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Kuwait Times

January 1, 2010

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NO: 14596

INSIDE

CALENDAR INSIDE

Prosecution frees Al-Sourʼs Juwaihel on bail PAGE 9

Gunman kills five, then self, in Finland PAGE 14

SYDNEY: Fireworks flash over Sydney Harbor during New Year celebrations yesterday. The annual fireworks extravaganza over the city’s landmark harbor bridge and opera house are the centerpiece of Australia’s celebrations, and generate some of the most striking images from a night of revelry across the globe. (Inset) A woman walks near the display window of a women’s garment shop in the Salmiya main shopping district yesterday. — AP / Yasser Al-Zayyat

New Year’s ‘crusade’ Naomi Campbell to appear on Russian New Yearʼs show Page 56

LeBron scores 48, Varejao hits winning 3 for Cavaliers PAGE 59

Security jitters loom as world readies for 2010 By Khaled Abdullah KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti government yesterday initiated a major crackdown on New Year’s celebrations, banning all forms of partying in major hotels and social halls, and intensifying police presence on certain roads that witness traffic jams which are usually caused by young motorists. The security campaign came in response to demands by conservative lawmakers to ban celebrations on the New Year’s Eve. Officials told the Kuwait Times that the Ministry of Interior has instructed hotels not to organize or hold parties, and warned them of severe consequences in case of failure to comply with the orders. Islamist MP Waleed Al-Tabtabae called on the ministries of interior and information to monitor the “so called New Year’s Eve” parties at hotels and restaurants to prevent “inappropriate acts and unreligious practices”. He also urged the relevant authorities to apply deterrent punishments against violators.

Other legislators, including Mohammad Hayef Al-Mutairi who echoed Tabtabae’s demands, said that such celebrations are “non-Islamic”. “I strongly warn against any act that disrespects Islamic rules and social norms during New Year’s celebrations,” said MP Dulaihi Al-Hajeri, adding that the government should safeguard the society from immoral practices. MP Falah Al-Sawwagh also urged the ministries of interior and information to arrest individuals “who dare to infringe upon the norms of our Islamic society during celebrations on the New Year at hotels and restaurants.” In Salmiya, the country’s most popular and crowded commercial center, motorists were banned from causing congestions on the Arabian Gulf Strip which usually sees annual processions, and sometimes people dancing on roads till the early hours of the next day. The Interior Ministry has formed special squads to preserve order and

security during the holiday. Security sources said that over 500 police officers were deployed at certain locations to monitor and observe security and traffic on the roads. Tabtabae said the government should revoke licenses and punish restaurants, coffee shops and hotels that organize New Year parties which violate Kuwaiti Islamic values, especially those that allow unacceptable mixing of the sexes where women are indecently dressed. A citizen, who spoke on condition of anonymity lauded the measures taken by the Interior Ministry. He urged authorities to tighten the grip on violators, especially after separate incidents of unrest that took place at certain shopping malls, including Souk Sharq and the Salmiya shopping district last year. The previous year witnessed a number of incidents where a group of young men inflicted damage on the facilities of some shopping complexes, much to the chagrin of families. However, another citizen felt that

people should have fun by welcoming the New Year with celebrations. He added that he supports ‘celebrations’ provided they do not violate others’ privacies. Revelers across the globe have begun ringing in the New Year, but a Bali terror warning and a deadly shooting in Finland have stoked security jitters, already heightened after a failed US bomb plot. Police were on alert in many world cities af ter the thwarted Christmas Day attack on a US-bound plane, as party-goers from Vanuatu to Vancouver began raising glasses to 2010 and closing the door on a decade scarred by wars, terror attacks, natural disasters and financial turmoil. The mood of celebrations was subdued in some places around the world owing to the effects of the financial downturn which bit hard in 2009, sending economies into recession and causing millions to lose their jobs. As a result, home foreclosures also rose dramatically in some countries.


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IN MY VIEW

Time out... smell the flowers

Happy New Year! By Muna Al-Fuzai

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have so many wishes for the New Year. I will start with the one that is most importantHealth. It is difficult to be in bed when others are in a celebratory mood, dancing and laughing! To the ailing, I wish them a speedy recovery. Tolerance; I wish to see a more tolerant world. More love and harmony should be fostered among those who call for peace but hardly practice it. Tolerance is a great virtue and I wish the New Year will bestow wisdom on those who swear by the bul-

lets and feed on the blood and misery of innocents. Global warming is not an issue that is of concern to the West. I really hope this year will bring in more awareness not only about the topic but also highlight the role each individual can play. Learn how to a make a delicious burger. I’m not a good cook and every time I a hand at learning a few cooking tricks, I’ve failed miserably. Sometimes, I wish I could cook at least a few dishes and credit myself with being able to practice something in which many women are experts. I want to know more than just dish out a cheese omelet. Safety. I hope to see more safety on the road. Driving in Kuwait really is a nightmarish experience, and some dri-

Abdulla Alnouri

vers are callous and erratic. Many drivers simply ignore the traffic rules and deliberately bend the laws by exceeding speed limit. Usually the innocent end up losing their lives. Family. Let’s hope for more peace in the family. Man is sociable by nature and many expatriates in Kuwait grapple with loneliness, especially those whose families are many miles away. After all, having a family means being a part of someone and not being alone in this world. These are people who care about you no matter where you go, and wait for you no matter how long you are gone for. Let me take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy year that is filled with joy, happiness and success. muna@kuwaittimes.net

The wall on Gaza By Ahmad Saeid

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hen I was an elementary school student, my teachers used to talk to us about Arab unity. They would talk to us about our brothers under occupation in Palestine. I grew up believing that we, the Arabs, truly wanted to liberate Palestine. In my wildest dreams I would never have imagined growing up in a world where we didn’t liberate Palestine. We haven’t even helped the Palestinian people liberate themselves. As fellow Arabs we haven’t even had the decency to sit aside and not disturb them in their attempts to break away from the occupation! Instead of doing any of that, we see a ‘brother Arab country’ going out of its way to push a piece of Palestine that actually managed to liberate itself from Israel back under the occupation! Would an Egyptian soldier, who sacrificed his life for the freedom of Palestine within the last century, believe that there would come a day when his son would build the Egyptian side of the Israeli prison wall around Gaza? What a betrayal to Egypt’s great history! What a shame! How

did we get to this point? How did this happen? In order to answer these questions we need to understand the changes in social perception of the Palestinian issue that took place in this region that ultimately made such step by the Egyptian government, well not acceptable, but evidently something that the Egyptian government is getting away with. Theoretically what happens is that we face a reality on the ground that we don’t accept at first. We may even fight these new changes for a while. Then we give up, and then we accept and adjust. With time, these undesirable changes incorporate themselves into our beliefs, they become no longer debatable, they are taken for granted, and accepted. Only then, and a new layer of beliefs accumulates upon them. In practice, we Arabs, were separated into countries until we believed that we were indeed different nations, with different interests, and different national securities. Then came the time for some of us to believe that there could be a conflict between ‘national securities’ of different countries. The peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel are also example of that process. Each generation of Israeli politicians push the envelope fur-

ther, trying to get the maximum out of the Palestinians. They test the boundaries, find the limits, and then demand a little more. As the conflict continues new leadership comes in on both sides and what has been agreed upon before is now no longer under question. New limits are being searched for, new maximums. The conflict never finishes and Israel’s ‘rights’ keep expanding with each generation. Eventually, a generation will come along that will accept Israel’s ‘rights’ as a given and will never even know, or imagine, any other alternative. They will be content with what they have now and even ready to compromise as did their predecessors. So is the case of the Egyptian authority. So is the case of the people of Egypt. So is the case with all of us. The picture is dark and depressing until we take a look at the people of Gaza. I have to admit that I find it utterly mind blowing to see people who are brutally imprisoned inside Gaza, people who live in some of the worst conditions on the planet, when having a chance to dig a tunnel never escape from their miseries. Instead they search for the means to stay in that place and fight to survive, and fight to prevail. I think the whole world owes to bow in respect to this epic heroism. saeid@kuwaittimes.net

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ou can’t know where you are going unless you know where you have already been. Many would say that Kuwait is losing itself in political turmoil and sectarian tension. However, we don’t have to look too far back to see examples of how to move forward. I think it is worthwhile to pause for a moment, amidst all the divisive political confusion, and reflect on some of the more positive and recent happenings of 2009. On Dec 24 Iraqis who had been injured in a recent series of bombings arrived in Kuwait for medical treatment. The 20 victims were given complete coverage as decreed by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlSabah. I know that this is only one example of the several charitable acts the government made this year but medical aid to injured Iraqis is specifically worth noting. Offering aid of this kind is much more than just a charitable act, it is an investment in the humanitarian relationship between the two countries. Socially, Iraq and Kuwait have an intimate, complicated and currently strained relationship. This year relations have become particularly prickly concerning the topic of the 24 billion dollars Iraq owes Kuwait in reparations for the 1991 Gulf War under chapter seven of the UN charter. I think this kind of initiative demonstrated by HH the Amir is a sincere attempt to bridge the 20 year gap between the two states. It certainly seems more genuine than giving money or donating medical equipment. I hope that these initiatives are continued and serve as an example for how other countries in the region should respond to Iraq or other countries during times of hardship. These continued actions coupled with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s announced desire to include Iraq more in future summits may imply that the next decade has a lot in store for the thawing of KuwaitiIraqi relations. The Ministry of Interior’s announcement that Iraqis with family members in Kuwait will be allowed visiting visas seems to also be a step in the right direction. I think that further collaboration on the issue of missing Kuwaitis from the 1990-1991 Iraqi occupation would also do much to improve relations between the two countries. It would do much to bring closure to suffering Kuwaiti families and help Iraq close a brutal chapter in its history. The success of the GCC summit in Kuwait this year is also worth mentioning briefly. The beginning of an electricity linkage project and a unified monetary system is news worth being excited about. It will certainly make our region stronger and more efficient economically. It is an impressive and unprecedented level of cooperation for our region and stands out in contrast to the violent situations of Yemen, Iraq and Iran. A united GCC economy will do more than just make shopping easier; it will create a unified cultural identity. The National Assembly’s recently passed major amendments to the Labor Law is also a success shadowed by the current political chaos. Not only because of the law’s progressive policies but because it was achieved democratically. We have proof that the Parliament is capable of achieving something that is good for the people of the country as whole, not just for voting, card-carrying citizens. While the law did fall short of amending the sponsorship system it did make some very well needed updates, especially for women in the workplace. Again, I think this is a step in the right direction and an accomplishment that promoters of democracy should be proud of while setting their sights on the next goal. It does not seem far-fetched that a well-coordinated campaign of MPs, NGOs and properly motivated Cabinet members could push for an acceptable replacement of the labor sponsorship policy. Also, some well placed environmental initiatives that incorporate the government sector, young engineers and renewable energy technologies would be a good way to start the next year. Kuwait is starting the next decade with a lot of immediate hurdles and obstacles. Some claim that sectarian violence threatens national security while others are accused of instigating tension for their own personal gains. I think that given the excitement of the past few weeks we need to take some time out and ‘smell the flowers.’ I think some reflection is necessary to reorient and prioritize the interests of the people who live here. And why not, we will have the whole rest of the year to look forward to being critical of our government’s policies and political representatives. abdullaalnouri@kuwaittimes.net


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New year wishes ... really personal!

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Thousands of biodegradable balloons released by Sao Pauloʼs Commercial Association fly over Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Dec 30. The event was organized to celebrate New Year.—AFP By Nisreen Zahreddine he new year is here and everybody is welcoming it in their own way. The predictable shopping spree is ongoing. Everybody is getting their supplies for the party which will usually be at home. The year carried with it a full range of emotions; joy, pain, anger and

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A girl plays with a plastic horn to create noise in Manila on Dec 30, 2009. Government officials are encouraging alternative form on making noise instead of firecrackers, but despite the dangers millions of Filipinos traditionally welcome in the New Year holidays by setting off fireworks resulting in thousands of injuries every year. —AFP

relief. There were 365 days in the year so it was long enough to inspire all these emotions for everyone. Now, what do they expect from the new year? Lizie, a Georgian young lady, welcomes the New Year with a sad smile. She wishes that by 2010 she will be able to get back to her home country and join her family. She hopes to leave behind the misery and hard circumstances of living in a foreign country, especially where she has a problem with the language. Mahmoud, a young Lebanese man who grew up in Kuwait seems to enjoy the sunny moderate weather of the country. He wishes that in 2010 Kuwait will have moderate weather all year round instead of the intense summer heat. He hopes that his mother will not have to leave them to go to Lebanon during the winter to look after his sisters in school. He had an additional wish but laughed and was hesitant to share it. Eventually he revealed that he wishes to pass his university exams without having to study. Olfa, a Tunisian young lady, hopes for progress at work and wants more experience and, of course, a higher salary. Lina, a Syrian who works in a cosmetics shop wishes for a more comfortable job and a trip around the world. “I have been waiting to travel for a long time. I think that 2010 will be a good year for that,” she says, referring to what she heard from her fortune teller. Khaled, a Kuwaiti student, hopes that in 2010 all his plans made for Kuwait University will be achieved, especially after the money he spent on school. Najla, a young Kuwaiti lady who studies at the police academy, wishes for Kuwait to witness relief from the economic crisis and a more prosperous New Year for all Kuwaitis. Ahmad, a young Jordanian Palestinian wishes for an end to the agony and misery of the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza where the siege is ongoing.

A shaman performs a good-luck ritual while holding photos of Colombiaʼs President Alvaro Uribe (left) and Venezuelaʼs President Hugo Chavez in Lima, Monday, Dec 28. —AP

Friday, January 1, 2010

Confetti is thrown out of an office window during an “air worthiness test” over New Yorkʼs Times Square, Dec 29 in preparation for New Yearʼs Eve celebration which has been held in Times Square since 1904. —AP

New Year illuminations in central Baku. —AFP Alma, a Filipino young lady, wishes for the new year to carry joy and fun and good times. She hopes that peace will overwhelm every nation in the world. Azza, an Egyptian lady, wishes success and happiness for everyone in the New Year. She also hopes that the quarrel will calm down between Egypt and Algeria. Rani, an Indian lady, hopes for a baby while she is here in Kuwait in 2010. She wishes

good health for her family and all people. 2010 is here with great turmoil all over the world; hunger and starvation is spreading, old and new diseases are killing the people who are not murdered by wars and violence. Environmental danger and pollution is everywhere you turn. Despite of all the woes of the world, peace and goodwill to all mankind remain a dominant hope for the New Year.

Mythical animals on the eaves of a pagoda are silhouetted against a near full-moon at a park in Beijing on Dec 30, 2009. The last day of the year and the decade on December 31 will see the rare occurrence of the second full moon in a month, something that happens only once every two or three years, and because of its rarity been called a “blue moon”, even though the moon actually stays exactly the same color as a regular full moon. Explosive growth in economic and political power ensured that the past 10 years set the foundations for what many analysts predict will be the Asian century as the world tilts firmly eastwards. — AFP


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Out there in our Mona Saleh explores the fascinating world of astronomy By Sahar Moussa an has always dreamed about stars, planets and the moon. To him, outer space was a mysterious, interesting, inexplicable world. The Romans and Greeks were the first to be fascinated by space and astronomy. They used stars and planets for navigational purposes, and were aware of the lunar and solar eclipses. The Pharaohs used astronomy to calculate the rise in sea level, heat waves, and to predict droughts that would save crops and plants. The Arabs also learnt of astronomical powers that helped them conduct the first ever studies on astronomy. Kuwait Times interviewed the Manager of Astronomy and Space Science Department, Mona Ahmed Anbur Saleh to shed more light about the science of astronomy and clear the air on some common misconceptions.

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Q: Can you introduce yourself? A: My name is Mona Ahmed Anbur Saleh, I’m an astronomer and representative for Dr Saleh Al-Ojairi. I am also a representative member of the Arab Astronomers Union of Astronomy Science in Space. This year, I was elected as an executive member in this union, as well as my membership in the higher council. Q: What is the difference between an astronomer and a fortune teller? A: An astronomer is a person who uses science, facts and numbers to conduct research on and studies. A fortune teller doesn’t do the same. For example, when scientists launched the Hubble telescope they discovered whole new range of information about recently formed planets and stars. These discoveries were impossible for anyone to see through a normal telescope unless radioactive rays are used. So every day, we discover new information based on accurate numbers and precise calculations. We can see newly formed planets experience all of human life’s phases like infancy, adulthood and old age till it explodes. These discoveries and knowledge is an astronomer’s expertise. Q: Why are astronomers generally confused for a fortune teller? A: People have not been able to disregard the idea that an astronomer is not a fortune teller, witch or a wizard. I’m sorry to say that even some clerics get confused and refer to them interchangeably based on faulty assumptions. This idea was built over a period of thousands of years when man was heavily dependent on nature in all respects . He based his beliefs, religion and faith around these, which laid the foundation for rich astronomer’s heritage. He would sit on the ground and observe the rain, dust, the lunar and solar eclipse, stare at the skies, and try to distinguish the moon and stars. He named them Virgo, Dragon, Taurus, which are nature’s elements that were of legendary status to him. he then devised precise calculations. During the time of the ancient Egyptian civilization, the Pharaohs

would predict the timing of the Nile flood, and know exactly when water levels would rise. They could do so owing to the precise calculations using the position of the stars and its congruency with nature. It is because of these reasons that they worshiped the sun, moon, and the stars. It is an innate belief in these elements’ powerful knowledge and its supernatural effect. Because of their powers, astronomers during ancient times doubled up as powerful fortune tellers who predicted the emperors’ destiny and the survival of their throne. Q: When did the fortune teller attain the position of an astronomer that delves into science and knowledge? A: The designation changed during the present age and it began evolving into its present form during Galileo’s era when he discovered the telescope.

Honestly, I might not be able to confirm this situation scientifically. It might be true. The people who are possessed may reveal some aspects of the future although it’s completely forbidden in our religion to do so. I can confirm one thing though that “all fortune tellers are liars even if they speak the truth.” Q: What relationship does man share with space, the planets and stars? A: It’s a stereotyped question, akin to that of an astronomer and fortune teller. People always ask the astronomer when rainfalls are expected. Is it going to be cold this clear and unambiguous about some scientific aspects. However, I can’t agree with some of the verses and theories which are not based on facts or don’t correspond to an everchanging, dynamic universe.

Q: How can you explain some people’s inherent ability to predict the future using precise dates and inforation? A: I don’t believe anyone can predict the future and foretell it except for almighty God. If that is true, God wouldn’t have send us Moses the Prophet (PBUH) and order him to hurl his stick that transformed into a large snake and swallow all the other sticks observation of the sun.

that were bewitched. Q: What do you think about fortune tellers? A: With due respect to fortune tellers, I don’t believe that they have the ability to spell out exact details. Even if someone foretells your future and hints at an impending marriage or happiness, no one is completely aware of the exact date and time, or explains the reasons behind their predictions except God. Q: Do you believe in people who work with ‘jinn’ and spirits? A: (Smiles) Yes I do. I believe that some people are possessed and work with the jinn. It is believed that the jinn can look into our destinies that God has already charted out for us. So, people who are ‘possessed’ have access to our destiny. I have seen a possessed woman speaking in tongues and talking in a man’s voice. In our religion, this person is considered to be sick and can be treated using special prayers and verses from the Quran.

year? This is not my area of expertise. I specialize in astronomical weather forecasting. For example, when the planet ‘Suhiel’ appears on the horizon astronomers know that the hot season is coming to an end. We depend on seeing the stars in order to distinguish the seasons. Q: Is there a relationship between horoscopes and astronomy? A: We cannot disregard the impact of horoscopes from our lives because most calculations are dependent on it. In terms of horoscopes, the solar system that consist of 13 planets that revolve around the sun is significant. To illustrate with an example, I know for sure that Kuwait will experience a solar eclipse called a ring eclipse on 15, January 2010. It will begin at 8:30 am and last till 11:05, peaking at 9:44 am. Kuwait will only experience 30 percent of it. However, in countries like China, Malaysia, India and Central Africa the eclipse will be total. I know of this accurate calculation through my

Q: What is your opinion on those who follow the zodiac signs? A: It can be categorized along the same lines as the fortune-tellers and paranormal occurrences. Unfortunately, people have been exposed to such tales ever since they were born. I can prove it by saying there are thirteen existing planets. Planets don’t determine our characteristics and doesn’t interfere with our lives directly. Planets have human characteristics as they pass through life events like ‘birth and death.’ So what if the planet that corresponds with your zodiac sign explodes, what will your destiny be like? Will you die too? So, every planet has its own course in life, just like people’s life path is scripted by God. Q: Does a full moon have an effect on the mind and body? A: Scientifically, when there is a full moon we have noticed that the level of body fluids in those who suffer from hypertension elevates, they tire easily. But it’s not always the case. In our religion, our Prophet has ordered us to fast for three days- the 13th, 14th and 15th of every month. When we probed the reasons, we discovered that the water levels in the human body are higher than normal. Q: As a Muslim-Kuwaiti astronomer, how do you combine science with religion? A: Islam can’t be separated from science, and any subjects mentioned in the Quran has been scientifically proven, like the science of embryology. I disagree with the names that have been associated with scientific studies like the solar system. Several Quranic verses are

Q: How difficult is it for you to adhere to your beliefs? Your job as a scientist is to be constantly skeptical. A: I’m a believer and God has ordered me to learn and search for the truth. If I have doubts and do not agree with something that was mentioned in the Quran, I have the courage to say it and defend my theory. As a scientist, if I don’t see a definite scientific proof I don’t approve or believe in it. Q: Have you seen the movie that was released recently called 2012? What do you think about it? A: Honestly, I have only seen its preview and I think it’s just another Hollywood movie. Most movies that talk about the end of the universe and planets colliding into Earth are fictional. We can’t deny that manmade harmful acts might lead to such catastrophic events. Impacts of global warming include rise in sea level, extreme weather conditions including heat waves, frosts, droughts, storms, extinction of species, loss of entire forests, marine life destruction and glacial meltdown. Kuwait’s temperature has been on the rise, especially since the climate is arid. Why don’t we grow more trees, plants? I really hope that we do more to protect nature. Q: Is true that Arabs where the first people to use astronomy? A: As mentioned previously, all civilizations have contributed or used astronomy in one way or another. The Greeks and Romans were the pioneers, followed by the Arabs who enhanced this science. Q: How did countries like United States and Europe arch way ahead of us? A: If we look back at our history, we can find that the Ottoman empire oppressed Arabs for centuries. During this period, they competed with us and eventually surpassed us in the field of astrology. They acquired the basics and knowledge of astronomy from us. The Europeans developed on it and launched their


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manned mission to the moon. Q: Are you married? How many children do you have? A: I’m happily married and have four children- two boys and two girls. Q: Are your children interested in astronomy? A: My youngest daughter Hala dreams of becoming an astronomer. She keeps abreast of all the news that have to do with latest discoveries and space. Q: What fascinated you the most about astronomy? A: During the course of my research, I have come across incredible things. The most amazing one was the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. It was named after the person who discovered it after his death. In addition to the Comet Hiyakotaki that was also named after the two persons that discovered it at the same time at different places. One of my unforgettable moments was when I went to the green mountain in Oman during a field expedition. It was one of the most pleasurable journeys that I’ve ever embarked on. The high mountains enabled me to clearly view the sky. The Kuwaiti scientists who were present were visibly excited and decided that it would be the perfect place to place the first Gulf telescope in Oman. Its suitability is unparalleled in all respects environmentally, politically and socially. However, it has not happened till now. Q: Do you dream about going to the moon? A: If they invite me, I would love to go to the moon. I don’t know if I would like the tough exercises. Q: Is it true that a scientist from the Middle East demanded that the Kaaba serve as the meridian line instead of the Greenwich line? A: Some Muslim and Arab scientists are demanding that it be done. Q: Do you agree with this? A: I think that’s way too premature to talk about it. I can’t be biased about the subject. if I want to give my opinion it should be based on scientific results. If the line that passes across the Kaaba facilitate the coordination better than Greenwich, I will support it. I believe religion should not merged with scientific facts. Science is the main issue here. Q: Do you think that the Kuwaiti government is not being supportive enough to promote scientific studies and research? A: The Kuwaiti government is too busy holding interrogations and

investigations and does not devote enough time for the advancement of science. I admit that we have interesting programs and people who are interested, and willing to participate. But our programs aren’t advanced enough to the same degree as other countries. The Ministry of Education owns a planetarium which has been grossly neglected. Two of the five planetarium centers are dysfunctional because of sheer neglect. Although we are financially well-endowed, an old school called ‘Mousaida Bint Kaaba’ in Rawda is in a dilapidated state- it can be renewed by equipping it with telescopes and instruments to be used by teaching students. At the same time, they can use it as a form of investment. Q: Does Kuwait have an astronomy center? A: Kuwait has the third observatory in the world, about which people are poorly informed. It’s located in Kuwait University in the Physics department. it’s the third center in the world that studies the cosmos here. Most studies revolve around the Sun, the radiation it emits, in addition to the levels of hydrogen. Q: What are your resolutions for 2010? A: I hope that 2010 will be a good year for all of us, with fewer parliament interpellations. More focus should be laid on our educational system. Astronomy should be considered as an academic subject. I also hope that all Muslims and GCC countries should acknowledge astronomy as an fundamental science. A Gulf observatory should be set up to serve all the Gulf countries. Q: What are your dreams for the future? A: I dream to see an Arab astronomer land on the moon and a pan-Arab space mission take off one day. I also dream of a young generation that contributes significantly toward science. Unfortunately, I don’t know why we only adopt the West’s dreadful practices. We don’t want to imitate them when some things change our lives for the better. When I attend conferences with the Europeans, I have seen them collaborate enthusiastically with each other. Their quest for knowledge is not colored by religion, cult and politics unlike the Arabs. Q: Is there anything you say when you look at the sky? A: First I never get enough of looking at the sky and stars! I pray to God that He protects Kuwait, and also hope that it rains. e-mail: sahar@kuwaittimes.net

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Local press continues to highlight Amiri speech KUWAIT: Kuwaiti newspapers continued to highlight on yesterday the speech addressed to the nation by His Highness the Amir on Tuesday. Under the title ‘A Warning To Lawbreakers’, daily Al-Seyassah in its editorial said that the lawbreakers do not have any other alternative than retrace their steps and play the right politics in order to avoid ‘cauterization’ as the only available medication.

The message of the address is clear to all except those who intend to continue their wayward acts while awaiting the wrath of the law to catch up with them, said the paper. When that happens, it will be of no avail to regret their shortsighted and selfish actions, it went on. The address of the Amir was not only a final warning against breaking the law under the pretext of

constitutional and legal right. It was also an indication that lawbreakers do not have the right to call for the Constitution’s implementation and then openly violate it, the paper noted. The address of the Amir is the beginning of a new day and could be a huge turning point for Kuwait if everybody deals with it properly. It will change the present situation of the country, it remarked. The daily Al-Dar stated that what

the Amir included in his speech was only a reflection of the bitterness felt by citizens in general. It noted that the Amir would only be relieved when renegades and ‘deviant’ people returned to normalcy and reconsidered their stances. The paper asserted that it was vital that all knew the meaning of patriotism and unity and became aware of the true concept of democracy.

Daily Al-Nahar believed that the address of His Highness the Amir reflected the sorrow he felt regarding the turn of events in the homeland of late. “Does Kuwait deserve this? Is this how we repay our country?” he exclaimed. The paper expressed belief that the speech came at a critical and significant point in time and was an address from a father to his children. —KUNA

Kuwait’s ‘ideal mother’ accorded warm hospitality CAIRO: Chairwoman of Kuwait’s Supreme Committee of the ‘Ideal Mother Award Sheikha Fareeha Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah participated in a seminar as part of her current visit to the Egyptian Women National Council on Wednesday. The seminar was themed ‘Towards a distinguished parliamentary role of Egyptian women’. Sheikha Fareeha expressed deep admiration at the council’s warm hospitality, namely by the Egyptian First Lady, Susanne Mubarak. The head of the ‘Ideal

Mother Commission’ said that she held a talk with the Secretary General of the Council, Dr. Farkhanda Hassan. The talk was on women’s social rights, means of protecting the women against violence, and briefed the Egyptian side about the Kuwaiti experience at this level. She said that both the Council and the Committee aim to promote the status of the Arab women and the ‘Ideal Mother’. It also seeks to ensure an effective participation of women in social development.

Dr. Farkhanda welcomed Sheikha Fareeha’s delegation and affirmed that the honored visitors were briefed about activities of the council. She also affirmed the First Lady’s eagerness to maintain communications with the Kuwaiti authority by activating the cooperation protocol. The seminar addressed the achievements that were made in Egypt to promote the status of women in line with international treaties that call for elimination of all forms of gender indiscrimination. —KUNA

Nationals, expats praise Amiri speech as ‘timely’ By Nawara Fattahova

in the news Kuwait sends condolence cables KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah sent yesterday a cable of condolences to President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on the demise of former Indonesian President Abdulrahman Wahid. His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah also sent similar messages.

Marriage officials instructed to prevent certificates’ manipulation KUWAIT: Head of the Marriage Officials Committee at the Ministry of Justice, Adel AlFailakawi, asserted on the importance of committing to the regulations. It obliges each official to obtain the marriage contracts personally from the legal documentation department, in a step that aims to avoid manipulation in marriage certificates. AlFailakawi made his comments during his participation in a forum that was held for members of the committee. It was attended by the Minister Deputy Assistant for Legal and

Information Affairs, Dr. Badr Al-Zamanan, reported Al Qabas. Furthermore, Al-Failakawi explained several instructions during the forum, which marriage officials are required to commit to in their work. These instruction include the necessity of carrying out the process of writing at the marriage certificate by themselves, using handwriting, while they were required to keep no copies whatsoever of the certificate after it would be handed to the married couple.

Teachers to receive more housing allowance KUWAIT: Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr. Moudhi Al-Humoud recently requested to the Civil Service Commission a full review of allowances allotted to expatriate teachers in public schools, including increasing housing allowances from KD 60 to KD 150 that would cope with the current rent values, reported Alaan online newspaper. The minister’s request is aimed at financially helping teachers in providing for their families, which in turn improves working conditions and the education sector in general.

KUWAIT: Kuwait has recently witnessed a spate of negative acts from across different segments of society. The sectarian, religious statements issued were discriminatory in nature and sparked many protests. Also, declarations made by Mohammed Al-Juwaihel aired on satellite channel ‘Al Sour,’ enraged many MPs. Thousands of Kuwaitis who attended the symposiums carried out demonstration in the streets. On Tuesday, HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah addressed the nation, warning the nation against causing chaos and rifts as a consequence of unfavorable political events. The speech was broadcasted live on all the Kuwaiti TV and radio channels and most of people were tuned in to it. The Kuwait Times interviewed some residents who expressed their view on Amir’s speech. “It was a message to the nation about what is wrong and what they have been doing. I think that it was a great thing when HH the Amir spoke to people. They should feel ashamed and tone down their acts of fanaticism. It was a clear message asking us to stop carrying out such nonsense - dividing people according to religious sects or others. This won’t bring us any benefits. We are all Kuwaitis and not Sunni, Shiite, bedoon or Hadri. When we travel aboard we say that we are Kuwaiti without making further specification,” noted Homoud, a 23-year- old Kuwaiti. Some felt that the Amiri speech was emotionally-charged. “I was deeply impressed with the speech. I was on the verge of tears. HH the Amir sounded very sad which in turn reflects poorly on us. We see our country being ripped apart and fragmented. I hope that the Amir will enforce strict legislations that will put an end to such acts of segregation. I guess that many people interpret freedom in a wrong way. They insult people in public without respect to their feelings, and this should be curtailed by laws,” stated a 27year- old Fatma. Others feel that the speech was well-timed. “I think that HH the Amir’s speech was made at the right time. Our nation really needed this speech to realize the dark tunnel they were heading to. Maybe some people were slightly annoyed with this speech as they believed that the speech was addressed to them. In fact it was addressed to the people who indulged in seditious activities,” stressed Talal, a 36-year-old Kuwaiti.

Also, expatriates were keen to listen to what the Amir had to say. “The speech was really nice. It was made at the right time, as the country needs it most. There is a division between religious sects and groups, and other sects. This speech was important to forge the country’s unity and stability. The Amir told people that Kuwait’s interests should be placed above personal interests, and the speech as really impressive,” said Lina, a 30-yearold Lebanese.

Citizens asked to submit tax statements in Egypt CAIRO: A Kuwaiti diplomat requested citizens who own real estate in Egypt submit their tax statements to the Egyptian Real Estate Tax Authority (RTA) as soon as possible. Speaking to KUNA yesterday, Head of the Consular Department at Kuwait Embassy in Cairo Mishaal Al-Mansour said that those who do not submit their tax statements before March 31 will have to pay fines ranging from 200 to 5,000 Egyptian pounds. He pointed out that tax statements should be submitted on all kinds of buildings, including houses, apartments, chalets, and commercial and industrial facilities. Taxes are imposed on all housing units that exceed a value of 500,000 pounds, he added. Taxes will be determined by the employees of RTA of the Egyptian Finance Ministry after the inspection of the real estate, he noted. He asserted that the Kuwait Embassy here provides advice to Kuwaiti citizens on tax statements. —KUNA


LOCAL

Friday, January 1, 2010

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Prosecution frees Al-Sour’s Juwaihel on bail By B Izzak KUWAIT: The Public Prosecutor acquitted the owner of the controversial Al-Sour satellite channel Mohammad Al-Juwaihel on a KD 5,000 bail yesterday after he served a week in detention. Juwaihel was also banned from leaving the country. He was arrested on December 24 by the state security personnel as he returned to the country from Cairo, a week after his station aired an interview with him in which he allegedly insulted tribes. The Public Prosecution interrogated him on charges of undermining national security by inciting social division and also for violating the audio-visual law which governs private TV and

radio stations. As a backlash to the interview that was aired on December 18, thousands of tribesmen and political activists organized two massive public rallies in which speakers called for the resignation of the interior and information ministers. MPs participating in the rallies also threatened to grill the two ministers and the prime minister. Later, the MPs decided to first interpellate the information minister but without setting a date for the same. The program has drawn strong condemnation from almost all sections of the society and political group that accused the government of failing to curb what they called “corrupt media”. The Public Prosecution will decide

in the news KFSD honors bank officials By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Director General of Kuwait Fire Services Directorate (KFSD), Maj General Jassim Al-Mansouri received a delegation from the Kuwait International Bank. AlMansouri expressed gratitude toward the bank for hosting a second symposium in association with the KFSD last week. He said that the bank’s initiative reflects its officials’ awareness and interest in serving the society. Maj Gen AlMansouri presented the delegation with a memento on the occasion.

Street fights An 18-year-old citizen sustained head injuries during a fight that broke out in Sabahiya. He was admitted to Adan hospital. Also, a 30-year-old Egyptian suffered head injuries and cuts to his arm after being involved in a noisy quarrel that occurred in Farwaniya. He was admitted to Farwaniya hospital. In another incident, a 28-year-old French national sustained a gash to his left eye during a fight that took place in Salmiya. He was admitted to Mubarak hospital.

later if it is to press more charges against Juwaihel. Meanwhile, lawyer Mohammad Al-Awada yesterday filed a lawsuit against the interior minister for allowing official documents to reach Juwaihel. In another development, Islamist MPs yesterday issued a stern warning to the government, asking it to strictly monitor New Year parties being held at hotels and restaurants in order to prevent any violation of the law. MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabae, Mohammad Hayef, Jamaan Al-Harbash and Falah AlSawwagh issued separate statements calling on the interior and information ministries to prevent any violation of the Kuwaiti law and erode the society’s values and morals.

KUWAIT: Owner of Al-Sour TV channel Mohammad Al-Juwaihel is greeted by relatives and friends after his release from detention yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Ambassador urges improvement of Kuwaiti-Polish relations KUWAIT: “Kuwait and Poland enjoy ‘excellent’ politicalrelations that continue to develop, but unfortunately, our economicties are not at the aspired level,” said Polish Ambassador Janusz Szwedo. Speaking at a seminar on ‘Business Opportunities in Poland: Privatization Program for 2009-2011’, the ambassador said, “Kuwait and Poland share strong, political relations, as expressed by the high-level visit exchanges, but this has unfortunately not been

country was not as hard-hit by the financial crisis as other countries, the diplomat quoted Professor Leszek Balcerowicz - a Polish economist and the former chairman of the National Bank of Poland - who said that Poland had stricter bank credit policies before the crisis compared to other countries, there was no dynamic growth of foreign debts similar to other countries, financial instruments were far less sophisticated than in the United States, there was a

KOC develops future strategy for 2030 KUWAIT: The Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has completed planning its general strategic goals for the year 2030, in preparation for the coming fiscal year. According to information obtained from the company, which includes the company’s accomplishments during the past three years, the planning sector of the company has been able to complete the general basis for capital project evaluation in cooperation with its financial and global marketing sectors. These capital investments and their performance have also been applied to the 2009-2010 financial budget. The Global Marketing Department has been able to break through into new markets, namely the African market with plans to ink a contract with Ethiopia to provide it with fuel oil and jet fuel. This year also witnessed the company strengthening its presence in Europe by signing a jet fuel deal with Spanish oil and gas company Repsol, to dispense its products in the Spanish and Portuguese markets. A contract with Chinese oil and gas firm Sinopec also increased affectivity to provide the 160,000 barrels per day of Kuwaiti crude oil. On the financial scale, the company has been able, in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, to achieve investment profits worth KD 205 million, along with profits from other sales worth KD 605 million. KOC was also able to limit consumption by 15 percent, while raising the employment of Kuwaiti citizens to reach an average of 79.3 percent of the total taskforce on the administrative scale. Other accomplishments were the discovery of a new oilfield for lightweight crude and natural gas in Mutreba, with initial estimates of 80,000 barrels per day along with 110 million square feet of natural gas a day. After the development and improvement of oil facilities in Kuwait, the production average was increased to 2.49 million barrels per day instead of 2.418 million barrels per day prior to expansions. Storage capacity was also increased to 24.54 million barrels with the exporting capacity per day reaching 2.832 million barrels, after the construction of eight new storage silos. — KUNA

Polish Ambassador to Kuwait Janusz Szwedo. —KUNA followed through with our economic relations..” The bilateral commercial turnover was at a ‘very modest’ $ 42 million in 2008 and the figure is expected to be even lower this year given the global economic crisis,” he said. “ It is our task to do our best to promote economic relations, as the potential of both Poland and Kuwait deserve more attention,” the ambassador said. Consul Andreij Tutinski, in a presentation, said that Poland was the only EU country that recorded a positive growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of this year, amounting to 1.4 percent. Explaining why his

smaller influence of the stock market on the economy than in the United States, as well as a drop in the price of natural resources. Among the competitive advantages that foreign investors in Poland would benefit from, Tutinski noted the strategic location of the country in the heart of Europe, the fact that it was the only country with a positive GDP growth in the EU at present, a market of 38 million consumers, young and well-educated work force and investment incentives (14 Special Economic Zones and over $110 billion allocated as development funds from the EU) He noted that unemployment was declining in Poland, going from over 20

percent in 2004 to 10.9 percent in September 2009. According to the ‘2009 World Investment Report’ issued by the UN Conferenceon Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Poland’s rapidly expanding domestic market, its flexible and skilled labor force, and its solid banking system were key factors in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI). Poland has attracted around $16.5 billion in FDI in 2008, the highest amount among the 12 new EU member states. And in its ‘World Investment Prospects Survey 2009-2011’, UNCTAD ranked Poland the 11th most attractive destination for investors. In the ‘2008 Top 50 Emerging Global Outsourcing Cities’, Cracow ranked fourth and Warsaw was ranked 28th. Poland also ranks fifth among the ‘Top 5 Offshore Nations’. Moreover, in a report issued by Cushman and Wakefield, 2009, four Polish cities (Cracow, Poznan, Warsaw, and Katowice) were listed among the top ten locations in Europe for best industrial space. Foreign investors can benefit from Corporate Income Tax (CIT) exemption inSpecial Economic Zones, real estate tax exemptions, government grants through individual negotiations, and cash grants available through EU funds. Poland’s privatization plan for 2009-2011 offers investors a wide range ofbusiness opportunities in power and chemical industries, the financial sector mining, metallurgy, petroleum, defense, pharmaceuticals, constru ction, the machine and metal industry, transportation, trade and services, health resorts, and many more. The privatization plan was adopted by the cabinet in April 2008, and it covers 800 companies from 40 business sectors. —KUNA

Education Ministry to probe student assault case KUWAIT: Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr. Moudhi Al-Humoud announced here yesterday that she has authorized the Ministry’s Undersecretary Tamadher Al-Sadairawi to take stock of situation in the school where a student was assaulted by his classmates. The Mubarak Al-Kabir educational zone will take follow-up action on the case. Al-Sadairawi had paid a visit to the school in which the assault had taken place two days ago during school hours. She was accompanied by the Director of Mubarak Al-Kabir educational zone and the Director of educational institutions. After speaking to the students’ parent she said that she had communicated with the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior Lt. Gen. Ahmad Al-Rujaib to confirm that the Ministry of Interior will deal with the issue in the proper manner and referred it to the Juveniles Prosecution Department so that necessary measures are taken. She said that the Education Ministry has conducted its own internal recourse by referring the school administration and its officials to the Public Prosecution Department to establish the background of the incident and submit an urgent report to the Minister. Al-Sadairawi said that the ministry would take stringent action against any lapse in report submission and would also enforce disciplinary measures against those students found guilty. She pointed out that members of the technical team of the ministry in charge of monitoring a tender to install cameras in schools across Kuwait were currently in the final stages of completion. — KUNA


LOCAL

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Friday, January 1, 2010

‘Mix Mornings’ with Talal and Sandi

I

By Nawara Fattahova

“A

show that caters to the tastes of all ages, genders, nationalities and occupations. Here at Mix FM, talent is fostered with the equipment that are not even available in the US. We love our work.

t is interesting to learn about how a live radio show is produced. In fact, successful radio presenters have now become household names. Two popular radio jockeys related their experiences to the Kuwait Times. Talal Malik and Sandi Ismaeil present a popular radio show titled ‘Mix Mornings’ that is aired live on Mix FM station. This show is broadcasted between 8:00 am and 10:00 am from Sunday to Thursday. This show covers the usual staple of entertainment news, health news, and miscellaneous subjects. Competitions are held and prizes worth $200 are given away. Mix Mornings began a year ago with different talents. Talal and Sandi have been presenting the program for the past six months. Mix Mornings is presented in a mixture of English and Arabic, predominantly in English. People interact using SMS, Face book, and Twitter. “We mostly play western songs, and sometimes Arabic, and modern fast music too. A demographic break up shows that most listeners are university students. Later, we found that people belonging to all ages, genders, nationalities, and occupations follow our show. We


LOCAL have Americans, Kuwaitis, Indians and others as listeners. Our show is for everybody who speaks English as a first or second language,” Talal Malik told the Kuwait Times. It is very important to love one’s work place. “Although I’m not a morning person, I now wakeup at 5:00 am with pleasure, looking forward to the show. I feel very excited to come to work. The show starts at 8:00 am, so we have to begin preparing for it an hour and a half in advance. We have to follow the news all the time. We like to keep abreast with the latest,” said Sandi Ismaeil. “Here at Marina or Mix FM, talent is fostered. They don’t tell us to do this or not do that. They place their trust in us. We also have the best equipments, that are not even available in the US. All these factors steer us clear from problems,” Talal added. Like any other place, unfavorable situations have to be confronted. “The majority of the listeners are our friends. We even remember them individually. We have some fans that send us SMS every day. So, from about one million SMSes, we receive one bad one. These people want attention, and we do not give it to them. We simply delete

— Photos by Joseph Shagra such messages,” stressed Talal. Talal and Sandi also shared their most interesting experiences at work. “We have two fans (a couple) who listen to our show every day. They would call us regularly and tell us that

they listen to the show while on their way to work. They would call us even when they faced problems. They share their feelings with us and demanded advice. After breaking-up a few times, they finally got married and sent us an invitation to their wedding party. I attended it. You see, we lived their story for all these months,” added Sandi. These radio jocks are friends with their listeners. “Sometimes when winners in our show come to collect their prize, we ask them to come to see the studio and see us. It is easy to visit us as we are stationed at a shopping mall. Many times, we have guests who would like to come and join us in the studio and we welcome them here. If some of these guests are talkative and are not shy, we let them speak to listeners live on air,” noted Talal. They also have a wide fanbase. “Our work is built on love. Many of our fans invite us for lunch or dinner. Once a fan brought me a music CD that I had mentioned that I liked on the show. We blur the divide between us and listeners. We continue with our show even if it is crowded, even if three or four guests are seated,” highlighted Sandi. Sandi also presents another radio show called ‘Black and White.’ This

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show is broadcasted every day between 2:00 pm 3:00pm, except on Tuesdays. This show plays English music from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. “It is a recorded show and I present it in Arabic even though English music is played. I play requests that people demand through SMSes. People usually register their requests on their demands for a certain song. It usually reminds them of certain memories,” Sandi pointed out. Sandi entered this field by accident. “We were friends long before we started working together. We knew each other from college. Once I invited her to come visit me at the station. She likes to talk, and I let her talk through the microphone. Talal AlYaqout heard her that day and asked me about her. He then asked her to work with us, and went on a threemonth long test run. Within two months, she was assigned another show: ‘Black and White,” explained Talal. The Mix FM also presents other shows. The Alkhatar Feletter, a game show broadcasted between 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, is presented by Osama Fouda. Then there is the Dardachat, broadcasted between 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm by Rasha. It is a call-in talk show where social issues are discussed in Arabic. Guests from different fields such as spiritualists, doctors, comedians, actors have been featured on the show.

Sandi Ismaeil

Talal Malik

Friday, January 1, 2010


INTERNATIONAL

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Nuke tensions with West simmer

Iran enters 2010 after year of deadly protests TEHRAN: A divided Iran enters 2010 after a year marked by recurring deadly protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - some of the worst demonstrations since the shah’s fall - and tensions with the West over its nuclear

drive. The protests, which erupted after Ahmadinejad’s reelection, shook the pillars of the 30-year-old Islamic regime, split its clerical elite and prompted supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to publicly support the president.

LONDON: Protestors rally alongside a poster of Maryam Rajavi, head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran outside the Iranian embassy yesterday. Supporters of the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran rallied outside the Iranian embassy in solidarity with the uprising in Iran. – AP

Britain, Iran downplay Tehran link to hostages LONDON: Britain and Iran downplayed yesterday a report that the 2007 kidnapping of a British computer expert and his bodyguards in Iraq was led by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and that they were held there. Peter Moore was freed unharmed Wednesday after a two-and-a-half year ordeal in which all four bodyguards are thought to have died. A first photo since his release showed him looking relaxed in the grounds of Britain’s Baghdad embassy. Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki yesterday “to thank him for his efforts in the release of the British hostage Peter Moore,” Downing Street said in a statement. But there is speculation a deal was done after it emerged the leader of the group which took Moore from a government building in Baghdad was being transferred from US to Iraqi custody.

BAGHDAD: Briton Peter Moore is seen at the British Embassy yesterday. – AFP

Iran has dismissed as “baseless” reports of its involvement, saying they were motivated by British “anger” over a crackdown on opposition protests. “They emanate from the British anger towards the rallies in which millions of Iranians took part to condemn British interference in (Iran’s) internal affairs,” foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by state-controlled news channel Al-Alam. Britain added it had “no evidence” to support the report in the Guardian newspaper that the Revolutionary Guard led the operation and took the five to Iran within a day of their abduction. The BBC also quoted the US’s former commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, as saying he was “90 percent certain” that the group was held in Iran for part of their time in captivity. Petraeus was quoted telling a correspondent earlier this month: “I’m absolutely certain. I’m 90 percent certain” when asked if they were taken to Iran, adding: “I’m pretty sure I’ve seen hard intelligence on it.” Moore was targeted because he was installing a computer tracking system that would show how international aid money to Iraqi institutions was diverted to Iran’s militia groups in Iraq, the Guardian said. A former unnamed Revolutionary Guard said the five were held in two camps. “It was an Iranian kidnap, led by the Revolutionary Guard, carried out by the Al-Quds brigade,” he was quoted saying. An unnamed Iraqi government minister backed up the claims, telling the Guardian: “This was an IRG (Iranian Revolutionary Guard) operation”. But Sami Al-Askari, an Iraqi lawmaker who the Guardian suggested had flown to Iran to meet the kidnappers, denied this to the BBC, while acknowledging that he was involved in talks with the hostage-takers in Iraq. — AFP

The deepening political schism has turned some of those who helped build the regime after the 1979 Islamic revolution into its most bitter critics. While Iran in 2010 is likely to continue on the path of confrontation over its nuclear drive, domestically it will be preoccupied with political upheaval and trying to bolster its dilapidated, inflation-stoked economy. Hundreds of thousands of protesters who supported Mir Hossein Mousavi Ahmadinejad’s main rival in the June 12 election - flooded Tehran’s streets after the vote, claiming it was rigged. The streets echoed with antiAhmadinejad slogans such as “Give back our stolen votes” and “Death to the dictator”, which continue to reverberate six months later. Dozens were killed in running street battles as protesters clashed with Islamist militiamen and security forces who fired tear gas and beat them with batons and steel chains. Despite the initial crackdown, demonstrators have since taken every opportunity to stage antigovernment rallies, most recently during Sunday’s Shiite Ashoura ceremonies, memorials for dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri who died on Dec 19, and Students Day on Dec 7. On Sunday, eight people were reported killed, among them Mousavi’s nephew Seyed Ali. Police said “terrorists” killed him in an incident unrelated to anti-government riots. Scores of opposition figures were rounded up after the latest protests, and police arrested 500 “rioters”. Ex-premier Mousavi, reputed for steering Iran’s economy during the war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces in the 1980s, has become the leading light of the widely divergent but mainly young opposition movement. Mousavi, former president canidadate Mehdi Karroubi, and other leading opposition figures such as Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami are now accused by the authorities of being “riot leaders”. On Wednesday, IRNA news agency said some MPs and leaders have emphasised that the “prosecution of the heads of the sedition has become a public demand”. Amnesty International says human rights violations in Iran are as bad as at any time in the past 20 years and has urged authorities to probe allegations of “torture, rape and unlawful killings”. — AFP

Friday, January 1, 2010

Prosecutor threatens opposition with trials TEHRAN: Iran’s state prosecutor warned opposition leaders yesterday they could face trial if they do not denounce this week’s anti-government protests the worst unrest since the aftermath of June’s disputed presidential election. The prosecutor, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehei, said the opposition leaders could be accused of supporting people who defy God by protesting against the government last Sunday, when Shiites observed the sacred day of Ashoura. He said the leaders may face charges of “supporting apostates,” or those who go against God. At least eight people died during the protests and hundreds were arrested. Ejehei’s comments, published in state-owned Iran newspaper, deepened the bitter internal strife in Iran. Also yesterday, a group of government supporters, wearing white funeral shrouds to symbolize a willingness to die in defense of the clerical rulers, staged a rally in southern Tehran and gathered outside the offices of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, state radio reported. At mass pro-government rallies around the country on Wednesday, some called for the execution of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and another top figure Mahdi Karroubi - both losing candidates in the disputed June 12 presidential election. The opposition contends the election was rigged and that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won by fraud. The orderly and peaceful display of popular support for the government was in sharp contrast to the

bloody crackdown by security troops and hardline militiamen on opposition protests at the height of the unrest over the summer. Iranian security forces crushed rallies against the government after the summer but they have regained momentum recently. Officials said more than 500 protesters were arrested since Sunday’s clashes and the number could be even higher. Many will likely be tried for apostasy - a crime punishable by death under Iranian law as well as attempts to topple the government and fomenting the post-election turmoil. Iran has already sentenced five defendants to death in an ongoing mass trial of more than 100 opposition activists and figures. More than 80 were sentenced to prison from six months to 15 years. Ejehei said prosecution of the opposition leaders would not be forgotten. “The charge of supporting apostates and those who defied God will be added to their past charges,” he said. Iran’s deputy chief of judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi told the official IRNA news agency on Thursday that those detained over Sunday’s unrest would be charged with violating public order and “Moharebe,” which is Farsi for defying God. The Iranian police released yesterday on its website about 100 pictures of protesters involved in Sunday’s rallies, asking the public to help identify and report them to the police because they were suspected of “damaging public property and insulting sanctities”. — AP

US mulls sanctions on Iran as year ends WASHINGTON: The Obama administration seemed more firmly set on pushing for fresh UN sanctions against Iran as Iranian leaders balk at a year-end deadline to engage world powers on their nuclear plans. However, with a UN diplomatic source in New York saying preliminary work on drafting a sanctions resolution is likely to begin in mid-January, President Barack Obama’s team is keeping its options open. “Even as we leave the door open to engagement,” world powers agree that Iran will pay the consequences if it does not meet its international nuclear obligations, said Darby Holladay, a State Department spokesman. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain - plus Germany are “in the process of considering next steps consistent with our dual-track policy,” he told AFP. A senior State Department official told AFP on the condition of anonymity that the Obama administration was “pivoting” toward imposing more sanctions against Iran while keeping “the door open to engagement.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said two weeks ago that Iran had failed to build confidence. For example, she said Iran has balked at a US-backed International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) proposal to ship abroad low-grade nuclear fuel so it can be further enriched and returned to refuel a Tehran medical research reactor. Such a move would buy breathing room as the big powers try to halt Iran’s uranium enrichment - which the West fears masks a drive to build a nuclear bomb. Denying the charge, Iran says it seeks peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Also undermining international confidence, Clinton said, is Iran’s continuing crackdown on peaceful opposition to Iran’s disputed election in June that gave incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad another term in office. She said Iran also fanned fears about its intentions when it failed to come clean on a secret uranium enrichment plant near the holy city of Qom, and noted that Iran has subsequently announced plans for 10 to 20 new nuclear plants. — AFP


INTERNATIONAL

Friday, January 1, 2010

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Scuffles break out in Cairo

Foreign activists in Gaza protest Israeli closures CAIRO: A distraught protester is helped by her father after clashes with Egyptian police during a demonstration in downtown Cairo yesterday. – AFP

US sharply steps up aid to Yemen WASHINGTON: The United States is sharply increasing military and economic aid to Yemen, as it has been doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to fight a growing threat from AlQaeda, officials said Wednesday. The threat has been highlighted by the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man who reportedly confessed to being trained by an Al-Qaeda bomb maker in Yemen for his alleged mission to blow up a US-bound jet over Detroit. “To a certain extent you can argue that the airline incident on Christmas day brought attention, public attention to Yemen,” a senior State Department official told AFP on the condition of anonymity. But “certainly within this government and certainly other governments around the world... we have been quite sensitive to what’s happening in Yemen,” the official said. “Over the last year or so, there has been a renewed focus on what can we do, how can we really speed up the (aid) process,” the official said. In the 2010 fiscal year, US development and security assistance to Yemen is expected to rise to $63 million from a total of $40.3 million in the 2009 fiscal year, said Darby Holladay, a State Department spokesman. “This amount represents a 56 percent increase over FY-2009 and a 225 percent increase over FY2008 levels,” Holladay told AFP. “Development assistance works to address some of the conditions that terrorists exploit for recruitment,” he said in an email exchange. Holladay said the funds do not include so-called 1206 counterterrorism funds, which are programmed during the year. “No determination has been made as to the use of these funds in 2010. In 2009, Yemen was authorized 67 million dollars in equipment and assistance via 1206 funds to support its counterterrorist and border control forces.” Holladay added: “The US and Yemen have and will continue to intensify cooperation on counterterrorism to address the growing threat of AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian

Peninsula).” The Pentagon, through the 1206 funds, has been helping Yemen since 2006 to train and equip its forces, including providing them with radios, helicopter spare parts, trucks and patrol boats, according to Bryan Whitman, a spokesman. In 2006, such funds amounted to only 4.6 million dollars, he said. Based on the trend, such military aid appears set to increase in the coming year. Both countries are also sharing intelligence and the United States is widely suspected of having helped Yemeni forces conduct air strikes against Al-Qaeda targets in the last few weeks. US media have also reported that US special forces have been training their Yemeni counterparts. The senior State Department official said providing aid is all the more urgent as Yemen, the poorest Arab country, tackles dire economic problems in addition to increasing attacks from Al-Qaeda and a Shiite rebellion. US officials say Washington’s support for Yemen’s counter-terrorism efforts is unrelated to Sanaa’s battles with the Huthi rebels. The United States is running programs aimed at increasing jobs, helping farmers, building schools and improving health care for Yemenis who lack adequate services in remote regions, according to the official. “One of the reasons Al-Qaeda has been able to function in Yemen is because the government has not necessarily had control of areas, that it has not had the resources and the ability... to deliver the services,” the official said. The official acknowledged that it was easier to deliver services in Afghanistan because US and other troops were deployed to ensure security, which is often not the case in Yemen where there “are frankly no-go zones”. The official said the United States is consulting with its European allies and Yemen’s Gulf Arab neighbors about ways to “mobilize assistance” but added Yemen needs to take steps to ensure the money is spent appropriately. —AFP

EREZ CROSSING, Gaza Strip: Hundreds of people including international activists protested on both sides of a Gaza Strip border crossing yesterday against Israeli closures imposed on the Hamas-ruled territory. “It’s a nonviolent, peaceful gathering and the aim is to show the international community the suffering of the people of Gaza,” Amjad Al-Shawa, a Gaza-based organiser, told AFP. The protest was aimed at marking the first anniversary of Israel’s massive offensive in Gaza and the location was chosen in part to highlight ties between the isolated coastal enclave and the occupied West Bank, he added. Eightysix international activists were allowed to enter Gaza on Wednesday from Egypt via the Rafah crossing, the only terminal not controlled by Israel, which has been mostly closed since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007. Another 1,200 activists from around 40 countries remained in Cairo after the Egyptian authorities declined to allow the entire group to enter Gaza because of what they called the “sensitive situation” in the Palestinian territory. Scuffles broke out in Cairo as around 200 activists gathered downtown to protest the decision, with Egyptian police punching and kicking protesters, leaving one with broken ribs, organisers said. “Members of the Gaza Freedom March are being forcibly detained in hotels around (Cairo) as well as violently forced into pens in Tahrir Square by Egyptian police and additional security forces,” they said in a statement. The crackdown saw “women being kicked, beaten to the ground and dragged into pens, at least one confirmed account of broken ribs and many left bloody.” Witnesses told AFP police had punched several activists in the face. The activists who entered Gaza were meanwhile joined by a few hundred Palestinians as they marched to the Erez crossing with Israel, the main entry and exit point used by medical patients, journalists, diplomats and aid groups. Among the protesters were a small group of bearded antiZionist religious Jews clad in traditional ultra-Orthodox clothing and holding signs that read: “Judaism yes, Zionism no... State of Israel must go.” Taher Al-Nunu, the spokesman for the Hamasrun government, welcomed the foreign activists as they gathered outside a Palestinian checkpoint a few hundred metres from the border. “We are not alone in Gaza,” he said. “We have a lot of friends outside of Palestine who came this day to shout against the siege, against the Israeli occupation, against the Israeli crimes here in Gaza and in all Palestine.” —AFP

EREZ CROSSING, Gaza Strip: US members of Neturei Karta, a fringe ultra-Orthodox movement within the anti-Zionist bloc, Palestinians and foreign activists take part in a protest on the Gaza Strip side of the Erez border crossing between Israel and northern Gaza yesterday. —AFP

Four years on, Sharon legacy wanes in Israel TEL AVIV: On Monday, former prime minister Ariel Sharon will have been in a coma for four years. With peace hopes bogged down, Israel today is a far cry from what it was when he suffered a massive stroke. A steely general nicknamed “the bulldozer,” the now 81-yearold left a leadership vacuum that many feel has yet to be filled when he slipped into unconsciousness on Jan 4, 2006. And with Middle East peace efforts currently stalled, ties with Washington strained and concerns rising over the growing influence of arch-foe Iran, Israel faces crucial decisions in the coming years. Now connected to a feeding tube and showing very low brain activity, Sharon built a powerful and controversial legacy that culminated four months before the stroke that felled him, when he ordered Jewish settlers and soldiers to pull out of the Gaza Strip after 38 years of occupation. Hailed by supporters at the time as a historic step towards peace, the unilateral withdrawal is now seen by many Israelis as having paved the way for the violent takeover 2007 of the coastal strip by the Palestinian Hamas group. The presence on

Israel’s southern border of an Iranian-backed Islamist movement pledged to its destruction is today one of the major threats facing the Jewish state. The devastating three-week Gaza war launched one year ago failed to remove Hamas and stirred up a storm of international criticism against Israel. The number of rocket attacks from the Palestinian enclave has decreased dramatically since the war ended on Jan 18, however. The war also helped the country’s military establishment polish an image tarnished by the July-Aug 2006 war against Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah militia, when thousands of rockets were fired at Israeli cities. Israel’s perceived failures in that brief but deadly war were largely blamed on the lack of experience of Sharon’s successor Ehud Olmert, who later found himself having to battle for his political survival. Analysts and former Sharon aides believe the Gaza and Lebanon conflicts might never have taken place had Sharon remained at Israel’s helm. Gerald Steinberg, a political scientist at Bar Ilan university, believes Sharon would not have allowed the situation in Gaza to escalate

the way it did. “He would have responded much more forcefully to rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip after the withdrawal,” Steinberg said. Former Sharon spokesman Ra’anan Gissin believes Gaza militants may not have attacked a Sharon-led Israel “because he was seen as a powerful leader. Olmert was perceived as weak.” Sharon also commands respect in Israel for steering the country through the bloody years of the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, launched in 2000. Even a slew of corruption scandals failed to erode public support for Sharon. He earned Israel international support for his decision to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. In 2003, his government signed up to the internationally drafted peace roadmap meant to lead to the creation of a Palestinian state. Shortly after the disengagement from Gaza, Sharon further shook the foundations of Israeli politics by quitting the rightwing Likud party to form the centrist Kadima. Today, Kadima is the largest party in Israel, but it is not in power and its head, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, is facing growing dissent. —AFP


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Finland’s third multiple shooting in as many years

Gunman kills five, then himself, in Finland mall HELSINKI: A Kosovan-born gunman shot dead four people in a Finnish shopping mall yesterday and killed his ex-girlfriend in an apartment before killing himself in Finland’s third shooting spree in as many years. Police said Ibrahim Shkupolli, 43, killed three men and a woman

at the Sello mall in Espoo, a town near Helsinki, as shoppers stocked up for the New Year holiday. They confirmed that Shkupolli, as well as his ex-girlfriend who had worked at the mall, were among the dead after the five-hour incident.

ESPOO, Finland: Police work at the scene where several people were shot dead in the Prisma supermarket at the Sello shopping center yesterday by suspected gunman Ibrahim Shkupolli (inset). – AP

Scanners force trade-off between privacy, security SAN FRANCISCO: As Ronak Ray hunted for his flight gate, he prepared for the prospect of a security guard peering through his clothes with a full body scanner. But Ray doesn’t mind: what he gives up in privacy he gets back in security. “I think it’s necessary,” said Ray, a 23-year-old graduate student who was at San Francisco International Airport to fly to India. “Our lives are far more important than how we’re being searched.” Despite controversy surrounding the scans, Ray’s position was typical of several travelers interviewed at various airports Wednesday by AP. Airports in five other US cities are also using full body scanners at specific checkpoints instead of metal detectors. In addition, the scanners are used at 13 other airports for random checks and so-called secondary screenings of passengers who set off detectors. But many more air travelers may have to get used to the idea soon. The Transportation Security Administration has ordered 150 more full body scanners to be installed in airports throughout the country in early 2010, agency spokeswoman Suzanne Trevino said. Dutch security officials have said they believe such scanners could have detected the explosive materials Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria is accused of trying to ignite aboard a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight Christmas Day. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport has 15 full body scanners, but none were used to scan Abdulmutallab when he boarded. In Europe and the US, privacy concerns over the scanners’ ability to see through clothing have kept them from widespread use. The technology was first used about two years ago to make it easier for airport security to

do body searches without making physical contact with passengers. The idea of an electronic strip search did not bother Judy Yeager, 62, of Sarasota, Florida, as she prepared to depart Las Vegas. She stood in the full-body scanner Wednesday afternoon and held her arms up as a security official guided her through the gray closet-sized booth. “If it’s going to protect a whole airplane of people, who gives a flying you-know-what if they see my boob - whatever,” Yeager said. “That’s the way I feel, honest to God.” Trevino said the TSA has worked with privacy advocates and the scanners’ manufacturers to develop software that blurs the faces and genital areas of passengers being scanned. In all cases, passengers are not required to be scanned by the machine but can opt for a full body pat-down instead. At Salt Lake City International Airport, fewer than 1 percent of passengers subjected to the scanner chose the pat-down since the machine was installed in March, said Dwane Baird, a TSA spokesman in Salt Lake City. On Tuesday, some 1,900 people went through the scanner and just three chose not to, he said. Critics of the scanners said the option to opt out was not enough. “The question is should they be used indiscriminately on little children and grandmothers,” said Republican US Rep Tom McClintock of California. McClintock cosponsored a bill approved by the House 310-118 in June prohibiting the use of full body scanners for primary screenings. The bill is pending in the Senate. He said the devices raised serious concerns regarding constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. — AP

“It has been confirmed that the sixth victim is the suspect (himself). He was found in his home,” Chief Inspector Jukka Kaski told a news conference. Police said Shkupolli was already known to them and had a foreign background, but refused to say what nationality he held. However, a Kosovo police source said the gunman was from Mitrovica in the former Serbian province which declared its independence last year, and had visited the town last month. Finnish police would not confirm his motive. However, they said Shkupolli had been under a court order banning him from contacting his exgirlfriend, who was found dead at an apartment in Espoo, and that the shootings were probably linked to their relationship. Local media said the gunman had previous convictions for firearms offences. The New Year’s Eve carnage followed shootings at Finnish schools in 2007 and 2008, after which Helsinki tightened gun control regulations, with further restrictions planned. A Reuters reporter at the Sello mall, one of Finland’s largest shopping centres, saw helicopters overhead and fire trucks around the entrances after the shootings. The mall was shut down as police hunted the gunman. “When we were going out I heard sounds like shots from the third floor, and then I left,” said a mall employee, who declined to give her name. “I paid for my groceries and I wanted to go to my car when I was told that you cannot go there,” shopper Jorma Romo told Reuters outside of the mall. “They were hurrying people out and people were asking (why).” Eleven people were killed in Sept 2008 when a 22-yearold gunman burst into a school classroom, shooting dead eight female students and one male classmate as well as a male teacher, before turning the gun on himself. An 18-year-old student also shot six students, a headmistress and a nurse before killing himself in a school in Jokela, north of Helsinki in Nov 2007. Both of the shooters had easily acquired a license for their handguns. The gunman behind the 2008 rampage, Matti Juhani Saari, had been questioned by police just a day before the massacre about a video posted on YouTube showing him shooting his weapon at a firing range. — Agencies

Friday, January 1, 2010

Probe: Key intel on bomber not shared WASHINGTON: A first probe into lapses that almost led to an explosion on a transatlantic airliner reportedly found yesterday that US government agencies failed to share key information about the would-be bomber. US President Barack Obama was to be handed the findings of an initial inquiry after denouncing the “systemic” failures in the build-up to the December 25 failed attack on a Northwest plane traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit. And as followers of the Al-Qaeda affiliate which has claimed the attack clashed with Yemeni government troops in their stronghold, Washington ramped up its military and economic aid to the improverished Gulf nation. According to The Washington Post, the report for Obama will detail how agencies failed to share or highlight intelligence gathered about the young Nigerian who tried to detonate explosive chemicals sewn into his underpants. The Post, citing unnamed administration officials, said the report also would conclude “others were insufficiently aggressive in seeking out what was known about” 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is now in custody. However a former intelligence official took issue with the findings. “Information was shared. It was separating noise from chaff,” the official told the Post. “It’s not that information wasn’t passed around, it’s that so much information is being passed. There’s an inherent problem of dealing with all the data that is sloshing around, and the practical matter of where you set your threshold.” Former CIA director Porter Goss pointed a finger at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as part of the problem. “Everything that happened on Dec 25 is exactly the stuff that’s not supposed to happen anymore because of the new structure created with the DNI,” he said, according to the Post. Other US media said intelligence agencies believed Al-Qaeda was plotting a “Christmas surprise” but the counterterrorism office was too flooded to pinpoint a suspected airplane bomber. “We’d been tracking this stuff for months, without being able to connect the dots of what was happening and what was going to happen,” CBS television quoted a high-ranking unnamed intelligence official as saying. The official said the problem lay at the National Counterterrorism Center, which tracks terrorist threats and gets “8,000 messages a day”. “We couldn’t come up with something that was credible - so we assumed Al-Qaeda was still in the planning stages,” he added. Fully four months ago, the National Security Agency intercepted conversations among leaders of Al-Qaeda in Yemen on a plot using a Nigerian man in a future terrorist strike, The New York Times reported yesterday.— AFP

Plot may be boon for security firms NEW YORK: The failed attempt to blow up an Amsterdam-Detroit flight last week could prove a bonanza for airport security firms, especially the makers of fullbody scanners. “It might put some pressure to buy more full-body scanners... The US Congress will probably do something to increase the funding,” Michael Boyd, an aviation consultant, told AFP. The high-tech body scanners can detect hidden objects, such as explosives, even when they are concealed by clothing, unlike the metal detectors passengers walk through in airports worldwide to access flight gates. The Netherlands, Britain and Nigeria have announced plans to rapidly deploy the use of full-body scanners at their airports. In the United States, the scanners are already in use at 19 airports, a practice that could become widespread. “The US alone has 450 airports with about 2,000 security lanes, which gives an idea of the potential” of the market, said Joe Reiss, a spokesman with American

Science and Engineering (ASEI), one of the world’s four leading makers of full-body scanners, in an interview with AFP. The other manufacturers are two US companies, L-3 Communications and Rapiscan Systems, a unit of OSI Systems, and British rival Smiths Detection. Shares in L3 gained 3.0 percent between last Thursday and the market close Wednesday in New York, and reached a 14-month high on Tuesday. Shares in ASEI and OSI leapt 10.5 percent and 26 percent, respectively, over the same period. According to Reiss, a body scanner costs about $100,000, a hefty expense compared with the $10,000 price tag of a metal detector portal. The latest generation of X-ray baggage scanners cost some $150,000, while those used to screen checked baggage, a larger volume, cost one million dollars. Steve Lott, spokesman for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said the body scanners cost about a half million dollars. — AFP


INTERNATIONAL

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tweets, chillaxin in US banned word list KANSAS CITY: If you recently tweeted about how you were chillaxin for the holiday, take note: Fifteen particularly over- or misused words and phrases have been declared “shovel-ready” to be “unfriended” by a US university’s annual list of terms that deserve to be banned. After thousands of nominations of words and phrases commonly used in marketing, media, technology and elsewhere, wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University on Thursday issued their 35th annual list of words that they believe should be banned. Tops on the Michigan university’s list of useless phrases was “shovel-ready.” The term refers to infrastructure projects that are ready to break ground and was popularly used to describe road, bridge and other construction projects fueled by stimulus funds from the Obama administration. And speaking of stimulus, that word - which was applied to government spending aimed at boosting the economy - made the over-used category as well, along with an odd assortment of Obama-related constructions such as Obamacare and Obamanomics. “We say Obamanough already,” the LSSU committee said. Also ripe for exile is “sexting,” shorthand for sexy text messaging, a habit that has caused trouble this year for public figures from politicians to star athletes. Similarly, list makers showed distaste for tweeting, retweeting and tweetaholics, lingo made popular by users of the popular Twitter networking website. And don’t even get them started on the use of friend as a verb, as in: “He made me mad so I unfriended him on Facebook,” an Internet social site. Male acquaintances need to find another word than “bromance” for their friendships, and the combination of “chillin” and “relaxin’” into “chillaxin” was an easy pick for banishment. Also making the list was “teachable moment”. “This phrase is used to describe everything from potty-training to politics. It’s time to vote it out!” said one list contributor. “Toxic assets,” referring to financial instruments that have plunged in value, sickened list makers so much the phrase was added to the list, along with the tiresome and poorly defined “too big to fail” which has often been invoked to describe wobbly US banks. Similarly, “in these economic times” was deemed overdue for banishment due. Also making the list - “transparent/transparency,” typically used, contributors said, when the situation is anything but transparent. One list contributor wanted to know if there was an “app,” short-hand for “application” popularized by the mobile iPhone’s growing array of software tools, for making that annoying word go away. And rounding out the list - “czar” as in car czar, drug czar, housing czar or banished word czar. “Purging our language of ‘toxic assets’ is a ‘stimulus’ effort that’s ‘too big to fail,’” said a university spokesman. — Reuters

Victims found hanging from Mexico overpass CULIACAN, Mexico: The bound, beaten bodies of two men were found hanging by their necks from a highway overpass in northern Mexico on Wednesday, along with a handwritten message from a drug cartel. The men’s hands were tied behind their backs, and shell casings at the scene in Los Mochis suggested the killers fired at the victims as they were hanging by their necks, Sinaloa state prosecutors spokesman Martin Gastelum said. The cause of death was still under investigation. Nearby, a message written on a piece of cardboard said in part that “this territory already has an owner.” The message appeared to be from the Beltran Leyva drug cartel, whose main leader, Arturo Beltran Leyva, was shot to death in a gunbattle with Mexican marines Dec 16. The message suggested his death may have unleashed a turf battle for control of areas controlled by his gang. Sinaloa is considered the home base of some of the most powerful crime lords in Mexico, a nation that has seen drugrelated violence kill more than 15,000 people since President

Felipe Calderon launched a crackdown on cartels in late 2006. In the border city of Ciudad Juarez, authorities said 12 people, including a 3-year-old child, were slain in shootings Wednesday. Chihuahua state attorney general’s spokesman Vladimir Tuexi said gunmen killed the little girl and a man as they rode in a pickup truck. A woman with them was wounded. At another location, police found the bodies of four men and a woman inside a pickup truck abandoned on a dirt road on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, Tuexi said. Five other people were killed in other parts of the city, authorities said. Also Wednesday, security forces in Ciudad Juarez arrested a kidnapping suspect after a shootout that closed a bridge to El Paso, Texas, for about two hours. Chihuahua state prosecutors spokesman Arturo Sandoval said shots were fired Monday night as the suspect tried to flee over the Zaragoza bridge to El Paso. No injuries were reported. Sandoval said the man was suspected in the attempted abduction of a 15year-old girl. — AP

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Venezuelan leader says Obama ‘fell to pieces’

Chavez mocks coup, Castro death forecast CARACAS: Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez scoffed on Wednesday at US magazine Newsweek’s predictions that he would be toppled by a military coup and his Cuban mentor Fidel Castro would die in 2010. In a lengthy televised New Year’s address, Chavez, who has taken In a list of 10 predictions for the world next year, Newsweek foresaw in Venezuela a year of soaring inflation, power blackouts, food shortages, spiraling crime and tumbling popularity for Chavez, with the mood on the street turning “mean” even among the poor who put him in power. “The military steps in to depose Chavez and restore order, as 21st-century socialism spins toward the familiar 20th-century tableau of scarcity, poverty, and chaos,” it said in a year-end edition. The fiery Chavez, who has been in power for a decade, said the only way there would be an uprising against him would be if the internal opposition brought an army from abroad. “Our counterattack would be tough, I warn them,” he said, drawing applause from an audience of ministers and supporters. Newsweek also forecast the death of Castro, 83, next year. “Fidel Castro has been ailing for years, and 2010 looks to be his last year on earth,” it said. Chavez, who seldom gives a speech without sending a greeting or “Viva!” to the former Cuban leader, said Newsweek’s was the latest of many false predictions of Castro’s demise. “They’ve been announcing for it for many years,” he said, adding he recently saw Castro demonstrate his good health by talking for more than five hours. Chavez said he joked to his brother and Cuban President Raul Castro about it. “I told Raul, ‘this guy’s going to bury you, me and all of us’.” As for US President Barack Obama, Chavez said: “This year we’ve witnessed the falling apart of Obama. Obama fell to pieces. Well, there wasn’t much hope really.” Chavez called the US hypocritical for criticizing Venezuela’s democracy while recognizing the recent presidential election in Honduras after the coup that ousted his ally, Manuel Zelaya. Chavez also said that he views Colombia as a “high risk” issue in the coming year. He has warned of a possible armed conflict if US troops use military bases in Colombia against Venezuela. Chavez was in a buoyant mood despite news this week that Venezuela’s economy had shrunk an estimated 2.9 percent in 2009 - its first contraction in five years.— Reuters

Castro’s position as Latin America’s leading critic of US power, described Newsweek as “the empire’s magazine”. “They feed on hatred and the wishes of the imperialism that they represent - big money, big newspapers, the TV stations of the global bourgeoisie,” he said.

CARACAS: Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez delivers a yearend speech at the Miraflores Presidential Palace Wednesday. In the background is a painting depicting Venezuela’s independence hero Simon Bolivar. – AP

Economy, scandals and politics mar Sarko year PARIS: France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy enters the new year weakened in the polls while looking back at scandals, legislative setbacks and frustrated efforts to lead the fight against climate change. Sarkozy won plaudits in 2008 for various diplomatic initiatives including his dynamic stint at the helm of the European Union, but his pledges to slash unemployment and kickstart growth were thwarted in 2009 by the downturn. He has meanwhile had to weather two embarrassing scandals - the first, a furore over a memoir in which Culture Minister Frederic Mitterand recounted his own past as a sex tourist. No sooner had that died down than Sarkozy’s 23year-son Jean was caught in a nepotism row over an abortive bid to chair Paris’s main business district. With all these headaches, in his televised New Year’s address to the nation yesterday evening, Sarkozy - just past halfway in his term - was under pressure to convince voters that he has a plan for 2010. In the address to millions of television viewers, “he has the chance to explain the coherence (of his policies) to the French,” the political analyst Stephane Rozes told AFP. “Nicolas Sarkozy says that to reform the country things have to move on all fronts, but he is not offering any road map for the country, nor for his own majority, which is confused,” he added. Sarkozy was expected to broach the sensitive topic of unemployment and economic recovery, which have done perhaps the

most harm to his approval rating. The country crept out of recession earlier this year but still faces rising unemployment and a soaring budget deficit - a record 75.8 percent of output in the third quarter, official figures showed Wednesday. The government’s first job for 2010 is to revise its planned carbon emissions tax after a last-minute setback that saw the plan rejected as inegalitarian on Wednesday by the Constitutional Council, or high court. Sarkozy made the tax, which aims to help curb climate change, a pillar of his 2010 budget. The ruling came less than two weeks after world leaders failed to reach a climate binding deal at the Copenhagen summit, at which Sarkozy had pressed hard for a deal, notably by rallying African leaders. “The ‘hyper-president’ - the one who can raise hell and shake things up in France and on the international stage - has had his day,” wrote the leftwing daily Liberation on Thursday. “Copenhagen and now the Constitutional Council have just demonstrated that.” Elsewhere on the legislative front, the high court in June forced the government to amend plans to punish Internet users for illegal downloads, and lawmakers mounted strong resistance to its plans to scrap a local business tax. Another headache for Sarkozy is his government’s debate on “national identity,” which has aggravated racial sensitivities and provoked some calls for it to be dropped. It is due to run until the end of January. — AFP


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Bali governor’s office denies issuing warning

Bali warns of New Year terror threat JAKARTA: The Indonesian resort island of Bali warned of a New Year terror attack yesterday, foreign embassies said, after a wave of bombings targeting Westerners that have killed more than 200 people. “There is an indication of an attack to Bali tonight,” according to a message from the

Bali governor that the US and Australian embassies said was widely distributed by the island’s tourist board. “Please don’t panic, but put your security system to full alert,” the message quoted Bali governor Mangku Pastika as saying.

BALI: An Indonesian police officer stands guard at Kuta beach yesterday. – AP

Indonesia buries popular former president Wahid JOMBANG, Indonesia: Thousands lined narrow streets yesterday for the funeral of ex-president Abdurrahman Wahid, a charismatic Muslim cleric known for his unflinching defence of pluralism on Indonesia’s chaotic path to democracy. Wahid, usually known affectionately by the nickname Gus Dur, became president in 1999 on a wave of optimism in the turmoil following former strongman president Suharto’s fall from power. The frail cleric, who in

more recent years suffered several strokes and was nearly blind, died at the age of 69 on Wednesday. Crowds surged towards his coffin wrapped in Indonesia’s red and white flag as it was carried in the streets of his home town of Jombang in East Java. Muslim clerics in white said prayers. Buddhist monks and Christian leaders also attended. “He was really the boldest and perhaps the most charismatic reform figure on issues like democracy, human rights, interfaith dialogue and

JOMBANG, INDONESIA: Indonesian Muslims, supporters of late former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, pay their last respect as his coffin, covered with the national flag, passes by at a mosque yesterday. – AFP

religious reform,” said Greg Fealy of the Australian National University. “On those things he had a very substantial record and he could be very brave standing up to the Suharto regime,” added Fealy, an expert on Islam and Indonesian politics. The jocular cleric, whose catchphrase was “Gitu aja kok repot” (“What’s the big deal”), became the first democratically elected president in Indonesia in Oct 1999, edging out Megawati Sukarnoputri, daughter of founding President Sukarno. Often a polarising figure, Wahid’s short-lived presidency collapsed in 2001 as he struggled to deal with a broken economy amid allegations of incompetence and corruption. His style was sometimes bumbling and erratic, and any hope that his penchant for jokes, formidable intellect and political skills would help lead Indonesia through the transition from authoritarian rule to democracy quickly fell flat. While in office, he did, however, strive for peace in troubled areas such as a Aceh and also gave greater freedom to minority ethnic Chinese who had been suppressed under Suharto. — Reuters

The embassies, also including the British mission in Indonesia, said there remained a high threat of terror attacks in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, particularly in Bali. However, the Bali governor’s spokesman Putu Suardika told AFP he was unaware of such a terror alert had been issued. “As far as I know, the governor never said or wrote any statement or gave a warning to say there could be a bombing or an attack in Bali,” he told AFP. Nevertheless, police said 7,000 security personnel including US-trained counterterrorism units were being deployed around bars and nightclubs on Bali as the island prepared to celebrate the New Year. Indonesia has been targeted repeatedly by militant attackers since the Bali bombings of 2002 that killed 202 people, mainly foreign tourists including 88 Australians. In a travel advisory to its nationals, Australia said they should “exercise particular caution” during the New Year period in Bali and urged them to reconsider travel plans “due to the very high threat of terrorist attack.” The US embassy said it urges citizens to keep a “low profile” and be “vigilant and prudent at all times”. “US citizens must consider the security and safety preparedness of hotels, residences, restaurants, and entertainment or recreation venues that they frequent,” it said. However, Bali police spokesman Gede Sugianyar told AFP there was “no indication of an attack on Bali tonight”. “We have deployed police personnel at malls, restaurants, airport, ports, Kuta beach and other public places so that New Year celebrations will take place peacefully and without problems,” he said. Islamists from the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah regional terror network carried out the massive bombings at crowded nightspots in Kuta, Bali’s main tourist strip on October 12, 2002. Almost three years after the first Bali attack, three suicide bombers detonated explosives at tourist restaurants on the island, killing 20. Malaysian-born extremist Noordin Mohammed Top allegedly masterminded the second attack and a series of subsequent assaults on Western targets in Indonesia including the Australian embassy. — AFP

Friday, January 1, 2010

Volcano darkens 2010 for villagers LEGASPI, Philippines: Nearly 50,000 Philippine villagers are likely to spend the first few months of 2010 in evacuation centres amid concerns the Mayon volcano will erupt, officials said yesterday. Chief government volcanologist Renato Solidum warned that although Mayon appeared to be in a lull after two weeks of spectacular lava flows and ash sprays, technical instruments showed a major eruption could occur any time. “The volcano is still active. The danger is still there. So currently the alert level is still maintained at level four,” Solidum told the ABS-CBN television network. Alert level four means a major eruption could take place within days. The government has already evacuated 47,000 villagers whose homes are in an eight-kilometre danger zone around Mayon, and they are facing a bleak start to 2010 living in nearby schools and tents. “We are preparing for (the villagers to spend) up to three months in evacuation centres,” Cedric Daep, disaster relief coordinator for Albay province where Mayon is located, told AFP. He cited the experience of eruptions in 1993, 2001 and 2006, which also forced thousands of people to stay in evacuation centres for months. Villagers this time are being housed in 29 centres, most of which are in schools, and the evacuees are being forced to rely on relief goods from the Philippine government as well as international donor agencies. Daep told AFP that the provincial government and various charities would distribute special New Year’s Eve food packs so the people in evacuation centres could still enjoy traditional celebrations. A major telecoms company was also sponsoring a New Year’s concert for the evacuees. But when school resumes after the end of the holidays, the government will have to find a way to accommodate both students and displaced people, Daep said. He said some classrooms would be left for the students, and schools would resort to using different shifts to handle more classes. Housewife Prime Mendevil, 49, who was evacuated from her home in the foothills of Mayon with her farmer husband, complained of tough conditions in one of the schools. “My back has become sore from sleeping on cold cement floors with just a mat to protect it,” she told AFP as a charity group distributed party horns to children so they could celebrate the New Year. The food rations of rice and canned goods were sometimes inadequate and supplies of water had given some people stomach aches, Mendevil added. “We want to go home but we follow the orders of the government. We don’t want to be stubborn so we follow even if life is hard in the evacuation centre,” she said. However she admitted that sometimes her husband or her 30-year-old son sneaked back into the danger zone to make sure their chickens were still cared for and that their home had not been ransacked. The 2,460-m volcano, which is about 330 km southeast of Manila, has erupted 48 times in recorded history. In 1814, more than 1,200 people were killed as lava buried the town of Cagsawa. A powerful typhoon dislodged tonnes of debris from Mayon’s slopes in 2006, three months after an eruption, burying entire towns and killing over 1,000 people. — AFP

Christians can use ‘Allah’, rules court KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian court ruled yesterday that Christians have the constitutional right to use the word Allah to refer to God, striking down a government ban as illegal. The landmark ruling appeared to be a victory for freedom of religion in the Muslim-majority country, where the ban had become a symbol of what minorities say is institutionalized religious discrimination. Government lawyers said they will consult with the Home Ministry before deciding whether to appeal Judge Lau Bee Lan’s verdict in a higher court, where the ban could still be reinstated. They have one month to appeal. Lau said in her judgment that Christians have the “constitutional right to use Allah” and that the Home Ministry is “not empowered” to impose the ban. She was ruling on a lawsuit filed in late 2007 by the Herald, the

Malaysian Roman Catholic Church’s main publication, after the government blocked non-Muslims from translating God as Allah in their literature. “This is indeed a landmark case for our nation,” the Herald’s editor, the Rev Lawrence Andrew, said in a statement. He said the verdict upholds constitutional liberties of freedom of speech, expression and religion. Authorities have insisted that Allah is an Islamic word that should be used exclusively by Muslims, and its use by other religions would be misleading. The ban had affected the Malay-language edition of the Herald, which is read mostly by indigenous tribes who converted to Christianity decades ago. The Mandarin, English and Tamil editions do not use the word Allah. About 60 percent of Malaysia’s 27 million people are Muslim Malays. — AP


INTERNATIONAL

Friday, January 1, 2010

Page 17

8 CIA employees, 5 Canadians dead

Taleban blasts kill 13 in Afghanistan KABUL: The Taleban claimed responsibility yesterday for two separate bomb attacks in Afghanistan that killed eight Americans, five Canadians and an Afghan in a surge of violence in the war-battered country. A US congressional official said CIA employees were believed to be among the

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani Christian woman hangs laundry on the roof of her house in an impoverished Christian district of Islamabad yesterday. Christians make up less than three percent of Pakistan’s 167 million people, who are overwhelmingly Muslim, and are generally poverty-stricken and marginalized. – AFP

Pak police nab top Taleban commander LAHORE: Authorities arrested a senior Pakistani Taleban commander who led the group’s network in the key central province of Punjab, where violence has been increasing in recent months, police said yesterday. The arrest strikes a blow as militants have stepped up their efforts to wage attacks far from their sanctuary in Pakistan’s lawless tribal area near the Afghan border in response to a major military offensive there. Khalil Ullah, whose arrest was announced yesterday, was the mastermind of a market bombing in Punjab’s provincial capital, Lahore, on Dec 7 that killed 49 people, said senior police investigator Chaudhry Shafiq. He declined to say where or when Ullah was arrested. More than 500 people have been killed in attacks throughout the country since the army launched an anti-Taleban offensive in the South Waziristan tribal area in mid October. The military has secured much of the territory in the area, but operations continue. Soldiers raided a hospital used by militants in South Waziristan yesterday, killing five foreign fighters, intelligence officials said. The troops captured 27 militants, 10 of whom were wounded in a gunbattle that broke out during the raid, they said. It was unclear whether the troops suffered any casualties, the officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. Many militants are

believed to have fled South Waziristan to avoid the fighting and have been launching attacks in different areas of the country, including a bombing of a Shiite procession in the southern city of Karachi on Monday that killed 44 people. On Wednesday, the Pakistani Taleban claimed responsibility for the bombing, a sign the militants may be escalating their war against the state with a rare attack in Pakistan’s commercial hub. Although the teeming city of about 15 million has often been the scene of sectarian, ethnic and political violence, the Pakistani Taleban have rarely claimed responsibility for attacks there. Many analysts believe the group has spared it in the past because its militants used the city as a haven to raise money and to rest. President Asif Ali Zardari has speculated the motive was to spark sectarian conflict that could complicate the government’s battle against the Pakistani Taleban. Pakistan has a history of violence between extremist elements among its majority Sunni Muslim and minority Shiite communities. Although the Taleban are not known for launching sectarian attacks, they have associations with Sunni militant groups that have targeted minority Shiites, whom they regard as heretical. It is unclear whether the Taleban carried out the bombing on its own or received help from other militant groups that officials say have a joint goal to destabilize Pakistan. — AP

Separately, four Canadian soldiers and a journalist imbedded in their unit were killed Wednesday by a roadside bomb in the southern Kandahar province, the bloodiest single incident suffered by that country’s military in 2009. Michelle Lang, a 34-year-old health reporter with the Calgary Herald, was the first Canadian journalist to die in Afghanistan. She arrived in the country just two weeks ago. The Taleban claimed responsibility for both attacks in messages to AP. Also yesterday, a spokesman for the governor of Helmand province in the south said an airstrike by international forces killed and wounded civilians. Dawud Ahmadi said he did not have immediate information on how many were killed in the Wednesday incident in Babajid district, which he said occurred after an international forces patrol came under fire. NATO said it was aware of the reports and was investigating. Claims of civilians killed by foreign forces are a highly emotional issue among Afghans and feed strong resentment of international soldiers. It was not immediately clear how the suicide bomber at the American base at the edge of Khost city was able to circumvent security. Taleban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement that an Afghan National Army officer wearing a suicide vest entered the Khost base Wednesday and blew himself up inside the gym. A US official who was briefed on the blast also said it took place in the gym. Khost is the capital of Khost province, which borders Pakistan and is a Taleban stronghold. The US official said eight American civilians and one Afghan were killed; it was not clear if the Afghan victim was military or civilian. Six Americans were wounded, the official said. The CIA has not yet commented on or confirmed the deaths. There was no independent confirmation that the bomber was a member of the Afghan military. Gen Mohammad Zahir Azimi, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, said no Afghan National Army soldiers are at the base. But an Afghan official in Khost said about 200 Afghans have been contracted by the US to take care of security at the base. They are usually deployed on the outer ring of its walls, although some work inside, the official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.— AP

victims of a suicide blast at an American base in the volatile east. The explosion at the Forward Operating Base Chapman base in Khost province on Wednesday killed eight American civilians and one Afghan, the worst loss of life for the US in the country since October.

KABUL: An Afghan boy plays in front of the old palace in central Kabul yesterday. The Taleban said yesterday it was behind bombings that killed eight Americans reportedly working for the CIA and five Canadians including Calgary Herald reporter Michelle Lang (inset). – AFP

Kabul demands foreign ‘killers’ be handed over KABUL: The Afghan government demanded yesterday to take into its custody foreigners wanted over the alleged killing of 10 civilians, sharply escalating a war of words with its powerful Western military backers. The National Security Council (NSC) made the demand at talks chaired by President Hamid Karzai, who has been vocal in condemning international forces he believes are responsible for the incident last Saturday in the eastern flashpoint of Kunar. “The meeting of the National Security Council demanded that those responsible for the deaths of those innocent youths must be handed over to the Afghan government,” a statement from Karzai’s office said. Sensitivities about civilian casualties allegedly caused by NATO or US-led operations have driven a wedge between Karzai and his Western military allies who help keep his fragile government in power. Karzai’s ties with the West have already deteriorated over his controversial re-election after a ballot mired in fraud. Around 113,000 NATO and US troops are fighting against a Taleban-led insurgency determined to topple Karzai’s government and evict foreign forces, in an increasingly lethal war - for civilians as well as combatants. The row escalated Wednesday when Afghan government investigators accused Western forces of killing 10 civilians, eight of them teenagers, in a raid in Kunar province, which borders Pakistan. NATO forces have disputed the results of the Afghan probe, saying the foreigners involved were non-military Americans on a sanctioned operation who fired in self-defence after being shot at by villagers. But Afghanistan’s powerful NSC accepted the findings of the investigation, saying foreigners

entered a house and shot the 10 people, who were unarmed and posed no threat. “International forces entered the area... and killed 10 youths, eight of them school students inside two rooms in a house, without encountering any armed resistance,” the statement said. The NSC condemned the “killing and emphasized the need for more coordination in military operations in a bid to avoid civilian deaths”. Around 1,500 people took to the streets yesterday for the latest in a string of protests over the alleged killings, using sticks to beat an effigy of US President Barack Obama and shouting “death to Obama”, witnesses said. In Asadabad, capital of Kunar, hundreds of students led the march chanting “death to America,” “death to Britain and those who killed the students”, witnesses said. “We want the perpetrators brought to justice. The coalition forces must stop unilateral operations,” said organiser Abdul Wahab. Afghan authorities said they were also investigating reports of further civilian deaths in a NATO air strike. The probe was launched into reports that nine civilians were killed in a NATO air strike near the town of Lashkar Gah in the troubled southern province of Helmand on Wednesday. Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman for Helmand governor Gulab Mangal, said civilians had been killed in the Lashkar Gah bombing, but he had no figures or other details. “We know civilians have been killed but we don’t know how many. The governor has sent a delegation to the area to provide some cash support to the victims’ families and investigate the incident,” Ahmadi said. Mohammad Alam, who said he had taken a wounded man to the city’s hospital, said villagers had gathered to discuss water distribution when the air strike took place late Wednesday. — AFP


BUSINESS

Page 18

Kuwait bourse ends 10% lower

Dubai crisis hit Gulf stocks rebound in ’09 KUWAIT: Most Gulf stock markets yesterday ended 2009 higher following massive losses in the previous year because of the global economic downturn, but their rebound was halted by the Dubai debt crisis. After slumping to a year low in the first three months, five of the seven markets made a

strong comeback in the third quarter that continued into the fourth with the Saudi, Dubai and Abu Dhabi bourses each adding more than 30 percent. Barring Kuwait and Bahrain, the remaining five bourses ended the year in positive territory, led by Saudi Arabia which gained 27.5 percent.

BAGHDAD: Blow-up Santas decorate the outside of a food store as Iraqis stock up for the upcoming New Year’s celebration in central Baghdad yesterday. – AFP

Jeddah port opens $530m terminal to ease congestion JEDDAH: A new $530 million terminal in Saudi Arabia’s main shipping hub will ease congestion and help lure back trade which had gone to other ports in the past few years, a senior executive said. Aamer Alireza, chief executive of Red Sea Gateway Terminal Co., said the 2 billion riyal facility has already started operating. Jeddah, on the Red Sea, is the main port for the world’s top oil exporter but congestion has led to hefty charges for many delayed ships as well as the diversion of some shipping lines to other ports over the past two years. “The Red Sea Gateway Terminal is part of the solution to address that problem by adding capacity and more importantly, next generation ship handling capability,” Alireza said in an interview. “We received our first vessels on Dec 22.” Red Sea Gateway is a majority owned unit of Saudi Industrial Services Co (Sisco) and led the

expansion under a 40-year scheme that allows it to build and operate the facility. The new terminal is ramping up its volume and expects to run on its full capacity of 1.8 million TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units) by September of next year, Alireza said. Container trade is measured in TEUs. Jeddah’s Islamic Port (JIC), the largest in the kingdom with a capacity of 3.2 million TEUs, represents 73 percent of the country’s container traffic. It is expected to nearly double its capacity to 6 million TEUs by 2011 as the port’s two other terminals are undergoing expansion as well. “We will represent roughly 64 percent of that expansion, taking Jeddah (container port capacity) from 3.2 million to 5 million TEUs,” Alireza said. While the capacity has increased this year, container volumes at the port are estimated to have dropped due to the global economic slump. “This year

Jeddah will (handle) 3 million TEUs because of the global slowdown,” Alireza said. “The transshipment businesses have come down in Jeddah.” He added that Jeddah expected to see a 10 percent drop in volumes from its 3.32 million TEUs in 2008, when the port operated beyond its capacity. “It will be very difficult to quantify exactly how much Jeddah is able to attract because of the expansion,” Alireza said. “That will depend on the global financial situation because the shipping business is, probably after banking, the second largest industry affected by the financial crisis.” Shipping markets have suffered in the global economic downturn though port operations have continued to make money. Sisco holds a 57-percent stake in Red Sea Gateway and Malaysia’s MMC Corporation Bhd owns 20 percent. — Reuters

Capitalising on a high oil price and signs of global recovery, most of the bourses in the energy-rich region reached their highest point of the year in October, after which they started to decline on news of Dubai debt woes and profit-taking sales. The seven bourses added around $80 billion to their capitalisation which ended the year at $680 billion from $600 billion at the end of 2008. That is still far below their end-2007 value of $1.116 trillion, however. The Saudi Tadawul All-Shares Index (TASI), the most capitalised Arab bourse, ended the year 27.5 percent higher at 6,121.76 points after slumping 56.5 percent in 2008. The market-leading petrochemicals industries sector, which includes petrochemicals giant SABIC, surged an impressive 70.2 percent, while banks, the second largest sector, rose 15.3 percent. TASI hit its year’s high of 6,548.47 points in late October after plunging to its lowest point of the year at 4,130.01 points in early March. The Saudi market was the least affected by the Dubai crisis after state-owned Dubai World requested a standstill on repayment of billions of dollars in debt. Kuwait Stock Exchange, the second largest Arab bourse, ended the year 10 percent lower at 7,005.30 points after slumping 38 percent in 2008. The Kuwaiti bourse has been severely impacted by political instability and the debt problem of many of its investment firms. The two United Arab Emirates bourses of Dubai and Abu Dhabi made modest increases in 2009 after shedding most of their gains in the last six weeks of the year on Dubai debt woes. The Dubai Financial Market closed the year 10.3 percent higher at 1,803.58 points after rising by more than 46 percent up to mid October. The market dropped massively when Dubai World sought to delay repayment of its debt. In 2008, the Dubai bourse was the biggest loser in the Gulf, falling 72.4 percent. The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange added 14.8 percent to close the year at 2,743.61 points after shedding 47.5 percent in the previous year. Before Dubai’s credit problems, Abu Dhabi bourse had increased 33 percent. The Qatar Securities Market the least affected in the Gulf last year with a drop of just 28.1 percent - increased a modest 1.06 percent to close 2009 at 6,959.17 points. But at the end of the year, the Doha bourse capitalisation of $88 billion surpassed both Dubai and Abu Dhabi to become the third largest stock market in the Gulf. — AFP

Friday, January 1, 2010

Global seeks nod for restructuring KUWAIT: Shareholders of Kuwait’s Global Investment House, which defaulted on most of its debt last year, will vote on a restructuring deal to transfer its main investments and real estate assets to two new units. The vote will take place on Jan 12, the company said yesterday in a statement to the Kuwait bourse. Global reached a deal with creditors this month to reschedule $1.7 billion in debt, and entered into new three-year facilities with each of its 53 lending banks. The investment firm said shareholders will vote on the transfer of its principal investments and real estate assets into two subsidiaries, wholly owned by Global. The investment assets will be transferred to Global Macro Fund in Bahrain, and the real estate assets to Mushaa Islamic Real Estate Co, the firm said. Last week, Global said it has repaid on maturity a 20 million dinar ($69.7 million) bond, which matured on Dec 23. The investment house defaulted on most of its debt in December 2008 and appointed HSBC as financial adviser to renegotiate the terms of existing credit facilities with the lending bank group. Global is one of the largest investment companies in the Gulf Arab state facing problems amid tight credit conditions. The trouble at Global and other Kuwaiti investment firms led the government of the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter to approve a rescue package worth KD 1.5 billion ($5.23 billion) earlier in 2009. — Reuters

Dubai sees budget deficit at 2% GDP DUBAI: Dubai may see a budget deficit of 2 percent of gross domestic product next year, but the proposal still needs to be approved, the head of the Gulf emirate’s budget committee told Reuters yesterday. Dubai, a member of the United Arab Emirates federation, received a lastminute bailout from fellow emirate Abu Dhabi earlier this month to avoid a default on billions of dollars worth of debt of one of its flagship companies. “The deficit in Dubai’s budget is 2 percent of gross domestic product of 300 billion dirhams ($81.68 billion) projected for 2009,” Dhahi Khalfan Tamim said in a telephone interview. “This was our committee’s recommendation... it is within the healthy position of less than 3 percent (of GDP),” he added. Tamim declined to give the budget details, which are still under review of the emirate’s Supreme Fiscal Committee. The budget then needs to be signed by Dubai’s ruler. Dubai

had forecast its first ever deficit for its 2009 budget at 1.3 percent of the emirate’s 2007 GDP, or 4.2 billion dirhams. The final 2009 data are not available. The emirate, facing a debt pile of an estimated $80 billion, has ordered government departments to transfer all the revenues to the treasury in a move to better control financial flows. Analysts have said taxfree Dubai might consider selling its assets to boost revenues as well as raise fees and charges or introduce more paid for services similar to its road toll system. Dubai has received a $10 billion dollar lifeline from Abu Dhabi to repay a $4.1 billion bond for Nakheel, a property arm of its debt-laden Dubai World, and other obligations. State-owned Dubai World is still to negotiate a standstill deal on $22 billion worth of debt with its creditors. The UAE federation and Abu Dhabi banks provided Dubai, known for ambitious projects, with an overall financial aid worth $25 billion this year. — Reuters

Qatar buys 5% stake in banks DUBAI: Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund took a 5 percent stake in listed banks’ capital, the second stage of a previously announced move aimed at boosting confidence. Two weeks ago, Finance Minister Youssef Kamal said the Gulf Arab state will spend $900 million on buying the stakes by year-end as part of its measures to support the banking system. The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) subscribed to the capital increase in national banks on Wednesday, Qatar’s news agency said. It did not give financial details. In October 2008, the QIA said it would buy 10 to 20 percent of listed banks’ capital, at the height of the global financial crisis. The second tranche of funds amounted to 2 billion Qatari riyals ($549.7 million), and will be included in the balance sheets of beneficiary banks for the current year, Qatar’s Englishlanguage daily The Peninsula said. The initiative will help in “further strengthening the capital ratios of the banks in order to enhance their ability to face the repercussions of the global financial crisis”, the agency said, citing the minister. He added it will help banks finance development projects. — Reuters


BUSINESS

Friday, January 1, 2010

Page 19

Beijing slams move

US to slap duties on Chinese steel pipes WASHINGTON: The United States has ratcheted up trade tensions with China by saying it will slap penalty duties on imported Chinese steel pipes to offset state subsidies - a move slammed by Beijing. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a “final” decision saying that the

MANILA: People browse a market to purchase different shapes and sizes of pyrotechnics, traditionally believed to ward off bad spirits, as they prepare to welcome the New Year yesterday. – AP

Japan Airlines may scrap int’l flights TOKYO: Japan Airlines (JAL) may stop flying international routes under a plan being discussed by the government to try to keep the debt-ridden company in the air, a report said yesterday. The plan calls for rival All Nippon Airways (ANA) to take over JAL’s international flights as part of what would be a drastic downsizing scheme for Asia’s biggest airline, the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper said. The scheme was apparently on the table when key cabinet officials, including Transport Minister Seiji Maehara, met on Wednesday to discuss JAL’s rehabilitation program. The transport ministry has strongly opposed the plan to turn JAL into a domestic carrier despite growing calls for a drastic restructuring of its international operations where losses weigh heavily, the newspaper said. “(JAL) will be a good company if it abandons international routes and concentrates on domestic flights,” an unnamed JAL executive was quoted by Mainichi as saying. Immediate confirmation of the report was not available. In a related move, Maehara held talks with vice Prime Minister Naoto Kan and other officials Thursday and agreed that the state-run Development Bank of Japan will offer further loans to JAL. The DBJ has already disbursed just over half of a 100 billion yen ($1.08 billion) credit line extended in November. “On top of the remaining 45 billion yen, (DBJ) is to expand the limit,” Maehara told reporters.

Cabinet officials said they would discuss details of further loans to JAL on Sunday before making an official announcement, while local media reported that DBJ is likely to double its credit line to 200 billion yen in total. JAL, battered by the global recession and swine flu pandemic, is scrambling to slash costs and is seeking its fourth government bailout since 2001 to keep flying in the face of mounting losses. Shares plunged to a record low on Wednesday as media reports that bankruptcy is one option for the cash-strapped carrier spooked investors. The Tokyo stock market was closed for a holiday yesterday. Local media have reported that the state-backed Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp, which is overseeing JAL’s restructuring, is considering the possibility of the carrier filing for protection from creditors. It has also been offered financial assistance by both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, who are competing to take a minority stake in the Japanese carrier, eyeing its coveted Asian landing slots. JAL, which lost about $1.5 billion in the six months to September, has said it plans thousands of job cuts and a drastic reduction in routes as part of its efforts to return to profitability. The global economic downturn has dealt a heavy blow to JAL’s efforts to recover from a long period of financial turbulence stretching back to its privatisation more than two decades ago. — AFP

In Beijing, the Chinese commerce ministry said it “strongly opposed” the decision, and that the US steel industry was “blindly” blaming Chinese imports for its woes after lower oil prices had squeezed demand for steel pipes. But China stopped short of saying it would take retaliatory action. From 2006 to 2008, imports of such Chinese pipes increased by a massive 203 percent. In 2008 they were valued at $2.6 billion. The unfair subsidy claims have been under investigation since early 2009. The American Iron and Steel Institute, an industry group, called the ITC decision “an important step” toward allowing domestic steel pipe producers “to compete on a level playing field unhindered by unfair and injurious Chinese trade practices. “At a time when the nation is struggling with double-digit unemployment, full and strict enforcement of our laws against dumped and subsidized imports of steel and other manufactured products from China is essential to maintaining a viable US manufacturing sector in the United States,” said the institute. The ITC, an independent federal agency, said in a statement that it had determined that the US steel industry was “materially injured or threatened with material injury” by the imports of the Chinese steel pipes. The pipes, known as “oil country tubular goods” in trade jargon, are used to deliver oil and gas in the petroleum industry. The ITC will forward the formal determination to the Commerce Department in writing “within 10 days,” an official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. “This is the final piece in the puzzle,” the official said. The Commerce Department last month cited countervailing duties of between 10.36 percent and 15.78 percent to be imposed on the steel pipes if the ITC concluded that the local steel industry was “injured” by the allegedly unfair subsidies. The duties will be in addition to normal tariffs. The ITC ruling Wednesday was the latest in a series of tit-fortat trade measures taken by the United States and China, the world’s largest and third-largest economies. In September, the United States announced it would slap duties on Chinese-made tyres, sparking the first major trade dispute of Barack Obama’s presidency. An angry Beijing lodged a complaint at the World Trade Organization and retaliated by launching a probe into possible unfair trade practices involving imports of US car products and chicken meat. — AFP

pipes adversely impacted the US steel industry, paving the way for the Commerce Department to impose countervailing duties of up to nearly 16 percent. This is the largest countervailing duty case filed against China, based on the value of trade, lawyers said.

SHENYANG, China: In this June 26, 2009 file photo a steel worker labors at a small-scale steel plant in northeast China’s Liaoning province. The US government is imposing new duties on imports of steel pipes from China, the latest sign of trade tensions between the two countries. – AP

Roads of Hong Kong clogged with supercars HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s roads read like pages ripped from a luxury car magazine. Hundreds of ultraflash motors from Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches to Aston Martins, Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, inch through traffic on the city’s clogged and smoggy roads. Even taxes of 120 percent don’t deter Hong Kong’s uber-rich from splashing out on the latest super-expensive ‘boy’s toy’ - with dealers seeking to import as many supercars as they can get their hands on. In the lead-up to Christmas, Marchy Lee’s CarPro showroom contained a Lamborghini Murcielago LP650-4. There were only 50 ever made and this was the last one on sale in Asia. Price on the road? A bank account-buckling $800,000. Or, there’s always the cheaper option, a stunning black and gold Ferrari 430 Scuderia - a snip, at $520,000. “You buy this car, you want to be driving on the road and for some people to take a good look,” Marchy said from the Murcielago’s driver’s seat. “There are a lot of supercars in Hong Kong, even though it’s a very small place. “A few successful Hong Kong businessmen own 30 or 40 supercars. They are big boys and they need to buy toys. So these are their toys.” But it’s not just the boys. Nicole Wang, a banker, zips out of a parking spot in Hong Kong city centre in

her Audi R8 - worth around $300,000 - straight into a traffic jam. “I chose this car because it suits my character,” she said. “It’s not for middle-aged men. It’s very special and very rare in Hong Kong - there are only about 50 here right now.” Many young boys like to play with toy cars, perhaps having a Ferrari, a couple of Porsches and maybe an Aston Martin parked in their toy box. But when Terence Ku grew up, his toy box became a real garage. He owns 16 cars worth around two million dollars. He imported a beautiful pearl white Aston Martin DBS from Britain because of his love of James Bond movies and a Ferrari 360 CS because of the engine’s deep and distinctive growl. But Porsches are his favourite. He owns six. “I love Porsches,” Terence, said. “But I’d put the Ferrari 458 at the top of my Xmas list, I don’t mind having to wait until next year.” Terence, who owns a printing and publishing company, admits Hong Kong is not the best place for the motorist. “It’s too expensive here and it’s too small. There’s no good roads to drive on. That’s why we get together and go away on road trips.” Many Hong Kong car enthusiasts such as Terence join clubs and often ship their pride and joy to China or Malaysia - sometimes even to Germany - so they can enjoy them properly on the open road. — AFP


BUSINESS

Page 20

Friday, January 1, 2010

Currency revamp could trigger instability

North Korea bans foreign currencies SEOUL: North Korea has banned the use of foreign currency, another sign its hardline communist government is intent on reasserting control over the country’s nascent market economy. Reports say the decree warns of severe punishment for anyone using US dollars, euros, yuan and other non-North Korean currencies. Foreign currencies

previously were accepted in some shops, restaurants and other outlets, particularly those catering to foreigners. The order, issued by North Korea’s state security bureau and going into effect Jan 1, aims to “forbid the circulation of foreign currency”, China’s state-run CCTV television said in a brief report late Wednesday.

PAJU, South Korea: Old North Korean currency bills are displayed at the Imjingak Pavilion near the border village of Panmunjom yesterday. – AP

Iceland OKs Icesave compensation deal REYKJAVIK: Iceland’s parliament approved Wednesday a controversial payout of nearly four billion euros to Britain and the Netherlands, which had compensated tens of thousands of savers in a failed Icelandic bank. Although the payout has stirred up resentment among many ordinary Icelanders hard hit by their country’s financial meltdown in 2008, lawmakers approved by a vote of 33 to 30 the measure which had threatened to become a major obstacle in the small Atlantic island nation’s bid to join the European Union. “Congratulations Iceland!” shouted a lawmaker from the governing left-wing coalition after the announcement the bill had passed, while an opposition lawmaker cried out “treason!” The measure approves the payout of €3.8 billion ($5.4 billion) to the British and Dutch governments, which had partially compensated more than 320,000 of their savers who lost money in the collapse of the Icesave online bank. Icesave, an online subsidiary of the Landsbanki bank that had to be rescued in October 2008 as the global credit crunch hit, had attracted savers due to its high interest rates. The British and Dutch governments turned to Reykjavik for the money to be returned, and an initial compensation deal was approved by Iceland’s parliament in August. But amendments negotiated by Social Democratic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir in order to get the deal through parliament were rejected by Britain and the

Netherlands. The dispute threatened to sink Iceland’s efforts to quickly join the European Union, forcing Sigurdardottir to return to the parliament with a new bill in line with the initial deal. The measure adopted Wednesday foresees staggering through 2024 the payment of the €3.8 billion, which is equivalent to nearly 40 percent of the country’s annual gross domestic product. A poll taken in August suggested nearly 70 percent of Icelanders were against the Icesave deal, the compensation amounting to about €12,000 for each citizen on the island nation of 320,000 people. “History will show that we are doing the right thing,” said Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson after the vote. But Birkir Jon Jonsson, deputy leader of the opposition Progressive Party said: “How this government has handled this issue has been shameful from the beginning.” The bill must still be signed into law by President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, and a petition asking him to veto the measure has already garnered nearly 40,000 signatures, a record in Iceland. The dispute over the compensation scheme had also delayed the disbursement of funds under of a $2.1-billion IMF standby loan arranged in Nov 2008 following the collapse of Icelandic banks. The IMF announced on Dec 14 it had reached an agreement with Iceland on the release of a third tranche of the loan. — AFP

The Daily NK, a Seoul-based online news outlet, said the order prohibits all individuals and organizations apart from banks from possessing foreign currency. It said the decree was posted in public and at workplaces, and went into effect Dec 28. There was no mention of the new ban yesterday in official North Korean state media. In Seoul, a South Korean official confirmed the ban, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media on intelligence matters. The order comes weeks after the government redenominated North Korea’s currency, the won, as part of a far-reaching currency overhaul aimed at curbing runaway inflation and reasserting control over the economy. The restrictions come as impoverished North Korea faces tightened sanctions for its nuclear defiance that have curtailed its arms exports and other traditional sources of hard currency. Unable to feed its people, the government began allowing some markets in 2002, including some permitting farmers to trade in produce. While an economic success, the markets also sold banned goods such as movies and soap operas from rival South Korea. The country’s largest wholesale market in Pyongyang was reportedly shut down in midJune. The currency overhaul sought to rein in those who had profited from market commerce by ordering North Koreans to exchange a limited amount of the old bills for new ones, and to deposit their savings in banks. The redenomination reportedly sparked anger among North Koreans who fear they may never be able to withdraw the deposits. Authorities ordered border guards to open fire on anyone who crosses the North Korean border without permission, an apparent attempt to thwart defections by people disgruntled over the currency reform. The currency revamp could trigger instability in North Korea that may pose a threat to South Korea, its defense chief warned yesterday in Seoul. “It’s difficult to predict what type of threat would come to us following a possible regime instability that could occur due to the aftermath of the currency reform” and the power handover believed under way in North Korea, Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said in a New Year’s message to troops. — AP

CHENGDU, China: Investors are seen at a private securities company in southwest China’s Sichuan province yesterday on the last day of this year’s trading. China’s main stock index ended 2009 with an annual gain of 80 percent after shares edged yesterday following a year of heavy government stimulus spending and bank lending. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5 percent, or 14.54 points, to 3,277.14, up from 1,820.81 on the last trading day of 2008. – AP

Mauritius eyes rebound in tourism, construction PORT LOUIS: A resurgence in the hotel and restaurant, construction and financial intermediation sectors will drive economic growth, forecast at 4.3 percent in Mauritius next year, official data showed yesterday. Observers say the Indian Ocean island’s open economy, consistently one of Africa’s strongest performers, has weathered the worldwide economic storm better than expected and should bounce back in 2010. Growth in the almost $10 billion economy is expected to slow to a forecast 2.8 percent this year - from 5 percent or above over the last three years - after the country’s tourism and leading export sectors bore the brunt of the global slowdown. “Hotels and restaurants (expect) growth of around 5.0 percent based on a forecast of 900,000 tourist arrivals compared to 860,000 in 2009,” the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said in a statement. “(This assumes) some recovery in our main markets and positive effects of the holding of the world football competition in the region,” it added. For 2009, the CSO predicted a less severe than expected contraction in the hotel and restaurant sector of negative 6.4 percent, down on earlier forecasts of negative 8.8 percent. Meanwhile, the statistics

office said the construction sector would grow by 8 percent next year compared with 2009’s 3 percent. This is mainly due to the frontloading of public sector investment projects, it said. Finance Minister Ramakrishna Sithanen said in his 2010 budget speech in November that public sector investment would hit over $800 million next year to help cement the Mauritius’ economic recovery before exiting a $340 million stimulus program. The island’s sugarcane and sugar milling sector is seen growing by 1.1 percent in 2010 compared with 21.1 percent this year, the CSO said its end-of-year national accounts report. The sector’s expected contraction is due to an expected fall in sugar prices and an end to a deal with the European Union for African, Carribean and Pacific Countries, which had guaranteed a raw sugar price of over Ä523.70 per tonne. In the 2009-2010 harvest, Mauritius will export refined sugar in place of raw sugar to German giant Sudzucker, ending a long-standing relationship with the UK’s Tate & Lyle. “Exclusive of sugar, the (economic) growth rate would be around 4.4 percent compared to 2.4 percent in 2009,” the CSO said. — Reuters


BUSINESS

Friday, January 1, 2010

Page 21

NEW YORK: A Wall Street sign is seen at an entrance to the New York Stock Exchange. — AP

Investors picking through rubble Will 2010 be a better year for stocks, investments? tepping into the new year, Herbert Beyenbach of Boca Raton, Florida, an active trader in stocks and options, is making a move into shares of Citicorp and a financial stock fund. “Once the whole economic picture clears up, I think the financials will do well,” he says, even though he expects the economy to remain difficult for the next six months. Citicorp, “is undervalued, the whole franchise, despite the potential losses (still ahead).” Like Beyenbach, many investors are picking through the rubble of a troubled year and trying to make their best bets for the future. Saving is in, spending is out and investing looks tricky in 2010. There’s a watchfulness in the year-end predictions from Wall Street about whether the US economy’s recovery, which began in late summer, will last and whether US companies can grow profits at a time when consumers are saddled by debt, job losses and fear. But there are hopeful signs. Among individual investors, the pessimism brought on by last year’s near-meltdown on Wall Street is beginning to fade. Charles Schwab reported in early December that among active investors, 54 percent expect the economy’s recovery to continue in the year ahead. “The toughest thing people have to accept is if they do need growth in their portfolio over time, they’re going to have to stick with equities,” said Matt McGrath, managing partner at Evensky & Katz in Coral Gables, Fla. “It’s been frustrating for the last decade. But they are not going to get growth in bonds they will not get growth in cash and they will not get the growth they need in commodities.” The records, long-term and short, are not easy to look at. First, a look back _ a long way back. The US stock market over the last 10 years is down by double digits. The Dow Jones Industrial average, in the 10 years through Dec. 1 is down 10 percent, the Standard & Poor’s, down 25 percent and the Nasdaq down 47 percent. It was the only decade in the past 90 years to post a decline, says Standard & Poor’s Chief Investment Strategist Sam Stovall. That includes the 1930s. But the down year in 2009 began to break by early March. Since then, the Dow is

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WASHINGTON: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (left), Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (center) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Sheila Bair testify at the House Financial Services Committee hearing on ‘Oversight of Implementation of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and of Government Lending and Insurance Facilities; Impact on Economy and Credit Availability’ on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. —MCT

There’s a watchfulness in the year-end predictions from Wall Street about whether the US economy’s recovery, which began in late summer, will last and whether US companies can grow profits at a time when consumers are saddled by debt, job losses and fear.

up 60 percent through Dec 1. Which means stocks are strongly ahead, but plenty of long-term portfolios are not. If you’re still scared about stocks, McGrath said one easy way to make investing palatable is to set up a regular contribution schedule. Shovel a certain amount of money in and don’t vary, based on what the market is doing. “That’s a key mistake to avoid,” McGrath said. If you’re building a diversified portfolio with a variety of stocks and bonds, there are a few themes that South Florida financial advisers see for the coming year. Steve Pomeranz of Pomeranz Financial in Boca Raton said investors may be able to benefit as Washington creates more regulations. He suggested taking a look at utility company stocks, which have regulated profit margins and strong dividends, and which haven’t recovered quite as much as the rest of the market. Their upside potential is due to future growth in profits, he said. “If they need to raise their prices, they get permission (from regulators) to raise them,” he said. Dr Robert Bronfman, a retired orthopedic surgeon and president of the Southeast Florida chapter of the American Association of Individual Investors, has his eye on health care stocks. In the short-run, health care reform will probably not be positive, but in the long-run, he sees it as having a dramatic impact on doctors, hospitals and technology used in medicine as more people, including the millions of uninsured, seek treatment. Finally, there’s plenty of interest outside of the US in emerging market stock mutual funds, including those that invest in companies in Brazil and other Latin American countries. Investors who make this play are betting on developing nations where growth is expected to be stronger than in the US and demand for raw materials will be high. “This suggests that the commodity rally will continue into 2010,” said a UBS Wealth Management outlook report for 2010. “I think we’ll get back to normal and dispel some of the fears,” Pomeranz said. “I think the idea is to stay the course with your longterm plan. Make sure that if the market doesn’t do well, you keep money outside the market if you need it to live on, so that you can get through a down cycle.” — MCT


CAREERS

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Friday, January 1, 2010

How to get a promotion

Ten things to do to move up the corporate ladder Build a track record. Take on projects and complete them successfully both within and outside the department. Lead teams in accomplishing goals by staying on target and keeping everyone in the loop. Volunteer for cross-functional teams and report the results in order to gain visibility. Actively participate in company events. Promotions are often given to those who have proven their ability to lead.

Continuously learn. Continuous learning is the backbone to success. Because the world around us is constantly changing - new technology, new ideas, new methods of doing business - so should we. Take company sponsored classes that will provide new skills especially if they are management training classes. Take external courses not only related to business, but those that challenge and bring insight. Remember: a college degree never hurts. Read about the industry, but don’t forget to learn about the business.

Ask, ask, ask. Ask about individual performance as well as company performance. From an individual standpoint, it is important to get performance feedback because it is the only way for someone to know if they are doing well. In addition, ask questions about how to get on the management track. From a company standpoint, learn about broader issues and corporate strategies. Gain insight about all opera-

For anyone looking to get ahead in their career, here are ten things to do in order to get that next promotion. tions. Take an active interest in the business as well as in how departments inter-depend on each other.

listen objectively and consider all options. To be promotable, learn and practice active listening skills and keep those who need to be in the know in the loop.

Be willing to change. Along with continuously learning and asking for individual performance feedback, the way to a promotion is to be flexible. This means adapting personal style as well as methods of working to fit the current environment. Leaders understand the need to adapt to economic, social, marketplace and organizational changes.

Get a mentor. Find a coach. Not a direct supervisor, but rather someone who will take an active interest in providing career guidance from an outside, objective standpoint. Think of a mentor as a personal business coach. This is the person who guides an employee along the bumpy path to success by helping them avoid sand traps in the corporate world.

Observe open communication. While open communication, a vital soft skill, is important in order to practice performance feedback, this also means the ability to

Develop good relationships. That old adage of “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” is true. Developing good

relationships will go a long way in winning future promotions. It is a known fact that organizations are social entities and developing good relationship-building skills is vital to future growth opportunities. Be a good team mate - someone others know they can depend on. Acknowledge and congratulate others for a job well done.

Act the part. The only way to gain a promotion is to be promotable. This means not only having the talent, but having the look. A professional appearance along with appropriate work behavior will go a long way toward career success.

Practice self-promotion. Braggarts need not apply. However, getting noticed for a job well done is not a crime. Make sure to clearly communicate career goals in order to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Make a commitment. Seeking career growth and a promotion cannot be done in a half-hearted way. For the individual who truly wants to climb the ladder of career success it is important to identif y and commit to a plan, this way when promotional opportunities become available they will be prepared to accept the challenge www.careeradvice.suite101.com


TECHNOLOGY

Friday, January 1, 2010

Page 23

Itʼs hip to be Square:

Twitter inventor has new venture I

t was in February that Jim McKelvey ran into the problem that would lead to the birth of Square, a new mobile-payment venture led by Twitter inventor Jack Dorsey. McKelvey-one-time employer and longtime friend of Dorsey, a St. Louis native — was trying to complete the sale of one of the pricey glass faucets he makes at Third Degree Glass Factory in St. Louis. It was a deal that fell apart after the buyer insisted on using American Express, a credit card his small business couldn’t accept. “I said to Jack, we should solve this problem,” McKelvey said. “It began with a lost sale and the frustration of a small merchant.” Nine months later, the two partners revealed their proposed solution to a tech community thirsting to know the next move by the man whose microblogging service, Twitter, changed the way people connect and share information. At its heart, Square is rather simple. It’s a small plastic device, or dongle, that plugs into a cell phone’s audio jack and allows anyone, including small merchants and individuals, to accept credit card payments. The credit card owner uses a finger to sign a receipt on the phone’s touch screen. In some ways, it’s a pronounced change from the status quo that requires every business that accepts credit cards to have its own merchant account — a type of bank account used to process payments. Often, small-business owners don’t have them because they’re expensive. But now Square says smaller businesses and individuals will be able to piggyback on its merchant account, opening the world of credit card sales to people and businesses locked out by current restrictions. The idea of such a thing has left many in the financial services sector scratching their heads — and in some cases, rolling their eyes — at Dorsey’s upstart company, which will have offices in San Francisco, New York and St. Louis. Some argue it’s simply impossible to take a credit card without having your own merchant account. They also want to know how much it will cost to use the service. It’s expected that each transaction will include some sort of fee to pay for Square’s operations, as well as the fee — typically 2 percent to 3 percent — charged credit card companies.

DOUBT & UNCERTAINTY The uncertainties surrounding Square have left analysts like Aaron McPherson, of research firm IDC Financial Insights in Framingham, Mass., less than impressed. “It’s largely just hype at this point,” McPherson said. “I wouldn’t put too much stock in it.” Not everyone agrees, however. Square’s first round of venture capital funding valued the company at $40 million. And while large credit card vendors have been quiet about Square, Mastercard this week said it welcomes “innovation in the competitive payments industry.” Some of the mystery surrounding Square can be traced to Dorsey and the way Twitter has grown. Much of that company’s success — there’s even talk now that it will be profitable this year after signing search deals with Google and Microsoft — can be credited to its willingness to follow the lead of users. Consider the recent addition of a “retweet button” allowing users to quickly rebroadcast other users’ updates. It simply made it easier for people to do something they were already doing. McKelvey suggests a similar path for Square, now in early testing with some 300

Jim McKelvey, co-founder/instructor for Third Degree Glass Factory, presents the Square, a new electronic payment system developed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey. — MCT merchants in San Francisco, New York and St. Louis. “We don’t know where this is going. If done right, the market will tell us what the uses are,” he said. For now, the company expects to go after businesses not big enough to have their own merchant accounts. That means they don’t expect to take much business from competitors. But McKelvey said they’ve had inquiries from clothing retailers interested in a system that would let employees do checkouts anywhere in a store. There’s also the possibility Square could prove popular for transactions between people making deals on Craigslist and the like, though it’s not something the company appears to be counting on. Still months away from an expected launch during the first quarter of 2010, the company already has its share of critics. Some wonder if there’s a viable market for what Square is offering. “He’s really going after the bottom-of-thebarrel merchants,” said Andy Kleitsch, chief executive for Seattle-based Billing Revolution, which has a system that lets merchants send bills to customers’ cell phones.

SO, WHAT’S NEW? Kleitsch and others have been quick to point out that Square offers little that’s new. Several companies already have mobile payment systems, some using specialized devices and others using cell phones. The key difference is that everyone else requires a merchant account. That includes a new mobile device expected to hit the market just ahead of Square. PAYware Mobile also uses a card reader that attaches to a cell phone and targets lower-volume businesses. A key difference is that PAYware is made by San Jose, Calif.-based VeriFone Holdings, a longtime industry veteran that handles 65 percent or more of all credit card transactions in U.S. stores. Paul Rasori, senior vice president of global markets for VeriFone, said the device will be ready to ship next month. “We’re pretty much ready to go to market,” Rasori said. “This is the real deal.” That Square already has a strong competitor illustrates one potential problem for the young company. If successful, it’s going to be vulnerable to competition, said Sherif Nasser, assistant professor of marketing at Washington University’s Olin School of Business. The thing that makes PayPal, an online

payment system, successful has been its ability to create a large base of connected users — you can only do business through PayPal if both of you have an account. But Square won’t have that same captive audience, Nasser said. Credit card users aren’t obligated to use any particular payment system. There’s nothing stopping a larger company from creating serious problems for Square. “If I were Apple or Verizon or AT&T and this proves to be viable, I’d want that business for myself,” he said. And, as it turns out, it wouldn’t be all that hard for someone to build a system remarkably similar to Square. That’s because the man who helped create the card reader had a falling out with Dorsey and McKelvey. Bob Morley, an associate professor of electrical engineering at Washington University, worked with the pair earlier this year and has applied for a patent on the device. But after months of negotiations over compensation failed, they basically agreed to go their separate ways, with Square saying it would use something different for card reading. The professor says he has no ill feelings toward Square: “I just want to get my story out there. It’s actually my idea and it’s for sale.” —MCT


BEAUTY

Page 24

Friday, January 1, 2010

It’s a Botox blast Are dangers getting overlooked as we flock to the needle? ome guys don’t mind getting “expression lines,” those furrow marks, horizontal creases and crow’s feet that are said to add character to your looks. But for those who fret that their faces are getting a bit too expressive, there’s a temporary cure called Botox. Used properly, the drug is an effective, nonsurgical way to iron out a few wrinkles. Still, as its popularity skyrockets and Botox ads start popping up in magazines and on TV, experts are concerned about unrealistic expectations, unqualified providers and inappropriate settings. Botox is the brand name for botulinum toxin A, the poisonous bacterium that causes botulism and, in large doses, can be fatal. The treatment, using highly diluted amounts of the toxin, consists of injections into the facial muscles whose over activity produces skin wrinkles, often prematurely. Botox weakens the muscle at the point of entry, diminishing its ability to contract and, thus, smoothing out the skin above. The effect isn’t permanent: Within about four months, the muscle returns to normal strength, requiring a new injection to sustain the effect. The average Botox treatment costs about $400. Botox has been approved for treating eye-muscle disorders since 1989, but “off-label” use by physicians has soared in recent years. (Besides wrinkle zapping, unofficial uses for Botox include combating excessive sweating and thwarting migraine headaches.) Even before the Food and Drug Administration okayed it for cosmetic use this past April, Botox was the most popular cosmetic procedure in the United States, with more than 1.6 million shots dispensed last year, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The FDA announcement freed Allergan, the Irvine, Calif.-based manufacturer of the drug, to launch a $50 million marketing campaign.

license can legally administer it— inappropriate patients won’t be discouraged, leading to misuse of the drug. “If a surgeon gets paid $500 through an insurance company to do a major operation, including pre- and post-operative care, and he can also make $500 to inject a little Botox in somebody, figure out what could potentially happen,” says Matarasso. Botox does pose risks, even when administered by skilled clinicians; those risks are multiplied in the hands of physicians who are untrained in the intricacies of facial anatomy. Too much Botox in the wrong area can create distortions ranging from droopy eyelids and raised brows to loss of facial expression. Adding to concerns over misuse is the phenomenon of “Botox parties.” At homes and hotels, providers are dispensing the shots to the wine-and-cheese set at a group rate. Marfuggi worries about maintaining the sterility of needles in such settings. Patients who have ingested alcohol also tend to bleed more, potentially delivering the drug to unintended locations. Besides, he adds, “If you have to get drunk to have Botox, you probably shouldn’t have it.”

Needling men

• Be informed. Your physician should clearly explain all potential benefits and risks. Discuss your intentions with friends and family as well.

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While women receive the lion’s share of the procedures, men signed up for more than 220,000 Botox shots last year. “I see a lot of men who need to present a public persona, such as lawyers,” says Richard A. Marfuggi, M.D., a New York City plastic surgeon whose Botox patient roster is 50 percent male. “They don’t want to be seen as angry or unpleasant. Botox can soften that look.” Unlike cosmetic plastic surgery, which is rarely indicated in younger men, Botox may be appropriate— and more effective—in thirtysomethings showing early indications of lines in the upper face, says Franklin L. DiSpaltro, MD,

If you do it The American Board of Plastic Surgery reminds potential patients that Botox, while quick and minimally invasive, is still a medical procedure with potential risks. They advise people interested in Botox injections to: • Check credentials. Your physician should be certified by the ABPS or other appropriate society, and be experienced in facial cosmetic surgery. • Get evaluated. Before administering any medical treatment, your physician should require an evaluation and full medical history from you.

president of ASAPS. “Certain people have over animated facial expressions and develop an olderage look to their faces due to the over activity of the muscles responsible,” he explains. Robert Lyon was only 28 when he went to New York City plastic surgeon Alan Matarasso, MD, for his first Botox treatment. Five years later, he continues to receive the injections two or three times a year. “By the time I got home at night, there would be lines on the outsides of my eyes from smiling all day,” he recalls. “It made me look older than I felt.” Lyon, who previously wasted

hundreds of dollars on creams that merely made his skin look oily, says Botox gets rid of his lines in a way that looks natural. So far, he cites no negative effects beyond the momentary sting of each injection. “Anyway,” Lyon quips, “it’s more masculine to get jabbed a couple of times a year than to load up on a thousand different creams and potions.”

Where and when Botox is used on all parts of the face and even on the neck. The areas of greatest success, says DiSpaltro, are in the medial brow,

for the vertical lines at the root of the nose; in the forehead, for the horizontal bands; and at the outsides of the eyes, for the squinting lines known as crow’s feet. For wrinkles caused by smoking, sun exposure or the natural aging process, Botox is unlikely to help. “One of the problems created by all the publicity is the wide spectrum of patients clamoring for the procedure, many of whom aren’t candidates for it,” DiSpaltro says. Plenty of aesthetic plastic surgeons lament that because Botox represents such a financial boon to physicians—anyone with a medical

• Stay sober. The consumption of alcohol before, during or after a medical procedure can affect a patient’s choices—as well as the outcome. Medical decisions should be made outside the influence of alcohol or peer pressure. • Stay sterile. Botox injections should be performed in a setting with appropriate medical personnel and safety equipment on hand. (www.findarticles.com)


BEAUTY

Friday, January 1, 2010

Page 25

Winterizing your lips he cold weather can be very hard on all parts of your body. Faces flake, hair dries, hands redden and feet crack. And for young girls especially, lips chap. Lips are vulnerable since they have an extremely thin outer layer. They retain less moisture than other parts of the body, so they tend to dry out quicker. According to the National Institutes of Health, the best way to care for your aching lips is to first protect them from the elements. 1. Apply an unflavored lip balm with sunscreen wherever you go. Petroleum jelly, vitamin E oil, aloe vera gel, or even a skin moisturizer will work to keep your lips greasy and properly moisturized and prevent them from drying out. 2. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. 3. Wear scarves or jackets that block the wind from getting to your lips. 4. Ask your parents to invest in a humidifier to moisturize the air in your home after they turn on the heat. 5. If you wear lipstick, make sure its glossy... matte lipstick tends to dry out your lips. 6. If your lips are badly chapped, remove the dead skin by rubbing a wet, warm washcloth over your lips to gently loosen the flakes. You may need to do this more than once as your lips heal. 7. Avoid flavored lip balms or “medicated” lip products sound good but they usually contain menthol, peppermint oil or other additives that can further irritate your lips. Be sure to read the ingredients on the side of the tube before you buy one. www.beinggirl.co.uk

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Getting rid of blackheads don’t know how many hours I’ve spent in front of a mirror squeezing one blackhead after another out of my big nose. If you’re anything like me, and a little OCD (that rhymes!), then you’ve spent some time in front of the mirror wondering just what the hell is so wrong with your pores that they can’t manage to do their job and drain that junk. Blackheads, after all, are a failure on the part of your follicles (aka. pores) to properly drain the Sebum, oil that naturally accumulates in them. Once the blockage begins, it’s just a matter of time before acne causing bacteria take over and completely clog the pore resulting in either a whitehead or a blackhead. Below is some advice about how to get rid of blackheads and avoid the ghastly things altogether. If you want to get rid of blackheads you’re going to stop using oil-based makeup and skin treatments. These oil-based skin products will ensure that your pores get clogged on a regular basis because oil-based skin products, as compared to waterbased products, are near impossible for your body to break down naturally. There are noncomedogenic (“clog-free” for us lay people) skin products available that should be used instead. If you’re going to get rid of blackheads you’re going to stop scrubbing your face with harsh abrasives. Irritating your skin with harsh chemicals and special skin scrubbing cloths actually causes more acne problems because your skin reacts to these chemicals by trying to repair the damage you’ve done, clogging your pores with puss and naturally occurring oils. Moisturizing your face with a damp, warm cloth in the evening can help get rid of blackheads. Simply put the damp cloth over your face for a period of 15-25 minutes each night, to help loosen and dissolve dead skin, dirt, and other pore clogging particles. It has been suggested that boiling

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Once the blockage begins, it’s just a matter of time before acne causing bacteria take over and completely clog the pore resulting in either a whitehead or a blackhead.

the wash cloth first will ensure that you are not introducing additional bacteria to the surface of your face. Please allow the cloth to cool properly. Applying beta hydroxy acid to the face on a regular basis has been shown to help get rid of blackheads. Beta hydroxyl acid (Salicylic acid) is an organic acid that exfoliates the skin, allowing dead and dying skin cells to slough off more readily, thus opening the pores. Opening your pores allows the comedones (blackheads) to come to the surface for easier blackhead removal. A 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide facial cleanser will help get rid of blackheads. Benzoyl Peroxide is a chemical most teenagers should be familiar with, seeing as how it’s the main anti-bacterial agent in many acne treatment products. The key to a good facial cleanser though, is a sufficient percentage of Benzoyl Peroxide. Don’t go for anything less than 2.5% if you really want to get rid of blackheads. Blackhead Removers or Extractors A lot of us either don’t have the patience to follow through with a blackhead treatment regiment or don’t need it because we only need to remove the occasional blackhead. This is where cosmetic companies like Simco, Revlon, and Pfeilring come in. These companies make a number of different blackhead removers, and for a reasonable price toosometimes less than $3.00. A blackhead remover works by using a circular pressure pad to apply, well, pressure to the areas directly surrounding the blackhead, pushing the comedone toward the surface for safe removal. You may want to opt for the Revlon Stainless Steel black head remover because they’re easier to clean and keep sterile, something you’ll want to make sure of considering the leading role bacteria plays in the creation of blackheads. www.getridofthings.com


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HEALTH

Friday, January 1, 2010

From 0 to 5km: Learn how to run a 5km race and stay fit ive kilometers (3 miles) is the perfect race distance for a new runner presenting a challenging but realistic goal. You’ll be in the company of plenty of other first-timers in the average 5km event, so you won’t feel intimidated or out of your depth. This eight-week program is designed to take you from a standing start to being able to run 5km comfortably. The 5km walk in week 1, the 5km walk/run in week 4 and the 2 x 2.5km session in week 6 are included to help you become familiar with your goal distance and to give you the confidence that you can make it to the finish line, however slowly. Walking breaks are used to help ease you into running and to gradually extend the distance you cover and the time spent on your feet. This is a tried-and-tested technique for new runners. As you progress, the amount of running is increased and the number of walking bouts decreased, taking you progressively closer to continuous running.

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How to follow the program successfully • If you’re a complete novice, or returning to running after a long period of non-fitness, then make sure you’re healthy enough to begin increasing the amount of exercise you’re going to do. If you’re in any doubt, consult a doctor before you begin. • Start each session with a warm-up and finish with a warm-down. • Take a rest day between runs, even if you don’t stick to the days stated in the program. • In walk/run sessions, jog or run the running bouts at a pace that feels comfortable - you should be able to carry out a conversation.

• If you are finding the plan too easy, skip ahead a week. Equally, if it’s too challenging, go back or repeat a week. • Try to include a cross-training session once a week, to give your joints a break from running and to add variety. Cross-training simply means doing an alternative activity to

running - swimming, cycling or a gym workout, for example. Better still, try Jo Pavey’s strength and injury prevention workout for runners.

Find a race • The Do it for Charity 5km race series takes place in May and June in Edinburgh, London, Manchester and Cardiff (doitforcharity.com).

• Race for Life is a women-only series of 5km runs taking place across the UK between May and August (raceforlife.org). • Run for Moore is a series of 5km runs for men, set up to raise money for the Bobby Moore fund (cancerresearchuk.org/runformoore). —Guardian


HEALTH

Friday, January 1, 2010

Page 27

Contraceptive injections weaken women’s bones and over the two years most of the women stopped using contraceptive injections. That makes it harder to rely on the results. Also, we can’t be sure that the researchers took account of everything that might have affected the results, such as any other medicines the women were taking.

lmost half of women using long-term contraceptive injections containing the hormone medroxyprogesterone may get weakened bones within two years, new research reports.

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What do we know already? Injections containing a female hormone called medroxyprogesterone are a reliable contraceptive. You only need the injection once every three months, so you don’t have to remember to take it every day. The UK brand name is Depo-Provera. Some women find it useful if they don’t have a regular routine and find it hard to take a pill at the same time every day (for example, if they work shifts). But contraceptive injections can have downsides. They can cause bones to get weaker. Bone strength is measured by something called bone mineral density. This measures how much calcium and other minerals you have in your bones. Dense bones are stronger and less likely to break. The new study followed 240 women who planned to use contraceptive injections for two years. Researchers measured the women’s bone mineral density every six months.

What does the new study say? Only 95 of the 240 women took the drug for the full two years. Of these 95 women, 45 lost at least 5 percent of their bone mineral density, measured in their hip bones and lower

Where does the study come from? The study was done by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas. It was published in the medical journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, which is owned by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

What does this mean for me?

spine. Bone mineral density continued to fall, especially at the hip bone, in women who kept using the contraceptive injections for a third year. The researchers identified three factors that were linked to losing bone strength. They were: • Smoking

• Eating less than 600 milligrams of calcium a day • Not having been pregnant before. But the first two factors made little difference on their own. The difference was so small that it could have been down to chance. The three together made more of a difference. How reliable are the findings? This was quite a small study to start with,

This study shows that many - but not all women who have medroxyprogesterone injections for two years lose bone strength during that time. If you’ve had children before, don’t smoke, and eat plenty of calcium in your diet, you are less likely to be affected. The researchers don’t know whether women’s bone strength recovers after they stop using contraceptive injections.

What should I do now? If you’re concerned about the risk of weak bones from having contraceptive injections, talk to your doctor at your next appointment. Foods that include plenty of calcium include dairy products and green leafy vegetables. — Guardian

Iron deficiency: Causes and cures to three times more efficiently than iron from plants (i.e., non-heme iron). The amount of iron absorbed from plant foods (non-heme iron) depends on the other types of foods eaten at the same meal. Foods containing heme iron (meat, poultry, and fish) enhance iron absorption from foods that contain non-heme iron (e.g., fortified cereals, some beans, and spinach). Foods containing vitamin C (see Dietary Sources of vitamin C) also enhance non-heme iron absorption when eaten at the same meal. Substances (such as polyphenols, phytates, or calcium) that are part of some foods or drinks such as tea, coffee, whole grains, legumes and milk or dairy products can decrease the amount of nonheme iron absorbed at a meal. Calcium can also decrease the amount heme-iron absorbed at a meal. However, for healthy individuals who consume a varied diet that conforms to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the amount of iron inhibition from these substances is usually not of concern. Vegetarian diets are low in heme iron, but careful meal planning can help increase the amount of iron absorbed. Some other factors (such as taking antacids beyond the recommended dose or medicine used to treat peptic ulcer disease and acid reflux) can reduce the amount of acid in the stomach and the iron absorbed and cause iron deficiency.

What is iron and why do we need it? Iron is a mineral needed by our bodies. Iron is a part of all cells and does many things in our bodies. For example, iron (as part of the protein hemoglobin) carries oxygen from our lungs throughout our bodies. Having too little hemoglobin is called anemia. Iron also helps our muscles store and use oxygen. Iron is a part of many enzymes and is used in many cell functions. Enzymes help our bodies digest foods and also help with many other important reactions that occur within our bodies. When our bodies don’t have enough iron, many parts of our bodies are affected.

What is iron deficiency and why is it a concern? Iron deficiency is a condition resulting from too little iron in the body. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency and the leading cause of anemia in the United States.1 The terms anemia, iron deficiency, and iron deficiency anemia often are used interchangeably but equivalent. Iron deficiency ranges from depleted iron stores without functional or health impairment to iron deficiency with anemia, which affects the functioning of several organ systems. 2 Iron deficiency is a concern because it can: • Iron deficiency can delay normal infant motor function (normal activity and movement) or mental function (normal thinking and processing skills).3-6 • Iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy can increase risk for small or early (preterm) babies.7-8 Small or early babies are more likely to have health problems or die in the first year of life than infants who are born full term and are not small. • Iron deficiency can cause fatigue that impairs the ability to do physical work in adults.9-10 Iron deficiency may also affect memory or other mental function in teens Iron deficiency has many causes. These causes fall into two main categories:

Women who are pregnant have higher iron needs. To get enough, most women must take an iron supplement as recommended by their healthcare provider. When people lose blood, they also lose iron. They need extra iron to replace what they have lost. Increased blood loss can occur with heavy menstrual periods, frequent blood donation, as well as with some stomach and intestinal conditions (food sensitivity, hookworms)

1. Increased iron needs Many common conditions can cause people to need additional iron: Because of their rapid growth, infants and toddlers need more iron than older children. Sometimes it can be hard for them to get enough iron from their normal diet.

2. Decreased iron intake or absorption (not enough iron taken into the body) The amount of iron absorbed from the diet depends on many factors: Iron from meat, poultry, and fish (i.e., heme iron) is absorbed two

What causes iron deficiency?

How is iron deficiency treated? If you are found to have an iron deficiency, it is important to see your healthcare provider for treatment. Your treatment will depend on factors such as your age, health, and cause of iron deficiency. If your doctor or health care provider thinks that you have iron deficiency she or he may prescribe iron supplements for you to take and then ask that you return after a period to have your hemoglobin or hematocrit tested. If your healthcare provider determines that the iron deficiency is due to a diet low in iron, you might be told to eat more iron-rich foods. Your health care provider may also prescribe an iron supplement for you. Again, it is important to be diagnosed by your healthcare provider because iron deficiency can have causes that aren’t related to your diet. Your healthcare provider’s recommendations will be specific to your needs. (www.cdc.gov)


HOBBIES

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Artist Julie Crabtree takes stitching to a new level with the landscape works she produces.

Artful yule arrangements

Floral designer crafts botanical bounty with movement and flair A

s a kid growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, Jane Godshalk was good at a lot of things, but never a superstar. Even as a young adult, she buzzed from this to that without putting down landing gear. “I hadn’t found my passion yet,” she says. Today, Godshalk is a lucky lady. At 61, she’s blessed with good health, a happy marriage and family, and a hobby that, over 25 years, turned into a career that changed her life: flower-arranging. That has a slightly frivolous sound, tilting toward the feminine, evidence, perhaps, of lingering stereotypes about the floral professions and what constitutes serious art. But to spend a few hours watching Godshalk work is to understand just how silly, how stupid, those stereotypes are. She is truly an artist, capable of transforming even the most prosaic of concepts, the holiday flower arrangement, into something breathtaking. “Are you dazzled?” she asks. Indeed, you are. On the kitchen counter of her Haverford, Pa, home, she’s filled a sparkling glass cylinder with eight spider mums. Who knew lime-green mums could seem so sleek and astral? On the diningroom breakfront is an elegant horizontal arrangement of Bradford pear branches, ribbons of aspidistra, Christmasy red roses, and slips of red tulips reaching for the light. All this in a metal urn left over from an antiques show event. “The tulips are dancing. The stems are somersaulting. Hugely fun,” says Godshalk, a certified floral designer in this country and the Netherlands, who teaches at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square and has studied with Canadian designer Hitomi Gilliam and Gregor Lersch of Germany. Since those first forays into garden clubs and flower shows more than two decades ago, Godshalk also has lectured extensively and won awards both locally and nationally, and at the famed Chelsea Flower Show in England. Though she can be tentative in other arenas, she loses herself completely in this one. “When I’m on stage with maybe 300 people out there, you’d think I’d be thinking, ‘What does my hair look like?’ But this is when I’m the least selfconscious,” she says. “It’s a totally transcending experience.” It helps to use premium-quality materials, bought from wholesalers, but Godshalk insists inspiring designs can be fashioned from

supermarket flowers and modest “found” or bought materials. Things like pinecones and birch bark, dried mushrooms and alliums, bare branches of pear or dogwood, and fragrant juniper or cedar boughs. “Once you’ve chosen the colors, so much of design is the feel of it,” she says, citing her penchant for shiny leaves, interesting textures

and, for table designs, monochromatic bouquets of a single kind of flower. Besides callas and tulips, she likes heart-stopping Gloriosa or climbing lilies and ranunculus, which resembles a crepe-papery petticoat on a stem. For a dinner-party centerpiece, Godshalk might fill three glass vases with tulips. Very minimalist, exquisitely clean. “Too many

Stitching taken to a new level with the landscape works by Artist Julie Crabtree. — MCT photos

flowers confuse me,” she says. And she’s positively ruthless about cutting stems to suit the design. But wait. Aren’t long stems the prize on roses and all else? Long stems and buds as tight as chocolate kisses? Godshalk actually pulls those rosebuds open, petal by petal. She loves the open-eyed look. But, you whine, now the arrangement won’t last. Exactly. “They’re here and gone. That’s what I like best about flowers,” she says. “It’s about the ‘aha’ moment. It’s about taking your breath away.” Too often at this time of year, we hold our breath (and noses) over storebought potpourri, those bizarre collections of designer colors, unnatural objects, and headache-inducing smells. But Godshalk’s seasonal potpourri is fresh, familiar, and simple. She fills the most ordinary of vessels, 6-inch rose bowls, available at craft stores and flower shops _ with juniper snippets, lemon peel, cinnamon sticks, bay leaf, and white rose petals. Or cinnamon, whole cloves and allspice, orange peel, and pine needles. Or cedar and pine, red rose petals, and pinecone bits. None is filled to the top, so you can get your nose in there and inhale. All have a delectable scent and a twig protruding “to lead the eye into the bowl.” Great for living room or den, and quite nice gifts for friends. Another fragrant holiday effort is less conventional: the bridge, or two-container, design, which is asymmetrical and features one side’s flowers reaching out to the other side, carrying the eye with it. Into two low mossgreen pots, Godshalk places floral foam overlaid with chicken wire to hold everything in place. She deftly installs red-twig dogwood, glossy galax leaves, slivers of aspidistra, sprigs of cedar and juniper. She’s got shine, texture, smooth, rough. Now for the flowers. She chooses enormous velvetyred roses, brutally snipping their arm-length stems to stubs, puffing out the petals “to give them power,” and stacking them one behind the other. “I want them to make a sweep,” she says grandly, “like they’re all greeting each other.” She adds smaller spray roses, also a ho-ho red, and, on a whim, orange nandina berries from out back. “Now, we have branches, greens, focal flowers, slightly off center, and accents. Are you dazzled?” Godshalk asks again, going on about this being “total play, total pleasure.” We are. And it is, totally. — MCT


RELATIONSHIPS

Friday, January 1, 2010

Page 29

ILLINOIS: Kaney O’Neill, right, is given some water to drink by her caregiver Sasha Davidiuk, as her son Aidan, 4-month-old, rests on her lap at their home in Des Plaines, Illinois, December 4, 2009.

Disabled mother battles to keep her son CHICAGO: Kaney O’Neill knows she has limits as a mother. The 31year-old Des Plaines, woman cannot walk, move her fingers independently or feel anything from the chest down. A decade ago, O’Neill was a Navy airman apprentice when she was knocked from a balcony during Hurricane Floyd, leaving her a quadriplegic. When she discovered she was pregnant last December, she felt fear and joy. She quickly embraced the opportunity to raise a child, feeling she had the money and family support to make up for her paralysis. David Trais, her ex-boyfriend and the 49-year-old father of their now 5-month-old son, disagreed that she was up to the challenge. In September, Trais sued O’Neill for full custody, charging that his former girlfriend is “not a fit and proper person” to care for their son, Aidan James O’Neill. In court documents, Trais said O’Neill’s disability “greatly limits her ability to care for the minor, or even wake up if the minor is distressed.” O’Neill counters that she always has another able-bodied adult on hand for Aidan be it her full-time caretaker, live-in brother or her mother. Even before she gave birth to Aidan, O’Neill said, she never went more than a few hours by herself. The custody case, expected back before Cook County

Judge Patricia Logue next month, raises profound questions about what rights disabled parents have to care for their own children. Ella Callow, the director of legal programs for the National Center for Parents with Disabilities and their Families, said disabled parents are incorrectly “perceived as unable to perform to standard.” “No judge wants to be the judge who sends a child home when the child gets hurt,” said Callow, of the Berkeley, Calif.-based advocacy group. Callow said the bias against disabled parents is such that judges tend to grant custody to an ablebodied partner “even if they have a history that might usually be a heavy mark against them not having been in the child’s life, a history of violence, et cetera.” Trais declined to comment to the Chicago Tribune when reached by phone. His attorney did not return repeated calls for comment. But Howard LeVine, a Tinley Park, Ill., attorney not affiliated with the case, said Trais’ concerns are legitimate and may hold legal weight. “Certainly, I sympathize with the mom, but assuming both parties are equal (in other respects), isn’t the child obviously better off with the father?” LeVine, who has specialized in divorce and custody cases for the last 40 years, pointed out that O’Neill would likely not be able to teach her son

to write, paint or play ball. “What’s the effect on the child feeling sorry for the mother and becoming the parent?” On a recent morning, O’Neill’s caretaker, Sasha Davidiuk, propped Aidan on a pillow in O’Neill’s lap and O’Neill held her son. She has full use of her biceps muscles. When his bottle fell from his mouth, or tipped the wrong way, Davidiuk stepped in to reposition it. The two worked in tandem, with Davidiuk heading up duties that require manual dexterity like changing diapers and O’Neill focused more on emotional engagement. When Aidan burst into tears, for example, O’Neill was the one to sooth him with a soft rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” In addition to Davidiuk, O’Neill’s brother, an ex-Marine, lives in an apartment attached to her home. O’Neill’s mother helps on weekends and the family keeps Pele, a yellow lab service dog, who can open doors, turn on lights and pick up stuffed animals. Her immaculate, one-story home is filled with photos of Aidan. Her son’s room, painted sherbet green and decorated with cheerful zoo animals, has a specially modified changing table and crib that allows for O’Neill’s wheelchair. In an overflowing folder marked

“Mommy vs. Daddy,” O’Neill keeps a copy of legal filings, tax records and proof of her income, including statements that reflect she receives $91,000 a year in veteran’s benefits that pay for her care. She also owns a general contracting company targeting federal government contracts earmarked for businesses owned by disabled veterans. O’Neill said the company, a two-year-old startup, has not yet generated a profit. How the case will play out is impossible to predict, say legal experts, who point out that O’Neill’s disability, in and of itself, cannot be the determining factor. “You cannot categorically discriminate against people because of their disabilities,” said Bruce Boyer, director of the Civitas ChildLaw Clinic at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, referring to one of the central tenets of the Americans with Disabilities Act. “You can consider the ways in which someone’s circumstances might interfere with a person’s ability to have the child’s needs met.” Helene Shapo, a professor at Northwestern University’s School of Law, said such custody fights often come down to a judge determining “the best interests of the child a very nebulous standard that the courts use.” Shapo pointed to a 1979 landmark

case in which the California Supreme Court reversed lower court rulings against a paralyzed father who had been fighting to retain custody of his two children. In its opinion, the court found that the “essence of parenting is not to be found in the harried rounds of daily carpooling” but rather “in the ethical, emotional and intellectual guidance the parent gives the child throughout his formative years.” As is common in child custody battles, the plaintiff did not limit his legal complaint to one concern. Trais, a self-employed Chicago attorney, also charged in legal documents that O’Neill suffers from depression and that she smokes cigarettes and drinks alcohol in front of the infant. O’Neill said she sees a therapist once a week and has been treated for anxiety, depression and sleep apnea. She denied Trais’ claim she smokes or drinks though both are legal practices. “Who is lighting my cigarettes and pouring my drinks?” she quipped. Despite the acrimonious nature of their current relationship, O’Neill said she is committed to keeping Trais in their son’s life. She said she was devastated when she learned Trais had deemed her “unfit” in court papers and said she believes it was motivated by her decision to break up with him shortly after Aidan’s birth. — MCT


Everyday cooking

Page 30

FOOD

Friday, January 1, 2010

By Sawsan Kazak ly made New tional day for implementing new ng weight, t is January first, the interna losi is ion most common resolut you on the Year’s resolutions. Since the er your sleeve will help keep und es dish diet d goo meals will having a few ng owi foll had to taste bad?. The right track. Who said diet food it. ut abo ty feeling guil allow you to indulge without

I

Happy New Year!

Please send suggestions to: sawsank@kuwaittimes.net

Calorie-cutting tactics tarvation and deprivation diets simply don’t work. Instead, the little things are what matter. Here are seven ideas to get you started:

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Eat breakfast A study published in the February 2002 journal Obesity Research found that eating breakfast was a key behavior among people who averaged a 60-pound weight loss and kept it off an average of six years. Participants told researchers that skipping breakfast made them so hungry that they overate during other meals and snacked on unhealthy, high-calorie foods. Measure that cereal The average serving of cereal is 1 cup. Yet most adults pour out at least twice that. Scoop and save Every now and then someone comes up with such a cool kitchen utensil that you just have to rush right out and buy it. That’s the LÍ Scoop. Its function: to scoop out the inside dough from a bagel, leaving you with the outer crust (and, of course, less fat and fewer calories). Fill the inside with nonfat cottage cheese sprinkled with ground flaxseeds for an easy, low-fat, low-calorie breakfast. Buy the smaller size The larger the portion in front of you, the more you’ll eat. It’s a proven fact. When researchers sent 79 parents home with a video and either 1- or 2-pound bags of M&Ms along with either a medium or jumbo size tub of popcorn for each family member, they ate more M&M’s from the 2-pound bag than the 1-pound bag, and about half a tub of popcorn, regardless of the tub size. Skip the soda If you drink non-diet soda, you can cut 160 calories (per 16 ounces) out of your day just by switching to diet soda. Better yet, drink green tea or water flavored with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Start with soup Studies show that people who start a meal with soup—especially broth-based soup—end up eating fewer calories by the end of the day without feeling hungrier.

— www.allrecipes.com


FOOD

Friday, January 1, 2010

Page 31

(79 calories per serving) 1 tbsp Olive Oil 1 Medium Onion 6 Large Carrots 10g Root Ginger 1 Vegetable Stock Cube 1 1/2 Pints Boiling Water 1 tbsp Basil 1 tsp Black Pepper, Freshly Ground 1 tsp Sea Salt

eat oil in a large pan. Add in onion, carrot & ginger. Let cook for 5 minutes to soften the H onion. Mix up vegetable stock using water and stock cube. Add to pan and bring to the boil. Cover saucepan and let simmer for 35 minutes so that your carrots are nice and soft.Pour contents of pan, along with salt & pepper, into food processor and blend, adding more water if needed. Garnish with basil and serve.

Maple BBQ meatballs M a ple B BQ m eatballs

Ginger carrot soup

Low cal peanut butter cookies (70 calories per cookie )

reheat oven to 325ºF.Combine flour and baking soda in small P bowl and set aside. In a separate

1 cup flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 2 egg whites 1/2-1 cup margarine 1/3 cup sugar (or sugar substitute like Splenda) 1/3 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup reduced-fat peanut butter 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup rolled oat Directions

bowl, using a mixer, lightly beat margarine until soft, then add dry ingredients (sugar and brown sugar) and peanut butter. Beat until smooth, scraping edges as necessary. Add in egg whites and vanilla and mix well. Now add the flour mixture and beat slowly. Fold in oats using a spatula. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet. These cookies don’t spread very much so you can put them fairly close together. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges turn golden brown.This recipe yields about 36 medium cookies.

Asian Chicken and Cabbage (194 calories per serving) 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger 4 skinless and boneless chicken breast halves Nonfat cooking spray 1 teaspoon vegetable oil 1/2 cup onion, chopped 2 cups shredded green cabbage 2 cups shredded red cabbage 1 teaspoon sesame oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

(29 calories per ball ) 1 pound extra ground turkey breast 2 egg whites 1 small onion, chopped fine 1/2 cup bread crumbs 1/4 non-fat milk 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano Pinch cayenne pepper 3/4 cup maple or honey bottled barbeque sauce reheat oven to 400. Spray a 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray. Mix turkey, egg whites, milk, P onion, bread crumbs, pepper, cayenne and oregano. Shape mixture into 1” balls. Arrange meatballs in pan, making sure sides do not touch. Bake uncovered 15-20 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink inside. Heat barbeque sauce, stirring occasionally, until hot. Place meatballs on a serving dish. Pour bbq sauce over meatballs or serve on the side.

reheat broiler. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together P hoisin sauce, garlic and ginger. Brush both sides of chicken with hoisin mixture. Spray broiler pan with cooking spray then place chicken on broiler pan and broil for 6 minutes on each side or until done and no longer pink in the middle. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion for 2 minutes then add red and green cabbage and saute for 2 minutes or until cabbage starts to wilt. Place cabbage in a medium bowl and add sesame oil, salt and pepper then toss to coat. Serve chicken with a helping of cabbage on top.


Page 34

TRAVEL

Friday, January 1, 2010

St. Joseph to celebrate 150th anniversary of the Pony Express On April 3, 1860, a young man named Johnny Fry took off from St. Joseph on horseback, the first of a relay of riders on a new mail service to California. A re-enactment of that ride will be part of the events scheduled for April 1-3 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Pony Express.

The Pony Express Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the horseback mail delivery. —Photos by MCT

The Pony Express Museum opened in 1959 on the site of the original stables; it doubled in size and added new exhibits in 1993. The museum features a diorama of the mounted Fry eager for the stable door to open so he can begin his ride into history. The original enterprise, Central Overland and California Pikes Peak Express Co, carried letters and telegrams for 18 months, with the pony riders covering 1,966 miles in 10 to 14 days. The route ran from St. Joseph through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada to Sacramento, Calif. That story is told in artifacts and exhibits throughout the museum. St. Joseph was chosen because it was the western end of telegraph and rail service coming from the east and had good roads heading west. Up to 100 riders were hired, including William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Their wages were $100 a month. They ranged in age from 11 to mid-40s, and each had to weigh less than 125 pounds. Horses were changed every 10 to 15 miles at relay stations, and new riders mounted every 75 to 100 miles at home stations. The riders began at both ends. When Fry was leaving St. Joseph, Bill Hamilton was heading out of Sacramento. The delivery service was set up because folks on the West Coast were eager for news from back East, where a new president was about to be elected and the country was edging toward civil war. The quickest run took seven days and 17 hours, carrying President Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address. If you think a stamp is expensive today, consider postal rates during the Pony Express. The initial cost was $5 per half ounce of mail. It later was lowered to $1 per half ounce. The service ended in October of 1861, when St. Joseph was joined by telegraph line to Sacramento, and news could travel in a matter of minutes. Almost 35,000 letters were carried while the Pony Express was in operation. Not until the completion of the railroad in 1868 would letter mail again reach California as quickly. The sesquicentennial celebration will include a Buffalo Bill look-alike contest, chuck-wagon dinner and cowboy poets competition on April 1, a train robbery and other re-enactments on April 2 and hourly Pony Express rides, a parade, re-enactments and a Michael Martin Murphy concert on April 3. —MCT

Grill packs quality, variety

Name: Cadac Safari Chef Grill What it is: About the size of a footstool, this portable gas grill folds up into a carrying case weighing less than 9 pounds when loaded. How it works: Unpack the six pieces from the carrying case, deploy the spring-loaded legs on the base stove unit and screw on the 1-pound propane cylinder (bought separately). Assemble the setup you want, whether you wish to barbecue chicken, grill steaks, stir-fry vegetables, fry burgers or eggs even boil or roast. The appropriate parts simply fit on top of each other. The good: The workmanship and the quality of the metals lets you know you didn’t waste your money. And this little stove is incredibly versatile for its size. It’s too big for a backpacker unless you are carrying it only a mile or two, but any other camper should tuck this into the trunk. You can have gourmet meals under the stars. And it’s a natural for tailgating. What’s more, you don’t need pots and pans; this provides the vessels you need. The nonstick reversible griddle cleans up easily, and the stove is smartly designed to catch grease. The bad: If you don’t have a place to wash the part upon which you cooked, whether the griddle or the grill, you will need to wrap that in newspaper to keep from sliming the carrying case and the rest of the pieces. Cost: $99 plus shipping Available from: cadacnorthamerica.com


TRAVEL

Friday, January 1, 2010

Page 35

Foreign correspondence:

History keeps on ticking in Czech town What’s it like to live in a far-off place most of us see only on a vacation? Foreign Correspondence is an interview with someone who lives in a spot you may want to visit. vo Opletal, 26, is a journalist with Nase Adresa (www.naseadresa.cz)”Our Address” an online weekly newspaper in his hometown of Olomouc, Czech Republic.

wall of the town hall. Worked around it and also into the wall are mosaics. The whole thing is about 14 meters (45.9 feet) tall. There has been repair work on the clock this fall; the moving figurines had to be repainted.

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Q. The stories on your site are in the Czech language, and it seems like every other word contains letters topped by accent marks. Why is this and what does your typing keyboard look like? A. Czech is a Slavic language that uses a Western alphabet; the marks on the letters help you say the word. If you take an “S” and put a hook on top of it, it makes you say “esh” a softer sound. Put an accent mark on the letter “D” and it becomes “duh.” We have a different keyboard layout than you do, to add those accent marks. On our keyboard, they are up by the numbers.

Q. This is one of those clocks where mechanical people come out on the hour? A. Yes. There are 16 figures in all. They’re not life-size each is 80 cm (2.6 feet) tall and some of the figures hit bells when they come out. The clock keeps quite good time. On the hour, the figures come out of the clock’s doors; there are four doors and each is about 6 meters (19.6 feet) from the ground. Because the doors and figures are pretty close to the bottom, the area directly in front of the clock has a small fence to keep kids from goofing around with the thing.

Q. Where is Olomouc, and what’s it like? A. It’s in the middle of Moravia, and is one of its larger cities 100,000 people. Olomouc sits on the Morava River, in the lowlands. It is also very historic, like almost every city in Europe. Olomouc is a center for business, but there are lots of castles and old churches everywhere.

Q. How big is the crew that makes sure everything keeps ticking properly? A. Actually, only one person takes care of the mechanism, and that job goes from generation to generation. Q. Is this a really old timepiece? A. Not really. The original clock was damaged during the Second World War; the one you see was built in 1955 and looks completely different. It was done in what was called the Socialistic Realism style during the communist era. Back then, everything had that style. In Olomouc there were a lot of debates recently about changing the clock back to its original look. But they finally said no to that because the communist times were a part of our history. They decided to leave the clock as it is.

Q. Moravia, where you live, is one of three historic states that form the republic; the others are Bohemia and Silesia. What’s the difference among them? A. That’s hard to say. They use the same language, but there are different dialects. But people in both try to speak proper Czech, as taught in all the schools. Q. Do many tourists go to Olomouc? A. Sure. Olomouc is just like any historic city. They are mostly Europeans, especially German and English. We also get some from South Korea and Japan. There are no mountains or anything like that around here, so they just go downtown to Olomouc’s historic center. That and the clock there are probably the main attraction for them. The clock is very huge and famous. It is an astronomical clock. There is also a famous astronomical clock in Prague that tourists like to visit. On ours, one big dial shows the time; the dial above it shows where the planets and stars are located in the sky at that time. The Olomoucky Orloj “The Olomouc Clock” is 8 square meters (86.1 square feet) when you figure in its engine and all that stuff. It’s on the outside

Q. So there are little commissars coming out of the clock instead of, maybe, monks? A. No commissars, either. Just figures showing regular people: a musician, an athlete, a clerk and so on. The figures are made of wood, and real people posed for them as the figures were carved.

The Olomoucky Orloj - “The Olomouc Clock” - has 16 miniature figures on the move that help tell time. — MCT

Q. Are the models still around? Do you know any of them? A. Who the models are is something of a secret people don’t like to talk about having anything to do with the old regime. Even if it was just standing there as a model for a clock figure. I did find out, though, who the model was for the discus thrower. It’s Olbram Zoubek, a very famous Czech sculptor.—MCT


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Q&A with Margaret Atwood In her 2003 novel Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood describes a future after humanity had been almost entirely wiped out by a plague. Jimmy, aka Snowman, lives in a wasteland populated by genetically engineered animals gone wild and the Crakers, a race created to be biologically superior to humans but childlike in their simplicity and grace. Snowman’s previous life was one of privilege, lived inside the compounds run by the genetics companies and security firms, and he ruminates on his memories and the reasons for humanity’s demise. The New Yorker marveled, “Towering and intrepid....Atwood does Orwell Q:

How did you decide to go back to the world of Oryx and Crake for The Year of the Flood? A: Here are a couple of answers to that. Number one, everybody was asking me what happened right after the end of Oryx and Crake. Since I didn’t know, I had to write another book in order to find out. Number two, a lot of people, having asked me for years, “How come you write so much from the point of view of women?” since I wrote it from the point of view of a man, now asked, “Why did you write it from the point of view of a man?” [Laughter] So you can’t win that one. I thought, All right, what would it be like, if it were from the point of view of women? Also, what would it be like if we went into the world that is something Jimmy only sees out a train window? In other words, the unprotected urban space, unlike his protected urban space. What would that be like? And also, what would the God’s Gardeners, who appear in the margins of Oryx and Crake, look like up close? What would that religion actually be like? All of those things were pretty interesting to me, and there were a couple of characters I was interested in as well, notably Amanda, who was in Oryx and Crake. Q: I ran across an older poem of yours, “Elegy for the Giant Tortoises,” which begins: “Let others pray for the passenger pigeon, the dodo,/ the whooping crane, the eskimo,/ everyone must specialize,” and I thought, in the new book, you’re doing the opposite. You’re praying for all the extinct animals. A: As many of them as I could cram in. It’s quite a list. Q: Do you see that poem as a precursor at all to the new book? A: It’s all part of the same group of interests

one better.” The Year of the Flood opens with two more survivors, Toby and Ren - one defending her position at a defunct health spa, the other trapped in a bio-isolation room at a brothel. Both have previously been members of God’s Gardeners, an ecoreligious sect dedicated to living sustainably in an increasingly degraded and stratified society, and the novel charts their experiences leading up to the catastrophe. The Year of the Flood masterfully depicts a very different side of the dystopia. Darkly funny, incredibly believable, and surprisingly hopeful, Atwood’s new novel is one of her very best. that have been with me for a long time. Tracing it back, I did grow up amongst the biologists. They were what we would now call early environmentalists; they were early Sierra club, for instance. This kind of interest has been around for a very long time except that it was seen as rather minor - although Teddy Roosevelt, for instance, was a big supporter. It has waxed and waned, during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I would say environmentalism had some earlier moments where people were preserving parks in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It had probably a low moment in the eighties and nineties of the past century. It had an up moment in the seventies, and it’s having an up moment now. But the thinking itself has been around for quite awhile. The people doing the counting and the numbers have been around for quite a while too, and it’s true that in 1972, the Club of Rome said, “If we don’t change our behavior, in 40 years we’re going to be in the following mess.” We didn’t change our behavior, and that is the following mess that we are now in. So it’s not as if people weren’t warned and were not told. There was no political will to change anything. Q: Adapting and creating the theology for the Gardeners must have been fun, I would think. A: It was fun, but you know, it’s also a trend. There is already with us today a Green Bible. It’s got tasteful linen covers, ecologically correct paper, an introduction by Archbishop Tutu, and the green parts are in green. I think that certain wings of Christianity are returning to their roots, and those roots were more biophilic than they became in the seventeenth century, when a mechanistic view was taken of

animal life. Strangely enough, it was Charles Darwin who bucked that trend, in his work on animal emotions. The mechanistic view had it that animals were just automatons. They didn’t really have emotional lives; they just had knee-jerk reactions and they were like machines. He denied that. He said they have emotions that are very similar to our emotions. By animals, he didn’t mean clams. He meant mammals. Q: I like Adam One’s soft spot for sharks. A: [Laughter] You have to include them. They are alpha predators, and removing them does have a horrible effect on the fish life in the oceans. Q: That made the sermons feel very genuine, in some ways. A: It is an answer to William Blake’s question. “Did he who make the lamb make thee?” That answer would be yes. Q: What was your model for the hymns? A: The model for the hymns were in the Anglican United Church hymnbook. The hymn tradition is pretty interesting, because hymns are not poems, as such. They’re not primarily meant to appeal to the aesthetic sense. They’re meant to be communally sung on specific occasions for celebration or confirmation of belief. Therefore, if you read through the entire hymnbook, you’ll find a lot of infelicitous verses - lines that in a poem, you would probably think, “That’s a really bad line.” I wanted my hymns to have some of those. I wanted them to be like real hymns. And I wanted them to have a hymn structure, and a hymn structure is not blank verse. They rhyme and scan so that people can sing them communally. That’s why they rhyme and scan. I wanted them to be well within that

tradition, which I feel they are. The other thing about hymns is that if you’re not part of that belief system, they usually seem pretty strange. Q: How did you develop the belief system for the God’s Gardeners? A: The model for literary criticism is biblical exegesis, in which you take a passage and you essentially deconstruct it. That’s been going on for thousands of years. It’s in commentary on the Torah, as we know. One line of text, five pages of commentary. [Laughter] So people have been interpreting and reinterpreting not only that set of writings but, the Hindu texts, the sayings of Buddha, etc. All of these things are reinterpreted by each different spin-off group and in each generation. The Gardeners are doing the same. (Why do I know so much about this? You can’t go through English literature from start to finish as we did once upon a time without having to know it.) Looking at the specific parts of the text that the Gardeners pick out, there are other interpretations possible, i.e., not the standard ones. If, instead of looking at it from the point of view of man, you look at it from the point of view of the animals, it all looks quite different. For instance, after the Noah’s flood episode, God has just said, Man is evil from his youth. In other words, there’s nothing you can do about that. And God makes a covenant with all flesh, so not just people. You can’t make a covenant with an inert object. A covenant has to be made with a living, sentient being who can understand that a covenant is being made. Therefore the animals must have been like that. The covenant went on, but one point could be: look out for man. If you’re looking at it from the point of view of man, you think, “Okay,


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Friday, January 1, 2010 I’ve just been handed a cart blanche, I can do whatever I like.” If you look at it from the point of view of the animals, it says, “This is someone who is evil from his youth and powerful, so run away very fast. Get out of the way. Now.” [Laughter] Q: How realistic is the science behind this book? I heard an interview with you after Oryx and Crake where you said that most of this is already possible, and I was wondering how far it had come since then. A: Pretty realistic. It’s either possible or they’re working on it. I think they’ve made a breakthrough now, which they hadn’t when I wrote Oryx and Crake, called the knock-out gene breakthrough, which will allow them to grow a kidney just for you in a pig. And if they can grow a kidney just for you in a pig, why wouldn’t they grow some hair for you on a sheep? There are many possibilities. We have opened the biggest toy box in the world. We are already mixing and matching. After the glowing green rabbit, which we already had when I wrote Oryx and Crake, we made some glowing green fish (and red, and blue) that light up in the dark. We also made, I believe, a glowing monkey. I’m not sure those things would do really well in the wild, if there were a lot of nocturnal predators. Q: As I was reading both books, I was thinking of a recent Harper’s article about how math and science are the only things that will be left in schools, if things continue the way they’re going, and the arts continue to be devalued and cut from curriculums. Do you think that’s the way we’re headed? A: What schools do is one thing. What human beings do is another. If you look at Dennis Dutton’s book called The Art Instinct, he speculates that art is an evolved adaptation that gave us an edge in the 80,000 generations we’ve spent in the Pleistocene. You might be able to eliminate art from schools, but you’re not going to eliminate it from people. What will happen then, of course, is that if you can’t get it in schools, other institutions or groups or affiliations or places will spring up where you do get it, because people will do it anyway. That does seem to be part of the basic set that we come with. There are some people who are, for instance, tone-deaf and don’t understand it, but narrative would have been a real asset and still is a real asset. It gives you a survival edge. It certainly would have given you a survival edge when the things at issue were, “Where did we find the giraffe last year? How did we capture it? Why did George get eaten by a crocodile at that particular place in the river? Maybe we shouldn’t go wading there.” [Laughter] Instruction and warning - the ability to do those things would have really been a help when times were tough and you needed to pass that information along. Q: The Crakers have that instinct, too; they want someone to tell them stories. A: Yes. That seems to have not been eliminated from them. So then the question is not whether we have art; it’s what kind of art we have. Q: In Oryx and Crake, Snowman remembers and catalogs forgotten words, while in the new book, the God’s Gardeners remember and honor the extinct animals. It seems like in both books there’s a grieving process for a vanishing world. A: Oh, I would think so. I think that goes on a lot anyway when the rate of change is rapid. If there isn’t any rate of change at all, it might be the opposite, i. e., “I’m bored, why doesn’t anything ever change?” But certainly, when things change out of all recognition, that’s going

to be the reaction of a lot of people. Q: It was underscored for me in part by the image of the pigs’ possible funeral. A: Yes, the pigs’ possible funeral. The elephants actually do that, so I wonder, since the pigs have had human cortex tissue implanted into them, when they would develop funerals. It’s not pig behavior at the moment. They would be more likely to eat their fallen comrade. But maybe these pigs are different. Q: Something that comes up in The Year of the Flood and in Oryx and Crake, too, is how beautiful the world can seem when you think you’re about to die, when adrenaline kicks in. A: A lot of people seem to have had that experience. Q: Toby wonders why it’s built in, how is this useful to humans, and I did, too. A: I don’t know the answer to that question. I think if you really want to take it a little bit further, it would be, “Okay. You’re in a lot of danger, person with body. Maybe you’d better make an extra effort, because look what you’re about to lose.” I don’t know whether that makes sense or not; I don’t know why that happens. But it does seem to happen. Q: In a way, it seems like a question the book as a whole addresses, because that’s why the God’s Gardeners exist, why they have come into being. They’re celebrating the beauty of this world right before it ends. A: They certainly are. If it’s not worth anything, why save it? You could look at it that way. Unless you recognize that about it, why put in the effort? Q: At one point, Toby’s thinking about the word “daybreak,” and wondering what exactly is being broken. That kind of analysis of language that we often take for granted shows up frequently in your novels. What do you think we find when we unpack language that way? A: We usually find what we find when we unpack anything, which is something at the bottom of the suitcase. It could be a little treasure, or it could be an old piece of fluff. [Laughter] I love that word, “unpack,” too. You know, it’s very connected to Lewis Carroll. Portmanteau words, portmanteau being a trunk. Portmanteau words for him were a couple of words stuck together, blended, and then you could unpack them into their elements. Q: Who are some contemporary poets that you admire? A: Oh dearie me. [Laughter] It’s one of those questions I never answer because if you name some names, then the others get very hurt. Q: Well, then, who are some noncontemporary poets you admire, or who were influences? Poets whose feelings can’t be hurt. A: My choices are very banal. I am a person who went through a course in the early sixties called Honors English. In Honors English, you started with the AngloSaxons and you went all the way through it right up until about 1950. Name anyone, and I’ve read them. In English literature, that is. In American literature, although I did it in graduate school, I might have missed some. But I’m probably the only person you’ve ever talked to who has read Longfellow’s three verse dramas on the subject of the United States. Q:

I think that’s very possible; at least, no one else has ever brought it up. [Laughter] A: They’re pretty interesting, because it was him trying to figure out, “What is this

Page 37 country? What are the heroic stories about it? How do we formulate this?” He wrote one about the Salem witchcraft trials that was pretty interesting. The Crucible comes out of that same body of history, as does some of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work. It was something that interested Hawthorne earlier, and then Longfellow, and finally Arthur Miller. If you’re looking at the intellectual history of a country, it’s very useful to know how people were trying to tackle those sorts of problems. Then Longfellow’s got one about the Quakers. The Quakers were a problem for him, which means that the verse drama isn’t very good, because he didn’t know how to end it. The Quakers were persecuted by the Puritans. In fact, some of them were even hanged, because they were in their more radical phase then, and they were being quite disruptive - taking off their clothes in church, and accusing people of being corrupt, and other stuff that isn’t often appreciated. They were hanging them, and that didn’t stop until Cromwell was dead and the Restoration had happened, and the English sent a governor from England to New England. They lost some autonomy, but it was the arrival of that new governor who put a stop to Quaker hanging. So how do we feel about that? Longfellow didn’t quite know how to feel about it. We’ll hang our own Quakers! Bug off. Leave us alone. [Laughter] In fact, it is the kind of thing that has troubled the imagination and indeed politics ever since. Do you go into a rather autonomous place that you think is doing unjust things and impose your own rules about what is just? It’s a timely subject. It’s interesting to know that somebody in the nineteenth century - in fact, the best known American poet of his generation - was actually writing about it.

Q: Now I think I’m going to have to go back and read those dramas. A: No, you don’t. You really don’t. Trust me on this one. [Laughter] I mean, you can if you want to. But if you’re going to read any of them, read the one about the Salem witch trials, which I think is probably called Giles Corey. It’s very interesting, because the hero of it is a real person. The witchcraft trials allowed spectral evidence. Spectral evidence was that if you were asleep in your bed, and 20 miles away, somebody saw you in their barnyard, that proved you were a witch, because you had the ability to throw your specter and send it out to do your dirty business while you were pretending to be innocent. So they were allowing spectral evidence at the trials, and until they disallowed it, nobody was safe. As soon as you were accused, you were condemned. However, you had to plead. By that I mean you had to plead guilty or not guilty. If you refused to plead, they couldn’t try you. If they did try you and you were condemned, which it was pretty clear you were going to be, they got your property. Giles Corey, knowing all of this, refused to plead when he was accused. He refused to say guilty or not guilty. The law said that you could then be pressed until you pled. “Pressed” meant they put a lot of stones on top of you and squashed you to death. Q: I’m remembering this now from The Crucible. A: Yes. So what Giles Corey did was allowed himself to be pressed to death, thus saving his farm and belongings for his family. Q: Was he the only one who refused to plead? A: He was the only one who did that. And he is said to have said nothing but, “Put on more stones.”

Q: That’s a haunting image. A: It is quite haunting. I connect it in an essay I wrote about Dashiell Hammett with Hammett’s similar refusal to speak to defend himself at his trial. Of course, he knew Longfellow; everybody of that generation did. It was he who suggested to Lillian Hellman the title for her play, The Children’s Hour. It’s a Longfellow poem. Q: I honestly didn’t know that Longfellow was that influential. A: In his day, very. He was very, very well known. Anybody of Dashiell Hammett’s age would have got him in school and in the library. You can look up my piece on Dashiell Hammett, if you’re at all interested; it was published in the New York Review of Books. I think it appears in my book called Writing with Intent, a collection of essays and the like. Q: What are you reading these days? A: Shall I tell you the truth? [Laughter] Yes, I’ll tell you a couple of different things that I’m reading. I just finished Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, which I really liked a lot. It’s about the life and times of Thomas Cromwell, not usually a very popular figure in history books, who was right-hand man to Henry VIII for awhile. Of course, anything about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, etc., is really pretty interesting, but nobody has done it from the point of view of Thomas before. I won’t say Thomas comes out of it really well, but he comes out of it in a much more human way than he has before. Thomas Moore, on the other hand, who is usually considered quite saintly, is not portrayed as saintly in this book. Q: I love Hilary Mantel, but I haven’t read that one yet. A: It’s her new one. She really goes to town on it. I expect that there’s going to be a number two, because we only get up to the point where Anne Boleyn has had her head chopped off and he’s on his way to arrange things with Jane Seymour. Q: And what was the other book you were going to mention? A: This is a confession. I’m reading a book called What Would Google Do? [Laughter] It’s pretty interesting. It’s really about upcoming configurations in society and business and how the internet has changed people’s behavior and expectations. Q: Do you enjoy tweeting, shrinking things down to 140 characters? A: It’s a discipline. The real form of the tweet goes back to the telegraph. With the telegraph, you had to condense language because you paid by the letter or the word, I forget which. So it too used those condensed forms of language, although it could not be shared with all of those people at once. But as a thing that you write... I’d say twittering isn’t exactly writing, it’s more like signaling. It’s more like semaphore. You could say, “Well, we could write haiku on it,” which we could. But I don’t notice us doing that very much. Q: Is there anything you wanted to get across about The Year of the Flood that hasn’t come up? A: Don’t tell the end. [Laughter] I don’t know; what can you say about your own book? It always comes through as kind of fatuous self-advertisement. Here’s a good thing to say about it: It’s a book. Let’s keep it that way. As of today, it’s a book. Keep this world inside the covers. Do not let it out. — Powell Books


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What the future holds for billionth African? By David Smith he baby’s name and nationality are not known. The child will grow up innocent of having a place in history. But somewhere, this year, that child became the billionth person in Africa, the continent with the fastest growing population in the world. Climbing from 110 million in 1850, Africa’s headcount reached this threshold in 2009, according to the United Nations, although patchy census data in many countries means that no one can say where or when. By 2050, the population is projected to almost double, to 1.9 billion. Pessimists predict a human tide that will put an unbearable burden on food, jobs, schools, housing and healthcare. Yet optimists sense an opportunity to follow billion-strong China and India in pursuing economic growth. “It’s not a problem,” said Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born British entrepreneur. “Africa is underpopulated. We have 20 percent of the world’s landmass and 13 percent of its population. We have a bulge of young people and that brings to the marketplace a huge workforce, whereas Europe’s population is ageing. We need to focus on education and training.” Africans born today are likely to live not in a village but in a “mega-city” since the continent’s rate of urbanisation is the fastest the world has yet seen. Deaths from smoking or car crashes will be a factor as much as the more familiar health issues of malnutrition, malaria and Aids. These citizens will also be vulnerable to droughts, floods and desertification caused by climate change. But the children of 2009 will also have opportunities undreamed of by their ancestors. They will almost certainly own a mobile phone, or perhaps two, and eventually get regular Internet access. They may be better off - Africa has the fastest economic growth this year outside China and India. They will have tentative grounds to hope for better governance and fewer wars.

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Survival If, that is, they can stay alive beyond infancy. Richmond Tiemoko, population and development adviser for the Africa regional office of the UN population fund (UNFPA), said: “The first challenge for the baby ... is to survive because, although it’s declining, child mortality is still high. For the young people coming, the challenge is to get a good education so they are fully incorporated in modern society. That depends on government investment in them and their mother, and also in health services to ensure they survive and are healthy.” Africa’s population has doubled in the past 27 years, with Nigeria’s and Uganda’s numbers climbing the fastest. Whereas in 1950 there were two Europeans for every African, by

Population growth could bring unbearable strains - or a new economic dynamism

2050 there will be two Africans for every European. Even China’s projected population of 1.4 billion in 40 years will be shrinking, while India will be adding only 3 million a year to its 1.6 billion people. Women in Africa still bear more children than in other regions. The US-based Population Reference Bureau reported this year that, while the average woman worldwide has 2.6 children, in subSaharan Africa the figure is 5.3. The world’s highest fertility rate is in Niger, where women have on average 7.4 children. Africa’s population continues to rise because of low life expectancy, Tiemoko explained. “Traditionally in all societies, when mortality is high, fertility tends to be high. When people

are dying the population tries to offset that by having more children to make sure the survival rate is acceptable. Mortality has largely declined on the continent but is still high.” Whereas globally 62 percent of married women of childbearing age use contraception, in Africa the figure is 28 percent. Tiemoko added: “Women’s access to reproductive health services is still limited because of underdevelopment, poverty and sometimes limited education or resources. There’s still a demographic momentum ... population will continue to grow for some time, that’s why investment in young people, women, vulnerable populations, is crucial.” Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s most youthful population “and is

projected to stay that way for decades”, the bureau said. In 2050 the continent is expected to have 349 million people aged 15-24, or 29 percent of the world’s total, compared with 9 percent in 1950. This could pay off as a “demographic dividend” of people of working age. But access to quality healthcare and education remains the biggest challenge, according to Alex Vines, head of the Africa program at the London-based think-tank Chatham House. “These services remain poor for the majority of Africans and these are one for the greatest impediments for African growth.” Urbanisation A momentous shift from the

countryside is starting, leading to the rapacious expansion of cities such as Lagos and Cairo. But with it comes urban poverty in slums such as those of Kibera in Kenya, and the Cape Flats in South Africa. Vines added: “Africa will become increasingly urbanised, with global mega-cities. This will raise significant logistical and governance and supply challenges, including for international development practitioners such as DfID that has tended to focus its expertise on rural poverty reduction.” Urbanisation has other unwanted consequences. The continent has the most lethal roads in the world: it is predicted that by 2020 more people will die in traffic accidents than from HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Heart attacks, strokes, cancers, diabetes, asthma and other chronic diseases caused by smoking tobacco are expected to account for 46 percent of deaths in Africa by 2030, up from 25 percent in 2004. Africa is also already experiencing climate change. By 2020, up to 250 million people on the continent could be exposed to water stress, the UN says, with agricultural yields halved in some countries. The International Food Policy Research Institute predicts that an additional 15 million children will be malnourished. Diseases such as malaria are expected to spread. Population growth could pile more pressure on scarce resources and hinder development. A report by the UNFPA says: “Twenty years of almost 3% annual population growth has outpaced economic gains, leaving Africans, on average, 22% poorer than they were in the mid-1970s.” Analysts say the continent must consolidate its patchwork of small countries and 30 overlapping trade blocs into a single huge market. Today, intra-regional trade accounts for just 9 percent of Africa’s total commerce, compared with nearly 50 percent for emerging Asia. Ibrahim, head of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said: “In Africa we have 53 mini-states with bad communication, bad roads, bad markets. That’s the road to disaster ... that’s why I put the economic integration of Africa top of the agenda.” There are signs of promise. Africans are buying mobile phones at a world record rate, with takeup soaring by 550 percent in five years. The internet has empowered civil society to hold governments accountable as never before. Renewable energy technologies, including wind and solar power, rainwater tanks and biofuel cookers, promise to transform lives in rural areas. “I’m optimistic,” Ibrahim said. “We have seen the rise of civil society in Africa and it’s no longer feasible to have bad governance all over the place. I envy the billionth baby. I’m sure he or she will live through a much better Africa than the one we’ve known.” — Guardian


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Iran incursion in context By George Friedman small number of Iranian troops entered Iraq, where they took control of an oil well and raised the Iranian flag Dec 18. The IranianIraqi border in this region is poorly defined and is contested, with the Iranians claiming this well is in Iranian territory not returned after the Iran-Iraq War. Such incidents have occurred in the past. Given that there were no casualties this time, it therefore would be easy to dismiss this incident, even though at about the same time an Iranian official claimed that Iraq owes Iran about $1 trillion in reparations for starting the Iran-Iraq War. But what would be fairly trivial at another time and place is not trivial now. Sending a Message With an Incursion Multiple sources have reported that Tehran ordered the incident. The Iranian government is aware that Washington has said the end of 2009 was to be the deadline for taking action against Iran over its nuclear program - and that according to a White House source, the United States could extend that deadline to Jan 15, 2010. That postponement makes an important point. The United States has treated the Iran crisis as something that will be handled on an American timeline. The way that the Obama administration handled the Afghanistan strategy review suggests it assumes that Washington controls the tempo of events sufficiently that it can make decisions carefully, deliberately and with due reflection. If true, that would mean that adversaries like Iran are purely on the defensive, and either have no counter to American moves or cannot counter the United States until after Washington makes its next move. For Iran, just to accept that premise puts it at an obvious disadvantage. First, Tehran would have to demonstrate that the tempo of events is not simply in American or Israeli hands. Second, Tehran would have to remind the United States and Israel that Iran has options that it might use regardless of whether the United States chooses sanctions or war. Most important, Iran must show that whatever these options are, they can occur before the United States acts — that Iran has axes of its own, and may not wait for the US axe to fall. The incursion was shaped to make this point without forcing the United States into precipitous action. The location was politically ambiguous. The force was small. Casualties were avoided. At the same time, it was an action that snapped a lot of people to attention. Oil prices climbed. Baghdad and Washington scrambled to try to figure what was going on, and for a while Washington was clearly at a loss, driving home the fact that the United States doesnít always respond quickly and efficiently to surprises initiated by the other side. The event eventually died down, and the Iranians went out of their way to minimize its importance. But two points nevertheless were made. The first was that Iran might not wait for Washington to consider all

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Iraqi commandos survey the area at Well 4 in the Fakka Field, which has an estimated reserves of 1.55 million barrels and is part of a cluster of oilfields in Maysan province, several hundred meters from the southeastern Iraqi-Iranian border, on Dec 25, 2009. — AFP possible scenarios. The second was that the Iranians know how to raise oil prices. And with that lesson, they reminded the Americans that the Iranians have a degree of control over the economic recovery in the United States. There has never been any doubt that Iran has options in the event that the United States chooses to strike. Significantly, the Iranians now have driven home that they might initiate a conflict if they assume conflict is inevitable. US and Iranian Options Iran’s problem becomes clear when we consider Tehran’s options. These options fall into three groups: 1. Interdicting the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf through the use of mines and anti-ship missiles. This would result in a dramatic increase in

be a formidable threat should Iran choose — and Hezbollah agree ñ to play this role. When we look at the three Iranian options, it is clear that the United States would not be able to confine any action against Iran to airstrikes. The United States is extremely good at air campaigns, while it is weak at counterinsurgency. It has massive resources in the region to throw into an air campaign and it can bring more in using carrier strike groups. But even before hitting Iranís nuclear facilities, the Americans would have to consider the potential Iranian responses. Washington would have to take three steps. First, Iranian anti-ship missiles and surface vessels — and these vessels could be very small but still able to carry out mine warfare — on the Iranian

waiting for Washington to initiate the conflict. At the same time, the very complexity of an Iranian attack makes the United States want to think long and hard before attacking Iran. The opportunities for failure are substantial, no matter how well the attack is planned. And the United States canít allow Israel to start a conflict with Iran alone because Israel lacks the resources to deal with a subsequent Iranian naval interdiction and disruptions in Iraq. It follows that the United States is interested in a nonmilitary solution to the problem. The ideal solution would be sanctions on gasoline. The United States wants to take as much time as needed to get China and Russia committed to such sanctions. Iranian Pre-emption

There are some parallels here to the nuclear warfare theory, in which each side faces mutual assured destruction. The problem here is that each side does not face destruction, but pain. world oil prices on the Iranian attempt alone and could keep them high if Tehran’s efforts succeeded. The impact on the global economy would be substantial. 2. Causing massive destabilization in Iraq. The Iranians retain allies and agents in Iraq, which has been experiencing increased violence and destabilization over the past months. As the violence increases and the Americans leave, a close relationship with Iran might be increasingly attractive to Iraqi troops. Given the deployment of American troops, direct attacks in Iraq by Iranian forces are not out of the question. Even if ultimately repulsed, such Iranian incursions could further destabilize Iraq. This would force the Obama administration to reconsider the US withdrawal timetable, potentially affecting Afghanistan. 3. Use Hezbollah to initiate a conflict with Israel, and as a global tool for terrorist attacks on American and allied targets. Hezbollah is far more sophisticated and effective than Al Qaeda was at its height, and would

littoral would have to be destroyed. Second, large formations of Iranian troops along the Iraqi border would have to be attacked, and Iranian assets in Iraq at the very least disrupted. Finally, covert actions against Hezbollah assets — particularly assets outside Lebanon — would have to be neutralized to the extent possible. This would require massive, coordinated attacks, primarily using airpower and covert forces in a very tight sequence prior to any attack on Iranís nuclear facilities. Without this, Iran would be in a position to launch the attacks outlined above in response to strikes on its nuclear facilities. Given the nature of the Iranian responses, particularly the mining of the Arabian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, the operations could be carried out quickly and with potentially devastating results to the global economy. From the Iranian standpoint, Tehran faces a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ scenario. It cannot wait until the United States initiates hostilities. The worst-case scenario for Iran is

The Iranians signaled last week that they might not choose to be passive if effective sanctions were put in place. Sanctions on gasoline would in fact cripple Iran, so like Japan prior to Pearl Harbor, the option of capitulating to sanctions might be viewed as more risky than a pre-emptive strike. And if sanctions didnít work, the Iranians would have to assume a military attack is coming next. Since the Iranians wouldnít know when it would happen, and their retaliatory options might disappear in the first phase of the military operation, they would need to act before such an attack. The problem is that the Iranians wonít know precisely when that attack will take place. The United States and Israel have long discussed a redline in Iranian nuclear development, which if approached would force an attack on Iran to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Logically, Iran would seem to have a redline as well, equally poorly designed. At the point when it becomes clear that sanctions are threatening regime survival or

that military action is inevitable, Iran must act first, using its military assets before it loses them. Iran cannot live with either effective sanctions or the type of campaign that the United States would have to launch to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities. The United States can’t live with the consequences of Iranian counteractions to an attack. Even if sanctions were possible, they would leave Iran with the option to do precisely those things Washington cannot tolerate. Therefore, whether the diplomatic or military route is followed, each side has two options. First, the Americans can accept Iran as a nuclear power, or Iran can accept that it must give up its nuclear ambitions. Second, assuming that neither side accepts the first option, each side must take military action before the other side does. The Americans must neutralize counters before the Iranians deploy them. The Iranians must deploy their counters before they are destroyed. The United States and Iran are both playing for time. Neither side wants to change its position on the nuclear question, although each hopes the other will give in. Moreover, neither side is really confident in its military options. The Americans are not certain that they can both destroy the nuclear facilities and Iranian counters — and if the counters are effective, their consequences could be devastating. The Iranians are not certain that their counters will work effectively, and once failure is established, the Iranians will be wide open for devastating attack. Each side assumes the other understands the risks and will accept the otherís terms for a settlement. And so each waits, hoping the other side will back down. The events of the past fortnight were designed to show the Americans that Iran is not prepared to back down. More important, they were designed to show that the Iranians also have a redline, that it is as fuzzy as the American redline and that the Americans should be very careful in how far they press, as they might suddenly wake up one morning with their hands full. The Iranian move is deliberately designed to rattle US President Barack Obama. He has shown a decision-making style that assumes that he is not under time pressure to make decisions. It is not clear to anyone what his decision-making style in a crisis will look like. Though not a prime consideration from the Iranian point of view, putting Obama in a position where he is psychologically unprepared for decisions in the timeframe they need to be made in is certainly an added benefit. Iran, of course, doesnít know how effectively he might respond, but his approach to Afghanistan gives them another incentive to act sooner than later. There are some parallels here to the nuclear warfare theory, in which each side faces mutual assured destruction. The problem here is that each side does not face destruction, but pain. And here, preemptive strikes are not guaranteed to produce anything. It is the vast unknowns that make this affair so dangerous, and at any moment, one side or the other might decide they can wait no longer. — Stratfor


SPOTLIGHT

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Friday, January 1, 2010

In this September 3, 2002 file photograph, Charlie Rigolosi, 83, delights in finding rare records for customers at his store in Garfield, New Jersey. —MCT

Vinyl is back With vinyl gaining more favor, young customers are trickling in to record store ooking for that hard-to-find song made before a performer became big? Chances are it’s among the hundreds of thousands of vinyl records swelling the shelves, stacks and boxes in Charlie Rigolosi’s store. The 83-year-old music collector has run Platter World since 1975, selling used records that are usually out of print, such as an original, 7inch acetate recording from the 1960s of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar work on “As the Clouds Drift By,” a song performed by film star Jayne Mansfield at a Manhattan recording studio. “There’s always someone looking for a special song, and chances are I got it for them,” said Rigolosi. “And that makes me

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happy.” Platter World evolved from Rigolosi’s lifelong hobby of collecting records. It began as a mail-order business and claimed a permanent spot in an indoor flea market after he retired from his job as chef at a local restaurant. He opened the store around 1984. Vinyl “platters” hang on the walls and from the ceiling as mobiles. A clothesline swings down the middle of the store holding hardto-find used records, such as “Victory at Sea in Jazz” by the Aaron Bell Orchestra for $18. In the digital age of CDs and downloading music, business has slowed substantially, said Rigolosi, but he finds new ways to serve customers. He says vinyl is gaining favor among the least likely: people

in their 20s. Young adults come to the store searching for the vinyl version of classic rock or other music they’re downloading, songs such as “In-AGadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly, because vinyl is a novelty to them, he said. “That helps me a lot,” Rigolosi said. “You’ve got to go with it. You can’t fight it.” He talked about the two boys who bought two Michael Jackson albums and one by The Doors, and the 15-year-old record collector who spent more than $200 on doo-wop music and big-band albums. Rigolosi has found new customers among seniors who find they need CDs when they buy new cars. They ask him to make CDs of music they want or already have,

because Rigolosi can record from vinyl, cassettes or reel-to-reel tape. Disc jockeys have also become loyal fans and buy the larger 78 rpm records because the grooves hold a greater range of high and low notes than digital media, Rigolosi said. Finally, he’s seeing parents with teenage children who are buying the classic rock they grew up with and the kids are picking up on their interest, he said. With his vast collection, Rigolosi can cater to unusual customers, such as the artist who’s been commissioned to cover the interior of a home in Manhattan like the Sistine Chapel with specific album covers and bought about $150 worth of vinyl. A key to his survival is a collection that includes classical,

big-band, jazz, rhythm and blues, doo-wop, comedy, country, movie soundtracks, spoken word, international music and rock. Rock is the most popular, he said. His oldest record? A 1904 track of Enrico Caruso, considered a pioneer of vocal recordings. Michael Jackson, however, has been the most popular recently, and his solo albums and those when he was with the Jackson 5 line the wall behind the counter. Rigolosi had an opportunity to sell his business three years ago, but at the last minute the potential buyers drastically reduced the price they said they would pay, Rigolosi said. “I got so mad it rejuvenated me,” he said. “I’m so glad I didn’t sell. It keeps me young.” — MCT


Friday, January 1, 2010

SPOTLIGHT

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Real horror for Zombie is getting stuck in genre ob Zombie has made a name for himself outside of music by writing and directing four horror films, including two “Halloween” movies, but now the 44-year-old heavy-metal legend feels it’s time to make a name for himself outside of the horror genre. Zombie doesn’t know what his “coming out” project will be. He’s busy touring, his fourth solo studio album, “Hellbilly Deluxe 2,” comes out Feb. 2, and he recently switched to Roadrunner Records after 18 years with Geffen. But he knows he doesn’t want his next movie to be a horror flick. “If you go down that road too far, it’s hard to break out of it,” said Zombie last week. “I don’t want to get stuck with anything. I want the freedom to do what I want to do.” Zombie, whose real name is Robert Cummings, was attached to 2008’s “Punisher: War Zone” until he realized he wasn’t interested in directing the action film. He hopes his next film will be another action flick, “Tyrannosaurus Rex,” which is about a washed-up boxer who gets into the world of underground fighting after he’s released from prison. There has also been talk of Zombie remaking “The Blob.” The film, which has yet to get the green light, would mark Zombie’s second time remaking a horror monster. His 2007 “Halloween” remake grossed $80 million worldwide at the box office, but the film was met with backlash from fans who didn’t want to see the John Carpenter movie remade.

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What did Zombie think of the criticism? He couldn’t care less, he said, laughing. Although there could be more “Halloween” movies, Zombie said he doesn’t expect to be part of them. “I have no interest in it at all,” Zombie said. “I made the second one because any John Carpenter-ness had been taken away by the end of the first movie, so it was ‘OK, this could be 100 percent my own thing.’ After that, me and the actors involved were like ‘Enough is enough.’” For somebody who puts on a sweaty, high-energy metal show, Zombie is surprisingly laid back. He said he wasn’t always that way. When he first stepped into the limelight, he felt like everything was “the end of the world.” But now, 17 years after making his major label debut with his former band, White Zombie, he feels he is calmer and more carefree. “I’m more relaxed about stuff,” said Zombie, who made eye contact once in the 10-minute interview. “You’ve been there and done that, so it’s not your first time. Every time I make a movie, I’m more relaxed about it. It doesn’t mean it’s easier, but you know it’ll get done somehow.” —MCT

Rob Zombie is pictured backstage at the Aragon in Chicago, Illinois, November 23. —MCT


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Friday, January 1, 2010 CROSSWORD 856

Word Sleuth Solution

ACROSS 1. Interface consisting of a standard port between a computer and its peripherals that is used in some computers. 5. A state in midwestern United States. 7. An aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile and intended to have a telling effect. 11. The chief solid component of mammalian urine. 12. Being ten more than one hundred ninety. 13. On or toward the lee. 14. A percussion instrument consisting of a pair of hollow pieces of wood or bone (usually held between the thumb and fingers) that are made to click together (as by Spanish dancers) in rhythm with the dance. 16. Lacking either stimulating or irritating characteristics. 17. The month following March and preceding May. 18. (folklore) A small grotesque supernatural creature that makes trouble for human beings. 20. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 21. (`cease' is a noun only in the phrase `without cease') End v 1. 23. A very light brown. 25. The lean flesh of a fish similar to cod. 27. A master's degree in business. 30. (computer science) A unit for measuring computing power. 34. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 40. An accidental happening. 43. The compass point that is one point south of due west. 44. An anxiety disorder characterized by chronic freefloating anxiety and such symptoms as tension or sweating or trembling of light-headedness or irritability etc that has lasted for more than six months. 46. How long something has existed. 47. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 48. Slanting diagonally across the grain of a fabric. DOWN 1. Wood of a sumac. 2. Small very thin pancake.

Yesterday’s Solution

3. Spanish missionary who founded Franciscan missions in California (1713-1784). 4. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 5. The United Nations agency concerned with civil aviation. 6. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 7. (Norse mythology) God of light and peace and noted for his beauty and sweet nature. 8. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 9. Tear or be torn violently. 10. English monk and scholar (672-735). 15. Relatively low in price or charging low prices. 19. Any of numerous hairy-bodied insects including social and solitary species. 22. Wearing footgear. 24. A benevolent aspect of Devi. 26. A state in midwestern United States. 28. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 29. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 31. A light strong brittle gray toxic bivalent metallic element. 32. The main city of ancient Phoenicia. 33. A digital display that uses liquid crystal cells that change reflectivity in an applied electric field. 35. Open-heart surgery in which the rib cage is opened and a section of a blood vessel is grafted from the aorta to the coronary artery to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery and improve the blood supply to the heart. 36. A domed or vaulted recess or projection on a building especially the east end of a church. 37. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 38. A small cake leavened with yeast. 39. South African term for `boss'. 41. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 42. The Tibeto-Burman language spoken in the Dali region of Yunnan. 43. A yellow trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group. 45. A logarithmic unit of sound intensity.

Yesterday’s Solution


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Friday, January 1, 2010

COUNTRY CODES

FREE WILL ASTROLOGY A r i e s ( M a rc h 2 1 - A p r i l 1 9 ) One of my favorite landscape painters makes a livable wage from selling her art. She has had many gallery showings and has garnered much critical acclaim. That’s the good news. The bad news is that she feels obligated to keep churning out more landscape paintings -even when her muse nudges her to take a detour into, say, abstract expressionism or surrealistic portraits. Galleries don’t want anything from her except the stuff that has made her semi-famous. “Sometimes I fantasize about creating a series of ‘Sock Puppet Monkeys Playing Poker,’” she told me. If she were an Aries, I’d advise her to do what I think you should do in 2010: Listen to what your version of the sock puppet monkeys are urging you to do. Taurus (April 20-May 20) My Taurus friend Jill had a dream in which she stopped by a blackberry bush on a summer afternoon. All the ripe blackberries were too high on the bush, just out of reach. She stood there gazing longingly up at them for a long time. Finally three people in medieval garb came by, as if having stepped out of a deck of Tarot cards -- a warrior, magician, and priestess. “I really want those blackberries,” she said to them. “Could you give me a boost?” They stooped down to make their backs available. She climbed up, but still couldn’t reach the berries. “Oh well, we tried,” she said. “Follow us,” said the priestess, and she did. After a while they came to another bush whose blackberries were lower and easy to pluck. Then the four shared the feast. After analyzing the omens for 2010, Taurus, I’ve come to the conclusion that Jill’s dream is an apt metaphor for your best possible destiny in 2010. Gemini (May 21-June 20) “We should not think of our past as definitely settled, for we are not a stone or a tree,” wrote poet Czeslaw Milosz. “My past changes every minute according to the meaning given it now, in this moment.” I suggest you make abundant use of this wisdom in 2010. According to my reading of the astrological omens, you will have unprecedented power to re-vision and reinterpret your past. Keep the following question in mind as you go about your work: “How can I recreate my history so as to make my willpower stronger, my love of life more intense, and my future more interesting?”

Cancer (June 21-July 22) I think everyone should always have an improbable quest playing at the edges of their imagination -- you know, some heroic task that provokes deep thoughts and rouses noble passions even if it also incites smoldering torment. I’m talking about an extravagant dream that’s perhaps a bit farfetched but not entirely insane; a goal that constantly rouses you to stretch your possibilities and open your mind further; a wild hope whose pursuit makes you smarter and stronger even if you never fully accomplish it. The coming year would be an excellent time to keep such an adventure at the forefront of your awareness. L eo (July 23-August 22) A guy who goes by the name of “Winter” has made it his goal to visit every Starbucks in the world. According to his website, he has thus far ordered drinks in 9,874 stores. His project contrasts dramatically with an acquaintance of mine who calls herself “Indian Summer.” She is in the midst of a global pilgrimage to the hundreds of sites listed in Colin Wilson’s book The Atlas of Holy Places and Sacred Sites, including cave paintings, dolmens, medicine wheels, and temples. Guess which of these two explorers I’m nominating to be one of your inspirational heroes in 2010. Vi rg o ( Au g u s t 2 3 - S e p t e m b e r 2 2 ) Scientific studies have proved what we all knew already: A person who’s only mildly interesting to you will probably become more attractive if you drink a couple of pints of beer. What if I told you, Virgo, that in 2010 you could regularly create the same effect without drinking the beer? I have it on good astrological authority that this will be the case. Due to fundamental shifts in your relationship with the life force, and having nothing to do with how much alcohol you consume, the entire world will often be at least 25 percent more attractive to you than it ever was before.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Your limitations will be among your greatest assets in 2010. Yes, you heard me right, Libra; I’m not speaking ironically or sarcastically. During the coming months, you will be able to benefit from circumstances that you might otherwise imagine would prevent you from operating with maximum freedom. It might require you to look at the world upside-down, or work in reverse to your habitual thought patterns, but you could actually generate interesting opportunities, vital teachings, and maybe even financial gain by capitalizing on your so-called liabilities. Scorpio (October 23-November 2 1 ) “Dear Rob: I sure don’t like so much God stuff mixed into my horoscopes. Can you cut it out, please? I understand it’s common for the masses to believe in an Ultra Being, but you? Pul-lease. You’re smarter than that. I just can’t abide all the ‘Divine Wow’ this and ‘Cackling Goddess’ nonsense that you dispense; it doesn’t jibe with the practical, sensible, unsuperstitious, non-mushy world I hold dear. -Sally Scorpio.” Dear Sally: I predict that many Scorpios will have sensational, ongoing, up-close and personal communion with the Divine Wow in 2010. You’re free, of course, to call it something else, like an unprecedented eruption of creative energy or a breakthrough in your ability to access your own higher powers. Sagittarius (November 22December 21) You Sagittarians may wander farther and wider than the other signs of the zodiac, and you may get itchier when required to stay in one place too long, but you still need a sense of belonging. Whether that comes from having a certain building where you feel comfortable or a wilderness that evokes your beloved adventurousness or a tribe that gives you a sense of community, you thrive when you’re in regular touch with a homing signal that keeps you grounded. According to my analysis, 2010 will be prime time for you to find or create or renew your connection to a source that serves this purpose well.

Capricorn (December 22J a n u a r y 1 9 ) “I am a man of fixed and unbending principles,” said American politician Everett Dirksen, “the first of which is to be flexible at all times.” That’s the kind of playful and resilient spirit I urge you to aspire to in 2010, Capricorn. I think you’re most likely to have a successful year if you regularly explore the joys of improvisation. The more empirical and less theory-bound you’re willing to be, the better you’ll feel. Practicing the art of compromise doesn’t have to be galling, I promise you; it may even turn out to be more fun and educational than you imagined possible.

Aquarius (January 20February 18) Who and what do you hold most dear, Aquarius? I encourage you to get clear about that. Once you do, I hope you’ll make a vow to bestow extra care and attention on them in 2010 -- I mean literally write out a one-page oath in which you describe the inner states you will cultivate in yourself while you’re in their presence and the specific actions you’re going to take to help them thrive. Nothing else you do will be more important to your success in 2010. P i s c e s ( Fe b r u a r y 1 9 March 20) The philosopher Nietzsche said there was no middle ground: You either said “yes” to life or you said “no.” You either celebrated your vitality, enjoyed your power, and thrived on challenges, or else you practiced constant self-denial, hemmed yourself in with deluded rationalizations, and tormented yourself with indecision. I’m not so sure it’s always as clear-cut as that. While I’m usually in the “yes to life” camp,” I’ve gone through “no to life” phases, as well as some extended “maybe to life” times. What about you, Pisces? Whatever you’ve done in the past, I hope that in 2010 you will take maximum advantage of the cosmic rhythms, which will be encouraging you to give life a big, resounding, ongoing YES.

Afghanistan Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antiga Argentina Armenia Australia Austria Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia Botswana Brazil Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Colombia Comoros Congo Cook Islands Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Cyprus (Northern) Czech Republic Denmark Diego Garcia Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England (UK) Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guinea Guyana Haiti Holland (Netherlands) Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Ibiza (Spain) Iceland India Indian Ocean Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Italy Ivory Coast Jamaica Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Kuwait

0093 00355 00213 00376 00244 001264 001268 0054 00374 0061 0043 001242 00973 00880 001246 00375 0032 00501 00229 001441 00975 00591 00387 00267 0055 00673 00359 00226 00257 00855 00237 001 00238 001345 00236 00235 0056 0086 0057 00269 00242 00682 00506 00385 0053 00357 0090392 00420 0045 00246 00253 001767 001809 00593 0020 00503 0044 00240 00291 00372 00251 00500 00298 00679 00358 0033 00594 00689 00241 00220 00995 0049 00233 00350 0030 00299 001473 00590 001671 00502 00224 00592 00509 0031 00504 00852 0036 0034 00354 0091 00873 0062 0098 00964 00353 0039 00225 001876 0081 00962 007 00254 00686 00965

Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Liberia Libya Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Macedonia Madagascar Majorca Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Micronesia Moldova Monaco Mongolia Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar (Burma) Namibia Nepal Netherlands (Holland) Netherlands Antilles New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Nigar Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Northern Ireland (UK) North Korea Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Helena Saint Kitts Saint Lucia Saint Pierre Saint Vincent Samoa US Samoa West San Marino Sao Tone Saudi Arabia Scotland (UK) Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Korea Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syria Taiwan Tanzania Thailand Toga Tonga Tokelau Trinidad Tunisia Turkey Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom Uruguay

00996 00856 00371 00961 00231 00218 00370 00352 00853 00389 00261 0034 00265 0060 00960 00223 00356 00692 00596 00222 00230 00269 0052 00691 00373 00377 00976 001664 00212 00258 0095 00264 00977 0031 00599 00687 0064 00505 00227 00234 00683 00672 0044 00850 0047 00968 0092 00680 00507 00675 00595 0051 0063 0048 00351 001787 00974 0040 007 00250 00290 001869 001758 00508 001784 00684 00685 00378 00239 00966 0044 00221 00284 00232 0065 00421 00386 00677 00252 0027 0082 0034 0094 00249 00597 00268 0046 0041 00963 00886 00255 0066 00228 00676 00690 001868 00216 0090 00688 00256 00380 00976 0044 00598


WHAT'S ON

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Embassy information

Announcements St. Paul’s Anglican Church: St Paul’s Anglican (Episcopal) Church of Kuwait has worship services in English, every Sunday at 6.30 pm in Ahmadi and every Friday at 10.30 am in Salwa. The Chinese worship service is held every Friday at 10.30 in Salwa. Bible classes for children are held during all the services. You are all invited to come and enjoy the services and fellowship. You are welcome to visit our website http://www.stpaulskuwait.com For more information, you may call 7356700,7992517, 3985925, 4837716, 9114947 or Email at stpaulskuwait@yahoo.com January 5 Raag ‘N’ Rhythm: Raag ‘N’ Rhythm (an ensemble created by Malini Viswanath for students of classical music) organizes Sangeetha Choodamani Dr Smt Bombay Jayashri Ramnath in a Classical Carnatic vocal concert, accompanied by her troupe on the Violin, Mridangam and Khanjira on the occasion of Thyagaraja Aradhana on 5th Jan 2010, the Pushya Bahula Panchami Day, at 6 pm at AlMaidan Cultural Centre, Abdullah Al-Salem School, Maidan Hawally, near Sha’ab Leisure Park. Entry by invitation, Contact Mrs. Jayanthi- 25634108, Mrs Shalini 25610617, Mrs Jaya 25322749 for invitations. January 15 Kalanjali Pongal Vizha 2010: Kalanjali Kuwait is planning to organize ‘Pongal Vizha’ on January 15, 2010 in American International School. Special program, similar to Paattukku Paatu (in Tamil), by World famous Bh Abdul Hameed will be conducted. Interested participants can send an email with their details to kalanjaliq8@gmail.com for selection process in Dec 2009 or contact 99816937 / 66457286. Mega event: Seva Darshan Kuwait will present a mega stage show ‘Bharath Darshan’ on Friday, January 15, 2010 from 9 am onwards at the Marina Hall, Jleeb Al-Shouyoukh. The mega event will showcase riveting dance and music programs featuring celebrated artists of the Idea Star Singer-fame Somadas, Jins, Prashobh and Superstar Global winner Roopa. They will be supported by the famous comedy duo Kottayam Nazir and Kalabhavan Prajod. The proceeds from the event will go to building a school project for the tribal children in the backward region

of Kerala’s Marayoor area. All are welcome to the mega event. KKMA children’s drawing contest: The grand final contest of KKMA-Tiffany drawing contest for children in Indian schools in Kuwait will be held on Friday, 15th January 2010. A press release from KKMA stated that a total number of 3000 entries were received during the first phase of the contest held in JuneOctober 2009. Children’s from 17 Indian schools in Kuwait participated in this contest. Of which 1000 finalists were selected and invited for an onthe-spot final contest held on January 15th 2010 at Kuwait Indian school in Jleeb (next to 6th ring road). A list of all finalists who are eligible for

and 1000 semi-finalists were selected to advance to phase 2 final competitions which will be now held on 15th January 2009. Total of 60 winners, 15 students from each category will be then chosen and awarded with medals and gifts. MARCH 26 CRYcket 2010: the 13th annual crycket tournament is scheduled to be held on Friday, 26th March 2010 at the KOC Hockey Grounds, Ahmadi. This tournament is organized by FOCC (Friends of Cry Club). Friends of CRY Club (FOCC) is associated with CRY (Child Rights and You), India and its main objectives are to create awareness of the underprivileged Indian children, help restore

Ahmadi Music Group rehearsals: The Ahmadi Music Group meets at the Mousetrap Theatre in the New English School Jabriya, at 7 pm, on Sundays. We are currently rehearsing for a seasonal concert and a new concert Oratorio ‘Gideon’ written by Harriet Bushman, which will be performed in January in conjunction with the Kuwait Jazz Collective. No auditions are necessary just a love of music and a lot of enthusiasm. We welcome singers of all voice types. For more information visit our website at www.ahmadimusicgroup.com or call 66184192. Weekends at Costa Del Sol: Once again due to popular demand Costa Del Sol Hotel, will host on nightly weekends, our famous violinists from 7 pm till 11 pm. First come first seated basis, enjoy the lovely atmosphere and facing the dancing colored fountain to match the night. For reservations call us on Telephone no. 1830083 ext. 8106 & 8105.

participating in the final contest is being sent to their respective schools and the participants are contacted by their given contact telephone or emails. The list is also published at KKMA website www.kkma.net The Association thanked all class teachers and the art/drawing teachers of your school for their kind support without which we could not have received such an immense response. Contest titled as ‘World Peace’ KKMA-Tiffany Drawing Contest is conducted to promote a culture of nonviolence and peace by raising awareness among young children about these concepts. The competition was open to all students of Indian Schools in Kuwait and divided in to four categories - Primary School (Class 1 to IV), Upper Primary School (Class V to VII), Secondary School (Class VIII to Class X), and Senior Secondary School (Class XI and Class XII). The Phase 1 of the contest was held early this year in which each of the entrants was requested to submit one piece of drawing which responds to the theme, “World Peace”. All entries were then reviewed by a judging panel

Friday, January 1, 2010

their basic rights, strive to provide support in personal development of the Indian children in Kuwait and bring out the qualities of social commitment in them. FOCC has been organizing CRY awareness programmes for children through its two annual events - CRYcket (Cricket match for children below 14 years organized annually since 1997) and CRY chess tournament (for children of all ages organized annually since 2005) and ‘Brain Bang’ programme which is an ongoing bi-weekly Accelerated Learning activity. CRYcket will be played by 24 teams of children and about 500 spectators are expected for this special one-day event. The deadline to receive the registration forms is 18th March 2010, however registration may be close earlier if the available slots of 12 teams in each category are filled. A colourful souvenir will be released to mark the 13th year of FOCC’s activities in Kuwait. For details how to become a sponsor and/or to advertise in the Souvenir or to volunteer as a FOCC member, pls visit www.focckwt.org or email

EMBASSY OF GREECE The Embassy of Greece has the pleasure to announce that with a view to promote business interaction and commercial relations between Greece and Kuwait and to present further support for the Kuwaiti importers, it requests all Kuwaiti Companies dealing with or representing Greek Companies in Kuwait to contact this Embassy as soon as possible and to provide by fax or email the following information: (Name of the company, tel no, fax no, e-mail, type of business, name of the Greek companies/clients). The Embassy’s contacts are as follows: e-mail: gremb.kuw@mfa.gr; fax: 24817103, and tel no: 24817100, 24817101, 24817102. EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India, Kuwait, has arranged the following free welfare services on a pilot basis: [i] 24x7 Helpline for Domestic Workers: Accessible by toll free telephone no. 25674163 from anywhere in Kuwait, it provides information and advice exclusively to Indian domestic sector workers (Visa No. 20) as regards their grievances, immigration and other matters. [ii] Help Desk: Opened at the Embassy premises (9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM; Sunday to Thursday), it offers guidance to Indian nationals on routine immigration, employment, legal, and other issues. These services would be provided by Kuwait Union of Domestic Labour Offices (KUDLO). These are in addition to the following existing welfare services provided by the Embassy: Labour Complaints Desk: It registers labour complaints and provides grievance redressal service to Indian workers (9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM; Sunday to Thursday); Shelters: For female and male domestic workers in distress; Legal Advice Clinic: A Kuwaiti lawyer provides free legal advice to Indian workers (3 PM to 5 PM; Mondays and Thursdays); and Attestation of Work Contracts: Private sector worker contracts (Visa No. 18) are accepted at the Embassy (9 AM to 1 PM; Sunday to Thursday); Domestic sector workers (Visa No. 20) contracts are accepted at, KUDLO [Hawally, Al-Othman Street, Kurd Roundabout, Al-Abraj Complex, Mezzanine Floor, Office No. 9; (9 AM to 1 PM and 5 PM to 9 PM; Saturday to Thursday; 5 PM to 9 PM on Friday)]. EMBASSY OF PHILIPPINES The Embassy of the Philippines wishes to inform the Filipino community in the State of Kuwait, that the recent supreme court decision to extend the registration of voters applies only in local registration in the Philippines under Republic Act no. 8189 and does not apply to overseas voters which is governed by Republic Act no. 9189, hence it has no impact on the plans and preparations on the conduct of overseas absentee voting. The overseas absentee voting for presidential elections will start on 10 April 2010 and will continue uninterrupted until 10 May 2010 daily at the Philippine Embassy. Registered overseas absentee voters are advised to schedule their days off in advance to avoid complications in their schedules. Qualified voters are encouraged to get out and vote. EMBASSY OF SOUTH AFRICA The Embassy of the Republic of South Africa’s working hours on Thursday, 24th December 2009 & Thursday, 31st December 2009 will be from 8 am to 10 am. Please note that the Embassy will be closed on Sunday, 3rd January 2010 on the occasion of the New Year. The Embassy will resume its normal working hours on Monday, 4th January 2010, from Sunday to Thursday. Please note that the working hours will be from 8 am to 16h00 & the Consular section operation hours will


Friday, January 1, 2010

WHAT'S ON

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Friday, January 1, 2010

FOR AIRPORT INFORMATION 161

FLIGHT SCHEDULE

“IN CASE YOU ARE NOT TRAVELLING, YOUR PROPER CANCELLATION OF BOOKINGS WILL HELP OTHER PASSENGERS TO USE SEATS”. Arrival Flights on Friday 1/1/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jazeera 0263 Beirut Tunis Air 327 Tunis/Dubai Jazeera 0109 Dubai Wataniya Airways 2011 Sharm El Sheikh Royal Jordanian 802 Amman Jet A/W 574 Cochin Wataniya Airways 2103 Beirut Kalitta 537 Sharjah Gulf Air 211 Bahrain Jazeera 0513 Sharm El Sheikh Kuwait 544 Cairo Turkish A/L 1172 Istanbul D.H.L. 370 Bahrain Emirates 853 Dubai Etihad 0305 Abu Dhabi Qatari 0138 Doha Ethiopian 622 Addis Ababa/Bahrain Air France 6770 Paris Jazeera 0503 Luxor Jazeera 0527 Alexandria Kuwait 416 Jakarta/Kuala Lumpur Jazeera 0529 Assiut Jazeera 0481 Sabiha British 0157 London Kalitta 533 Al Fujairah Kuwait 206 Islamabad Kuwait 352 Cochin Jazeera 0161 Dubai Kuwait 302 Mumbai Kuwait 362 Colombo Kuwait 676 Dubai Emirates 855 Dubai Kuwait 286 Chittagong Arabia 0121 Sharjah Qatari 0132 Doha Etihad 0301 Abu Dhabi Gulf Air 213 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 1121 Bahrain Jazeera 0447 Doha Jazeera 0165 Dubai Jazeera 0425 Dubai/Bahrain Wataniya Airways 1021 Dubai Jazeera 0113 Abu Dhabi Iran Air 619 Lar Middle East 404 Beirut Oman Air 0645 Muscat Yemenia 825 Sanaa Pakistan 239 Sialkot Egypt Air 610 Cairo Jazeera 0171 Dubai Kuwait 672 Dubai Wataniya Airways 2301 Damascus Jazeera 0255 Beirut Jazeera 0525 Alexandria Jazeera 0257 Beirut Wataniya Airways 2001 Cairo Kuwait 552 Damascus Kuwait 744 Dammam Jazeera 0457 Damascus Qatari 0134 Doha Kuwait 284 Dhaka Kuwait 546 Alexandria Royal Jordanian 800 Amman Jazeera 0173 Dubai Emirates 857 Dubai Gulf Air 215 Bahrain Saudi Arabian A/L 510 Riyadh Etihad 0303 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 0239 Amman Arabia 0125 Sharjah Jazeera 0367 Deirezzor Wataniya Airways 2101 Beirut Jazeera 0497 Riyadh Srilankan 227 Colombo/Dubai United A/L 982 Washington DC Dulles

Time 00:05 00:10 00:15 00:15 00:35 00:40 00:50 01:00 01:05 01:25 01:30 0215 02:15 02:35 03:00 03:25 03:30 04:35 05:35 06:10 06:25 06:30 06:35 06:40 07:00 07:40 07:40 07:45 07:55 08:20 08:20 08:30 08:35 08:55 09:00 09:35 10:45 10:45 11:00 11:05 11:10 11:20 11:20 11:50 11:55 12:15 12:35 12:50 12:55 13:05 13:25 13:35 13:50 14:05 14:10 14:20 14:35 14:40 14:45 15:00 15:10 15:30 15:40 16:05 16:55 17:05 17:15 17:15 17:35 17:40 17:45 17:50 18:00 18:05 18:15

Jazeera Wataniya Airways D.H.L. Wataniya Airways Kuwait Kuwait KuWait Jazeera Kuwait Kuwait Indian Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Jet A/W Wataniya Airways Saudi Arabian A/L Jazeera Jazeera Gulf Air Kuwait Middle East Qatari Kuwait Emirates Jazeera Jazeera Global Jazeera Jazeera Egypt Air Egypt Air Shaheen Air Lufthansa Wataniya Airways Wataniya Airways Pakistan Wataniya Airways

0427 2003 473 1025 542 674 166 0177 614 774 575 102 562 618 572 1201 506 0459 0343 217 786 402 0136 502 859 0449 0429 081 0117 0185 612 606 441 636 2201 1029 215 1129

Dubai/Bahrain Cairo Baghdad Dubai Cairo Dubai Paris/Rome Dubai Bahrain Riyadh Chenmai/Goa New York/London Amman Doha Mumbai Jeddah Jeddah Damascus Sanaa/Bahrain Bahrain Jeddah Beirut Doha Beirut Dubai Doha Dubai/Bahrain Baghdad Abu Dhabi Dubai Cairo Luxor Lahore/Karachi Frankfurt Amman Dubai Karachi Bahrain

Departure Flights on Friday 0l/01/2010 Airlines Flt Route Egypt Air 607 Luxor Jazeera 0528 Assiut India Express 390 Mangalore/Kozhikode United A/L 981 Washington DC Dulles Jazeera 0160 Dubai Tunis Air 328 Tunis Indian 982 Ahmedabad/Chennai Pakistan 206 Lahore Bangladesh 044 Dhaka Jet A/W 573 Cochin Safi A/W 216 Kabul Kuwait 283 Dhaka D.H.L. 371 Bahrain Turkish A/L 1173 Istanbul Emirates 854 Dubai Etihad 0306 Abu Dhabi Ethiopian 622 Addis Ababa Kalitta 537 Kandahar Qatari 0139 Doha Jazeera 0162 Dubai Air France 6770 Dubai/Hong Kong Wataniya Airways 1020 Dubai Jazeera 0164 Dubai Royal Jordanian 803 Amman Jazeera 0524 Alexandria Wataniya Airways 2000 Cairo Jazeera 0112 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 0446 Doha Gulf Air 212 Bahrain Jazeera 0254 Beirut Wataniya Airways 1120 Bahrain Jazeera 0422 Bahrain/Dubai Wataniya Airways 2300 Damascus Kuwait 545 Alexandria Jazeera 0256 Beirut British 0156 London

18:15 18:20 18:30 18:40 18:50 18:55 19:00 19:05 19:20 19:30 19:30 19:35 19:40 20:00 20:05 20:15 20:35 20:40 20:55 21:05 21:10 21:20 21:35 22:00 22:00 22:10 22:15 22:20 22:25 22:40 22:45 23:00 23:05 23:30 23:40 23:45 23:55 23:55

Time 00:01 00:05 00:30 00:40 00:55 01:00 01:05 01:10 01:15 01:40 02:30 02:55 03:15 03:15 03:50 04:10 04:15 05:00 05:00 06:00 06:20 07:00 07:00 07:05 07:20 07:30 07:35 07:40 07:45 07:45 07:50 07:55 08:10 08:30 08:35 08:55

Kuwait Kuwait Jazeera Arabia Emirates Kuwait Qatari Etihad Kuwait Kalitta Wataniya Airways Gulf Air Jazeera Kuwait Kuwait Jazeera Wataniya Airways Jazeera Jazeera Kuwait Iran Air Middle East Oman Air Yemenia Pakistan Jazeera Egypt Air Wataniya Airways Kuwait Kuwait Jazeera Jazeera Wataniya Airways Jazeera Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Royal Jordanian Qatari Kuwait Jazeera Gulf Air Etihad Emirates Arabia Jazeera Saudi Arabian A/L Jazeera Jazeera Wataniya Airways Global Jazeera Jazeera Wataniya Airways Srilankan Wataniya Airways Kuwait Kuwait Wataniya Airways Jet A/W Kuwait Jazeera Jazeera Saudi Arabian A/L Gulf Air D.H.L. Kuwait Middle East Qatari Kuwait Emirates Jazeera Jazeera Egypt Air Jazeera Kuwait

671 551 0456 0122 856 117 0133 0302 173 533 2002 214 0426 743 541 0172 2100 0366 0238 103 618 405 0646 825 240 0342 611 1024 673 561 0496 0176 1200 0458 785 773 501 613 801 0135 617 0182 216 0304 858 0126 0262 511 0184 0116 2200 082 0448 042$ 2102 228 1028 361 343 1128 571 331 0266 0606 507 218 171 675 403 0137 301 860 0636 0526 613 0502 411

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (www.kuwait-airport.com.kw)

Dubai Damascus Damascus Sharjah Dubai New York Doha Abu Dhabi Frankfurt/Geneva Kandahar Cairo Bahrain Bahrain/Dubai Dammam Cairo Dubai Beirut Deirezzor Amman London Lar Beirut Muscat Doha/Sanaa Sialkot Sanaa Cairo Dubai Dubai Amman Riyadh Dubai Jeddah Damascus Jeddah Riyadh Beirut Bahrain Amman Doha Doha Dubai Bahrain Abu Dhabi Dubai Sharjah Beirut Riyadh Dubai Abu Dhabi Amman Baghdad Doha Bahrain/Dubai Beirut Dubai/Colombo Dubai Colombo Chennai Bahrain Mumbai Trivandrum Beirut Mumbai Jeddah Bahrain Bahrain Dubai Beirut Doha Mumbai Dubai Aleppo Alexandria Cairo Luxor Bangkok/Manila

09:00 09:10 09:25 09:35 09:40 10:00 10:00 10:20 10:20 11:00 11:30 11:40 11:50 11:55 12:00 12:00 12:05 12:20 12:25 12:30 12:50 12:55 13:15 13:35 13:40 13:50 13:55 14:25 14:30 14:35 14:40 15:05 15:10 15:30 15:45 16:10 16:10 16:20 16:25 16:30 16:35 16:55 17:55 18:00 18:10 18:20 18:25 18:30 18:35 18:40 18:40 18:50 18:50 19:00 19:05 19:15 19:30 20:20 20:50 21:00 21:10 21:25 21:30 21:50 21:55 21:55 22:00 22:10 22:20 22:35 22:45 23:10 23:20 23:25 23:45 23:50 23:55


CLASSIFIEDS

Friday, January 1, 2010

ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya near German clinic from nonsmoking, God fearing bachelors with an executive Christian Keralite bachelor, C-AC 2 bedroom new bldg reasonable rent. Contact: 94942964. (C 20115) 31-12-2009 Sharing accommodation available for a couple or working ladies with Keralite family, two bedroom and two bath flat, near Swaad restaurant, Abbassiya. Contact: 97949378, 97524093. (C 20110) 30-12-2009 Furnished one bedroom flat in new building in Salmiya/ Apollo clinic from March 2010, rent including electricity KD 190, furniture extra. Call 67070578. 8am - 1pm (C 20103) Accommodation available for only single bachelor, share with one bachelor, in a big room, kitchen, bath, for Muslim, non smoking, Pak or Indian, in Salmiya near fire station 4th Ring Road. Contact: 99316567. (C 20100) 29-12-2009 Sharing accommodation available. Kerala family (couples) 2 bedroom 2 bathroom flat from Jan 1st. Tel: 97904162. (C 20097) Sharing accommodation available in Salmiya behind Sakina book shop, next to Senior Indian Community School with south Indian

Christian family looking for Indian decent bachelor or couple or family from 31st December. Contact: 97340796. (C 20095) 28-12-2009 Furnished room with attached bath available for rent from 1st Jan. 2010. Next to main street Farwaniya, couples working ladies and executive bachelor can call. 66509289, 24748837, 24969853. (C 20091) Sharing accommodation available for decent Indian Christian family in Abbassiya opposite German clinic C-AC 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, interested person contact immediately. Tel: 99295934. (C 20090) Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya behind Oman Exchange opp to Lovely store for a single person Keralite (nonsmoking) preferred, reasonable rent. Contact: 24334859, 99185377. 27-12-2009

FOR SALE Pajero 4x4, V3000, model 92, color golden + brown, full option, interior and exterior, engine transmission, AC front and rear all in excellent condition, one year registration, monthly installment KD 49, balance to KFH KD 980, for details 99322585. (C 20113) IBM Lenovo desktop PC, Dual Core, RAM 1 GB, HD 200 GB, DVD writer, fax

modem, Lan card, 17” LCD monitor Lenovo, in excellent condition, price 90 KD, call 99322585. (C 20114) 31-122009 Toyota Prado, model 2007 VX 4 cylinder, color violet, good condition, price KD 5,990 only. Tel: 66974049. 30-12-2009

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SITUATION WANTED Accountant with 10 years experience in Kuwait, well versant in Arabic and English, seeking a part time job. Call: 67706575. (C 20107)

CHANGE OF NAME

Toyota Corolla 1.8, model 2007, white, done mileage 47,000 km, excellent condition, price KD 3,050/- cash. Contact: 66211779. (C 20104)

I, Suresan P.P, holder Indian Passport No: E5850179, hereby change my name to Suresh P.P. (C 20109)

Galant 2001, lady driven, excellent condition, only km 102,000 done, cash KD 1,000. Contact: 97119879. (C 20106)

I, son of Mr Antonio Rocha, and Mrs Rita Barretto, like to change my name from Ligorio Rocha to Leslie Rocha. My Passport No: H2005893. (C 20111) 30-12-2009

Subaru Impereza 2007, 4WD, GPS manual drive, DVD player, red metallic, sunroof, service book excellent condition, price 3400 KD. Contact: 60012596. (C 20101)

First name: Pillai Rajan, converted to Muslim, now new name: Abdul Rasheed, Indian Passport No: A9870464. (C 20108) 29-12-2009

Pentium 4, Intel, 40GB HDD, 256 MB Ram, CD Rom, 56K modem, sound card, speakers, 17” CRT monitor, ready for internet KD 40, P4, Intel Celeron 1.7 Ghz, 30GB, 256 Ram with 17” monitor KD 30. Contact: 66244192. (C 20102) 29-12-2009 Toyota Camry model 2006, white color, 4 cylinder engine, excellent condition, 72,500 km done, installment possible, cash price 2990 KD. Contact: 66507741. (C 20098) 28-12-2009

I, Sumitra Boby, holder of PP No: F4123443, married to Abdul Mubeen Mulla, change my name to Nawal Abdul Mubeen Mulla. (C 20094)

SITUATION VACANT Required house cook (male) good experience all kinds of food, continental, good salary. Contact: 66519719, 23901053. (C 20099).

MATRIMONIAL

Kuwait. Contact: osukrith@kockw.com (C 20116) 31-12-2009 Seeking alliance for Marthomite boy, 27/ MBA, working in Kuwait from girls working in Kuwait. Contact: ariangal@gmail.com (C 20105) 29-12-2009

MCA - Project leader, Infosys Bangalore. Email: josephkarivelil@yahoo.co.in (C 20096) 28-12-2009 Indian Sunni Muslim girl age 30 years well settled in Kuwait, need only Indian boy well settled in Kuwait age not less than 35 years, girl has all facilities. Email:

Alliances are invited for Ezhawa girl 26, 5ʼ4”, post graduate and employed in

Proposal invited for a Keralite RC girl 31 year Changanachery Diocese,

mahboob-khan49@yahoo.com

(C 20092) 27-12-2009

PRIVATE CLINICS Ophthalmologists: Dr. Abidallah Al-Mansoor Dr. Samy Al-Rabeea Dr. Masoma Habeeb Dr. Mubarak Al-Ajmy Dr. Mohsen Abel Dr Adnan Hasan Alwayl Dr. Abdallah Al-Baghly

5622444 5752222 5321171 5739999 5757700 5732223 5732223

Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT): Dr. Ahmed Fouad Mouner Dr. Abdallah Al-Ali Dr. Abd Al-Hameed Al-Taweel Dr. Sanad Al-Fathalah Dr. Mohammad Al-Daaory Dr. Ismail Al-Fodary Dr. Mahmoud Al-Booz

4555050 Ext 510 5644660 5646478 5311996 5731988 2620166 5651426

General Practitioners: Dr. Mohamme Y Majidi Dr. Yousef Al-Omar Dr. Tarek Al-Mikhazeem Dr. Kathem Maarafi Dr. Abdallah Ahmad Eyadah Dr. Nabeel Al-Ayoobi Dr. Dina Abidallah Al-Refae

4555050 Ext 123 4719312 3926920 5730465 5655528 4577781 5333501

Urologists: Dr. Ali Naser Al-Serfy 2641534 Dr. Fawzi Taher Abul 2639955 Dr. Khaleel Abidallah Al-Awadi 2616660

Dr. Adel Al-Hunayan FRCS (C) 5313120 Plastic Surgeons: Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf 2547272 Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari 2617700 Dr. Abdel Quttainah 5625030/60 Family Doctor: Dr Divya Damodar

3729596/3729581

Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari 2635047 Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan 2613623/0 Gynaecologists & Obstetricians: Dr Adrian Harbe Dr. Verginia s.Marin Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan Dr. Majeda Khalefa Aliytami Dr. Ahmad Al-Khooly Dr. Salem soso

3729596/3729581 572-6666 ext 8321 2655539 5343406 5739272 2618787

General Surgeons: Dr. Abidallah Behbahani 5717111 Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer 2610044 Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher 5327148 Internists, Chest & Heart: Dr. Adnan Ebil Dr. Mousa Khadada Dr. Latefa Al-Duweisan

2639939 2666300 5728004

Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra Dr. Mobarak Aldoub Dr Nasser Behbehani

5355515 4726446 5654300/3

Paediatricians: Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed Dr. Zahra Qabazard Dr. Sohail Qamar Dr. Snaa Maaroof Dr. Pradip Gujare Dr. Zacharias Mathew

5340300 5710444 2621099 5713514 3713100 4334282

(1) Ear, Nose and Throat (2) Plastic Surgeon Dr. Abdul Mohsin Jafar, FRCS (Canada) 5655535 Dentists: Dr Anil Thomas Dr. Shamah Al-Matar Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan Dr. Bader Al-Ansari

3729596/3729581 2641071/2 2562226 2561444 2619557 2525888 5653755 5620111

Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman Dr. Mohammad Al-Shamaly Dr. Foad Abidallah Al-Ali

Endocrinologist: Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman Dr. Ahmad Al-Ansari Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr

5633324 5345875

5339330 5658888 5329924

Physiotherapists & VD: Dr. Deyaa Shehab Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees

5722291 2666288

Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi 5330060 Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah 5722290 Internist, Chest & Heart: DR.Mohammes Akkad 4555050 Ext 210 Dr. Mohammad Zubaid MB, ChB, FRCPC, PACC Assistant Professor Of Medicine Head, Division of Cardiology Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital Tel: 5339667

Neurologists: Dr. Sohal Najem Al-Shemeri Dr. Jasem Mola Hassan

2636464 5322030 2633135

Dr. Farida Al-Habib MD, PH.D, FACC Consultant Cardiologist Tel: 2611555-2622555


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Friday, January 1, 2010

TV Listings Orbit /Showtime Channels AMERICA PLUS 03:00 ER 04:00 Gilmore Girls 05:00 One Tree Hill 06:00 GMA Recorded 08:00 GMA Health 08:30 What’s the Buzz 09:00 Gilmore Girls 10:00 *24* 11:00 The Closer 12:00 One Tree Hill 13:00 Gilmore Girls 14:00 *24* 15:00 GMA Live 17:00 GMA Health 17:30 What’s the Buzz 18:00 Sons of Anarchy 19:00 ER 20:00 Burn Notice 21:00 Private Practice 22:00 Grey’s Anatomy 23:00 True Blood 03:35 04:30 05:25 06:20 06:45 07:10 08:00 08:25 09:45 10:10 10:40 11:05 11:55 12:50 13:15 13:45 14:10 14:40 15:35 16:00 16:30 16:55 17:25 17:50 18:20 19:15 19:40 20:10 21:10 22:05 23:00 23:25 23:55 08:15 08:30 09:00 09:20 09:30 09:55 10:10 10:30 11:15 12:15 12:45 13:15 14:00 14:30 15:00 15:45 16:15 17:15 18:00 18:30 19:00 Vyle 19:30 Vyle 20:00 21:00 21:45 22:15 23:40

ANIMAL PLANET Austin Stevens Adventures Animal Cops Phoenix Animal Cops Phoenix Lemur Street Monkey Business Face to Face with the Polar Bear Wildlife SOS Pet Rescue All New Planet’s Funniest Animals All New Planet’s Funniest Animals Aussie Animal Rescue Animal Cops Phoenix Crocodile Hunter Wildlife SOS Pet Rescue All New Planet’s Funniest Animals All New Planet’s Funniest Animals In Search of the King Cobra Lemur Street Monkey Business Pet Rescue Pet Passport Wildlife SOS Aussie Animal Rescue Animal Cops Phoenix Night Night Surviving the Drought Animal Cops Phoenix Untamed & Uncut Night Night Animal Cops Phoenix BBC ENTERTAINMENT The Roly Mo Show Tikkabilla Tweenies Little Robots Teletubbies The Roly Mo Show Tweenies Bargain Hunt Blizzard - Race To The Pole A Year At Kew A Year At Kew The Weakest Link Eastenders Doctors Bargain Hunt Cash In The Attic Antiques Roadshow The Weakest Link Doctors Eastenders The Life And Times Of Vivienne The Life And Times Of Vivienne Antiques Roadshow The Weakest Link Doctors Oliver Twist (2 Part Version) Rough Diamond Sd

CINEMA CITY 03:00 The Contender - PG15 05:00 Restraint - 18 07:00 Copycat - PG15 09:00 Reflections - 18 11:00 Class Action - PG15 13:00 Lost Holiday: The Jim & Suzanne Shemwell Story - PG 15:00 Let Him Be - PG 17:00 All In - PG 19:00 Dr. Dolittle 4: A Tinsel Town Tail FAM 21:00 Last Orders - PG15 23:00 El Cortez - PG15 03:50 04:45 05:40 06:05 07:00 07:55 08:50 09:45

DISCOVERY CHANNEL Rides Mythbusters How It’s Made Ultimate Survival Really Big Things Rides Overhaulin How Do They Do It?

High School Musical 3: Senior Year on Show Movies 2 10:10 11:05 12:00 12:30 12:55 13:25 13:50 14:15 15:10 16:05 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:30 22:00 23:00

Mythbusters Ultimate Survival Destroyed in Seconds Destroyed in Seconds How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Fifth Gear American Chopper Miami Ink Mythbusters Ultimate Survival Destroyed in Seconds Destroyed in Seconds Overhaulin How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Fifth Gear Fifth Gear American Chopper Street Customs Berlin

03:10 04:00 04:50 05:45 06:10 06:40 07:10 08:00 09:00 10:00 10:55 11:20 11:50 12:45 13:10 13:40

DISCOVERY SCIENCE Mission Implausible Beyond Tomorrow Ten Ways How Stuff’s Made Green Wheels Weird Connections Human Body: Ultimate Machine Thunder Races Ten Ways Science of the Movies How Stuff’s Made Stunt Junkies Human Body: Ultimate Machine Green Wheels One Step Beyond Ten Ways

14:35 Science of the Movies 15:30 Man Made Marvels: National Theatre 16:25 How Stuff’s Made 16:55 Thunder Races 17:50 Brainiac 18:45 Extreme Engineering 19:40 Nextworld 20:30 Weird Connections 20:55 Weird Connections 21:20 How It’s Made 21:45 How It’s Made 22:10 Mythbusters 23:00 Nextworld 23:50 Weird Connections 03:10 03:35 04:00 04:25 04:45 05:10 06:00 06:10 06:35 07:00 07:20 07:45 08:10 08:35 09:00 09:25 09:45 10:10 10:30 12:10 12:35

DISNEY CHANNEL Famous Five Replacements Fairly Odd Parents Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana Higglytown Heroes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Handy Manny Special Agent Oso Handy Manny Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Replacements Fairly Odd Parents Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana Sonny With A Chance High School Musical Suite Life On Deck Replacements

China’s

12:55 13:20 13:40 14:05 14:30 15:00 16:25 16:45 17:10 17:45 18:00 18:25 18:45 19:00 20:20 20:40 21:05 21:30 21:50 22:00 22:25 22:50 23:15 23:35

American Dragon Kim Possible Famous Five Fairly Odd Parents Phineas & Ferb TARZAN II Kim Possible Fairly Odd Parents Phineas & Ferb The Replacements Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana Fairly Odd Parents Dadnapped Hannah Montana Hannah Montana The Suite Life of Zack & Cody The Suite Life of Zack & Cody Brian O Brian Fairly Odd Parents Phineas & Ferb Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana

05:05 06:00 07:45 08:35 09:00 09:25 09:50 10:15 11:05 12:00 12:25 12:50

E! ENTERTAINMENT Dr 90210 Ths 25 Most Stylish E! News The Daily 10 Keeping Up With The Kardashians Keeping Up With The Kardashians E!es E!es E! News The Daily 10 Ths

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Ths E! News The Daily 10 E!es E!es Ths E!es E! News The Daily 10 Dr 90210 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties

03:05 05:10 08:15 10:25 12:00 13:40 15:15 16:50 18:25 20:35 22:00 23:35

MGM The Hot Spot The Little Death The Pride And The Passion Beach Blanket Bingo Master Of The World Summer Lovers Parker Kane Crossplot Nicholas Nickleby Women Vs. Men Keaton’s Cop Napoleon

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NAT GEO ADVENTURE Bondi Rescue Destination Extreme Madventures By Any Means Lonely Planet Somewhere In China Destination Extreme Madventures Surfer’s Journal Bondi Rescue Destination Extreme Madventures By Any Means Lonely Planet Somewhere In China Destination Extreme Madventures Surfer’s Journal Bondi Rescue Destination Extreme Madventures By Any Means

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NAT GEO WILD Hyena Queen Built For The Kill Secret Shark Pits Super Cat Wildlife Photographers Rescue Ink Hyena Queen Built For The Kill Animal Autopsy Kalahari In The Womb Hippos: Africa’s River Beast Built For The Kill Animal Autopsy Kalahari In The Womb Hippos: Africa’s River Beast Built For The Kill Animal Autopsy

PLAYHOUSE DISNEY 08:00 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 08:25 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 08:50 Lazytown 09:15 Lazytown 09:40 Special Agent Oso 10:10 Special Agent Oso 10:30 Imagination Movers 11:05 Handy Manny 11:30 Handy Manny 11:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 12:15 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 12:40 Chuggington 12:50 Chuggington 13:05 Chuggington 13:15 Chuggington 13:55 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 14:20 Lazytown 14:45 Special Agent Oso 15:10 Special Agent Oso 15:35 Imagination Movers 16:00 Imagination Movers 16:25 Handy Manny 16:50 Handy Manny 17:15 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 17:40 Chuggington 17:55 Chuggington 18:05 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 18:30 Lazytown 18:55 Special Agent Oso 19:20 Imagination Movers 19:45 Handy Manny 20:10 CHUGGINGTONMY FRIENDS TIGGER AND POOH 20:25 Little Einsteins 20:50 Special Agent Oso 21:00 End Of Programming 03:30 04:00 04:30

SHOW COMEDY The Daily Show With Jon Stewart The Daily Show With Jon Stewart The Colbert Report


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Friday, January 1, 2010 05:00 05:30 06:00 06:30 07:00 07:30 08:00 08:30 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 11:30 12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 14:00 14:30 15:00 16:00 16:30 17:00 17:30 18:00 18:30 19:00 19:30 20:00 Special 21:00 21:30 22:00 23:00 23:30

Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne Will And Grace My Wife And Kids Home Improvement Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Three Sisters Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 8 Simple Rules... The Nanny Rita Rocks Will And Grace My Wife And Kids How I Met Your Mother 8 Simple Rules... Three Sisters The Nanny Fresh Prince Of Bel Air Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne Home Improvement Rita Rocks My Family: Christmas Special Three Sisters The Nanny Fresh Prince Of Bel Air 8 Simple Rules... Will And Grace My Wife And Kids How I Met Your Mother My Boys Gavin And Stacey Christmas The Daily Show With Jon Stewart The Colbert Report Live At Gotham South Park How I Met Your Mother

06:30 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

SHOW MOVIES 1 The Game Plan - PG College Road Trip - PG For One More Day - PG 15 Hot Rod - PG 15 College Road Trip - PG For One More Day - PG 15 Hot Rod - PG 15 Pink Panther 2 - PG 15 The Bank Job - PG 15

04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00

SHOW MOVIES 2 Sunshine Cleaning - PG 15 The Perfect Child - PG 15 Under The Same Moon - PG The Truman Show - PG 15 City Slickers - PG 15 Blankman - PG 15 The Truman Show - PG 15 City Slickers - PG 15 The Foot Fist Way - PG 15 Enemy At The Gates - 18

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

SHOW MOVIES ACTION The Return - PG 15 Cloverfield - PG 15 Rescue Dawn - PG 15 Somebody Help Me - PG 15 High Heels And Low Lifes - PG 15 Anaconda 3: The Offspring - PG 15 Somebody Help Me - PG 15 High Heels And Low Lifes - PG 15 Hotel California - 18 All The Boys Love Mandy Lane Red Sands - 18 SHOW MOVIES COMEDY Ghostbusters Ii - PG Balls Of Fury - PG 15 Cj7 - PG Good Burger - PG 15 Mr. Bean’s Holiday - PG Are You Ready For Love - PG Good Burger - PG 15 Made of Honor - PG 15 The House Bunny - 18 Knocked Up - 18

SHOW MOVIES KIDS 04:00 The Mysteries Of The Easter Island - PG 05:15 Daddy Day Camp - FAM 06:45 Samurai Girl: Book Of Shadow - PG 08:15 The Mysteries Of The Easter Island - PG 10:00 Der Kleine Eisbaer - FAM 11:30 Welcome Back Pinocchio - FAM 13:15 Beverly Hills Chihuahua - PG 15:15 Robotech - The Shadow Chronicles - FAM 17:00 The Trumpet Of The Swan - FAM 18:30 Beverly Hills Chihuahua - PG 20:30 Der Kleine Eisbaer - FAM 22:00 Welcome Back Pinocchio - FAM 23:45 Robotech - The Shadow Chronicles - FAM 03:00 04:00 05:00 05:30 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 09:30 10:00 11:00 12:00 12:30

SHOW SERIES The Tudors Starter Wife Emmerdale 10 Years Younger (usa) Criminal Minds Ghost Whisperer Heroes Fresh Fresh Starter Wife Ghost Whisperer Emmerdale 10 Years Younger (usa)

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Bones Demons Heroes Criminal Minds Never Trust A Skinny Cook Never Trust A Skinny Cook Spooks Starter Wife Kathy Griffin Survivor: Samoa Breaking Bad Heroes

SHOW SPORTS 1 07:00 Premier League World 07:30 Fut Brasil, Brazilan League Highlights 08:00 Barclays Premier League 10:00 Goals Goals Goals 10:30 Barclays Premier League Highlights 11:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 12:00 Premier League World 12:30 Premier League 14:30 Futbol Mundial 15:00 Scottish Premier League, Highlights 15:30 Live Scottish Premier League 17:30 Scottish Premier League Highlights 18:00 Live Scottish Premier League 20:00 Premier League World 20:30 Futbol Mundial 21:00 Barclays Premier League Highlights 22:00 Scottish Premier League SHOW SPORTS 2 07:00 Futbol Mundial 07:30 Premier League World 08:00 Masters Football 11:00 Test Cricket Highlights 13:00 Rob & Derek’s Christmas Cracker 15:00 Premier League 17:00 Premier League 19:00 Barclays Premier League Highlights 20:00 Premier League Classics 20:30 Live Guinness Premiership 22:30 Live PDC World Darts Championship

20:00 21:00 Brien 22:00 Fallon 23:00 23:30

The Jay Leno Show The Tonight Show With Conan O’ Late Night Show With Jimmy HUNG Jimmy Kimmel Live

SUPER MOVIES 03:00 The 11th Hour - PG 05:00 Skin - PG15 07:00 The Jerk Theory - PG 09:00 Meet Dave - PG 11:00 Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? - PG15 13:00 The Ant Bully - FAM 15:00 Wonderful World - PG15 17:00 Star Wars: The Clone Wars - PG 19:00 10,000 B.C. - PG 21:00 Youth Without Youth - PG15 23:00 Martian Child - PG TCM 03:15 Brainstorm 05:00 The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex 06:45 The Screening Room 08:00 Adam’s Rib 09:40 Born Free (1966) 11:20 The Time Machine 13:00 I’ll Take Sweden (1965) 14:40 Adam’s Rib 16:20 Man of La Mancha (1972) 18:35 The King And Four Queens (1956) 20:00 Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? 21:30 My Favorite Year 23:00 *2001*: A Space Odyssey 03:10 04:00 04:55 05:50

THE HISTORY CHANNEL Ax Men Warriors Cities Of The Underworld 2 Modern Marvels 3

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

Mega Movers (Yr 2) Man Moment Machine 2 Dogfights (Year 3) Ax Men Warriors Cities Of The Underworld 2 Modern Marvels 3 Mega Movers (Yr 2) Man Moment Machine 2 Dogfights (Year 3) Ax Men Warriors Cities Of The Underworld 2 Modern Marvels 3 Mega Movers (Yr 2) Man Moment Machine 2 Dogfights (Year 3) Angels & Demons Decoded Monsterquest THE STYLE NETWORK Split Ends - PG Clean House - PG Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? - PG Glow - FAM Area - FAM How Do I Look? - PG Dr 90210 - PG 15

TRAVEL CHANNEL 09:00 Essential - U 09:30 Rudy Maxa’s World - U 10:00 Great Scenic Railways - 175 Years U 10:30 Skier’s World - U 11:00 Chef Abroad - U 11:30 Flavours Of Spain - U 12:00 Food And Wine Special-varun Sharma - U 13:00 Globe Trekker Special - U 14:00 Chef Abroad - U 14:30 The Thirsty Traveler - U 15:00 Taste Takes Off - U 15:30 Flavours Of Spain - U

SHOW SPORTS 3 05:00 Steve Davis Trickshots 06:30 PDC World Darts Championship 11:30 Ryder Cup Waiting in the Wings 12:00 Ryder Cup Lasting Legacy 12:30 Guinness Premiership 14:30 Premier League Classics 15:00 Test Cricket Highlights 17:00 Live PDC World Darts Championship 21:00 Rob & Derek’s Christmas Cracker 23:00 Premier League Classics 23:30 Guinness Premiership 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 13:30 16:00 16:30 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 22:00 23:00

SHOW SPORTS 4 Bushido Extreme Zone UFC Unleashed UFC Unleashed WWE ECW WWE Vintage Collection UFC 108 Countdown UAE National Race Day NFL NFL NFL Game Day UFC All Access LG Action Sport UAE National Race Day NFL Game Day UFC 108 Countdown WWE SmackDown! WWE Bottomline UFC 108 Countdown

SUPER COMEDY 03:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 03:30 Late Night Show With Jimmy Fallon 04:30 Jimmy Kimmel Live 05:30 The Jay Leno Show 06:30 The New Adventures Of Old Christine 07:00 Frasier 07:30 All Of Us 08:00 The Tonight Show With Conan O’ Brien 09:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 10:00 Jimmy Kimmel Live 11:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 11:30 Frasier 12:00 The New Adventures Of Old Christine 12:30 All Of Us 13:00 The Jay Leno Show 14:00 The Tonight Show With Conan O’ Brien 15:00 Late Night Show With Jimmy Fallon 16:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 17:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 17:30 Frasier 18:00 Jimmy Kimmel Live 19:00 The New Adventures Of Old Christine 19:30 Two And A Half Men

Street Kings on Xtra Movies

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Intrepid Journeys - U Intrepid Journeys - U Africa Trek - U Intrepid Journeys - U Intrepid Journeys - U World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides Angry Planet - U Photoxplorers - U

VH1 03:00 Vh1 Music - U 06:00 Chill Out - U 08:00 Vh1 Hits - U 10:00 Vh1 Music - U 12:00 Aerobic - U 13:00 Top 10 Rock Legends - U 14:00 Brooke Knows Best 2 - U 14:30 Brooke Knows Best 2 - U 15:00 Vh1 Pop Chart - U 16:00 Vh1 Music - U 16:30 Vh1 Music - U 17:00 Vh1 Music - U 17:30 Vh1 Music - U 18:00 Music For The Masses /match Maker - U 18:30 Music For The Masses /cheater Meter - U 19:00 Vh1 Music - U 20:00 Vh1 Viewer’s Jukebox Rock - U 21:00 Vh1 Music - U 22:00 Vh1 Hits - U 23:00 (p) Vh1 Pop Chart - U 03:30 05:30 07:30 09:30 11:30 13:30 15:30 17:30 19:30 21:30

XTRA MOVIES Street Kings - PG15 Northern Lights - PG15 Graduation - PG New York Waiting - PG The Skeptic - PG15 Poseidon - PG15 Girl With a Pearl Earring - PG15 New York Waiting - PG Snow Angels - PG15 Funny Games - R


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Friday, January 1, 2010

Parker’s quiet New Year arah Jessica Parker will have a quiet New Year’s Eve with her family. The ‘Sex and the City’ actress - who plays glamorous newspaper columnist Carrie Bradshaw in the hit US TV show and movie - plans to shun her Hollywood lifestyle and will spend the night indoors with her husband Matthew Broderick and their three children. She told BANG Showbiz: “What am I doing for New Year’s Eve? I’ll be spending it with my husband and my family.” The 44-year-old actress - who has son James Wilkie, seven, and six-month-old twin daughters

Miller’s New year condition

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Marion Loretta and Tabitha Hodge with Matthew -has had an eventful year. As well as filming the second ‘Sex and the City’ movie, she and Matthew welcomed their new twin daughters through a surrogate mother into the world on June 22. Sarah loves all aspects of being a mother - especially the less glamorous jobs. She said recently: “I love the smell of diapers - I even like when they’re wet and you smell them all warm liked a baked good. I love the smell of Balmex. Love it.”

Mollie King wants fruity 2010 he Saturdays star Mollie King says her New Year’s resolution is to “eat more fruit”. The singer - who is joined in the girl group by Una Healy, Frankie Sandford, Vanessa White and Rochelle Wiseman plans to get healthy in 2010 starting with her diet. She said: “My resolution is to eat more fruit and be on time once in a while.” Mollie isn’t the only member of The Saturdays to make a healthy New Year’s resolution. Vanessa said: “My main resolution is to go to the gym, although I’m not sure it will work!” Mollie, 22, is still coming to terms with what a successful 2009 the band had. She said: “Going on tour was great and having our fans see us was a dream come true.”

T ienna Miller only agreed to holiday with Jude Law and his children if he left their nanny at home. The ‘GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra’ actress joined the actor whom she broke off her engagement to in 2005, after she found he had cheated on her with his children’s carer Daisy Wright - in the Caribbean, but only after he agreed to her ultimatum. A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “Haunted by what happened the last time they were together, Sienna is leaving nothing to chance second time around. “She wants her and Jude to work on their friendship first and foremost, and then see if love blossoms. “But by the same token, she doesn’t want any reminders of his infidelity. “So she’s made sure the children’s nanny has returned to

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England before she joins Jude on holiday in Bequia, from Barbados. “Sienna wants it to be just her and the family, and for them to have a quiet, low-key celebration together.” Jude is spending the festive period with his three children - Rafferty, 13, Iris, nine, and Rudy, seven - from his marriage to actress Sadie Frost as well as Sienna, which has reportedly upset his parents, as they don’t approve of him reconciling his romance with the ‘Edge of Love’ star. Another source said: “They have made it abundantly clear he doesn’t have their blessing. They want him to be happy but think the two of them together is a recipe for disaster. “They believe the relationship was a rollercoaster the last time and they were left to pick up the pieces when it finished.”


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Iglesias ʻcanʼt stand perfume nrique Iglesias “can’t stand it” when his girlfriend wears too much perfume. The ‘Takin’ Back My Love’ singer prefers former tennis ace Anna Kournikova’s natural scent to any expensive fragrances. The 34-yearold star said: “Women that wear too much perfume put me off. I can’t stand it when she puts too much scent on.” Fragrance crimes aside, Enrique - who has been dating Anna for over seven years - is still planning to start a family with the blonde beauty, but denies claims she is already pregnant. He said: “We’re just fine for now. No kids, no weddings. The time for that will come in the next 10 or 15 years. Every once in a while the rumors do the rounds that Anna is pregnant. “As far as I know it’s not true! They’ve had Anna pregnant five or six times already.”

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Sugababes band set US aim for New Year he Sugababes have made a resolution to crack the US in the New Year. The British girl group - who have had a difficult year after the last remaining original member Keisha Buchanan left the band in September to be replaced by Jade Ewen - plan

Alexandra hoping for world tour in 2010

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to launch a full blown assault on America in 2010. Heidi Range, 26, said: “We’re planning to go over there next year. We can’t wait. We don’t know when it will be as we have so much to do in the UK first, but it will happen.” Heidi - who is also joined in the trio by Amelle

lexandra Burke is looking forward to touring the world in 2010. The ‘Bad Boys’ singer says the only New Year’s resolution she will be making is to build on her successes of the past 12 months. She said: “I’m looking forward to another unbelievable year I hope. Releasing in other countries, maybe a tour sometime. Just getting out more and performing. “No day is ever the same. You never know what is going to happen next.” Unlike many people, Alexandra doesn’t feel the need to get fit in the New Year because she already takes good care of her sexy body. She added: “It’s about eating healthily, especially before a shoot. I do work out a bit, but being busy keeps me running around anyway.”

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Bloom strips down in sin city rlando Bloom shocked diners by stripping off in a Las Vegas restaurant. The ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ actor was dining at upmarket Italian eatery Lavo with his model girlfriend Miranda Kerr, actress Rosario Dawson and other friends when a fellow diner accidentally spilled a drink all over his expensive shirt. An onlooker said: “Everybody on the table let out a gasp when the guy spilled his drink on Orlando. He was perfectly cool about it though - rather than flying into a rage he laughed it off.” British hunk Orlando and his party then devised a plan so he could continue partying, and after making a phone call, within half an hour an employee appeared with three crisp new shirts for the actor to try on. Rather than retiring to the restrooms to change however, he simply took his shirt off in front of the restaurant, bearing his famously rippled torso. The source added: “Orlando pulled the wet shirt off, and was sitting there at his table half naked while his friend helped him into the new shirt. Mind you with his muscles, he could get away with it.”

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Berrabah - believes the girls have as much chance as anyone to crack the US. She said: “There’s room for everyone in the US. We’ve delayed our new album until next year. Hopefully, by then, we’ll have all moved on and can just talk about music.”

Plant’s womanly celebration

Stewart crush prompted ‘Twilight’ audition obert Pattinson auditioned for ‘Twilight’ because he had a crush on Kristen Stewart. The heartthrob actor - who played vampire Edward Cullen in the hit movie franchise based on the best-selling book by Stephenie Meyer - admits his main motivation to win the role was getting to know the actress, who had already been cast as love interest Bella Swann. He said: “I read the script and I barely knew that they were books too. The only reason I went to the audition was to see Kristen, because I’d just seen ‘Into The Wild’. “Of course I had a crush on her but we are just very good friends.” Robert - who has denied claims he and Kristen are enjoying a secret romance - insists he is single and on the lookout for a new girlfriend but doesn’t have a type. He said: “I am young, free and single. I like people being forward. Gosh, I don’t know. I like strong people, chiselled abs... I take what I can get.”

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obert Plant wants to spend New Year’s Eve in the arms of a woman. The 61-year-old rocker - who has famously lived a life of sex, drugs and rock n roll excess - admitted he will be looking for love over the holiday season. He said: “Where would I like to welcome in the New Year? In some warm, tantalising arms.” Although he is looking forward to celebrating New Year’s Eve, the former Led Zeppelin singer isn’t looking forward to the next decade because all it holds for him is “more attention to bladder control”. He added: “I don’t think I’ve aged gracefully. When you can feel the breeze of the Grim Reaper, there’s nothing graceful about that fear, because I’m only a third of the way through the adventures I want to have.” However, the star has made some New Year’s Resolutions - to improve his driving. He explained: “I park my car by touch, using the wheels as a guide to when I’ve hit the kerb.” —Bang Showbiz

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Music

Vienna’s New Year’s concert now heard even in Mongolia French Maestro Georges Pretre conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra during a dress rehearsal for the upcoming New Year’s concert at Vienna’s Musikverein, on Wednesday. —AP

Formula One king and Status Quo rockers honored in Britain ormula One world champion Jenson Button and the two remaining original members of veteran rockers Status Quo were recognized in the British New Year’s Honors List yesterday. Button said becoming an MBE, or Member of Order of the British Empire, was the “crowning glory” to the “most incredible” year of his life. The 29-yearold emerged from the shadow of compatriot Lewis Hamilton to become the dominant driver in Formula One in 2009. Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi are awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for their hugely successful musical career with Status Quo, including worldwide record sales of more

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than 118 million and a record-breaking 64 British hit singles. Singer-guitarist Parfitt, 61, said he and Rossi, 60, deserved the accolade for their musical career spanning four decades-and he wondered if his rock and roll lifestyle had spoiled his chances in the past. “I had kind of given up hoping. Particularly with my wild past if they’d reviewed some of my old newspaper cuttings,” he said. “To be perfectly honest, with all the hard work we have put in over the years I accept it graciously. I do think we deserve it with all that work and what we have done for charity.” Rossi said of his OBE: “I’m not sure we’re worthy. I’ve followed these things

This file picture shows Rick Parfitt (L) and Francis Rossi of the British rock group Status Quo performing on the Pyramid Stage on the third day of the annual Glastonbury festival near Glastonbury in Somerset. —AFP

for so long and you see all these people and you sometimes think ‘oh, I’m not sure about them’.” He said there was no question of him and Parfitt following the lead of musicians such as David Bowie, who refused an honor in 2000. “You hear about people refusing them because it’s not rock and roll but that’s a dickhead approach,” he added. Knighthoods were awarded to “Star Trek” actor Patrick Stewart and Scottish rugby international-turned-Lions coach Ian McGeechan. Stewart said he was “very proud” to be knighted, while McGeechan dedicated the honor to his family. Dr Claire Bertschinger, whose appearances in BBC television reports on the 1984 Ethiopian famine inspired Bob Geldof to organize Live Aid, was made a dame for services to nursing and to international humanitarian aid. She said it was “an enormous honor”, adding: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw the letter-I thought it was from the taxman.” The man who made Button’s success possible, Brawn Grand Prix team owner Ross Brawn, was honored with an OBE for 30 years of service to motorsport. Erich Reich, 74, a tour operator from London, was knighted for his charity work, including his role as chairman of the Kindertransport Group of the Association of Jewish Refugees. Reich, himself a refugee who came to the UK in 1939 aged four, organized events to mark the 70th anniversary of parliament’s decision to allow children into Britain from Nazi-occupied Europe. He said: “I want to thank the people of Britain for allowing the Kinder to come to the UK and for this amazing honor.” From the world of literature, children’s author Dick King-Smith, who wrote the book that became the 1995 hit film “Babe”, was awarded an OBE. —AFP

ienna’s traditional New Year’s concert, led once again by the dynamic French conductor Georges Pretre, will reach out to an even wider audience this year, broadcasting to 72 countries around the globe. Broadcast for the first time in Mongolia, Mozambique, Sri Lanka and Trinidad, the Vienna Philharmonic’s 2010 “Neujahrskonzert” will reach an estimated audience of 50 million, organizers said. “It is an opportunity, via radio and television, to deliver a message of love and peace to the world,” the 85-year-old Pretre told journalists in Vienna. “For two hours, everyone can forget their worries,” added the conductor with the elegant charm and easy smile. For two hours indeed, the audience seated in Vienna’s golden Musikverein or in front of their television, will be treated to a spectacle of classical music and dance, with an added touch of glamour from fashion designer Valentino. The retired Italian couturier created the costumes for the Vienna Opera’s dancers this year-in his signature red-fulfilling a lifelong dream and marking another first in the concert’s history. The dancers, along with Paris Opera stars Eleonora Abbagnato and Nicolas Le Riche, will perform choreographies by Renato Zanella in pre-taped interludes broadcast during the concert. A tribute to the waltz and to the Strauss dynasty of composers, the concert-which is always notoriously sold out a year in advance-will be broadcast for the first time in high-definition (HDTV) and on the Internet at http:/tvthek.ORF.at. Pretre, who first conducted the New Year’s concert in 2008, was invited back by the Philharmonic after his first foray proved a great success. He now belongs to an elite group of “Neujahrskonzert” conductors from the legendary Herbert von Karajan and Zubin Mehta to Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti and Seiji Ozawa. Alongside the usual Strauss waltzes, Pretre has added pieces by Jacques Offenbach, Philharmonic founder Otto Nicolai and Danish composer Hans Christian Lumbye to the 2010 program. More than a cultural event, the New Year concert has now turned into a major business, with CDs and DVDs always produced in record times and selling like hot cakes. The 2010 CD edition is already scheduled to appear on the market on January 7 and the DVD on January 14. —AFP

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Radio host Limbaugh hospitalized with chest pains onservative US radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was resting comfortably at a hospital in Hawaii on Wednesday after suffering chest pains, his website said. Local KITV television, citing unnamed sources, said earlier that Limbaugh, 58, was in serious condition at Honolulu’s Queen’s Medical Center after being treated at a hotel by paramedics. Limbaugh’s website, RushLimbaugh.com, said, “Rush was admitted to a Honolulu hospital today and is resting comfortably after suffering chest pains.” Hospital administration coordinator Wendy Rogers told Reuters she could not comment due to patient confidentiality rules. Limbaugh, a popular but controversial voice in American politics, was vacationing in Hawaii at the same time as Democratic President Barack Obama and his family. Limbaugh has been a leading critic of Obama, saying earlier this year he wanted the president to fail “if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation.” That prompted White House officials to fire back, calling Limbaugh the new face of the Republican Party. Limbaugh’s popular talk radio program is broadcast over 600 stations nationwide and is known for lambasting Democratic policies and politicians. He has experienced other medical problems in the past decade, including a loss of hearing reversed by a cochlear, or electronic hearing device, implant, and an addiction to painkillers.

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Movies

‘Simpsons’ at risk in Fox cable dispute he Simpsons” could disappear from the TVs of some cable subscribers in New York, Los Angeles and other US markets in a bitter dispute over fees that the Fox television network is demanding. As deadline approaches, Time Warner Cable offered an olive branch that could leave the Fox network and some of its cable TV channels on the lineup for millions of subscribers-for now. But an executive at Fox owner News Corp indicated a signal interruption was likely. Besides the Fox broadcast network, six cable channelsFX, Speed, Fuel, Fox Reality, Fox Soccer and Fox Sports en Espanol-and certain regional sports networks were also up for negotiations throughout the Time Warner Cable and Bright House service territories. Unaffected are Fox News, Fox Business Network and National Geographic, which is partially owned by News Corp. Those three are covered by deals that aren’t expiring yet. In dispute are the fees that Time Warner Cable Inc pays Fox to carry its channels. In the past, the Fox network was offered for free, and cable companies essentially paid more for FX and other cable channels that News Corp. also owns. This time, News Corp is demanding $1 per subscriber every month for the network itself. Fox, hurt by reductions in advertising revenue and increases in programming costs, argues that Time Warner Cable is making money off its programming, so it should get a cut of subscription revenue. Time Warner Cable says the demanded fees are excessive. Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said Wednesday the cable TV operator will agree to binding arbitration and any interim steps necessary to keep Fox channels on while talks continue. “Consumers should not be held hostage during these negotiations. That’s just wrong,” Britt said in an interview Wednesday. But in a note to employees Wednesday, News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said temporarily extending the current terms past Thursday would “simply extend the period of time that Time Warner profits from our marquee programming without fairly compensating Fox for it.” —AP

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Patrick Stewart of ‘Star Trek’ receives knighthood There’s an especially starry knight in Britain’s latest round of royal honors. Patrick Stewart — “Star Trek: The Next Generation’s” Capt Jean-Luc Picard-becomes Sir Patrick in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year honors list, which also includes a knighthood for theater and film director Nicholas Hytner. “This is an honor that embraces those actors, directors and creative teams who have in these recent years helped fill my life with inspiration, companionship and sheer fun,” said 69-year-old Stewart, who recently returned to the British stage following a long career in Hollywood that included playing Professor Charles Xavier in three “X-Men” films. Erich Reich, a refugee from Nazi-occupied Europe who organized last year’s 70th anniversary of the “Kindertranspo-rt,” which brought 10,000 children to wartime Britain, also received a knighthood. A In this separate honors list in New Zealand June 15, bestowed a 2008 file knighthood on the photo, king of Middle Earth — “Lord of actor the Rings” Patrick filmmaker Peter Stewart Jackson. Jackson, arrives at 53, was knighted in New Zealand, his the 62nd native land and the Annual filming location for Tony the trilogy, which Awards in collected 17 New York. Academy Awards. —AP

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Charlie Sheen seeks to resume contact with wife ctor Charlie Sheen asked a Colorado court on Wednesday to lift an order that has required him to stay away from his wife, amid reports that the couple hope to reconcile after his Christmas Day domestic violence arrest. The two-page motion, which asserts that his spouse, Brooke Mueller, “also wishes for the protection order to be terminated,” came five days after she accused the actor of threatening to kill her while holding a knife to her throat. A hearing is set for Monday, according to the prosecutor overseeing the case in the ski resort of Aspen. The filing follows news reports that the star of the CBS television hit comedy “Two and a Half Men” and his wife of 20 months are seeking to reconcile after the quarrel that landed Sheen in jail for several hours last Friday. Both parties told police their argument began before dawn and escalated when Mueller told Sheen she wanted a divorce and custody of their twin sons, court records showed. Mueller claimed Sheen reacted by pinning her down on a bed, holding a knife to her throat and threatening her life. Sheen denied making such threats or brandishing a knife, Charlie Sheen admitting only that they had slapped each other’s arms and that he broke her eyeglasses in front of her. Nevertheless, he was arrested on suspicion of menacing and second-degree assault-both felony offenses-and a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief. A court order barring further contact between the two also was issued. Deputy district attorney Arnold Mordkin said the outcome of the actor’s request to dissolve the protective order “has no bearing on whether or not we would file charges” against him. That decision is not expected before early February, he said. Mordkin declined comment on reports that Mueller had since recanted parts of her initial story to police. Mueller’s lawyer, Yale Galanter, was quoted by celebrity news website TMZ.com as saying Mueller did “minimize” her story for her husband’s benefit, that she and Sheen still love each other and that their altercation amounted to “one bad night.” —Reuters

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Weinstein Co says no plans to cut ʻNineʼ screens he studio behind the star-studded musical “Nine” said it has no plans at this time to pull the movie out of any theaters after disappointing box office and lackluster reviews. The Weinstein Company said that “Nine” would play in 1,412 screens in the United States this coming weekend, the same number as last weekend. “At this moment in time there has been no plan between us nor the theater chains that we deal with to cut any theaters,” David Glasser, an operations executive for the independent Weinstein Company told Reuters on Wednesday. “We are going to hold our theaters as planned. The movie is working.” Glasser told Reuters on Tuesday that the movie was performing very well on about 890 key screens but not as strongly in some smaller cities. He said the studio expected “Nine” to perform well in the weeks ahead. “Nine” was one of the most anticipated movies of the year and cost an estimated $64 million to produce. But it finished eighth at the North American box office on its second week last weekend with a modest $5.5 million in ticket sales. The poor showing came despite five Golden Globe nominations for the Federico Fellini-inspired song and dance spectacular whose cast includes Oscar winners Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Judi Dench and Nicole Kidman. Harvey

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Weinstein, who earlier this year sought restructuring advice for his cash-strapped independent Weinstein Company, has long made a strategy of turning awards show buzz into box office success. Movie industry watchers had expected “Nine” to finish in the top five over the Christmas holiday weekend in a crowded field that included action films “Avatar” and “Sherlock Holmes.” “Nine” opened in limited US release on December 18 and expanded widely on Dec 25. “It’s got to be a major blow to their strategy,” said Larry Gerbrandt, principal with Media Valuation Partners. “(Weinstein) really needed this to work. I don’t know if the blow is fatal or not, but this is certainly a setback,” he said of the box office figures. The film, based on an award-winning Broadway stage musical, follows an Italian movie director through a mid-life career and personal crisis and his entanglements with women. Two weeks ago it got five Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild nominations. But it left movie critics unimpressed, earning a meager 37 percent approval rating at review aggregating website rottentomatoes.com. Movie goers have been kinder. Show business buzz tracker Fizziolo.gy reported nearly 50 percent of the 12,500 messages posted online about “Nine” fall into the “positive” category. —Reuters


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Lifestyle Picture taken on December 22 shows British supermodel Naomi Campbell and her Russian boyfriend head of ‘Capital group’ company Vladislav Doronin are seen during recording of New Year’s light entertainment variety show on Channel One television.—AFP

Naomi Campbell to appear on Russian New Year’s show upermodel Naomi Campbell has flirted with novel writing and pop singing, but in her unlikeliest career move yet, she appeared yesterday on Russian state television to wish viewers a Happy New Year. The British model, who has a Russian boyfriend, will appear as a guest on a New Year’s light entertainment variety show on Channel One television, a spokeswoman for the channel told AFP. The all-night show, a fixture of New Year’s Eve celebrations in Russia which last year attracted more than a third of viewers in the country, runs around a speech by President Dmitry

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Medvedev and the chimes of the Kremlin clock-tower. In the show’s trailer, Campbell stumbles over a simple question: Asked in Russian whether this is her first New Year’s in Russia, she answers in English, “No, this is, yes, no, sorry,” before bursting into laughter. A spokeswoman for the channel, Svetlana Doronina, would not reveal whether Campbell will speak Russian on the show. Campbell is shown in a silver sequined dress, seated next to her boyfriend, Vladislav Doronin, a businessman involved in real estate. Their relationship was first reported in

Namibian women bare all for animal welfare calendar onty, a white mongrel with black ears and a thoughtful expression, sat next to her owner at a Windhoek shopping centre and enjoyed pats from small children, as their mothers shrieked in surprise. The mums were paging through a calendar showing Monty posing with women, well, showing the full monty themselves, in the nude, discretely covered at strategic areas by dogs, cats and even a rabbit. Desperate to raise funds for the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to

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ambitious print run of 2,000 copies at 300 Namibian dollars each (40 US dollars, 28 euros), became a money-maker in the Christmas shopping fever. “We sold just over half of the calendars now and hope all are gone by the end of the year,” said Rapp, a businesswoman with her own company who posed with Snoopy, who resembles a terrier. The project was modeled on the original “Calendar Girls” in Britain, a group of women who produced a nude calendar in 1999 to raise funds for leukaemia

summer 2008, when British newspapers published photographs of the couple canoodling on a yacht. The other international guests will include French actor Alain Delon and Greek pop star Demis Roussos, both of whom are popular in Russia.Campbell has made appearances at charity events in Russia but has generally kept a low profile while visiting the country. She has previously attempted to move away from modeling by publishing a novel, “Black Swan,” in 1994 and releasing a pop album a year later, both of which were poorly received by critics.—AFP

No New Year’s toasts in sauna, Russians urged ussia has urged revelers celebrating the New Year in saunas to refrain from popping open the champagne until they have left the steam houses, warning it could prove fatal. “I would like to make the following recommendation: drink after being in the sauna, not when inside,” Interfax news agency quoted Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying on New Year’s Eve. “Maybe this sounds funny... But many people die in saunas,” he added. Enthusiastic sauna visitors, Russians often drink beer or vodka in the woodpaneled huts and hold alcohol-fuelled New Year’s celebrations in the thousands of steam rooms and bath houses across the country. —Reuters

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A Bengal tiger looks undisturb as a group of children blow paper horns to call his attention on New Year’s eve yesterday at a zoo in suburban Malabon City, north of Manila, Philippines. The coming year 2010 falls on the Year of the Tiger in Chinese calendar. —AP

Recent picture of Tatjana Rapp (L), dog ‘model’ Monty (L) and her friend Temba with Kerstin Drews posing on December 12, 2009 as they sell copies of the SPCA calendars outside a supermarket in Windhoek, Namibia to raise funds for the animal shelter. —AFP Animals (SPCA), 12 mostly middle-aged Namibian pet lovers bared it all with furry models from an animal shelter-though most of these animals were since lucky enough to be adopted. The outcome was a tasteful collection of professional black and white photos in a 2010 calendar with the motto: “Dare to go bare because we care”. “We were extremely nervous at the first shooting session, but sipping some good wine helped, and photographer Tony Figueira was very understanding,” said Tatjana Rapp, an SPCA committee member in the Namibian capital. What started as a joke, with an

research after the husband of one of the women died of the disease. Their story was told in a 2003 awardwinning film of the same name, and they still raise funds for medical research with their calendars every year, though they no longer bare it all. The Namibia project was inadvertently launched by a radio joke. “We were unaware of this but a commercial radio station told listeners on April 1, April Fools Day this year, that the Windhoek SPCA would produce a nude calendar like the British originals,” said Monty’s owner Kirsten Drews, another SPCA committee member. —AFP


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Fireworks flash over Sydney Harbor during New Year’s Eve celebrations, yesterday. —AP

World readies for New Year’s parties he first of an expected 1.5 million New Year’s revelers pitched tents and opened picnic baskets in Sydney yesterday to get one of the world’s biggest parties started-bidding farewell to a tough year and welcoming a new decade. The annual fireworks extravaganza over the city’s landmark harbor bridge and opera house are the centerpiece of Australia’s celebrations, and generate some of the most striking images from a night of revelry across the globe. Smaller fireworks displays and partying are planned across Australia and the South Pacific, the first region to greet each

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new day because of its proximity to the International Date Line. In New Zealand, dance parties, bands and fireworks were planned in the main cities, and live entertainment in many holiday spots, including the southern tourist spot of Queenstown. In the capital, Wellington, celebrations will include a display by world unicycle games competitors. Asia will be partying, too, though probably not as hard as most of Europe and the Americas. The world’s most populous nation, 1.3-billion-strong China, uses a different calendar that will mark the new year in February. Islamic nations such as Pakistan and

New Year drunks ‘should pay for hospital care’ xcessive drinking over New Year’s Eve could cost the NHS as much as 23 million pounds, according to a report which recommends drunks be charged a hospital admission fee of 532 pounds. “Alcohol misuse in Britain is at a level where it constitutes a public health epidemic,” said the report by the rightleaning Policy Exchange think-tank. Direct costs to the NHS are nearly 3 billion a year, with hospital admissions for alcohol intoxication doubling in a decade, it added. The government should review its entire strategy for tackling the harms from alcohol misuse, it advised. “We recommend that the costs of being admitted to hospital to sleep off alcoholic excess should be met by individuals, not the NHS,” said Henry Featherstone, head of the think-tamk’s health unit. “Those admitted to hospital for less than 24 hours with acute alcohol intoxication should be charged the NHS tariff cost for their admission of 532 pounds.” That amount would be reduced for those paying the costs of their own alcohol education and awareness course. Department of Health figures confirm that total annual healthcare cost relating to alcohol misuse amounts to about 2.7 billion pounds a year. —Reuters

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Afghanistan also use a different calendar. Pyrotechnics displays were planned to illuminate Hong Kong’s crowded skyline, high-glitz parties were planned in Singapore and thousands were expected to gather at Indonesia’s national monument in the capital, Jakarta, for a fireworks show. Millions of Japanese will welcome the new year by flocking to shrines to pray for good fortune in 2010. In Tokyo, the Sensoji temple was draped with banners greeting the new year in preparation for traditional new year’s day ceremonies when thousands of people come to pray for good fortune. Shoppers mobbed a city,

stocking up on seafood and other items. The celebrations will mark the end of a year many may be glad to put behind them. The global financial crisis bit hard in 2009, sending economies around the world tumbling into recession and causing millions to lose their jobs and house foreclosures to rise. Signs of recovery emerged late in the year, giving hope that 2010 would bring better times. In Sydney, crowds defied gray skies and drizzling rain in the middle of summer to line parks and public places along the harbor foreshore. High-rise apartments with water views prepared for toney parties.

Revelers were asked to wear something blue, the color chosen to match the fireworks show’s theme: Awaken the Spirit. “Sydney has an amazing spirit — soulful, sexy and sophisticated and we want to celebrate and awaken her spirit for the new year ahead,” artistic director Rhoda Roberts said. In other cities such as Melbourne and Adelaide, revelers sweltered in 100 F-degree heat (38 C-degree heat). Thousands of police were deployed across Australia to guard against alcoholfueled misbehavior, with commanders warning that troublemakers should stay home or face jail.—AP

Father Frost, the equivalent of Santa Claus and Snow Maiden accompanied by a brass band march during a New Year parade in central Bishkek yesterday. —AFP

A passer by stops and check out New Year’s performance outside the Kabuki theater in Tokyo, yesterday. —AP


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Classic clash heats up with wins for Bruins, Flyers BOSTON: The NHL’s Winter Classic promised to heat up Fenway Park, whatever the weather for the annual outdoor clash scheduled this season at the venerable baseball venue. The Classic contestants - the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins - both notched wins on Wednesday to boost their morale going into the third edition of the New Year’s Day outdoor game originally conceived as a way to take the game back to its pond hockey roots. In New York on Wednesday, Philadelphia’s Simon Gagne scored three goals and added an assist as the Flyers handed the Rangers their worst defeat of the

season - 6-0. It continued a welcome reversal of fortune for the Flyers, who had fallen to the Rangers at home on December 19, then lost at home to Florida two nights later before starting a six-game road trip with four victories. “We knew before the Winter Classic that this game was almost more important,” Gagne said. “For us to come here and beat them 6-0 after they beat us in our building, that’s a good feeling.” Gagne completed his third career hat trick with 8:30 to play. He has four goals and three assists in six games since returning from abdominal surgery. The Bruins warmed up for the

Winter Classic with a 4-0 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers. “Everyone was on board right from the beginning, really focused,” captain Zdeno Chara said. “Everybody was going every shift out there with a purpose.” The Bruins managed to keep their minds on the task, despite the distractions of the upcoming outdoor extravaganza. Festivities at the special outdoor rink installed at Fenway - fabled home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team - will include tributes to members of the 1960 and 1980 US Olympic ice hockey teams as well as ceremonies honoring local civic organizations and the US armed services.

Singer-songwriter James Taylor is slated to sing the Star Spangled Banner, while Canada’s Daniel Powter will perform the Canadian national anthem. An ice sculpting exhibition and youth games on an auxiliary rink in the Fenway outfield are also on the programme. The US Olympic ice hockey squad is to be announced after the game. Bruins coach Claud Julien said it was important for his players not to get caught up in the hoopla too soon. “Our whole focus was about that we needed to find our game for the sake of finding our game,” he said of the Bruins’ performance against

Atlanta. In the previous two Winter Classics, Pittsburgh beat Buffalo 21 in a shootout at Ralph Wilson Stadium - home of the NFL’S Bills in 2008 and Detroit beat Chicago at Wrigley Field, another classic baseball ground, in 2009. Earlier this week weather forecasts called for rain, which could cause problems with the ice. Anxiety over the weather has eased with revised forceasts calling for colder weather on Friday with perhaps a mix of rain and snow early in the day. “I’m sure they’ve got something figured out,” Boston’s Michael Ryder said of any potential hitch. —AFP

Penalty shots fuel Sharks 5-2 win over Capitals Brodeur puts on ‘Devil of a show’ against Penguins SAN JOSE: The San Jose Sharks became the first team in more than 27 years to score on two penalty shots in a game and went on to win their sixth straight, 5-2 over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. Joe Thornton and Ryane Clowe scored on the penalty shots, making San Jose the first team since Vancouver on Feb. 11, 1982, at Detroit to score twice on penalty shots. Joe Pavelski scored twice, and Torry Mitchell added a goal for San Jose. Evgeni Nabokov made 24 saves, allowing thirdperiod goals to Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble. Devils 2, Penguins 0 At Newark, New Jersey, Martin Brodeur made 32 saves for his second straight shutout against Pittsburgh and record 105th overall, leading New Jersey to a victory over the Penguins Selected to the Canadian Olympic team Wednesday, Brodeur broke a tie with Terry Sawchuk for the NHL shutout record in his previous start against the Penguins, a 4-0 victory in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21. Niclas Bergfors and Jamie Langenbrunner scored for the Devils, 4-0 against the Penguins this season. New Jersey has won 14 of its last 17 games overall. Bruins 4, Thrashers 0 At Boston, Byron Bitz tipped in a shot to start Boston’s three-goal first period, and Tuukka Rask made 18 saves for the Bruins in their final game before the outdoor Winter Classic at Fenway Park. The Bruins won for the fourth time in five games heading into the NHL’s

annual New Year’s Day game on Friday against Philadelphia. Marco Sturm, Steve Begin and Patrice Bergeron also scored for Boston. Flyers 6, Rangers 0 At New York, Simon Gagne scored three goals and added an assist, and Michael Leighton made 22 saves to help Philadelphia stretch its winning streak to four games. Former Rangers forward Blair Betts scored 54 seconds into his return to Madison Square Garden, and Danny Briere and Claude Giroux took advantage of New York turnovers to push the Flyers’ lead to 3-0 in the first period. Philadelphia is 4-0 on its six-game trip that will continue Friday in the Winter Classic at Fenway Park. Avalanche 4, Senators 3 At Ottawa, Ryan O’Reilly scored the winning goal early in the third period, and Craig Anderson stopped 27 shots as Colorado edged Ottawa. Matt Duchene, Kyle Quincey and Chris Durno also scored for Northwest Division-leading Colorado, 8-2-1 against the Eastern Conference and 4-0 against the Northeast Division. Ryan Shannon scored twice for Ottawa, and Nick Foligno added a goal. Canadiens 2, Lightning 1, OT At Tampa, Florida, Tomas Plekanec scored at 3:32 of overtime, and Carey Price made 34 saves to help Montreal down Tampa Bay. Brian Gionta also scored for Montreal. Kurtis Foster scored for Tampa Bay.

SAN JOSE: Jamie McGinn No 64 of the San Jose Sharks battles for the puck with Matt Bradley No 10 of the Washington Capitals during an NHL game at the HP Pavilion on December 30, 2009 in San Jose, California. —AFP Oilers 3, Maple Leafs 1 At Edmonton, Alberta, Patrick O’Sullivan scored two power-play goals, and Jeff Deslauriers made 27 saves to help Edmonton snap a seven-game losing streak. Gilbert Brule also scored for the Oilers. Phil Kessel spoiled Deslauriers’ shutout bid with 4 minutes left in the third, scoring a power-play goal. Flames 2, Kings 1 At Calgary, Alberta, Miikka Kiprusoff made 23 saves for Calgary, and Craig Conroy broke a secondperiod tie with his first goal of the season. Rene Bourque also scored for Calgary, and Scott Parse countered for Los Angeles. Kiprusoff stopped Dustin Brown on a penalty shot in the second period. —AP

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Wednesday: Boston 4, Atlanta 0; New Jersey 2, Pittsburgh 0; Philadelphia 6, NY Rangers 0; Montreal 2, Tampa Bay 1 (OT); Colorado 4, Ottawa 3; Calgary 2, Los Angeles 1; Edmonton 3, Toronto 1; San Jose 5, Washington 2. (OT denotes overtime win) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF New Jersey 28 9 1 112 Pittsburgh 26 14 1 130 Philadelphia 19 18 2 112 NY Rangers 18 17 4 105 NY Islanders 16 18 7 99 Northeast Division Buffalo 24 11 4 107 Boston 20 12 7 103 Ottawa 20 16 4 112 Montreal 20 19 3 109 Toronto 14 18 9 114 Southeast Division Washington 24 10 6 144 Atlanta 18 17 4 124 Tampa Bay 15 15 10 100 Florida 16 17 7 113 Carolina 10 22 7 99

GA 81 107 109 112 126

PTS 57 53 40 40 39

90 94 119 115 142

52 47 44 43 37

114 125 120 128 143

54 40 40 39 27

Western Conference Central Division Chicago 26 10 3 121 84 55 Nashville 23 14 3 116 117 49 Detroit 19 14 6 100 101 44 St. Louis 17 17 5 102 111 39 Columbus 15 18 8 109 138 38 Northwest Division Colorado 23 12 6 123 118 52 Calgary 22 12 5 109 96 49 Vancouver 23 16 1 125 99 47 Minnesota 20 17 3 106 114 43 Edmonton 16 20 4 113 132 36 Pacific Division San Jose 25 8 7 135 103 57 Phoenix 25 13 3 108 92 53 Los Angeles 22 15 3 117 117 47 Dallas 17 11 11 116 121 45 Anaheim 16 16 7 109 124 39 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).


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Die hard Bryant won’t let injuries slow him LOS ANGELES: Kobe Bryant hasn’t been trapped in a fancy Los Angeles building and surrounded by vicious enemies led by a brilliant German since the last time Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks visited Staples Center. Still, the Los Angeles Lakers’ unbreakable star was only half-joking recently when he said he was Bruce Willis — you know, the “Die Hard” star famed for playing action heroes who can’t be stopped, no matter the odds or injuries stacked against them. With a broken index finger on his shooting hand, a strained elbow and several additional woes that have come and gone this season, Bryant is persevering through an uncommon spate of significant injuries without missing a game for the defending NBA

champions. “Injuries don’t affect me,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and say I’ve got a (bad) knee, I’ve got a (bad) finger. I’m fine. I’m more than fine. I always keep playing.” Bryant’s season-high 44-point performance in a 124-118 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday propelled him past Denver’s Carmelo Anthony into the overall NBA scoring lead with 30.4 points per game. He has averaged more than 38 points over the Lakers’ last five outings, starting with a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder last week in which he was elbowed in the jaw before coming uncomfortably close to a major knee injury as he dropped 40 on them. What’s more, Bryant is doing all this shooting and dribbling with an

avulsion fracture — a fragment of bone torn away by a tendon or ligament — in his index finger, the most important digit for controlling his shot. He plays wearing a soft white protective padding that appears to be one of Mickey Mouse’s fingers, and he sometimes resorts to left-handed shots in tough situations, using the ambidextrous shooting skills he has practiced since childhood. “I don’t know how he does what he does,” Lakers forward Lamar Odom said. “I’ve never seen him have trouble adjusting because of injuries. It’s one thing to play through an injury, but to play at the level he does with the injuries he has, it’s crazy. We aren’t surprised by anything now.” Bryant’s biggest worry about his broken finger

was its effect on his free throws, which rely most heavily on his touch. Yet he made 16 without a miss in the win over Golden State on Tuesday, blowing away Warriors coach Don Nelson. “That guy is amazing,” Nelson said. “To be able to shoot like he did with the finger problems that he has on his shooting hand, it’s amazing. I love watching him play, and it’s always a pleasure to coach against him.” Yet Bryant doesn’t want to hear any praise or credit for his effort. He rarely talks about his injuries except when pestered by the media, and he reacts almost angrily to suggestions he’s doing something remarkable. “Man, stop asking me about injuries,” he said with mock indignation. “You think I’m not going

to play? I’m fine. ... It’s just a different technique to shoot the ball.” Bryant had two scares last week in that win over Oklahoma City, and the elbow to his face from Russell Westbrook wasn’t even the worst: Staples Center went silent with fear when Bryant’s left knee bent back awkwardly on landing. The play worried coach Phil Jackson, who saw Karl Malone get a serious knee injury on a similar play, yet Bryant came back after a timeout and finished the game, attributing his ligaments’ survival to luck and a natural flexibility. Bryant’s most recent injury was a strained right elbow, which occurred in the second half of a double-overtime victory against the Sacramento Kings one night after the Christmas flop. — AP

LeBron scores 48, Varejao hits winning 3 for Cavs Nets set NBA record opening the season with 18 straight losses CLEVELAND: Anderson Varejao made his first career 3-pointer with 17.2 seconds left to celebrate Cavaliers teammate LeBron James’ 25th birthday and give Cleveland a 106-101 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday for their 11th victory in 12 games. James scored a season-high 48 points with 10 rebounds for the Cavs, who won their sixth straight and 11th in a row at home. With the score tied at 101 and the 24-second shot clock down to its final tick, the ball wound up in the hands of Varejao, who missed his first 18 career 3-pointers. But the frizzy-haired Brazilian stepped up and drilled his long shot before James rushed into his arms. Joe Johnson scored 35 for the Hawks, who were held to just 37 points in the second half. Suns 116, Celtics 98 At Phoenix, Amare Stoudemire and Channing Frye scored 26 points each as Phoenix handed what was left of Boston its third straight loss. The Celtics were without injured Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the final stop of what turned out to be an awful four-game road trip. Eddie House led the Celtics with 19 points, going 5 of 7 on 3s. Ray Allen managed 15 points of 4 of 13 shooting. Magic 117, Bucks 92 At Orlando, Florida, Vince Carter overcame a hard collision to score 25 points and rally Orlando past Milwaukee. Carter was thrust under the courtside seats on a hard hit by Ersan Ilyasova late in the third quarter that gave Orlando a brief scare. The Magic’s star shooting guard shook off the pain and never exited, igniting a 17-2 run that helped them pull away. Dwight Howard had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Jason Williams added 16 points to help Orlando rebound from its Christmas Day loss to Boston.Brandon Jennings had 20 points, and Andrew Bogut had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, who lost for the seventh time in their last eight games. Raptors 107, Bobcats 103 At Toronto, Chris Bosh had 33 points and 13 rebounds, and Andrea Bargnani matched his season high with 28 points as Toronto beat Charlotte for its season-high fifth straight victory.Marco Belinelli scored 13 points and rookie DeMar DeRozan had 10 as Toronto avenged its worst defeat of the season, a 116-81 loss at Charlotte on Nov. 25 — the biggest margin of victory in Bobcats history. Stephen Jackson scored 30 points and Raymond Felton had 23 for the Bobcats, who are 1-14 on the road, the secondworst mark in the NBA. Hornets 95, Heat 91 At New Orleans, David West scored six of his 21 points in the last 55 seconds as New Orleans held on to beat Miami. Chris Paul had 18 points and nine assists, and Emeka Okafor had 15 points, 14 rebounds and a key block on Udonis Haslem in the final 30 seconds, helping the Hornets end a

two-game skid and snap Miami’s three-game winning streak. Dwyane Wade scored 22 for the Heat, which trailed by 15 early in the fourth quarter but led 88-87 when Quentin Richardson tipped in Wade’s missed jumper with 59 seconds to go. Nets 104, Knicks 95 At East Rutherford, New Jersey, Brook Lopez had 21 points and 14 rebounds as New Jersey posted a rare victory to snap a 10-game losing streak with a blowout of New York. Yi Jianlian added 22 points, Chris Douglas-Roberts had 17 and Devin Harris had 17, eight assists and seven rebounds as New Jersey (3-29) ended its second double-digit losing streak of the season. The Nets set an NBA record opening the season with 18 straight losses. Reserve Al Harrington scored 25 to lead the Knicks, while David Lee added 24 points and 15 rebounds. Grizzlies 121, Pacers 110 At Indianapolis, Rudy Gay scored 31 points to lead Memphis over Indiana, the Pacers’ eighth straight loss. Zach Randolph had 28 points and 13 rebounds, and Marc Gasol added 21 points and 10 boards for the Grizzlies. Former Pacer Jamaal Tinsley scored three points in 15 minutes for Memphis. It was his first game in Indiana since the Pacers waived him this past summer. Luther Head tied a career high with 30 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, and Roy Hibbert added a career-best 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Pacers. Jazz 107, Timberwolves 103 At Minneapolis, Deron Williams had 21 points and 12 assists as Utah avoided an embarrassing third consecutive loss to lowly Minnesota. The Timberwolves trailed by 17 with 4:30 remaining, but cut the deficit to three after a pair of 3-pointers by Kevin Love with about 35 seconds left. Trail Blazers 103, Clippers 99 At Portland, Oregon, Brandon Roy had 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists as Portland beat Los Angeles despite losing LaMarcus Aldridge to a sprained left ankle in the first quarter. Martell Webster added 15 points, Jerryd Bayless had 14 and rookie Jeff Pendergraph had eight points and 14 rebounds for the Blazers, who have won four in a row and seven of eight against the Clippers. Chris Kaman had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, and Eric Gordon added 24 points. Rasual Butler scored 15 and Baron Davis had 12 points and 11 assists. 76ers 116, Kings 106 At Sacramento, California, Lou Williams scored 22 points and Allen Iverson had 20 as Philadelphia pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat Sacramento. Donte Greene and Omri Casspi each scored 21 points for the Kings. Jason Thompson had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Sergio Rodriguez also scored 15 points. — AP

PHOENIX: Robin Lopez No.15 of the Phoenix Suns grabs a rebound over Ray Allen No.20 and Kendrick Perkins No.43 of the Boston Celtics during the NBA game at US Airways Center on December 30, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Celtics 116-98. — AP

NBA results/standings NBA results and standings on Wednesday: Cleveland 106, Atlanta 101; Memphis 121, Indiana 110; Orlando 117, Milwaukee 92; Toronto 107, Charlotte 103; New Jersey 104, NY Knicks 95; Utah 107, Minnesota 103; New Orleans 95, Miami 91; Phoenix 116, Boston 98; Portland 103, LA Clippers 99; Philadelphia 116, Sacramento 106. Western Conference Eastern Conference Atlantic Division Northwest Division W L PCT GB Denver 20 12 .625 Boston 23 8 .742 Portland 21 13 .618 Toronto 16 17 .485 8 Utah 18 13 .581 1.5 NY Knicks 12 20 .375 11.5 Oklahoma City 17 14 .548 2.5 Philadelphia 9 22 .290 14 Minnesota 7 26 .212 13.5 New Jersey 3 29 .094 20.5 Pacific Division Central Division LA Lakers 25 6 .806 Cleveland 26 8 .765 Phoenix 21 12 .636 5 Chicago 12 17 .414 11.5 Sacramento 14 17 .452 11 Milwaukee 12 18 .400 12 LA Clippers 13 18 .419 12 Detroit 11 20 .355 13.5 Golden State 9 22 .290 16 Indiana 9 22 .290 15.5 Southwest Division Southeast Division Dallas 22 9 .710 Orlando 23 8 .742 San Antonio 18 11 .621 3 Atlanta 21 10 .677 2 Houston 19 13 .594 3.5 Miami 16 13 .552 6 Charlotte 12 18 .400 10.5 Memphis 15 16 .484 7 Washington 10 20 .333 12.5 New Orleans 14 16 .467 7.5


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Indian team in Pakistan for boxing contest KARACHI: India sent its first sports team to Pakistan in more than a year yesterday as a sevenmember boxing team flew into Karachi to compete in a international tournament. The boxers are the first Indian sports team to cross the border since India stalled sporting links with Pakistan after the November 2008 attacks on Mumbai, which New Delhi blamed on militants based in Pakistan. India refused to allow its cricket team to tour Pakistan

late last year, citing security fears. Pakistan sent tennis, squash and snooker players to compete in India last year but New Delhi resisted sending its own sportsmen to Pakistan. The peace process between the two nuclear armed neighbours, which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, collapsed after the Mumbai attacks. Head coach of the Indian boxing team, Shiv Singh,

said the boxers were happy to tour Pakistan. “We have been cleared by the government to take part in the event and all the members of the squad are very happy to be here,” Singh told reporters at the airport in Karach, Pakistan’s financial capital. Mohammad Ali Shah, the sports minister in Sindh province of which Karachi is the capital, promised foolproof security arrangements in the wake of a suicide attack that killed

43 people in the city on Monday. On March 3, an attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore killed eight people and wounded seven Sri Lankan players and a coach, all but destroyed Pakistan’s hopes of hosting top-level international sport. Three Indian boxersSanjay Singh, Naresh Singh and Parnoj Singh-will compete in the international event named after former Pakistan prime minister

Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in December 2007. The organisers expect around 20 teams to compete in the week-long contest, which begins with an opening ceremony today. Singh said both India and Pakistan are doing well at an international level and need to compete against each other. “Pakistan and India must compete against each other, more so that they can improve and win more

laurels at the international level,” said Singh. “We have come here with good preparations and want to win.” Singh shrugged off security concerns, saying he has faith in the organisers. “We have no security concerns, the focus is on boxing and the rest is in the hands of our hosts.” Teams from Iraq and Afghanistan are also due to compete in the event in which Pakistan will field two teams. —AFP

Pacquiao files suit against Mayweathers Alleges that Mayweather and others defamed him SAN DIEGO: A University of Nebraska Cornhuskers cheerleader looks on against the University of Arizona Wildcats during the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. —AFP

Plenty still at stake as NFL season concludes NEW YORK: Even though 10 teams have made the NFL playoffs and only two berths are still open, a truckload of games in this weekend’s last round of the regular season could affect the postseason lineup. All six playoff participants in the NFC have been already decided but the the conference is pretty spicy, with the East crown about to be decided in Dallas, the Minnesota Vikings capable of being seeded second, third or fourth in the playoffs, and the top-ranked New Orleans Saints suddenly struggling. The AFC already has all four division winners and has concentrated its frenzy on the wild-card race, which has seven teams still in the scramble. The Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets are in control, but if either slips, the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins remain possibilities. Denver has 10 scenarios by which it can get a wild card, half of those not even requiring the Broncos to win on Sunday against Kansas City. Most intriguing are the Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles, and the Jets vs. Cincinnati Bengals. Dallas won 20-16 at Philadelphia on Nov. 8, seemingly taking charge of the division. But the Cowboys went 4-3 after that, while Philadelphia went 6-1 to take the NFC East lead. Sunday’s winner gets the division title and perhaps a bye in the first round of the playoffs. “It’s a perfect picture right now,” Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins said. “I think it was set up real great. We’re in a good situation to go in and show everybody what we’re made of. Doing it (against the Eagles) is even better. We’re in a great situation.” Of course, they were in the same situation a year ago in the wild-card race, went into Philadelphia and were smashed 44-6. An Eagles victory earns them that bye. Dallas needs a win and losses by Minnesota and Arizona to get the week off. Most people, including Jets coach Rex Ryan, thought the Jets would have the postseason off after a loss to Atlanta two weeks ago. Then everything New York required to remain viable for the playoffs happened last weekend — including the Indianapolis Colts waving an unbeaten season goodbye by sitting nearly every starter in the third quarter of a close game. The Jets rallied to hand Indianapolis its first loss, and with a victory on Sunday over the AFC North champion Bengals, who also might rest their regulars, New York gets in. “We had a lot of tough games this year, a lot of tough losses, games that we thought we would win and we ended up coming up short,” running back Thomas Jones said. “For us to have an opportunity to even get in the playoffs at this point in the season says a lot about our coaching staff, says a lot about Rex and the commitment that they have to us. It says a lot about the character of our team and guys not giving up.” It also says a lot about having a favorable schedule at the end of the season. —AP

LAS VEGAS: Manny Pacquiao is fighting mad, and taking on Floyd Mayweather jnr in court even as a potential blockbuster bout between the two is on the ropes. Filipino hero Pacquiao filed a lawsuit in federal court in Las Vegas on Wednesday alleging that Mayweather and others defamed him by falsely saying Pacquiao used performanceenhancing drugs. “Calling a professional athlete a cheater is the most serious charge one can make,” the lawsuit says, “and in today’s world, accusing an athlete of using performance-enhancing drugs - however baseless and lacking in evidence - is toxic.” Pacquiao has been angered by the Mayweather camp’s insistence on doping control blood tests in the buildup to their welterweight showdown a demand that has the March 13 fight in doubt. Mayweather has said the

blood tests, which could detect substances not found by urine tests, are vital to ensure a fair fight, although blood tests are not routinely used in boxing. Pacquiao - who says he fears having blood drawn less than 30 days before the fight would ‘weaken’ him - has taken exception to the demand and to comments made by the Mayweather camp in media interviews. His lawsuit asks for damages in excess of 75,000 dollars and names Mayweather, his father, Floyd snr, and uncle Roger Mayweather as defendants. Oscar De La Hoya and Richard Schaefer, who operate Golden Boy Promotions and are promoting Mayweather, are also named as having “stated publicly that Pacquiao has used and is using performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids.” The lawsuit cites several interviews given by the Mayweather camp, including the

unbeaten US boxer’s comments in a radio interview in October about Pacquiao’s physical development, when he said: “cause we know the Philippines got the best enhancing drugs.” Also quoted in the suit were Mayweather’s remarks published in the british newspaper The Guardian, in which Mayweather said he had “great doubt as to the level of fairness I would be facing in the ring that night.” “The truth did not stop Mayweather and the others,” the suit alleges. “That is because they are motivated by ill will, spite, malice, revenge and envy.” Pacquiao, who has supplanted Mayweather in the estimation of many as boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter, has earned titles in seven weight classes. Their fight could bring each as much as 40 million dollars, and it had appeared to be virtually set after squabbles

were settled over issues including the division of the purse and the type of gloves to be used. The dope test procedures, however, have proved a sticking point. The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum is preparing to open negotiations with World Boxing Association super welterweight champion Yuri Foreman as talks with Mayweather falter. Arum, contacted by the newspaper while on vacation in Mexico, sounded pessimistic that Pacquaio-Mayweather would happen on March 13. “This is only my opinion, but I don’t see the fight happening now,” he told the Times. “Positions are hardening ... Manny’s fit to be tied. He’s very angry.” Arum acknowledged there could still be a breakthrough, but said: “It might be best to visit this fight later in 2010.” —AFP

SAN DIEGO: Cornerbacks Dejon Gomez No. 7 and Anthony Blue No. 14 of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers tackle Wide Receiver William Wright No 19 of the University of Arizona Wildcats during the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, on December 30, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. —AFP


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Rejuvenated Hewitt primed for Australian Open PERTH: Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt says he is fitter than he has been for several years and primed for a serious assault on the grand slam title he most craves, the Australian Open. Speaking after arriving yesterday for tomorrow’s opener in the mixed teams Hopman Cup, where he and Samantha Stosur are top seeds, Hewitt said he had overcome the injuries that have plagued him in recent years and was in peak condition for the Open in late January. Hewitt, a dual grand slam winner, slipped out of the top 100

early this year as he battled his way back from a major hip problem, but during 2009 clawed his way up the rankings to finish the season at 22. The 28-year-old Australian has never made a secret of his burning desire to claim his home grand slam and although many believe the veteran’s chance has passed-his loss to Marat Safin in an epic 2005 final his best effort-Hewitt said he was ready to make a major impact in Melbourne. “A lot depends on the draw. At least I will be seeded and hopefully I get a smooth passage through,” he said of his Australian Open

prospects. “If I can get through the first week and put myself in a position in the second week, there is no reason I can’t do some damage. “I feel as fit and strong as I have ever been and I am hitting the ball well at the moment. “If the body holds up, there is no reason I can’t give all these guys a run.” Hewitt has been working with a fitness trainer from Sydney and said he had been building towards the Australian summer for the last three months, having not played since early October.

“Fitness-wise I am as good as I have ever been.... I feel really good. “I have been doing the hard yards on and off the practice court and have a good team behind me and we feel like we have done everything right. “It is a matter now of going out there.... I have been waiting the last three months to get out on the court and play these tournaments and get into it,” said Hewitt. “Melbourne in a couple of weeks’ time is the big one that you want to be peaking for.” Hewitt dismissed suggestions

his best tennis was behind him, pointing out that he was highly competitive in the grand slams this year. “This year in the majors it took the best guys to beat me,” he said. “I lost a tight one to Gonzales, and then (Andy) Roddick, (Rafael) Nadal and (Roger) Federer are the other three that beat me in the grand slams. “If I keep putting myself in that position things will turn around.” witt and Stosur open their Hopman Cup campaign against Romanians Sorana Cirstea and Victor Hanescu tomorrow. —AFP

Roddick says knee is better but not perfect BRISBANE: Andy Roddick’s left knee isn’t perfect but he’s hoping for a successful start to the 2010 tennis season at the Brisbane International. Roddick had his first practice session yesterday at Pat Rafter Arena in preparation for next week’s first tuneup tournament ahead of the Australian Open from Jan. 1831. The 27-year-old American missed the ATP World Tour Finals at London in November because of the knee ailment. He had one of his best years on tour this season, reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open and losing to Roger Federer 16-14 in the fifth set of the Wimbledon final. He is the No 1 men’s seed at the Brisbane International. Roddick’s left knee was unstrapped Thursday during a hour-long session with defending champion Radek Stepanek. “It’s coming around all right,” Roddick said. “It was disappointing to finish the year like I did, especially considering I felt like I was having a really good year until the injury came about. “That was disappointing but on the flipside I’m probably a little bit more mentally rested than a lot of these guys, maybe a little bit more eager to get out here. I’ve been playing a lot. I’m definitely not coming in underpracticed.” The 2003 U.S. Open winner said his 2009 record, including a fourth Australian Open semifinal appearance, gave him extra belief he can claim a second career Grand Slam title — possibly in Melbourne in January. “Obviously I feel like maybe I could have played a final there before,” he said. “It hasn’t quite happened but there’s not a lot of people walking around that can say ... that they’ve played in four semifinals.” Roddick said he still flashes back to the tough Wimbledon loss against Federer. “It’s like anything that’s hard in anyone’s life,” Roddick said. “You just keep going and do the things you enjoy and slowly, maybe, I’ll only think about it four times today.” —AP

Castres’s winger Chris Masoe (2nd L) tries to break away with teammates Akvsenti Giorgadze (C) and Ibrahim Diarra (2nd R) during the French Top14 rugby union match Castres vs. Montauban at PierreAntoine stadium in Castres, southern France, on December 30, 2009—AFP

Castres stay top as Stade lose ground ‘We never lost our way and we found the answers’ PARIS: Surprise Top 14 leaders Castres suffered no hangover after the holiday break as they retained their position at the top on Wednesday beating Montauban 30-7. Castres joint coach Laurent Travers was encouraged by the performance without going overboard of what significane it was towards winning the title - a dream that he and co-coach Laurent Labit have made look realistic in only their first season in charge after leaving Montauban. “We experienced some precarious moments in the first-half,” he said. “The Montauban players don’t let anything go. What is good, is that we never lost our way and we found the answers, but the score does not reflect the overall balance of the match.” However, Stade Francais lost

more ground as their disappointing season continued apace with a 25-23 reverse away at Montpellier and leaves them outside the positions to qualify for next season’s European Cup. They only had themselves to blame as they led with 25 minutes remaining thanks largely to two tries by Geoffroy Messina - both converted by Lionel Beauxis - but Montpellier fullback Federico Todeschini was in masterful form with the boot and kicked 20 points. Stade coach Jacques Delmas will be even less content, after expressing his anger at certain of the players returning sick or injured after the holiday break, at the fact that his side failed to socre on epoint in the final 25 minutes while Montpellier scored 16. Indeed Delmas - who was brought

in earlier in the season to replace Australian Ewen McKenzie - was fuming. “Our kicking game was nonexistent, in stead of continually kicking up and unders we should have been more perspicacious and effective in driving the opponents back into their territory. “I cannot see how with a 14 point lead we could lose this match.” Stade’s Paris rivals, Racing Metro, continued their fine form as they extended their winning run to 11 successive matches in all competitions with a 23-19 win over relegation-threatened Bayonne. Their ninth consecutive Top 14 victory moved them to within the record of 11 set by Toulouse last season whilst Bayonne will be hoping former Australia coach Eddie Jones does take up an offer to be consultant and resuce them after suffering their

11th defeat of the campaign. Racing lock and former France captain Lionel Nallet said that it had been a good run-out after the break. “That really does us good because we had some concerns after the success we have enjoyed so far,” said Nallet. “We had the break, so we didn’t know how we were going to react after returning. It is a nice victory.” Stade Francais’ position worsened as other teams above them in the European Cup positions won, Toulon walloping bottom-placed Albi 41-13 with England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson landing 21 points. Clermont thrashed Brive 52-10 to move them into provisional second place ahead of the late match between Toulouse and Perpignan. Both Clermont and Toulon play each other on Sunday. —AFP


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Canada name team but debate set to continue SASKATOON: Sidney Crosby was among 15 Olympic newcomers on a 23-man squad named by Hockey Canada on Wednesday to carry the weight of the host nation’s gold medal dreams at the 2010 Winter Games. Pittsburgh Penguins forward Crosby, controversially left out four years ago, was one of the certainties this time in a squad announcement that brought workplaces to a halt when it was made live on 13 television networks in hockey-mad Canada. Anaheim Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer, a member of the 2002 winning team, was named captain for Vancouver 2010. He will anchor a defence that includes four players seeing their first Olympic action-Chicago Blackhawks team mates Duncan Keith and Brent

Seabrook, Nashville Predators’ Shea Weber and 20-year-old Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings. New Jersey Devils’ recordbreaking goaltender Martin Brodeur, in net when Canada ended a 50-year gold medal drought at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, was also named on a squad that will face monstrous pressure to win on home ice. No medal other than gold will satisfy Canadians, who have spent the last year arguing over who should wear the Maple Leaf in what is being hyped as the greatest hockey event of all-time. “Certainly there is pressure,” Crosby told reporters after learning of his selection. “That is also why you love to play the game and those are the challenges you look forward to. “You are talking about

representing Canada and being a hockey player in a sport that is so important in Canada and having the Games in Canada so I feel pretty lucky to have that opportunity.” Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman, a Hockey Hall of Famer and another member of the 2002 gold medal team, will face the same intense scrutiny and secondguessing for his picks as Wayne Gretzky did when he was charged with assembling Canada’s 2002 and 2006 Olympics squads. Gretzky was hailed a genius after Canada won gold in Salt Lake but the Great One lost some of his aura after the the country failed to reach the medal round in Turin in 2006. Much of that controversy surrounded Gretzky’s decision to

leave young phenomenon Crosby off the team. Four years later it is one selection that will not be debated, Crosby having cemented his status as one of the NHL’s top talents taking league MVP honours in 2007 and leading the Penguins to the Stanley Cup last season. At the other end of the age spectrum, the 37-year-old netminder Brodeur, who holds the record for most career wins and shutouts, should be handed the starting assignment by coach Mike Babcock. Squad: Goaltenders: Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils), Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks), Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins) Defensemen: Scott Niedermayer

McGeechan and Button honored in New Year’s list ‘To be recognized by The Queen and British people is an honor for me’ LONDON: Rugby great Ian McGeechan was knighted and Formula One champion Jenson Button also recognized in Queen Elizabeth’s New Year’s Honors List. The 63-year-old McGeechan was honored for services to rugby, the latest of which was coaching the British and Irish Lions against South Africa, narrowly losing the midyear series 2-1. The tour was his unprecedented seventh as either a Lions player or coach. An inside back capped 32 times by Scotland, he played in all four tests in the victorious 1974 tour to South Africa and the 1977 tour of New Zealand. As coach, he won two series — against Australia in 1989 and South Africa in 1997 — but lost on two trips to New Zealand as coach in 1993 and an assistant in 2005. “Rugby has been a huge part of my life for over 40 years,” McGeechan said on Wednesday. “And to have achieved everything I have with Scotland, in club rugby and with the Lions has been an immensely rewarding and enjoyable experience. “At the moment I am enjoying a rest from coaching and enjoying more time with my family, but my passion for rugby and for sporting excellence remains undimmed.” In 1990, McGeechan guided Scotland to its last Grand Slam. This decade he’s coached Wasps to European and English titles. Button was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to motor sport. Until this year, Button won only one race following his F1 debut in 2000. Then he won six of the first seven races en route to the 2009 title for Brawn GP, the team Ross Brawn resurrected following Honda’s withdrawal from F1 for financial reasons in March just before the season began. “This really is the crowning glory to what has been the most incredible year of my life,” Button said. “I’m incredibly proud to have joined the likes of Mike Hawthorn, Graham Hill, Jim Clark, John Surtees, Sir Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Lewis Hamilton as British Formula One world champion. “But to be recognized by Her Majesty The Queen and the British people is a tremendous honor for me.” Brawn also received the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) after leading Brawn GP to the constructors’ championship. Other recipients included MBEs for Catriona Matthew, winner of the Women’s British Open 10 weeks after giving birth to her second child; Beth Tweddle, Britain’s first gymnastics world champion who won her second world title this year; and Claire Taylor, the batsman who helped England win the Women’s World Cup and the World Twenty20 and was named most valuable player at both cricket tournaments. — AP

(Anaheim Ducks), Chris Pronger (Philadelphia Flyers), Dan Boyle (San Jose Sharks), Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings), Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks), Brent Seabrook (Chicago Blackhawks), Shea Weber (Nashville Predators) Forwards: Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins), Jarome Iginla (Calgary Flames), Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks), Dany Heatley (San Jose Sharks), Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks), Brenden Morrow (Dallas Stars), Rick Nash (Columbus Blue Jackets), Mike Richards (Philadelphia Flyers), Corey Perry (Anaheim Ducks), Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes), Joe Thornton (San Jose Sharks), Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks). — Reuters

Mortaza ruled out of tri-series DHAKA: Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza has been ruled out of next month’s home tri-series against India and Sri Lanka after failing a fitness test, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) said yesterday. Mortaza underwent surgery on both knees in Australia in September and was looking to return for the series, which starts on Jan. 4 in Dhaka. “Medically he looks fit but he did not get his full cricketing fitness yet,” chief selector Rafiqul Alam told a news conference. “He was too good a player to be left out, but at the same time we have to take care of him also. He will be training with the team and hopefully will return to his job as captain shortly.” Mortaza was first nominated as Bangladesh

captain in July for a tour of West Indies but fell awkwardly while bowling on the third day of the first test and has been sidelined since. All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan stepped in as skipper in Mortaza’s absense and will retain the captaincy for the triseries. Pacer Shafiul Islam is the only uncapped player in the BCB’s 15-man squad for the tri-series. Shahriar Nafees and Aftab Ahmed, who had played in the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL), have been recalled in the squad. Squad: Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Ashraful, Abdur Razzak, Tamim Iqbal, Syed Rasel, Roqibul Hassan, Mahmud Ullah, Nazmul Hossain, Naeem Islam, Imrul Kayes, Rubel Hossain, Shahriar Nafees, Aftab Ahmed, Shafiul Islam. — Reuters

S African decline shown in figures

SAO PAULO: This file picture taken on October 18, 2009 shows British Formula One driver Jenson Button celebrating with his team’s members his F-1 World Champion title after the Brazil’s Formula 1 GP at Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo. Formula One world champion Jenson Button and the two remaining original members of veteran rockers Status Quo were recognised in the British New Year’s Honours List yesterday. — AFP

CAPE TOWN: South African captain Graeme Smith said after his team’s crushing innings defeat in the second Test against England in Durban on Wednesday that his side had failed to “go to the next level” after a glorious 2008. His concerns are reflected in the year-end statistics. In the 2008 calendar year, South Africa won Test series in England and Australia, as well as sharing a series in India, winning at home against the West Indies and beating Bangladesh away and at home. They won 11 out of 15 Tests, with just two defeats and two draws. In 2009, starting with the “dead rubber” third Test of the series in Australia, they have been much less active in Test cricket, playing only six Tests, with just one win, four defeats and one draw. Most of the South African players who starred in 2008 have gone backwards in statistical terms, although AB de Villiers has been a shining exception, scoring 572 runs in the calendar year at an average of 57.20. The fast bowling attack, which was a key factor in 2008, together with a settled top six batting order and safe catching behind the wicket, has been particularly poor. Dale Steyn took 22 wickets in five matches at an average of 32.86 but Morne Morkel’s 15 wickets came at a costly 40.66 each, while Makhaya Ntini could manage only 13 wickets in six Tests at a high average of 57.00 apiece. — AFP


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Ancelotti vs Mancini again in transfer window LONDON: Old foes in Serie A, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini will go head-to-head again in the Premier League when the transfer window opens today as potentially the two biggest spenders in an unpredictable market. With Chelsea’s transfer ban temporarily lifted, Ancelotti can use the spending power of Roman Abramovich. While Mancini will look to billionaire Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour to top anything the Russian can do. Less than two months ago, Chelsea was banned from any transfer activity in the January transfer window and beyond after FIFA ruled that it induced French teenager Gael Kakuta to break his contract with Lens. Chelsea appealed and the club will be allowed to buy and sell players in January pending the hearing. That means Ancelotti, who took over before the start of this season, has the chance to make his own

moves in the transfer market to add to an already powerful and experienced squad. “It’s not true that the club said we don’t want to buy a new player,” the Chelsea manager said, but suggesting there would be few major changes to the squad. “Together, we took this decision to maintain this squad because we think this squad is a good squad, is able to play the games we have in January, and we have a possibility to give an opportunity — a great opportunity — to the young players if it’s necessary.” Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, is reported to have spent more than 700 million pounds ($1.127 billion; §789 million) on the club. With Manchester United and Arsenal closing in at the top of the Premier League, he may have to get the checkbook out again, especially with Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Salomon Kalou and Jon Obi Mikel

Mourinho wants to stay at Inter until 2012 LISBON: Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho wants to see out his contract with the Italian champions and will only think about returning to his beloved Premier League after 2012, the Portuguese said yesterday. The ex-Chelsea coach, recently in England to spy on his former side ahead of Inter’s meeting with them in the Champions League last 16, was quoted in the Sun earlier in the week as saying he was keen to work again in the Premier League. “I was happy in England and when I went there I said one day I would go back. One day could mean 2012 or 2020,” he told reporters at Inter’s mid-season training camp in Abu Dhabi. “The problem is they really love to change my words. The problem is I also said I’m happy at Inter and would like to respect my contract which runs until 2012.” In an interview with Portuguese weekly paper Expresso, Mourinho again hinted he was not totally happy in Italy by saying Serie A coaches were more concerned about keeping their jobs than developing new tactics. “When after a third of the Italian championship nine coaches have lost their jobs, who is the coach that wants to innovate?”, he remarked. “The Serie A coach does not want to innovate, he wants to survive.” —Reuters

Warning follows Premier League match with no Englishmen LONDON: England’s national team face a bleak future, Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce warned after Wednesday’s game between Portsmouth and Arsenal became the first in the top flight not to feature an English player in the starting line-up. “For the national team in the future it is looking very, very bleak,” Allardyce said at a news conference ahead of his team’s third-round FA Cup tie against Aston Villa at the weekend. “The Premier League and the FA really need to get together and start immediately on how they are going to address this situation,” Allardyce said on Thursday. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has long campaigned for the “Six plus Five rule” which would limit the number of foreign players a team can field, but that rule contravenes European laws and is some way from being implemented. Wednesday’s match, which Arsenal won 4-1, featured players from 15 countries among the 22 starters with seven French players on the field. There were two Algerians and one player each from Bosnia, Ireland, Israel, Iceland, South Africa, Scotland, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Wales, Cameroon, Croatia and Russia. There were four English players among the 14 substitutes and two came on briefly: Arsenal youngster Craig Eastmond, who replaced French striker Sami Nasri five minutes from time, and Portsmouth’s Michael Brown, who replaced Scot Richard Hughes after 90 minutes. —Reuters

missing in January because of the African Cup of Nations. Replacing the fired Mark Hughes at Man City, Mancini has already been linked with defenders Ivan Cordoba and Maicon, who play for his former club, Inter Milan. With City striving to break into the top four in the Premier League, Mancini has the option of sticking with a squad that is currently sixth. But there is also the possibility of a clear-out at Eastlands with Mancini, who has little experience of English football, opting to add some players he knows. There has been speculation for months that Brazil striker Robinho might be headed back to Spain, and some City fans are unhappy with the erratic form of forward Emmanuel Adebayor. Both City and Chelsea have also been linked with Sergio Aguero, the 21-year-old Argentina striker from Atletico Madrid. But the Spanish

club has put a huge valuation on him. The same applies to Valencia’s David Villa and Franck Ribery of Bayern Munich, who have been the focus of transfer speculation for months. Real Madrid spent huge sums on Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso at the start of the season. Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said Thursday he doesn’t plan to spend big in the transfer window despite a defensive injury crisis that threatened to throw his team’s title chances off track. “Inevitably, people look to this month’s transfer window as a solution to our injury worries, but it is not the answer,” Ferguson said. “If someone could give me the name of a really good centerhalf who would accept a three-month contract then I would jump at the chance. But where do you find a player like that? “A decent player

would be looking for a three-year contract and I don’t need that kind of addition.” One former Man United player who could be on the move is Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, now with Real Madrid. Fit again but edged out of the team after the arrival of Ronaldo, Benzema and Kaka, Van Nistelrooy appears to have little chance of making an impact at the club and, after a long injury layoff, needs a move to get his sharpness back. Desperate to get more action and guarantee a spot in Argentina’s World Cup squad, Madrid midfielder Gago has been linked with Juventus, Everton and even Boca Juniors. Real Madrid needs to bolster its defense following a cruciate ligament injury to Pepe. Although Christoph Metzelder appears to be the ideal replacement, the German has been overlooked by coach Manuel Pellegrini and appears on the way out. —AP

AT&T drops sponsorship deal with Tiger Woods Squeaky-clean marketing juggernaut image destroyed NEW YORK: US telecoms giant AT&T announced yesterday that it was hanging up its sponsorship deal with disgraced golfing star Tiger Woods who has been embroiled in a sensational sex scandal. “We are ending our sponsorship agreement with Tiger Woods and wish him well in the future,” the company, which backs the US PGA Tour event operated by the golfer’s foundation, said in a terse, oneline statement. It was the latest blow for Woods since he inexplicably crashed his car into a tree and fire hydrant outside his Florida home in the early hours of November 27, unleashing a storm of revelations about his personal life. The crash came just days after a US tabloid had reported that he was having an affair and thrust Woods and his wife, Elin, and two young children into the center of a media storm. As the revelations grew, Woods was linked to at least 14 other women, forcing the golf superstar to admit in a statement on his website that he had been unfaithful. He also said he was taking an indefinite break from golf to focus on rebuilding his marriage. In one of the most stunning falls from grace ever seen, Woods’s squeaky-clean marketing juggernaut image was destroyed. Woods has not been seen in public since the November crash which Florida police said left him with a “fat lip” but no other visible facial injuries. While Woods went undercover, sponsors began pulling his onceomnipresent image from advertisements which have helped turn him into a billionaire. Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer and razor-blade giant Gillette have stopped using his image, and Dublin-based technology, management and outsourcing consultancy Accenture has already pulled the plug on its sponsorship deal. Nike, which pays Woods an estimated 40 million dollars a year, however issued unqualified support in Woods’s darkest

Tiger Woods of the US talks to the press after his practice round in this August 11, 2009 file photo. US telecoms giant AT&T announced yesterday that it was ending its sponsorship deal with disgraced golfing star Tiger Woods who has been embroiled in a sensational sex scandal. —AFP hour. Since his fall, there has been an insatiable appetite for Woods-related revelations, with the latest news being that Elin had hired a Hollywood celebrity divorce lawyer and taken her children10-month-old son Charlie and two-yearold daughter Sam-to an island home she bought in Sweden for Christmas. Woods was said to be hitting golf balls alone at night to cope with the firestorm. Other reports said he had rekindled a relationship with Rachel Uchitel, the New York show club hostess who was the first mistress revealed. Uchitel was visiting the same Australian

hotel as Woods when he was playing an event Down Under, and claimed she was visiting her parents over the holidays when she showed up in Palm Beach, Florida, close to where Woods has his 20 milliondollar luxury yacht “Privacy” docked. As 2010 loomed, so did a US PGA Tour season without Woods, whose absence cuts attendance at tournaments and television viewership by 50 percent, adding stress to a sponsor list already weakened by the struggling economy. And it raises the question of when, if ever, Woods will return to his quest of breaking the record 18 major titles held by Jack Nicklaus. —AFP


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Ancelotti vs Mancini again in transfer window LONDON: Old foes in Serie A, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini will go head-to-head again in the Premier League when the transfer window opens today as potentially the two biggest spenders in an unpredictable market. With Chelsea’s transfer ban temporarily lifted, Ancelotti can use the spending power of Roman Abramovich. While Mancini will look to billionaire Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour to top anything the Russian can do. Less than two months ago, Chelsea was banned from any transfer activity in the January transfer window and beyond after FIFA ruled that it induced French teenager Gael Kakuta to break his contract with Lens. Chelsea appealed and the club will be allowed to buy and sell players in January pending the

hearing. That means Ancelotti, who took over before the start of this season, has the chance to make his own moves in the transfer market to add to an already powerful and experienced squad. “It’s not true that the club said we don’t want to buy a new player,” the Chelsea manager said, but suggesting there would be few major changes to the squad. “Together, we took this decision to maintain this squad because we think this squad is a good squad, is able to play the games we have in January, and we have a possibility to give an opportunity — a great opportunity — to the young players if it’s necessary.” Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, is reported to have spent more than 700 million

Mourinho wants to stay at Inter until 2012 LISBON: Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho wants to see out his contract with the Italian champions and will only think about returning to his beloved Premier League after 2012, the Portuguese said yesterday. The ex-Chelsea coach, recently in England to spy on his former side ahead of Inter’s meeting with them in the Champions League last 16, was quoted in the Sun earlier in the week as saying he was keen to work again in the Premier League. “I was happy in England and when I went there I said one day I would go back. One day could mean 2012 or 2020,” he told reporters at Inter’s mid-season training camp in Abu Dhabi. “The problem is they really love to change my words. The problem is I also said I’m happy at Inter and would like to respect my contract which runs until 2012.” In an interview with Portuguese weekly paper Expresso, Mourinho again hinted he was not totally happy in Italy by saying Serie A coaches were more concerned about keeping their jobs than developing new tactics. “When after a third of the Italian championship nine coaches have lost their jobs, who is the coach that wants to innovate?”, he remarked. “The Serie A coach does not want to innovate, he wants to survive.” —Reuters

Warning follows Premier League match with no Englishmen LONDON: England’s national team face a bleak future, Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce warned after Wednesday’s game between Portsmouth and Arsenal became the first in the top flight not to feature an English player in the starting line-up. “For the national team in the future it is looking very, very bleak,” Allardyce said at a news conference ahead of his team’s third-round FA Cup tie against Aston Villa at the weekend. “The Premier League and the FA really need to get together and start immediately on how they are going to address this situation,” Allardyce said yesterday. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has long campaigned for the “Six plus Five rule” which would limit the number of foreign players a team can field, but that rule contravenes European laws and is some way from being implemented. Wednesday’s match, which Arsenal won 4-1, featured players from 15 countries among the 22 starters with seven French players on the field. There were two Algerians and one player each from Bosnia, Ireland, Israel, Iceland, South Africa, Scotland, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Wales, Cameroon, Croatia and Russia. There were four English players among the 14 substitutes and two came on briefly: Arsenal youngster Craig Eastmond, who replaced French striker Sami Nasri five minutes from time, and Portsmouth’s Michael Brown, who replaced Scot Richard Hughes after 90 minutes. —Reuters

pounds ($1.127 billion; §789 million) on the club. With Manchester United and Arsenal closing in at the top of the Premier League, he may have to get the checkbook out again, especially with Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Salomon Kalou and Jon Obi Mikel missing in January because of the African Cup of Nations. Replacing the fired Mark Hughes at Man City, Mancini has already been linked with defenders Ivan Cordoba and Maicon, who play for his former club, Inter Milan. With City striving to break into the top four in the Premier League, Mancini has the option of sticking with a squad that is currently sixth. But there is also the possibility of a clear-out at Eastlands with Mancini, who has little experience of English football, opting to

add some players he knows. There has been speculation for months that Brazil striker Robinho might be headed back to Spain, and some City fans are unhappy with the erratic form of forward Emmanuel Adebayor. Both City and Chelsea have also been linked with Sergio Aguero, the 21year-old Argentina striker from Atletico Madrid. But the Spanish club has put a huge valuation on him. The same applies to Valencia’s David Villa and Franck Ribery of Bayern Munich, who have been the focus of transfer speculation for months. Real Madrid spent huge sums on Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso at the start of the season. Manchester United manager Alex

Ferguson said Thursday he doesn’t plan to spend big in the transfer window despite a defensive injury crisis that threatened to throw his team’s title chances off track. “Inevitably, people look to this month’s transfer window as a solution to our injury worries, but it is not the answer,” Ferguson said. “If someone could give me the name of a really good centerhalf who would accept a threemonth contract then I would jump at the chance. But where do you find a player like that? “A decent player would be looking for a three-year contract and I don’t need that kind of addition.” One former Man United player who could be on the move is Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, now with Real Madrid. —AP

AT&T drops sponsorship deal with Tiger Woods Squeaky-clean marketing juggernaut image destroyed NEW YORK: US telecoms giant AT&T announced yesterday that it was hanging up its sponsorship deal with disgraced golfing star Tiger Woods who has been embroiled in a sensational sex scandal. “We are ending our sponsorship agreement with Tiger Woods and wish him well in the future,” the company, which backs the US PGA Tour event operated by the golfer’s foundation, said in a terse, oneline statement. It was the latest blow for Woods since he inexplicably crashed his car into a tree and fire hydrant outside his Florida home in the early hours of November 27, unleashing a storm of revelations about his personal life. The crash came just days after a US tabloid had reported that he was having an affair and thrust Woods and his wife, Elin, and two young children into the center of a media storm. As the revelations grew, Woods was linked to at least 14 other women, forcing the golf superstar to admit in a statement on his website that he had been unfaithful. He also said he was taking an indefinite break from golf to focus on rebuilding his marriage. In one of the most stunning falls from grace ever seen, Woods’s squeaky-clean marketing juggernaut image was destroyed. Woods has not been seen in public since the November crash which Florida police said left him with a “fat lip” but no other visible facial injuries. While Woods went undercover, sponsors began pulling his onceomnipresent image from advertisements which have helped turn him into a billionaire. Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer and razor-blade giant Gillette have stopped using his image, and Dublin-based technology, management and outsourcing consultancy Accenture has already pulled the plug on its sponsorship deal. Nike, which pays Woods an estimated 40 million dollars a year, however issued unqualified support in

Tiger Woods of the US talks to the press after his practice round in this August 11, 2009 file photo. US telecoms giant AT&T announced yesterday that it was ending its sponsorship deal with disgraced golfing star Tiger Woods who has been embroiled in a sensational sex scandal. —AFP Woods’s darkest hour. Since his fall, there has been an insatiable appetite for Woods-related revelations, with the latest news being that Elin had hired a Hollywood celebrity divorce lawyer and taken her children. 10-month-old son Charlie and two-yearold daughter Sam-to an island home she bought in Sweden for Christmas. Woods was said to be hitting golf balls alone at night to cope with the firestorm. Other reports said he had rekindled a relationship with Rachel Uchitel, the New York show club hostess who was the first mistress revealed. Uchitel was visiting the same Australian

hotel as Woods when he was playing an event Down Under, and claimed she was visiting her parents over the holidays when she showed up in Palm Beach, Florida, close to where Woods has his 20 milliondollar luxury yacht “Privacy” docked. As 2010 loomed, so did a US PGA Tour season without Woods, whose absence cuts attendance at tournaments and television viewership by 50 percent, adding stress to a sponsor list already weakened by the struggling economy. And it raises the question of when, if ever, Woods will return to his quest of breaking the record 18 major titles held by Jack Nicklaus. —AFP

1 Jan 2010  
1 Jan 2010  

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