more shots, fought to the end and made up a couple of birdies on the back. Two over is not far back, and there is lots of golf to play in the next three days.” — Reuters

current series with only Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan holding the innings together with centuries in both Tests. Middle-order batsman Thilan Samaraweera has managed just 21 runs in the two games, while opener Tharanga Paranavitana and skipper Mahela Jayawardene have struggled to stamp their authority. Sri Lanka may also look for a new-ball partner for Nuwan Kulasekara after Nuwan Pradeep claimed just one wicket for 235 runs in the two Tests. The Pallekele International Stadium, built in 2009 on the outskirts of the hill town of Kandy, has hosted two drawn Tests so far, both of which were interrupted by bad weather. Light rain has been forecast for next week, but that should not prevent a keen contest between bat and ball. — AFP

Favorite tag means nothing to Serena LONDON: Serena Williams insists she will have to deliver the performance of a lifetime to win her fifth Wimbledon title against Agnieszka Radwanska in today’s final. Williams is widely expected to overpower Radwanska in her seventh Wimbledon final after the American served up a masterclass during a 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) semi-final victory over world number two Victoria Azarenka on Thursday. Azarenka is the reigning Australian Open champion and one of the more powerful strokemakers on the women’s tour, but even the Belarusian could do nothing to avoid being battered into submission as Serena hammered down a record 24 aces. Serena served more aces in one set against Azarenka than Radwanska has managed in the entire tournament. That formidable weapon combined with her wealth of experiencethis is Serena’s 18th Grand Slam final but the first for Radwanska-make it easy to see why the sixth seed is heavily favored to clinch her 14th major title. But Serena, the first 30-year-old to reach the Wimbledon final since Steffi Graf in 1999, has too much respect for Polish third seed Radwanska to be drawn into the hype that has her already crowned champion. “Radwanska has been playing well. She’s been consistent this year, more consistent than I have,” Serena said. “That tells me I really need to go out there and be ready to hit a lot of shots and be ready to play hard. “She has great hands and she does everything so well. If I come out flat, I won’t win.” Serena has hit a total of 85 aces in the tournament which would put her into second place on the men’s list where only Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber has notched more with 98. But Radwanska, who beat Germany’s Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4 to become the first Polish Grand Slam finalist for 73 years, is a superb counter-puncher capable of extending rallies long enough to force crucial errors. With that in mind, Serena believes just relying on her serve would be too one-dimensional against an opponent as cunning as Radwanska. “I think if I try to do too much overpowering I can be led to a lot of errors, so I don’t know about that,” she said. “I think my biggest challenge is Agnieszka is really good at everything. She has unbelievable hands. She’s running every ball down. “It’s going to be challenging. It’s not easy at all. She’s already ranked ahead of me, so I think it will be a really good match.” While victory for Serena would deliver a first Grand Slam title since 2010 and end talk that she is a fading force, Radwanska has plenty of motivation to upset the odds. The 23-year-old will leave the All England Club as both Wimbledon champion and the newly crowned world number one if she wins. She knows it will take a herculean effort. The 23-year-old’s only previous meetings with Williams both came in 2008 and a pair of chastening defeats, including a 6-4, 6-0 savaging in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, have left an indelible impression. “I played Serena a couple of times. It’s always tough,” Radwanska said. “She’s a very tough opponent and she’s hitting the ball very well. Of course she’s playing great tennis on the grass.” But, regardless of the danger posed by Serena, Radwanska knows she can go for broke as the underdog. — AFP


Crowded London fears transport meltdown LONDON: A cablecar has been strung over the Thames, an athletes’ terminal built at Heathrow Airport, and Olympic traffic lanes set up yet Londoners still fear the Games will bring their city to a standstill. Organizers are determined that spectators will get to the Games, which open in the British capital on July 27, by public transport, bicycle, or on foot. But London’s roads and ageing underground train network are already overcrowded-and many doubt the fans, athletes, officials and journalists can get to the venues without bringing the rest of the capital grinding to a halt. “London is a big city, and can I absolutely guarantee to you that nothing will go wrong? No, I can’t,” Britain’s Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson admitted recently. “We’ve done everything we think we were expected to do to make it work,” he said of the Olympic transport plan. If people follow the government’s travel advice, everything “should be alright”. That advice, plastered all over the Underground in recent months, suggests a range of measures Londoners that can take to avoid the crushes-including walking, cycling, avoiding busy routes and busy times, or working from home. Transport for London (TfL), the public body which manages London’s transport system, will have to cope with three million extra daily journeys on the busiest

days of the Games, on top of its usual 12 million. TfL has warned delays will be inevitable, but cites its “good” management of last month’s celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee, when traffic jumped by a third for a weekend, as proof it can handle the Olympics. But a spate of pre-Olympic delays, breakdowns and overcrowded platforms on the Underground have fuelled a sense of impending doom among commuters. “Bank tube station is an absolute nightmare now,” blogger Liz Jarvis wrote recently in a tweet addressed to London mayor Boris Johnson. “How will it cope with more visitors?” Johnson has played down the fears, comparing them to the panic in 1999 over the Millennium Bug-which did not, as some anticipated, wreak global technological havoc. “I know exactly how you feel,” Johnson replied to Jarvis. “That is why we are investing so much in upgrades.” TfL have promised that a huge program of works to improve the Tube for the Olympics, costing more than £6.5 billion ($10.2 billion, 8.1 billion euros), will be finished in time for the Games. But the bus system could cause another headache; drivers are threatening to strike three days before the opening ceremony to push their demand for a bonus for working during the Olympics. Tube and train staff, as well as those who man the public cycle hire scheme, have all been promised such a bonus, the Unite union points out.

There are also fears that Heathrow Airport in west London, the gateway for almost 80 percent of Games visitors, will buckle under the strain. Europe’s busiest airport, already close to saturation, has recently been at the centre of a storm over the huge queues snaking out of passport control for passengers arriving from abroad. The airport claims that 500 extra staff have been hired for the Olympics to fix the problem. Heathrow has also been equipped with a new temporary terminal, reserved for Olympic competitors, which will operate for departures from August 13 to 15, the three days after the closing ceremony which are expected to be the busiest. Also new is a cable car running above the Thames, which will allow people to travel between two major venues, the O2 Arena in Greenwich, which hosts gymnastics and other sports, and the ExCel exhibition centre, the venue for boxing and other disciplines. A fast train, the Javelin, will ferry spectators to the Olympic Park in east London, from St Pancras, where the cross-Channel Eurostar trains arrive, in seven minutes. Despite these innovations, what worries many Londoners is the Olympic lanes, specially reserved for the movement of athletes and officials, which go into operation from July 25. The move has especially infuriated taxi drivers, who have demanded access to the lanes. —AFP

Questions over London budget will not go away

BEIJING: In this file photo, Matthew Mitcham of Australia performs in the men’s 10 meter platform diving preliminary during the Beijing Olympics. — AP

London’s third time shows how Games have changed LONDON: 1908, 1948, 2012: London is the first city to host a third Olympic Games, but the modest Games of the last century were worlds away from today’s glossy extravaganzas. “The situations are so different that you really can’t compare them,” Anthony Bijkerk, secretary general of the International Society of Olympic Historians said. Just 2008 athletes, including only 37 women, took part in the first Olympics held in London, staggered over the months from April to October 1908. “The 1908 games were the first well-organized and truly international Games of modern times,” said Bijkerk. This was no mean feat, given that Britain took on the Games with just two years’ notice. Original hosts Italy had pulled out in 1906 in order to rebuild the city of Naples, following a massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius. US athlete Ray Ewry stole the show in 1908, leaping to golds in the standing high jump and standing long jump despite having been crippled with polio as a child. His two specialities have since disappeared from the Olympic schedule, along with motorboat racing, the tug of war, and cycle polo. But some things haven’t changed since 1908. That year’s marathon was 42.195 kilometers, so that it could begin west of London at King Edward VII’s Windsor Castle and end in front of his royal box in the stadium. The marathon remains this length today. Team GB won more than half of the gold medals - 56, to the United States’ 23 - which,

some suggest, may have had something to do with the fact that all the judges were British. Forty years later, a bomb-wrecked London played host again, despite the fact that its citizens-and its economy-were still reeling from World War II. “Europe had just come out of this enormous catastrophic war and all the countries were very hard-up,” Cathy Ross of the Museum of London said. “But at the same time, I think there was an appetite to do something that brought the nations together. So London stepped in.” The Austerity Games, as they were quickly nicknamed, took place in a battered capital on a shoestring budget. Athletes slept in military barracks and school dormitories, and had to provide their own equipment. Nevertheless, the size of the teams had doubled since 1908, with 4,104 athletes from 59 nations taking part, including 390 women. But there were several glaring absences: Germany and Japan, as “aggressors” in World War II, were not invited, the Soviet Union declined to send any athletes, and China was busy forming the People’s Republic. In 2012, more than 10,000 athletes from 205 countries will take part and the £9.3 billion ($14.5 billion dollars, 11.6 billion euros) budget is 1,000 times that in 1948. Three years after the end of the war, food was still being rationed in Britain. Its athletes were fed bigger rations, equivalent to those given to miners, to boost their chances of success. —AFP

LONDON: The final bill for the 2012 London Olympics is open to question despite assurances from the government that it will avoid any overspill in tough economic times. While the true cost of the Games is uncertain, analysts say the shortterm economic benefits are likely to be minimal, a conclusion which puts the price tag under grater scrutiny. The organizers point however to the “legacy” of the London Olympics-the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform one of the poorest areas of the city by hosting the world’s biggest sporting event there. Officially, the budget for the Games is £9.3 billion ($14.5 billion, 11.6 billion euros), a figure set in 2007. That is already almost four times higher than the tentative figure given in 2005 when London won the right to host the Olympics. In mid-June, the government said a contingency fund of £476 million remained in place to be dipped into for unforeseen emergencies. But a parliamentary watchdog estimated in March that the Olympics were in danger of exceeding their construction and operating budgets, with the total cost to the public purse closer to £11 billion. The focus of the Public Accounts Committee’s concerns was how the original security budget of £282 million was doubled to £553 million. Committee chairman Margaret Hodge said it was “staggering” that the original estimates were “so wrong”. Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson hit back, saying the calculations were biased. The debate about the budget is not likely to go away once the Games are over. Julian Cheyne of Games Monitor, a small but vocal citizens’ group that is researching the cost of the Olympics, said the budget has been “fudged”. “The new budget of £9.3 billion is a complete fantasy, it does not include things such as acquisition of the land,” he said. “And much of the money that is going to be spent on national security in Britain will go on the Olympics. I would suggest the real security budget is around £1.5 billion. “Any time you have an infrastructure project of this kind, the budgets normally expand, but all sorts of claims are made in terms of what the Olympics are delivering that are simply nonsense. “Basically, Stratford was a working industrial area that was already regenerating anyway before the Olympics came along.” Even if the final budget for London does reach £11 billion, it will still be only half the estimated cost of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The government has taken care to stress that rather than try to compete with the huge scale of China’s “coming out party”, the London Games is using many temporary stadiums that can be re-used elsewhere later. Even the main Olympic Stadium in Stratford has been designed to have its 80,000 capacity reduced to 25,000, although a future tenant has yet to be found. —AFP


Urban renewal or rich enclave in E London? LONDON: The organizers of the London Olympics hope their mammoth £9.3 billion investment will regenerate east London, but critics fear it will only create an island of prosperity amid run-down neighborhoods. The London Legacy Development Corporation, which is responsible for the area’s post-Games legacy, argues that the Games, with a budget equivalent to $14.5 billion or 11.6 billion euros, have already speeded up the regeneration of a once polluted site. “There was a dirty hole in the Lee Valley and it’s become a biodiversity spot,” said the agency’s Chief of Design Kathryn Firth. But critics of the development fear that what has actually been created is a rich enclave like Canary Wharf, the steel and glass district of banks and apartments a short distance from the Olympic Park. “A new part of the city has been grafted on, rather than giving priority to seeking to improve the living conditions of the people who live there,” said Manuel Appert, a geographer who specializes in urban London. Just as in Canary Wharf, “you go from the very richest on one side of the street to the very poorest on the other”, he argues. The area where the stadiums are located, Stratford, was very poor, but it was home to many residents and businesses before the bulldozers moved in. Thousands of inhabitants and more than 200 companies employing 5,000 people were displaced in order to build the Olympic

Park, including a smoked salmon factory which received new, larger premises paid for from the budget. The development agency has promised thousands of new homes, a huge green space, three miles (five kilometres) of trails along the River Lee, schools, nurseries and other public facilities. It is hoped a new business centre will provide muchneeded jobs for the borough of Newham, an ethnically mixed area which has an employment rate of just 56 percent. Stratford resident Farhat Monin, 25, believes the Games will boost prospects for the majority of locals, providing that businesses favor Newham inhabitants when hiring new staff. “It’s good that people get to know the area better through the Olympic Games,” she said. “The area is changing, it’s being taken care of.” The new landscape is futuristic, with trains and subways leading to a huge railway station, which has direct underground access to the new Westfield shopping centre, the largest in Europe. But if you cross a footbridge spanning the railway lines you reach the “old” part of Stratford, where a much smaller and older shopping mall is struggling to survive the competition from Westfield.In the high street, the furniture store has closed. The manager of the bedding shop next door, Mehmet Stewart, acknowledges that “Westfield is definitely taking customers” but is optimistic. “People will

return, our prices are more reasonable,” he said. Atif Khan, who manages a mobile phone shop, has experienced a “20 to 25 percent decline in sales”, and fears that the residents of the area will be priced out once the Olympics finish. “The city looks nicer, safer, and cleaner,” he said. “I’d like to live here, but housing is more expensive.” The borough of Newham is in dire need of affordable housing with 36,000 people on waiting lists. The transformation of the Olympic Village, which will house 2,800 athletes during the Games, into 1,379 “affordable” homes should help alleviate the problem. But only 25 percent of those will be available for social housing, according to Manuel Appert. One half was sold to Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, which is expected to rent out its properties at market prices. The other half was sold to housing associations, who had to limit the amount dedicated to social housing in order to obtain bank loans. After the Games, the Village will be converted into a mini-city complete with an education complex, shops and public squares. “There will be around 11,000 homes-so that’s maybe 40,000 people-living there 20 years from now,” said Richard Burdett, professor of urbanism at the London School of Economics. For Burdett, the true post-Games test “is if it feels like a normal piece of city-and I think that’s the ambition of the project”. — AFP

Angry Aussies aim for hockey clean sweep LONDON: Australia’s men’s team may be looking to hold all the sport’s major titles by winning gold at the London Olympics but Coach Ric Charlesworth was far from content as his team headed to the Games. He’s complained about the pitch that will be used for the tournament and slammed what he believed is an unfair match schedule. And he insists reigning Olympic champions Germany could well defend their title after beating the Kookaburras in a warm-up competition. “If I did the odds now, I wouldn’t have us as the favorites, I’d probably have Germany,” Charlesworth told the Wall Street Journal. “At our best, we’ve got skilful, speedy, flexible players and a way of playing which allows us to get penetration but we’re going to be competing against teams that have got antidotes to that.” In multiple world player of the year Jamie Dwyer, Australia have a potential man of the tournament but Charlesworth is concerned the relatively recently laid blue and pink artificial pitch in the Olympic Park won’t have been played in sufficiently before the Games. “The pitch is an issue,” he said recently. “The ball bobbles a fair bit. It doesn’t reward skill.” Meanwhile, Australia won an appeal over being handed three early morning starts in their group matches. Charlesworth was furious when the draw gave his team three 8:30am games, which he said would require players to wake up at 5:00am in a major disruption to their daily tournament routine. At the same time, Germany avoided the early time slot altogether in the opposite group. Hockey Australia fired in an official protest and the Federation of International Hockey said it has re-scheduled Australia v Pakistan on August 7 from 8:30am to 10:45am. South Korea against the Netherlands will be switched to the earlier start. New Zealand appear to be timing their bid for Games glory in style after winning the prestigious Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia with a 1-0 victory over Argentina. —AFP

LONDON: Torchbearer carries the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg through Southend-on-Sea, southeast England in heavy rain yesterday. — AP

Rain, rain go away: A London slog for Olympics? LONDON: After a sodden spring, is Britain heading for a summer washout? It’s lurched from the cold, wet drizzle that dampened the queen’s Diamond Jubilee flotilla on the Thames to a sea of mud at the Isle of Wight music festival to frequent delays at Wimbledon, where even the retractable roof couldn’t make the event all strawberries and cream. And now that the country has recorded its wettest June on record, should Olympic officials be concerned? The games are just 21 days away. “Oh, goodness! It’s only a bit of British weather,” said Charles Powell, a spokesman for the Met office, the national forecaster. “It’s naturally variable.” Britain is an island nation, at the mercy of winds scooping up water from the Atlantic Ocean and breezes bringing in dry air from the European continent. There’s a reason trench coats are classic here. This is a country that can have four seasons in an afternoon, where one should never leave home without both an umbrella and sunglasses. In other words, if the weather is not to your liking, hang on, it will change. And if it

doesn’t, London Olympic organizers say they are ready for every eventuality. “The main thing is that we are used to it and we have planned accordingly,” said Debbie Jevans, director of sport for the games. “It is something that is a fact of life. That is why our country is so lovely and green.” There are five different sailing routes at Weymouth, on England’s south coast, in case of poor weather. The BMX cycling track has a cover and improved drainage following lessons learned from downpours during a test event. Care has also gone into drainage at the equestrian venue at London’s Greenwich Park. This is likely to be extremely important - several big British equestrian events, including the Badminton Horse Trials, were rained out this year because the ground was too sodden. Plans have been drawn to make sure organizers and spectators get the most up-todate information possible. Five Met Office forecasters will be embedded with the games and working around the clock, providing long- and short-range forecasts for the event, which starts July 27 and ends Aug. 12.

The sport most susceptible to rain is tennis, as any Wimbledon fan will tell you. Wet grass is problematic for players, who can easily slip and suffer injury - so you can’t just “keep calm and carry on” the way athletes can if they are playing, say, beach volleyball. Some extreme weather patterns may cause some delays if the safety of athletes and spectators is endangered. That includes thunderstorms and lightning bolts - as in the atmosphere, not the kind coming from the speedy shoes of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. Beyond that, the Olympics will go on. That hasn’t stopped bookmakers from going into overdrive over all the rain-soaked bets that can be placed. British bookmaker Ladbrokes has offered odds at 50-to-1 that it will rain every day at Olympic Stadium in east London. The odds are 25-to-1 that the weather causes the flame to go out during the opening ceremony and 500-to-1 that the person lighting the flame will be wearing an umbrella hat. The only time rain is assured is during the opening ceremony. —AP


AFC welcomes decision to lift the headscarf ban KUALA LUMPUR: Asian football’s governing body yesterday welcomed the decision to lift a ban on women wearing headscarves during games, saying the move was “in keeping with the times”. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) Thursday overturned its 2007 ban on the Islamic headscarf, or hijab, which it had previously argued was unsafe and increased the risk of neck injuries. Critics said the ban promoted

inequality at the highest level of the world’s most popular game and pointed out that new designs of headscarf secured with Velcro had eliminated the risk of serious injury. Asian Football Confederation acting president Zhang Jilong said in a statement that lifting the ban was the “right thing” to do and “a move in keeping with the times”. “I am very happy to hear that the ban on headscarves has been lifted. On behalf of the AFC executive com-

mittee and the Asian football family, I commend the IFAB and FIFA for doing the right thing,” Zhang said. “The lifting of the ban will allow thousands of women players, who wear headscarves, to play the game.” He added that the headscarf was “more of a cultural symbol than a religious one”. Zhang is currently in Kuwait City to attend the final match of the AFC Futsal Club Championship. AFC’s headquarters

are in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Muslim-majority Malaysia. The world governing body came under pressure to lift the ban in 2007, after an 11-year-old girl in Canada was prevented from wearing a hijab for safety reasons. In 2011, the Iranian team was disqualified for refusing to remove their headscarves moments before kickoff in the 2012 Olympic second round qualifying match against Jordan. — AFP

Goal line technology Factbox on goal line technology which was approved by the International Football Association (IFAB) on Thursday: USAGE The technology will be used exclusively in situations where it is not clear if the ball has actually crossed the goal line, such as when it bounces down off the underside of the crossbar and is then cleared away by a defender. UEFA president Michel Platini is among those worried that the introduction of goal line technology will lead to calls for the use of further technology in offside, handball and penalty decisions. The use of goal line technology will be optional.

SOUTHAMPTON: A football is propelled towards Hawk-Eye equipment during a test of the Goal Line Technology (GLT) by EMPA (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) employees at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton. — AFP

Technology debate unlikely to stop on soccer goal line ZURICH: Soccer’s rulemakers are adamant that the use of technology will go no further than the goal-line, yet there is an uncomfortable feeling another Thierry Henry-style handball controversy could trigger a whole new debate. Thursday’s decision to allow the use of applied science to help the referee decide whether the ball has entered the goal or not, ended a decade of argument and came amid pressure from players, coaches and the media. Having given their approval, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), responsible for the laws of the game, and soccer’s governing body FIFA insisted that any further forms of technology would not be considered. But they had said exactly the same thing about goal-line technology less than three years ago, only to perform an abrupt U-turn after Frank Lampard’s infamous phantom goal for England against Germany at the 2010 World Cup. UEFA president Michel Platini is among those who fear that Thursday’s ruling will open the

floodgates for other forms of technology to be introduced. “I am not just wholly against goal-line technology, I am against technology itself because then it is going to invade every area of football,” he warned last week. “Why don’t we have technology for offside decisions as well? And what about Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal in 1986? Why don’t we have technology to see if Maradona handled it? Where does it stop? It won’t stop. I am against technology itself.” The number of cases where goals have been wrongly awarded or disallowed because officials have been unable to see whether or not the ball crossed the line is relatively small. Most injustices come from incorrectly awarded offside decisions and penalties or players who are either wrongly sent off or stay on the field when they should have been dismissed. Argentina may have benefited from the Hand of God in 1986 but they were on the wrong end of a similar decision at the Copa

America nine years later when Brazilian Tulio clearly used his hand in scoring a late equalizer for a 2-2 draw. Brazil then won on penalties. Henry’s infamous handball in the run-up to the goal which sent France to the 2010 World Cup at Ireland’s expense would not have been avoided with goal line technology. Neither would the incident involving Dutch defender Ronaldo Koeman in a 1994 World Cup qualifier against England. Having been allowed to stay on the field despite denying David Platt a clear scoring chance, he then scored the first goal in the Netherlands’ 20 win. On the same day that Lampard’s effort was disallowed at the 2010 World Cup, Argentina beat Mexico 3-1 with the help of an opening goal from Carlos Tevez that replays showed was clearly offside. Ironically, the stadium screen exposed the mistake as it replayed the goal and the Mexican players surrounded the referee urging him to look at it. — Reuters

SYSTEMS Two systems have been approved for use. One is manufactured by British company Hawk-Eye, which is used in tennis and cricket and is based on optical recognition with cameras. The other is GoalRef, a German-Danish creation, using a magnetic field with a ball equipped with a microchip to identify a goal situation. In both systems, a signal is sent to the referee within one second indicating whether the ball has crossed the line. This differs from tennis and cricket, where graphics appear on giant screens indicating the trajectory of the ball before the decision is made. In tennis, Hawk-Eye is used for disputed line calls with each player allowed to challenge up to three calls per set. In cricket it is used to determine calls in disputed lbw decisions, whether the batsman got an edge to the ball in being caught behind and in run out calls. BACKGROUND The debate over the use for goal line technology has been raging for at least a decade. It gained momentum in 2005, during an English Premier League game between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. United goalkeeper Roy Carroll failed to hold a long-range shot by Pedro Mendes and the ball slipped over the line before it was cleared. However, the referee and his officials waved play on. FIFA tested a system using a microchip inside a ball at the U-17 World Championship in Peru in 2005 but was not satisfied with the result. In March 2010, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) shelved all discussions over the introduction of goal line technology. However, the debate quickly resurfaced at the 2010 World Cup with Frank Lampard’s phantom goal for England against Germany. Although the ball clearly crossed the line after hitting the underside of the crossbar, the Uruguayan trio of match officials did not see it. Germany, winning 2-1 at the time, went on to win 4-1. Last season’s Serie A title was influenced by a ghost goal in the AC Milan-Juventus top-of-the-table match. Milan were denied a 2-0 lead when Sulley Muntari’s header crossed the line, but was clawed away by Gianluigi Buffon as officials waved play on. Juventus hit back to draw 1-1 and went on to win the title. OTHER GHOST GOALS The most famous goal line incident was at the 1966 World Cup final. England and West Germany were drawing 2-2 in extra time when Geoff Hurst’s shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down onto the line. After consulting his linesman, the referee gave the goal and England went on to win 4-2 amid German protests. At the 1986 World Cup, Spain’s Michel saw a shot hit the underside of the crossbar against Brazil, bounce over the line and out again. The goal was not given and Brazil went on to win1-0. Ten years later at Euro 96, officials failed to spot that Dorinel Munteanu’s effort for Romania against Bulgaria had crossed the line in similar circumstances. Romania lost 1-0 and were eliminated. Cameroon won the 2000 African Nations Cup final against Nigeria on penalties after their opponents’ fourth spot kick, taken by Viktor Ikpeba, hit the underside of the bar and bounced out. Replays showed it had crossed the line, but the Tunisian referee did not award the goal. The result led to rioting outside the stadium. — Reuters


Time for IOC to stand firm against Saudis LONDON: “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit ...” Those are the International Olympics Committee’s own words, spelled out at the very beginning of its charter, right after the preamble, under a section known as “Fundamental Principles of Olympism.” It’s time for the IOC to live up to them. If Saudi Arabia won’t allow women to compete at the London Games, tell the guys who run the oil-rich kingdom they can keep the rest of their team - the men - at home, too. No more negotiations. No more sorting out the details. This is a major issue, no less important than a stand taken by the IOC nearly a half-century ago when faced with the issue of apartheid in South Africa. Less than a month before the 1964 Olympics roughly the same amount of time that we stand away from the start of the London Games - the organization banned South Africa from sending a team to Tokyo because of its policy of racial discrimination. Never mind that South Africa tried to buy itself some time by offering to send a team with seven nonwhites among its 62 athletes. The IOC held firm. The ban lasted until the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, after Nelson Mandela had been freed from prison and

apartheid had been totally dismantled. We’ll never know exactly how much influence the IOC’s ban - and other sports-related boycotts - had on shutting down that despicable system. But rest assured, it didn’t hurt. Now, it’s time to act again, boldly and with purpose, to fully comply with the very next principle of Olympism after the one mentioned above: “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.” Seems pretty clear. If Saudi Arabia insists on remaining the last holdout against allowing females to compete, their invitation to Britain is revoked. “You’ve got a single country that’s being intransigent,” Martha Davis, a law professor at Northeastern University who specializes in women’s rights, said Thursday. “Certainly in the past, after years of apartheid, the Olympic bureaucracy was able to take a stand against a racist nation. Here, we’ve got a country singularly out of step with the rest of the world. It’s really time for the IOC to take a bolder stand against that.” Saudi Arabia’s male athletes would be victims in this whole mess, too, forced to miss out on the grandest sporting event of their lives even if they don’t have the least bit of problem with marching into the

Olympic Stadium alongside women. Unfortunately, there’s always collateral damage in these sort of disputes. There were undoubtedly plenty of worthy South Africans who missed out on the Olympics during the 28 years their country was banned through no fault of their own. There is no repaying what they lost, but at least a greater good was the result. That is the hope for Saudi Arabia. “I’m sure the IOC wants to be as inclusive as possible,” Davis said. “But this is a country that has already taken a policy that excludes half the population from participating.” Saudi Arabia’s foot-dragging comes at a time when both sides of the debate over gender and religious beliefs are taking constructive steps toward a workable middle ground. On Thursday, the rules-making panel of international football approved headscarves for female Muslim players, reversing a ban on the Islamic hijab that’s been enforced in FIFA competitions since 2007, supposedly for safety reasons. Last year, the International Weightlifting Federation reversed a similar ban, allowing athletes to compete in uniforms that cover their legs, arms and head. Kulsoom Abdullah, an American lifter who hopes to get a wildcard berth to compete for Pakistan (where her parents were born) at the London

Beckham banned for provocative behavior NEW YORK: Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham has been suspended for a game for “confrontational and provocative behavior” near the end of last week’s loss to the San Jose Earthquakes, Major League Soccer (MLS) said on Thursday. The actions by Beckham, who was also fined an undisclosed amount, occurred during and immediately after his team’s 4-3 loss and were considered unacceptable and detrimental to the league’s public image, MLS said in a statement. With under a minute remaining in stoppage time, an impatient Beckham kicked a ball San Jose’s Sam Cronin, who was lying on the pitch. The ball hit Cronin and referee Hilario Grajeda, resulting in a yellow card for Beckham. The infraction earned Beckham, who had to be separated from opposing players after the final whistle, an automatic one-game ban for yellow card accumulation, which he served earlier this week. The 37-year-old former England captain, who has been omitted from Britain’s squad for the London Olympics, will serve his one-game ban on Sunday when the Galaxy visit the Chicago Fire. Thursday’s ban was the latest blow in what has been one of the more trying weeks of Beckham’s career. The former Manchester United, Real Madrid AC Milan and England midfielder had been expected to be included as one of the three over-age players in Stuart Pearce’s team for the London Games. Chief London Olympic organizer Sebastian Coe is to discuss a “Games time role” with the globally recognized sports figure, who played an ambassadorial role in London winning the Olympics. — Reuters

David Beckham

Games, led the fight to overturn clothing restrictions in her sport. Likewise, she wants to see at least one Saudi woman competing at the Olympics. “One would be better than nothing,” she said. “Even if just one woman is sent, at least she would get some media attention and some awareness about her involvement within the Arab countries and internationally. The more women know about, the more it’s going to open some doors and some opportunities.” IOC president Jacques Rogge seems set on a course of negotiation, telling the AP in an interview on Wednesday that he cannot guarantee “100 percent” that female athletes from Saudi Arabia will compete at the Olympics for the first time, although he remains optimistic. The IOC already persuaded two other nations, Qatar and Brunei, to include women on their Olympic teams for the first time, so there is clearly some benefit to talking things out behind closed doors. But Rogge must make it clear to Saudi Arabia that if those details can’t be worked out, an all male team is not an option. “This,” Davis said, “is really a human rights issue.” It’s also a religious issue, and that’s where things get a bit sticky. Saudi Arabia is a deeply traditional and ultraconservative Muslim society. —AP

Bafana Bafana turn 20 with little to celebrate JOHANNESBURG: South Africa ended decades in the football wilderness on July 7 1992 with a 1-0 victory over Cameroon and many starry-eyed supporters believed the national team would soon dominate the continent. The nickname Bafana Bafana-The Boys in isiZulu-was also born on that wet night at Kings Park in Durban 20 years ago when Doctor Khumalo converted a late penalty against the Roger Milla-inspired 1990 World Cup quarter-finalists. But two decades after returning from apartheid-induced isolation, South Africa have little cause for celebration as they are ranked only 14 in Africa by FIFA with Sierra Leone among those above them. Sierra Leone football officials were locked out of their offices last month because of unpaid bills and forced to contact Europe-based national squad members from a Freetown internet cafe. At the same time, South African Football Association (SAFA) officials were parking luxury Germanmade sedans outside palatial headquarters beside the 95,000-seat Soccer City national stadium. While the lifestyles of those who run South African football are the envy of those from many African nations, Bafana Bafana is a source of embarrassment with a recent friendly win over Gabon halting an eight-match winless run. Multi-award-winning journalist Matshelane Mamabolo of the Johannesburg Star attributes the failure of South Africa to become a dominant force in Africa to the disappearance of schools football. “There used to be nationwide schools football every Wednesday and that is where the stars of the future were born. Now those who should be playing are hanging around street corners drinking alcohol and smoking,” he told AFP. “Winning the Cup of Nations four years after readmission was too soon-we thought we were world beaters. The team of 1996 was exceptional, full of great players. Most of those wearing national colors today are a disgrace.” New Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund told reporters this week that “Bafana Bafana need to get back up there and be among the leading football nations in the world.” Durbanborn Igesund, a 56-year-old pragmatist who has guided four clubs to the South African title, took over last month after Pitso Mosimane was fired following a 1-1 home draw with lowly Ethiopia in a 2014 World Cup qualifier. Igesund has been given a two-year contract reportedly worth $62,500 — half what Mosimane earned-and told to get hosts South Africa to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals at least and the World Cup in Brazil a year later. —AFP



Armstrong and cycling’s doping ghosts haunt Tour


WIMBLEDON: Switzerland’s Roger Federer plays a shot during his men’s singles semi-final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic yesterday. — AP

Federer reaches 8th Wimbledon final Murray ends Britain’s 74-year Wimbledon final wait LONDON: Six-time champion Roger Federer reached a record eighth Wimbledon final yesterday when he defeated world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. In the pair’s 27th meeting but first on grass, Federer booked his place in his 24th Grand Slam final where he will face either Andy Murray. Victory tomorrow will take the 30-year-old level with Pete Sampras’s record of seven Wimbledon wins, allow him to reclaim the world number one ranking and clinch a 17th career Grand Slam crown. Djokovic, who was bidding to reach a fifth successive Grand Slam final, had defeated Federer six times in their last seven meetings. But Federer, playing in a record 32nd major semi-final, was not to be denied as he buried the heartache of having been knocked out in the quarter-finals in the last two years. He also took his record of semi-final victories to eight out of eight at the All England Club. “I’m ecstatic. I played a great match today. Novak played great in the first two sets too, but the third set was key,” said Federer.”I stepped it up then. He had a break points in the ninth game of the third set. It was a tough match.” Federer said he was delighted to be back in the final, having lost in the quarter-finals to Tomas Berdych in 2010 and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga last year. “It was a shock for some people when I lost to Berdych, but not for me. They said ‘How are we going to survive a

Wimbledon final without you?’. “I just went on vacation and prepared for my next tournaments.” Djokovic, 25, admitted he had been outplayed in the key moments. “I felt my energy levels drop at the start of the fourth set. I played a couple of sloppy games and had a low percentage of first serves,” said the Serb. “It’s difficult to get rhythm and control of the match in those circumstances. “He was the better player in the important moments. I expected him to be at his top level; I expected myself to be at that level too, but I wasn’t.” With Indian cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar and pop singer Kylie Minogue watching from the

Royal Box, Federer provided the early entertainment by easing to the first set in just 24 minutes. The Swiss earned the break point he needed in the sixth game when Djokovic, who fell on the surface made slippy by the closed roof above, could only net a running backhand. A shout from the crowd then caused Djokovic to check his service motion and Federer pounced with a low return which the Serb could only dump into the net. Murray outpunches Tsonga In another development, Andy Murray ended Britain’s 74-year wait for a male Wimbledon finalist

WIMBLEDON: Andy Murray of Britain dives for a shot to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France during a men’s semifinal match yesterday. — AP

yesterday as the world number four clinched a 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 semi-final victory over French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Murray’s triumph consigned a miserable run of 11 semi-final failures by British men to the history books and emulated the achievement of Bunny Austin, the last home challenger to reach the Wimbledon men’s final back in 1938. The 25-year-old had lost at the semi-final stage for the last three years, joining Tim Henman, Roger Taylor and Mike Sangster on the list of British nearmisses at the All England Club. But decades of anguish faded from view in front of a jubilant Centre Court crowd as Murray booked a showdown with six-time champion Roger Federer in tomorrow’s final. While Murray’s victory has put one ghost to rest, the Scot won’t be truly satisfied until he has become the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. Murray’s meeting with Federer will be the Scot’s fourth attempt to win a Grand Slam final following defeats at the Australian Open in 2010 and 2011 and the 2008 US Open. After surviving a grueling examination against David Ferrer in the last eight, Murray was battle-hardened and playing with the kind of focused determination he has lacked in the past. Even so the weight of expectation on Murray could have proved crippling. Yet he showed nerves of steel to emerge victorious from two hours and 47 minutes of high drama. — Agencies

7th July  

Kuwait Times

7th July  

Kuwait Times