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MOHARRAM 18, 1431 AH

Desperate Somalis seek ‘backdoor’ route to US

France joins Europe flu vaccine sell-off



NO: 14599

Muslim-Hindu punk rock bands part of new movement

Manchester United humbled by Leeds in FA Cup PAGE 20


US, Britain shut Yemen missions Embassies close over Qaeda threats • No troops for Yemen: US

DUBAI: Emirati men walk past Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest tower, yesterday. — AFP

Dubai ruler vision reaches skywards anniversary of his DUBAI: Sheikh accession following Mohammad bin the death of his eldRashed Aler brother Sheikh Maktoum, who Maktoum on Jan 4, today inaugurates 2006. the world’s tallest S h e i k h tower to mark his Mohammad, 60, has fourth year in powlong pushed his er, appears detervision of elevating mined not to let Dubai to the status debt woes dampen Sheikh of global city, but his vision for Mohammad the opening of the Dubai’s future. The world record-breakemirate’s Britisheducated ruler has been the ing skyscraper comes amid a driving force behind the spec- slump in investor confidence tacular rise of the Gulf emirate over the emirate’s debt probinto a boom town, and strives lems. Hundreds of other buildto project the image of a mod- ing projects are in mothballs, and plunging property prices ern Arab leader. An avid horse-racing fan, and weak demand had already Sheikh Mohammad has placed put a dampener on new even before little Dubai firmly on the schemes world map as a business, IT, November’s shock announceleisure and tourism hub, creat- ment by state-owned giant ing a modern city where 50 Dubai World that it wants to years ago there was mostly halt debt payments for six sand. Today’s official opening months. Continued on Page 14 of Burj Dubai is on the fourth

SANAA: The United States and Britain promptly closed their embassies in Yemen yesterday after threats from an AlQaeda offshoot, while vowing to fight Yemeni extremists linked to a failed US airliner bombing. US President Barack Obama on Saturday accused the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, of arming and training a Nigerian suspect who targeted a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines jet on Christmas Day. AQAP claimed responsibility for the foiled attack and called for strikes on embassies in Yemen. “There are indications that Al-Qaeda is planning to carry out an attack against (a) target inside of Sanaa, possibly our embassy,” US Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser John Brennan said Sunday. “So the decision was made to close the embassy. We’re working very closely with the Yemeni government on taking the proper security precautions,” the White House adviser said on CNN. “We know that Al-Qaeda is out there. We know we have to mind our steps.” Earlier the US embassy posted a statement on its website saying the closure was “in response to ongoing threats by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula... to attack American interests in Yemen.” Britain followed suit, with a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office in London confirming its Sanaa embassy had been closed “for security reasons”. A Yemeni government official earlier told AFP the British embassy was closed “for security reasons, and out of fear of possible AlQaeda reactions.” But he stressed there were “no direct Al-Qaeda threats.” Spain meanwhile decided to restrict public access to its Sanaa embassy for security reasons, a diplomatic source said after the online edition of El Mundo newspaper reported Continued on Page 14

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Tehran in new threat over nuke swap deal TEHRAN: Iran said yesterday the West has given it until the end of January to accept a uranium swap deal, stressing it will press on with plans to produce higher enriched nuclear fuel if there is no agreement. Tehran has already ignored a US-set Dec 31 deadline to accept a UN-brokered deal aimed at allaying fears about its nuclear drive by shipping most of its low enriched uranium (LEU) stockpile abroad to be further enriched into reactor fuel. Despite the threat of tougher sanctions, Iran has rejected the offer drawn up by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and come out with its own proposal of a simultaneous and staged swap of LEU with reactor fuel. “Based on the talks Iran had with the relevant parties, it was decided to provide the Tehran reactor with the necessary fuel (from outside), and if not then we will produce it,” foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said. “Then the (negotiating) parties asked the Islamic republic to give them two months to reach an understanding and we accepted that,” news agencies quoted him as saying. “Now one month of that waiting period is over and one month is left. So if it does not materialise (the provision of fuel) then Iran will take the necessary decision.” Mehmanparast was speaking a day after Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki gave the West a one-month “ultimatum” to accept the Iranian counter-proposal. Continued on Page 14

Crises to greet Obama return to Washington

BEIRUT: Children with tape over their mouths protest against Egypt’s border barrier between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip during a demonstration in front of the Egyptian embassy yesterday. Placards in Arabic read “Hey Arabs, stop killing innocents by your metal wall” (front center) and “From Lebanese children to Gaza children, be patient, victory is near” (front right). Egypt is installing a series of metal sheets submerged along the Gaza border to block tunnels used to smuggle weapons into the Palestinian territory. — AP (See Page 7)

HONOLULU: US President Barack Obama today swaps his Hawaiian vacation hideaway for Washington, with resurgent fears of airborne terror and Iran’s nuclear defiance darkening his already daunting agenda. Challenges facing the White House in 2009 - including the worst economic meltdown in 70 years - look if anything likely to be trumped by the building crises threatening to rage through 2010. Hyper-partisan politics will get even more nasty, with Republicans targeting gains in mid-term elections in November - which normally wound first-term presidents - and Democrats defending their grip on Congress at all costs. The thwarted Christmas Day attack on a US airliner reintroduced the terrifying and polarizing specter of terrorism into American life, just as a wary normality was easing memories of the Sept 11 attacks in 2001. Criticism of Obama’s handling of the attack is likely to complicate his task of enacting an ambitious domestic program. He will attempt to address what he says are “systemic” US failures over the episode by meeting spy chiefs Tuesday. Obama’s plan to close the

Guantanamo Bay camp, already set to miss a one-year deadline, looks in deep peril: nearly half of the remaining 198 detainees are from Yemen, where the Christmas Day attack was planned. Yemen, with its building AlQaeda presence is a widening front for US forces in the global anti-terror struggle, along with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Iran, beset by its own political turmoil, is meanwhile escalating the showdown over its nuclear program, with Washington seeking tougher sanctions. Tehran last year spurned Obama’s engagement push - leading the president’s foes to brand him as naive. Recent deaths of seven CIA employees in Afghanistan meanwhile underscored the political risks and deep human cost of the president’s 30,000 strong troop surge into Afghanistan. Fresh global challenges come as Obama faces 10 percent unemployment, which is dampening hopes for economic recovery and his own political prospects. Republicans are painting Obama as a big spending, big government liberal, and will skewer him with Continued on Page 14

Japan mobile marvels go back to the future

In this 1912 image, an unidentified man stands next to a Vickers airplane used during an Australian Antarctic Expedition in Antarctica. Remains of the first airplane ever taken to Antarctica have been found by Australian researchers, the team announced Saturday. — AP

Explorers hail historic Antarctic airplane find SYDNEY: Australian explorers yesterday credited record low tides and a blue moon for the “one-in-a-million” discovery in Antarctica of one of the world’s first aeroplanes, found buried in ice. The monoplane, which was the first aircraft off the Vickers factory production line in Britain just eight years after the Wright brothers’ first flight, was taken to Antarctica by Australian explor-

er Douglas Mawson in 1911. Mawson hoped to stage the first ever human flight over the Antarctic ice cap, but his dreams were dashed when the pilot who accompanied the craft from London crashed it on the Australian mainland during a demonstration flight. “He’d had a rather long night at the local (armed forces) club in Continued on Page 14

TOKYO: In the Japan of 2020 a stressed-out salaryman may unwind from his hectic futuristic lifestyle by time-travelling back a few centuries and taking a virtual stroll through medieval Tokyo. As he walks over arched wooden bridges, he will chat with the avatars of his real world friends, admire pollution-free views of Mount Fuji and perhaps do some cashfree souvenir shopping for a digital download of a woodblock print. He will navigate through the city once called Edo from the comfort of his intelligent living room, wearing 3D glasses and moving about by waving a super-networked mobile phone that is attached to his wrist like a watch. “This is Nihonbashi in virtual Edo,” an invisible tour guide will say in an upbeat if slightly tinny voice. “It’s a virtual community that is popular worldwide. A lot of people have logged on today already!” Welcome to the future as imagined by NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s mobile telephone giant with 55 million subscribers, which has long been a leading force for innovation in the hightech paradise that is Japan. Its Shangri-La is the ‘Future Station’, located in a skyscraper 29 floors above Tokyo, where visitors are taken on guided tours of the company’s mobile phone marvels, and treated to a

glimpse of what’s to come. Such as the wearable phone of 2020 that DoCoMo envisions will be the user’s constant companion, fitted with a small flip-out screen and capable of projecting images onto a wall or into thin air in the form of a hologram. It will be an ID to enter the family home or to board a flight, a device to videochat with friends and the office, and a remote control to activate the robovacuum cleaner or tell the fridge to order new groceries. Made from recyclable materials and partially charged kinetically through body movements, the device will be equipped with simultaneous translation software to connect the user to everyone else, anywhere, anytime. The vision is bold, but in Japan that doesn’t make it unrealistic. In many ways the mobile phone future has already arrived in Japan, where the evolution of the devices has taken a separate path to the rest of the world. On Tokyo’s crowded subway trains, newspapers are a rare sight as most commuters plug themselves into their cellphones or other handheld electronic devices - web-surfing, mailing, playing games or watching television. Japanese cellphones started sending email 10 years ago, have had terrestrial TV for years and long boasted Continued on Page 14

BEIJING: A couple uses an umbrella to shield themselves from the falling snow while walking yesterday. — AP

Heavy snow brings Beijing to standstill BEIJING: Heavy snow hit Beijing yesterday, stranding thousands of passengers at the main airport and casting an unusual quiet over normally busy streets as people stayed out of the freezing weather. More than 90 percent of flights at Beijing’s Capital International Airport, the country’s busiest, were cancelled or delayed, state television said, with only one of its three runways open. Airports

in the nearby cities of Tianjin, Hohhot and Dalian closed, the report added. Major highways in Beijing and Tianjin, as well as in the surrounding provinces and regions of Hebei, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia were closed due to the heavy snowfall earlier yesterday, but some roads opened later in the day, China Central Television said. Continued on Page 14



Monday, January 4, 2010

11/11 Group discusses debt write off issue

Govt urged to respect opinion of majority By Nisreen Zahreddine KUWAIT: The 11/11 Group recently held a press conference to discuss the issue of debt write-off. The General Secretary of Parliamentary Conference Association Mutleq Al-Abaisan condemned the acts of unrest that took place at streets saying that these could threaten national unity. He He demanded that the National Assembly reprise its role in matters related to legislation and surveillance and questioned the role played by the Ministry of Information. Commenting on the loans issue, he said that the government, through the Central Bank committed a mistake by letting banks raise interests that choked citizens. He criticized all those who stood against the insolvency fund. Daifallah Al Oteibi, Chairman of Kuwaiti Movement to Protect National Unity described the issue as ‘painful.’ He added that it hurt Kuwaiti people and affected the market because of weak purchasing power and placed responsibility on MPs and the government for politicizing this matter. He added citi-

Consumer loan rescheduling unfair: KBA KUWAIT: The Kuwait Banks Association (KBA) on Saturday the draft law to let citizens pay off their loan interests as ‘unfair’. In its latest issue, the Association’s (Masaref) magazine reviewed the impacts of the draft law presented to the National Assembly which stipulates re-scheduling of consumer loans. It pointed out the impact of the global economic downturn on the banking sector. “Impacts of the global financial crisis reflected on the Kuwaiti banking sector, especially cash flow, in light of the Central Bank’s monetary policy,” the magazine said. The quarterly magazine also had a special report on efforts made local banks to recruit national labor, which dovetails with the state’s Kuwaitization policy, in addition to other reports, reviews and news. — KUNA

Museum project KUWAIT: A raid was carried out by the Ahmadi Municipality in cooperation with its Public Relations Department targeting restaurants and food joints.

Kuwait calls for Arab strategy to combat terrorism KUWAIT: Security conditions in the regional and international arenas warrant the mapping out of a comprehensive Arab strategy to confront terrorism, according to a senior Kuwaiti official. Colonel Mohammed Hashem Al-Sabr, the Director of the Ministry of Interior’s Security Media Department and the ministry’s official spokesman, made his statement on Saturday, just before his

departure for the United Arab Emirates, where he is set to take part in a seminar that begins today on the Arab role in combating terrorism, in line with the instructions of the Interior Minister, (Ret.) Lieutenant General Sheikh Jaber AlKhaled Al-Sabah. The minister has always affirmed the need to use scientific study and research for getting to the bottom of various social and security phenomena, he said, adding that

the national representation at the seminar, which concludes on Wednesday, was also in implementation of the directions issued by the Undersecretary Lt. Gen. Ahamad Abdullatif Al-Rujaib, who advocates the promotion of security information activities to stay abreast of scientific innovations. Col Al-Sabr called for devising a new mechanism to study terrorism and the causes of its spread in order to best define the most effec-

tive forms of war that should be launched against this phenomenon. Media planning can help in serving this strategy, he said, asserting that such a plan should comply with “our values, traditions, cultural and economic conditions.” Credible and comprehensive media coverage can be helpful for promoting morality within societies and nudging the terrorists to change “their patterns of thinking and behaviors,” he added. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The Amiri Diwan has given the go-ahead for a proposal to establish an educational science museum to replace the current one in AlMerghab. Mohammed Al-Sayegh, the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) Deputy Assistant for Construction Affairs, announced the Amiri Diwan’s approval of the project in a press release issued on Saturday. In the statement, he explained that the education ministry and the Amiri Diwan had reached agreement on the issue, with the museum to form part of the Abdullah AlSalem Cultural Center, reported Al-Watan.

blamed the concerned ministries for failing to curb sectarian developments. He went on to say that such issues cannot be solved within a couple of days, and will need time. That is why it needs efforts from civil society groups and the government to fight sectarian attitudes by issuing legislations and laws, in addition to efforts made by the media and the press.

zens should pay back loans. Faisal Al-Dabes, Executive President of the Group, urged the government to respect the majority opinion on the loans issue, and to reinstate the draft law based on citizens’ demands. He went on to say that the imbalance set in because of the government’s failure to put a cap on unrestrained banking practices without being overseen by the Central Bank. He suspected that a conspiracy was hatched to rob citizens off their money by hiking interest rates that could sometimes reach 300 percent. This led to the collapse of the middle class. He also addressed the MPs and demanded that they assume responsibility and protect citizens and support

them during times of crisis. He then addressed the ‘Group 26,’ describing its stance on this issue as being ‘weird.’ He criticized that the group only focused on this particular issue, ignoring other pressing social and civil issues that afflict the country. He added that if what the group said was true and debt writeoff was a waste of public money, it definitely has an impact on national unity. He described them to be ‘a very bourgeoisie class’ who does not care about people’s interests. Fayez Al-Nashwan , a Member of the Parliamentary Performance Evaluation Committee questioned the role played by the Prime Minister and MPs and the ‘Group 26’. He demanded that they take serious steps to support citizens.

Premier seeks compromise on citizens loans buyout issue KUWAIT: The cabinet is reportedly pushing for the postponement of a final decision on the draft loans purchase law during its second parliamentary hearing of the bill, which is set to take place during Tuesday’s session. The parliament would like to see the decision delayed to allow time for its report suggesting further amendments to the bill to be studied by the parliamentary finance committee. While it is believed that the majority of votes in favor required to pass the bill is believed to already exist (under the ‘half plus one’ system), MPs are working on a request that could allow the committee to hold a meeting during the session in order to come up with a report that would take the cabinet’s amendments into account, which would then be submitted to the parliament for another vote. Meanwhile, the head of the finance committee MP Dr. Yousef Al-Zalzalah revealed that His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser AlMohammed Al-Sabah is advancing towards presenting a compromise between the cabinet and the parliament concerning the solution that each authority seeks for the crisis, in a strategy that aims to assert the cooperation between the two authorities. While noting that the cabinet is still adamant that the insolvency fund modified by a limited set of amendments is the best solution to the crisis, Al-Zalzalah asserted that the government would put themselves in a negative position if it rejected the proposed writeoff of loans if this is widely

endorsed since such action would cause the cabinet to lose popularity. Al-Zalzalah also rejected recent reports which claimed that the finance committee had abstained from taking any of the MPs’ suggest amendments into consideration, stating that they haven’t received any suggestions on that regard from either of the cabinet or the parliament since the December 23rd session, and that’s the reason why no amendment proposals were discussed. He further announced that the committee will be meeting with the representatives from the Finance Ministry, in addition to the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister of Housing and Development, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad, to discuss each of the authorities’ visions on the matter. On a separate subject, the Minister of Communications and State Minister of Parliament Affairs, Dr. Mohammad Al-Busairi, is reportedly set to meet with National Assembly Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi to discuss the parliamentary work schedule for the forthcoming period, which includes several matters other than the loans issue, such as the sports regulations amendments and the ongoing controversy over the Um AlHaiman pollution crisis. In the meantime, the cabinet has put the commercial companies’ law among its top

priorities, and is seeking to have it adopted following the passing of the currency market authority law, reported AlWatan. In addition, the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ahmad Al-Haroun revealed that the government will be taking steps to support the country’s strategic food security by opening the door to more foreign markets and suppliers to provide the main food items, indicating at the same time that the current warehouses do not have sufficient capacity to hold the necessary supplies for the future. On a separate note, during its weekly meeting the cabinet is set to discuss all the proposals regarding the privatization of the Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC), in addition to other issues, including amendments to the penal code related to state security charges, and the amendments to the multimedia law. Also during the meeting, the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, Dr. Mohammad AlAfasi, will explain the ministry’s situation in regards to the recent developments on the sports scene. On another subject, MP Walid Al-Tabtabae praised the Ministry of Interior’s efforts to maintain order and security during the New Year’s Eve celebrations, calling on the minister not to submit to accusations that the actions of security officers were a violation of revelers’ personal freedoms.

in my view

My resolutions By Curtis Doebbler he New Year is a time to make resolutions for the year ahead. Mine are as follows:


Shooting championship kicks off today KUWAIT: The 9th Arab Shooting Championship is due to kick off here today with the participation of 350 shooters from 16 Arab countries. The first of the eight-day event will include the inauguration ceremony only, while competitions will kick off the day after, the championship’s general manager Obeid Al-

Oseimi said in a press release. The categories include men, women and juniors, all competing in 10 shooting contests, he added. All ranges of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Olympic Shooting Complex are set for the event, as all technical arrangements are at hand, Al-Oseimi noted, pointing out that all contests will be run by internationally-

accredited Kuwaiti referees, as well as other Arab ones. Al-Oseimi, who also heads Kuwait’s delegation to the event, said that Kuwaiti teams are all geared up for the championship, as all where engaged in extensive training camps in Kuwait in preparation for it aside from participating in shooting tournaments overseas. — KUNA

1. I will refuse to believe what my government tells me, merely because it tells me something, and I will judge its actions according to international law. 2. I will support people who fight for their independence against foreign occupiers as this is a moral duty and legal right. 3. I will continue to reject violence, but at the same time try to understand the point of view of people who hate my country’s violations of their rights to such an extent that they might turn to violence as the only way they think they can respond to our violence against them. 4. I will laugh and then cry when I hear our leaders speak as if we are better than others because I will remember that we are all created equal, but some of us have had unfair advantages. 5. I will remember how my ancestors, and I, have exploited our environment to such an extent as to make it unlivable for future generations in some parts of the world. 6. I will do everything I can to ensure that support the efforts of those who have suffered and will suffer damages from our pollution and other destruction of our planet’s environment are able to get restitution from us. 7. I will support the human rights of all, realizing that these rights include communal rights and social and economic rights for which other states, like my own, might be responsible for violating even in distant parts of the world. 8. I will uphold the law in the interest of the least wealthy and most vulnerable among us, realizing that the rich and powerful don’t need the law to protect them. 9. I will daily remind myself that just because George W. Bush is no longer President does not mean that the US will stop using violence in its foreign policy 10. And, I will remember that terrorism is not merely the work of deviant minds, but also of our unfair and often illegal treatment of others around the world. These are the New Year’s resolutions of an open-minded, internationally conscious American.


Monday, January 4, 2010


Domestic labor remain ‘outsiders’ in new law KUWAIT: A number of representatives from local and international organization praised the National Assembly (NA) and the government for cooperating and passing the new labor law. However, the law received criticism for a number of reasons

including the lack of coverage for domestic laborers in the bill and not including any kind of specification for minimum wages. The piece of legislation came after a long debate between business owners and union workers. They collaborate to address the international reports accusing Kuwait’s legislation of facilitating human trafficking and forced labor.

The Secretary for the Kuwaiti Center of Expatriate’s Rights (KCER), Umar AlUtaibi, said in a statement to the Kuwait Times that the law contains “a number of incompatibilities.” He highlighted such issues as not specifying minimum wages, not cancelling the sponsor system, not guaranteeing a laborer’s right to seek legal action without needing to apply through the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor and lacking any sort of coverage for domestic laborers. “However,” Al-Utaibi says, “passing the law in the second reading and considering a number of notes given in this regard is a step forward and could revitalize the labor market and encourage prosperity.” The Kuwaiti government has been consulting International Labor Organization (ILO) experts about the best way to replace the sponsor system. Potentially a government authority could be established to take over the sponsoring responsibility and legal status of foreign laborers in Kuwait from Kuwaiti citizens.

still needs to be strengthened by other legislations. “In addition to the fact that it does not show clear coverage for house laborers, the law does not define the word child. This is important in dealing with child labor, even though we all know Kuwait is not suffering from this kind of problem now.” Al-Haroon also noted that there is a tendency in the Kuwaiti government to seriously tackle the issue of ‘human

By Ahmad Saeid

Egyptian concert held at Babtain theater KUWAIT: The Council of the Egyptian Community in Kuwait, headed by Secretary General Ali Al-Alami recently organized a concert titled ‘Egyptian Tunes Among Kuwaiti Pearls.’ It was held under the patronage of the Egyptian Ambassador to Kuwait, Taher Ahmed Farahat. The concert was organized by the Council’s cultural committee at Al-Babtain Central Library stage. Staff members from the Egyptian embassy, Ambassadors from Somalia, Jordan, Yemen, dignitaries, music lovers and members of the media attended the event and enjoyed listening to the songs of Umm Kalthoum, Mohammed Abul Wahab, and Sayyed Mekkawi among others.

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Public Works has reached agreement on the Jaber Bridge Project, with bidding on the project, which is set to cost between KD 650 million and KD 750 million, set to open today and remain open for a six-month period. Several senior government officials attended a recent MPW meeting, headed by the Minister of Public Works and Municipality Affairs Dr. Fadhel Safar, Deputy Minister Abdulaziz Al-Kulaib, the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and State Minister for Housing and Development Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and the head of the Central Tenders Committee (CTC) Ahmad Al-Kulaib, among others. The public works ministry has reiterated its earlier position on rejecting any potential tender for the project from the United Gulf Construction Company, the firm responsible for constructing the troubled Mishref sewage plant, reported Al-Watan. The decision on the Sheikh Jaber Bridge was postponed for several months following disagreements between the ministry and the CTC over the methods used for selecting the winning tender from the companies contending.

No public sector jobs for bedoons By Muna Al-Fuzai he Civil S e r v i c e Commission (CSC) issued a clear statement on Saturday that there are no vacancies for bedoon (stateless) people in government departments. Now I know that this will provoke some predictable ‘shout and fight’ MPs to make this announcement appear to be an abuse of bedoons by the government of Kuwait! I believe that the CSC has simply spoken the truth about the impossibility of appointing bedoons in government departments and that the commission’s statement should be supported and received with the same wisdom and understanding shown towards other issues, rather than

being used to rally voters or crowds and to call for gatherings and public seminars at which the same government would be targeted and accused of being the abuser! I don’t want to repeat the questions over the origins of many of the bedoons. In fact, I think it’s stupid to assume that a man doesn’t know where his parents came from - this is an unbelievable level of naivety. So, as long as these people are trying to conceal or manipulate the truth about their country of origin in which they would be citizens, the CSC is absolutely right and sincere in refusing to hire noncitizens. I think that the commission has acted in accordance with the constitution and the country’s laws which prioritize the appointment of its own citizens over others, with expatriates being second in line, end of story. I know that such views will not end MPs’ anger, but national policies, at least those of civilized nations, are not decided

on the basis of public popularity, but on the grounds of the welfare of the country’s own people, its citizens. I agree with those who condemn the neglectful and weak attitude in dealing with the bedoons; they should have civil rights as human beings, but that doesn’t mean that they should have all the same rights as Kuwaiti citizens. That would be unjust - and I doubt the employment policy in government departments is capable of adapting to employ bedoons when they are already full of Kuwaitis anyway! It would be like cramming people together like sardines in a tin rather than appointing those who should be given a job based on need; such ethics are already not being followed or even existing in government jobs! Do we want to reduce corruption and the full package policy or to make things worse just to keep some MPs happy?! Email:

Al-Afasi lashes out at IOC chief KUWAIT: In response to the letter sent by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Director, Pere Miro, addressing Kuwait’s suspension from the IOC, the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, Dr. Mohammad Al-Afasi has replied strongly. He pointed out that the messages sent by the IOC President, Jacque Rogge were contradictory in nature, reported Al-Qabas. AlAfasi argued that while the decision to revoke Kuwait’s suspension were premeditated, he questioned the reasons that led Miro to raise the club’s dissolution issue, when FIFA is authorized to look into such matters. Furthermore, Al-Afasi described Miro’s intervention and the conditions placed to re-establish the dissolved boards as being unjustified.

Diplomat hails Palestinian-Kuwaiti relations AMMAN: The Palestinian Ambassador to Jordan Atallah Khairi yesterday lauded Palestinian-Kuwaiti relations, stressing the importance of President Mahmoud Abbas’ visit to Kuwait today, which the official said will promote bilateral relations between the two nations. In an interview with the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), Ambassador Khairi spoke highly of the stances adopted by Kuwait on the Palestinian cause and of

The representative of the ILO in Kuwait, Thabet AlHaroon, said that the Immigration Department in the Ministry of Interior proposed a project to establish a government owned company to be responsible for the residency of expat workers in the country. “There is a tendency in the government to make this company non-profit oriented,” said Al-Haroon. He added that the passed law

trading,’ which is widely referred to in Kuwait as ‘visa trading.’ “Nonetheless, the new labor law, once implemented, is going to eradicate human trading by 75 percent,” Al-Haroon concluded. The new law gives the authority of executing the law to the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor. He is expected to create a completely implementable and comprehensive law within six months.

Jaber Bridge tender opens for bids today

local spotlight


KUWAIT: A group of expatriate workers staging a strike recently to protest against non-payment of their salaries for many months. —File photo

Kuwait’s continuous support for the Palestinian people championing their just claim to an independent state and their right to self-determination in all regional and international forums. Khairi also underlined the importance of the support provided by Kuwait to the Palestinians, especially during the recent extremely tough times in which the Palestinian people face the ordeal of Israeli occupation and siege and the

threatening policies of Judaization and land incursions carried out by the Israeli occupation forces in the occupied Palestinian Territories. On the Palestinian leader’s visit, Khairi said that Abbas, who began his tour in the Jordanian capital yesterday, will also visit Cairo before a two-day visit to Kuwait. These visits form part of a week-long tour by President Abbas, during which he will also visit Qatar and

Turkey. Ambassador Khairi indicated that during his time in Kuwait, the Palestinian president will meet with senior Kuwaiti officials to discuss the latest developments in the situation in the Middle East, especially the efforts to relaunch Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, the inter-Palestinian reconciliation and the latest developments on the Palestinian scene. — KUNA

Kuwait starting point for $25bn GCC rail project KUWAIT: Kuwait will be the starting point of a $25 billion rail project to link the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Tenders for the GCC’s proposed regional rail network are set to be floated in the first quarter of 2010, according to comments from a senior official of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Mohammad Bin Obeid Al-Mazroui, GCC assistant Secretary-General for economic affairs, said in a statement published in the press yesterday that up to five firms would be shortlisted. He also indicated that either a single company would be chosen for the execution of the project or a number of companies will come together to do it as part of a consortium. The GCC states will be linked with a 2,117 kilometers long network, starting in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia before construction of the lines linking Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE. Al-Mazroui confirmed that it was hoped to get the project up and running by 2017. “Train services across the six GCC states will facilitate movement and travel of GCC citizens as well as expatriates and boost regional trade,” Al-Mazroui said. A report by a Kuwait-based center last week said GCC nations are planning to invest a total of $109 billion on rail projects in the next 10 years as officials look to solve traffic congestion issues. The report said investments in railway projects would increase dramatically in the region over the next decade. The supply-side analysis of expected investments indicates that the GCC region could see investments totaling $109 billion - based on the

announced projects in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the pan GCC project. The center said in its report that these projects were “crucial” to relieve the stress on the road system in the GCC region. “Already some of the countries in GCC have put forward plans for alternative transport systems such as the Dubai metro and Saudi Arabia’s various rail plans. We believe that this might result in relieving some amount of stress from the road network,” the report added. “Also, the pan GCC railways planned at an overall cost of $60 billion will open lot of interesting opportunities for pan GCC travelers. Currently, the only option to travel across GCC is either by road or by air,” it said. Saudi Arabia is currently the only GCC country to have a railway, although the network is still in the nascent stage. Dubai has recently launched its metro system but the GCC region’s growing population is increasing demand for transport infrastructure, the report said. “Consequently, congestion on roads has increased. Growing trade has also contributed to the congestion. This has spurred the governments of several GCC countries to look at inter- and intra-city railways as a viable option,” its report added. The majority of the countries in the GCC fared poorly when compared to developed nations on fatality rates on the roads, it said. In the US and UK, the number of fatalities per 1,000 people is at 13.68 and 19.11 respectively, compared to 30.7 in Oman and 26.32 in Saudi Arabia.



Monday, January 4, 2010

‘One step forward’

Expats respond to proposed Kuwait’s property bill By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: The opportunity to own a home or an apartment in Kuwait is important and good news to some working expatriates in Kuwait. While the details of the law are still unclear, many expatriates were elated to hear about the proposition. Some regard it as a step forward but ques-

KUWAIT: The group of people arrested during the raid. — Photo by Hanan Al-Saadoun

Farwaniya police arrest 20 people in brothel raid By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Farwaniya police raided a brothel and arrested 20 individuals involved in criminal activities. They were all referred to the proper authorities. Motor accidents A 16-year-old citizen sustained a broken leg and two others suffered minor injuries when their ATV flipped over in Julaiah. They were taken to Adan Hospital. A 31-year-old Sri Lankan received a cut on her lip when a car hit her in Farwaniya. She was taken to Farwaniya Hospital. A 26-year-old Saudi received a facial injury

after a motorcycle accident on Second Ring Road. He was taken to Amiri Hospital. Four citizens suffered various injuries when their vehicle flipped over in Julaiah. They were taken to Adan Hospital. A 49-year-old Egyptian suffered a broken leg, and a 50-year-old fellow citizen sustained bruises on the forehead, after a car accident on Sixth Ring Road. They were taken to Jahra Hospital. Employees burned Two Indians working at the Salwa co-op restaurant received first degree burns on the hands and face after a fire in the restaurant. They were taken to Mubarak Hospital.

In a move to encourage more investors, five lawmakers have drafted a bill to open the door for expatriates and give them the right to own apartments. Currently, owning apartments in Kuwait is restricted only to Arabs with special permits. However, the proposed bill submitted by Members of Parliament, Rola Dashti, Mukhled Al-Azimi, Saleh Ashour, Ghanem AlAzemi and Salwa Al-Jassar, call for allowing all expatriates regardless of nationality to own one apartment not larger than 350 square meters. This proposed law raised a number of new questions and concerns amongst expatriates about their residency. “If an expat is terminated at work, will they be allowed to stay within the country without harassment?” asked an expat who wished to remain anonymous. “How long would an expat be allowed to stay if they owned property without having a job? If an expat owned property and were handicapped in some way, would they still be allowed to stay?” While many expats were excited about the proposal, there were also many who expressed doubt. “Who will benefit, from it?” asked another expat who wished to remain anonymous. “Not us expats for sure. A proposed bill is always in favor of Kuwaitis. Maybe they only like your money and your savings.” Many Kuwaiti sponsors only allow expatriate

MoH examining dept head appointments KUWAIT: Kuwait’s health minister Dr. Helal Al-Sayer is reportedly examining the appointment of new medical department heads at local hospitals and polyclinics. Concerns arose at the Ministry of Health (MoH) after the Civil Service Commission (CSC) submitted several reports to the ministry voicing misgivings about decisions issued by the department heads in question, as well as expressing concern over the heads submitting their resignation over various issues. Dr. Al-Sayer is expected to settle the issue shortly through appointing new staff to these positions, reported Al-Watan. The appointment process at the health ministry is supervised by the CSC, whose regulations stipulate that department heads at hospitals and polyclinics should have employment contracts of no longer than two years in duration. The former department heads, however, were excluded from having to comply with these contractual regulations for reasons of necessity. The new development comes during a period in which the MoH is also occupied by another issue which has aroused concern, namely the issue of its central administrative system.

KUWAIT: As part of measures meant to boost awareness on role played by police women, the Ministry of Interior’s Security Media Department recently held a special lecture at a girls’ school. —KUNA

Abbas to visit Kuwait soon

Bedoon teenager killed in heated scuffle in Sulaibiya

KUWAIT: Palestinian President and head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), Mahmoud Abbas, is set to arrive in the country tomorrow. He will meet with HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed AlSabah in order to discuss the efforts to unite the Palestinian political scene and achieve national unity, reported AlQabas. They are also expected to discuss the latest developments of the Israeli and Palestinian peace process. This visit comes as part of a tour that Abbas started on Sunday. He will depart from Amman to a series of destinations that include a number of Arab and Islamic countries and is expected to announce the Palestinian Ambassador to Jordan, Attalla Khairi.

KUWAIT: A 15-year-old bedoon was killed after he received several stab wounds from another teenage bedoon during a heated scuffle in Sulaibiya recently. Police were first informed of the case from the medical staff of the area’s clinic, reported Al-Qabas. They made an emergency call informing the authorities about the arrival of a badly hurt juvenile who was still in very critical condition. When police reached the clinic however, they were told by doctors that the young man had already died. Criminal investigators were then summoned to conduct an investigation. Forensic examination revealed that the youngster had sustained fatal stab wounds to the neck, back and chest areas, which caused him severe bleeding and led to his death. The body was then left to the coroner for further investigation. While investigators were looking into the inci-

dent they received a call from the Al-Sulaibiya police station informing them that a juvenile had reported to the station with his father to turn himself in. The youth confessed to being responsible for the death of the youngster. During his confession he explained that the two decided to settle their previous disputes with a fight after getting together with some of their friends. He also said that the incident was accidental and he had not intended to kill the young man. He explained that the stabbings were an act of self defense. Investigators sent the murderer to the juveniles prosecution where he was put in solitary confinement before he could be reviewed by the Public Prosecution the following day. Meanwhile, police were sent to the Al-Sulaibiya clinic in order to maintain order after a large group of the victim’s relatives gathered there.

tions regarding residency are still a priority when considering buying property in Kuwait. “It’s one step forward and it looks to me like Kuwait is going to change their pro-Kuwaiti law policies to now create laws that favor expatriates. As to whether they will really pass or implement the bill I hope they will,” said a visibly elated expat reacting to the proposed bill.

KUWAIT: The new law calls for allowing all expatriates regardless of nationality to own one apartment not larger than 350 square meters. workers to stay in Kuwait for a month once they received a notice of termination. Once an employer has cancelled an expat’s residency he, or she, will be automatically considered an illegal immigrant unless they leave Kuwait within the allotted period of time.

If apprehended, they could be imprisoned by immigration authorities and deported. “Without employment or a job how can you protect your apartment?” the same expat asked. “It will be an additional headache. You’ll surely struggle for buyers once you decide to leave the country.

Additionally, who can buy the apartment? Was that made for businessmen or for simple expatriates earning a minimum salar?” Some of the expats excited at the opportunity would love to see the bill passed and implemented in Kuwait. “The fact is we are paying monthly

house rents,” another anonymous expat said. “The money we are paying is nonetheless a huge sum. If the proposed bill is like a rent to own apartment I would go for it. I would really love to have an apartment since I am not planning to change my job or my workplace at this time.”

in my view

United we stand: A wish for 2010 By Fouad Al-Obaid


his past year has witnessed its fair share of ups and downs. For instance, we have seen the price of our main export commodity decline before returning to reasonable levels. More lasting in terms of threat and with much danger, we have recently seen the threat of civil strife ignited by those who believe that out of chaos will emerge much blessing! It is no secret to all those who have lived long enough that there are various divisions that undermine society. However, such is the case in most of the world’s countries and it is natural that some may not like the present condition. However, there are limits to what is to be broadcasted in public, especially when it will lead to nothing constructive. We are a nation that has been shaped over time with many people coming - some leaving and a majority

steadily holding firm grounds. We are a nation that has survived many calamities that are both manmade and from the heavens. We are a nation of honest citizens; some of which through time have been coerced and corrupted. We are a nation of values, some of which have eroded, others replaced. We are a nation on the move; one that plays an important role at the regional just as much at the global level. We are a nation that has much to learn, we are a nation that has much to build, we are a nation that has plenty to do, yet the question is will our nation be stronger and more reasonable than other nations who have battled each other some till this very day are weary of their neighbors? Citizens and residents of Kuwait, I believe that it’s our duty to heed the call of HH the Amir and to stop the pointless bickering and inner fighting, and to fear God in our actions and to work earnestly towards the development of the country, for it is in the interest of all. Perhaps, it is worthwhile to remind the people of Kuwait of the sacrifices of both citizens and residents to the country during our various conflicts through-

out history. We are to guard against those that threaten our national unity and of those who likewise abuse their citizenship. It is up to the government to ensure that all citizens are loyal to the state and are not only citizens to enjoy the pleasure and benefits of citizenship, yet when things go sour they will be the first to flee. We need to guard against the various elements that maneuver to gain personal gains at the expense of the State. HH the Amir has shed light on such matter, calling on all citizens to be brothers, who are to work for the development of our country. We are all on one boat and it is HH the Amir who is the captain of this boat. May we sail through rough seas and brace storms, when united nothing can deter our desire to develop and to gain prominence at the global stage. May God grant us his blessing and May He protect our country from all harmwhether foreign and internal. May he guide HH the Amir our commander and leader.

Bedoon, woman caught in hot pursuit KUWAIT: A bedoon man and woman were arrested on Ghazali road after leaving a camping site in Doha. Police pursued the vehicle after the driver refused to stop at a police checkpoint. Police set up roadblock and stopped his vehicle after he collided with a police car and hit a cement barricade. The crash caused a police officer to sustain minor injuries and a small fire in the lawbreaker’s car. It was discovered that the driver, as well as his female passenger, were under the influence of alcohol. The female passenger, who was having a nervous breakdown, explained to police that she was kidnapped from the camp site by the driver. They were taken into custody for further investigation. Drug possession An Egyptian man was arrested at the Kuwait International Airport after a search of his luggage revealed 600g of drugs. Customs officials decided to stop the man, who was arriving from Alexandria, after he raised suspicion by showing signs of discomfort. He was referred to the proper authorities. In an unrelated incident, a young cit-

izen was arrested at a checkpoint in Sabah Al-Salem after being found in possession of hashish, 30 illegal pills and a bottle of vodka. He was referred to the proper authorities. Additionally, Farwaniya police arrested a 26-year-old citizen after he was caught driving under the influence of drugs and in possession of 20 drug pills on the Seventh Ring Road. After inspecting the man’s ID, police realized that he was wanted for a previous case in which he was sentenced to pay a KD 5,000 fine. He was also taken to the proper authorities. Citizen stabbed A Kuwaiti man was admitted to the intensive care unit of Al-Jahra Hospital after he sustained several stab wounds during a fight in Al-Waha. After the man was hospitalized criminal investigators, who questioned people at the scene of the incident, discovered that the fight was a result of a dispute over the sale of a car. Police are still searching for the assailants. Fuel thief caught Jahra police arrested a Pakistani man

for stealing fuel and selling it to campers in the area. Police arrested the man after receiving reports of a man roaming camping sites in order to offer campers fuel for their power generators at a reduced price. After investigating the incident police discovered the man was stealing gas from parked vehicles. He was arrested and referred to the proper authorities. Asians arrested Two Asians were arrested on a street in Abdaly after police found a box filled with imported liquor bottles inside their vehicle. The police made the discovery after pulling the car over. The bootleggers were then sent to the proper authorities. House robbery A citizen informed Ahmadi police that he was robbed after he made the discovery when he returned home from a camping trip with his family. He reported that KD 15,000 had been stolen from his house. A case was opened and investigators searched the scene of the crime for clues that could lead to an arrest.


Monday, January 4, 2010

5 ‘Most of the servers outside Kuwait’

Govt attempts to censor blogs ‘unacceptable’ By Ahmad Saeid KUWAIT: A number of Kuwaiti bloggers said that government’s attempt to impose censorship on blogs is unacceptable and unrealistic. The comments were made amidst expectations of the government’s plan to amend the ‘audio-visual

Vehicles impounded, offenders arrested KUWAIT: Ahmadi Security Officers conducted their routine security patrol over the weekend at several areas including Al-Wafra, Abdullah Port and AlAbdaliyah. It was carried out with the

intention of placing a check on reckless drivers, who use sports cars to perform dangerous stunts and drive erratically. During the campaign, several lawbreakers were arrested and referred to prison after charges

Astrologers make fortunes by deceiving the gullible KUWAIT: Academics have cautioned the public against astrology programs that are being widely aired on satellite television stations and of the astrologers’ deceptive means of baffling those of weak mental abilities who lack any logic. Dr Khodor Yaroun, a psychology professor at Kuwait University, said in an interview that astrology programs attract many viewers due to various reasons, such as ignorance, worries, a profound sense of defeat, concern over the future or fear of change. This phenomenon has spread on a wide-scale, he said noting that the media and the press dedicate special promotions to astrological programs, in addition to the publication of magazines and books on such illogical speculations and predictions. Astrologers are generally distinguished by a special charisma and ability to influence others, with some referring to themselves as doctors or astrological or spiritual scientists, and tend to mix up between astrology and parapsychology. Many people glue themselves to their television sets on New Year’s Eve and scan various channels, anxious to attempt to foresee their future through

Teachers to be honored at Kuwait ceremony KUWAIT: The Kuwait Teachers Society (KTS) is scheduled to launch its Sixth Annual ‘Thank You, My Teacher’ festival scheduled to take place from Jan 4 to 6 to coincide with the World Teachers Day celebrations. It will be held under the patronage of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlSabah. The event will commence with a grand opening that will be held today at 10:30 am, in the theater of the primary education faculty in Shamiya with the attendance of HH the Amir where 447 teachers will be honored. The celebrations will feature the inauguration of a monument erected in honor of teachers tomorrow. It will take place at 11:00 am at the 360 Mall. It is touted to set a world record for the most number of pencils used in its construction, as the event will be attended by representatives from the Guinness World Records Organization, in addition to the Minister of Education, Dr. Moudhi AlHumoud. Other activities scheduled to be held include a forum to be held at 9:00 am at the Education Faculty’s theater in Shamiya, titled ‘Teacher and Proud.’ Several prominent figures will take part like Al-Humoud, the Parliament’s Educational Committee Head, MP Dr. Hassan Jowhar and Head of the Kuwait Teachers Society, Ayedh Al-Sehali.

these programs, hosted by such notorious figures. Dr. Amthal Al-Huwailah, a psychology professor at KU’s Sociology Faculty, said many people are drawn to supernatural and superstitious beliefs as a result of boredom or mental or spiritual emptiness. Such a phenomenon encourages people to become more credulous and some become mentally sluggish to the extent that their passive attitude may lead to catastrophic consequences, she explained. “It is regretful that they pay hefty amounts of money to those who pretend to be able to read their future, thus turning into easy prey for such deceitful persons who seek to earn money by illegal means.” Dr. Ahmad Al-Sharif, information professor, said such programs have spread widely due to diverse psychological and social factors such as frustration and a sense of powerlessness. “The inability to attain real accomplishments nudges some people to drift into a world of superstitions, seeking any glimmer of hope,” he said, adding that astrologers make massive amounts of money from this effort-free art of deception. — KUNA

were pressed against him. Dozens of old sports cars and other normal vehicles were also impounded. As part of the campaign, 20 drivers were arrested which raised the total number of arrested on the same

charges during the weekend to 95. Several of those arrested were held at farms and jakhours (animal pens) police said. At least 23 vehicles were consfiscated, reported Al-Watan.

“The minister of information is using the instability caused by the programs aired on those two TV channels, and the whole issue of national unity, as means to impose restrictions on bloggers,” said Al-Mutairy. While he agreed that there is a group of MPs who support freedom of expression AlMutairy noted that some Parliamentarians have double standards about this issue. “I think that, unfortunately, a large group of MPs support the media when it speaks favorably of them and discard the media when it criticizes them,” he said. Muhammad Al-Yousifi, another Kuwaiti blogger, said that the government has been wanting to place restrictions on bloggers for some time now. “They have been wanting to do this since the scandal of changing the electoral districts in 2006,” he said. “They only got the chance to do it now with this Parliament which is mostly ‘governmental.’ Especially since a number of bloggers are now attacking MPs.” Al-Yousifi said that the law is “more laughable than it is scary” both because of the motive to monitor blogs, and the process of monitoring blogs itself. “How do they want to

Law’ after a TV show on the Al-Soor channel caused a wave of outrage amongst Kuwaiti tribes. “It was only a matter of time before these restrictions were imposed on bloggers,” said Amer Al-Mutairy, a Kuwaiti blogger. He added that the government has been waiting for the right excuse to strengthen its grip on the blogging community.

conduct this censorship? They can’t do it, they physically can’t do this,” he said. Abdul Aziz Al-Atygy, Kuwaiti blogger and a co-founder of the biggest blogging aggregation website in the Middle East, ‘,’ said that it will be very difficult for the government to censor or block blogs because most of the servers that contain these blogs are outside Kuwait. They don’t fall under the jurisdiction of Kuwaiti law. “Even if they are willing to block them, people can still access them via proxies. Governments cannot stop that and cannot identify those who access them,” he said. Al-Atygy also pointed out that there is a huge misunderstanding about what blogs are among Kuwaiti people in general. “Blogs are a micro prototype of Kuwaiti society. They are like diwaniyas. People speak what they think in them and if someone is [upset] by a Member of Parliament he will write his feelings in his blog. These views and feelings are varying and they are about different subjects. Political blogs are less than 15 percent of the whole blogosphere of Kuwait.” The issue of freedom of expression has been dwelled on for the past few years in

Kuwait. The Amir of Kuwait, HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, has repeatedly urged local media to adopt more responsible measures of tackling delicate subjects such as national unity. Minister of Information, Sheikh Ahmad AlSabah, is still under fire from the National Assembly (NA) after a number of MPs demanded the closure of the Al-Soor channel. They accused the Minister of allowing the channel to broadcast without proper permission. A number of MPs announced they will file an interpellation motion against the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah if he does not fire the Minister. Last October however, some of those same MPs held a number of demonstrations where they claimed the government was not doing enough to protect the freedom of expression. The demonstrations occurred after the publisher of an online newspaper, Zaed Al-Zaed, was attacked by an anonymous man. Kuwait occupies the 60th position on the Press Freedom Index issued by media freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders. It is also the highest ranking Arab country on that index.



Monday, January 4, 2010

Ministry urged to take serious steps

Doctors demand more job perks By Rawan Khalid

living expenses and annual income levels at par with other parts of the world. Recent press reports quoted ministry officials as saying that the salaries of Kuwaiti and nonKuwaiti doctors will be raised between 30 percent to 60 percent.

KUWAIT: Doctors have urged the Health ministry to take serious steps to improve their living conditions in the country. They demanded a salary raise that covers their Kuwait Times asked some Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti, to receive revised salaries. non-Kuwaiti doctors about their opinion Every doctor should be given a rent on the subject. Some officials say many allowance. We are serving a whole nation doctors have resigned from services to here. So it’s only fair that the salaries are return to their respective native countries raised. At the end of the day, nothing will or obtain suitable placements at other happen and we will not see any raise in GCC countries that offer them several our money.” A gynecologist who refused to disclose benefits as reported in Al-Dar newspaper. Dr. Saeed T, a dentist who works in a her name said, “In my point of view, the public hospital said, “We have read many old doctors deserve higher salaries. This of such articles and we have heard about is because they have served Kuwait for decisions. Actually, nothing has happened more than 20 years. Some even have till now. Yes, it’s fair for every doctor Master’s or a PhD qualification and experegardless of whether they are Kuwaiti or rience. The new doctors deserve only a

raise of about 10 percent of their salaries because they haven’t fully served Kuwait yet.” A pediatrician who requested anonymity had this to say, “All what they say and what we read is great. But nothing has happened since a year ago. This is our right. This raise should be made practicable. If I don’t receive a salary raise, I am going to resign and return to my country. Is it reasonable, that a doctor who works in the Ministry of Health has to pay his own health fee insurance? I think they shouldn’t charge us for that.”

Ministry promotes patient safety program KUWAIT: Assistant Undersecretary of Kuwait’s Ministry of Health for Planning and Quality Affairs Dr Walid Al-Fallah said yesterday the patient safety program being introduced to all hospitals is an integral part of the ministry’s plan for modernizing the healthcare services. The World Health Organization (WHO) attributes particular importance to the issue of patient safety which is a global issue affect-

ing countries at all levels of development, Al-Fallah told reporters here. “The WHO experts have developed in May, 2009, the Global Priorities for Patient Safety Research which provided vitally important solutions to facilitate the spread and use of research findings to inform safer health care in all WHO Member States,” he pointed out. “The solutions aim to increase knowledge about

in the news

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Municipality recently concluded a training course entitled ‘Planning and Project Management.’ It was attended by the Training and Development Manager Awwadh Al-Otaibi.

Apartment ads exclude Kuwaiti tenants By Nawara Fattahova KUWIAT: In an increasing number of advertisements, in the press and various other places, apartments are being offered to expats only. These signs don’t allow Kuwaitis to lease available apartments because the landlord or owner of the building had bad experiences with Kuwaiti tenants. These advertisements can be found beside other ads that do not rent to bachelors, or ask for only newly married couples to lease the apartment. “The owner of the building does not want to rent his apartments to Kuwaitis,” said Nasser, a real estate broker, to the Kuwait Times. “He said that he did that in the past and he encountered many problems. He said that many of the Kuwaitis that rented the apartments turned it into

a party location. The owner prefers renting to expat families, this is usually who we accept.” Omar, another real estate agent, said “a Kuwaiti will not live in an apartment. He most probably will rent the flat and turn it into a gathering place for his friends to gamble and have parties. If he was young and wanted to live in the flat with his wife, he would be most welcome.” Many landlords won’t rent to a single woman or to bachelors. “It’s not possible to let a bachelor lease a flat in a building where all the other tenants are families,” added Omar. “This can cause problem for the wives and the families will not feel comfortable. Also, many owners refuse to lease flats in their buildings for single women because they have had bad

experiences with women who hold parties and disturb neighbors. There is another point here. Many of the owners say that they won’t go to court to file a case against a woman if she doesn’t pay the rent. He would find it immoral.” Many owners have faced several problems with Kuwaiti tenants. “Most owners have financial obligations on a monthly basis,” said Mohammed, another landlord. “They are waiting for the rent of the tenants. When the tenant doesn’t pay for two or three months he is losing and getting into problems. Then he has to go to the court and get a decision to empty the apartment. He will have to wait a long time to receive his money and the apartment will stay closed for a few months. Some tenants also steal the furniture of the flat

when leaving.” Some owners feel more comfortable when leasing to foreigners. “The owners of villas who live on one floor and want to rent out the second floor, prefer to have western expats in the villa,” noted Husein Abdul Majeed, a partner in a real estate agency. “They may feel embarrassed and not free if they think a Kuwaiti tenant is always watching them, while western tenant might not. Also, they are afraid that if any problem occurred, especially with paying the rent, the Kuwaiti tenant would find a relative or friend who knows the owner and try to solve the problem or stop him from demanding payment. They find dealing with strangers easier, especially if it was with westerners whose company will pay the rent,” he concluded.

Alternative to sponsorship system KUWAIT: As part of its continuous efforts to find suitable alternatives to the current sponsorship practice, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is mulling over setting up a public authority for expatriate workers. In this method, all residence work permits of expats will be registered with a public shareholding company. The suggestion was proposed by Minister, Dr. Mohammad Al-Afasi in response to MP Dr. Yousuf Al-Zalzalah’s question. They said that the ministry will coordinate with the International Labor Organization (ILO) by sending experts to Kuwait to study the country’s labor market, reported Al-Watan. Furthermore, all suggestions will be referred to proper committees in order to take follow-up action, once a decision is made.

MPs respond to celebrations KUWAIT: MP Dr Waleed Al Tabtabae hailed the efforts of police for preventing violations on public morals on New Year’s Eve and called on the Ministry of Interior to keep up this effort throughout the year, reported Al-Shahed. In response, MP Dr Maasouma Al-Mubarak expressed astonishment Al-Tabtabae for appointing himself the guardian of people and their behavior. She said that MPs have no right to threaten the public and have no authority over how they express themselves during times of sadness or joy. She went on to say that God is the only one who watches and keeps a record of a person’s good or bad deeds. Al-Zalzala to meet authorities KUWAIT: Chairman of the Finance and Economy Committee at the National Assembly MP Dr Yousuf Al-Zalzala said that the committee will meet with concerned government authorities as per the state’s strategic plan. The Finance Ministry, Deputy Premier for Economic Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad will be consulted. He said the committee will present its report after the meeting with the Cabinet and holding discussions, reported Awan. He said that no changes were made on the debtor’s law on behalf of the government or MPs.

Seminar on new developments in swine flu KUWAIT: The Egyptian Cultural Office organized a medical seminar under the patronage of the Egyptian Ambassador to Kuwait Taher Farhat. It was titled ‘New Developments in Swine Flu.’ Public health specialist and Head of the Department at Mubarak hospital, Dr Ahmad Khalil was the keynote speaker in the seminar. Human beings contract the flu when they come in contact with

infected swine. The reverse can also occur when the animal contracts the virus, leading it to the creation of mutated virus. The mutated virus is then transferred to humans, which then turns into a contagious disease like the seasonal flu. Coughing and sneezing through the mouth and nose can spread the virus. Symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of the season-

al flu that is characterized by a sudden increase in temperature, coughing, pain in the muscles. This virus causes diarrhea and vomiting at a much severe degree than the normal flu, reported Al-Anba. He added that some precautionary measures could prevent it from being transmitted - washing hands with soap several times during the day, especially after coming in contact

with animals, and by avoiding getting closer to an infected person. This is in addition to covering the mouth and nose with a napkin while coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching around the eye contour area and the nose in case the hands are dirty to avoid transmitting the virus. Dr Khalil emphasized that the infection is not air borne, but is spread by sneezing and coughing.

Patients should be examined from a considerable distance so that the infection can be avoided. Pregnant women and young children are the most vulnerable, including asthma patients. Speaking about the vaccine, he said that it can be administered to pregnant women, baby sitters, medical emergency staff, adults who fall in the range between 19 to 24 age group.

patient safety, how research is conducted, what priorities are determined, and how the results are disseminated. “They can have significant impact on government health policies, the introduction of improved health-care practices and, as a result, better patient care,” Dr. Al-Fallah noted. He affirmed that the Ministry’s Planning and Quality Affairs Department doubled its efforts to educate the personnel of all state-run

and private-run hospitals on the patient safety issue and conducted field studies on the best ways to implement the relevant WHO guidelines. “The Ministry has made the patient care program a priority item of its modernization plan. “The programs ensures speedy admission of patients into the hospitals, easy access to proper diagnosis and medication and improved pathological care,” Dr. Al-Fallah added. — KUNA

IBS, Harvard school to present program KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Institute of Banking Studies (IBS) is set to work closely with the prestigious Harvard Business School to design and implement an executive education program for senior administrators in the Kuwaiti banking sector. The announcement of the new joint program was made by IBS chairman Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah, who is also governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK). The Governor pointed out that the program, initiated by the CB, is sponsored by the IBS member banks, the CBK, National Bank of Kuwait, Gulf Bank, Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Burgan Bank, Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait, Bank of Kuwait and the Middle East, Kuwait International Bank, Industrial Bank of Kuwait and Boubyan Bank. Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz explained that the program is one of the strategic developmental projects being pursued by Kuwait’s banking sector, led by the Central Bank and organized by the IBS, to upgrade the skills of the national workforce, of which executive leadership comprises the key component. The CBK governor indicated that preparations for this effort began over a year ago after a resolution was approved to organize a high-level program with the help of a leading international business school. The IBS initiated communication with Harvard Business School, and the two parties reached an agreement around the beginning of this year, he revealed. He also explained that that this will be the first customized program that the worldrenowned Harvard Business School has delivered in the GCC region, affirming that the school is very selective in undertaking such projects, especially those beyond its campus in Boston, USA. Sheikh Salem Al-Abdulaziz explained that the program is designed around two integrated

themes, ‘Strategic Management’ and ‘Leadership.’ These themes were agreed upon following a one-week visit to Kuwait last April by Dr James Dowd of Harvard Business School, who will serve as the program’s Faculty Chairman. Dr Dowd and members of the IBS management spent the week in extensive discussions with chairpersons, chief executive officers, general managers and assistant general managers from the number of Kuwaiti banks. Using the information gained in these meetings, a program was designed in two integrated modules. The first, entitled ‘Developing and Executing Effective Strategies’ will be held from Jan 23 to 27, with the second, entitled ‘Maximizing Leadership Impact,’ will run between April 11 and 14. Sheikh Salem affirmed that this executive education program will adhere to Harvard Business School’s high standards thus ensuring that participants and their banks will be provided with the same quality of learning experience for which the school is so well known. At the end of the program, participants will receive a Harvard Business School certificate, verifying that they have completed the program. The Governor elaborated that the world-famous Harvard Business School case studies will be the main learning tool utilized in the program; these case studies are written by the school’s faculty and are used in numerous universities and executive development centers. As well as selecting banking and finance cases, the faculty have also chosen some that focus on other industries to diversify participants’ learning experience. The program will also include application sessions during which participants will focus on how the concepts and frameworks presented by the Harvard faculty can be put to work in their own organizations. — KUNA

KIA gets go-ahead for hi-tech scanners KUWAIT: Kuwait International Airport’s customs administration department has received the go-ahead from the Ministry of Health (MoH) to introduce a number of advanced scanning systems at the airport, which are able to detect any unusual or strange objects being carried by passengers. KIA’s Director General Suleiman Al-Fahad told reporters that the equipment, which is extremely advanced, does not show body parts in detail, but uses sonic waves which detect any unusual obstruction or alien object, even inside a passenger’s stomach, reported Al-Anba. The equipment, which was purchased some time ago, was sent to the health ministry for assessment to ensure that its use would not be harmful to passengers’ health.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Hamas says in final stage of Fatah reconciliation RIYADH: Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said yesterday the Islamist group was in the final stages of achieving reconciliation with the rival Palestinian Fatah party after he met Saudi Arabian officials to try to narrow the rift. “We achieved great strides towards achieving reconciliation,” Meshaal told reporters at the foreign ministry during a visit to the Saudi capital. “We are in the final stages now.” An Egyptian proposal to promote reconciliation between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah group has called for presidential and legislative elections to be held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip next June. Meshaal said Hamas still had some points to resolve in the Egyptian proposal. “We all agree that the signing of the (reconciliation) will take place in Cairo,” he said. Meshaal’s visit with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud alFaisal was designed to help reconciliation of the feud, Saudi officials said. “We still hope that the kingdom plays a special role alongside Egypt and Arab countries to help us first succeed in sponsoring the Palestinian reconciliation and unify the Palestinian position and also to prompt Arabs to confront the stubborn Israeli administration,” Meshaal said. Hamas rules the Gaza Strip, which was hammered by an Israeli military offensive in late 2008. Israel pulled out of the cramped Mediterranean enclave in 2005 and, after driving out the mainstream Fatah movement in 2007, Hamas took full power in an election. Abbas’s Palestinian Authority runs the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Hamas, which is backed by Iran, does not recognise Israel’s right to exist and opposes the Fatah strategy pursued by Abbas of seeking to negotiate a permanent peace deal. Hamas is not part of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which was founded in 1964 and is recognised internationally as the representative body of the Palestinians. —Reuters


George Mitchell to present letters to Israel and PA

Abbas visits Egypt for talks on Mideast peace JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem yesterday. Israel’s ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman questioned whether president Mahmoud Abbas represents all Palestinians, given his lack of authority in the Gaza Strip. — AFP

US considers new sanctions against Iran WASHINGTON: The administration of US President Barack Obama believes domestic unrest and signs of unexpected trouble in Iran’s nuclear program make the country’s leaders particularly vulnerable to strong and immediate new sanctions, The New York Times reported late Saturday. Citing unnamed officials, the newspaper said the longdiscussed sanctions proposal comes as the administration has completed a fresh review of Iran’s nuclear progress. Obama’s strategists believe Iran’s top political and military leaders were distracted in recent months by turmoil in the streets and political infighting, and that their drive to produce nuclear fuel appears to have faltered, the report said. The White House wants to focus the new sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that is believed to run the nuclear weapons effort, The Times said. Although repeated rounds of sanctions over many years have not dissuaded Iran from pursuing nuclear technology, an administration official

involved in the Iran policy said the hope was that the current troubles “give us a window to impose the first sanctions that may make the Iranians think the nuclear program isn’t worth the price tag,” the paper noted. The Obama administration officials said they believed that Iran’s bomb-development effort was seriously derailed by the exposure three months ago of the country’s secret enrichment plant under construction near the holy city of Qom, the report pointed out. Exposure of the site deprived Iran of its best chance of covertly producing the highly enriched uranium needed to make fuel for nuclear weapons, The Times said. In addition, international nuclear inspectors report that at Iran’s plant in Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges spin to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel, the number of the machines that are currently operating has dropped by 20 percent since the summer, a decline nuclear experts attribute to technical problems, according to the report. —AFP

CAIRO: Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas arrived in Egypt yesterday for talks aimed at relaunching peace talks with Israel, amid lingering divisions over Jewish settlement expansion. Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said he would meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the Red Sea resort of His visit comes almost a week after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks in Cairo with Mubarak on the stalled peace process and as diplomats said Washington was drafting letters of guarantees for the peace talks. An Arab diplomat told AFP last week that US special envoy George Mitchell would present the letters to Israel and the Palestinian Authority on his next visit to the region. “The United States is hoping that the two letters will serve as a basis for the relaunch of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations but we don’t know if they will satisfy the Palestinians, who want a complete freeze of settlement activity before talks resume,” the diplomat said. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit is also planning to visit Washington for talks with officials on January 7, and has said he will be accompanied by Cairo’s intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. US President Barack Obama has repeatedly called on the two sides to resume peace talks, but the Palestinians have demanded Israel first freeze all settlement activity and commit to a framework for the talks. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have all urged Israel to halt its settlement activity, while Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal hit out at the Jewish state on Saturday for acting like a “spoiled child.” Abbas’ spokesman Abu Rudeina said: “There are Arab and international efforts to create the climate to support the return to negotiations with the

Sharm el-Sheikh today, before visiting Qatar and Kuwait and Turkey later in the week. “President Abbas will present to President Mubarak the important developments that confront the Palestinian cause and the great challenges facing the entire region,” he said.

BEIRUT: Demonstrators protest against Egypt’s border barrier between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip, during a demonstration in front the Egyptian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, yesterday. Placards written in Arabic, left, “Netanyahu says, thanks for Egyptian leaders”. Egypt is installing a series of metal sheets submerged along the Gaza border to block tunnels used to smuggle weapons into the Palestinian territory. — AP Israeli side based on a complete halt to settlements.” He added the Palestinians would also require “specific guidelines” for the talks, including that the borders of a future Palestinian state encompass all of their land Israel occupied in 1967. The Palestinians have insisted that mostly Arab east Jerusalem occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move not recognised by the

international community-be the capital of their future state. “The Israeli position that we have seen up until now is not encouraging and it will not be possible to return to the negotiations based on it,” Abu Rudeina said. Netanyahu in November imposed a 10-month halt on new construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank but excluded east Jerusalem, public buildings and housing units

already under construction. Abbas suspended peace talks with Israel after it entered a 22day war with Hamas, the Islamist rulers of Gaza, that killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and left swathes of Gaza devastated. Thirteen Israelis were killed. Hamas’s takeover of Gaza in 2007, which shrank Abbas’s powerbase to the West Bank, left a deep rift between

Palestinians that have also hampered peace talks with Israel. Egypt has already twice postponed the planned signing of a reconciliation agreement in Cairo because of deep divisions between Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah supporters. But exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said during a visit yesterday to Saudi Arabia that a reconciliation deal is “close.” — AFP



Monday, January 4, 2010

Former Croat PM Sanader returns to politics ZAGREB: Former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said yesterday his withdrawal from politics last year had been a mistake and announced a more active role in his ruling party, defeated in last week’s presidential election. Sanader quit unexpectedly as prime minister last July without giving an explanation. He was succeeded by his former deputy,

Jadranka Kosor, who took over both the government and the ruling conservative HDZ party. “I fully activate my role as the honorary president of the party. The reason is not the government’s work, which I fully support, but the poor result of the party in the presidential election,” state radio quoted Sanader as saying. The HDZ’s candidate came

third in the first round of the presidential election a week ago, getting 12 percent of votes, the party’s worst presidential poll result since the country became independent in 1991. “To a large extent the result reflects a disorientation in leading the party. I feel partly responsible for that because of having withdrawn from politics altogether,”

Sanader said. Many analysts said a division of votes among centre-right candidates, including some HDZ renegades, and voter discontent over the economic situation, rising unemployment and a number of corruption scandals in state-controlled companies in recent months caused a drop in support for the HDZ’s candidate.

Sanader did not specify if his political revival would be focused only on party affairs or if his ambitions went beyond that. However, he indicated he might take up his role as a parliamentary deputy after mid-January. “I’m not thinking about taking over the party again,” he said. Independent political analyst Andjelko Milardovic said

Sanader’s comeback could deepen disagreements among party factions. Croatia hopes to wrap up European Union accession talks this year and join in 2012. One of the requirements for that is a beefed-up fight against corruption, which Kosor has undertaken. The second round of the presidential election on Jan. 10 will pit

the candidate of the opposition Social Democrats, Ivo Josipovic, against his former party colleague and Zagreb mayor, Milan Bandic, who runs as an independent. Sanader urged the party leadership to give explicit support to one of the candidates. Kosor said earlier this week that HDZ would not support either of the two remaining candidates. —Reuters

Hostage ‘delighted’ to be back from Iraq

Body of fifth British hostage to be handed over: Iraq BAGHDAD: The body of the sole remaining Briton of five kidnapped in Baghdad in May 2007 by Shiite militants will be handed over in the coming days, Iraq said yesterday. The transfer of Alan McMenemy’s corpse will bring an end to a two-and-a-half year ordeal that has seen several hundred sus-

pected insurgents, including the leader of the group behind the kidnappings, released in an apparent deal. “We expect them to deliver the body within the next few days in order to close the file,” Iraqi government spokesman Ali alDabbagh told AFP, referring to the British bodyguard.

REGGIO CALABRIA: Italian Carabinieri police officers inspect the entrance of a courthouse where a bomb blast has heavily damaged the entrance to the courthouse in Reggio Calabria, southern Italy, yesterday. Investigators are working to assess the blast, which the National organized crime prosecutor Piero Grasso told Sky TG24 TV that investigators suspect the ‘Ndrangheta crime gang’ set off the homemade bomb in Reggio Calabria in a bid to intimidate prosecutors. —AP

Mafia blamed for Italian court bomb ROME: A powerful homemade bomb exploded yesterday at a court in a southern Italian city, in an attack the authorities blamed on the local mafia. The device, consisting of a gas cylinder with dynamite attached to it, detonated at 5:00 am (0400 GMT) in an entrance to the court in Reggio Calabria, damaging the building, according to police quoted in the media. No-one was injured in the explosion, which happened in the entry to the building housing the prosecutor’s office in the centre of the city. A second gas cylinder bomb attack yesterday morning targeted a fishmonger in the north of the city. The Reggio Calabria prosecutor Salvatore Di Landro told journalists that surveillance camera footage showed two men in motorcycle helmets placing the bomb at the court.

Following a two-hour meeting, the authorities said they were sure the blast was the work of the the local mafia, the ‘Ndragheta, and security measures and police checks are to be stepped up. Di Landro said the attack targeted the prosecutor’s office because of its work confiscating mafia assets and a number of ongoing appeals in cases against organised crime. Deputy prosecutor Franco Mollace said the incident was prompted by “a sharp change of tack in our team’s activities which has not pleased organised crime”. Confiscating mafia assets during investigations is seen as an important weapon in the fight against crime. Mafia clans are also worried the Reggio prosecutor may use appeal hearings to try to increase their members’ prison terms, according to the online newspaper Il Sole e 24 Ore.

Up to now, appeals have tended to reduce sentences, sometimes by as much as a half, the website said. A number of public figures including Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano spoke out in support of the Reggio prosecutors following the attack. The national anti-mafia prosecutor Piero Grasso expressed his “solidarity with the Reggio prosecutor and all the city’s judiciary, who are victims of a very serious act of intimidation.” Sunday’s attacks came after another gas cylinder bomb targeted a bar run by associates of Emilio Di Giovine, a former member of the ‘Ndrangheta, shortly before Christmas. Di Giovine, a drug and gun trafficker thought to be an ‘Ndrangheta boss in Milan, is cooperating with the authorities to try to have his sentence reduced. —AFP

Pope’s aide visits woman who knocked him down VATICAN CITY: A Vatican spokesman says Pope Benedict XVI’s personal aide has visited the young woman who jumped over a barrier and knocked the pontiff down in St. Peter’s Basilica on Christmas Eve. The Rev. Federico Lombardi says that Benedict asked the aide to pay a call on the woman, who is being treated for psychiatric problems, to “show the pope’s interest and benevolence.” Lombardi declined to comment on an Italian newspaper report yesterday that the papal aide told the woman during the Dec. 26 visit that Benedict had “pardoned” her. The ItalianSwiss woman, 25-year-old Susanna Maiolo, yanked Benedict’s vestments, pulling him down as he walked up the center aisle to celebrate Mass. In the commotion, an elderly French cardinal fell, breaking his hip. The pope wasn’t hurt.—AP

BILECIK: A passenger helps an injured woman after a train accident yesterday in Bilecik province. Two trains collided yesterday in northwestern Turkey, killing one person and injuring seven others, Anatolia news agency reported. The crash occurred in a rural area of Bilecik province as both trains travelled between Istanbul and the northwestern city of Eskisehir. —AFP

A Foreign Office spokeswoman in London told AFP: “Our position is unchanged. We have believed for some time that Alan’s been killed and his immediate family have been told our views. “We continue to urge those holding Alan to return his body immediately,” she said. “We’re in close contact with the Iraqi authorities and we’re doing everything we can to try and secure a swift return to the UK.” McMenemy, 34, was one of four security guards for Peter Moore, 36, a computer consultant who was released unharmed on Wednesday by the League of the Righteous, a breakaway Shiite militia, 31 months after the kidnapping. All four of his bodyguards, also Britons, have since been killed. The bodies of threeóAlec MacLachlan, 30, Jason Swindlehurst, 38, and Jason Creswell, 39 — were handed over to British officials last year. Some commentators said a deal may have been done to free Moore after League of the Righteous leader Qais alKhazaali was recently transferred from US to Iraqi custody. The Foreign Office denied any deal was done, saying the United States transferred Khazaali into Iraqi custody under the terms of a bilateral agreement. Khazaali’s brother Laith was released in June, around the same time two of the bodies were handed over to Britain, while around 200 detainees were freed in September, when a third body was transferred. Qais al-Khazaali, meanwhile, was among detainees handed over to the Iraqi government last month. Moore returned to Britain on Friday, and said in a statement released by the Foreign Office he was “delighted to have returned to the UK and to have been reunited with my family.” “I am looking forward to spending the coming days and weeks catching up on all the things I’ve missed over the past two and a half years,” he added. “I would therefore be grateful if we could be given the space and time we need to start to get to know one another again.” The five were kidnapped from the finance ministry in Baghdad in May 2007, by some 40 League of the Righteous gunmen. US regional military commander General David Petraeus said on Friday that Moore spent at least part of his time in captivity in Iran, citing American intelligence. “Our intelligence assessment is that he (Moore) certainly has spent part of the time, at the very least, in Iran, part of the time that he was a hostage,” he told reporters in Baghdad while on a visit to the Iraqi capital. “That is based on an intelligence assessment, and obviously I’ve not had a chance to hear it, certainly not to talk to him, but nor to hear anything that he has said.” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, however, there was no “direct evidence” Moore was held inside Iran. British newspaper The Guardian has reported that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps led the kidnap operation and took the five to Iran within a day of their abduction. “I’ve talked to Peter and we didn’t talk about that,” Brown told BBC television. “We don’t have direct evidence from the Foreign Office of that. If evidence becomes available, obviously we’ll share it with the people. —AFP

CAPE TOWN: In this June 3, 2009 file photo, South African president Jacob Zuma, second right, seen with his three wives Sizakele Khumalo, right, Nompumelo Ntuli, left, and Thobeka Mabhija, second left, after giving the State of the Nation address, at parliament in Cape Town, South Africa. —AP

Zuma set to marry his fifth wife JOHANNESBURG: South African President Jacob Zuma is set to marry his fifth wife in a traditional ceremony at his rural village in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, the presidency said in a statement yesterday. “The traditional wedding of President Jacob Zuma and Tobeka Madiba today, is a private family ceremony,” said the statement. The Sunday Times and Independent newspapers reported that Zuma’s homestead in Nkandla was a hive of activity this week as he prepared to tie the knot with Madiba today. “Most of the things are only happening from (Sunday). We are expecting the arrival of a number of guests and dignitaries. “There is obviously a lot of dancing and singing at the moment - people are happy. But tomorrow (Monday) is the big day,” the Independent said, citing a source close to the family. Today’s wedding ceremony will be the traditional one where the bride Madiba will be introduced to the elders as well to the ancestors, two years after Zuma paid the Ilobolo (dowry). Madiba, 37, who has two children with 66year-old Zuma, has attended official functions as one of the country’s first ladies and has been

quoted in the media as Thobeka Madiba-Zuma. Polygamy is legally recognised in South Africa. According to a biography on Zuma, prepared by his party, the African National Congress, the president has three wives including Madiba but details on their marriage remained vague. Meanwhile, Zuma is also reportedly preparing to take on a sixth wife. Earlier this week, an umbondo (exchange of gifts) ceremony was held signalling that he had paid ilobolo (dowry) for his latest fiancee, Bongi Ngema, according to the Sunday Times. When Zuma was inaugurated as head of state in May, speculation was rife about who would be the first lady. He attended the ceremony with his first wife Sizakele Khumalo, whom he has known for 50 years and married in 1973. Zuma is also married to Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma, whom he married in 2008 in a lavish ceremony. One of his earlier wives, Kate Mantsho Zuma, committed suicide in 2000. In 1998 he divorced Nkosazana DlaminiZuma, but she remains in his inner circle as she is currently home affairs minister. —AFP

DORTMUND: A plane of German airline Air Berlin is stuck in the snow behind a runway at the airport in Dortmund, western Germany, yesterday. The jet headed for Spain’s Canary Islands came off the runway at Dortmund airport in western Germany yesterday, but no one was injured, authorities said. The pilot of the Air Berlin Boeing 737-800, with 165 passengers and six crew members on board, tried to abort the takeoff because of a “technical irregularity” that is still being examined, airline spokeswoman Diane Daedelow said. —AP

Full-body scanners to be put in British airports LONDON: Full-body scanners will be introduced in Britain in the wake of the failed Christmas Day bombing attempt of a US airliner, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said yesterday, Brown told the British Broadcasting Corp. that all airport security would be increased in Britain, and all passengers, even those only transiting through the country, will have their hand luggage screened for traces of explosives. The suspect in the failed Northwest Airlines bombing had changed planes in The

Netherlands and gone through security but not through a full-body scanner. Brown warned that there was no guarantee that the new technology would work. “We cannot be convinced of the absolute proof of the working at 100 percent level of any technology, that is absolutely true,” he said. “We have found that there is a new form of explosive that is not being identified by ordinary machines. We have got to go further. Our first duty is to the security of the people of this

country.” Britain’s main airport operator BAA says it has ordered full-body scanners for Europe’s busiest airport, Heathrow, but said they had to be used with other security measures. “It is our view that a combination of technology, intelligence and passenger profiling will help build a more robust defense against the unpredictable and changing nature of the terrorist threat to aviation,” BAA said in a statement. Heathrow and Manchester airports have had trials using the full-body scanners. —AP


Monday, January 4, 2010


Florida police nab man in Thanksgiving killings of 4 WESTON: A Florida man suspected of gunning down four family members at a Thanksgiving dinner was arrested Saturday night in the Florida Keys after a weekslong manhunt, authorities said. Jupiter Police Sgt. Scott Pascarella said Paul Merhige, 35, was taken into custody without a struggle by US Marshals and Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies at a motel on Long Key.

This photo released by Mexico’s Federal Security Secretary Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, shows Carlos Beltran Leyva sitting in a police vehicle at an undisclosed location after his arrest. —AP

Mexico takes down second reputed drug lord in 2 weeks MEXICO CITY: Just two weeks after a chilling reprisal attack for troops’ killing of the reputed boss of the Beltran Leyva cartel, police have captured one of his brothers, sending a strong message that Mexico will not back down in the drug war. The Public Safety Department said in a statement Saturday night that Carlos Beltran Leyva was arrested in Culiacan, the capital of the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa, where he and several of his brothers were born and allegedly started their gang. On Dec. 16, his brother Arturo, the alleged chief of the Beltran Leyva cartel, died during a two-hour shootout with marines in the city of Cuernavaca. He was the highest-ranking drug suspect taken down since President Felipe Calderon sent tens of thousands of soldiers and federal police across the country three years ago to fight brutal drug gangs. Mexican officials in the past have described Carlos Beltran Levya, 40, as a key member of the gang, but it was unclear if he took over as chief of the cartel after his brother died. A third brother, Alfredo, was arrested in January 2008. At least one other brother, Mario, remains at large and is listed as one of Mexico’s 24 most-wanted drug lords, with a $2 million

reward offered for his capture. Carlos Beltran was not included on the list, although the Public Safety Department said there had been a warrant for his arrest since 2008. The arrest gave Calderon back-to-back victories in the drug war and underscored the government’s determination to destroy the Beltran Leyva cartel despite the threat of reprisal attacks. Days after Arturo Beltran was killed, gunmen massacred the mother and three other relatives of the only marine who died in the Dec. 16 shootout in Cuernavaca. The brutality of the attack _ staged just hours after the marine was buried in a public ceremony - shocked Mexicans who have increasingly been numbed by daily reports of drug violence. Calderon vowed he would not be intimidated by reprisals. However, authorities were far quieter in announcing Carlos Beltran’s capture, waiting three days to make the arrest public. In its terse statement, the Public Safety Department said federal police found Beltran Leyva on Wednesday carrying two guns, ammunition and a false driver’s license identifying him as Carlos Gamez Orpineda. He later acknowledged he was Arturo Beltran Leyva’s brother, the department said. Public Safety officials said there would be no immediate comment beyond the statement.— AP

Search at Rio hotel goes on as landslides kill 63 ANGRA DOS REIS: Rescuers yesterday searched for more bodies from an avalanche of mud and rock that buried a luxury Brazilian hotel filled with New Year’s revelers, as the death toll from heavy rains in the south of the country stood at 63. Twenty-eight people were killed in the tragedy at the hotel on Ilha Grande-a resort island southwest of Rio de Janeiro-and another six people injured. State officials said another landslide in the nearby city of Angra dos Reis, south of Rio, left at least 13 people dead, part of a series of mudslides brought on by incessant rains that have killed at least 63 people across the state of Rio de Janeiro since Wednesday and left dozens missing. Authorities said the Hotel Sankay was full to capacity with about 40 guests, including children, ringing in the New Year at the idyllic seaside getaway on Bananal beach. The complex is nestled at the bottom of a jungle-covered hillside which gave way before dawn Friday on New Year’s Day, transforming the tourist paradise into a hell. “It was a deafening noise, I’ve never heard anything like it-a loud thunder that wouldn’t stop,” Felipe Gomes Martins, a hotel neighbor, told Brazil news website G1. “There was a lot of earth, mud, trees-trees falling and taking away everything,” said Martins, 32, who described how he and his father helped rescue some 60 people as the landslide swamped the area. Rio’s deputy governor Luiz Fernando Pezao said it was “a vision of horror,” describing it to CBN radio as “a mountain of rocks and trees covering various homes.” Nearby houses had been rented out to vacationers for the holiday period. A fire chief said the death toll at the hotel site could rise to 40, and rescue teams were speeding their search Saturday amid warnings of the possibility of new landslides. “The whole area is in severe danger of new landslides due to the vegetation,” Fire Department commander Pedro Machado told Globo News. About 100 rescue workers and firefighters, aided by rescue dogs, wrestled to remove tons of mud, rocks and thick tree trunks in the hope of finding

victims alive on Ilha Grande, but “the chances of finding survivors are very slender,” Machado said. “We cannot use heavy equipment because of the risk of setting off new landslides,” he said. Authorities said rescue operations would likely continue another 48 hours, adding that most of the bodies recovered earlier were found on land. At least three more had been pulled from the sea. It is still not known if there were foreigners among the dead. The Hotel Sankay, which opened in 1994, catered to Brazilian and foreign tourists looking for a remote beachside hideaway. The island, whose Bananal beach can only be reached by water, is the largest in a translucent bay studded with pristine tropical islands. In the center of the city of Angra dos Reis, a seaside town on the mainland overlooking Ilha Grande Bay about 150 kilo-

meters (93 miles) south of Rio, another landslide buried several houses, killing at least 13, according to a government statement. A top Brazilian geologist said “the natural risk is very severe” in locations like Bananal beach, where thick vegetation grows in unstable ground on steep, rocky terrain. “The occupation of unstable areas is greatly increasing the risk of accidents,” Alvaro dos Santos, former director of the Technology Research Institute, told the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo. Although the rains stopped on Friday, authorities put Rio on alert because of fears of potentially devastating mudslides in its densely populated hillside favelas, or shanty towns. The mudslides have forced 4,000 people to leave their homes across Rio de Janeiro state-about the same number affected by similar mudslides which hit the state one year ago. — AFP

Authorities said Merhige checked into the motel on Dec. 2, using the name “John Baca” and a false Homestead address. He had the same blue 2007 Toyota Camry that had been a key part of the manhunt, but police said it was hidden with a covering at the Keys motel. US Marshals said Merhige, who had withdrawn $12,000 from bank accounts before the killings, paid for his room in advance in cash. It turned out that the license tag on his car had been registered to a Lexus he owned in 2006. Merhige was on his computer when police made entry to his motel room, according to a Marshals statement. There was no indication Saturday that Merhige had an attorney. Authorities said he was being taken to the Palm Beach County jail. Police say Merhige opened fire at a home where 16 relatives had gathered for the holiday in Jupiter, an affluent community about 90 miles north of Miami. He faces four counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the shootings, which also injured two other people. Police say Merhige shot and killed his 33-year-old twin sisters, Carla Merhige and Lisa Knight, both of Miami, along with two other relatives: his aunt Raymonde Joseph, 76, and his young cousin, Makayla Sitton. Police said Knight was pregnant. Authorities have said Merhige carefully planned the killings. A family member said Merhige was heard saying after the shootings that he had waited 20 years to kill the relatives. Merhige sat through three hours of dinner and sing-a-longs around the piano before the shootings, his cousin-in-law Jim Sitton has said. There were no arguments, warnings or red flags before the rampage, said Sitton, who hosted the dinner and is Makayla’s father. Police said Merhige was taking numerous medications, including Ativan, used to treat anxiety disorders, and may be experiencing symptoms including insomnia, chest pain and restlessness. — AP

Pascarella credited the TV show “America’s Most Wanted” for the tip that led to Merhige’s capture. Merhige has been the subject of a massive manhunt that included a $100,000 reward for information leading to his capture. He is accused of killing his twin sisters, a 79-year-old aunt and 6-year-old cousin on Thanksgiving Day at a family gathering in Jupiter.

Peruvian court upholds 25-yr sentence for Fujimori LIMA: The Peruvian Supreme Court yesterday unanimously upheld a 25-year prison sentence on the country’s former president Alberto Fujimori, who has been convicted of massive human rights abuses. A Supreme Court review of Fujimori’s convictions was requested in November by his defense lawyer, who asked the high court to revoke his client’s sentence. “None of the 10 pieces of evidence that went to determine his guilt as mastermind of premeditated murder have to do with the issue of him giving the order for the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta killings in 1991 and 1992,” attorney Cesar Nakazaki told the court. The defense lawyer also asked for an annulment of Fujimori’s conviction in the kidnapping of a journalist and a businessman in 1992, claiming there was not enough evidence to prove that the former president had ordered the abductions. Fujimori, 71, has been found guilty in four trials since he was extradited from Chile in September 2007. He was found guilty of abuse of power and sentenced to six years in prison in December 2007. In July, he pleaded guilty to charges of illegally paying a 15 million dollar bonus to his security chief and right-hand man, Vladimiro Montesinos, and was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. The sentence is under appeal. And on September 30 he was

given another six year sentence and fined nine million dollars after he admitted charges of wiretapping and bribing journalists, politicians and business leaders. In one of the first reactions to the Supreme Court’s ruling, member of Congress Carlos Raffo said he was “disappointed” by it. “The court has convicted a president who has freed us from terrorism,” Raffo said. “And it has ratified this odious 25-year sentence without any proof of guilt. It was a political settling of scores against Fujimori.” During his presidency, Fujimori proved to be an unrelenting foe of Shining Path and Tupac Amaru rebels active in rural areas. However, his political downfall began in 2000 when a video of Montesinos was broadcast on television, showing the spy chief buying off an opposition lawmaker. Soon after, Fujimori fled to Asia and resigned via fax from a Tokyo hotel. Congress refused to accept his resignation and instead voted to sack him and ban him from public office for 10 years. In 2005, Fujimori, who was trying to stay involved in Peruvian politics while in Japanese exile, flew to Chile on a private jet. On arrival, he was arrested and Peru demanded his extradition, which Chile finally granted in September 2007. Poor health has dogged the former president, slowing trial proceedings. He has been treated

LIMA: File photo released by Peru’s Judiciary and taken on July 17, 2009 shows ex-president of Peru, Alberto Fujimori speaking in Lima during the last audience of his trial for fresh corruption charges of illegally paying his former top aide and intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos a 15 million dollar bonus. — AFP for hypertension and cancer, among other ailments. But the ex-president’s political legacy appears far from extinguished. Fujimori’s daughter Keiko

enjoys her own political career and remains deeply loyal to him. She is likely to run for the Peruvian presidency in 2011 and, if successful, she has vowed to pardon her father. — AFP



Monday, January 4, 2010

About 1,000 Australians evacuate homes from floods SYDNEY: About 1,000 people in a small Australian town evacuated their homes yesterday as floodwaters besieged the area after 10 days of heavy rain. Emergency officials advised 1,200 residents of Coonamble, 257 miles (415 kilometers) northwest of Sydney, to relocate to less-threatened parts

of town away from the rising Castlereagh River. State Emergency Services urged people to evacuate by nightfall. The river was expected to peak at 18 feet (5.5 meters) early Monday — its highest level since February 1971 and just below a 19-foot (5.9meter) high levee. “We want to make sure

that the people there do not have any risk to their own safety, so we need to err on the side of caution,” said State Emergency Services spokesman Phil Campbell. He said there was concern about the levee withstanding such a high flood level, but Mayor Tim Horan said engineers did not

anticipate major problems. “We know we’ve got some weak points in the levee where there’s seepage with the sand,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. “But we’ve just got to make sure we put in precautions to cover any problems that may arise.” Residents trolled away in a motor-

boat and ranchers herded horses and cattle through the deep water to higher ground. A major road was submerged by brown water. Coonamble, with a population of nearly 2,600 people, was cut off by floodwaters caused by heavy rains that began Christmas Day. While meteorologists say the worst of

the rain is over, rivers and reservoirs are still dealing with the extra water. “I’ve lived here for 60 years and this is as high as I’ve seen (the river),” resident Ken Baker told Network Ten television. He left his house as floodwaters came within yards (meters) of his front door. — AP

Huang accused of abusing power

China to put former top judge on trial for graft BEIJING: One of China’s former top judges will be tried for taking up to four million yuan (588,000 dollars) in bribes, in one of the nation’s most high-profile graft cases, the state press said yesterday. Huang Songyou, former deputy head of the Supreme People’s Court, will go on trial by the first week of March, making him the highest judicial official to be tried since the establishment of new China in 1949, the Chongqing Evening News said. Huang, 52, is being accused of abusing power, enabling profit for others, taking bribes and living a “corrupt and

lavish” life, the report said. He allegedly accepted a massive bribe to arrange a favourable ruling in a huge real estate case in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong in 2008 that benefited friends and cronies, the report said. Yang Xiancai, a former chief judge at the Guangdong provincial high court, has also been linked to the case, along with 36 other officials in the Guangzhou intermediate court in Guangdong’s provincial capital, the Southern Metropolitan Daily said. A native of Guangdong, Huang once served as a judge on the provincial high

court. As one of China’s best educated judges, Huang was seen as a leading figure pushing China down the path toward a constitutional legal system when he was appointed vice head of the nation’s Supreme People’s Court in late 2008. His trial is expected to come ahead of China’s annual parliamentary session in the first week of March, the reports said. Chinese President Hu Jintao has repeatedly warned that corruption is one of the greatest threats to the legitimacy of Communist Party rule and has vowed to crackdown on graft.

China’s judiciary is rife with corruption, with judges known to take bribes in a wide array of civil cases often linked to lucrative real estate and business deals. Top court officials in Beijing and Chongqing as well as Guangdong, Hubei and Liaoning provinces have recently been convicted for taking money from attorneys in exchange for favourable rulings. The former vice head of Beijing’s western district court, 58-year-old Guo Shengqui, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in late 2008 for taking bribes and kickbacks from real estate developers and lawyers. — AFP

Philippine volcano calms down MANILA: Disaster relief officials in the Philippines launched a massive clean-up yesterday as tens of thousands of villagers began returning home after the restive Mayon volcano showed signs of calming down. Joey Salceda, governor of the province of Albay southeast of Manila where Mayon is located, said he expected all 29 public schools converted into temporary shelters would reopen for classes today. “What we are doing now is conducting damage assessment. We are on an early recovery stage,” Salceda told reporters. “We are cleaning up schools and classrooms so that classes can resume tomorrow.” He said firetrucks had been brought in to hose down sanitation facilities that were overwhelmed when more than 50,000 people were evacuated over the past three weeks for fear of a possible major eruption. “It’s a massive clean upoperation,” he said. Mayon began rumbling and spewing lava and ash in early December, leading authorities to declared a level-four alert out of a scale of five, meaning that a major hazardous eruption was about to take place. But Mayon has since shown signs it was calming down, and on Saturday the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology lowered the alert level to three. The provincial government said more than 46,000 people

PUCHENG: A Chinese firefighter checks the rubbles after putting out the blaze at the Xinping Firecrackers factory in Pucheng, northern China’s Shaanxi province, destroying all of the seven workshops producing festive explosives. — AFP

Fireworks and highway accidents kill 15 in China BEIJING: A Chinese province halted all fireworks production following a factory explosion that killed nine people, official media reported yesterday. The order from the Shaanxi government followed Friday’s’ blast at the Xinping Firecrackers Co., where workers were rushing to fill orders for this month’s Lunar New Year festival, the Xinhua News Agency said. The explosion tore through seven workshops in Shaanxi’s Pucheng county where more than 100 workers were laboring in cramped conditions, it said. Provincial officials have

ordered police and government safety and commerce departments to conduct a “thorough overhaul” of all fireworks factories in the province, Xinhua said. It gave no details and did not say when the factories would be allowed to restart production. The factory’s manager, Qu Pingxin, initially fled before turning himself in to authorities on Saturday, Xinhua said. Pucheng county is a traditional base for the industry in the province, employing 30,000 people and producing 300 million yuan ($44 million) worth of fireworks last year, Xinhua said. Six workers died yester-

day when the highway overpass they were building in Yunnan province collapsed, a further example of the human cost of China’s breakneck drive for development. The overpass is part of a massive new airport complex in the provincial capital, Kunming. The 23 billion yuan ($3.3 billion) project is designed to handle 38 million passengers and 1.3 million tons of cargo per year by its completion in 2020. About 100,000 people die each year in industrial and traffic accidents in China, many in the country’s notoriously deadly coal mines. — AP

Malaysian govt to fight court verdict on Allah ban LEGAZPI CITY: Evacuees affected by the Mayon volcano return home with their belongings in the outskirts of Legazpi City, the Philippines’ Albay province. Tens of thousands of Filipinos evacuated from the shadow of a volcano that began spewing ash and lava prepared to head home after the alert level was lowered. — AFP living some seven to eight kilometres (five miles) from Mayon, the country’s most active volcano, had been given the green light to return home. But more than 3,000 others who live in a six-kilometre zone will have to remain in evacua-

tion centres. “Right now we are not seeing a new rise of magma,” chief volcanologist Renato Solidum said in a radio interview. However, he warned villagers returning to their farms on the foothills of Mayon to

remain wary of lava flows or heavy rains that could dislodge volcanic debris from the slopes. An August 2006 eruption caused no immediate deaths but the following December a passing typhoon unleashed an avalanche of volcanic mud from the

mountain’s slopes that left 1,000 people dead. The 2,460-metre (8,070-foot) Mayon has erupted 48 times in recorded history. In 1814, more than 1,200 people were killed when lava flows buried the town of Cagsawa. — AFP

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s government has pledged to challenge a court ruling that Christians have a constitutional right to use the word Allah to refer to God. The High Court verdict Thursday has sparked small, peaceful protests by Muslim groups, raising fears of friction between the Malay Muslim majority and the large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities, who mainly practice Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. The Prime Minister’s Department will file an appeal against the verdict, Jamil Khir Baharom, a Cabinet minister responsible for Islamic affairs, said in a statement late Saturday. He called for Muslims to respect the court decision and for all parties to be patient and allow the dispute to be resolved through the legal process. The High Court’s decision struck down a government ban on non-Muslims translating God as Allah in their literature. Minorities wel-

comed it as a blow against what many consider to be institutionalized religious discrimination. The court ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed in late 2007 by The Herald, the Roman Catholic Church’s main publication in Malaysia. The government ban had affected The Herald’s Malay-language edition, read mostly by indigenous tribes who converted to Christianity decades ago. The verdict has divided Muslim commentators. Some agree with the government’s insistence that Allah is an Islamic word that should be used exclusively by Muslims, and that its use by other religions would be misleading. However, other Malaysian Muslim scholars say nonMuslims should be free to use the word. Efforts by Christians to use Allah in Malay-language literature have been perceived by some Muslims “as a plot to convert Malay Muslims to Christianity,” Anas Zubedy, a popular

Muslim blogger on social and political issues, wrote after the court verdict, adding his support of the ruling. Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Saturday the government should set strict conditions for the use of the word Allah to ensure the court verdict does not trigger religious tensions, the national news agency Bernama reported. “What I am afraid of is that the term ‘Allah’ might be used in such a way that could inflame the anger of Muslims, if (non-Muslims) were to use it on banners or write something that might not reflect Islam,” it quoted Mahathir as saying. Minorities often say their constitutional right to practice religion freely has come under threat from the Malay Muslim-dominated government. The government denies any discrimination, but authorities recently confiscated 10,000 copies of Malay-language Bibles because they contained the word Allah. — AP

Family urges inquest for Briton executed in China

ISTANBUL: Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada (C) leaves the Haghia Sophia (St. Sophia) Museum in Istanbul after his visit yesterday. Okada is on an official two-day visit to Turkey. — AFP

LONDON: The family of a Briton executed in China wrote yesterday to the government in London demanding an inquest into his death, their lawyers said. Akmal Shaikh, a 53-year-old father-of-three whom supporters say was mentally ill, was executed on Tuesday for drug smuggling despite extensive British pleas for clemency. In a letter to Foreign Secretary David Miliband, the deceased’s brother Akbar Shaikh called for a coroner’s inquest to be held in Britain. “My family is suffering incredible grief and torment over the many unanswered questions surrounding Akmal’s death,” he wrote. “We have begged the Chinese for answers... but none have been forthcoming. All this uncertainty is just too much for the family to bear. “We therefore implore you to direct a coroner’s inquest so that some of our questions can be answered, and the terrible mysteries surrounding my brother’s apparent death... can be resolved for us.” Shaikh, from north London, was arrested in September 2007 in Urumqi, in China’s western Xinjiang region, with four kilogrammes of heroin. Campaigners say he was duped into carrying the

drugs for a criminal gang. The execution added to diplomatic tensions between London and Beijing, after Britain blamed China for “hijacking” last month’s United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen. Human rights lawyers Reprieve cited sections of the Coroners Act 1988, under which an inquest might be held. Reprieve director Clive Stafford Smith said: “Despite having flown to China to be with him, Akmal Shaikh’s family were not told of his death until he was already apparently buried in the frozen soil of Urumqi. “Nobody told the family how or where he would be killed. No family member or independent observer was allowed to witness his death, view his body or verify his burial. “We have only the word of a Chinese press release that he was even killed. “An inquest would give this grieving family a crucial insight into Akmal’s final hours, his mental state and the extent to which he suffered before he died. “Only then can they begin to recover from the trauma of Akmal’s lonely and senseless death.” —AFP


Monday, Jaunary 4, 2010


Indian PM admits climate talks a let-down NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who successfully fought against binding caps on emissions at the Copenhagen climate talks, admitted yeaterday that all parties involved were unhappy with the results. Singh told a science conference in the city of Thiruvananthapuram that world lead-

ers “were able to make only limited progress at the Copenhagen summit and no one was satisfied with the outcome. “There is no escaping the truth that the nations of the world have to move to a low greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficient development path,” he said. At last month’s talks, India and other

emerging nations such as China thwarted plans for legally binding emissions caps, arguing the importance of maintaining rapid economic growth. India insists that developed countries, blamed for most global warming thus far, should bear the burden of mitigating its future effects. India’s per capita emissions are among

the lowest globally as much of the country is without power, but in volume terms it is still among the top five carbon emitters. At Copenhagen, a total of 30 billion dollars was pledged from 2010-2012 to help poor countries in the firing line of climate change. Rich nations also sketched out a target of providing 100 billion dollars annually

by 2020. The deal set the aim of limiting warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), but set no binding targets to reduce emissions of gases that scientists say are heating the world’s atmosphere to dangerous levels. Indian Environment Minister Jairam

Ramesh has welcomed the lack of binding measures and praised the united front presented by major emerging countries. A diplomatic battle erupted over the summit’s final agreement, which has been widely panned for its failure to oblige countries to implement emissions reductions. —AFP

Militants adopt new strategy in especially bloody week

Roadside bomb kills ex-Pakistan minister ISLAMABAD: A bomb attack in northwest Pakistan killed a former minister yesterday, officials said, keeping up pressure on a government struggling to contain a raging Taleban insurgency and stabilise the country. A roadside bomb hit the car in which former provincial minister Ghani-ur-Rehman was

SRINAGAR: Kashmiris take shelter to protect themselves from snow in Srinagar, India, yesterday. The higher reaches of northern Indian states of Jammu Kashmir received snow while other parts of northern India suffered from cold wave conditions. — AP

Afghan parliament delivers blow to Karzai on cabinet KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai suffered a new blow to his authority with the rejection by parliament of most of his cabinet nominees, further prolonging political crisis in the war-ravaged country. Of the 24 people Karzai put forward for the cabinet, only seven won approval on Saturday in a secret ballot of more than 200 lawmakers. The rejections leave Afghanistan without a fully functioning government, dragging out a political vacuum that has prevailed since an August presidential election, with ministries being run by junior bureaucrats who have little power and no coherent plan. “It is a political setback,” said the UN’s special representative, Kai Eide. “It prolongs the situation without a functioning government, which has lasted since summer,” he told reporters. “It’s particularly worrying in a country in conflict, where you have so many challenges and need to focus attention on urgent reform programmes,” he said. Among those rejected were the only female nominee, undermining Karzai’s pledge to bring more women into government, and a warlord whose naming as water and energy minister was seen as a reward for support at the August 20 election. “At a time when Afghanistan needs strong government, I think most of the ministers who did not get through were perceived by parliament as not being strong enough representatives of the nation,” said parliament member Shukria Barakzai. Karzai has been attempting to rise above accusations that his government is corrupt, that he uses the international military to keep him in office and billions in foreign aid to enrich his cronies. His cabinet list had been seen as an effort to balance obligations to his Western backers, including the United States, and his domestic supporters. Karzai has long relied on warlords to prop up his administration, but aides said he recognised the need to satisfy the West to stay in power and bring some momentum to much-needed development.

Haroun Mir, director of Afghanistan’s Centre for Research and Policy Studies, said the rejections showed up the lack of cohesion in Afghan politics. “There is no organisation, parliament is fragmented, parliamentarians vote on their own assessment. There are no political parties behind them,” he told Al-Jazeera television. Karzai’s spokesman, Waheed Omar, said that while the president “was not happy,” he respected the democratic process. “The president is thinking about some sort of restructuring within the government based on whatever views were expressed... and will introduce new members to the cabinet in the proper time,” he told reporters, without giving a timeframe. The humiliating rejections came less than four weeks before an international conference in London to discuss the political, social and military needs of Afghanistan as the war strategy puts more focus on development. Karzai faces going to London without a coherent plan for reform as he has few senior ministers to present and even his foreign minister, the 25th cabinet post, is acting only until after the conference, when he will be replaced. “We are not yet out of political crisis,” said Mir. “President Karzai will go to the London conference without anything to offer.” Those voted down included warlord Ismail Khan, while incumbent women’s affairs minister Husn Banu Ghazanfar lost out by two votes. Also rejected were incumbent holders of the public health, counter-narcotics and telecommunications portfolios. Five of the highest-profile nominees, who had the West’s nod, were approved-the interior, defence, finance, education and agriculture ministers. The rejections highlight Karzai’s lack of authority, as parliament questions the nominees’ legitimacy and their promises to implement promises of clean and transparent governance. Under the constitution, rejected nominees cannot be tapped again for the same post, said parliamentary spokesman Husib Noori. Parliament begins a 45-day winter recess tomorrow. — AFP

The blast comes in an especially bloody week, including the suicide bombing of a volleyball game in a northwestern village where anti-Taleban militias were being formed. At least 98 people were killed. In another attack, claimed by the Taleban, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a religious procession of thousands of Shi’ite Muslims in Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city. The blast killed 43 people, triggering riots that destroyed hundreds of buildings in the commercial capital, an image that could discourage badly needed investment in infrastructure. Such large-scale operations suggest Pakistani Taleban fighters are now focusing on bombing large crowds of civilians to inflict maximum casualties and spread terror in a bid topple the pro-American government of President Asif Ali Zardari. Bloodshed has intensified since July 2007 when the army cleared militants from a radical mosque in Islamabad. The violence has also included attacks on government officials and anti-Taliban clerics. In one of the boldest operations, suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a mosque near the headquarters of Pakistan’s allpowerful military. Rattled by relentless bloodshed, many Pakistanis are losing faith in Zardari, who is already under the spotlight because his aides could face renewed corruption charges. In a sign of growing security fears, the United Nations will withdraw some of its staff from Pakistan because of safety concerns, a UN spokeswoman said. The instability is likely to raise more concern in Washington, which sees Pakistan as a frontline state in the fight against a Taleban insurgency in Afghanistan. The United States wants Islamabad to both defeat homegrown Pakistani Taliban and wipe out militants along the border who cross over into Afghanistan to attack Western forces. But Pakistan has little incentive to root out militants focused on defeating what they call “occupation troops” in Afghanistan. Pakistan sees those militants as vital leverage against rival India’s influence in Afghanistan, especially if the United States pulls out before Afghanistan is stabilised. —Reuters

travelling. “The minister, his bodyguard and driver were killed,” said Fazal Naeem, a police official in the town of Hangu, where the attack took place. A second bodyguard was also killed.

LAHORE: An elderly Pakistani man crosses a street decorated with posters of candidates of the local market elections, in Lahore, Pakistan, yesterday. — AP

Taleban deny abducting two French TV reporters KANDAHAR: The Taleban militia yesterday denied kidnapping two French television journalists and three Afghan assistants who were snatched at gunpoint five days ago in Afghanistan. “We are not involved,” self-styled Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location. “We ask our fighters to inform us if they do anything but we have no information coming from this area,” he said. There has been no claim of responsibility since gunmen snatched the group of five in the eastern province of Kapisa on Wednesday, but a French colleague of the journalists blamed the Taleban. The five men disappeared while going to meet a contact 60 kilometres (40 miles) from the Afghan capital near French military bases. Criminal groups and Taleban insurgents have kidnapped several dozen foreigners, many of them journalists, since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the

Taleban regime in Kabul, sparking the current insurgency. Most foreign hostages in Afghanistan have been released unharmed and relatively quickly, but the situation can be more complicated if the kidnappers take them into the remote mountains on the border with Pakistan. A senior executive at public broadcaster France Television is travelling to Kabul on Monday to lobby for the group’s release. “I am going to Kabul to take stock of the situation,” said director of news Paul Nahon. “I am going to meet with different Afghan authorities.” A source involved in efforts to free the journalists said on Friday they were believed to be alive and in good health. Far from being homogenous, the Afghan Taliban are a nebulous collection of largely autonomous local networks and remnants of the regime ousted from power by the 2001 US-led invasion. The French were abducted in a volatile

area where the Taleban and wanted warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-eIslami network have a presence. French troops said yesterday they were stepping up a hunt for the five. “All vehicles heading north towards Kabul are being searched 24 hours a day,” a senior French military official in Kapisa told AFP. In an interview published in France yesterday, French Defence Minister Herve Morin said there had been “no claim and no demand” over the missing reporters. “The less we talk about it, the better for the security (of the five). We have no direct contact allowing us to give you news of them,” he said. The latest media abduction in Afghanistan comes just weeks after two Afghans and an Iraqi journalist working for a British newspaper were kidnapped and then freed following a six-day ordeal in a remote region of Afghanistan. —AFP

Prisoners escape

KABUL: Afghan members of parliament watch during voting on President Hamid Karzai’s cabinet nominees at Afghanistan’s parliament in Kabul on January 2, 2010. Afghan President Hamid Karzai suffered a new blow to his authority with the rejection by parliament of most of his choices for cabinet, further prolonging political crisis in the war-ravaged country. — AFP

NEW DELHI: Indian police say they have launched a massive search for three Pakistani men convicted of bombing a crowded shopping area who escaped from custody shortly before they were to be deported. Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat says the men already served their prison terms for setting off two bombs in June 2000 near the Red Fort, a massive 17th-century sandstone palace in the capital. Two people died in the blasts. Bhagat says the men — Abdul Razzak, Mohammed Saddique and Rafaqat Ali — fled Friday on their way back from a routine medical checkup before their deportation to Pakistan. Police have announced a reward of 50,000 rupees ($1,100) for information leading to their capture. — AP

KAPISA: Platoon commander of Tagab district Mir Abdul Mokim of the Afghan National Police (ANP) (2L) listens to a French gendarme (R) as he works with a Police Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (POLMT) on the road Axe Vermont in the Kapisa province yesterday where two French journalists were kidnapped on December 30, 2009. A senior executive with France Television said he was flying to Kabul as efforts continued to free two of the station’s journalists abducted while going to meet a contact 60 kilometres (40 miles) from the Afghan capital, Kabul. — AFP



Monday, January 4, 2010


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The Undie Bomber and the war of ideas By Bernd Debusmann


ho is winning the war of ideas between the West and Al-Qaeda’s hatedriven version of Islam? It is a question that merits asking again after a 23-year-old Western-educated Nigerian of privileged background, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, attempted to murder almost 300 people by bringing down a Detroitbound airliner on Christmas Day with explosives sewn into the crotch of his underpants. The administration of President Barack Obama, averse to the bellicose language of George W Bush, has virtually dropped the phrase “war of ideas”. But that doesn’t mean it has ended. Or that Obama’s plea, in his Cairo speech this summer, for a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world has swayed the disciples of Osama bin Laden, whose 1998 fatwa (religious ruling) against “Jews and Crusaders” remains the extremists’ guiding principle. “To ... kill the Americans and their allies - civilians and military - is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it,” the fatwa said. “This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah (to) fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together.” That this exhortation is as appealing today, to a fanatical minority, as it was 11 years ago underlines that the United States has had scant success in meeting the objective the Bush administration set out in its 2003 National Strategy for Combating Terrorism. “Together with the international community, we will wage a war of ideas to make clear that all acts of terrorism are illegitimate, to ensure that the conditions and ideologies that promote terrorism do not find fertile ground in any nation ...” That aim was spelt out just weeks before the United States invaded Iraq, an event that provided ample ammunition for the extremists’ assertion that the West was stepping up an unrelenting war it has waged against the Muslim world for centuries. Such claims, and Al-Qaeda itself, should be easy to discredit, write two political scientists, Peter Krause and Stephen Van Evera in the fall issue of the Middle East Policy Council Journal. Instead, they say, “AlQaeda has so far fought the world’s sole superpower to a stalemate in the worldwide struggle for hearts and minds. As a result, US prospects in the larger war against Al-Qaeda are uncer-

tain.” They make an important point. By many accounts, the United States has been making more progress on the military front than in the war of ideas. In Afghanistan, the number of Al-Qaeda elements has shrunk to fewer than 100, according to Obama’s national security adviser, James Jones. In Pakistan, missile strikes have thinned out the ranks of Al-Qaeda leaders who use the frontier region as safe havens. In Yemen and Somalia, air attacks and covert operations have killed “high-value targets”. But Al-Qaeda is more than an organization, it is an idea, and killing ideas is much more difficult than killing people. Especially when the propagators of mediaeval concepts use 21st century technology - websites, social networks, videos - more nimbly than the country that invented the Internet, in the view of communications experts. One of the most cutting critiques of America’s shortcomings on the ideas front came this summer, from the country’s top soldier, Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Writing in the Joint Force Quarterly, a publication of the National Defense University, he complained about “a certain arrogance” in strategic communications and of gaps between what the United States says and what it does. “Each time we fail to live up to our values or don’t follow up on a promise, we look more and more like the arrogant Americans the enemy claims we are,” he wrote. As to Al-Qaeda and the Taleban, “they intimidate and control and communicate from within, not from the sidelines. And they aren’t just out there shooting videos, either. They deliver. Want to know what happens if somebody violates their view of sharia law? You don’t have to look very far or very long. Each beheading, each bombing and each beating sends a powerful message or, rather, IS a powerful message.” More powerful, perhaps, than Obama’s promise, after the underwear bomber’s failed operation on the most joyful day in the Christian calendar, that “we will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable”. That sounded a lot like George W Bush, a week after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on Manhattan and the Pentagon, the greatest mass murder in American history. Talking about the elusive bin Laden, he said: “I want justice. And there’s an old poster out West that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or alive.’” — Reuters

All articles appearing on these pages are the personal opinion of the writers. Kuwait Times takes no responsibility for views expressed therein. Kuwait Times invites readers to voice their opinions. Please send submissions via email to: or via snail mail to PO Box 1301 Safat, Kuwait. The editor reserves the right to edit any submission as necessary.

Bolivian Indians see rocky exodus from serfdom By Frank Bajak


uan Vasquez didn’t have much of a childhood. He never went to school, began to work as a ranch hand at age 12, married three years later and has nine children. But in all his 55 years, Vasquez says with moistening eyes, he never got paid - not unless a daily meal from a communal pot can be called compensation; or a twice-yearly allotment of used clothing. “I didn’t know what it was to earn money,” Vasquez says through a half-set of teeth stained evergreen from chewing coca leaf. With re-election last month of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first Indian president, and with Indians of Vasquez’s Guarani people winning seats in congress for the first time, the end may soon be at hand for a system the UN has classified as “forced labor and servitude.” Though the Guarani account for only about 85,000 of Bolivia’s more than 6 million Indians, they have been the most downtrodden, and that makes them a priority for Morales in his mission of eradicating all vestiges of colonial repression. For now, several thousand newly “liberated” Guarani, including Vasquez, live in a penniless limbo, waiting for the government to make good on its promises to give them land. But Bolivia already has taken giant steps toward ending a centuries-old legacy of what Morales calls endemic mistreatment of its third-largest ethnic group by white overlords. His landslide re-election was a ringing endorsement. Another expression of the Guaranis’ political awakening came in the same election, when voters approved autonomy for Indians in two Guarani-dominated municipalities. In April, the Guarani are poised to win a number of mayoral races for the first time here in their traditional homeland in southeastern Bolivia, where Andean foothills meet broad plains of dry scrub that extend east to Paraguay

This Nov 28, 2006 file photo shows a protester tied to a rope and a chain as a symbolic protest against the working conditions of the indigenous Guarani people, during a rally demanding land reform in La Paz, Bolivia. – AP and south to Argentina. Since the Dec 6 election the government has seized ranches totaling 15,500 hectares from two powerful white opposition leaders in Bolivia’s eastern lowlands, stronghold of Morales’ most bitter foes. The government said the land met the main criteria for confiscation - obtained by fraud and serving no “social or economic purpose.” With the electoral rise of the Guarani, the opposition’s grasp on power is rapidly eroding in the Alto Parapeti region, at the intersection of Santa Cruz, Tarija and Chuquisaca states where the government says exploitation of the Guarani has been most severe. Juan Vasquez is at the epicenter of the struggle. He walked away from one of five ranches encompassing 37,000 hectares in the Alto Parapeti whose owners are fighting government expropriation orders. The government says it found servitude on those ranches. The ranch-

ers, who include American Ronald Larsen and his son Duston, deny it. “We’re hoping for the best. That’s all we can do,” Duston Larsen, 31, told the AP of the legal battle to save the family’s 15,000-hectare spread. He said they had always paid their workers twice the minimum wage and provided free healthcare and schooling - but were now down to about 15 workers from twice as many in 2007. Along with the other cases, the Larsens’ is stalled in the National Agricultural Tribunal since last year. But the new, pro-Morales congress is expected to abolish that court and replace it with a new tribunal of popularly elected judges. “There has been an uprising, to reclaim the right to land and liberty,” says Celso Padilla, a senior official with the Guarani People’s Assembly, his people’s national governing body. Under Morales, of the Aymara, the largest Indian group, this poor

South American country has been steadily chiseling away at white minority control of politics. The keystone is a new constitution, enacted in February, that established Bolivia as a “plurinational republic”. It gives the country’s 36 ethnic groups, well over 60 percent of the population, the right to selfdetermination at municipal level. Eventually there will be autonomous territories, though the new congress still needs to define how that will work. The Guarani, Bolivia’s thirdlargest ethnic group, are now rattling ranchers far beyond the Alto Parapeti. Many ranchers are treating their workers better and have begun to pay the minimum wage of 647 bolivianos ($92) a month, after previously paying only half as much, says Walter Herrera, an official with the Guarani’s Capitania, or local council, in Monteagudo in hills to the west. “A lot remains to be done,

but the human rights situation is improving,” he said. But other ranchers have simply fired their workers with severance payments averaging $565, while as many as 350 Guarani families still live as peons on smaller ranches deeper in the hills, economic prisoners of their bosses, Herrera added. The claims of serfdom are unfounded, said Javier Antunez, president of the cattlemen’s association based in nearby Camiri. “The government has made a lot of proclamations about servitude but it hasn’t produced anything solid to be able to prove it irrefutably,” he said in an interview. Antunez dismissed Bolivia’s indigenous empowerment as “a new experiment born in Europe”, because German, Swiss and Spanish nongovernmental organizations have helped the Guarani. He said it could impede Bolivia’s development, putting the country at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring Brazil and Argentina. Some ranchers violently resisted the government inspections that led to the expropriation orders. Several times in 2008, ranchers shot out or slashed tyres of government inspectors accompanied by Guarani. In one incident, 46 Guarani and officials were injured - 11 of them seriously - when ranchers hurled rocks at them in Alto Parapeti, the UN noted in a May report. An Uruguayan Roman Catholic priest, Rev Nacho Aguirre, delivered food and medicine afterward to those still living in servitude in remote communities only accessible by fourwheel-drive vehicle. But he left Bolivia this year after the bishop of Camiri, his superior, emailed him that the ranchers hated him and “swore they would kill you”. No rancher interfered with an AP reporter’s trip to Alto Parapeti in December for interviews with Vasquez and others who said they had lived most of their lives trapped in abusive labor relationships with ranchers. “I earned 5 kilos of sugar a week, plus some herbs and a bar of soap. Those were my wages,” said

Felicia Florez, 78. She said she was born into forced labor on the ranch of Ernesto Chavez, working first as a nanny, then as a cook. Speaking to the AP by phone, Chavez’s son, Roberto, accused Florez and Vasquez of lying. But when asked how much they were paid, he gave no answer. Miriam Campos, who led anti-servitude efforts in the Justice Ministry for a decade until recently stepping down, said she had confirmed Vasquez’s story and many similar cases - “testimony we could not publish precisely because of people’s security, because they’ve been threatened.” A mission of the Organization of American States in June 2008 determined that “people of all ages, including boys, girls, adolescents and seniors” had for decades been subject to “excessive physical labor”, in some cases under threat of corporal punishment. Mission members were also told that “in many cases, the (ranch) owners were either local political leaders or directly connected to them”. Indian servitude dates back to Bolivia’s 1825 independence from Spain. Until then, even the Incas who once dominated the Andean highlands couldn’t conquer the Guarani. But their gradual subjugation was final by 1892, when some 6,000 were killed in an uprising against ranchers, who Padilla says treated the Guarani “like animals”, buying and selling their land as if they didn’t exist. It was so thorough that the Alto Parapeti’s landlords were spared in a 1952 land reform that broke up large estates elsewhere in Bolivia and continued to take advantage of the politically inert Guarani. Che Guevara, the Argentine revolutionary, tried to organize a leftist uprising in southeastern Bolivia in the following decade. But the Guarani didn’t join, and Guevara was captured by the army and killed. The Guarani didn’t organize until the early 1980s after the fall of Bolivia’s right-wing dictatorship. — AP

Desperate Somalis seek ‘backdoor’ route to US By Amy Taxin


he asylum seeker from Somalia hung his head as an immigration judge grilled him about his treacherous journey from the Horn of Africa. By air, sea and land he finally made it to Mexico, and then a taxi delivered him into the arms of US border agents at San Diego. Islamic militants had killed his brother, Mohamed Ahmed Kheire testified, and majority clan members had beaten his sister. He had to flee the Somali capital Mogadishu to live. The voice of the judge, beamed by videoconference from Seattle, crackled loudly over a speaker in the mostly empty courtroom near the detention yard in the desert north of Los Angeles. He wanted to know why Kheire had no family testimony to corroborate his asylum claim. Kheire, 31, said he didn’t have email in detention, and didn’t think to ask while writing to family on his perilous trek. It seemed like the end of Kheire’s dream as he waited for the judge’s ruling. He clasped his hands, his plastic jail bracelet dangling from his wrist, and looked up at the ceil-

ing, murmuring words of prayer. Kheire is one of hundreds of desperate Somalis in the last two years to have staked everything on a wild asylum gamble by following immigration routes to the United States traditionally traveled by Latinos. With the suspension of a US refugee program and stepped-up security in the Gulf of Aden and along Mediterranean smuggling routes, more overseas migrants from Somalia are pursuing asylum through what one expert calls the “back door.” “The US has closed most of the doors for Somalis to come in through the refugee program so they’ve found alternative ways to get in,” said Mark Hetfield, senior vice president for policy and programs at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. “This is their new route.” About 1,500 people from around the world showed up in US airports and on the borders seeking asylum during the 2009 fiscal year, according to statistics from US Customs and Border Protection. Somalis were the biggest group to make the journey, with most arriving in San Diego. More than 240 Somalis arrived during that period - more than twice the num-

In this Nov 16, 2009 photo, Somali asylum seeker Mohamed Kheire waits to consult with Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project detention attorney James Lyall at the Los Angeles Catholic Charities. – AP

ber from the year before. Like Kheire, they have been shuttled to immigration detention centers in California while legal advocates have scurried to find lawyers and translators to help them navigate US immigration courts. Many end up defending themselves. Those who lose may remain temporarily. Somalis may be deported, but immigrant advocates say authorities often do not send them back immediately because of difficulties making the trip. For many, it has become increasingly dangerous to stay in Somalia. The African nation has not had a functional government since 1991 when warlords overthrew longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on each other, plunging the country into chaos. Somali refugees say they are fleeing repression by armed militias defending majority clans and the Islamic militant group Al-Shabab, which has been labeled a terrorist organization by the United States. “There are stories about houses being blown up by rocket launchers that you don’t hear coming out of other countries as a normal occurrence,” said James Duff Lyall, an

attorney for the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, who has represented several Somali asylum seekers in Lancaster. “The consistently horrific stories are striking.” In 2007, Kheire’s brother was shot in the head in his music store in Mogadishu after refusing to bow to al-Shabab’s demands that he shutter the shop. A year later, Kheire’s sister was beaten with a stick and left bleeding outside a school.That night Kheire, whose family belongs to a minority clan, was visited by three men who rammed his chest with a rifle butt and debated whether to kill him. Once they left, Kheire decided to leave. His wife and then-nearly 4year old son went to stay with family. He sold his taxi and used the money to go to Kenya, where a smuggler arranged for him to travel to Dubai, then to Cuba, using fake documents. He then went to Ecuador and Colombia, where he boarded a small boat with about 20 African migrants. It took them a week to reach Costa Rica. They traveled by night, bailing out sea water with plastic bins. During the day, they hid in forests along the shoreline and waited for smugglers to bring them food.

In Nicaragua, Kheire was herded into the back of a sweltering truck container for 18 hours, fearing he would die of suffocation or be caught by police. In Guatemala, he crossed a river atop two rubber tires bound together to reach Tapachula, Mexico. He spent 12 days in immigration detention before authorities released him with a piece of paper ordering him to leave the country in 30 days. He would carry the paper on a plane to Tijuana and in the taxi to the US border. Immigration experts say such circuitous paths are routes of last resort. “I always call it the backdoor,” said Bob Montgomery, director of the San Diego office for the International Rescue Committee. “When the refugee program is not robust, we see more people trying to come through the asylum system,” he said. Most Somalis have reached the United States - there are some 87,000 here - through US-sponsored refugee resettlement programs. But the State Department in 2008 suspended a family reunification program for refugees over fraud concerns. The number of Somalis admitted by refugee programs dwindled to about 4,000 last year. — AP

Monday, January 4, 2010



Counterterrorism competes with jobs in Obama agenda By Jeff Mason


ob creation will take a backseat to counterterrorism on President Barack Obama’s agenda next week after an AlQaeda-linked man’s failed attempt to bomb a US-bound plane forced the White House to shift its focus. Obama returns to Washington from a roughly 11-day Hawaiian vacation faced with a public concerned about new threats, an opposition party ready to jump on a perceived political vulnerability, and a high US unemployment rate that was supposed to be his top

Iran regime has lost touch with society By Jean-Louis de la Vaissiere


ran’s regime has definitively lost touch with the aspirations of its people but it is still far from certain that the protest movement confronting it is ready and able to seize power, experts say. The street battles that rocked Tehran and other major cities over the Ashura holiday show that the demonstrations have entered a new phase with increased state repression and more violent incidents. But, unlike the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah, Iran’s latest uprising is not led by a well organised opposition in exile. The largely spontaneous protest movement does not appear poised to take over. Former Iranian lawmaker Ahmad Salamatian said the civic revolt is “not organised and non-hierarchical” and warned “it should not fall into the trap of violence, because it’s not clear that the middle classes would follow. “Meanwhile, the agents of repression will do everything to trigger a violent showdown,” he told AFP in Paris, describing the battle for representative government as “a marathon, not a boxing bout.” Several Iran experts said the response of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s government to the protests triggered by June’s disputed election reminded them of the last days of the Shah. The mounting anger on the streets, where protesters are increasingly taking on the police and members of the Basij miltia, shows the frustration of a people that is more in tune with the modern world than are their leaders. Francois Nicoullaud, who served as France’s ambassador in Tehran between 2001 and 2005, said it was significant that protests had now spread beyond the capital to the large city of Tabriz in the northwest. Tabriz was a centre of opposition to the Shah during Iran’s constitutional revolution in 1905 and is still considered a political bellwether. “Ironically, the current regime now faces the same dilemma as the Shah,” he said. “It is toughening its stance and in doing so it runs the risk of making martyrs of its victims and giving its detainees a passport into politics.” He described the revolt as spontaneous and said opposition flagbearers such as former prime minister and defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi were following events rather than leading them. Thierry Coville, who studies Iran at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations in Paris, said former regime insiders like Mousavi “are being dragged along behind a civil society which is racing ahead. “It wasn’t they who led Sunday’s demonstrations,” he said, while also dismissing the influence of Iranian opposition movements in exile such as Maryam Radjavi’s National Council of Resistance of Iran. According to the experts, Khamenei’s failure to address the anger caused by Ahmadinejad’s dubious re-election has destroyed his own legitimacy and that of the Islamic Republic brought to power in the 1979 revolution. That opposition supporters some of them at prayer - were attacked by the security forces during the religious holiday of Ashoura, a celebration of one of Shiite Islam’s greatest martyrs, was particularly shocking to Iranian opinion. “The regime has turned an electoral crisis into a political crisis, then into a systemic crisis and, since Sunday, into a religious and security crisis,” Salamatian said. “Khamenei appears to be the prisoner of his most hardline advisers.” — AFP

priority for months to come. A lot can change in 11 days. In the advent of the failed attack, national security issues and their domestic political ramifications will take up more of Obama’s time as he kicks off the second year of his presidency and tries to wrap up healthcare reform and pursue other domestic priorities. That shift has already begun. Obama is waiting for final results from reviews he ordered into how 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was allowed to get on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to

Detroit allegedly with explosives in his underclothes. Tomorrow he will meet with top intelligence officials at the White House - a sign that his schedule is reflecting his new priorities. The White House had planned a major push on job creation this year, ahead of midterm elections in November, when Republicans are likely to lambast Obama’s Democrats for not doing more to reduce double-digit unemployment. But the botched plane attack - and the sense that the Obama team was not ready for it - has given Republicans new ammunition and jolted the

White House to hone its message. On Saturday Obama focused his weekly address on new information about the bomber, saying it appeared he had been trained and equipped by an Al-Qaeda affiliate. He did not mention the economy, but an aide said Obama would focus on both issues in the weeks and months to come. “The president will keep working to create jobs and strengthen the economy even as he continues to do everything within his power to keep the American people safe,” said deputy press secretary Bill Burton. “Even as we review the breakdown in

protocols and procedures surrounding the attempted act of terrorism on Christmas Day, the economic and other challenges that face our nation remain urgent.” Politically, the White House also sees some urgency in highlighting the administration’s record on counterterrorism. Obama focused a large chunk of his address on Saturday on a robust defense of what his government has achieved in its war on extremists, with not-so-subtle shots at former Vice President Dick Cheney and other Republican critics woven in.

“I refocused the fight - bringing to a responsible end the war in Iraq, which had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, and dramatically increasing our resources in the region where Al-Qaeda is actually based, in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Obama said. Cheney has often suggested Iraq was involved in the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington. “It’s why I’ve set a clear and achievable mission - to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies and prevent their return to either country,” Obama said. — Reuters



Monday, January 4, 2010

Crises to greet Obama return to Washington Continued from Page 1 huge joblessness and a budget deficit of over a trillion dollars in 2010. “The country is in deep, deep trouble,” Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty - a possible Republican 2012 presidential candidate told Fox News last week. “People are going to hold office holders and candidates to account.” Amid the gloom, Obama must try to rekindle the theme of change and hope which powered his 2008 election win. “While 2009 was difficult for many Americans, we must also look back ... with the knowledge that brighter days are ahead of us,” he said in his New Year message. One political triumph - healthcare reform - a task that has confounded generations of Democratic presidents, may be in reach. A final bill could emerge from Congress

within weeks, setting up a historic signing ceremony to boost the president early in 2010. After nearly a year in power, Obama is grayer, drained by Washington’s acrimony and no longer an untested source of hope for millions, but a commander-in-chief who agonized, then escalated the Afghan war. His once soaring job approval ratings are now around the critical 50 percent threshold though he will be comforted, that unlike many lawmakers, he does not face voters for three more years. Judged by massive expectations which greeted his election, Obama’s first year looks unimpressive, but history may give him more credit. Despite the economic blight, Obama argues that he stopped a traumatized economy slipping into depression - and if the US economy shows its historic resilience, he may reap a political benefit.

However, the long fight over healthcare has delayed much of his domestic agenda and Wall Street is battling to water down a regulatory reform drive. Obama’s hopes of passing a capand-trade bill to fight global warming also look increasingly doubtful and dreams of his devotees that he could cleanse Washington’s partisan swamp have proven fanciful. Abroad, the administration’s bid to confront Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now looks clumsy, and the Middle East peace process is stalled. In Iraq, however things look better: the White House hopes to get US troop numbers down to 50,000 by August. The administration also hopes to conclude a landmark nuclear deal with Russia in early 2010 and will also seek to build on a tortuous start in engaging China and hopes to ease the North Korea nuclear crisis. — AFP

Japan mobile marvels go back to the future Continued from Page 1 video cameras, barcode readers and an ‘i-concierge’ assistant that gives hints on a late train or a traffic jam. DoCoMo’s phones since 2007 feature a cashless payment system, which allows users to buy a soft drink from a vending machine or lunch at a hamburger chain, simply by swiping their phone over an electronic pad. “By having a phone you can do almost everything,” said Takeshi Natsuno, known as the ‘father of i-mode’, the popular Internet service DoCoMo launched a decade ago, and now a professor at Tokyo’s Keio University. “All convenience stores and 60 percent of Tokyo taxis are equipped with readers so you can pay by phone,” he said, adding that this is one reason the central bank three years ago started to reduce the number of new coins minted. DoCoMo co-develops phones with manufacturers such as NEC, Fujitsu and Panasonic, who then custom-make the handsets for it. Usually the makers are identified only discreetly with their initials in the model name. Among recent offerings is the bright-yellow Kids Phone F05A by Fujitsu, which features a pullstring alarm that emits a shrill noise and sends an email alert to the parents that instantly pin-points the child’s location. In another new model, the two halves of the phone are held together magnetically and can be easily separated, allowing users to talk and web-surf at the

same time, or to split the device into a TV and a remote control. Other newcomers include a cellphone with a small solar panel that in a pinch can give the user a few extra minutes of power, a phone with a 10-megapixel camera, and a range of waterproof models to use in the bathtub. Despite, or perhaps because of, their sophistication, Japan’s mobile marvels are rarely seen outside the archipelago. The only Japanese maker with a strong international presence is Sony Ericsson. Experts say Japan’s more than half a dozen big manufacturers have long relied on the huge domestic market and designed phones specifically for Japanese tastes, customs and, with their often hefty price tags, wallets. During the cellphone boom years of the 1990s and 2000s, Japanese companies raced ahead and adopted the second- and then third-generation standards years before their international counterparts, effectively insulating the market. More recently, however, the sector has taken a beating as a deep recession has rocked Japan’s economy. An end to industry subsidies meanwhile has made phones more expensive at a time of few real technological breakthroughs. Cellphone sales fell by one third from 51.72 million in fiscal 2007 to just 35.85 million in 2008. A rebound is expected in coming years but in the long term the market is set to shrink as Japan’s population greys and falls. Meanwhile, the iPhone and other smartphones have marked a quantum

leap for the rest of the world in turning phones into multi-functional personal gadgets with Internet access, GPS-guided maps and a universe of software applications. The iPhone has caught on only gradually in Japan, where it is marketed by DoCoMo rival Softbank, but the device and other smartphones show that Japan’s mobiles no longer have an undisputed edge over foreign makes. “The American and European markets have rapidly ‘Japanised’ in terms of mobiles,” said Natsuno, who warned that the new phones, made by information technology companies, are rapidly shaking up the industry. Natsuno, who uses a Japanese phone and an iPhone, said his foreign-made device has only a few drawbacks, such as lacking the ‘wallet function’ and a privacy mode that, he joked, made having an extra-marital affair dangerous. “Why are so many people using the iPhone now?” he said. “The phone is the closest device to the human body. PCs are too big and easily run out of batteries. If you consolidate all the functionality within one device ... the mobile phone is the best device for human life.” Natsuno said in future he expects mobiles to boast advances such as basic artificial intelligence, sophisticated biometrics and batteries that last one week but he says it may not be Japanese companies who make them first. “Now the leaders of the industry are IT players, and telecom players are following,” he said. “China, the US and Europe are becoming more like Japan.” — AFP

US, Britain shut Yemen missions Continued from Page 1

CANDOR, New York: In this photo taken Dec 24, 2009, Fred Mayer uses a charcoal grill lighter to ignite water running from his kitchen faucet. Mayer says that about three years ago, the well supplying water to his home in Candor became polluted with natural gas. — AP

US man finds kitchen faucet spews flames CANDOR, New York: Fred Mayer has a special feature in his kitchen: a faucet that spews fire. Mayer says that about three years ago the well supplying water to his home in Candor became polluted with natural gas. Explosive vapors now run from his

tap along with the water. The Vietnam veteran demonstrates by holding a lighter to the running water and igniting it with a flash. Mayer jokes that he can wash his dishes and poach an egg at the same time. But it’s no joke. Experts say the house could explode if

the faucet emits enough gas. State environmental officials say the gas was created and released by nature, but Mayer suspects that drilling by an energy company is to blame. The natural-gas company Fortuna Energy denies any link to the problem. — AP

Tehran in new threat over nuke swap deal Continued from Page 1 Some western powers have dismissed the Iranian proposal and called on Tehran to accept the IAEA deal or face further sanctions. Reacting to Mottaki’s statement, the US National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said on Saturday that the IAEA proposal was sufficient. “If getting access to fuel is Iran’s objective, then there is absolutely no reason why the existing proposal, which Iran accepted in principle at Geneva, is insufficient. The Iranian government is standing in its own way,” Hammer said. Last month Mottaki said Iran was open to exchanging uranium on Turkish soil. The IAEA has ruled out a swap taking place in Iran itself. World powers have been pushing for Iran to accept the UN-

brokered deal and are also mulling fresh UN sanctions after Tehran dismissed the year-end deadline. Iran is already under three sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its defiance and refusal to suspend enrichment, which lies at the heart of international fears about its nuclear program. The process that makes nuclear fuel can also be used to make the fissile core of an atomic bomb. The United States, Israel, and other world powers suspect Tehran is making a nuclear bomb under the guise of a civilian program, something Iran vehemently denies. The United States is reportedly weighing targeted sanctions against members of Tehran’s government and most notably the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that runs the country’s ballistic missile programme.

The Washington Post said on Wednesday the US administration wanted targeted sanctions to avoid alienating the Iranian public, while keeping the door open to a resolution of the crisis over Tehran’s nuclear program. The New York Times reported on Saturday that President Barack Obama’s administration believes domestic unrest and signs of unexpected trouble in Iran’s nuclear program make its leaders vulnerable to strong and immediate new sanctions. Meanwhile, a top Israeli official said the UN Security Council will adopt a fresh batch of sanctions against Iran within a month. “The world is uniting against Iran’s nuclear program, and within a month we will see UN Security Council sanctions,” deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon of Tehran’s arch-foe Israel said yesterday. — AFP

Dubai ruler vision reaches skywards Continued from Page 1 Despite the emirate’s financial problems, Sheikh Mohammad has kept both his cool and his confidence in Dubai’s future. “I’m a bedouin, and the bedouins like to accept challenges,” he told journalists recently inside his marbled Dubai palace. Sheikh Mohammad carefully crafted his role as national leader after also succeeding his brother as vice president and prime minister of the seven-member United Arab Emirates federation that includes Dubai. In Feb 2007, he unveiled an economic plan for Dubai aimed at maintaining double-digit growth, achieving a gross domestic product of $108 billion and increasing per capita GDP to $44,000 by 2015. Economic aims set out in 2000 for the next 10 years “have been realised in half the time,” with GDP reaching $37 billion in 2005, he boasted. Over the course of 20 years, Sheikh Mohammad transformed Dubai, an emirate of 1.4 million inhabitants where natives form just around 20 percent of the population, into a popular tourist

destination, particularly with Europeans. His decision in 1985 to arm Dubai with an airline, Emirates, was the first crucial move in a strategy to develop the desert city state into a business and tourism centre. In the following years, countless mega projects - ranging from the Burj Dubai tower to the three-kilometre-long Palm Jumeirah artificial island - were launched and specialised free zones were created. Even with the current debt crisis, Dubai remains a bustling city full of eyecatching sights. Grandiose ventures, including a “Dubailand” planned as a Middle East version of Orlando and an indoor ski resort, have ensured a steady stream of visitors. Sheikh Mohammad has led the charge to model Dubai - where Asians are by far the largest group of expatriates, followed by Arabs and Westerners - as a haven of tolerance. Non-Muslims can practise religious rituals freely and Dubai hosts several churches. But religious freedom has its limits: proselytising for any religion other than Islam is strictly prohibited. Sheikh Mohammad is seen by some as autocratic, in a state where neither political parties

nor trades unions are allowed. “I am convinced I am leading my people not only on the right path but on the only one available,” he writes in his book “My Vision.” According to author Jim Krane, writing in “City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism:” “Sheikh Mohammad is as much a tribal sheikh as he is a twentyfirst century politician.” Born in Dubai in 1949, Sheikh Mohammad studied in a military college in Britain before starting his public career in 1968 as the director of police and public security in the emirate, which was still a British protectorate. Shortly after independence in Dec 1971, he was promoted to general by Sheikh Maktoum, and was named defence minister for the new federation, a post he still holds. He is passionate about horses and regularly takes part in endurance races. He is also a pilot and keen on poetry. Sheikh Mohammad is married to Princess Haya, daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, who shares his interest in matters equestrian. A son from his first marriage, Sheikh Hamdan, is Dubai’s crown prince. — AFP

the mission would close today and tomorrow. “The Spanish embassy in Yemen remains open and operational, but access is restricted for security reasons,” the Spanish source told AFP. Fears grew after AQAP urged Muslims on Monday to conduct an “all out war” against Western targets in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country. “We call upon every Muslim who cares about his religion and doctrine to assist in expelling the apostasies from the Arabian Peninsula, by killing every crusader who works at their embassies or other places, declare it an allout war against every crusader on Muhammad’s (PBUH) peninsula on land, air and sea,” it said in a statement. London and Washington meanwhile agreed to fund Yemen’s special CounterTerrorism Unit - a special force which in the past has received US training and assistance. Brennan described the move as a “determined and concerted effort” but stressed Washington will not open up a new front in Yemen by sending in troops to help the authorities battle Islamist militants. “I

wouldn’t say we’re opening a second front. This is a continuation of an effort that we had underway, as I said, since the beginning of the (Obama) administration,” Brennan said. “We’re not going to let Al-Qaeda continue to make gains in Yemen because we need to take whatever steps necessary to protect our citizens there as well as abroad,” he told Fox News. Asked if that could mean sending US troops into Yemen, Brennan replied: “We’re not talking about that at this point at all.” He also hailed the Yemeni government for making “real progress” against Al-Qaeda and said Washington was “providing everything they’ve asked for”. “In the past month, Al-Qaeda has take a number of hits. A number of Al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen are no longer with us,” Brennan said. Yemeni forces launched raids on suspected AlQaeda targets on Dec 17 and 24, killing more than 60 Islamist militants. A defence ministry newspaper said a plot to bomb the British embassy was also foiled. But Foreign Minister Abubakr Al-Qirbi said his government was not coordinating strikes against Al-Qaeda with the US. Qirbi, quoted by the state news agency, said

Yemen was cooperating with foreign countries in exchanging information and training. Asked if Yemen had agreed to allow US missiles and aircraft to strike Al-Qaeda targets in Yemen, Qirbi said: “There is no agreement with the United States in this regard.” Britain is due to host an international meeting on combating extremism in Yemen on Jan 28. “Yemen has been recognised, like Somalia, to be one of the areas where we’ve got to not only keep an eye on but we’ve got to do more,” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said. Yemen - the ancestral homeland of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden - is grappling with insurgents in the north and the south and has been rocked by several deadly antiWestern attacks. Nineteen people were killed in a car bomb attack outside the US embassy in September 2008. In Oct 2000, 17 US military personnel were killed in a Al-Qaeda suicide attack on the USS Cole destroyer in southern Yemen. The government has welcomed US and British help to fight extremism. “Any assistance provided to Yemen’s counter-terrorism force will be most welcome,” a government official told AFP. — AFP

Heavy snow brings Beijing to standstill Continued from Page 1 Long-distance bus travel in north China was also being hampered by the weather, reports said. Several centimetres of snow blanketed roads and temperatures expected to touch lows of -16º Celsius. The last time northern China was hit by a spell of snowstorms in November, food prices spiked due to delivery difficulties, driving up inflation unexpectedly that month. The latest snowstorm and the likelihood roads may stay backlogged for several days could fuel fresh worries about inflation. State radio said some vegetable prices had begun to rise following the snow. Long lines formed at the airport terminal in Beijing as passengers waited to rearrange their flights or get taxis or buses out. On the tarmac, workers in orange jackets shovelled snow and ice from around grounded aircraft.

Passengers expressed resignation. “I came very early to catch my plane because I knew it was going to snow,” said Xiao Guo. “I hoped to come early and get through the check-in process and see what time the plane would leave, but according to the airport it will not leave today.” Schools in Beijing will be closed today. The city set 300,000 people to work clearing away snow. On one highway into Beijing from Hebei province police stopped trucks on the roadside, causing lengthy queues. Several had jack-knifed off the road. The government mobilised almost 200 snow-clearing vehicles to keep traffic flowing downtown, Xinhua news agency said, and upgraded the snowstorm alert from blue to yellow. “The yellow alert means that the snowfall is going to turn heavier,” Xinhua quoted Guo Hu, Beijing’s chief meteorologist, as saying. The snow is expected to stop falling in

Beijing today, but temperatures are likely to drop further, with lows of around -20º Celsius, forecasters said. Beijing, which over the past few years has seen little winter snow, has experienced several falls so far this season, including at least one man-made snowstorm to help ease a prolonged drought. The weather is also affecting large swathes of the rest of northern and northeastern China, with snow and plunging temperatures expected to continue into the first full week of the new year, according to weather forecasts. With Beijing set to return to work, the head of its traffic management office, Song Jianguo, said 7,000 traffic police would be deployed for today morning rush hour, along with 5,000 volunteers to maintain order at crowded bus stops, Xinhua reported. The city authorities had mobilised a vast army of 300,000 people to clear snow, the agency added. — Agencies

Explorers hail historic Antarctic airplane find Continued from Page 1 Adelaide the night before and apparently was not in the best of shape when he first flew it,” Australian conservationist David Jensen told AFP. Its wings were so badly damaged they had to be removed, but Mawson decided he wanted to take the Vickers to the Antarctic to use as an “air tractor” to pull his sledges with a specially-made tail rudder and skis, Jensen said. However, its engine seized up in the subzero temperatures and Mawson abandoned the Vickers at Cape Denison in 1914, said Jensen, chairman of the government-backed Mawson’s Hut Foundation charity. The explorer paid a brief visit to the craft when he returned on a two-year territory-staking mission in 1929, before giving it up for good in 1931, Jensen said. Armed

with magnetic imaging equipment and other technology, three successive teams of conservationists and scientists from the Mawson’s Huts Foundation searched for the fuselage, which was last sighted almost totally buried in ice in 1975. But it was the unprecedented combination of historically low tides, prompted by a blue moon - the second full moon in a calendar month - and unprecedented melting of the ice that led to its chance discovery on New Year’s Day, Jensen said. “It was probably one chance in a million that these conditions just allowed us to spot it,” he said. “One of our heritage carpenters was actually just wandering along the edge of the harbour... and he just by chance spotted the piece of the metal amongst the rocks. You talk about once in a blue moon, well it was so true.” The team was preparing for a large-

scale drilling into the ice under arduous and challenging conditions, said Jensen, with average winds in excess of 80 km per hour and temperatures below freezing. Had the carpenter failed to spot the relic, which was under “just a couple of centimetres of water” in rising tide conditions it would have likely been lost forever, he added. “The tide would have come in and we would never have seen it again, because the tides were at the lowest they were ever recorded at Cape Denison,” he said. Jensen said the “ecstatic” team quickly recovered the fragments of the fuselage and would likely bring them back to Australia for treatment at the end of January. “The pieces we found are definitely of the air tractor and they can’t be anything else. That’s the last (of a) little part of aviation history,” he said. — AFP


Monday, January 4, 2010


Clijsters opens New Year in style BRISBANE: Belgium’s Kim Clijsters opened the New Year in the best possible style when she overpowered Italian Tathiana Garbin 6-2, 6-1 in the first round of the Brisbane International yesterday. Despite a nervous start to the match when she lost her serve in the opening game, the reigning US Open champion quickly found her form to overcome Garbin in just 53 minutes. Garbin had no answer to the 26year-old Clijsters once the Belgian found her range, with an array of powerful and accurate groundstrokes proving lethal. Clijsters’ forehand was particularly damaging, pinning Garbin back in the corners and forcing a host of errors from her opponent. The strength of Clijsters’ groundstrokes put Garbin’s serve under immense pressure and the Italian was unable to cope, making just 51 percent of her first serves. Clijsters took full advantage and broke twice in the first set and twice more in the second as she booked her place in the second round, where she will face Australia’s own comeback queen Alicia Molik. Molik, granted a wildcard to play the tournament, beat Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. The match was Clijsters’ first on her full return to the WTA tour after retiring in May 2007. She made a partial comeback last year, playing just four tournaments and culminating in her sensational US Open victory in New York. “It was a nice feeling to be out there again,” Clijsters said. “I felt like my groundstrokes were going real-

ly good, I felt like I was standing up on the baseline and really changing the direction of the rallies.” The win delighted the large crowd packed into the Pat Rafter Arena, who gave Clijsters a rousing reception when she stepped onto the centre court. It also kept alive the possibility of a dream final against fierce rival and fellow countrywoman Justine Henin, who will play second seeded Russian Nadia Petrova in the first round on Monday in her first match since making a comeback. Clijsters said the Brisbane tournament would help her prepare for the Australian Open later this month. “I’m really happy that I’m here because it really makes the transition to Melbourne a bit easier,” she said. “At least now we have a roof over us and you get a feel for the humidity and you don’t all of a sudden come from snow to extreme heat.” Andrea Petkovic of Germany caused the only upset on a rainaffected first day when she beat eighth seeded Czech Iveta Benesova 6-7 (6/8), 6-2, 6-1 in a shade over two hours. Seventh seeded Hungarian Melinda Czink narrowly avoided a similar fate, beating Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Other first round winners were Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic, who beat Belarusian Olga Govortsova 6-4, 6-1 and American Vania King, who downed Sybille Bammer of Austria by the same scoreline. The men’s matches were washed out and have been rescheduled to today. — AFP

BRISBANE: Kim Clijsters of Belgium hits a forehand return to Tathiana Garbin of Italy during the first round of the Brisbane International tennis tournament yesterday. Clijsters won the match 6-2, 6-1 in the tournament used by top players as a warm-up to the Australian Open to be played January 18-31, 2010. — AFP

Murray defends decision to skip Britain’s Davis Cup tie World number four to concentrate on slams PERTH: World number four Andy Murray believes his decision to miss Britain’s Davis Cup tie against Lithuania in March will give the country’s young players invaluable experience. Last year, Britain were relegated to Europe/Africa Zone, Group Two, the third tier of the Davis Cup, after which Murray said he would consider his options for 2010. Addressing the media at the Hopman Cup yesterday, Murray said that he had made the decision in order to enhance his chances of performing well at the biggest tournaments this year. “You’ve got to do what is right for your tennis,” he said. “That period of the year just before Indian Wells and Miami is very important for me. I have a lot of ranking points to defend. “I’ve obviously done very well there in the past couple of years so playing on clay away in Lithuania before travelling over to California is not the best preparation for that. I think it’s the right decision. “My focus in 2010 is on performing well in the Masters events and improving my record in the grand slams. I’m always available for my country and am happy to help whenever needed.” Murray will consult with the Lawn Tennis Association before each match in the future, but with the next tie, win or lose in Lithuania, straight after Wimbledon, the 22-year-old could well sit out the competition for the entire year. The Scot, who opens his season in the mixed team event on

Monday, denied that he was abandoning his country at a time when they needed him most. LOW GROUP “It would be a bit unfair to single me out,” he said. “(Roger) Federer has missed Davis Cup matches, Rafa (Nadal) has missed Davis Cup matches, as has (Novak) Djokovic, (Pete) Sampras and (Andre) Agassi. A lot better players than me have missed Davis Cup matches. “It’s just because the team has struggled in the past few years that if I didn’t play then there was a good chance that we were going to lose, whereas now we can still win. “I don’t think it’s a case of me abandoning Great Britain. I’ve played a lot of matches for them and I’m here representing them as well.” In Murray’s absence, the likes of Dan Evans, James Ward and Jamie Baker are likely to compete for the two singles berths. “We are down in quite a low group now,” Murray said. “When I do play and we lose, I don’t feel like it really benefits the other players. “I think it’s been ten years or something since a British player outside myself, Tim (Henman) and Greg (Rusedski) won a live Davis Cup rubber. “It’s time for the guys to get used to winning in the Davis Cup rather than having so much pressure on them every time they play. “Hopefully, this will give them a good opportunity. Even without me I think they have a good chance of winning in Lithuania.” — Reuters

Soderling and Cilic set for India’s ATP event CHENNAI: World number eight Robin Soderling and defending champion Marin Cilic will prepare for the tough season ahead at the 400,000-dollar ATP Chennai Open starting today. Soderling flies in for his maiden appearance in South Asia’s only ATP event from Abu Dhabi, where he knocked out world number one Roger Federer in the semi-final of an exhibition tournament on Friday. The Swede lost in Saturday’s final to Rafael Nadal, who he beat at the French Open last year on the way to his first Grand Slam final. Soderling is the top seed at the Chennai event, regarded as a warm-up for the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne on January 18. The 25-year-old starts his campaign against 100thranked American Robby Ginepri, known for a stunning run at the US Open in 2005 when he reached the semi-finals before losing to Andre Agassi in five sets. Second-seed Cilic won the Chennai and Zagreb titles in a superb start last year, before enduring a mid-season slump and finished 2009 ranked 14th. “Going into the top 10 is obviously an aim, but I can’t be thinking about it yet,” the big-serving

ABU DHABI: Robin Soderling of Sweden returns the ball to Rafael Nadal of Spain during the final of the Capitala Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi, on Saturday, Jan 2, 2010. — AP Croat said yesterday. “The start and the finish last year were great, but it could have been better in the middle of the year. “I think I was not fit enough for the whole year. I have worked hard on my fitness in the off-season. The important thing is to play at least three or four weeks in a row without any problem.” Cilic, who won the Chennai Open last year by beating Indian wildcard Somdev Devvarman in the final, plays Russian Igor Kunitsyn in the first round. Fourth seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia is favored to meet Cilic in the semi-final of the bottom half of the draw which also includes German veteran Rainer Schuettler.

Soderling faces a possible quarter-final against fifth seed Dudi Sela of Israel, while his semi-final opponent could be the 21st-ranked Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland. Spanish veteran Carlos Moya, a two-time Chennai Open champion and former world number one, returns to the circuit after a string of injuries restricted him to just four tournaments in 2009. Moya, 33, dismissed talk of imminent retirement, saying he was raring to play competitive tennis again. “I missed it for almost the whole of last year,” said Moya, the former French Open champion who won the Chennai title in 2004 and 2005.— AFP

Robredo cuts down towering US Isner PERTH: Tommy Robredo proved size is not everything in tennis, cutting towering American John Isner down to size to give Spain victory in their opening Hopman Cup encounter yesterday. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez put the two-times champions ahead with a 6-4 6-4 win over teenager Melanie Oudin, and Robredo beat the 6foot-9 (2.06m) Isner 6-7 6-3 7-6. The Spaniards then teamed up to win the mixed doubles 6-4 7-5 to complete a 3-0 whitewash. Isner smashed down 16 aces but Robredo’s greater all-round ability eventually proved the difference between the two. The Spaniard broke once in the second set to level the match but the decider was nip and tuck until the tiebreak, which Robredo pinched 7-5. “It’s a bit like the casino, red or black,” Robredo said, when asked to describe what it is like to face the Isner serve. “If it’s red it’s the forehand, if it’s black it’s the backhand, so I am very proud the way I returned.” Experience and variety were the key factors as Martinez Sanchez saw off 18year-old Oudin, a quarter-finalist at the US Open in September. A LITTLE RAGGED Oudin was guilty of making too many mistakes on her forehand and Martinez Sanchez took full advantage. The left-hander used her serve to great effect and mixed serve and volley with some deft touch to leave Oudin looking a little ragged. Martinez Sanchez did not face a break point until she served for the match at 5-2, when Oudin suddenly lifted her game to break back. After holding serve, she then had a chance to break back for 5-5 but Martinez Sanchez held on and sealed victory with a volley at full stretch. “At the beginning of the season it’s difficult to play matches and I was winning 5-2 and you have some doubts,” Martinez Sanchez said. “But at the end I played aggressive and I could win.” Martinez Sanchez’s performance was even more impressive given the fact she woke up yesterday feeling ill. “This morning I was not OK and I threw up, but now I am much better,” she said. Oudin said the Americans would give it everything when they played Australia in their next group match tomorrow. “We were both a bit down after the singles,” she said. “But it was really fun and it’s alright. We’ll bounce back.” — Reuters

Spain whitewash US in Hopman Cup

PERTH: John Isner of the United States reacts while playing against Spain’s Tommy Robredo (inset) during their men’s singles match at the Hopman Cup tennis tournament in Perth yesterday. — AP

Federer says he can be unbeatable again DOHA: Roger Federer expects to carry on his momentum from the middle of 2009 into the new year now that his back injury from last season has fully healed. The Swiss star lost to Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic early last year before recovering to reach the final in all four Grand Slam events, winning his first French Open and then Wimbledon for his 15th major title to surpass Pete Sampras’ record. In the first month of 2009, Federer lost to Murray in Doha and Nadal in the Australian Open final, before pulling out injured from a Davis Cup series against the United States in February. In March, Djokovic beat Federer in the Miami semifinals. “Last year, I had problem at the start of the season with my

back,” Federer said yesterday. “I lost to Murray, Djokovic and Rafa, who got the better of me at the start of the season. But I feel fine now because I have been practicing enough to feel confident of winning.” Federer’s Roland Garros victory gave him a career Grand Slam, while the Wimbledon win helped take the No 1 ranking from Nadal. He then reached the US Open final, only to lose to Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina, but ended the season with four titles. “I got better and better as the season went on,” Federer said. “I was able to bounce back and was on a roll. (Winning in) Paris and Wimbledon showed that I was unbeatable. I can do it again. That’s a good feeling to have, that I can do it again.” The

Qatar Open starts Monday and Federer, a two-time champion, will meet Christophe Rochus of Belgium in his first match. He is drawn to play sixthranked Nikolay Davdyenko of Russia, who won the seasonending London World Tour Finals in November, in the quarterfinals. “It is hard to be competing against the best, but I know I can win more tournaments this year,” said Federer, who finished third Saturday in the season-opening Capitala exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. “I have been practicing good. The end season was short, so I feel my game is where it is supposed to be. I know I can make a few adjustments to my game and play well again.” Nadal, who leads 13-7 over

Federer in their head-to-head record, won the Abu Dhabi exhibition final by ending a two-match losing run to Robin Soderling. The Swede beat Nadal at the 2009 French Open, where the Spaniard had been unbeaten since 2005. “I got three matches in Abu Dhabi. I felt good on court. I was moving well on the court,” Nadal said. Nadal had chronic injuries to both knees and an abdominal complaint last season, forcing him to miss Wimbledon. Asked about his condition, the Spaniard replied: “I am OK. I feel fine. I just want to play my best tennis in every match I play. That’s my goal.” The 10th-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France withdrew Friday from the event because of a wrist injury. — AP



Monday, January 4, 2010

Spurs grab 5th straight win NBA results/standings

Injury-depleted Boston still too strong for Toronto

WASHINGTON: Results and standings after Saturday’s National Basketball Association games: Cleveland 94 New Jersey 86; Charlotte 107 Miami 97; Indiana 122 Minnesota 111; San Antonio 97 Washington 86; Boston 103 Toronto 96; Chicago 101 Orlando 93; New Orleans 99 Houston 95; Milwaukee 103 Oklahoma City 97 (OT); Memphis 128 Phoenix 103; Denver 105 Utah 95; Dallas 99 Sacramento 91; Portland 105 Golden State 89. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Boston 24 8 .750 Toronto 16 18 .471 9 NY Knicks 13 20 .394 11.5 Philadelphia 9 23 .281 15 New Jersey 3 30 .091 21.5 Central Division 27 8 .771 14 17 .452 11 13 18 .419 12 11 21 .344 14.5 10 22 .313 15.5

Cleveland Chicago Milwaukee Detroit Indiana

division 9 .727 11 .656 15 .516 18 .419 21 .323

2.5 7 10 13

Western Conference Northwest Division Denver 21 12 .636 Portland 22 13 .629 Oklahoma City 18 15 .545 Utah 18 15 .545 Minnesota 7 28 .200

3 3 15

Orlando Atlanta Miami Charlotte Washington

southeast 24 21 16 13 10

LA Lakers Phoenix LA Clippers Sacramento Golden State

Nuggets 105, Jazz 95 At Salt Lake, City, Ty Lawson had 23 points and nine assists and Denver ended a three-game losing streak despite playing without injured stars Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. Nene added 22 points and Kenyon Martin finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets. Carlos Boozer had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Jazz.

Cavaliers 94, Nets 86

Pacific Division 26 6 .813 21 13 .618 6 14 18 .438 12 14 19 .424 12.5 9 23 .281 17

Southwest Dallas 23 San Antonio 20 Houston 20 Memphis 16 New Orleans 15

Division 10 .697 11 .645 14 .588 16 .500 16 .484

MILWAUKEE: Oklahoma City Thunder’s Thabo Sefolosha (2) tries to steal the ball from Milwaukee Bucks’ Hakim Warrick (21) during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 103-97 in overtime. — AP

Kings rule over Capitals

2 3.5 6.5 7

Sedin helps surging Canucks stop Stars

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Saturday. Carolina 2, NY Rangers 1 (OT); Vancouver 3, Dallas 1; Tampa Bay 3, Pittsburgh 1; Los Angeles 2, Washington 1; NY Islanders 6, Atlanta 5 (SO); Colorado 3, Columbus 2; Calgary 3, Toronto 1; Chicago 6, St. Louis 3; Nashville 3, Anaheim 1; New Jersey 5, Minnesota 3; Detroit 4, Phoenix 1; San Jose 4, Edmonton 1. (OT Denotes Overtime, so denotes shootout) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF GA PTS New Jersey 29 10 1 118 89 59 Pittsburgh 26 15 1 131 110 53 NY Rangers 19 17 5 108 115 43 NY Islanders 17 18 8 107 134 42 Philadelphia 19 18 3 113 111 41

Buffalo Boston Ottawa Montreal Toronto

Northeast 25 11 21 12 21 16 21 19 14 19

Division 4 111 93 7 105 95 4 115 121 3 114 119 9 115 145

54 49 46 45 37

Washington Atlanta Tampa Bay Florida Carolina

Southeast 24 11 18 17 16 15 16 18 11 23

Division 6 145 116 6 132 135 10 103 121 7 117 133 7 102 146

54 42 42 39 29

Western Conference Central Division Chicago 28 10 3 132 88 Nashville 25 14 3 121 119 Detroit 21 14 6 108 104 St. Louis 17 18 6 108 121 Columbus 15 19 9 112 143

59 53 48 40 39

Northwest Colorado 24 13 Calgary 24 12 Vancouver 25 16 Minnesota 20 19 Edmonton 16 22

Division 6 128 124 5 114 98 1 132 103 3 111 124 4 115 138

WASHINGTON: The San Antonio Spurs defeated the slumping Washington Wizards 97-86 for their season-best fifth straight NBA victory on Saturday. Tim Duncan scored 23 points, reserve Roger Mason Jr added a season-high 20 and Tony Parker had 12 points for the Spurs, who have won four straight on the road and nine in a row against the Wizards. Duncan’s jump-hook gave the Spurs an 81-80 lead with 6:21 left in the game, and he followed that with two free throws as part of a decisive 12-2 run. Caron Butler scored 24 points and Gilbert Arenas added 23 for the Wizards, who have dropped four straight and remained enveloped in a gun controversy surrounding Arenas. Arenas is being investigated by the NBA, US Attorney’s Office and District of Columbia police over allegations that he stored unloaded firearms in his locker in the team’s Verizon Center locker room.

LOS ANGELES: Michal Handzus’ short-handed goal early in the third period put Los Angeles ahead and Ryan Smyth connected on a power play to lead the Kings over the Washington Capitals 21 in the NHL on Saturday. Jonathan Quick stopped 26 shots a day after he was selected to the US Olympic team along with Los Angeles teammates Dustin Brown and Jack Johnson. Quick kept the Kings in the game during a onesided second period in which the Capitals outshot Los Angeles 13-2. Defenseman Mike Green had a power-play goal for Washington.

Lightning 3, Penguins 1 At Tampa, Florida, Zenon Konopka celebrated his 29th birthday with a rare goal, and Martin St. Louis and Steve Downie also scored to help Tampa Bay hand Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh its fourth straight loss. Konopka gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead in the second with his second goal of the season and sixth in 79 NHL games. Mike Smith made 25 saves, allowing only Bill Guerin’s first-period goal.

Hurricanes 2, Rangers 1, OT At New York, Ray Whitney scored at 3:45 of overtime to give Carolina its third victory in 20 road games this season. Cam Ward made 27 saves, and Tom Kostopoulos had a goal for Carolina, which was last in the NHL. Marian Gaborik scored his NHL-leading 27th goal for New York.

Canucks 3, Stars 1 At Dallas, Daniel Sedin scored the go-ahead

goal on a power play early in the third period, and Roberto Luongo made 31 saves for Vancouver. Ryan Kesler had a second-period goal and Alex Burrows added an empty-netter for the Canucks, who have won four of their five games on a road trip. Loui Eriksson scored for Dallas.

Flames 3, Maple Leafs 1 At Calgary, Alberta, Curtis Glencross scored the go-ahead goal on a power play midway through the second period and added an emptynetter for Calgary’s fourth straight win. Jarome Iginla had a goal and two assists, and Miikka Kiprusoff made 24 saves to help the Flames. Jason Blake scored for Toronto, which has lost five of its last six games.

Islanders 6, Thrashers 5, SO At Uniondale, New York, Jeff Tambellini and Frans Nielsen scored shootout goals to give New York its third win in five games. Atlanta, which erased two three-goal deficits, lost for the eighth straight time. Matt Moulson, Jon Sim, Richard Park, Trent Hunter and Josh Bailey scored for New York. Maxim Afinogenov scored twice, and Ilya Kovalchuk, Nik Antropov and Rich Peverley added goals for the Thrashers.

road games. Kristian Huselius and Derick Brassard scored for Columbus.

Blackhawks 6, Blues 3 At St Louis, Tomas Kopecky scored twice for his third career multipoint game, and Patrick Sharp also had two goals to help Chicago beat St Louis after the Blues fired coach Andy Murray and replaced him with interim coach Davis Payne. Brian Campbell and Kris Versteeg also scored for Chicago. The Blackhawks have won five of six and are tied for second overall in the NHL, two points behind San Jose. Eric Brewer, Andy McDonald and Keith Tkachuk scored for the Blues.

Red Wings 4, Coyotes 1 At Glendale, Arizona, Tomas Holmstrom deflected two of Nicklas Lidstrom’s shots into the net for his 14th and 15th goals to lead Detroit past Phoenix. Pavel Datsyuk added a power-play goal, and Darren Helm had an empty-netter for the Red Wings, who opened a five-game trip with their second straight win. The Coyotes had a two-man advantage when Matthew Lombardi scored their lone goal.

Avalanche 3, Blue Jackets 2

Predators 3, Ducks 1

At Columbus, Ohio, TJ Galiardi crashed the net and scored on a rebound with just under a minute left to lift Colorado past Columbus. Kyle Cumiskey and Chris Stewart also scored for the Avalanche, who have won five of their last six

At Nashville, Tennessee, Jason Arnott broke a tie with his first goal in 10 games, and Shea Weber and David Legwand also scored for Nashville. Pekka Rinne made 25 saves, allowing only Mike Brown’s first-period goal. — AP

54 53 51 43 36

Pacific Division San Jose 27 8 7 142 106 61 Phoenix 25 14 4 111 99 54 Los Angeles 24 15 3 124 120 51 Dallas 18 12 11 122 127 47 Anaheim 16 18 7 113 132 39 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

LOS ANGELES: Brendan Morrison No 9 of the Washington Capitals is pursued by Drew Doughty No 8 of the Los Angeles Kings for the puck in the third period at Staples Center on January 2, 2010 in Los Angeles. — AFP

At East Rutherford, New Jersey, LeBron James had 28 points, nine rebounds and seven assists to lead Cleveland to its seventh straight victory. Mo Williams added 18 points for the Cavaliers, who have won 12 of 13, and Anderson Varejao had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Shaquille O’Neal finished with 12 points and nine boards. Devin Harris scored 22 points and Brook Lopez 20 for New Jersey.

Bobcats 107, Heat 97 At Miami, Stephen Jackson scored 13 of his season-high 35 points in the fourth quarter, D.J. Augustin added all 13 of his in the final 11 minutes and Charlotte won a road game for just the second time this season. Jackson added eight rebounds for Charlotte, which erased an early 19-point deficit. Dwyane Wade had 29 points and 11 assists for Miami, which dropped its third straight.

Pacers 122, Timberwolves 111 At Indianapolis, Roy Hibbert and Luther Head each scored 21 points to help Indiana snap an eight-game losing streak. Brandon Rush scored 16 points and Mike Dunleavy added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers, who played without injured forwards Troy Murphy and Tyler Hansbrough. Al Jefferson scored 23 points, Wayne Ellington had a careerhigh 16 and Kevin Love also scored 16 for Minnesota, which has lost four straight.

Celtics 103, Raptors 96 At Boston, Ray Allen scored 23 points, Rasheed Wallace added 16 and Boston won despite missing starters Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and

Rajon Rondo because of injuries. Tony Allen had 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds, Glen Davis chipped in 15 points, and Kendrick Perkins had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Boston. Chris Bosh led Toronto with 25 points and nine rebounds.

Bulls 101, Magic 93 At Chicago, Derrick Rose scored 30 points to lead five players in double figures and help Chicago to its season-high fourth straight win. John Salmons scored 15 points, Luol Deng added 14, Taj Gibson had 10 points and 12 rebounds and Kirk Hinrich scored 11 points for the Bulls. Matt Barnes had 23 points but Dwight Howard managed just nine points for Orlando.

Hornets 99, Rockets 95 At New Orleans, Chris Paul had 28 points and nine assists and New Orleans closed the win on a 13-2 run. Emeka Okafor had 14 points and 16 rebounds, and David West added 14 points, including a jumper that gave the Hornets the lead for good with 47.6 seconds left after they trailed by seven late in the fouth quarter. Trevor Ariza scored 19 points and Aaron Brooks had 17 for Houston.

Grizzlies 128, Suns 103 At Phoenix, OJ Mayo had 25 points and reserve Sam Young added a career-high 22 to help Memphis to its most lopsided victory of the season. Marc Gasol scored 19 points for the Grizzlies, Zach Randolph had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Rudy Gay scored 16 points, and rookie Hasheem Thabeet had 10. Amare Stoudemire led the Suns with 29 points, Steve Nash had 19 points and 13 assists, Lou Amundson had 14 points and Goran Dragic added 13.

Bucks 103, Thunder 97, OT At Milwaukee, Michael Redd scored six of his 27 points in overtime to help Milwaukee snap a four-game losing streak. Andrew Bogut had 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Bucks, who ended Oklahoma City’s win streak at five games. Kevin Durant had 31 points and Russell Westbrook had 17 points and 13 assists for the Thunder.

Mavericks 99, Kings 91 At Sacramento, California, Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points to help Dallas improve to a Western Conference-best 12-5 on the road. Jose Barea scored 17 points and Josh Howard added 16 points for the Mavericks. Omri Casspie scored 22 points for the Kings, who have dropped five of six.

Trail Blazers 105, Warriors 89 At Portland, Oregon, Brandon Roy scored 37 points and Andre Miller added 23 as Portland won despite dressing only eight players. Martell Webster had 21 points and 11 rebounds for injury-plagued Portland, which essentially used six players. Rookie forward Jeff Pendergraph started but played just 9 minutes. Monta Ellis scored 30 points and Corey Maggette added 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors. — AP

Arenas gun inquiry ‘a scary thing for NBA’ WASHINGTON: Amid conflicting reports on what happened in the Washington Wizards locker room, the matter clearly goes beyond the team’s original statement about Gilbert Arenas storing unloaded guns in his locker. What began with the NBA looking into a possible violation of its own rules has turned into an investigation involving the US Attorney’s Office and District of Columbia police. The implications are serious, with the legal system, the league and the Wizards in line to take possible action if the allegations prove true. “We’re all watching this very closely to see how the story develops right now,” Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said on Saturday. “It’s so early in the story and there’s so much speculation, it’s hard to figure out what’s fact and what’s fiction, but it is a scary thing for the NBA and we all want to see what happens.” The Wizards said on Christmas Eve that Arenas stored unloaded firearms in a locked container in his locker, with no ammunition.

Javaris Crittenton Arenas said he wanted them out of the house after the birth of his latest child. An official within the league said on Saturday that he was briefed before Dec 24 by officials reviewing the incident. He said the review included a dispute over card-playing, gambling debts and a heated discussion between Arenas and another player. He said the review did not refer to Arenas and Javaris Crittenton drawing guns on each other - as the New York Post has reported - although he said that doesn’t preclude that it might have happened.— AP


Monday, January 4, 2010


McCluster-led Ole Miss win OSU in Cotton Bowl ARLINGTON: Dexter McCluster rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns as Mississippi beat 21st-ranked Oklahoma State 21-7 in college football’s Cotton Bowl on Saturday. McCluster also had an 86-yard touchdown run in the second quarter after he had already become the first Southeastern Conference player with 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in the same season. Ole Miss had five turnovers in the game, but Oklahoma State had six in the fourth quarter, and seven overall. Bowl Connecticut 20, South Carolina 7 At Birmingham, Alabama, Andre Dixon rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown as Connecticut ended a trying season with a win in in the Bowl. Connecticut improved to 3-1 in bowl games since moving up to major college football in 2002. It won its final three regular season games and overcame the October stabbing death of cornerback Jasper Howard to reach a bowl. Then it relied on Dixon’s 33 carries to control the ball, and throttled South Carolina, limiting quarterback Stephen Garcia to just 16 of 38 passes for 129 yards, and 56 yards on 15 carries. International Bowl South Florida 27, Northern Illinois 3 At Toronto, Mike Ford ran for a career-high 207 yards and scored one touchdown, and BJ Daniels threw two scoring passes to AJ Love as South Florida won consecutive bowls for the first time. South Florida scored 24 unanswered points in the second half after the teams

traded field goals in a dreary first half. Ford had just one carry in the first half, an 18yard gain in the second quarter. He broke out in the third, rushing 12 times for 106 yards, then capped his day with a 24-yard scoring run in the final quarter. Liberty Bowl Arkansas 20, East Carolina 17, OT At Memphis, Tennessee, Alex Tejada kicked a 37-yard field goal in overtime after East Carolina’s Ben Hartman missed two field goal attempts late in regulation and another in the extra session at the Liberty Bowl. Hartman missed from 39 yards with 1:03 remaining and from the same distance on the final play, then missed from 35 in overtime. Tejada, who has struggled with kicks in pressure situations himself, made his attempt to end the game. Arkansas won despite failing on all 13 of its third downs.

Saracens director Venter blasts English refereeing LONDON: Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter has launched a scathing attack on the refereeing of English rugby, saying that officiating at the key area of the breakdown has become a lottery. Venter, speaking after his Premiershipleading Saracens were beaten 22-15 by Leicester on Saturday, said: “There is a problem and that is the game is determined by referees and not by teams. “We have no idea what is going on. They’ve no idea what’s going on out there. “I am not accusing referees here of being dishonest but the confusion is almost total. I am trying to prepare teams but suddenly it seems pointless ... you get a penalty, then they get a penalty.” Venter’s comments will strike a chord with rugby fans up and down the country who have become increasingly bemused by the tackle and breakdown area. So many offences are available to the referee that it is inevitable some will be picked up more than others by different officials.

Alamo Bowl Texas Tech 41, Michigan St 31 At San Antonio, Texas Tech blocked out all distractions and rallied to beat Michigan State at the Alamo Bowl after a week of turmoil. Texas Tech fired coach Mike Leach on Wednesday after allegations that he mistreated Adam James. The wide receiver got a hostile reception all night from the crowd, who booed James so loud that it drowned out the marching band at halftime. But when it was over, there were only cheers. The crowd chanted “Ruffin!” in a thank-you to Texas Tech’s interim coach who navigated the Red Raiders through a week the school is desperate to forget. — AP


TEXAS: Mississippi running back Dexter McCluster (left) leaps over the goal line to score a touchdown as teammate Tyler King (33) blocks Oklahoma State safety Markelle Martin during the fourth quarter of the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Saturday, Jan 2, 2010. — AP

Humbled McGeechan picks Ireland for Six Nations title

ALABAMA: Connecticut running back Andre Dixon (2) dives forward for extra yardage against South Carolina in the fourth quarter during an NCAA college football game in the Bowl on Saturday, Jan 2, 2010, in Birmingham, Ala. — AP

LONDON: Scottish rugby legend Ian McGeechan admitted yesterday receiving a knighthood in the New Years Honors list had been a humbling experience. The 63-year-old Grand Slam winning coach - who also won three test series with the British and Irish Lions as a player and coach - picked out Ireland to defend their Six Nations title when it gets under way early in February. McGeechan, who guided Scotland to the 1990 Five Nations Grand Slam, said that to receive such an honor had been extraordinary. “It was fantastic news. It’s been quite an exciting and humbling time,” he told BBC radio. McGeechan said he saw no other side apart from the Irish - who went unbeaten throughout 2009 rounding it off with a win over world champions South Africa - winning the Six Nations. “They’re settled they’re

confident and they’ve got some talented players - they look a very competent side. I thought they did well in the autumn,” said McGeechan. McGeechan said he could sympathize with the travails of England coach Martin Johnson, who has struggled to convince critics that he can be as successful a coach as he was as a player. “It was unfortunate for Martin that there were so many injuries in the autumn,” said McGeechan, who added he had identified some progress at last year’s Six Nations. “He hasn’t been able to develop and build - he’s had some of his key players missing. “It’s always difficult then when you’re trying to draw things together and introduce not just one or two new players sometimes but five, six, seven new players at international level.” McGeechan, who featured in

France Aubert wins World Cup slalom ZAGREB: Sandrine Aubert of France won a women’s World Cup slalom yesterday for her second win of the season. Aubert posted the fastest second-run time on the Crveni Spust course to fin-

Skiing ish in an aggregate 2 minutes, 0.36 seconds and record her fourth career victory. She now tops the discipline standings after also winning last month in Aare, Sweden. Kathrin Zettel of Austria, who led after the opening leg, was 0.43 seconds back in second. “I am not disappointed. The podium was my goal,” Zettel said. “Leading after the first run was a surprise to me. I’ve got to learn to cope with such a situation.” Susanne Riesch of Germany finished third, 0.74 behind Aubert, while older sister Maria took

fourth to top the overall standings. Marlies Schild, who was second going into the final run, and overall World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn both went out. Schild fell shortly before the finish as she tried to make up lost time from the steep part of the course. “I am obviously disappointed not to finish,” said Schild, returning this season after breaking a leg in October 2008. “On the other hand, I couldn’t ski the whole past season and that was harder to take.” Overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn, still hampered by a bruised left arm, had been 1.71 seconds back after the opening run. That forced her to attack and she missed the 15th gate on her second run. “In the first run, my hand hurt. In the second run, I went full risk and maybe tried too hard,” Vonn said. Anna Goodman of Canada crashed at the penultimate gate in her first run, slid off-course and was treated for an apparent right knee injury. — AP

‘Yes we can’: Ghana’s coach eyes fifth title ACCRA: Most football coaches might have given up title hopes on injury worries to one or two key players. But not Milovan Rajevac, the Coach of the Ghana’s senior national football team, which has been hit by serious injury crisis to key players ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations expected to kick off in seven days. Serbian trainer Milovan Rajevac is optimistic that Ghana could still pick up a fifth title at the end of the three-week competition to make him the first foreign coach to achieve the feat with the team. The absence through injury of experienced and regular players such as captain Stephen Appiah of Italian side Bologna, John Mensah of English Premiership side Sunderland, Fulham’s John Paintsil and Laryea Kingston of Scotland’s Hearts means the coach must vary his game plan and tactics. “I know that a foreigner is yet to win the competition and I want to become that first coach to deliver the title and it is possible,” Rajevac told journalists last week before the team left Accra for Nelspruit, South Africa to begin their pre-tournament training. German trainer Otto Pfister came close to winning the trophy with the Black Stars in 1992 but lost out on penalties to Ivory Coast in

Senegal. Ghana under Frenchman Claude LeRoy finished third when it hosted the last edition of the tournament. Also on the injury list but is expected to recover and join the rest of the team before the commencement of the tournament, is Chelsea’s midfield kingpin Michael Essien who limped off clutching his hamstring in Chelsea’s Champions League game against APOEL Nicosia. Rajevac has blended his squad with eight members of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup winning team in Egypt last year. “You can see the coach has brought in talented youngsters who have shown great quality already, so while it’s unfortunate that injuries have come, we have to concentrate on what we have,” Eric Addo (Roda JC, Holland) was quoted as saying by the official website of the Ghana Football Association. The injuries will deny Ghana of some badly needed experience at the tournament but the Ghana Football Association vice president Fred Pappoe says there is no point brooding over the losses. “I am a perennial optimist. I don’t pay attention to the dark side of life. Injuries have come; injuries will come so we can’t brood about it. — AFP

Snowboarder suffers ‘traumatic brain injury’

Kuwait gears up for Arab shooting event KUWAIT: Kuwait Shooting Club said it had already finalized necessary preparations and arrangements for the 9th Arab shooting sports championship due in Kuwait today. Speaking to reporters following a meeting of the organizing committee, Kuwait Shooting Club President Sheikh Salman Al-Homoud Al-Sabah said the meeting had stressed concerted efforts for ensuring a successful shooting sports event in Kuwait. During the meeting, the participants reviewed all relevant steps by bodies involved for the championship, including the opening and concluding ceremonies, Sheikh Salman, who heads the organizing committee, said. Sheikh Salman, who is also chairman of the Asian Shooting Confederation, called on all committees concerned to share relevant information in order to take appropriate decisions. A total of 350 male and female shooters representing 16 Arab countries are expected to join the event. — KUNA

seven British and Irish Lions tours, including five as a coach and two as a player, picked out his most memorable moments from his glittering career. “Obviously as a player getting your first international cap for Scotland (1972) and obviously the Lions in 1974 as a player and then having the opportunity to coach Scotland,” said McGeechan, who has also coached Northampton at club level and was director of rugby at Wasps. “Later, winning the Grand Slam in 1990 again was something which was exceptional and winning the Lions Test series in ‘89 and ‘97,” added the former teacher. McGeechan - affectionately known as ‘Geech’ - confessed that he didn’t think he would be able to play at the top level these days given his size. “I’m happy I played when I did,” he said, adding he was now totally enthused by the coaching side. — AP

The situation appears to have become so random that teams are opting for the safety-first option of kicking rather than running the risk of being penalized after taking the ball into a tackle. “In the first half the penalty count was 9-3 to us. In the second half it was 10-4 to Leicester,” said Venter, who is well experienced in the English game having previously played for and coached London Irish. “What happened to the ref? Did someone say something? I didn’t say to my team: ‘Look boys, we are leading, let’s cheat more.’ The referee seemed to have walked through a maze.” ‘MAN OF THE MATCH’ The South African also said that after he complained to the Rugby Football Union’s refereeing bosses about the officiating of the Saracens v London Irish game last month, assessor Tony Spreadbury agreed with him on 25 of 27 contentious decisions. A World Cup winner with South Africa in 1995, Venter also criticized the growing trend of “preventative refereeing”, where officials constantly talk to players, warning and guiding them and blowing the whistle only if the warnings are ignored. “This is totally wrong. By the time the referee has told a player to stop offending, the ball is already slowed down and the defense is back in position,” he said. Venter, who took over at the London club at the start of the season and brought in a host of South Africans, is likely to be punished by the RFU for his comments but has already gained support in the media. Stephen Jones, rugby correspondent for the Sunday Times, made Venter ‘man of the match’ for his comments and said that if he were to be fined, all rugby fans should chip in. Jones said Venter had treated the media to “40 of the most wellfounded, clinical and courageous press conference minutes that many of us have heard for decades.” — Reuters

ZAGREB: France’s Sandrine Aubert celebrates on the podium after winning an alpine ski, Women’s World Cup Slalom race, in Zagreb, Croatia yesterday. — AP

SALT LAKE CITY: Top-ranked American snowboarder Kevin Pearce was in a critical condition Saturday at a Utah hospital after suffering a “severe, traumatic brain injury” in a training accident, one of his doctors said. Dr Holly Ledyard said Pearce, who is in the University of Utah Hospital’s intensive care unit, has not yet needed surgery. “Kevin sustained a severe, traumatic brain injury ... (and) is being kept sedated,” Ledyard said in a statement released by the snowboarder’s publicist. “The focus over the next week will be watching for any swelling in his brain and keeping his brain pressure normal.” “Kevin has a long recovery ahead of him,” she said. Pearce was injured Thursday in Park City as he prepared for next week’s Olympic qualifying events. His spokeswoman Danielle Burch said he was in the process of completing a twisting double back flip when he caught his toe-side edge and landed on his head. He was wearing a helmet. The 22-year-old from

Norwich, Vermont, is a top-ranked halfpipe rider. Along with Shaun White, he is considered to be one of America’s top athletes in a sport dominated by the United States. According to an update Saturday afternoon on a Facebook page set up by his family, Pearce was “doing well, he continues to maintain his stable condition. Being young, healthy and strong is working in his favor.” “Family and friends remain positive and are thankful for the outpouring of support,” said Pearce’s spokeswoman Danielle Burch. Olympic halfpipes are essentially hollowed out ice shells, the sides of which rise up to 22 feet in the air. Riders gain speed as they go from one side to another and fly several feet over the edges, where they flip and spin, often rotating 720 or 1080 degrees on a single jump. Three weeks ago, Pearce fell during a preliminary run at an Olympic qualifying event in Copper Mountain, Colo, and suffered a concussion. — AP



Monday, January 4, 2010

Swann: I drank too much in S Africa 10 years ago LONDON: England off-spinner Graeme Swann’s sparkling form in South Africa contrasts with his tour there 10 years ago when he spent a lot of time drinking and was a million miles from the Test side, he was quoted as saying yesterday. Swann is up to third in the international bowling rankings after his nine-wicket haul in the second test led England to an innings victory, a result that gives the visitors a 1-0 lead going into yesterday’s third and penultimate match in Cape Town. However, it was very different when he toured South Africa as a young squad member in 1999-2000. “The difference between this current tour and that one is like polar opposites,” the 30-year-old Swann told the Mail on Sunday newspaper. “I would turn up at the next hotel and the first thing I’d find out was where the bar was located. “I was young and stupid and I didn’t realize that sometimes you need more than one alarm clock to wake you up.” Swann did not play a test match on the 1999-2000 tour and acknowledged he was not good enough in those days. TENACIOUS ATTITUDE “When you are 19 you think you know everything there is to know,” he said. “You’re convinced you’re right and that

CAPE TOWN: English Captain Andrew Strauss (left) and English bowler Graeme Swann (second left) celebrate the dismissal of South African batsman AB de Villiers (not in picture) yesterday during the first day of the third Test match between South Africa and England at Newlands cricket stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. —AFP

Swann’s double leaves South Africa in trouble Kallis holds firm for South Africa CAPE TOWN: England spinner Graeme Swann claimed two wickets with successive balls to put South Africa in trouble again on the first day of the third test yesterday. South Africa were 183 for five at tea with Jacques Kallis unbeaten on 55 and Mark Boucher on 37 as England, 1-0 up in the series, seized the initiative. The second session began in dramatic fashion as South African captain Graeme Smith was caught behind for 30 off the first ball he faced after lunch, James Anderson bowling a superb away-swinger to claim his second wicket. AB de Villiers opened his account with a risky single off his first

delivery but South Africa looked in control when he and Kallis added 76 for the fourth wicket in positive fashion. De Villiers then gifted his wicket on 36 when he came down the pitch to off-spinner Swann and chipped the ball into Andrew Strauss’s hands at short midwicket. JP Duminy edged a beautiful delivery that drifted in and turned away just enough to find the bat to be caught behind for a golden duck. The left-hander also fell first ball in his previous innings in Durban. The double-strike left South Africa in dire straits on 127 for five but Boucher survived the hat-trick ball and stroked six fours while the

obdurate Kallis calmly reached his 53rd test half-century. Anderson and Graham Onions claimed a wicket each to put England on top in the first session as South Africa reached 51 for two at lunch having been sent in to bat on a pitch that offered seam movement under overcast skies. SUPERB DELIVERY Anderson struck in the first over with a superb delivery that bounced and swung away, Ashwell Prince gloving the ball to wicketkeeper Matt Prior for a duck. Smith had a major let-off from the first delivery bowled by Onions, reaching for the ball outside off stump and edging it to sec-

Scoreboard CAPE TOWN, South Africa: Lunchtime score on the first day of the third Test between South Africa and England at Newlands on Sunday: South Africa, first innings To bat: A de Villiers, J. Duminy, M. Boucher, M. G. Smith not out 30 Morkel, P. Harris, D. Steyn, F. de Wet A. Prince c Prior b Anderson 0 Bowling: Anderson 6-1-11-1 (nb1), Onions 8-2-23H. Amla lbw b Onions 14 1, Broad 5-2-12-0 J. Kallis not out 1 England: Andrew Strauss (captain), Alastair Cook, Extras (lb5, nb1) 6 Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Total (2 wkts, 19 overs) 51 Ian Bell, Matt Prior (wkt), Stuart Broad, Graeme Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Prince), 2-46 (Amla) Swann, James Anderson, Graham Onions. ond slip where Swann dropped a simple chance. Smith and Hashim Amla (14) added 45 for the second wicket before Amla was trapped lbw by Onions 11 minutes

before lunch. The batsman planted his front foot and tried to drive through mid-on but the ball swung in and hit him plumb in front of the stumps. The start of play was delayed

by half-an-hour due to showers. England named an unchanged team and South Africa brought in fast bowler Friedel de Wet for Makhaya Ntini. —Reuters

everyone else in the world is old and senile, out of touch and wrong. “At the end of it (then coach) Duncan (Fletcher) sat me down for my tour review and praised me for my ‘tenacious’ attitude in training but I didn’t need to be told... I was nowhere near good enough, a million miles from playing test cricket.” After the second-test win in Durban on Wednesday, England captain Andrew Strauss said Swann had been a key figure in the team’s resurgence this year. “Graeme has had a massive impact over the last 12 months,” said Strauss. “He has always been a very attacking spinner, he gives it a rip, bowls an attacking line and with the extra pressure of test cricket, that can be invaluable.” Swann said that, looking back, he was pleased he did not feature in the test side 10 years ago. “I’m very glad I didn’t play because I certainly wouldn’t have done justice to myself and I may have made such a hash of it that I never got another go,” said the spinner who is also a hard-hitting, lower-order batsman. “Even if I had done okay, in all probability I would have formed too high an opinion of myself and ended up disappearing from the game and stuck in a day job I hated.” —Reuters

Ntini axing could signal the end of Test career CAPE TOWN: Makhaya Ntini was dropped from the South African team yesterday in a move which could hasten the end of a notable Test career. Ntini, 32, did not travel to the ground after being told that he was not in the team for the third Test at Newlands, the ground where he started his 101-Test career against Sri Lanka 12 seasons ago. Although the team was not announced publicly until shortly before the toss, the players were informed of the selection on Saturday and Ntini was given the option of returning home, according to team spokesman Michael Owen-Smith. Ntini’s axing had been widely anticipated after he performed poorly in the first two Tests against England. In the 2008 calendar year he took only 13 wickets in six Tests at an average of 57.00. Experts believed that a loss of pace had reduced his effectiveness. Speculation about the future of a man described by both captain Graeme Smith and coach Mickey Arthur as one of South Africa’s iconic cricketers was fuelled by a report in the London Sunday Telegraph which claimed Ntini was set to join English county Middlesex as a Kolpak player, which would preclude him from playing international cricket. The Sunday Telegraph claimed Ntini intended to announce his retirement from international cricket and that he had signed a pre-contract agreement with Middlesex. Owen-Smith said he was unaware of Ntini reaching an agreement with Middlesex. “He is contracted to Cricket South Africa which means he cannot sign any contracts without CSA’s agreement,” he said. Ntini has had a special status in South African sport as the first black African to play Test cricket for the country. Although three others have also won Test caps, Ntini remains the only black African to hold down a long-term place in the team. At his best, Ntini was able to bowl tirelessly at high pace. He has taken 390 Test wickets at an average of 28.82, second only to South African record holder Shaun Pollock, who took 421. Ntini has taken ten wickets in a match on four occasions, the most by any South African, and claimed the best match figures in South African Test history when he took 13 for 132 against the West Indies in Port of Spain in 2004/05. The decision to drop Ntini was not taken lightly in a country where political considerations are an unavoidable reality. “It’s a sensitive issue in South Africa,” Smith said in his captain’s pre-match press conference on Saturday when asked about the debate surrounding Ntini’s place. —AFP

India eye top ranking in the Dhaka tri-series DHAKA: India will be keen to extend their impressive run in a triangular series starting in Dhaka today and boost their hopes of becoming the top-ranked side in one-day cricket. They have won six of their last seven bilateral one-day series under Mahendra Singh Dhoni and a title-triumph here against a new-look Sri Lanka and a resurgent

Bangladesh would ensure them the number-one ranking. India, already the top-ranked side in Test cricket, are currently behind leaders Australia in one-day rankings. The tournament opens with a day-night clash between Sri Lanka and the hosts. Each team will play four league matches before the top two qualify for the final on January 13.

India vice-captain Virender Sehwag said ahead of the series his team were focused on maintaining consistency. “If we win the series, the rankings will look after themselves,” he said. “We have been playing very tough and good cricket for the last two years. So, hopefully we will do well in 2010. It’s important for the team to play well consis-

tently. We hope to do well and win the series here.” India will be without batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar, who has been rested for the one-dayers, but they still have depth in batting to give a good account of themselves. India, who beat Sri Lanka in both Test and one-day series at home recently, have explosive bats-

DHAKA: Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh (on ground) is helped by a team support staff to perform stretching exercises during a practice session in Dhaka yesterday. —AP

men in Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni to dominate any attack. Sehwag said Sri Lanka were a tough side to beat despite missing veterans Muttiah Muralitharan, Mahela Jayawardene and Sanath Jayasuriya. Opener Jayasuriya, the world’s secondhighest scorer with 13,428 one-day runs, was dropped, while spinner Muralitharan and batsman Jayawardene have yet to recover from injuries picked up during the India tour. “I think Sri Lanka still are a good side and Bangladesh can also beat any team. We are not taking them lightly,” said Sehwag. Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons said his side could make it to the final despite missing skipper Mashrafe Mortaza and key seamer Nazmul Hossain due to injuries. Top all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will lead the team, while Shahadat Hossain replaces Nazmal. “Sri Lanka have brought a team below their best. They have left a few top players behind. We’ll be competitive against them and can push them hard. Hopefully, we’ll beat them,” he said. He added that Bangladesh were now a better batting side and would also be “competitive” against favorites India. The series will be a real test for Bangladesh, who will be keen to build on their one-day successes last year. Bangladesh clinched one-day series against below-strength West Indies and Zimbabwe in 2009 under Shakib, who led the side in the absence of Mortaza. The tri-series will be followed by two Tests between India and the hosts at Chittagong (January 17-21) and Dhaka (January 24-28). —AFP

DHAKA: Sri Lankan cricketers run to warm up during a practice session yesterday. Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka are competing in the one-day international tri-series in Dhaka starting today. —AP

Sri Lanka coach has confidence in youth DHAKA: Sri Lanka’s young team are good enough to be competitive in the one-day Tri-Series in Bangladesh this month, their coach Trevor Bayliss said yesterday. Sri Lanka, who face hosts Bangladesh on Monday in the opening match of the tournament which also involves India, made sweeping changes following their defeat by India last month. Batsmen Sanath Jayasuriya and Chamara Kapugedera, fast bowler Lasith Malinga and spinner Ajantha Mendis were dropped and batsman Mahela Jayawardene, all-rounder Angelo Mathews and bowlers Muttiah Muralitharan and Dilhara Fernando are injured. “We had a number of injuries in India which

forced us seeing some of the young players that have been close to the team for long years. We are very happy with the way they were performing in the last few games,” Bayliss told a news conference. “It has brought some youthful enthusiasm to the team and we are looking forward to see how they develop over the coming month and years,” he said. “They may be lacking a little bit of experience. But the more games they play the more they will be experienced. If we play good cricket we have a good chance of winning.” he said. Sri Lanka will be without leading spinners Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis. “Obviously, we have

come from India and the young Suraj Randiv is probably the best spinner we had on the tour,” Bayliss said. “He bowled exceptionally well against India in his first two or three games. So we are very happy the way he is coming to international cricket. “Obviously Malinga Bandara, he has been around for a number of years playing second fiddle to Murali and Mendis. He gets another opportunity.” “The spin bowling all-rounder (Muthumudalige) Pushpakumara made his debut in India,” Bayliss added. “So we are quite happy with the depth we have in our bowling. They are very young and inexperienced but they are talented.” —Reuters


Monday, January 4, 2010


Grant admits Portsmouth fans right to show anger PORTSMOUTH: Portsmouth manager Avram Grant admits he can understand why his club’s fans protested against the board after Coventry held the Premier League strugglers to a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup third round. Grant’s side needed an equalizer from Kevin-Prince Boateng to scrape a replay after David Bell had put their Championship opponents ahead at Fratton Park on Saturday. With Portsmouth already bottom of the league, facing a winding-up petition in the High Court and unable to pay the players on time for the third time this season, it was little surprise to Grant that the Pompey faithful finally snapped after another lackluster display. Hundreds of fans gathered outside the directors’ entrance to register their unhappiness with Saudi owner Ali Al-Faraj and his directors and chanted ‘sack the board’, ‘where’s the money gone?’ and ‘where’s the owner of our club?’. “I understand (why they are frustrated) but you must understand that no-one at the club is happy with the situation,” Grant said. “My job and the players’ job is to do things on the pitch. The situation is not easy but we can do our best for the team on the

pitch and that’s what I will do. “I’m very impressed with the supporters. They were behind us for the whole game and it’s not an easy time for us generally or in this game. I respect them.” Grant has spent more time discussing the club’s financial plight than his players’ efforts on the pitch since taking over as manager from Paul Hart in November. The former Chelsea boss added: “To be honest, I feel as if I’m not answering as a football manager. “Eighty per cent of the questions I have been asked since I came here haven’t been about the football. I like to talk about things on the football side, but what can I do? “This is the situation and if I have to answer these questions, I will answer these questions. But there are enough problems on the pitch we need to take care of.” Meanwhile, Coventry boss Chris Coleman was pleased with the way his side matched Premier League opposition. “It will be a better result for us than Portsmouth with their current situation,” Coleman said. “I think, on the balance of play, it was a fair result. I thought we did well and we coped well when we had to.” —AFP

Benitez still up for FA Cup despite disappointments READING: Rafael Benitez insisted the FA Cup remained a top priority for Liverpool after his side were fortunate to scrape a 1-1 third round draw away to Reading. Reading, who sit two points and two places above the second-tier Championship relegation zone, threatened an upset when Simon Church gave the hosts a 24th minute lead after Benitez’s side failed to deal with a free-kick. Steven Gerrard’s hopeful long shot rescued a draw for Liverpool at the Madejski Stadium here on Saturday to set up a replay, currently scheduled to take place at Anfield on January 12. And Benitez admitted his team must improve if they are to complete the job at the second attempt. “I’m relieved,” said the under pressure manager. “I think it was difficult. “I think they (Reading) played really well. To play in front of the TV (cameras) and against Liverpool I think was a massive boost for them and you could see they played really well,” the Spaniard added. “You could see we were trying to do our best with a really strong team and we will play one again at Anfield for the replay.

“We had two or three situations that could have been better but also they had some chances. “So credit to them and we are still in the competition,” Benitez said. Benitez fielded both Gerrard and Fernando Torres in his starting line-up for a competition that, along with the Europa League, has suddenly assumed a greater priority although the manager conceded the burden of a replay will do nothing to boost Liverpool’s hopes of finishing in the top four and claiming a place in next season’s Champions League. “We know that we have two clear chances to win trophies the Europa League and the FA Cup - so we will try to our best in both and keep improving in the League,” said Benitez, whose side are four points adrift of English football’s leading quartet. “I am disappointed (with the result) because we didn’t want to play more games. But it was a tough, tough game so we needed to work hard.” Benitez admitted he is looking at bringing in players to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window but refused to be drawn on whether he had made a move for Real Madrid

striker Ruud van Nistelrooy. “We are not talking about players but I will say that it will be very, very difficult,” he said. He was equally coy when asked about whether Liverpool were interested in signing Aston Villa forward Emile Heskey. “I will not talk about names,” Benitez insisted. “This one because it is in all the press here and also in Spain. But we are not trying to bring him so it will be very, very difficult to get him.” Reading caretaker-manager Brian McDermott is keen to land the job full-time and hopes the Royals’ efforts against Liverpool can bolster his chances. He is more concerned, though, with picking up points in next weekend’s league clash against Championship leaders Newcastle. “Points are our priority,” McDermott said. “We play Newcastle next week with another full house. We have to be spot on or we’ll get nothing. The Championship is a tough, tough league. “We need to play like that every week. The most important thing we’ve lacked is consistency and we have to get back to that. —AFP

extras Guardiola warns Ibrahimovic MADRID: Barcelona striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic needs to control his temper and accept the decisions made by match officials or he risks letting down the team, according to coach Pep Guardiola. The Swede, who moved to Barca from Inter Milan in the close season, protested a host of decisions in Barca’s 1-1 La Liga draw at home to Villarreal on Saturday and was booked in the 88th minute for a reckless lunge at Diego Godin. “He’s a temperamental player and we need to be a bit careful because we might end up one day with 10 players,” Guardiola said at a news conference. “Ibrahimovic needs to be strong and he is capable of doing it as he’s a great player,” he added. “He can’t control the referees’ decisions.” N Korea lose match but win tournament DOHA: North Korea continued their 2010 World Cup preparations by winning a four-team invitational tournament in Qatar despite losing their final match 1-0 to Iran. A draw between the hosts and Mali in the earlier match meant North Korea could afford to lose to Iran on Saturday having recorded victories in their opening two games. Mehrzad Madanchi scored the winner for Iran, lobbing a shot home in the 42nd minute to give his

side a timely boost ahead of a key Asian Cup qualifier against Singapore on Wednesday. North Korea finished on six points from three matches ahead of Qatar on four, then Mali (4) and Iran (3). The North Koreans will next month head to Sri Lanka for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup where the winners of the region’s second-tier tournament qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup. North Korea have been drawn with Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast for only their second World Cup campaign. Nigeria’s Martins declared fit ABUJA: Obafemi Martins has been declared fit and included in Nigeria’s squad for the African Nations Cup finals in Angola, team officials said yesterday. The striker had undergone fitness tests at the team’s training camp in Durban, South Africa over the weekend before being named in coach Shaibu Amadou’s 23-man squad. Martins underwent surgery on his shin at the end of November after getting injured while playing for Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg. Nigeria, who play in June’s World Cup finals in South Africa, take on Egypt in their opening Nations Cup Group C match on Jan 12 in Benguela. They also meet Benin and Mozambique in their group.

HOUSTON: Santos Laguna’s Uriel Alvarez (left) kicks America’s Juan Carlos Valenzuela in the head while going for the ball during the first half of an Interliga soccer game in Houston on Saturday, Jan 2, 2010. —AP

Club America down Santos 3-1 as Atlante edge Tecos Interliga football tournament HOUSTON: Daniel Montenegro and Salvador Cabanas scored second-half goals to lead Club America to a 3-1 win over Santos Laguna in Group A of the Interliga football tournament Saturday. Earlier, Guillermo Rojas scored in the 47th minute as a 10-man Atlante beat Estudiantes Tecos 2-1. Enrique Esqueda got Club America off to a good start in the 27th minute, controlling a pass from Pavel Pardo and beating Santos goalkeeper

Oswaldo Sanchez. Four minutes later, America defender Juan Carlos Valenzuela was called for a hand ball in the penalty area, and Juan Pablo Rodriguez drove the penalty past goalkeeper Francisco Ochoa to level the scores. Montenegro scored in the 62nd minute after lunging forward to head home a high cross from Oscar Rojas to give America a 2-1 lead. Santos defender Jorge Estrada was given a red card

in the 76th minute and Club America controlled the game from there. Cabanas scored from a penalty in the 84th minute after he was dragged down near the area. The InterLiga tournament is an annual eight-team event between Mexican clubs to determine the two that will play in the Copa Libertadores, the South American club championship. In the first game, Daniel Arreola put Atlante ahead in the 10th minute, launching a

left-footed shot from 30 meters that sailed over Tecos keeper Mario Rodriguez. Tecos leveled it in the 29th minute, when Cejas drove home a short, left-footed pass from Bareiro. Atlante played a man down in the second half after defenseman Jose Daniel Guerrero was sent off shortly before the break for tripping Tecos midfielder Rubens Oscar Sambueza. Atlante took the lead for good two minutes into the second half, when Christian

Bermudez threaded a short cross to a sprinting Rojas for an easy goal past Rodriguez. Tecos missed a point-blank chance to equalize a few minutes after Rojas scored. Fredy Bareiro’s header hit off the left post and Mauro Cejas’ rebound shot caromed off the crossbar. Atlante won for the first time in its seven Interliga games. Tecos is playing in the Interliga for the third time in four years. The four teams will play again tomorrow. —AP

I wish I had never left Man United: Beckham

CARNAGO: British soccer star David Beckham (center) trains at the AC Milan training center in Carnago, near Varese, northern Italy. —AP

LONDON: David Beckham wishes he had stayed with Manchester United for his entire career and not left in 2003 for Real Madrid, the former England captain said yesterday. Beckham will return to Old Trafford as a player for the first time when his club AC Milan play the second leg of the Champions League knockoutround tie against United on March 10. “I would love to have stayed at Manchester United for my whole career and never gone anywhere else-but it was just not meant to be,” Beckham said in an interview on BBC Sportsweek. “I went to Real Madrid and in the last year we were successful so I enjoyed that time, but I would like to have stayed at Manchester United.” Beckham moved to Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 and has now started his second loan spell at Milan in a bid to win a place in England’s World Cup squad this year. The midfielder said he felt envious of his former team mates Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, who came

through the United youth ranks with Beckham and have stayed at the club. “I am sure they will all try and kick me if they can because we were together for so many years and we were so successful together,” Beckham said. “Off the field we became best friends and that’s why we became so successful at a club like Manchester United. “But it’s testament to themselves and the club and everything that surrounds them as individuals that they wouldn’t be at a club like Manchester United if they weren’t special people and special players.” EMOTIONAL OCCASION Beckham said going back to Old Trafford would be an emotional occasion. “Manchester United is so special to me and I have never been back as a player-so to go back seven years after as an AC Milan player it doesn’t get much more perfect than that and it is an experience I want to cherish. It is going to be a special and emotional night.

“But I’d like us to win, us being AC Milan. As a Manchester United fan I always want them to win in every gamebut not this one.” Beckham, England’s most capped outfield player with 166 appearances, said that “scary” Fabio Capello had instilled a “good arrogance” in the England team since becoming coach. “Players go onto the field confident, they believe they are going to win. He has brought a real seriousness, a professional side, which was needed-but he scares you-in a respect way.” He said there were similarities between Capello and Alex Ferguson, his manager at Manchester United. “I was lucky enough to have played for the best football manager for many years,” he said. “Alex Ferguson brought me up, he was a father figure to me and I have got a huge amount of respect for Alex Ferguson and for Fabio Capello. “They don’t just manage teams they love football and that’s why they are still in the game now.” —Reuters

Leeds kick United out of FA Cup Utd suffer 1st third-round defeat since 1984; Chelsea crush Watford 5-0 LONDON: Leeds United sent Manchester United crashing to their most embarrassing FA Cup defeat for 26 years when they scored a shock 1-0 third-round victory at Old Trafford yesterday. A 19th-minute goal from in-form striker Jermaine Beckford gave the League One (third division) leaders victory as Manchester United, who have won the Cup a record 11 times, went out at this stage for the first time since 1984. Holders Chelsea made sure there was no slip-up at Stamford Bridge where they crushed Championship (second division) Watford 5-0 after streaking into a 30 lead in 22 minutes. Arsenal, the second most successful club in the cup’s history with 10 wins, left it late to beat West Ham United in a pulsating allLondon tie at Upton Park. Goals from Aaron Ramsey after 78 minutes and Eduardo five minutes later gave the visitors a 2-1 win after Alessandro Diamanti had put the Hammers ahead just before the break. The biggest upset of the round, and the competition, for many years came at Old Trafford where Beckford’s solitary strike was fashioned by a 50-metre punt from Johnny Howson. The ball went over the champions’ defense, allowing Beckford to get a touch and angle a shot wide of keeper Tomas Kuszczak. It was the first time Alex Ferguson had suffered defeat in the third round, the stage at which the top clubs enter the FA Cup, since he became United manager in 1986. United’s first loss to lower league opposition since 1984 also gave Leeds a memorable victory at a ground where they regularly used to duel with United for national supremacy before their slide down the leagues. BIG SHOCK The 9,000 away fans went wild with delight at the end of a thrilling tie which produced the first big shock of the round after a series of predictable results on Saturday. “I must admit I didn’t expect that performance,” Ferguson told MUTV. “If you don’t start and the other team does, you’re always up against it. Leeds had a far bigger appetite than us for the game. You need a bit of luck and they got it but they deserved it because they played really well.” Leeds manager Simon Grayson was full of praise for his team. “It was a good long diagonal ball from Johnny Howson and nine times out of 10 Jermaine finishes them off and that’s what he did,” he told ITV. “We gave ourselves an opportunity to go and win the game from there and with a bit of luck here and there we’ve hung on. “I am sure they will be celebrating in Leeds for the next few days. The players will have tomorrow off then we will start preparing for the match against Wycombe.” Grayson’s men thoroughly deserved their victory which would have been more comfortable if Beckford had scored after 78 minutes instead of dragging his shot just wide. Robert Snodgrass smashed a 25-metre free kick against the United bar two minutes later before keeper Casper Ankergren parried a goalbound effort from Wayne Rooney in stoppage time. Michael Owen, Dimitar Berbatov and Rooney went close for United but Leeds, who needed a replay to get past non-League Kettering Town in the last round, hung on for a memorable victory-their first at Old Trafford since 1981. NO UPSET Chelsea cruised past Watford at Stamford Bridge where Daniel Sturridge, John Eustace (own goal) and Florent Malouda settled the outcome with early goals. Frank Lampard and Sturridge scored in the second half to ensure Chelsea eliminated Watford for the second season running. Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said: “I am happy because it was important to start the New Year well. “If you don’t take the game in the right way it could be difficult but we were up 3-0 after 20 minutes and we played well for the full 90 minutes.” West Ham looked as if they would cause an upset against Arsenal after Diamanti gave them the lead with a left-foot shot that squeezed past keeper Lukasz Fabianski just before halftime. But Arsenal hit back late in the game with goals from Ramsey and Eduardo, who scored a well-taken header, turning the game.— Reuters

MANCHESTER: Manchester United’s Northern Irish defender Jonny Evans (third right) puts the ball wide past Leeds United’s Danish goalkeeper Casper Ankergren during their English FA Cup football match at Old Trafford yesterday. — AFP

Qatar’s driver seizes control of Dakar Rally Authorities investigate ‘horror crash’ A RIOJA: Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah seized control of the Dakar Rally yesterday as an investigation into the horror crash which claimed the life of a 28-yearold spectator continued. Al-Attiyah, driving a Volkswagen, won the second stage, a 355km timed run from Cordoba, to take a 1min 19sec overall lead over teammate Carlos Sainz of Spain who was fourth on the day. It was an early 2010 boost for the Qatari driver whose 2009 race ended in controversy when he was disqualified while leading the race. France’s Guerlin Chicherit, in a BMW, was second on the stage followed by three more Volkswagen drivers - Carlos Neves, Sainz and Mark Miller. Six-time motorcycle winner and three-time auto champion Stephane Peterhansel of France, in a BMW, was sixth on the day and is third overall. Spain’s Nani Roma, in a BMW, who won Saturday’s opening stage, lost 15 minutes on Sunday after suffering a double-roll and finished in

18th spot to be in eighth place overall. “We caught up with Stephane after 150km. We kept a modest pace for a while then it became very technical. That’s where we attacked before ending up in Carlos’ dust,” said Al-Attiyah. “From then on we kept up a good rhythm. Everything is going great. The conditions were pretty difficult - there was rain, fog, a bit of everything.” France’s David Fretigne on a Yamaha won the motorcycling stage while compatriot David Casteu of Sherco retained the overall lead after coming in second, 43 seconds adrift. Spain’s Marc Coma, the 2006 and 2009 winner, finished third but was then penalised 22 minutes for speeding, a sanction which relegated him to 14th overall. “It was a really tough special stage, very technical,” said Casteau. “The trail was very slippery and there are animals everywhere. I even crossed path with two cars going in the opposite direction.” Meanwhile, Germany’s Mirco

Schultis and Swiss teammate Ulrich Leardi, whose car accidentally ploughed into a group of spectators, killing a female fan, didn’t start Sunday’s second stage. The duo’s 4x4 vehicle came off the track and smashed into the spectators who are believed to have strayed from a designated safe-viewing area near the town of Rio Cuarto, around 800km from Buenos Aires on Saturday. Sonia Natalia Gallardo, 28, who suffered serious head, pelvic and stomach injuries in the incident, died in a Cordoba hospital while four others were hurt. Schultis and Leardi hit a group of fans who “were in a non-authorized sector, a private area”, said Julio Cesar Berrocal, the Cordoba police chief. “Three vehicles came around a corner and two of them tried to get round. But the dust cloud kicked up by them prevented the third (Schultis and Leardi’s 4x4) from seeing clearly and they came off the track.” — AFP

Rangers go 7-point clear GLASGOW: An equalizer from Lee McCulloch earned Rangers a 1-1 draw at Celtic yesterday to keep his side seven points ahead of its traditional rival at the top of the Scottish Premier League. After Celtic has wasted a series of chances at Parkhead, Scott McDonald headed home a cross from Aidan McGeady in the 79th minute to give the home side a deserved lead. But McCulloch headed home a corner just two minutes later and the result means defending champion Rangers remains a strong favorite to hold onto the title even though Celtic has a game in hand. Rangers has 44 points from 19 games and Celtic 37 from 18. But Celtic manager Tony Mowbray pointed out that Rangers made up a seven-point gap on his club from halfway through last season, and his team still had plenty of time, plus the bonus of a game in hand, to make up the difference. “Undoubtedly, it’s less of a task than they had last year,” he said. Rangers manager Walter Smith admitted his side was lucky not to lose. “Celtic played very well. It was a tough afternoon for a lot of our boys,” he said. “I felt in the second half we did a little bit

GLASGOW: Celtic’s French striker MarcAntoine Fortune (right) vies with Rangers’ Danny Wilson yesterday. — AFP better. We are delighted to have got a point from a game we should not have. We were not with the pace of the game at all.” Rangers

lost Nacho Novo with a leg injury with the game only 13 minutes old and Maurice Edu replaced him. Marc-Antoine Fortune had

the ball in the Rangers net in the 20th minute when he climbed above goalkeeper Allan McGregor to head home. But referee Steve Conroy harshly ruled he had fouled the goalkeeper and it didn’t count. Celtic midfielder Barry Robson hit the bar with a glancing header and McGeady missed two more chances, pulling a left footed shot across the face of the goal and then shooting over the bar. After the two goals, McGregor rescued Rangers by pushing a powerful shot from Georgios Samaras over the bar. Hibernian and Hearts drew 1-1 in yesterday’s other game, an Edinburgh derby which was marred by two red cards and crowd trouble. Gordon Smith gave Hearts the lead in the final minute of the first half and a Hearts fan was ejected after a flare was thrown as the players left the field. equalized for the home side in the 54th minute and, three minutes later, Hearts’ Ruben Palazuelos and Darren McCormack of Hibs were sent off for head-butting each other. Hibernian remained third with 33 points and Hearts stayed fifth with 24. — AP

Home specialists Mallorca go 4th Almeria, Racing climb out of relegation zone MADRID: Real Mallorca moved above Sevilla into fourth place with a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao at the Ono Stadium as they maintained their perfect home record with an eighth successive home victory. Julio Alvarez scored the opener on 49 minutes to open the scoring before Aritz Aduriz netted his eighth goal of the season against old club Bilbao after 67 minutes. Mallorca are now in the final Champions League spot after a terrific start to the season and turn their attention to the Kings Cup as they travel to Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday for the first leg of the last 16 tie. Earlier, Racing Santander and Almeria both climbed away from the relegation zone with wins. Santander beat Tenerife 2-0 with second-half goals from Gonzalo Colsa and Francisco “Xisco” Jimenez, lifting the team two places to 14th on 16 points. Almeria beat bottom-placed Xerez 1-0 with an 89th minute winner from Jose Ortiz Bernal in Juan Manuel Lillo’s first game in charge following the departure of Hugo Sanchez. The result leaves Almeria in 15th place on 16 points. Another struggling team, Malaga, appeared to have risen out of the bottom three, twice going ahead against Sporting Gijon with goals from Sergio “Duda” Barbosa and Weligton before the hosts equalized through Gregory Arnolin and a long-range shot by Roberto Canella. Malaga remains 18th with 13 points. In Mallorca’s Ono Estadi both teams struggled to create chances in a flat first half until Iraizoz had to make a superb save to stop Aduriz’s closerange shot just before the

PALMA DE MALLORCA: Mallorca’s Julio Alvarez (left) vies with Athletic de Bilbao’s Ustaritz Aldekoaotalora during their Spanish league football match yesterday at Ono Stadium in Palma de Mallorca. — AFP break. After going a goal down, Bilbao replaced Francisco Yeste with 17-year-old Iker Muniain. The attacking reshuffle nearly paid off when a flowing move by Bilbao drew a last-ditch header off the line by Jose Miguel Gonzalez from Fernando Llorente’s shot. In other games it was: Getafe 1,

Valladolid 0; and Zaragoza 0, Deportivo La Coruna 0. On Saturday, Villarreal held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw, Valencia beat Espanyol 1-0 and Atletico Madrid beat Sevilla 2-1. Barcelona leads the standings with 40 points. Real Madrid is next with 37, Valencia has 32 points and Sevilla 30. — Agencies

Prince Alwaleed ranked No 1


Emaar surges ahead of Burj Dubai opening, Gulf jump


2010 expected to bring stable gas prices


Monday, January 4, 2010

Dubai opens world’s highest tower today DUBAI: Dubai is set to open the world’s tallest building amid tight security today, celebrating the tower as a bold feat on the world stage despite the city state’s shaky financial footing. But the final height of the Burj Dubai — Arabic for Dubai Tower — remained a closely guarded secret on the eve of its opening. At more than 2,625 feet (800 meters), it long ago vanquished its nearest rival, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan. The Burj’s record-seeking developers didn’t stop there. The building boasts the most stories and highest occupied floor of any building in the world, and ranks as the world’s tallest structure, beating out a television mast in North Dakota. Its observation deck — on floor 124 — also sets a record. “We weren’t sure how high we could go,” said Bill Baker, the building’s structural engineer, who is in Dubai for the inauguration. “It was kind of an exploration. ... A learning experience” Baker, of Chicago-based architecture and engineering firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, said early designs for the Burj had it edging out the world’s previous record-holder, the Taipei 101, by about 33 feet (10 meters). The Taiwan tower rises 1,667 feet (508 meters). The Burj’s developer, Emaar Properties, kept pushing the design higher even after construction began, eventually putting it about 984 feet (300 meters) taller than its nearest competitor, Baker said. He is keeping quiet about the exact height. Dubai’s ruler will open the tapering metal-and-glass spire with a fireworks display today evening. Security is expected to be tight. Local newspapers quoted Maj. Gen. Mohammed Eid AlMansouri, head of the protective security and emergency unit for Dubai Police, saying more than 1,000 security personnel, including plainclothes police and sharpshooters, will be deployed to secure the site for the opening. Work on the Burj Dubai began in 2004 and continued rapidly. At times, new floors were being added almost every three days, reflecting Dubai’s raging push to reshape itself over a few years from a small-time desert outpost into a cosmopolitan urban giant packed with skyscrapers. By January 2007, thousands of laborers, many of them brought in on temporary contracts from India, had completed 100 stories.

The finished product contains more than 160 floors. That is over 50 stories more than Chicago’s Willis Tower, the tallest recordholder in the US formerly known as the Sears Tower. At their peak, some apartments in the Burj were selling for more than $1,900 per square foot, though they now can go for less than half that, said Heather Wipperman Amiji, chief executive of Dubai real estate consultancy Investment Boutique. Besides luxury apartments and offices, the Burj will be home to a hotel designed by Giorgio Armani. It’s also the centerpiece of a 500-acre development that officials hope will become a new central residential and commercial district in this sprawling and often disconnected city. It is flanked by dozens of smaller but brand-new skyscrapers and the Middle East’s largest shopping mall. That layout — as the core of a lower-rise skyline — lets the Burj stand out prominently against the horizon. It is visible across dozens of miles of rolling sand dunes outside Dubai. From the air, the spire appears as an almost solitary, slender needle reaching high into the sky. The Burj’s opening comes at a tough time for Dubai’s economy. Property prices in newer parts of the sheikdom have collapsed by nearly half over the past year. The city-state turned to its richer neighbor Abu Dhabi for a series of bailouts totaling $25 billion in 2009 to help cover debts amassed by a network of statelinked companies. Burj developer Emaar is itself partly owned by the government, but is not among the companies known to have received emergency cash. Emaar has said the entire Downtown Burj Dubai development, which includes the tower, will cost $20 billion to build. Sales of properties around the Burj are meant to help pay for the tower itself, which analysts say is unlikely to be profitable on its own. Jan Klerks, research and communications manager for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which tracks world’s tallest claims, said the building’s real value might be that it is the “biggest city marketing campaign” Dubai could have come up with. “Put your name and that of the Burj Dubai on an envelope, and no postal service in the world will have problems delivering the mail,” he said. —AP

Financial uncertainty clouds tower opening DUBAI: Dubai was preparing yesterday to inaugurate the world’s tallest tower, a symbol of the Gulf emirate’s unbridled ambitions, amid ongoing fears about a financial catastrophe. The city state, which borrowed heavily to finance its grandiose projects, is striving to restructure its mountain of debt and face a serious crisis in its once-booming real estate sector. Some observers now appear more confident about Dubai’s ability to navigate its way out of the crisis, after many predicted bankruptcy when it requested a debt repayments standstill for its largest group Dubai World in late November. Dubai was bailed out with a last-minute lifeline of 10 billion dollars from neighbouring emirate Abu Dhabi, which enabled Dubai to pay its imminent debt. “We are much more confident about the situation of Dubai now, after Abu Dhabi’s support as well as the comprehensive restructuring plan, than we were a one month ago,” said Mahdi Mattar, chief economist at Shuaa Capital. “The debt story is not as bad as the market initially thought, when investors were assuming the worst,” he said. Dubai World began negotiations with its creditors in late December with the hope of reaching an agreement over restructuring debt of $22 billion, owed by its troubled subsidiaries. The talks followed Dubai World’s payment of $4.1 billion in maturing bonds owed by its real estate arm, Nakheel, thanks to Abu Dhabi’s help. But the emirate, which has little oil resources, has to deal with a total debt burden amounting to around $100 billion, according to estimates. Its fortunes have turned around as the global financial crisis dried up global finance which was crucial to feed its rapid economic growth, mainly in real estate. “In Dubai where 90 percent of the population are expatriates, 50 percent of the work force is real estate and construction-based,” said Saud Masud, senior real estate analyst at UBS bank in Dubai. He estimated a drop of eight percent in Dubai’s population, which was reportedly around two million before the crisis, while he expected a two percent drop in 2010. This decrease in population is expected to deepen the decline in property prices in Dubai which dived 50 percent in 2009, he said. “There is over supply as more houses are being handed over. With population outflows of 10 percent over 2009-2010 and handovers of roughly 40,000 units during the same period, we would not be surprised to see residential over supply of 30 percent by end of 2010,” he said. This deterioration has triggered an 80 percent drop in projects in 2009 compared with the previous year. “Big projects have been delayed indefinitely. If investors don’t pay developers, they in turn will struggle to pay contractors,” he said. Vacant villas and apartment blocks make now up part of Dubai’s landscape, while the most grandiose projects have been put on hold, including a one-kilometre (0.62 mile) high tower expected to dwarf Dubai’s completed Burj Dubai, whose final height is more than 800 metres (2,640 feet). But Dubai’s debt crisis does not mean the emirate will sink in the desert sands, analysts agreed. “Dubai will not be wiped off the map. It is a very important centre and model for the rest of the Middle East,” said Masud. — AFP

No tell tale: A bold feat on world stage

DUBAI: Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building (seen at centre left) in Dubai yesterday. — AP

Small is big at Delhi auto show NEW DELHI: Small will be big at an Indian auto show when the world’s leading manufacturers unveil a slew of compact cars designed for one of the world’s fastest growing markets. AutoExpo 2010, which begins tomorrow and runs until January 11, is expected to be the biggest ever, featuring global releases of new models from the most famous names in the industry. Recent months have seen foreign giants Ford, General Motors, Hyundai and Renault join a stampede to India, where each has promised a small, cheap model designed for what Ford boss Alan Mulally termed the “sweet spot” of the market. Many of these will be on display during the week, including the Figo from Ford, concept small cars from Japan’s Honda and Toyota as well as the India-made Polo by Germany’s Volkswagen. “India is developing as a small-car hub,” senior director at the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), Sugato Sen, told AFP. He pointed to government policies that have promoted the production of small cars domestically, while rising incomes have driven demand for basic, no-frills vehicles. “India ultimately is a developing country where the average annual

PIMPRI, India: Tata Motors employees walk past parked Nano cars lined up ahead of a test drive session for journalists at the Tata Motors plant at Pimpri, some 160 km south-east of Mumbai. — AFP income is below $1,000 a year, so this is reflected in the vehicles we use,” he said.“They’re not sophisticated, but the market is growing double-digit.” India is Asia’s third-largest car market after China and Japan, but what has manufacturers excited is the potential explosive growth in a country with a billion-plus population. “Growth in developed counties is almost saturated so they are looking for where they can sell, especially in the low-end, entry-level segment,” said analyst Vaishali Jajoo from Angel Broking. She said sales of passenger vehicles have been growing at above 10 percent a year for the last five years and will

carry on at “12-13 percent for the next four to five years.” Incomes are rising steadily, meaning Indians are following the familiar pattern of upgrading their personal transport from push bikes, to motorbikes, then to cars. The market is forecast to triple to six million car sales annually in a decade-a mouth-watering proposition for car groups, but a concern for those who drive on the already trafficclogged streets of India’s cities. “The train is leaving the station and you want to make sure you have the products on line,” Carlos Ghosn, who runs Renault and Nissan, said in November as he announced plans to produce an

ultra-low-cost vehicle. Such is the buzz around the India show this year that some insiders are beginning to speak of it in the same breath as the Detroit auto event that kicks off on the day the Delhi exhibition finishes. Ten global launches of vehicles from heavy trucks to two-wheelers are planned at the Delhi event, which will see an expected 1.8 million visitors pass through the doors. This year’s Delhi is the 10th, but it first caught the world’s attention in 2008 when Indian manufacturer Tata Motors unveiled its Nano, the world’s cheapest car that has since hit the roads, though production remains

restricted. Ranojoy Mukerji, an auto sector analyst and adviser on a government car certification project, underlines that the range of new vehicles set to hit the market is good news for consumers. But it means manufacturers will face a highly competitive market that is currently dominated by IndoJapanese group Maruti Suzuki, which has about 55 percent market share and a strong track-record in the small-car segment. “It will become a very tough market because the consumer will have a lot of choice,” Mukerji told AFP. “Before (consumers) had five cars to choose from, suddenly they will be looking at 20.” — AFP

Russia halts oil flows to Belarus refineries

BEIJING: Shoppers walk past the Silkmarket in Beijing, an emporium of counterfeit goods from an array of vendors who used to sell on a street known as Silk Street, which was closed under the guise of World Trade Organization rules on piracy, only to resurface nearby with the appearance of a fully legitimate shopping center. — AFP (See page 24)

MOSCOW: Russia has halted oil flows to Belarussian refineries after failing to agree terms for 2010, but rising tensions have not so far affected the transit of Russian oil to the European Union, traders said yesterday. Germany and Poland are watching the dispute after supplies to some of their major refineries were cut during a similar row between Moscow and Minsk in January 2007. European politicians have repeatedly accused the Kremlin of using its energy might as a tool of intimidation against its neighbors, be it gas or oil deals with Belarus or Ukraine. Russia, the world’s largest oil and gas producer, says it is simply switching gradually to market terms after subsidizing neighbors with cheap energy for years. A fifth of Europe’s gas comes from Russia via Ukraine and Belarus. Large volumes of Russian oil also go through pipelines that traverse the two ex-Soviet states. Two traders from major Russian oil firms said crude had not been flowing to Belarussian plants since Jan. 1, but added that two Belarussian refineries-Naftan and Mozyr-had enough stockpiled crude to continue operations for around a week. “In Belarus they say when holidays are over today, Lukashenko will come back and decide what to do,” said one trader, referring to Belarussian leader

Alexader Lukashenko. Russia is on holiday until Jan. 11, while Belarus resumes working on Jan. 4. Minsk has insisted that Russia supply duty-free oil not only for volumes consumed domestically in Belarus, but for all Russian crude supplied to the country. Most of that crude is refined by Naftan and Mozyr for re-export to the West and only a small portion of refined products stays inside Belarus. Traders said Mozyr and Naftan have stockpiles of around 450,000 tons. They also said Belarus had threatened to raise transit fees on Russian oil supplies to Poland and Germany by a factor of 10 to $45 per ton in retaliation to Russian demands. That would make transit supplies of crude expensive and potentially disrupt flows to Poland and Germany. Russia and Belarus had plans to created a union with one currency and common customs rules, but the project never materialized as relations between the two states chilled. Moscow has often blamed Lukashenko, who has been running the country for over a decade along Soviet-style command lines, for failing to keep its promises, including selling top assets to Russian firms. Lukashenko in turn has accused Russia of deviating from initial agreements to create the union, including its efforts to raise oil duties. — AFP



Monday, January 4, 2010

Prince Alwaleed ranked No 1

Exclusive promotion from NBK and Lexus for Thahabi’s clients

Institutional Investor Magazine’s list of ME’s influential financiers Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), tops Institutional Investor magazine’s 2009 list of the 12 of the Middle East’s Most Prominent and Influential Financiers. The The list includes Khaldoon Khalifa Al-Mubarak, Chief Executive, Development Co, Arif Naqfi, Founder and CEO, Abraaj Capital, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, CEO, Qatar Investment Authority, Bader Al Sa’ad, Managing Director, Kuwait Investment Authority, Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayad Al-Nehayan, Managing Director, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Adel ElLabban, Chief Executive, Ahli United Bank, Hamad Al-Sayari, GovernorSaudi Arabian Monetary Agency, Abdullah Salim Bahamdan, Chairman, National Commercial Bank, Mohammed Al-Gergawi, Chairman, the Executive Office and Dubai Holding, Amr Al Dabbagh, Chairman and Governor, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority and Hassan Heikal, CO-CEO, EFG, Hermes. The prince is known for his precision for exploring new and potential business opportunities and ventures in synchronization with the direction and fluctuations of the economic climate. His successful strategy in long term investment has also paid off handsomely, which has earned him a global name in the world of business. Consequently, KHC was listed on Tadawul in 2007 and has been involved in the creation of a diversified long term investments portfolio of strategic stakes in well-known companies locally and around the world, in

multiple sectors. Furthermore, Prince Alwaleed’s unique progressive thinking and active social network with global leaders, decision makers and business people has firmly placed His Highness and Kingdom Holding on the world business map.

KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the leading bank in Kuwait and the highest rated in the Middle East, is bringing its Thahabi clients an exclusive promotion by Lexus Al-Sayer. This exclusive promotion will offer Thahabi clients the opportunity to purchase any Lexus model car of their choice at a competitive price and free service for 4 years or 50,000 KM. “Promotions such as this are especially enticing to those Thahabi customers who appreciate Lexus, and now have the chance to pick the model that best suits them, stated Adel Al Jenae Assistant General Manager Consumer Banking Group. Adding “our clients appreciate practical luxury very much, and we have partnered with Al-Sayer Lexus who’s automobiles are synonymous with that. This special promotion that started on December 15, 2009 is only valid until the end of January 2010, hence we invite you to visit the Lexus showroom and pick the car of your choice.” Thahabi is the Premier affluent customer package from NBK that offers personalized and ‘best in class’ products and services, delivered by professional Personal Banking Officers. Thahabi customers enjoy many banking related discounts, fee waivers and value-added lifestyle benefits. Qualification for the Thahabi package is subject to meeting the minimum deposit criteria of KD 30,000 in any interest or non-interest bearing account

magazine stated, “As a barometer of the vertiginous rise and fall of the Gulf’s fortunes, few investors can rival Prince Alwaleed...his ambition still make him one of the most fascinating Gulf investors to watch.”

Moreover, Prince Alwaleed is active in social responsibility projects through significant local and international donations made by Alwaleed Bin Talal’s philanthropic and humanitarian foundations span all the continents, including Africa and Asia. HRH was acknowledged for his

active philanthropy and was awarded the Special Award for Philanthropy by Arabian Business during the Arabian Business Saudi Achievement Awards event in 2007. In addition, the Prince is an advocate for the promotion of East-West cultural and religious dialogue for tolerance and understanding in line with the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. In recognition of this, Time magazine listed Prince Alwaleed on the Time 100 issue and among the 12 Power Givers around the world for raising the profile of Islamic history and culture around the world in 2007. Prince Alwaleed’s recognitions span over a decade and the most recent include: the Prince topped Arabian Business Magazine’s 2009 50 Richest Arabs List, also the Prince was number one in Arabian Business Magazine’s 50 Richest Saudi List, 2009, he was included in the 2009 Forbes World’s Powerful Billionaires list, in the 25 People Who will Affect Your Finances 2009 list in US News magazine, named the top single investor in Saudi Arabia according to Al Jazeerah newspaper that named investors who hold the most stakes in local companies. The percentage of Prince Alwaleed’s share in Kingdom Holding Company is 95% which is the largest by an individual investor. Also, the Prince was ranked one of the top 25 billionaires in the 2009 Forbes

Billionaires list, in 2008, he was ranked the largest private investor on the Saudi stock exchange, Arabian Business ranked him number one in their list of 100 Most Powerful Arabs for the fourth year running. Also in 2008 Institutional Investor magazine listed Prince Alwaleed on its first-ever ranking of the most-powerful figures in finance, European Business magazine selected Prince Alwaleed as the number one Richest Arab in the World on the list of The World’s Richest Arabs, Zahrat Al-Khaleej magazine chose Prince Alwaleed Entertainment Personality of the Year according to its annual poll, The Times newspaper ranked Prince Alwaleed number five on the “25 Shaping Tomorrow’s World of Middle East Business” list, Forbes magazine ranked Prince Alwaleed number 1 on the Middle East’s 20 Richest People List, Institutional Investor magazine listed Prince Alwaleed on their 40th anniversary issue on the list of the World’s Most Powerful and Influential people in the last 40 years and Arabian Business magazine chose Prince Alwaleed on the Top of the 50 Richest Arabs List, Almaal wal Aalam magazine’s poll voted Prince Alwaleed Economic Personality of the Year in the Arab World and in 2005 featured Prince Alwaleed’s ranking in Fortune Magazine’s 2005 list of Asia’s 25 most powerful.

Marubeni submits lowest tariff for Riyadh plant RIYADH: A consortium led by Japan’s Marubeni Corp has proposed the lowest tariff to build a 2,000 megawatt power plant in Riyadh for Saudi Electricity Co (SEC). The consortium, which also includes Kansai Electric and Saudi Masader Co for Power, Water and Gas, proposed a levelised electricity cost-which includes costs of production, fuel, financing and operations-of 0.077 riyals per kilowatt hour, Saudi Electricity said.

A brief history of mega projects in Dubai DUBAI: The Gulf emirate of Dubai, whose biggest stateowned group sparked global fears of a debt default in November when it asked for a six-month debt moratorium, has a history of vast imposing projects. Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest tower being inaugurated today, is just the latest of these. As recently as late 2008 Dubai was still announcing gigantic schemes like the 95billion-dollar Jumeirah Gardens new town and a onekilometer-high structure, Nakheel Harbor and Tower, in a 28-billion-dollar business district. The iconic Palm Jumeirah development has seen thousands of apartments, villas and luxury hotels built on a huge artificial palm-tree shaped island. The island’s luxury “Atlantis, The Palm” hotel is a tourist attraction with 1,539 bedrooms, as is Burj Al-Arab, the only hotel anywhere claiming a sevenstar rating.

DUBAI: A handout picture made available by the Atlantis public relations office shows fireworks lighting the man-made palm island in Dubai during the grand opening of Atlantis resort on November 20, 2009. The Gulf emirate of Dubai has a history of vast imposing projects. —AFP However, only one of the three planned palm islands has been completed, while The World-a proposed collection of 300 islands forming a

globe shape-is far from being realized. Plans for Dubailand, a $64 billion theme park, are also at a standstill. Market researchers estimate that

projects worth up to $582 billion, or 45 percent of the value of all developments, are on hold in Dubai or other members of the United Arab

Adel Al-Jenae (including Jawhara), fixed deposit, or any NBK Investment Fund and/or a minimum continuous monthly salary transfer of KD 1,500. For more information, Thahabi customers may contact their Personal Banking Officer or call “Hala Thahabi” on 1801801 or visit our website on

In a statement on its website Saudi Electricity said it would examine legal and technical aspects of all bids before signing a power purchase agreement (PPA) by the end of March. “Bids are now under evaluation, within a month or a month and a half we will have a clear picture,” Amr Al-Swaha, head of independent power producer (IPP) projects, told Reuters. French utility group GDF Suez along with Saudi Al Jomaih Group’s offered a cost of 0.1079

riyals per KWH. A bid by Japan’s Sumitomo Corp, Tenaga Nasional of Malaysia and Saudi Binladin Group came in at 0.1126 riyals per KWH, the SEC said. Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp, with Saudi Acwa Power and Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power, made an offer of 0.1197 riyals per KWH, while International Power with Saudi Oger and Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) made the highest tariff with 0.1299 riyals per KWH. —Reuters

The highest towers in the world

Emirates because of the global economic crisis. But many older schemes have been completed. Among them is Festival City, comprising 20,000 apartments, 50,000 offices, 3,500 guest bedrooms, 100 restaurants and two shopping centres. Another tourist draw is the Mall of the Emirates, opened in 2005 and famous for Ski Dubai, the world’s largest indoor ski slope. Dubai has also been planning yet more shopping malls such as the one-million square-metre Mall of Arabia, scheduled for completion in 2016. In terms of infrastructure, the opening of Al-Maktoum International, Dubai’s second airport with a predicted capacity of 120 million passengers a year, has been put back to mid-2010. The airport, near Jebel Ali port, is designed to be part of a $33 billion complex that includes a freight terminal with capacity of 12 million tons a year. —AFP

DUBAI: Burj Dubai, whose inauguration is scheduled for today, will be the biggest tower in the world at more than 800 metres (2,640 feet) tall. The exact height of the tower has not been officially announced, but developer Emaar says the height is at least 800 metres. Informed internet sites have put the overall height at 818 metres, while architects working in the region say it could be even higher. The top of the tower is visible from a distance of 95 kilometres (59 miles). The first 605 metres are made from concrete, a world record, while the rest of the structure is made out of metal. The tower is at the heart of a roughly $20billion (14-billion-euro) project named Downtown Burj Dubai, which includes the Dubai Mall, one of the biggest shopping centres in the world. The tower has been under construction since 2004 and had originally been scheduled to be inaugurated in 2008. Here are the 10 biggest towers in the world, not taking into account their antennae: ● Burj Dubai (United Arab Emirates, 2009) 800m (2,640 feet) ● Taipei 101, Taipei (Taiwan, 2004) 508m (1,676 feet) ● Shanghai World Financial Centre (China, 2008) 492m (1,624 feet)

Willis (Sears) Tower, Chicago (United States, 1974) 442m (1,459 feet) ● Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia, 1998) 410m (1,353 feet) ● Two International Finance Centre, Hong Kong (2003) 407m (1,343 feet) ● Empire State Building, New York (United States, 1931) 381m (1,257 feet) ● Central Plaza, Hong Kong (1992) 374m (1,234 feet) ● Bank of China, Hong Kong (1989) 369m (1,218 feet) ● Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai (China, 1998) 366m (1,208 feet) Among the towers currently under construction: ● The Tokyo Sky Tree, originally referred to as New Tokyo Tower (Japan, 2012) 610m (2,013 feet) ● Chicago Spire, Chicago (United States, 2010) 609m (2,010 feet) ● Abraj Al Bait, Makkah (Saudi Arabia, 2010) 600m (1,980 feet) ● One World Trade Center, at Ground Zero, New York (United States, 2014) 541m (1,785 feet) ● International Commerce Centre Hong Kong (2010) 484m (1,597 feet) —AFP

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

.2830000 .4530000 .4080000 .2730000 .2700000 .2530000 .0045000 .0020000 .0777740 .7577310 .4020000 .0750000 .7428230 .0045000 .0500000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2865000 .4551710 .4103960 .2757300 .2724910 .0551500 .0397110 .2552150 .0369400 .2036980 .0031080 .0061940 .0025130 .0034210 .0041970 .0780420 .7603350 .4051910 .0764390 .7445310 .0062280 TRANSFER CHEQUES RATES .2886000 .4583860 .2776830 .0769270

.2930000 .4640000 .4160000 .2820000 .2780000 .2610000 .0075000 .0035000 .0785560 .7653460 .4180000 .0790000 .7502880 .0072000 .0570000 .2886000 .4583860 .4132940 .2776830 .2744210 .0555400 .0399930 .2557010 .0372020 .2051400 .0031300 .0062380 .0025310 .0034450 .0042270 .0785400 .7651840 .4080610 .0769270 .7492800 .0062720

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 287.800 Euro 413.600

Sterling Pound Canadian dollar Turkish lire Swiss Franc Australian dollar US Dollar Buying Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal - Transfer Irani Riyal - Cash Egyptian Pound - Cash Egyptian Pound Yemen Riyal Tunisian Dinar Jordanian Dinar Lebanese Lira Syrian Lier Morocco Dirham Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

458.800 279.420 190.620 278.610 256.010 285.000 ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.140 6.155 3.414 2.513 3.865 205.400 37.140 4.164 6.190 8.647 0.301 0.292 ARAB COUNTRIES 54.500 52.413 1.394 218.530 406.610 194.500 6.336 37.090 GCC COUNTRIES 76.790 79.110 748.020 764.710 78.420 GOLD 216.000 110.000 57.000

Hongkong dollar Indian rupees Indonesia Iranian tuman Iraqi dinar Japanese yen Jordanian dinar Lebanese pound Malaysian ringgit Morocco dirham Nepalese Rupees New Zealand dollar Nigeria Norwegian krone Omani Riyal Pakistani rupees Philippine peso Qatari riyal Saudi riyal Singapore dollar South Africa Sri Lankan rupees Sterling pound Swedish krona Swiss franc Syrian pound Thai bhat Tunisian dollar UAE dirham U.S. dollars Yemeni Riyal 10 Tola Sterling Pound US Dollar

SELL CASH 262.600 764.540 4.480 278.100 693.700 15.800 56.700 54.120 417.200

37.630 6.180

406.370 0.193 86.270 3.880 211.300

SELL DRAFT 261.100 764.540 4.160 276.600

52.431 415.700

US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Cyprus Pound Bahrain Dinar UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees

284.800 274.810 475.510 429.290 281.470 719.870 759.995 78.015 78.655 76.450 404.430 52.475 6.125 3.445

Sri Lankan Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Japanese Yen Thai Bhat Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees

2.490 4.160 6.085 3.165 8.550 5.520 3.640

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Currency

746.620 3.425 6.210 79.080 76.760 206.320 41.380 2.510 468.300 281.700 8.810 78.440 287.500

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

Bahrain Exchange Company COUNTRY Australian dollar Bahraini dinar Bangladeshi taka Canadian dollar Cyprus pound Czek koruna Danish krone Egyptian pound Euro Cash

37.780 6.480 0.034 0.290 0.251 3.220 408.100 0.194 86.270 38.700 4.240 212.800 2.183 51.100 746.800 3.480 6.420 79.510 76.760 206.320 41.380 2.762 470.300 41.400 283.200 6.400 9.020 222.000 78.440 287.900 1.430 GOLD 1,187.010 TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 468.300 287.500

Rate per 1000 (Tran)

US Dollar Pak Rupees Indian Rupees Sri Lankan Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Peso UAE Dirhams Saudi Riyals Bahraini Dinars Egyptian Pounds Pound Sterling Indonesian Rupiah Yemeni Riyal Jordanian Dinars Syrian Pounds Euro Candaian Dollars

287.350 3.420 6.165 2.520 4.165 6.210 78.270 76.750 764.000 52.420 467.500 0.0000306 1.550 408.200 5.750 418.700 280.600

Al Mulla Exchange Currency

Transfer rate

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

287.400 415.500 458.000 3.140 6.165 52.400 2.513 4.155 6.190 3.420 764.100 78.300 76.800


Monday, January 4, 2010


Euro-zone’s new year heralds major debt crisis

ECB headquarters seen against a euro symbol at Frankfurt.

FRANKFURT: The euro-zone’s new year heralds a debt crisis that has alarm bells ringing and markets tracking government plans to tame the growing shortfall. Officials have borrowed heavily to pull the 16-nation zone out of its first recession, and debt levels are set to smash a huge hole in the ceiling set by the European Union in its Stability and Growth Pact. Soaring budget deficits, low growth and banking sector support “are feeding into significantly higher public debt levels,” the European Commission has warned. Average euro-zone “public debt could reach 84 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) by 2010, an increase of 18 percentage points from 2007,” it said, far above the pact’s limit of 60 percent. Government debt ratings

in the news Ajman Bank names Khokhar as chief DUBAI: UAE-based Islamic lender Ajman Bank said yesterday it named Mubasher Hanif Khokhar, a former Mashreq banker, as its new chief executive. Khokhar’s appointment is effective Jan. 3, according to a statement posted on the Dubai bourse website. Ajman Bank’s acting CEO, Ali Shaqoosh Al Mueen, will become the lender’s deputy chief, a spokesperson for the company told Reuters.

Aabar says has no investment in Arabtec DUBAI: Abu-Dhabi based Aabar Investments said it has not made an investment in Arabtec, after the Dubai-based construction firm last week said it was not in talks about any possible deal. “We can confirm that Aabar has not made an investment in the company mentioned in the Bloomberg report to which you refer in your facsimile,” Aabar said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi bourse. Arabtec denied the same report on Dec 30.

First Gulf Bank extends share buyback DUBAI: Abu Dhabi’s First Gulf Bank obtained the approval of the UAE markets regulator for an extension on plans to buy back 10 percent of its shares, a statement on the Abu Dhabi bourse website said yesterday. The bank requested an extension of one year. “The approval is granted to the bank in order to complete the buyback of 10 percent of the bank’s capital,” the statement said.

Savola sells storage facility for $80m DUBAI: Saudi sugar refiner Savola Group has sold a central storage facility to Al Rajhi Capital for 299 million Saudi riyals ($79.73 million), making a profit of 55 million riyals, the company said yesterday. Savola sold the facility on the condition that Al Rajhi Capital will rent it out to its subsidiary Al-Azizia Panda, one of the Gulf Arab region’s biggest supermarket chains, it said in a statement on the Saudi bourse website. Savola also holds a 26.5 percent stake in Almarai Co, the Gulf’s biggest dairy firm by market value.

Finance chiefs in UK upbeat about business recovery LONDON: Finance chiefs at the UK’s biggest companies are in their most confident mood for two years as recovery hopes grow, a survey said yesterday. The risk appetite among chief financial officers and finance directors is at its highest level since the beginning of 2008, financial services firm “Deloitte” said. Its quarterly survey of senior staff - including 39 major firms finance bosses said optimism about prospects for their own business was also at a twoyear high. Deloitte chief economist Ian Stewart said: “Today businesses are lifting their eyes from the recession and are looking for growth in 2010. The economy and the financial system are a long way from normal but things are looking up.”

Concerns about access to finance have also eased with many prepared to issue bonds or new shares to raise funds rather than rely on costly bank borrowing. Almost four in five finance bosses - 78% nonetheless believe the UK banking system is now strong enough to sustain a recovery. But the struggling economy remains the chief worry with nearly half - or 48% - concerned over a potential ‘double dip’ recession in 2010. The UK is expected to have returned to growth in the final three months of 2009 after a record six quarters of recession in a row, although prospects for early this year remain uncertain as VAT returns to 17.5% and spending cuts loom after a general election, the report added. —KUNA

Oman to spend $4.2bn on utility projects till 2017 MUSCAT: Omani authorities will spend 1.6 billion Omani riyals ($4.2 billion) on utility and water projects in the governorate of Muscat in the coming years. Omar Al-Wuhaibi, Chief Executive Officer of Oman Wastewater Services Company, said in a press statement yesterday that the forecast spending would cover projects, including water treatment plants and water networks, in the Muscat region till 2017. Overall cost of the projects, currently under execution in various regions of

the sultanate, has amounted to 562 million riyals, he said.Moreover, the company is currently building a central water treatment plant in the region of Bosher. The station, whose construction is projected to cost 36 million riyals, is designed to put out 55 cubic meters of water per day. The company is also building several water networks in the region. It is also constructing a central station for waste water treatment in the region of Al-Seeb. It will initially put out 60,000 cm of water per day. —KUNA

have been downgraded in Greece by all three major international agencies, and by some of them in Ireland and Spain as well. The Fitch agency has urged all governments with top ratings to tame debt, mentioning in particular Britain, which is not a euro-zone member, along with France and Spain, which are. Germany, long considered the cornerstone of euro-zone fiscal discipline, forecasts public debt at around 78 percent of GDP this year, while in France, the second biggest euro-zone economy, public debt jumped to a record 75.8 percent in the third quarter of 2009. Greece says its shortfall come to 120 percent of output in 2010. Debt is raising the cost of borrowing for many countries and adding to the weight of reimbursing obligations on future budgets.

With unemployment rising and weak growth expected in 2010, officials cannot count on increased tax revenues for much help in paying down debt, a lot of which is owed abroad. “The (economic) crisis is weighing on the sustainability of public finances and potential growth,” the EU commission has warned as economists leave open the possibility of a “double dip” recession this year. Finances will be undermined further by an ageing population that will need expensive health care in the years to come. But tightening the financial screws, as many capitals have pledged to do, could choke off an economic recovery if officials act too soon, analysts warn. Natixis economist Patrick Artus said that in the near term, “it will not be possible to return to less expansionary monetary policies, at the risk of creating

huge problems” as money pumped out to boost activity has begun to generate fresh problems of its own. They include new speculative bubbles in emerging economy assets, commodities and possibly even real-estate, a key factor in the mid-2007 financial meltdown. Failing to act on deficits and debt however will spark a reaction at some point from financial markets which will demand higher interest payments on loans, especially from highly exposed countries like Greece. On Friday, the yield, or interest on 10-year Greek bonds was a hefty 2.36 percentage points higher than that for benchmark German bonds. Before the financial crisis erupted in August 2007, the spread was just 0.29 points, and in early December, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou warned: “Either we

eradicate the debt, or the debt will eliminate the country.” The Greek debt debacle constitutes one of the euro-zone’s biggest tests ever as Europe’s single currency begins its 12th year in existence. That has weighed on the euro, which traded for $1.44 on Thursday ahead of the New Year holiday. Markets want to know if solidarity will prevail within the 16-nation bloc, as most analysts expect, or whether it will plunge into an existential crisis. European Central Bank governing council member Ewald Nowotny has underscored a “no bail-out” principle contained in EU treaties, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel, head of Europe’s biggest economy, has suggested otherwise. Merkel said last month that “we all share a common responsibility,” for Greece. — AFP


Emaar surges ahead of Burj Dubai opening, Gulf jump DUBAI: Emaar Properties lifted Dubai’s index to a two-week high yesterday, a day before the official opening of Burj Dubai, the developer’s flagship project and the world’s tallest structure. In a sentiment-driven rally, Emaar surged 7.8 percent to its highest close since Nov. 23, Gains elsewhere were more muted, with Saudi Arabia almost flat and Qatar edging slightly higher in sluggish trading on both bourses. Emaar’s gains were nearly matched by its rival developers, with Deyaar climbing 6.9 percent and Sorouh Real Estate adding 4.2 percent. “The opening of Burj Dubai is a sentimental issue, rather than an actual change in the company’s situation, although it does mean investors expect Burj Dubai revenues will be booked in the first quarter,” said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Alternative Investments. Emaar, Arabtec and Deyaar between them accounted for almost two-thirds of all shares changing hands on Dubai’s index and analysts were divided over what this meant for the bourse’s immediate prospects. “The big volumes in Emaar and Arabtec mean the market should be able to go a bit higher tomorrow,” said Shawkat Raslan, Prime Emirates head of sales. “Emaar broke a strong resistance level at 4.04 dirhams on high volumes-this is new cash coming into the stock and it should continue upward.” Gulfmena’s Shurrab was more cautious, saying the focus on a handful of property-related stocks showed that short-term, retail investors were dominating trading. Saudi Arabia’s index rose for a second day as investors paused ahead of fourthquarter results following strong gains in 2009. “Everybody is waiting for the fullyear results and this is reflected in the lack of liquidity and turnover in the market,” said Saleh AlOnazi, vice-president of Principal Investment at Swicorp in Riyadh. “We have performed very well for the past year and the big investors are caught between realizing their profits and trying to work out where the market will go.” The Saudi measure was the top Gulf Arab performer in 2009, climbing 27 percent. Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) rose 0.3 percent, offsetting minor declines in Samba Financial Group and Al-Rajhi Bank. “Oil prices have done very well, but the big question mark is over banks’ transparency and the provisions they are taking,” added AlOnazi. Qatar’s index rose for the first session in four, although it remains down 8 percent since early October’s 11-month high. “Everyone is waiting to see what dividends banks will announce-until then, trading is likely to be conservative,” said Samer Al-Jaouni, General Manager of Middle East Financial Brokerage Co. “Qatar’s economy should do better than the rest of the Gulf and is seen as one of the top performers globally, but this has yet to really be seen in companies’ earnings.” The Bahrain and Kuwait markets were closed for a holiday. HIGHLIGHTS DUBAI The index climbed 3.4 percent to 1,866 points, its highest finish since Dec. 17. ABU DHABI The benchmark rose 1.1 percent to 2,772 points. SAUDI ARABIA The measure climbed 0.1 percent to 6,150 points. OMAN The index rose 1.6 percent to 6,470 points. QATAR The measure climbed 0.7 percent to 7,007 points. EGYPT The index rose 1 percent to 6,272 points, its third gain in four sessions. — Reuters

helping Dubai’s measure climb 3.4 percent. Other Gulf Arab bourses also advanced, with Oman hitting a 10-week high after a government official forecast the country’s gross domestic product would increase by 6.1 percent in 2010.

DUBAI: Traders watch the price movement at the Dubai stock market. Emaar Properties lifted Dubai’s index to a twoweek high yesterday. —AP

Mobinil case shows minorities protected: Egypt regulator CAIRO: The decision of an Egyptian appeals committee to approve France Telecom’s latest bid for Mobinil shows Egypt is prepared to protect minority interests, the Egyptian regulator said yesterday. The committee on Saturday rejected Orascom Telecom’s request that the regulator scrap its decision to allow France Telecom to pay 245 Egyptian pounds ($45) for each share in Mobinil, Egypt’s largest mobile operator by subscribers. “At the end, we are trying to implement what will achieve the public interest, what will achieve the reputation and stability of the market,” Chairman of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) Ziad Bahaa El-Din told reporters. The appeals committee overseeing the case is an independent body including members from the State Council, a senior official of the EFSA and a member appointed by the Ministry of Investment. Orascom said it would challenge the committee’s decision. Orascom and France Telecom, the two main shareholders in Mobinil, took their years-long battle for control of the company to an arbitration court in 2007, which ruled the French company should buy Orascom’s stake. The Egyptian regulator rejected three previous offers by the French company to buy the minority stake in Mobinil. The prices offered in the earlier offers were 187 pounds, 237 pounds and 230 pounds, all below the price of the arbitration ruling. Orascom had argued France Telecom should have offered 273 pounds, equivalent to a price set by the Egyptian court last April for Mobinil shares held by Orascom through a holding company, and which the court ordered France Telecom to buy. In May last year, France Telecom said minority shareholders of Mobinil were ready to sell stock at 230 pounds a share. Orascom Telecom could net more than $1.6 billion if it sold its 20 percent direct stake in Mobinil at 245 pounds and its stake in the holding company at 273 pounds. Bahaa El-Din said the decision to accept France Telecom’s latest offer ensured minority interests in Mobinil were protected and that fair practice was followed. —Reuters

Oman says project boom needs expatriate labor MUSCAT: Oman’s spending on new projects, spurred by the recovery of oil prices, will raise the demand for foreign labor in 2010, the sultanate’s national economy minister said yesterday. The Gulf Arab country expects to create 4,000 jobs in 2010 for nationals through the 937 million ($2.4 billion) allocated for new projects, but Ahmad Mekki said the projects will also drive demand for foreign workers. “We will need more expatriates to keep up with the pace of the development from new projects next year,” Mekki told reporters, without giving figures for foreign workers. “There are not enough nationals to fulfill all the jobs in demand.” According to the latest national economy statistics, there are 852,000 foreign workers in Oman, five times the number of nationals working in the private sector. Foreign workers make

up nearly 30 percent of Oman’s population of 2.9 million people. Industry analysts said the sultanate depended heavily on foreign labor in the construction sector, where nationals lacked expertise or were not willing to take on jobs. “We don’t have enough experts in civil engineering to cater for the rising demands,” Rashid Alawi, managing partner at Muscat Investments Co told Reuters. “Young Omanis also are not willing to work as laborers because they see it as demeaning.” Oman has allocated an expenditure of 7.18 billion Omani rials in 2010, up from 6.42 billion a year earlier. Plans include building four new airports, three ports, power plants and petrochemical projects. Oman fetched 12.5 percent more from oil income in 2009, basing its budget on an oil price of $45 per barrel, but selling its oil at an average price of $56.7 per barrel. —Reuters

MUSCAT: Oman’s spending on new projects, spurred by the recovery of oil prices, will raise the demand for foreign labor in 2010, the sultanate’s national economy minister said yesterday.



Monday, January 4, 2010

Gas prices continued to climb in 2009

2010 expected to bring stable gas prices WASHINGTON: Gas prices continually climbed in 2009 and 2010 is expected to bring relatively stable gas prices, an AAA spokesperson said. Gene LaDoucer, spokesperson for AAA, said the agency is still seeing a weak demand for gasoline. “Going forward, I would think would keep gasoline prices somewhat steady at least through the early part of 2010,” LaDoucer said. “As we approach the summer driving season, we’re going to have to see what the economy is doing at that time, and what the indicators say for increased travel at that time.” LaDoucer said there is potential that gas prices could move considerably

higher if the economy improves quickly throughout 2010. “As of right now it looks like that isn’t going to happen,” LaDoucer said. “It looks like it’s going to be a slower recovery and for that reason I would expect gasoline prices would remain relatively stable or continue to move higher at a slow rate.” Dickinson resident Dustin Rau said it costs about $75 to fill up his truck’s empty tank. The prices haven’t really bothered him, he said. “I just drive to work,” Rau said. “When we travel, we usually try and take the car.” A gradual climb in gasoline prices during 2009 stand in

stark contrast to the price swings witnessed in 2008, according to a press release from AAA. The year’s lowest average price for a gallon of self serve regular in North Dakota was recorded on Jan. 2, 2009 at $1.69, according to AAA’s daily Fuel Gauge Report. The state’s highest average recorded price in 2009 occurred on June 21 at $2.74. The average at year end stands at $2.67. Barry Hagbom, of Townsend, Montana, said he travels frequently for work, but hasn’t decreased the amount of times he’s filled up. “I still have to get around,” Hagbom said while filling up at a Cenex in Dickinson Saturday.

If 2010 gas prices continue to rise, Hagbom said he probably won’t cut back on work driving, but possibly driving for vacations. LaDoucer said AAA is expecting a 15 percent increase in travel over last year in the west/north central region, which includes North Dakota, but is still well below the record number of travelers that was seen four years ago. “We’re not exactly sure what the weather did,” LaDoucer said. “Because of the two-week holiday, and most people drive, we expect that most of the people who planned to travel actually did, they just adjusted their plans a bit.” —MCT

Beijing beefs up effort to stamp out copy right piracy

Counterfeiting thriving in China despite crackdowns Japan to double credit

SAN FRANCISCO: Gas prices over $4.00 per gallon are displayed at a Chevron station in San Francisco, California.

BEIJING: While China has talked up its recent progress in stamping out copyright piracy, the market for fake iPhones and bootleg DVDs still flourishes, and its trading partners say it could do better. Late last month, the United States-consistently critical of Beijing’s failure to stop the illicit production of US brands-issued an annual report saying piracy in the Asian giant remained at “unacceptably high levels”. Analysts say despite official crackdowns and successful prosecutions, graft and weak policing

means factories continue to churn out fake goods, costing foreign and domestic firms billions of dollars in lost revenue. “Local protectionism and government corruption are the real issue,” Daniel Chow, a professor at the Ohio State University College of Law, told AFP. “The central government is probably sincere but enforcement occurs at the local level, and local governments have a direct and indirect interest in protecting counterfeiting, which is important to the local economy.”

BEIJING: A vendor sets up her display of counterfeit handbags for sale along a street in Beijing on December 31, 2009 near the Silk Market, an emporium of counterfeit goods from an array of vendors who used to sell on a street known as Silk Street, which was closed under the guise of World Trade Organisation rules on piracy, only to resurface nearby with the appearance of a fully legitimate shopping center. —AFP

Czech 2009 budget gap up to 7.4bn euros: PM PRAGUE: The Czech state budget deficit for 2009 outdid the worst expectations when it soared to a preliminary 195 billion koruna (7.4 billion euros, $10.6 billion), Prime Minister Jan Fischer said in a televised debate yesterday. “This is the figure we have as of December 30,” he said on the private TV Prima station. The finance ministry is due to announce the official figure today. The preliminary figure far exceeds the 2.04-billion-euro deficit approved by lawmakers, who raised the estimated gap from an original 1.4 billion euros in November because of the economic crisis that had battered state revenues. But the finance ministry already warned at the time that the final figure could be much higher. The initial 2009 budget was drawn up before the ex-communist economy fell into recession at the end of 2008, and was based on forecast

growth of 4.8 percent compared with 2008. The central bank now expects a 4.4-percent economic contraction for 2009, followed by 1.4-percent growth this year. In December, statisticians announced the Czech economy contracted at a 12-month pace of 4.1 percent but grew by 0.8 percent on a quarterly basis in the third quarter of the year. Last month, lawmakers also approved this year’s state budget with a deficit equal to some 6.1 billion euros, but they are likely to raise the gap later this month as left-wingers in parliament are proposing higher spending on benefits and welfare. The approved deficit is equal to 5.3 percent of gross domestic product, but the changes are likely to raise it to 5.7 percent of GDP, way above the 3.0 percent lid set down in the criteria for euro adoption, expected in the Czech Republic in 2014 at the earliest. —AFP

Egypt extends exemption on sugar import duties CAIRO: Egypt has extended the exemption of raw and white sugar imports from duties until June 30, the trade minister said yesterday, confirming a newspaper report which appeared last week. “Yes, this happened. It was extended for six months,” Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid said. Egypt had exempted sugar imports from duties starting Aug. 15 until the end of December to control prices in the domestic market in light of record rises. Egypt ordinarily has a 2 percent duty on raw sugar and a 10 percent duty on refined sugar. The most populous Arab country consumes around 2.8 million tons of sugar a year, including about 1.6 million tons produced domestically. The investment ministry raised the price at which it buys sugar cane from domestic farmers by 17 percent this season in a bid to encourage local production. Trade Minister Rachid Mohamed Rachid has said higher world prices would push the sugar subsidy bill in 2009/10 up by more than 70 percent to 4 billion Egyptian pounds ($729 million). —Reuters

China’s counterfeit and piracy market is the biggest in the world and employs millions of factory workers, distributors and shop assistants across the vast country of 1.3 billion. Fake products are readily available in stores and on the Internet in China, as well as in overseas markets from New York to Sydney, at a fraction of the cost for the real thing. “Avatar” is smashing box office records in North America but can be bought for about a dollar in Beijing shops. Cheap copies of Apple’s iPhone were available in China long before the smartphone was officially launched in 2009. “In China, you can get enforcement but no deterrence,” said Chow. “You can easily get a raid but there are no consequences to the counterfeiter, who usually pays a light fine and is back in business in two to three weeks.” In his annual report to Congress before Christmas, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk-a key member of US President Barack Obama’s delegation for his first official visit to China in November — was damning. “Despite repeated anti-piracy campaigns in China and an increasing number of civil IPR cases in Chinese courts, counterfeiting and piracy remain at unacceptably high levels and continue to cause serious harm to US businesses across many sectors of the economy,” Kirk said. Kirk’s comments followed a decision by the US Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus to place China among the top five countries on its “International Piracy Watch List” for 2009. But Beijing says it has made “notable progress” in the war on Internet piracy and copyright infringement, state media reported last month, citing an official from the National Copyright Administration of China. Since August, Beijing has investigated more than 500 Internet copyright infringements, closed hundreds of illegal websites and fined those involved in online piracy 1.28 million yuan (187,500 dollars), the China Daily said. Foreign companies have also been targeted. A Chinese firm successfully sued Microsoft Corp for infringing its intellectual property rights by including certain fonts in its operating systems. And a Chinese author has launched the country’s first civil lawsuit against Internet giant Google for scanning one of her novels into its digital web library without consent. But many more cases of piracy and counterfeiting go undetected, said Victor Ho, a Shanghai-based lawyer with Allen and Overy, with understaffed enforcement agencies overwhelmed by the scale of the illicit industry in China. “It’s not easy to police,” Ho told AFP. A major hurdle facing Beijing in its battle against counterfeits is local government officials, who are determined to protect jobs and maintain fast economic growthseen as crucial for their own career advancement. “If the local government cracks down on counterfeiting, millions of jobs will be lost, not just in counterfeiting but in legitimate industries that support counterfeiting and millions in tax revenue,” Chow said. But as Beijing demonstrated in the lead-up to the Olympic Games in 2008, it has the power to stop the illegal reproduction of merchandise when it is truly motivated, Ho said. —AFP

line for troubled JAL Decision as airline shares plunge to record low TOKYO: Japan agreed yesterday to give a new lifeline to troubled Japan Airlines by doubling a state-funded loan for the carrier to 200 billion yen ($2.2 billion). The government decision comes after shares in Asia’s largest carrier plunged to a record low last week when investors were spooked by reports that bankruptcy was a possible option for the beleaguered airline. In November, the state-run Development Bank had set a credit line of 100 billion yen for Japan Airlines and has already paid out just over half of the total. The extra funding was agreed at a meeting of cabinet ministers including Transport Minister Seiji Maehara and Vice Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the day before the stock market resumes trading after a New Year break. “The ministers confirmed that we will have JAL rehabilitate itself while it keeps flying.” Maehara told reporters. Kan said the amount of the loan “enables JAL to cope with every possible circumstance.”

JAL, battered by the global recession and swine flu pandemic, is scrambling to slash costs and is seeking its fourth government bailout since 2001 in the face of mounting losses. Local media have reported that the state-backed Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp (ETIC), which is overseeing JAL’s restructuring, is considering the possibility of the carrier filing for protection from creditors. ETIC is expected to decide on a financial package for the carrier in mid-January. But airline president Haruka Nishimatsu said in an interview with the Asahi Shimbun newspaper published yesterday that he was opposed to any bankruptcy filing and also had no plans to halt international flights. “Legal liquidation gives an image that will affect us and reduce the number of our clients,” he said. The airline, 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. On Thursday, the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported that the government was discussing a plan which which would see rival All Nippon Airways (ANA) take over JAL’s international flights. But Nishimatsu dismissed such a plan as “impossible.” “Demand for air traffic, particularly in Asia, is rapidly expanding. It provides a tremendous business opportunity,” he told Asahi. JAL has been offered financial assistance by both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which are competing to take a minority stake in the Japanese carrier, eyeing its coveted Asian landing slots. Nishimatsu said he was in favor of the airline switching to Delta’s global alliance SkyTeam from the OneWorld group of American Airlines. “Asia will have ‘open skies’ in the future... SkyTeam has many Asian members,” he said. —AFP

Protiviti member firm implements Asset Management System at NIG Protiviti’s Member Firm for the Middle East region announced the successful completion of a project for implementation of Expersoft’s PM1e Wealth Management System at National Industries Group Holding Co which NIG will use to manage its investments across different asset classes. Protiviti’s member firm provided end-to-end solution in selecting and deploying the asset management system for NIG. Hetaf Khajah, Executive Manager International Investments, NIG, remarked “Our decision to continue investing in information systems during a time of global financial crisis has paid off well. The PM1e system, with its powerful analytic tools, robust reports and risk measures helped us stave off major erosion in asset values over the past 18 months. Successful implementation of the system is another step in preparing ourselves to seize opportunities when markets emerge out of the current crisis. Our team together with the support of Expersoft Systems and Protiviti’s member firm have done a commendable job.” Khajah, added “We had an internally developed system to manage our investments. However, the system did not keep pace with our growing financial needs as well as the dynamic nature of global investment instruments and the often changing business processes. We quickly realized that we needed one solution that is readily available to meet the majority of our requirements. We appointed Protiviti’s member firm for the Middle East as our consultants to conduct a requirements study and find a suitable system / vendor. After rigorous analysis of all available solutions, (local, regional and international) we selected Expersoft’s PM1e portfolio management system. We were very pleased with our consultant’s work during the selection phase and decided to appoint them to assist us in the system implementation project.” On the project team’s skills, Khajah remarked, “Expersoft complemented their system with an experienced team for the implementation phase. Protiviti’s member firm provided project management assistance offering key insights in investments performance analysis and ensured knowledge transfer to our team. All these factors contributed to the successful implementation and migration to the new platform; what we have today is a system that is powerful, dynamic and robust, providing performance and risk management reports on the fly. What used to take us days, or sometimes even weeks, for generating certain key reports, now takes just about two minutes.”

Mubasher Sheikh, Group Financial Controller, remarked “Considering the successful adoption of the system by our International Investments team in managing the portfolio of diverse asset classes, we extended the system to manage the Group’s direct investments in subsidiaries and associates. In future, we intend to extend the system to cover our local investments and treasury operations, and thereafter integrate it with our financial accounting system.” Vedat Tuzun, Project Manager with Expersoft Systems Middle East, remarked “Middle East is a key focus area for us and we are delighted to have NIG as a successful site using PM1e. We are looking forward to a long term relationship with the Group providing value adds and extensions to the system to cover NIG’s other divisions and subsidiaries’ needs. The project included some region specific developments for PM1e product family, and strengthened our position in Kuwait and the Middle East”. Senthilkumar, Regional Managing Director of Protiviti’s member firm remarked: “NIG Management’s commitment throughout the project was critical to the success of this project. We are happy to add this project to our growing list of success stories in the Banking and Financial Services space. With our recent expansion in the Middle East region we are now better positioned to assist GCC banks, asset management companies and investment bankers in managing their challenges.” Protiviti Member Firm (Middle East) Ltd. is the member firm of Protiviti, Inc. ( for the Middle East Region. Protiviti, Inc. is a global consulting and internal audit firm composed of experts specializing in risk and advisory services. Protiviti, Inc is a subsidiary of Robert Half International, an NYSE listed company. National Industries Group Holding Co ( is a holding company and has investments across various industry sectors and asset classes including real estate, oil and gas, financial services, building materials, etc. NIG’s total assets as of 31 December 2008 were 1.7 billion KD ($6 billion). Expersoft Systems AG ( provides leading-edge software solutions and services for private and retail banks, family offices, asset managers, brokers and other financial service providers. Expersoft is a Switzerland based company and has offices in Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific.


Monday, January 4, 2010


US businesses see prospects of growth in 2010 NEW YORK: Businesses are eager to put 2009 behind them. Many are expecting a better 2010, if only slightly. “We’re certainly thinking 2010 is going to be another difficult year,” said Bret Elbin, vice president and Franklin County executive for M&T Bank. “In talking to my customers, I don’t think things are getting worse. It’s a question of how long it’s going to be flat.” Franklin County’s unemployment rate reached a 25-year high this fall, but early indicators are hinting that job prospects will be better in the new year. Temporary employment-often seen as a bellwether of overall employment-is picking up. “When a recession hits, the first to go are temporary workers. After you weather a recession, they’ve cut a lot of internal staffing and when they get new business, they are hesitant to hire full-timers back,” said Jim Carchidi, executive vice president for JFC Staffing Associates, which has a branch in Chambersburg. “So once they (temporary staffing agencies) see a surge, which national polls are showing, things are turning in the right direction.” Hiring trends among regional employers are expected to remain stable or improve slightly in the first quarter of 2010,

according to Manpower’s Employment Outlook Survey. In the Harrisburg-Carlisle labor market, 11 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire additional employees between January and March, while 10 percent expect to reduce their payrolls. The largest percentage — 71 percent-expect to maintain their current staff levels. “No one’s expecting anything great for the first quarter of 2010,” said Carl Francisco, co-owner president of Express Employment Professionals in Greencastle. Francisco said those in the landscaping and construction industries are optimistic that they will see more meaningful work return in the second quarter of 2010. Manpower said the job prospects in early 2010 appear best in construction, financial services, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality. Logistics and distribution jobs will remain weaker until consumers are more comfortable opening their wallets, Carchidi said. Locally, manufacturing remains the hardest hit. “It’s flat right now, but we’re glad to have our head above the water,” said Sandra TillmanDaniels, president of ACS Precision, a fabrication and con-

Recession sparks steps to overhaul US economic system Rules of the game have changed... WASHINGTON: What thankfully remains the Great Depression brought a deluge of measures from a newly minted Democratic president intent on reforming banking and Wall Street. Eighty years later, another severe recession has sparked a similar outburst of reformatory zeal from another Democratic first-term president. The targets of his sweeping proposals have greeted the initiatives with reactions ranging from caution to skepticism to outrage. As a new decade dawns, President Barack Obama is making slogging but steady progress across a number of reform fronts, including healthcare, financial markets, executive compensation and the environment. Whether it ultimately will lead to landmark measures that will fondly be recalled the next time talk of a new Great Depression rolls around remains to be seen. But there is no doubt a host of new laws and regulations are coming that businesses will have to respond to. Uncertainty over what the new rules will look like is fueled in part by the biblical proportions of some of the proposals, including the 2,000-page plus health care reform measure. “Who knows what’s in that law when it passes because it’s like 30 pounds and inches thick,” said Don A. Linzer of Schneider Downs, a Downtown firm that counsels clients on accounting, tax and other issues. National Association of Manufacturers President John Engler has read enough to know he doesn’t like it. “This bill raises costs for manufacturers at a time they can’t afford it,” the former Michigan governor said of the Senate proposal. Whether it’s concern over whether federal tax incentives will be extended or the impact of health care legislation, the uncertainty compounds the reluctance of business owners to invest in new projects or expand their payrolls. “If I’m looking to hire someone now, I could be hiring a time bomb,” said Antony Davies of Duquesne University’s Palumbo-Donohue School of Business. “So business will be loath to take on new employees until the rules of the game are settled.” Even before those changes come, businesses realize the Obama administration can use existing laws and regulations in ways the Bush administration did not. A case in point is the US Environmental Protection Agency’s finding last month that greenhouse gasses endanger public health. The conclusion increases the agency’s authority to regulate emissions from power plants, factories and automobiles. “The president is strongly in favor of using regulatory authority to regulate carbon

dioxide,” said American Iron and Steel Institute President Thomas J. Gibson. “That’s something that really needs to be left to Congress.” He said that even one year into the new administration, industry doesn’t have a clear idea of how the regulatory agencies will proceed because the White House is still filling senior positions in some of the agencies. The head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an agency which Gibson expects to take a more active look at steel producers, just took office last month. Much of the reform stems from the problems and excesses in the financial services industry. One Western Pennsylvanian understands the push for closer scrutiny. “The regulatory agencies are very concerned about what’s been going on the last two years. I think they’re going to be very diligent about their investigations,” said William J. Burt, president of Gateway Bank in Peters. “We understand it. We know we’re regulated, and we stay within the guidelines.” The 5-year-old bank has $115 million in branches in McMurray and Cranberry. While the Obama Administration is pressuring banks to lend more money, Burt said Gateway has made loans equal to more than 90 percent of its deposits. “There is money available. Banks will lend money,” he said. “It’s a credit quality issue.” Obama’s sharp remarks about bankers last month reflected public anger over credit availability as well as Wall Street behavior. Last year’s furor over bonuses at AIG, the giant failed insurer now majority-owned by the US taxpayer, was another example. But a former vice president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank said it was wrong to affix the blame on one group. “In order to have a crisis this severe, it takes a lot of people working together” including regulators and consumers, said Ernie Patrikis, the co-leader of New York law firm White & Case’s bank practice. He has misgivings about financial industry reform legislation before Congress, believing that it will raise borrowing costs for consumers. Patrikis also predicts reform will spur an expansion in what he calls the “shadow” financial world as companies inevitably find ways around regulation. While the former Fed official won’t place blame on one party, Dr Davies will. He thinks the White House and Congress are trying to cure the economy using the tools that made it sick in the first place. “I would put the bulk of what we’ve gone through on government regulation. What we’re looking to do now is invoke the same tonic that got us into this thing,” the Duquesne professor said. — MCT

Tari Dudley and her son-in-law, Aaron Phelps had to start their auto repair business in Fort Worth, Texas, without a bank loan. — MCT tract manufacturing shop in Mercersburg. “But we’re anticipating good things are going to

happen.” For manufacturers, quoting activity is often an early indica-

tor that the conditions are improving. An increase in actual purchase is a better sign. ACS

Precision plans to hire in 2010. Tillman-Daniels said the company is already seeing “a ton” of

quoting requests. Employment in health care remained relatively flat in 2009. They’re not struggling, but it’s not exploding in growth like it has been for the past decade,” Carchidi said. Summit Health has announced plans to expand Chambersburg Hospital this year. Employment levels are expected to remain steady through the new year. “Summit Health saw a delay in the impact of the economic conditions last year, so we expect a delay in the recovery as well,” said Kimberly Rzomp, vice president for corporate finance for Summit Health. For health care, much of the income is dependent on employer-sponsored health insurance, so one of the indicators of recovery is when more patients have insurance-indicating more people in the community are employed. “We will watch our accounts receivable, our bad debts, and our cash balances to indicate that recovery,” Rzomp said. “We also watch our elective services and our doctors’ office visits. Right now we see patients waiting for economic recovery in order to proceed with elective medical procedures or visits. When we see those elective services rebound, that will signal a recovery to Summit Health.”

Like Summit Health, M&T Bank expects employment to be steady through 2010. Elbin said the bank has not laid off any employees locally in 2009 and does not expect to in the coming year. There are still a number of job openings locally. “We’re pleased with where we’re at, relatively,” Elbin said. “On an absolute basis, I don’t think anyone is pleased with the last couple of years.” The bank is currently building a new branch on Norland Avenue. Employees from existing branches will be relocated to staff the new branch. Elbin said commercial loan activity, which indicates businesses are purchasing capital or expanding, still has not fully rebounded, but there are signs that will change. Overall unemployment is often a lagging indicator. “Until the economy is recovered, employers are not typically going to go out and make significant hires until they’re sure they’re not going to lay them off at some point,” Elbin said. While there’s still uncertainty about 2010, Francisco said one thing is certain about 2009. “We’re hoping that everyone will be able to shake off 2009,” he said. “Everyone was ready and willing to get over 2009 as quickly as possible.” — MCT

Profligate Americans permanently shocked into frugality?

Consumers ‘deleverage,’ and what comes next? NEW YORK: The New Year, and the new decade have arrived. Is the “new normal” here to stay? In case you haven’t heard, the “new normal” is the supposedly new economic reality caused by the global financial crisis and the worst economic slump in 70 years. The notion is that profligate Americans have been permanently shocked into frugality. If this is true, the implications for the US economy are huge. For 25 years, US consumer Harris and other economists make a compelling case that consumers are on the straight and narrow, no longer willing to supercharge economic growth by going into debt. They cite, for example, the 3.8 percent decline in consumer credit since its peak in July 2008, the biggest decline since World War II, when credit cards did not exist. What those numbers do not disclose, however, is how much of the decline has been caused by rejections of credit card applications. Plus, economists skip over the fact that consumer credit fell 2 percent in the short and mild recession of the early 1990s. Perhaps economists are right, but there is a chance that the “new normal” concept stems from the same sort of thinking that produced the “new economy” hype during the bubble and the belief that it was fine to give home buyers 100 percent financing with no income verification during the housing boom. The drive behind such thinking has always been that whatever is happening now will keep happening in the future, be it a powerful cycle of productivity gains

through new technology or a period when housing prices know only one direction: up. Hyman P Minsky, an economist who died in 1996 but has come into vogue recently for his descriptions of capitalist economies as inherently unstable, showed how even the most insightful thinkers can be heavily influenced by recent events. In his 1986 book, Stabilizing an Unstable Economy, written at a time when the 1970s’ raging inflation was a fresh memory, Minsky tried to explain why numerous financial crises since the mid-1960s had not resulted in a repeat of the 1930s. Minsky wrote: “What happened is that the shape of the business cycle has been changed; inflation has replaced the deep and wide troughs of depression.” Just as Minsky made that statement, the United States entered a 20-year period known as the great moderation, with relatively steady economic growth and mostly tame inflation. Time will tell if economists are right to say that the current retrenchment by Americans-millions of whom have lost their jobs while millions more worry about when they might be on the

unemployment line-will continue for the foreseeable future. It is worth noting, however, that Americans tend to feel better about the economy-and spend more-when the job market improves and housing prices are going up. There’s little doubt that the job market will recover. Less certain is the fate of the housing market. If housing prices return to the relatively slow growth rate that prevailed in most of the 20th century, consumers could remain subdued. The Obama administration is doing all it can to prevent that, most recently lifting the limits on support for government-controlled mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Hank Smith, chief investment officer for equities at Haverford Trust Co., of Radnor, is a “new normal” skeptic. “Don’t underestimate the consumer,” he said. “Historically, it’s been the wrong bet. Yes, we understand there’s deleveraging going on with the consumer,” he said. But Smith does not expect that to go on forever. “We affectionately say that consumers have some genetic chip inside them that says, ‘Spend.’ — MCT

NEW YORK: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the end of the last trading day for the year on December 31, 2009 in New York City. — AFP

spending grew at a rate of 0.5 percent faster than income, said Ethan S. Harris, North American economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, while discussing the “new normal” opportunities. That excess spending, powered largely by mounting debt, provided a tailwind to economic growth. “Now there could be a headwind,” Harris said during a 2010 outlook conference.

FORT LAUDERDALE: The economy hasn’t put a damper on the spirits of luxury consumers. Robin Levinson shows rings to Karon and Lew Cohen at Levinson Jewelers’ grand opening in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. — AFP

Currency exchange, the fading dollar WASHINGTON: The US dollar has been declining in value against most major world currencies for pretty much the last eight years. Why should you care? The fading dollar has both good and bad consequences, depending on where you stand. When the dollar falls, it helps make US companies more competitive in the global economy by making domestic goods more affordable to foreign buyers. “That’s assuming [US companies] have quality products that consumers around the world want, which we do,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh. On the other hand, a falling dollar hurts the purchasing power of Americans on the world scene. Imports-everything from BMWs to oil-end up costing more. Foreign travel also becomes more costly. So far, the dollar’s descent has been slow and steady. It surged higher briefly as a safe haven during the world financial crisis last year, but since

March has dropped back to nearly an eight-year low as measured by the trade-weighted US dollar index. Some experts worry that the slow leak could become a blowout, especially with all the money the US government has been pumping into the economy. If that happened, it could be very bad for the US economy, Hoffman said. “A sharp drop in the dollar can scare away foreign investors, investors that we need because we are running such a huge federal deficit,” he said. “It could prove to be inflationary, too.” So far, that hasn’t been the case. Hoffman predicts the dollar might actually start to rally again in the middle of next year as a US recovery looks more sustainable and the Federal Reserve starts raising interest rates. “That [scenario] isn’t in the story line of any of the people screaming about the consequences of a falling dollar or writing alarmist stories,” he said. —MCT

WASHINGTON: This photo illustration shows George Washington on the front of the one dollar USD note in Washington, DC. — AFP



Monday, January 4, 2010

US home prices fall in latest report BROOKSVILLE: Marilyn Pearson-Adams, president of the Hernando County Association of Realtors, said she is not sweating over a newly released housing market that shows home prices fell 1.6 percent in the Tampa Bay metropolitan area from September to October. “I’m not panicking,” she said. “You can’t take just one figure.” While it’s true that prices in the county did fall during that period in Hernando County, Pearson-Adams believes there were extenuating circumstances and that prices will be more stable in 2010. The S&P Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday showed the Tampa area ranked at the bottom of 20 different markets in terms of home price losses in October. But Pearson-Adams attributes the drop-off in October to buyer anxiety over the pending expiration of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. Many rushed to finalize home purchasing contracts in September, she said.

Rafael Aponte (left), who lost his job and his home in foreclosure, protests outside the National Constitution Center, where a congressional panel meeting inside was looking into homeowner-rescue programs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. — MCT

Pearson-Adams also blamed a rise in short sales for skewing the numbers. A short sale is one where the seller is willing to take a lower price for the home than what is owed the bank. In October, the average sales price for an existing single-family home in Hernando County was $117,932, down from $122,494 one year earlier. Florida’s median sales price for existing homes in October 2009 was $140,300, down 17 percent from one year earlier when it was $169,700, according to Florida Realtors. Pearson-Adams said any progress in the housing market in 2010 will depend on the foreclosure rate, but she does expect to see some natural market appreciation in home prices anywhere from 3 to 5 percent, which is what the rate was prior to the boom year of 2004. Pearson said the extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit should continue to drive sales in 2010. On Nov 6, President Barack Obama signed into law an extension

Builders digging out from downturn

Demand eases for homes, but first-time buyers provide boost STATE COLLEGE: In Patton Township, naked steel girders outline what was to have been a luxury condominium hotel. The project is indefinitely suspended, a casualty of the economy. In downtown State College, another luxury building project remains on the drawing “We are just about at the (halfway) point to having the condo reservations required to meet financing requirements,” said Jack Kay, president of Susquehanna Real Estate, the project developer. “Several major projects have been put on hold ... because the local economy just can’t sustain them right now,” said John Coleman, president of the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County. But while construction of luxury homes has fallen dramatically, one home builder says he’s seen some success in the past year building more modest dwellings for entry-level buyers. And construction at Mount Nittany Medical Center reflects the strength of the health care industry. “Mount Nittany has several major projects ... as well as growth in general in the health care field,” Coleman said. Of course, much of the local economy is driven by one organization: Penn State. And the university, while it froze wages, has not reduced staff. “And, like (economists) watch Alan Greenspan or Ben Bernanke, we all watch the university for signs,” Coleman said. “Hiring, wages, student enrollment-those are all things we have to pay attention to.” The university offers a measure of economic stability to Centre County, but that doesn’t mean the county has been immune to the effects of the recession. During 2009, the average price of a home fell 7 percent in Centre County. The number of homes sold decreased 4 percent, from 1,396 to 1,334 as of Dec. 14, according to data from the Centre County Association of Realtors. Still, association leaders remain upbeat. “All things considered, we’re still far better off than most parts of the country,” said Steve Bodner, the association’s presidentelect. He noted that Centre County still enjoys the lowest unemployment rate in the state; Penn State, the county’s largest employer, is stable; financing remains available for qualified buyers and interest rates remain near historic lows. “As long as you’re long-term minded, it’s not a bad time to buy,” said association President Lorraine Spock. Spock said she believes there are some signs of a “pent up market” in the area-rental rates remain very high. “So maybe people are renting because they’re afraid of the market, the economy,” she said. The slowdown, both in the broader economy and in the housing market, has also affected local builders, a group that Coleman said has been “decimated” during the past year. “Like everyone in housing, it’s been a rough couple of years,” said Chris Schoonmaker, vice president of sales at S&A Homes. The homebuilder operates

board-literally. An artist rendering at the site shows a vision of the project, initially slated to begin construction in 2009. But sales of the project’s condominiums have been affected by the economy.

BRISTOW, Virginia: A construction worker builds a new home in the community of New Bristow Village, in Bristow, Virginia. The US government has pledged virtually unlimited aid to mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through 2012 to allow the government-sponsored firms to weather any new crisis. — AFP across central and southern Pennsylvania, in Harrisburg, Carlisle, Altoona and Pittsburgh. And in those areas, as well as in Centre County, there’s been a significant slowdown in new construction. “I would say State College is an unbelievable area to live in and is still our strongest market ... but in terms of trends, the trends here are similar to other places,” Schoonmaker said. In 2008, there were 185 residential building permits issued in the county through September. During the same time period of 2009, 131 permits were issued, according to the Pennsylvania Builders Association. “There’s a perception that State College is a bit of an oasis, but I would not say that,” Schoonmaker said. “If you look at single-family building permits, just in the last 12 months they’re down

about 34 percent” (in Centre County). In Allegheny County, home-building permits issued stood at 774 in September, trending down from 1,003 in the same period in 2008. In the Harrisburg area, Dauphin County fell to 166 permits, down from 272; Cumberland, a rapidly growing county south of Harrisburg, registered 507 permits in 2008 — and 323 in the first three quarters of 2009. The building slowdown has also affected commercial and industrial development projects, several of which have also been put on hold in recent years. “We probably had our strongest year ever in 2007,” said John Sepka, president and CEO of PennTerra Engineering. The State College- based company provides engineering services for residential, commercial and industrial projects. “We defi-

nitely saw a sharp drop-off in work last year ... saw it starting in the last summer, early fall of 2008,” he said. Since then, there has been a “sharp decline in new projects,” he said. But, Sepka said, the firm has been able to weather the economic storm and even expand its market reach. Within the past month his firm absorbed a Harrisburg-based company, CEDG Engineers. Sepka said the acquisition made sense, even with the economic climate. “We’re hoping to see things turn around here in the spring,” he said. And the acquisition will strengthen PennTerra’s reach into the southern portion of the state. “We’ve always seen it as a very strong market to be in,” he said. “I definitely have the team we need to be positioned for things to turn around.” The timing of the

turnaround though, is still any-one’s guess. Schoonmaker said S&A is expecting to see the start of a rebound in 2010. The company will be starting several new projects aimed at entry-level home buyers in the sub-$250,000 range. While high-end home construction and sales have slowed considerably, Schoonmaker said his company has done fairly well in the entry market over the past year, buoyed by the first-time home buyer tax credit, lower prices and low interest rates. “I really believe things are going to start to improve in 2010,” he said. “Obviously we’re not going to jump back into the numbers we saw in 2005. ... But based on certain indicators ... and if (interest) rates stay at a reasonable number, 2010 is going to be a better year.” — MCT

and expansion of the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit. Among other provisions, the extension adds money for certain move-up buyers; creates one deadline for signing a contract and a later deadline for closing; changes income requirements; and limits a purchased home’s cost to $800,000. Cynthia Shelton, 2009 Florida Realtors president, said extending the buyer tax credit and expanding it to reach more homebuyers is the right thing to do, “as it’s critical to maintaining positive momentum in the housing market and in the overall economy.” The news from November is not much better. The average price of an existing single-family home in Hernando County was $107,575 that month, according to Multiple Listing Service statistics. The median sales price for existing homes in Florida for November was $139,000, or 12 percent lower than November 2008, according to statistics from Century 21 Alliance Realty. — MCT

Americans save more during tough times For much of the past decade, American consumers have considered a penny saved to be a penny spurned. Consumer spending ballooned, spurring an economic expansion that came to an abrupt halt with a worldwide recession. That economic collapse put an end to freespending ways for many. American consumers, who a few years ago were spending more than they were taking in, have pared budgets and reined in their use of credit. “The level of debt on the individual side just got to the point of unsustainability,” said Keith Hazelton, economic adviser to Oklahoma Bankers Association. “Once we work our way through that, which could take a decade, there’s a lot of upside.” The erosion of portfolios and retirement accounts provided a wake-up call for many Americans, particularly those nearing retirement age. “I think you’ll see a lot of changes in behaviors by baby boomers,” Hazelton said. Chad Wilkerson, regional economist with the Federal Reserve’s Oklahoma City branch, said it’s hard to predict whether consumers will continue their thrifty ways as the economy rebounds. “I do hope that savings rates aren’t zero again in the future,” Wilkerson said. “I hope people have learned their lesson about that. Surely in the near to intermediate term, hopefully they have. In the longer run, I don’t know for sure.” Economic engine Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the U.S. economy, but Hazelton believes that figure is due to fall. Such a change in consumer behavior could prove to be a “watershed event,” he said. For many consumers, the days of “been there, done that; got the flat-panel TV to show for it,” could be over, he said. Meanwhile, a decline in home values and more restrictive policies by credit card issuers have forced some consumers to live within their means. Hazelton foresees fundamental change in consumer behavior that over the next decade could transform the US economy. Such a transformation would be painful, Hazelton said, but could produce greater economic stability, much like the upheaval of the Great Depression that ended with a higher standard of living for many Americans. Because consumer spending plays such a large role in the nation’s economy, growth in personal savings could actually end up playing a negative role, Wilkerson said. “That’s going to be interesting to see in the next year or two how that plays out,” he said. “If savings rates continue to increase, that will put a damper on the speed of recovery. It will be good for the folks who are doing that in the long run, but it could cause some short-term pain.” Local wealth Wilkerson said the economic woes that prompted consumers to save more and cut debts were most severe in states where home values soared and creative financing was more widely used. “In this particular downturn, there was a lot more regional wealth destruction on the coasts than here,” he said. “One of the reasons our part of the country might do OK in this recovery is because we didn’t lose as much wealth.” While savings and debt level figures aren’t available on a regional level, other economic indicators have reflected that Oklahoma’s economy has fared better than those of most states during the current recession. The savings and spending behaviors of the state’s and nation’s consumers are tough to predict, but Hazelton thinks the current trend could be a boon for most. “We’ll be living more frugal, austere lifestyles, but maybe in the long run we’re going to be happier,” he said. “Who knows?” — MCT

India’s SAIL headed for disinvestment MUMBAI: Steel Authority of India (SAIL) is headed for disinvestment. A 20 per cent share sale proposal in the PSU steel major will be taken to the Union cabinet by January 2010, steel secretary Atul Chaturvedi said on Thursday. “The proposal will be moved to the cabinet in the next 3-4 weeks,” he told reporters at a Ficci conference. He said the draft proposal that has been approved by the steel ministry has now been sent to concerned ministries for comments. As per the proposal, government will

offload 10 per cent stake in the company and SAIL will come out with a public offer in the same proportion, in two phases. Another official in the ministry told Financial Chronicle that the proposal would adhere to all standard formulations, including SEBI guidelines. The government holds over 85 per cent stake in the country’s largest steel company and plans to raise Rs 9,000 crore based on SAIL’s share price from the proposed disinvestment. Meanwhile, operating like a cartel,

leading steel companies like SAIL, JSW Steel, Essar and Bhushan Steel may hike prices next month to cash in on the demand surge in domestic markets. “Internationally, steel prices have risen by about $30 a tonne to $ 450 a tonne in the past one month. There is a possibility of JSW Steel increasing its prices,” JSW steel director Jayant Acharya said. Steel prices were cut by about Rs 2,000 a ton in the past two months following a fall in global prices and threat from cheaper imports. Bhushan Steel on Wednesday had let it be

known that prices could increase by Rs 500-1,500, even as steel makers have generally been cagey in confirming the quantum of the hike. SAIL chairman S K Roongta too concurred that prices are likely to be increased in January 2010. When asked, steel secretary Chaturvedi said the government had no immediate plans to intervene if steel producers acted like a cartel. “If prices can go down, they can go up. We have no plans of intervening at the moment. We will see when the situation warrants,” he said.

Rosa Miro (left), housing counselor for Consumer Credit Counseling of Central Florida, helps a client with a new foreclosure prevention program at their Orlando, Florida office. — MCT


Monday, January 4, 2010


Setting up Powerline on your home network HAMBURG: The idea is simple: exchange data among computers and other network-ready devices using the existing electrical wiring in your home. The method is known as Powerline and it’s one of the solutions to in-home networking being touted by networking equipment makers today. A Powerline adapter features a conventional plug on one side and an Ethernet port on the other side to bridge the short distance between adapter and PC. Powerline is considered foolproof, but it can bring some problems of its own. The major benefit is the technology: it eliminates the need to lay yards of Ethernet cable across an apartment or house, or even to set up a WLAN network. Powerline is particularly

helpful, for example, when laying Ethernet cables within an existing single family home would be expensive. “If I have to send WLAN through several walls, then Powerline is a good alternative,” says Michael Link from Germany’s Computerbild magazine. Powerline adapters are easy to install, too. Just plug a network-ready device like a PC or gaming console into a Powerline wall socket and the adapters facilitate communication automatically. Problems are rare and when they do occur it is usually because the wiring is not standard, Link says. Powerline installations are not limited to just two adapters, either. Up to 256 can be linked onto one network, explains Christoph Roesseler from

German hardware maker devolo. The reason: each adapter must be capable of recognising which other adapters are already on the network. Each adapter’s module can hold data for up to 255 other modules. Powerline products are offered by most of the major home networking equipment makers, including Allnet, Belkin, Linksys, and MSI. The devices generally work with either the HomePlug 1.0 or HomePlug AV standard. The key differences between the two are in transmission speed and encryption. HomePlug 1.0 offers transmission speeds of up to 85 Megabit seconds (MBit/s). HomePlug AV works at up to 200 MBit/s. “AV” stands for audio/video and hints at the type of data for which

this system is designed: music and in particular films. “If you’re interested in streaming a HD movie from the internet onto a television, then HomePlug AV products are a must,” says Michael Link. For videos and TV at standard resolutions, HomePlug 1.0 is sufficient. The gap between nominal speeds listed in Powerline ads and the speed that the technology achieves in real life situations tends to be worse than on WLAN, however, according to a recent study from Germany-based Stiftung Warentest. “The connections are faster on the whole, though,” the testers noted. Adapter pairs cost between 50 and 180 dollars, depending on which speeds are offered. Single units are

also available for purchase as well. The plugs from different manufacturers are mutually compatible, presuming they work with the same standard. Data security is one potential point of concern. While power meters absorb signals transported across power lines, it is hardly an impenetrable barrier. The experts recommend changing the preset password to prevent a neighbor with a Powerline adapter of his own from sneaking on to your network. Some adapters do provide extra layers of security, like a button on each adaptor that must be pressed before devices will pair with one another. HomePlug-AV plugs also work with 128 bit AES encryption. The older HomePlug 1.0 standard works with a

weaker level of encryption that may potentially be unsafe, says Michael Link from Computerbild. Even so, Powerline networks require physical access. You have to be in the same house - a significant difference from WLAN networks, which can be attacked from a hacker sitting in a car outside of a house. HomePlug adapters do have at least one negative side effect: they can disrupt shortwave radio equipment. Although Powerline runs over the power cables, under certain circumstances the signals can radiate out for several metres, disrupting amateur broadcasters in the immediate vicinity. In practice these problems are rare, says Link, himself a ham radio operator. — dpa

Google phone debut expected this week Company gained foothold with Android mobile operating system

Will the Internet run out of IP addresses in 2012? Vint Cerf, also known as the father of the Internet, warned that we’d run out of IP addresses by 2010. That didn’t happen. Now some pundits are predicting 2012 as the new doom-and-gloom date for the World Wide Web. No one knows for sure when the original pool of IP addresses will be depleted, but one thing is certain: The continued growth of the Internet and the increasing use of machineto-machine communications makes it likelyand soon. Here’s how it works in a nutshell: IP version 4, or IPv4, addresses are allocated by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to regional registries. The registries then allocate IPv4 addresses to individual customers. As it stands, the last free pool at IANA is tracking for September 2011 — and the last address would be offered to an individual customer about a year later, or about 700 days from now. “As with all scarce resources, occupation of new address resources will slow down as the free pool shrinks, just as oil consumption decreases as the price goes up,” said Dr Milton Mueller, a professor at the Syracuse University School Of Information Studies’ Internet Governance Project. “But sooner or later, the free pool will be gone. IPv4 addresses are fixed in number and most of them have already been handed out to organizations and ISPs.” Several factors contribute to address scarcity. First, the Internet address space is a fixed quantity, set by the basic Internet protocol standard of 1981. It allows for about four billion unique bit combinations. In the early years of Internet development, address blocks were handed out too easily, Mueller said, because no one knew the Internet would become so large. By 1993, about 40 percent of the addresses had already been given out. “The regional address registries don’t have effective reclamation policies, so once they give out an address block, it never comes back, regardless of how efficiently it is used,” Mueller said. “A more fundamental cause of inefficient address usage is the need for aggregation of routes. This is difficult to explain simply, but the current system of routing makes it difficult and sometimes impossible for users to carve up their address blocks into smaller pieces and move them around to different users, so there is a lot of underutilized address space.” What happens when we run out of IPv4 addresses? The impact of an IPv4 address exhaust can manifest itself in a number of ways-technical and business, according to Pravin Mahajan, marketing manager for Cisco’s Core Solutions. There’s a possibility of a ‘last-chance’ rush on the registries, he said, along with industry talk about the possibility of trading IPv4 addresses. However no such model exists today or is forecast to be built.

“Apart from these issues which relate to the procurement of addresses, there’s the issue of optimization with available addresses. Optimization involves reuse of existing addresses with translation and tunneling techniques,” Mahajan said. “The business impact of the exhaust is already being felt in some market opportunities. Smart grid involves IP-enabling the electric power infrastructure.” According to Mueller, when the world runs out of IPv4 addresses, it will force network operators to use their address resources more carefully and promote two structural adjustments. First, it will promote the use of network address translators (NATs) that put an entire organizational network in a private address space. Second, it will, hopefully, eventually drive ISPs and others to adopt the new Internet protocol, IPv6, which has a very large address space. Meeting the challenge means understanding the distinction between IPv4 addresses (the established Internet protocol) and IPv6 addresses, which are not widely used yet. The Internet itself is unlikely to run out of IP addresses because IPv6 offers a virtually infinite pool. However, the challenge is to make the transition from IPv4 to IPv6. Eventually providers will adopt IPv6 addressing, and the IPv4 exhaust could prompt them to move faster on its adoption. “The migration to IPv6 will take years, and that will require both standards to be in place for a long time,” Mueller said. “If we really develop shortages of IP addresses, it could crimp the growth of the Internet and undermine its performance in various ways.” As Mueller sees it, the best solution in the short term is for the regional address registries to allow market trading of address resources-with some restrictions to maintain aggregation-and to institute more effective policies to reclaim unused address resources. “Longer term,” he said, “we must either standardize NAT arrangements in a way that allows a huge expansion of the address space, or migrate to IPv6.” Mahajan has a similar take. Any technology transition usually involves periods of coexistence before the complete shift. In this case, the transition is expected to occur over many years and possibly decades. That points to an industry need for a coherent plan during this long migration. “The plan needs to incorporate preservation of the existing mode of operations, preparation for the new technology coexisting with the old, and maintain or enhance business prosperity along the process,” Mahajan said. “Industry participants may move at a different pace based on their vertical segment-wireline, mobile, cable, etc.geography and other drivers. The best solution for the transition needs to factor in all of these dynamic components.” — Newsfactor

Huffington Post’s Twitter feed mimicked by hacker SAN FRANCISCO: A Huffington Post spokesman says the left-leaning news and opinion Web site was not hacked when a Twitter social network feed emerged in its name and began issuing insults with a conservative bent. Mario Ruiz tells The Associated Press in an e-

mail Saturday that the account isn’t operated by The Huffington Post, but was set up to appear as though it was. He followed up later Saturday to say that Twitter had suspended the account. Some Twitter subscribers earlier Saturday mistook the mimicked feed

for The Huffington Post’s own commentary when they were alerted to it by other Twitter users. The feed included mostly unpublishable insults about political and media figures, including President Barack Obama and MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann. — AP

WASHINGTON: Google is expected to ring in the new year by unveiling its own smartphone tomorrow, the Nexus One, in a bid to expand its powerful Web brand in the booming mobile arena. The Internet search and advertising giant has already gained a foothold in the market with its Android mobile operating system, featured in a number of phones starting with T-Mobile’s G1 in October 2008 and more recently with the Droid from Motorola. But the Nexus One, designed by Taiwanese handset maker HTC, represents a significant departure in that Google is expected to sell the Googlebranded phone directly to consumers who will not be tied to any one telecom carrier. Apple’s popular iPhone, for example, is available exclusively in the United States through AT&T, but buyers of the “Google phone” will reportedly have their choice of wireless carriers. Technology blog Gizmodo, citing leaked documents, said the Nexus One will cost 530 dollars “unlocked”-meaning it isn’t tied to a specific carrier-or 180 dollars with a two-year service agreement with T-Mobile, a subsidiary of Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG. Google has been coy about any plans to jump headfirst into the fastgrowing smartphone market, dropping hints but not confirming its intentions outright. Agence France-Presse and other media outlets have been invited to a press event tomorrow at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, billed only as an “Android press gathering.” “With the launch of

the first Android-powered device just over a year ago, we’ve seen how a powerful, open platform can spur mobile product innovation,” the invitation said. “And this is just the beginning of what’s possible.” Google provided no further details about the event, whose timing appears to be an attempt to upstage the Consumer Electronics Show, the annual technology extravaganza which opens in Las Vegas on January 7. Among the hints dropped by Google was a blog post last month in which the company

said employees were testing a mobile product internally in an exercise known in the industry as “dogfooding.” Google’s plunge into the smartphone market has drawn a mixed reaction. “It looks like Google is moving to see if they can do the Apple thing,” said analyst Rob Enderle, of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley, in a reference to the iPhone, which has enjoyed phenomenal success since it was introduced in 2007. Pointing to Google’s 750million-dollar acquisition of mobile advertising company

AdMob in November, a number of analysts said Google hopes to replicate its Web advertising success in the mobile space. Not all are convinced by the wisdom of the move. “For Google to go into the business of selling phones just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” Gartner analyst Van Baker said. “Just coming out with a high-end phone really doesn’t buy you much,” Baker said. “You’d be hard pressed to come up with enough revenue from pushing ads to pay for the phone service.” Ovum research

fellow Jonathan Yarmis said Google will have to walk a fine line between marketing its own smartphone and being a supportive partner for the growing number of firms making their own handsets based on Android. Although Android’s share of the US smartphone market is relatively small, it has doubled in the past year to 3.5 percent in October, according to comScore, and Gartner predicts Androidbased smartphones will capture 14 percent of the global market by the year 2012. — AFP

Tablets, netbooks and smart phones to be CES stars SAN FRANCISCO: Sleeker, smarter mobile phones, tablets, and netbooks will be stars at next week’s premier Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, as firms bring out their latest gadgets to court the Internet crowd. While this year’s CES will be smaller due to the global economic crisis, 110,000 people are registered to attend and the number of first-time exhibitors tops 330 for the first time. A Google “Nexus One” smart phone based on Android software is likely to ignite CES buzz even though the device is to debut at the Internet giant’s headquarters in California two days before CES starts Thursday. CES goers are eager to see whether the Google branded phone lives up to expectations in a scenario reminiscent of the Palm Pre launch at the annual electronics show last year. “All eyes are on the Nexus One,” said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley. “The other thing of course is the tablets. A wave of Android tablets will be hitting at CES, and it looks like Apple’s is coming at the end of the month.” A tablet computer to be launched at CES by India-based Notion Inc. is generating the most interest due to attributes such as paper-like screen graphics for easy reading outdoors and full-color resolution. By waiting a few more weeks to launch a tablet, Apple will be able to assess how competitors position themselves in the market and adapt its strategy accordingly. Electronic books, or ebooks, will also be rolled out in abundance at CES. Industry tracker Forrester Research predicts that six million e-readers will be sold in the United States alone in 2010, doubling the number bought in the country the prior year. An eagerly-awaited QUE e-reader by Plastic Logic will premier Thursday in an

invitation-only press conference slated prior to the opening of the show floor. “We are going to be awash in e-books,” Enderle said. “The contrast between tablets and e-books is going to be pronounced.” Lightweight, bare-bones laptops referred to as netbooks or “ultraportables” will also be a rage at CES as computer makers debut offerings tailored for a market that has boomed during hard times. Making devices ranging from flatscreen televisions to cars or home thermostats “smart” with computer chips and links to the Internet will gain momentum at CES. Powerhouses behind huge but everthinning televisions that are a hallmark of

CES will tout online capabilities along with rich graphics prime for viewing films in high-definition or Blu-ray formats. “You will see the TV set become more than just a simple TV set and the Blu-ray player more than a Blu-ray player,” predicted Dolby consumer technology marketing director Craig Eggers. “Last year saw Yahoo! widgets on TV sets. More television makers are installing devices to stream YouTube, CinemaNow, and other online video on TV.” Dolby, which is planning CES announcements of its own, is intent on making sure audio richness on devices does justice to eye-popping graphics. Television screens with improved 3D

capabilities will be “big stuff” at CES and there is a rumor that the first US 3D television station will launch during CES, according to Enderle. Microsoft and Yahoo! are among Internet titans that will be announcing innovations or alliances at CES. The Consumer Electronics Association has beefed up the size of a videogame gear zone and an iLounge devoted to software and accessories for Apple iPhones, iPods and Macintosh computers. Speakers include Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer; Nokia head Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo; Ford president Alan Mulally; Intel leader Paul Otellini; Qualcomm boss Paul Jacobs, and Hisense chairman Zhou Houjian. — AFP



Monday, January 4, 2010

H1N1 flu spreading into the countryside: China BEIJING: The H1N1 strain of flu is rapidly spreading into China’s vast countryside and there could be a spike in cases around the Lunar New Year period when millions head back to their home towns, the health ministry said. The world’s most populous nation has

reported 648 deaths to date from what is often called swine flu, a tiny portion of the estimated 12,220 deaths around the globe, but has launched a massive vaccination campaign. “Outbreaks in Beijing, Shanghai, other large cities and in schools have seen an obvi-

ous decline, but the virus continues to spread into villages and communities,” the Health Ministry said in a statement on its website ( The government has been especially worried as the country heads into the depths of winter and ahead of the

Lunar New Year holiday in February, when millions of people travel back to their home towns-potentially taking flu with them. “The risk of catching H1N1 will increase, and the virus prevention situation is still grim,” the ministry added. “It is expected

country’s 1.3 billion people live. The government is rushing to send medical equipment such as respirators to 17 central and western provinces to “increase the overall ability to deal with severe cases”, the ministry said. — Reuters

that for the period to come the virus will spread briskly.” China is also concerned that not enough people have been vaccinated against the virus, and that the flu will be hard to control once it reaches the poor and underdeveloped rural hinterland, where most the

France joins Europe flu vaccine sell-off Less demand for drug than expected

FREIBURG: Suricates (suricata suricatta), also known as meerkats, seen seated by a heating lamp in a zoo in Freiburg , southern Germany, Monday. —AP

Shell CO2 stocking plans under fire BARENDRECHT: A plan by oil giant Shell to store 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year in a depleted gas reservoir beneath this Dutch city has drawn the ire of residents and local officials who have vowed to thwart it. “We are going to do everything to oppose this project,” declared Barendrecht deputy mayor Simon Zuubrier, who voiced fears for the safety of the city’s 50,000 inhabitants. “We are taking legal action to get it cancelled and we’ll approve none of the required permits.” Anglo-Dutch Shell in November was authorized by the Dutch government to undertake a project to capture and store a portion of the 5.0 megatons of carbon dioxide emitted each year by the company’s refinery in Pernis, Europe’s largest. Pernis is located 15 kilometers (9.4 miles) from here. Under the scheme, set to get under way in 2012, the CO2 will be carried by a pipeline and, after being compressed, will be injected into a depleted gas reservoir 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) under ground. The reservoir has a capacity of 800,000 tons. Shell has said that over time the CO2 will dissolve or form minerals. With a positive evaluation of the initiative by

government-mandated experts, the project will be extended in a few years to another nearby gas reservoir, with a 9.0 megaton capacity and part of which lies under Barendrecht city center. “It’s ridiculous to carry out such an experiment in a densely populated area,” insisted Zuubrier. Klass Brantjes, a member of a residents’ association, said that while “we have been given the illusion of security, all the risks are not known.” “The risks that CO2 will escape are real and are especially dangerous as the city is situated in a basin.” But a spokesman for the Dutch foreign ministry, Jan van Diepen, insisted that “the project is safe, otherwise the government would not have given the go-ahead.” The Dutch government is providing 30 million euros to help finance the facility. Shell has declined to reveal the overall cost. Shell says the carbon capture and storage by injection technique has already been tested in Norway and the United States. “CCS (carbon capture and storage) is a safe technique in itself,” Margriet Kuijper, Shell Manager of Carbon Capture and Storage Projects and Studies, said on the company

website. “It will be carried out with so many safeguards that it can be used anywhere, even in residential areas.” The Netherlands, which emitted 174.5 megatons of CO2 in 2008, has a total storage capacity of 1,600 megatons. “It is imperative to capture and store CO2 in order to reach our target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions” by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, van Diepen said. “If a fifth of the country’s energy production is from renewable sources by 2020, which is what the government wants, it would mean that 80 percent would still come from fossil fuels,” he said. “Storing CO2 is therefore inescapable as a transition technology to limit climate damage.” It’s an argument dismissed by the environmental group Greenpeace, which has said “the enormous subsidies” allocated to burying carbon gas contribute to “maintaining polluting industries” at the expense of cleaner energy. Shell has acknowledged that carbon storage operations have an impact on the environment, as they release a quantity of CO2 equal to 5.0 percent of the carbon gas being stored.—AFP

PARIS: France has joined other European countries in selling off millions of its emergency swine flu vaccines after buying far more than it needed to fight the outbreak, the government said yesterday. “We started with a plan for twodose vaccinations but since one dose is sufficient we can start to re-sell part of the stock,” a French health ministry official told AFP. Like some other European countries, France has witnessed less demand than expected after spending 869 million euros (1.25 billion dollars) on vaccines for the A(H1N1) flu virus. It bought 94 million doses-almost one and a half for every member of the population-but so far only about five million people in France are recorded as having been vaccinated since the program launched in October. France took the decision to sell some of its stock after European medical authorities said that a one-off vaccination was enough to protect against the virus. The ministry said Qatar had already bought 300,000 doses from France and Egypt was negotiating to buy two million. France is also in discussions with Mexico and Ukraine, it said. Germany also said last month it was looking to sell off vaccines even though its full order of 50 million doses was not due to be delivered until March. Only about five percent of the population had been vaccinated in Germany. A health ministry senior official in the German state of Thuringia, Hartmut Schubert, said there had been requests from Afghanistan and Eastern European countries including Ukraine-where France is now competing with it. The Netherlands announced in November that it would sell 19 million of the 34 million vaccines it ordered to countries with a shortage of them, judging its own flu scare to be past. Spain’s Health Minister Trinidad Jimenez was quoted as saying in the daily El Pais yesterday that it expects to buy a total of about 13 million doses-little more than a third of its earlier estimate of 37 million. The World Health Organization (WHO) said last month that A(H1N1) was reaching a peak in much of western Europe, as the disease progressed into central Europe and through parts of Asia. German authorities said Moldova, Kosovo, Mongolia and the Maldives had approached them asking for vaccines to be donated as aid. The WHO said last week that swine flu has killed at least 12,220 people worldwide, the biggest share of them in the United States and Canada, but had peaked and was declining in North America.—AFP

MALABON: A Bengal tiger licks the glass that separates the animal and zoo owner Manny Tangco, who blows a paper horn, on New Year’s eve at a zoo in suburban Malabon City, north of Manila, Philippines. The coming year 2010 falls on the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar. —AP

North China oil spill threatens Yellow River BEIJING: A burst oil pipeline in north China has spewed thousands of gallons (litres) of diesel into a major tributary of the Yellow River, state media said yesterday. The spill occurred on Wednesday last week on the Chishui river in Shaanxi province when a pipeline operated by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) ruptured, a statement on the Weinan city government website said. Emergency measures have been taken to stop the leak, with 23 containment belts set up downstream from the spill and up to 700 people scrambling to clean up the mess,

the statement said. Local government officials refused to reveal how much diesel had spilled into the river or comment on the spill when contacted by AFP. The official Xinhua news agency reported that up to 150,000 liters (40,000 US gallons) had leaked into the river about 70 kilometers (42 miles) from the Yellow River, one of China’s longest watercourses. Oil has already been detected 33 kilometers downstream from the spill, the report said. “We must take thorough measures to handle the spill and the pollution and strictly prevent it from entering the

Yellow River, while ensuring the safety of drinking water,” the Chongqing Evening News quoted Vice Premier Li Keqiang as saying. Local environmental departments have warned residents not to use the river water as it may be polluted, the report said. A preliminary investigation showed that the pipeline rupture was caused by a local construction project, CNPC, one of China’s biggest state-owned oil and gas companies, said in a statement. The pipeline is used to transport diesel from northwest China’s Gansu province to the central parts of the nation, it said. Around 30 years of unbridled

economic growth have left most of China’s lakes and rivers heavily polluted while the nation’s urban dwellers also face some of the world’s worst air pollution. More than 200 million Chinese currently do not have access to safe drinking water, according to government data. In November 2005, a major oil spill on the Songhua river in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province resulted in a cut off of water supplies to up to four million people in the provincial capital of Harbin before flowing down river into Russia, causing a diplomatic crisis. —AFP

Lessons of a weekend of free health care TENNESSEE : The two-hour drive is done, but Hannah and Jack Hurst leave the Honda’s engine running. Hannah’s prayers have brought them here. Now there’s little to do but turn up the car’s heat, get some sleep and wait for morning, and a set of glass and metal doors to open. Still, Hannah doesn’t complain. The 26year-old mother of three has waited “pretty much as long as I can remember” to escape the pain throbbing through her jaws. Jack lost his road construction job a year ago and health insurance is out of the question. If the answer to Hannah’s misery lays behind those doors, what’s 10 hours more? Out in the dark, the Hursts have plenty of company. Even before 10 p.m. on this Friday in late fall, nearly 50 cars ring the lot. By 6 a.m. Saturday, more than 400 men and women stand tightlipped and bleary-eyed under the stars. By day’s end, as long as they keep tempers in check and sleep from their eyes, they will win the privilege of care from a dentist or a doctor. In a country convulsed over health care, the scene is alarming. But it is always the same, Stan Brock says. For 17 years, the British-born Brock has piloted a nonprofit called Remote Area Medical, offering free health care to the uninsured, the underinsured and the desperate. Brock has seen so many crowds like the one outside Union County High School he chides himself for losing track of whether this is RAM’s 578th expedition or its 587th. Yet in every crowd, there are hundreds of Hannah Hursts, each

a unique testament to America’s ragged pursuit of health care answers. Over the next two days, RAM’s volunteers will examine, extract and prescribe hundreds of solutions for individual aches and afflictions. They will, in the few moments left, attempt to convince patients they’ll probably never see again of the virtues of healthier living and continuous care. They will try to answer Hannah Hurst’s prayers. Lawmakers debating reform could almost certainly learn something here in the trenches. But the most striking lesson might also be the most daunting: To fix health care inequities, expanding insurance alone may not be enough.”Good morning folks,” Brock booms in an English accent crisp with authority. “We’re going to get started on time.” It is precisely 6 a.m. and Brock has just pushed open the high school’s doors, questions ready. “Who’s here to see a dentist?” More than half raise their hands. Who needs an eye doctor? Almost as many. Who needs a medical doctor? Scattered hands go up, but Brock expects that, too. “Really, they all need to see a doctor,” he says. “They just don’t want to lose their place on line.” Ronnie and Debbie Erwin have driven 2 1/2 hours from Johnson City. Insurance from her job covers his care for spinal stenosis. But the prescriptions caused his teeth to disintegrate and infection followed. Insurance doesn’t cover that. “My doctor said you’ve got to do some-

TENNESSEE: This Nov 14, 2009 photo shows Tresa Daugherty from Oak Ridge, Tenn., sleeping as she waits in the hall for eye exams during a Remote Area Medical clinic held at Union County High School in Maynardville, Tenn. —AP thing or it’s going to kill you,” Ronnie says. Melissa Hayes, a home health aide from nearby Luttrell, has waited since 11:30 pm with her daughters, aged 5, 7 and 10. Her oldest, Brittney Prince, can’t see the board at school, but the family can’t afford glasses. Joe Mason is anxious about a broken molar, but if there’s time, he’s thinking about seeing a doctor, too. The idea, though, leaves him uncertain. “How do you go in there and talk to a doctor? I probably

haven’t been to one in 20 years,” says Mason, 31. “I mean, what are you supposed to say to one?” “Who’s got No. 1?” The day’s first patients are waved in to “triage”, the school cafeteria. Decide which need is today’s priority, volunteers urge. There won’t be enough time or doctors to deal with them all. “Dental?” Go to the gym. “General medical?” In the classrooms down the hall.

It’s just 45 minutes from RAM’s base in Knoxville to Maynardville, the center of a county of 19,000 set amid corduroy ridges. But the volunteers’ arrival is the product of a long and convoluted journey. It began in the Amazon. Brock, a boarding school dropout, landed there more than 50 years ago and turned himself into a South American cowboy. He left in the 1960s to wrestle anacondas and rope giraffes on a popular U.S. television show, “Wild Kingdom.” But in 1985, settled in Knoxville, he began organizing medical relief flights back to the region. Seven years later, he got a call. The only hospital in Hancock County, Tennessee, had closed and the sole dentist had moved away. “We literally loaded a couple of 400-pound (180 kilogram) dental chairs that we borrowed into the back of a pickup truck and we went up there with a couple of dentists,” Brock says. “It wasn’t long before another county called and on and on and on and on.” Hundreds of expeditions later, Americans have become the group’s main mission. For all their planning, RAM’s people never know entirely what to expect. Neither do their patients. Although the Hursts got to Maynardville early, they lost their place in line when police cleared the parking lot because of shots from nearby woods. It turned out to be just some teenagers hunting. By the time the couple reaches the gym, dentists clustered around 38 portable dental chairs fill the Union County Patriot’s

home court. Patients pack the bleachers. Finally, Hannah Hurst is called to a chair and explains why she’s come. In pregnancy, her mother suffered from a calcium deficiency. Hannah’s baby teeth decayed fast. It was even worse with her permanent teeth and disease filled her gums, swollen with abscesses. Insurance either wasn’t enough or dental wasn’t covered. Four years ago, Hannah saved enough to reach a dentist’s chair, when her phone rang. Her aunt, hospitalized with cancer, had taken a turn for the worse. She rushed out, even though a spring breeze can trigger pain that knocks her to her knees. Back home in Campbell County, worshippers at Sled Creek Holiness Community Church have prayed, even fasted, to help Hannah heal. Today Hannah is ready to embrace the answer. Please, she asks, pull them all out. It’s calmer in the classrooms reserved for medical doctors, but the patients’ stories are at least as telling. “I went to college. I’m a graduate. I just never thought I’d ever be here,” Earleen Black says. Until losing her job eight months ago, Black was a radiology technologist. She’s embarrassed to ask for help. But bursitis has attacked her hip like a baseball bat. She’s relieved when a doctor administers a shot without charge, but mystified there was almost no wait. The truth is, many are here only because their blood pressure registered too high to undergo the dentist’s drill. —AP



Monday, January 4, 2010

Zikr & Hamd-o-Naat in Muharram by Bazme Chorahi s per instructions from Pir Syed Abid Hussain Shah and Pir Syed Ijaz Hussain Shah of Chora Sharif monthly Mehfil was organized by Bazme Chorahi International Kuwait in respect of Islamic New Year. Where the large number of the Muslims community were attend with spiritual and intuitive passions. The program had been started with the recites of the holy


Quran by Talat Mehmood Chorahi. The hearts were enlighted with the Zikr of Allah Hoo and Asma Al Husna (The Most beautiful names of Allah). This had been presented by Khalifa Hakim Azmat Ali Chorahi. Air was fragranced with the Zikr of Allah Hoo. The presentation of the Mehfil was supervised by Mohammad Daud Chorahi. Droodo Salam had recited which was not incon-

siderable. Salam and special address to the Shuhada-e-Karbala was presented by Khalifa Hakim Azmat Ali Chorahi. He also prayed for the serenity of the Muslim World. Umat-eMohammadia and especially people of Pakistan and Kuwait. Rajab Khan Abbasi advocate was the honorable quest of the Mehfil. The Mehfil was live telecast to abroad through web channel.

Destiny’s Destination

An inspiring hardcover book by SA Khan

A Pilipino Christmas xpatriate Pilipino families celebrated 25th December the X-mass day in Kuwait. Merry Christmas. 25th December is an important calendar day for the world wide Christian community. Every year they celebrate the occasion amid befitting merriment. Merlin Stephen and her colleagues and honorable guests mark their celebration at her South Surra residence, right after the 24th December midnight at 12:01 by piercing celebratory cake, dance and music and exchanging gifts among themselves. They also extend good wishes to all expatriate Pilipino families residing in Kuwait. In this opportunity Merlin and all her friends and guests along with their families thank the Kuwait administration for extending all out support in X-mass day celebration. Also they wish happy new year.


Lankan Embassy in Kuwait invokes blessings for all he embassy staff together with their families and well wishers took part in an overnight pirith chanting ceremony on New Year’s Eve and invoked blessings upon the Government and the people of the State of Kuwait as well as the expatriate communities including Sri Lankans, for the new year 2010. The ceremony began with the offerings of Buddha Puja followed by religious observances. The embassy auditorium has been decorated with Buddhist flags for the occasion, while a special chamber (Mandappaya) has been set up to accommodate the group of laymen who volunteered for the occasion and performed the role of clergy. The atmosphere was reminiscent of a typical religious setting in Sri Lanka with devotees dressed up in white cloth gathered around the chamber in devotion for the religious observances. The pirith chanting which began around 10:00 pm on 31st night lasted for over three hours until early morning on the 1st January 2010, amidst the dawn of the New Year to the delight of all. The safe house inmates too observed pirith chanting in which they sought solace to their suffering. The meritorious deeds performed on the occasion included religious prayers, dharma discourses, a meditation session etc. which were


well received by the gathering. The proceedings came to a close with traditional food & snacks served for the devotees. On 1st January 2010, the staff took part in the flag hoisting ceremony in the morning, followed by singing the national anthem, reading of messages, oath taking, assumption of duties etc in the New Year. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Kuwait, Sarath Dissanayake addressed the staff and

emphasized the importance of forging ahead with “new year resolutions” in order to usher in an era of lasting peace and prosperity for all. He also appealed to staff to redouble their efforts toward serving the Sri Lankan community with dedication and for further strengthening relations between Sri Lanka and Kuwait. The official ceremony ended with traditional milk rice and sweet meals being served for those present.

Indian national Saulat Ali Khan, a resident in Kuwait for over 30 years, is to publish his memoirs in an exhilarating book entitled ‘Destiny’s Destination ...’ The book, which appears in a lavishly styled coffee-table book format, is slated to be released in New Delhi on January 6th, 2010, by author and Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, Shashi Tharoor. The glittering ceremony to mark the book launch will be attended by a galaxy of senior government officials, VIPs and several prominent Indians from Kuwait including the chairman of the Indian Business Council, S K Wadhawan. ‘Destiny’s Destination ...’ traces the extraordinary journey of Khan’s life as a young man from a small village in Sihali Jagir in Uttar Pradesh (India), to a successful business man and eminent personality among Indians in Kuwait. The book documents Khan’s rare gift to meaningfully touch other people’s lives, an ability he has carefully cultivated during his three decades of stay in the country. “There are many moments in one’s life that needs to be cherished and remembered,” said Khan. “The concept for compiling a book of this nature began in early 2009, while I was attempting to organize my large collection of photographs into albums. That idea then eventually evolved into ‘Destiny’s Destination ... a photo anthology of my journey through life. This has been an amazing opportunity to indelibly record the many enlivening relationships that I have nurtured with a wide section of people in India and Kuwait,” added Khan. The book, which chronicles several historical events in the long and harmonious relations between India and Kuwait, includes photo images of the visit to Kuwait by the late Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the visit by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to India and the recent visit to Kuwait by Mohammad Hamid Ansari, the Vice-President of India. ‘Destiny’s Destination ...’ which narrates friendships with people and institutions that have transcended barriers and created enduring relationships, also features messages from prominent personalities in India and Kuwait. Among the dignitaries from India who have added to the richness of the book with their heartening words are former Indian President, A P J Abdul Kalam, eminent economist Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Shashi Tharoor and film director Yash Chopra. Others who have pub-

lished their messages of friendship in the book include Fawaz AlFarah, Hashem Al-Khalaf, Jassim Alghanim and Mohammed AlMutairi from Kuwait. Indian ambassador Ajai Malhotra, in his letter of appreciation on the launch of the book, applauded the venture undertaken by Khan in conscien-

tiously recording historic events and hoped that this would add another chapter in the dynamic Indo-Kuwait relations. ‘Destiny’s Destination ...,’, will also feature in the storyline members of the Indian community in Kuwait who have had a close association with Khan. As part of his

philanthropic efforts Khan has decided to commit a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book to a charitable trust he intends to set up. News of the book launch has been received warmly by friends and members of the Indian community who have voiced their enthusiastic support for the book.

Announcements Tomorrow Ra a g ‘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 Al-Maidan 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 Ka la nja li Ponga l 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 for selection process in Dec 2009 or contact 99816937 / 66457286.

KKMA children’s dra w ing 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 June-October 2009. Children’s from 17 Indian schools in Kuwait participated in this contest. Of which 1000 finalists were selected and invited for an on-the-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 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 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 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 CRYck et 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 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 biweekly 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 or email

Monday, January 4, 2010



Quaid-e-Azam Day Celebrated in NPIS teadfastness and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish’. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinah is one of the great leaders of the world who change the destiny of nations with their untiring efforts and unwavering determination. He is the founder of Pakistan who carved out an independent state for the Muslims of the sub-continent. NPIS, Hawally celebrated his birthday on 24th of December 2009 and refreshed his memory through motivating programs. The Pakistani students exhibited their great enthusiasm through Speeches, devoted national songs, informative quiz and tableaux.


Warm birthday greetings to our dearest Ann Mary D’Cruz who is celebrating her 4th birthday today. May Almighty shower you with blessings. Wishes come from daddy Dr Antony, mummy Dr Anila, sister Andrea, Alber Papa, Sharlet mumma, Sheeb aunty, Johnson uncle, and Binu aunty.

Bharath Darshan 2010 eva Darshan Kuwait held a press conference attended by prominent media personnel from Kuwait December 29. The meeting was presided over by S Mohankumar, General Convener, ‘Bharath Darshan 2010’. P. Krishnakumar, President, Seva Darshan Kuwait, Manoj Nair, Executive Committee Member, and T. G. Venugopal, Convener, Public Relation Committee were also present at the press conference. A detailed media kit about the ‘Bharath Darshan 2010’ was circulated among the media personnel. Mohankumar narrated the aim of Seva Darshan in conducting this mega event and progress of the preparations. Seva Darshan Kuwait has invited the esteemed media personnel and the public to attend and grace this occasion January 15, 2010, to be held at Marina Hall, Jleeb AlShyoukh. The day-long event will be staged by Idea Star singers Somadas, Jins, Prasobh and Super Global Star winner Roopa. The program will be made more colorful by veteran cine artists like Kottayam Nazeer and Kalabhavan Prajod.


Happy birthday S Geethika, you are so special to everyone and we pray for your long life and happiness and lots of fun. Best wishes on your 8th birthday, from M mummy Nagakatga, daddy S V Ramana and the entire in Kuwait and India.

Banglades Jatiya Dibas Udjapan (National events celebration)committee organized ‘Bijoy Mela-09” in celebration of Victory day of Bangladesh angladesh Jatiya Dibas Udjapan (National events celebration) committee has celebrated the auspicious Victory day of Bangladesh in befitting manner. The celebration took place in Abbasiya touristic park, Kuwait on 18th December 2009. The celebration was inaugurated by Moaz Uddin Ahmed and Ataul Gani Mamun respectively the convener and member secretary of the Jatiya Dibas Udjapan committee, amid presence of distinguished guests. Bangladesh Ambassador Sayed Shahed Reza has attended the celebration as the chief guest of honor. The celebration was marked with honor conferred to the Gallant freedom fighters of Bangladesh living in Kuwait as well as to distinguished personalities of Bengali expatriate community in Kuwait. Nurul Islam counselor of Bangladesh Embassy has also participated in the ceremony. The chief guest handed over crests of honor to the Gallant freedom fighters respectively Moaz Uddin Ahmed, Ahmedur Rahaman Masum, Afzal Ibsen khan, Shafiqul Alam Shah, Dr. Shariar Huda, Engineer Khondakar Abdul Hannan. Engineer Abdur Rab, and renowned business man Hasan Waris, Cultural activists Rabiul Alam Rabi, Mr. Mohammed Au Azam, Sheikh


Bahauddin Siddiqui Lablu, Kazi Mahabubul Islam Liton, Jahangir Hossain Bablu, Abdur Rahim, Muzibur Rahaman Rana, M.R. Chowdhury Zahangir, Raliqul Alam Sumon, Abu Taher for their excellent contribution in respective field. In the cultural segment of the celebration Jatiya Kabita Parisad President, poet Jahangir Hossain bablu lead the chore of poets in poetry recitation. That followed staging of two plays respectively written

by Rafiqul Islam bulu and Muzibur Rahaman Rana. Skillful display and dance were performed by expatriate Bengali youngsters. Pran Co. has distributed prizes to the brilliant performers. The celebration was concluded with the Bengali Patriotic song sang by expatriate musician artists. The program was brilliantly presented by Kazi Mahbubul Islam liton and the entire festivity was well maintained by Rafiqul Islam bulu.


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Sea watch

05:18 06:43 11:52 14:43 17:02 18:24

Sunday, January 3, 2010

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Wales (UK)


















Ayoun Al-Kibla










Maidan Hawally












New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb













08:01 & 19:53








PHARMACY Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

ADDRESS Fahaeel Makka St Abu Halaifa-Coastal Rd Mahboula Block 1, Coastal Rd

PHONE 23915883 23715414 23726558

Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622

Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967

New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638

Tariq Hana Ikhlas Hawally & Rawdha Ghadeer Kindy Ibn Al-Nafis Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop

Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Salmiya-Amman St Hawally-Beirut St Hawally & Rawdha Coop Jabriya-Block 1A Jabriya-Block 3B Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241

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

25622444 25752222 25321171 25739999 25757700 25732223 25732223

Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT): Dr. Ahmed Fouad Mouner 24555050 Ext 510 Dr. Abdallah Al-Ali 25644660 Dr. Abd Al-Hameed Al-Taweel 25646478 Dr. Sanad Al-Fathalah 25311996 Dr. Mohammad Al-Daaory 25731988 Dr. Ismail Al-Fodary 22620166 Dr. Mahmoud Al-Booz 25651426 General Practitioners: Dr. Mohamme Y Majidi 24555050 Ext 123 Dr. Yousef Al-Omar 24719312 Dr. Tarek Al-Mikhazeem 23926920 Dr. Kathem Maarafi 25730465 Dr. Abdallah Ahmad Eyadah 25655528 Dr. Nabeel Al-Ayoobi 24577781 Dr. Dina Abidallah Al-Refae 25333501 Urologists: Dr. Ali Naser Al-Serfy 22641534 Dr. Fawzi Taher Abul 22639955 Dr. Khaleel Abidallah Al-Awadi22616660 Dr. Adel Al-Hunayan FRCS (C) 25313120 Plastic Surgeons: Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf 22547272

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari Dr. Abdel Quttainah

22617700 25625030/60

Family Doctor: Dr Divya Damodar 23729596/23729581

Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr.

Zahra Qabazard Sohail Qamar Snaa Maaroof Pradip Gujare Zacharias Mathew

25710444 22621099 25713514 23713100 24334282

(1) Ear, Nose and Throat Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari 22635047 Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan 22613623/0 Gynaecologists & Obstetricians: Dr Adrian Harbe 23729596/23729581 Dr. Verginia s.Marin 2572-6666 ext 8321 Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan 22655539 Dr. Majeda Khalefa Aliytami 25343406 Dr. Ahmad Al-Khooly 25739272 Dr. Salem soso 22618787 General Surgeons: Dr. Abidallah Behbahani 25717111 Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer 22610044 Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher 25327148

(2) Plastic Surgeon Dr. Abdul Mohsin Jafar, FRCS (Canada)

25655535 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



Paediatricians: Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed 25340300

Dr. Farida Al-Habib MD, PH.D, FACC Consultant Cardiologist Tel: 2611555-2622555 Inaya German Medical Center Te: 2575077 Fax: 25723123

Dr. Sohal Najem Al-Shemeri 25633324 Dr. Jasem Mola Hassan

Internists, Chest & Heart: Dr. Adnan Ebil 22639939 Dr. Mousa Khadada 22666300 Dr. Latefa Al-Duweisan 25728004 Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra 25355515 Dr. Mobarak Aldoub 24726446 Dr Nasser Behbehani 25654300/3

Internist, Chest & Heart: DR.Mohammes Akkad 24555050 Ext 210 Dr. Mohammad Zubaid MB, ChB, FRCPC, PACC Assistant Professor Of Medicine Head, Division of Cardiology Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital Tel: 25339667


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


Dr. Mohammad Al-Shamaly 25322030 Dr. Foad Abidallah Al-Ali


Endocrinologist: Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman 25339330 Dr. Ahmad Al-Ansari


Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr


Psychologists/Psychotherapists Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688 Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, Ph.D. 2290-1677 Susannah-Joy Schuilenberg, M.A. 2290-1677 William Schuilenberg, RPC 2290-1677 Zaina Al Zabin, M.Sc. 2290-1677


Monday, January 4, 2010

33 ACCOMMODATION Room available from 1st January in central A/C flat for Asian decent family/ couple, in old Khaitan near Water and Electricity department. Contact: 97468551. (C 20125) Sharing accommodation available with food for 2 Manglorean or Goan bachelors to share with a Goan family in Abbassiya. Mobile: 66269035. (C 20128) 4-1-2010 Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya near 6th Ring Road one room semi furnished for bachelors or small family, stay with two bachelors, Indians only from 25th Dec, reasonable rent. Contact: 55682203 (C20083) Sharing accommodation available for a bachelor Indian, near Don Bosco School at Salmiya, rent KD 60 one room. Contact: 99493024, 25628932. (C 20123)

Are you looking for good sharing apartment in a CAC, furnished 3BR/ 2 bath? Itʼs only for decent working females executive with an Indian family. Interested females can call on 65820916. (C 20122) 3-1-2010 Sharing accommodation available, new building, single working lady at old Riggae. Contact: 97836756, 66720438. (C 20119) 2-1-2010 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

FOR SALE Excellent condition. Used household furniture, electrical, electronic items for sale with or w/o apartment. Genuine buyers call 66159436. (C 20121) 3-1-2010 Household furniture sofas, cupboards, tables chairs, dishwasher, TV, miscellaneous. Qurtoba - 99786814. (C 20118) 2-1-2010 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

Toyota Corolla 1.8, model 2007, white, done mileage 47,000 km, excellent condition, price KD 3,050/- cash. Contact: 66211779. (C 20104) Galant 2001, lady driven, excellent condition, only km 102,000 done, cash KD 1,000. Contact: 97119879. (C 20106) Subaru Impereza 2007, 4WD, GPS manual drive, DVD player, red metallic, sunroof, service book excellent condition, price 3400 KD. Contact: 60012596. (C 20101) 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


Wanted full time maid for Pakistani family in Sawaber, for cooking, cleaning, should speak Hindi, having valid iqama. Tel: 22400207. (C 201127) 4-1-2010 Required a live-in nanny for a special needs child, knowledge of spoken and written English a necessity, nursing or educational background an asset highly competitive salary, please contact 99824597. (C 20117) 2-10-2010

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

No: 14599

Flight Schedule Arrival Flights on Monday 04/01/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jazeera 0263 Beirut Middle Fast 406 Beirut K.L.M. 0447 Amsterdam/Bahrain Wataniya Airways 2011 Sharm El Sheikh Jet A/W 574 Cochin Wataniya Airways 2103 Beirut Kalitta 537 Sharjah Gulf Air 211 Bahrain Ethiopian 620 Addis Ababa D.H.L. 370 Bahrain Turkish A/L 1172 Istanbul Emirates 853 Dubai Etihad 0305 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 0267 Beirut Qatari 0138 Doha Jazeera 0637 Aleppo Falcon 201 Dubai Jazeera 0503 Luxor Jazeera 0527 Alexandria Jazeera 0529 Assiut British 0157 London Kuwait 412 Manila/Bangkok Jazeera 0607 Mumbai Kalitta 533 Al Fujairah Kuwait 206 Islamabad Kuwait 352 Cochin Jazeera 0161 Dubai Kuwait 302 Mumbai Kuwait 676 Dubai Kuwait 362 Colombo Emirates 855 Dubai Arabia 0121 Sharjah Qatari 0132 Doha Etihad 0301 Abu Dhabi Kuwait 344 Chennai 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 Middle East 404 Beirut Oman Air 0645 Muscat Iran Aseman 6521 Lamerd Kuwait 382 Delhi Egypt Air 610 Cairo Jazeera 0171 Dubai Kuwait 672 Dubai Wataniya Airways 2301 Damascus Jazeera 0525 Alexandria Jazeera 0257 Beirut Wataniya Airways 2001 Cairo Saudi Arabian A/L 500 Jeddah Kuwait 552 Damascus

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

Jazeera Qatari Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Royal Jordanian Jazeera Jazeera Kuwait Emirates Gulf Air Etihad Saudi Arabian A/L Jazeera Jazeera Arabia Jazeera Wataniya Airways Sri Lankan United A/L Jazeera Wataniya Airways D.H.L. Wataniya Airways Kuwait Jazeera Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Indian Kuwait Kuwait Jet A/W Wataniya Airways Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Gulf Air Middle East Qatari Emirates K.L.M. Kuwait Jazeera Jazeera Global Jazeera Jazeera Tunis Air Pakistan Lufthansa Wataniya Airways Wataniya Airways

0457 Damascus 0134 Doha 284 Dhaka 548 Luxor 546 Alexandria 678 Muscat/Abu Dhabi 800 Amman 0173 Dubai 0345 Sanaa 118 New York 857 Dubai 216 Bahrain 0303 Abu Dhabi 510 Riyadh 0493 Jeddah 0239 Amman 0125 Sharjah 0367 Deirezzor 2101 Beirut 227 Colombo/Dubai 982 Washington DC Dulles 0427 Dubai/Bahrain 2003 Cairo 473 Baghdad 1025 Dubai 542 Cairo 0177 Dubai 674 Dubai 786 Jeddah 614 Bahrain 744 Dammam 774 Riyadh 575 Chennai/Goa 104 London 618 Doha 572 Mumbai 1201 Jeddah 0459 Damascus 0261 Beirut 217 Bahrain 217 Bahrain 402 Beirut 0136 Doha 859 Dubai 0445 Amsterdam 502 Beirut 0449 Doha 0429 Dubai/Bahrain 081 Baghdad 0117 Abu Dhabi 0185 Dubai 327 Tunis 239 Islamabad/Sialkot 636 Frankfurt 1029 Dubai 1129 Bahrain

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

Departure Flights on Monday 04/01/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jazeera 0528 Assiut India Express 390 Mangalore/Kozhikode United A/L 981 Washington DC Dulles Middle East 407 Beirut Indian 982 Ahmedabad/Chennai Pakistan 206 Peshawar/Lahore Bangladesh 044 Dhaka Lufthansa 637 Frankfurt K.L.M. 0447 Amsterdam Jet A/W 573 Cochin Ethiopian 620 Bahrain/Addis Ababa Kuwait 283 Dhaka Turkish A/L 1173 Istanbul D.H.L. 371 Bahrain Kuwait 381 Delhi Emirates 854 Dubai Etihad 0306 Abu Dhabi Kalitta 537 Kandahar Qatari 0139 Doha Jazeera 0162 Dubai Jazeera 0164 Dubai Wataniya Airways 1020 Dubai Jazeera 0524 Alexandria Wataniya Airways 2000 Cairo Jazeera 0112 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 0446 Doha Gulf Air 212 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 1120 Bahrain Jazeera 0422 Bahrain/Dubai Wataniya Airways 2300 Damascus Kuwait 545 Alexandria Jazeera 0256 Beirut Kuwait 677 Abu Dhabi/Muscat British 0156 London Kuwait 671 Dubai Kuwait 551 Damascus Kuwait 547 Luxor Jazeera 0456 Damascus Jazeera 0344 Bahrain/Sanaa Arabia 0122 Sharjah Emirates 856 Dubai Qatari 0133 Doha Etihad 0302 Abu Dhabi Kalitta 533 Kandahar Wataniya Airways 2002 Cairo Gulf Air 214 Bahrain Kuwait 165 Rome/Paris Jazeera 0426 Bahrain/Dubai Jazeera 0172 Dubai Kuwait 541 Cairo Wataniya Airways 2100 Beirut Jazeera 0492 Jeddah Jazeera 0366 Deirezzor Jazeera 0238 Amman Kuwait 103 London


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

Middle East Iran Aseman Kuwait Egypt Air Wataniya Airways Kuwait Jazeera Jazeera Wataniya Airways Jazeera Saudi Arabian A/L Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Royal Jordanian Qatari Kuwait Kuwait Jazeera Gulf Air Etihad Emirates Arabia Jazeera Saudi Arabian A/L Kuwait Jazeera Wataniya Airways Jazeera Global Jazeera Jazeera Wataniya Airways Sri Lankan Wataniya Airways Kuwait Wataniya Airways Jet A/W Jazeera Gulf Air D.H.L. Kuwait Middle East Falcon Qatari Kuwait Emirates K.L.M. Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Mzeera Jazeera Kuwait

405 6522 785 611 1024 673 0260 0176 1200 0458 501 501 773 613 801 0135 617 743 0182 216 0304 858 0126 0262 511 543 0184 2200 0116 082 0448 0428 2102 228 1028 331 1128 571 0606 218 171 675 403 102 0137 301 860 0445 0480 0636 0526 0534 0502 411

Beirut Lamerd Jeddah Cairo Dubai Dubai Beirut Dubai Jeddah Damascus Jeddah Beirut Riyadh Bahrain Amman Doha Doha Dammam Dubai Bahrain Abu Dhabi Dubai Sharjah Beirut Riyadh Cairo Dubai Amman Abu Dhabi Baghdad Doha Bahrain/Dubai Beirut Dubai/Colombo Dubai Trivandrum Bahrain Mumbai Mumbai Bahrain Bahrain Dubai Beirut Bahrain Doha Mumbai Dubai Bahrain/Amsterdam Sabiha Aleppo Alexandria Aswan Luxor Bangkok/Manila

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



Monday, January 4, 2010

Calvin Aries (March 21-April 19) You may want to give

advice to a young one this morning but it would be better to hold back until asked—and you will be asked. You may spend much of this morning preparing for some activity that will take your quick thinking and your careful words. A special social affair, perhaps a charity or spirit filled type of gathering, creates a feeling of inner peace this afternoon. There are some hands-on opportunities to help the community today. One is often healed when there is a sacrifice of time and energy to help another. The pursuit of a new hobby is fun and makes a good transition into the evening; particularly if you can have a little time to yourself for creative expression. There is time later this evening to prepare for the workweek ahead. Taurus (April 20-May 20) This morning there is a false

sense of urgency. You may feel that you want to dive into waters that could be over your head and then wonder what got you into the water in the first place—money matters or some touchy subjects. Pay attention to those feelings that have you wanting to jump into a heated discussion. You can quickly halt these energies before they get out of hand. Your altruistic spirit may stimulate you to lead in some special cause. Your vision will likely lead you into the unknown without others’ support or understanding—walk softly. Your timing is improving, almost as though you have enhanced your psychic powers. If you have an opportunity to go out and socialize, do it. You could shine brighter than the streetlights.

Pooch Cafe

ACROSS 1. (British informal) Not to be deceived or hoodwinked n 1. 4. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 8. 100 pyas equal 1 kyat. 11. An overwhelming feeling of wonder or admiration. 12. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 13. A graphical record of electrical activity of the brain. 14. Heal or recover. 16. A young woman making her debut into society. 17. A decree that prohibits something. 18. English theoretical physicist who applied relativity theory to quantum mechanics and predicted the existence of antimatter and the positron (1902-1984). 20. A genus of Indriidae. 22. The sound made by corvine birds. 24. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 27. A light strong brittle gray toxic bivalent metallic element. 30. A fraudulent business scheme. 32. A partially opened flower. 34. The cry made by sheep. 35. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 38. Submerged aquatic plant having narrow leaves and small flowers. 42. An industrial city in southern Poland on the Vistula. 44. Slender bristlelike appendage found on the bracts of grasses. 45. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 47. A bachelor's degree in religion. 48. Wild and domestic cattle. 49. God of death. 52. In or of the month preceding the present one. 53. A blue dye obtained from plants or made synthetically. 54. Having undesirable or negative qualities. DOWN 1. King of Saudi Arabia since 1982 (born in 1922). 2. 100 lwei equal 1 kwanza. 3. A period of time containing 365 (or 366) days. 4. A metallic element having four allotropic forms. 5. Someone who is morally reprehensible. 6. Goddess of criminal rashness and its punishment. 7. A small cake leavened with yeast. 8. Having nine hinged bands of bony plates. 9. Not only so, but. 10. God of fire. 15. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 19. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 21. A magnetic tape recorder for recording (and playing back) TV programs. 23. English writer and a central member of the Fabian Society (1858-1943). 25. Date used in reckoning dates before the supposed year Christ was born. 26. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 28. The sixth month of the civil year. 29. East Indian tree bearing a profusion of intense vermilion velvet-textured blooms and yielding a yellow dye. 31. A master's degree in fine arts. 33. Medium-sized tree-dwelling monkey of the Amazon basin. 36. A coffee cake flavored with orange rind and raisins and almonds. 37. Wild sheep of northern Africa. 39. Absent without permission. 40. In or of the present month. 41. Fallow deer. 42. A public promotion of some product or service. 43. A public promotion of some product or service. 46. A local computer network for communication between computers. 50. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 51. A Russian river.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) You will appreciate the people around you now. You will be successful in evaluating input from a family meeting and can find solutions that satisfy everyone. An interplay of ideas can spur your creative side, which you may feel is your calling on this day. You have a natural ease when it comes to communicating clear thoughts to others. This evening you could express a sense of connection to others through your artistic endeavors. You expand your artistic talents when one idea easily leads to another. There is almost nothing that you cannot do artistically. Perhaps the medium of oil, watercolor, wood or clay is how you desire to express your creative side. Regardless of how you express yourself you can enjoy monetary rewards for your efforts.

Non Sequitur

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Religion, law, politics, travel and higher education are some of the areas where you might invest your time. This is a time of testing your limits to see how far you can go. You seem to have a clear understanding of where you are going and what you need to do when you get there. This may mean you are in front of the public or you are a writer. Yours and other people’s emotions are very clear today. Patience with your own progress may not be adequate. It would be good for your health to take precautions against stress at this time. If you are single, love will seek you out—you just may find that special person today. Married lovers will become more romantic than usual. Affection and optimistic attitudes are just oozing from the atmosphere today. Leo (July 23-August 22) Be wise and know your subject well before trying to convince someone to your way of thinking. A subject you know a little about is a passionate subject for some people. This could be in a family or religious surrounding. Some volunteer organization may have your full attention this afternoon. You want to make a difference—little steps lead to much progress. A love for those that struggle is the type of energy that is now just beginning. You have a yen for a soul-stirring romance, a weakness for the weak and a tendency to idealize people and relationships . . . very aesthetic, very otherworldly. Learning what makes people tick is absorbing. Your instinctive orientation is toward creating opportunities for people that do not have a job or a home.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) You can be a restless person and you seem to always be in search of something new. Today is no exception. You will be feeling this restlessness but you will also be moving toward a balance in your life—and this is good. Variety is the spice of life and during this time, you might involve yourself with repairs and updates around your place. It is time to build wonderful memories by spending time with the ones you love later today. It does not mean you are without a thing to do just because you might not be able to go out-of-doors. Try beginning a story and letting someone else pick it up from there—you might record it. This is particularly fun with young people in the home. Shopping later today is for groceries and staples. Libra (September 23-October 22) An important relationship, perhaps an older person or someone in authority, may come into focus today. There could be some tension or sense of opposition requiring compromise or negotiation on your part. There is an opportunity for understanding and even growth. You may have the opportunity to improve your home surroundings or plan a move. These energies are strong through this whole month, especially if you are looking to sell your home. Your best buys and improvement toward repairs could be made now if you so desire. The importance of a good foundation in home and finances is what makes you happy and this is the time to make sure all is as you want it to be. You could find yourself feeling in a stay-at-home mood tonight.

Mother Goose and Grimm

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Your day seems focused around the family. There is an opportunity to gain input for ideas on redecorating and updating from the people that really care . . . your housemates, family, etc. There is growth and gain through these things. Generally, a fruitful period for real estate investment, if you do not bite off more than you can chew. Emotional security and a sense of belonging and nurturing are felt. You want your family to see the home as a place of safety and refurbishment. There may be an interest in research and fun times of accumulating facts for a family tree. Making your home situation more pleasant and attractive plays a part in this and the sale or purchase of real estate could bring you gain before this cycle is complete.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You may have found a great way to make a little extra money today. You will be successful in your efforts. A friend or family member may want to join you in this work endeavor; short lived as it may be . . . it is fun to share in the fortune. Good surprises happen in many sectors of your life. Any frustrations heal quickly today and it may even seem as though the frustration was set up as an example of how you handle certain matters. Your timing should be perfect however and those around you should find you most understanding and full of optimism. Spend a little time in expressing your talent this evening and encourage others to do the same. A talent contest might be fun and prizes could sweeten the incentive for others to join in and be expressive.

Yesterday’s Solution


Yesterday’s Solution


INTERNATIONAL CALLS Kuwait Qatar Abu Dhabi Dubai Raas Al Khayma Al-Shareqa Muscat Jordan Bahrain Riyadh Makkah - Jeddah Cairo Alexandria Beirut Damascus Allepo

00965 00974 009712 009714 009717 009716 00968 009626 00973 009661 009662 00202 00203 009611 0096311 0096321

Tunisia Rabat Washington New York Paris London Madrid Zurich Geneva Monaco Rome Bangkok Hong Kong Pakistan Taiwan Bonn

0021610 002127 001212 001718 00331 004471 00341 00411 004122 0033 00396 00662 00852 0092 00886 0049228

Word Sleuth Solution

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) You may enjoy getting away from routine and doing something completely different for a change. You may feel that you are in touch and in harmony with others; the lines of communication are open. The mood for today is travel. In fact, this could be the best time to treat that little child in you to some long desired activity from your childhood. Perhaps a visit to the zoo, park, planetarium, hobby shop, will be beneficial. You may find yourself and a friend, or family member traveling a short distance to a tourist or community affair today. If you are giving a party, you may be traveling to pick up a specialty item. If you are not going on a trip you will be visiting with someone who has widely traveled, perhaps to places you would like to visit.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) If you have not traveled much you could be yearning to wander or roam and see other parts of the world. Although there is no indication of a long trip at this time, you could start planning your next vacation—get everyone involved. Go somewhere really fun and away from the same-old, same-old. You may be asked to teach others a hobby or some skill. This is a great boost for you—there are many people that would like to follow or learn your methods, techniques or style of working. You have plenty of chores to clear away before you can start this project but it is something you might consider for a future venture. While you are out shopping today, drop by the library and gather information on the stock market. You have luck in your corner. Pisces (February 19-March 20) This is the time to take a sentimental journey down memory lane with a loved one. If you are not with a loved one, this may be the perfect time to visit with a close friend. Until April, most of your concerns will be with the family. Your finances may be a concern today but another door will open soon and finances will not be as much of a problem. This is the month to prepare for the year ahead and set dates to act on the first of your goals. You will be able to work with your loved one in a combined goal. A local restaurant might be fun later tonight but you may want to also think a light dinner at home and a movie or music. Your sense of appreciation is sharpened and you want to show that special person in your life—you care.


Monday, January 4, 2010


Orbit listings / Show listings AMERICA PLUS 00:00 The Ex-List 01:00 Private Practice 02:00 Grey’s Anatomy 03:00 Cold Case 04:00 Gilmore Girls 05:00 One Tree Hill 06:00 GMA Recorded 07:00 Inside the Actors Studio 08:00 Cold Case 09:00 Private Practice 10:00 Grey’s Anatomy 11:00 *24* 12:00 The Closer 13:00 Gilmore Girls 14:00 *24* 15:00 GMA Live 17:00 Gilmore Girls 18:00 The Closer 19:00 Cold Case 20:00 In Plain Sight 21:00 Private Practice 22:00 Grey’s Anatomy 23:00 Supernatural ANIMAL PLANET 00:50 Planet Earth 01:45 Animal Cops Houston 02:40 Untamed & Uncut 04:30 Animal Cops South Africa 05:25 Night 06:20 Into the Pride 07:10 Africa’s Outsiders 08:00 Wildlife SOS 08:25 Pet Rescue 08:50 Animal Precinct 09:45 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 10:40 Aussie Animal Rescue 11:05 Animal Cops Phoenix 11:55 The Jeff Corwin Experience 12:50 Wildlife SOS 13:15 Pet Rescue 13:45 All New Planet’s Funniest Animals 14:40 Natural World 15:35 Lemur Street 16:00 Monkey Business 16:30 Pet Rescue 16:55 Pet Passport 17:25 Wildlife SOS 17:50 Aussie Animal Rescue 18:20 Animal Cops Phoenix 19:15 Escape to Chimp Eden 20:10 Into the Lion’s Den 21:10 Animal Cops Phoenix 22:05 Untamed & Uncut 23:00 Escape to Chimp Eden 23:55 Animal Cops Phoenix BBC ENTERTAINMENT 00:05 Life On Mars 00:55 Popcorn 01:55 Life In The Undergrowth 02:45 Casualty 03:35 Casualty 04:25 Cash In The Attic 04:50 Doctors 07:20 Tweenies 07:40 Little Robots 07:50 Teletubbies 08:00 Fimbles 08:20 Teletubbies 08:45 Yoho Ahoy 08:50 Tommy Zoom 09:00 Balamory 09:20 Tweenies 09:40 Fimbles 10:00 Teletubbies 10:25 Yoho Ahoy 10:30 Tommy Zoom 10:40 Bargain Hunt 11:25 Blizzard - Race To The Pole 12:15 A Year At Kew 12:45 A Year At Kew 13:15 The Weakest Link 14:00 Eastenders 14:30 Doctors 15:00 Bargain Hunt 15:45 Cash In The Attic 16:15 Antiques Roadshow 17:15 The Weakest Link 18:00 Doctors 18:30 Cash In The Attic 19:00 Rough Diamond Sd 19:50 Model Gardens 20:10 Antiques Roadshow 21:00 The Weakest Link 21:45 Doctors 22:15 Eastenders 22:45 Canterbury Tales 23:45 Holby City BBC LIFESTYLE 00:30 Come Dine With Me 08:00 Daily Cooks Challenge 09:00 Cash In The Attic Usa 09:25 Hidden Potential 09:50 Antiques Roadshow 10:40 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 11:25 Living In The Sun 12:15 Antiques Roadshow 13:05 What Not To Wear 13:55 Antiques Roadshow 14:45 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 15:30 Daily Cooks Challenge 16:25 Cash In The Attic Usa 16:50 Hidden Potential 17:10 Antiques Roadshow 18:00 What Not To Wear 18:50 Living In The Sun 19:45 Daily Cooks Challenge 20:15 Daily Cooks Challenge 20:45 Masterchef Goes Large 22:05 Colin And Justin’s Home Show 22:50 What Not To Wear 23:40 Indian Food Made Easy BBC WORLD 00:00 Bbc World News - U 00:30 Iran: Guarding The Revolution - U 01:00 Bbc World News - U 01:30 Dateline London - U 02:00 Bbc World News - U 02:30 Hardtalk - U 03:00 Bbc World News - U 03:30 Reporters - U 04:00 Bbc World News - U 04:30 Dateline London - U 05:00 Bbc World News - U 05:30 Asia Business Report - U 05:45 Asia Today - U 06:00 Bbc World News - U 06:30 Asia Business Report - U 06:45 Asia Today - U 07:00 Bbc World News - U 07:30 Hardtalk - U 08:00 Bbc World News - U

08:30 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:30 10:45 11:00 11:30 11:45 12:00 12:30 13:00 14:00 14:30 14:45 15:00 16:00 17:00 17:30 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 20:30 20:45 21:00 21:30 22:00 23:00 23:30

World Business Report - U Bbc World News - U World Business Report - U Bbc World News - U World Business Report - U Sport Today - U Bbc World News - U World Business Report - U Sport Today - U Bbc World News - U Hardtalk - U Bbc World News - U Bbc World News - U World Business Report - U Sport Today - U World News Today - U World News Today - U Bbc World News - U Hardtalk - U Bbc World News - U Click - U World News Today - U Bbc World News - U World Business Report - U Sport Today - U Bbc World News - U Hardtalk - U World News Today - U Bbc World News - U Fast Track - U

CARTOON NETWORK 00:15 Out of Jimmy’s Head 00:40 Chop Socky Chooks 01:05 Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends 01:30 Cramp Twins 01:55 George of the Jungle 02:20 Adrenalini Brothers 02:45 Gadget Boy 03:10 Ed, Edd n Eddy 03:35 Class of 3000 04:00 The Powerpuff Girls 04:15 Robotboy 04:40 The Secret Saturdays 05:05 Chowder 05:30 Ben 10 05:55 Best Ed 06:20 Samurai Jack 06:45 Cramp Twins

09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00 PG15

Don’t Say a Word - PG15 Saving Sarah Cain - PG Napoleon Pt.*1* - PG Everest Pt.*1* - PG Custody - PG California Dreaming - PG Scorched - PG15 Netherbeast Incorporated


CNN INTERNATIONAL 00:00 Fareed Zakaria Gps 01:00 Best Of Backstory 01:30 World Sport 02:00 The Situation Room 03:00 World Report 04:00 World Business Today 04:30 World Sport 05:00 World Report 06:00 Anderson Cooper 360 07:00 World Report 07:30 Worldview 08:00 World Report 08:30 Best Of Backstory 09:00 World Report 10:30 World Sport 11:00 World Report 11:30 World Business Today 12:00 World Report 12:30 Worldview 13:00 Larry King 14:00 World Report 14:30 World Sport 15:00 World Report 16:00 Amanpour. 16:30 News Special 17:00 World Business Today 18:00 International Desk 19:00 The Brief 19:30 World Sport 20:00 Prism 20:30 News Special 21:00 International Desk 22:00 Quest Means Business 23:00 Amanpour. 23:30 World One DISCOVERY CHANNEL 00:00 MacIntyre: World’s Toughest Towns

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day on Show Movies 1 07:10 The Powerpuff Girls 07:35 Camp Lazlo 08:00 My Spy Family 08:25 Chowder 08:50 Best Ed 09:15 Chop Socky Chooks 09:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 10:05 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 10:30 Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes 10:55 Skunk Fu! 11:20 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 11:30 Squirrel Boy 11:55 Robotboy 12:20 Camp Lazlo 12:45 The Powerpuff Girls 13:10 Class of 3000 13:35 Ed, Edd n Eddy 14:00 Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends 14:25 Codename 14:50 Ben 10 15:15 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 15:40 Squirrel Boy 16:05 Eliot Kid 16:35 George of the Jungle 17:00 Skunk Fu! 17:25 Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes 17:50 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 18:15 The Secret Saturdays 18:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 19:05 Casper’s Scare School 19:30 Squirrel Boy 20:00 The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack 20:25 Chop Socky Chooks 20:50 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 21:05 Ed, Edd n Eddy 21:30 Skunk Fu! 21:45 The Secret Saturdays 22:10 Ben 10: Alien Force 22:35 The Life & Times of Juniper Lee 23:00 Camp Lazlo 23:25 Samurai Jack 23:50 Megas XLR CINEMA CITY 01:00 Ninja Cheerleaders - 18 03:00 Abraham’s Point - PG15 05:00Once Upon a Time In America - 18

01:00 02:00 02:55 03:20 03:50 04:45 05:10 06:05 07:00 07:55 08:50 09:45 10:10 11:05 12:00 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 22:00 23:00

Eyewitness Street Customs Berlin Fifth Gear Fifth Gear American Chopper How It’s Made Eyewitness X-Machines Extreme Engineering Rides Overhaulin How Do They Do It? Mythbusters Ultimate Survival River Monsters: Killer Catfish How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Fifth Gear American Chopper Miami Ink Mythbusters Ultimate Survival Destroyed in Seconds Destroyed in Seconds Street Customs How Do They Do It? How It’s Made River Monsters: Killer Catfish Deadliest Catch Ultimate Survival

DISCOVERY SCIENCE 00:40 Nextworld 01:30 Science of the Movies 02:20 Future Weapons 03:10 Future Weapons 04:00 Nextworld 04:50 Science of the Movies 05:45 Engineered 06:40 Patent Bending 07:10 What’s That About? 08:00 Thunder Races 09:00 NASA’s Greatest Missions 10:00 Nextworld 10:55 How Stuff’s Made 11:20 Stunt Junkies 11:50 Man Made Marvels: China’s National Theatre 12:45 Green Wheels 13:10 One Step Beyond 13:40 NASA’s Greatest Missions 14:35 Nextworld

15:30 16:25 16:55 17:50 18:45 19:40 20:30 21:20 22:10 23:00 23:50

Robocar How Stuff’s Made Thunder Races Brainiac Extreme Engineering Mighty Ships Mega Builders How It’s Made Mythbusters Mighty Ships Mega Builders

DISNEY CHANNEL 00:00 Jonas 00:20 Wizards Of Waverly Place 00:45 Suite Life On Deck 01:10 Fairly Odd Parents 01:35 Replacements 02:00 Phineas & Ferb 02:25 Little Einsteins 02:45 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 03:10 Handy Manny 03:35 Lazytown 04:00 Jonas 04:25 Suite Life On Deck 04:50 Wizards Of Waverly Place 05:15 Hannah Montana 05:40 Sonny With A Chance 06:00 Higglytown Heroes 06:10 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 06:35 Handy Manny 07:00 Special Agent Oso 07:20 Lazytown 07:45 Lazytown 08:10 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 08:35 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:00 Handy Manny 09:25 Special Agent Oso 09:45 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 10:10 Fairly Odd Parents 10:35 Hannah Montana 11:00 I Got A Rocket 11:25 Wizards Of Waverly Place 11:45 Phineas & Ferb 12:10 Suite Life On Deck 12:35 Replacements 12:55 American Dragon 13:20 Kim Possible 13:40 Famous Five 14:05 Fairly Odd Parents 14:30 Phineas & Ferb 14:55 Replacements 15:15 I Got A Rocket 15:40 Wizards Of Waverly Place 16:00 Hannah Montana 16:25 Sonny With A Chance 16:45 Fairly Odd Parents 17:10 Phineas & Ferb 17:35 Suite Life On Deck 18:00 Wizards Of Waverly Place 18:25 Hannah Montana 18:45 The Replacements 19:00 Jonas 19:25 Suite Life On Deck 19:50 Sonny With A Chance 20:15 Hannah Montana 20:40 Wizards Of Waverly Place 21:05 The Suite Life of Zack & Cody 21:50 The Replacements 22:00 American Dragon 22:25 Kim Possible 22:50 Famous Five 23:15 Fairly Odd Parents 23:35 Phineas & Ferb E! ENTERTAINMENT 00:15 Reality Hell 00:40 E!es 02:20 Sexiest 03:15 Fatal Beauty 05:05 Dr 90210 06:00 Ths 07:45 Style Star 08:35 E! News 09:25 Kourtney And Khloe Take Miami 10:15 Ths 12:00 E! News 12:50 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 13:40 15 Most Infamous Child Star Mugshots 15:25 Behind The Scenes 16:15 E!es 17:10 Leave It To Lamas 18:00 E! News 18:50 Streets Of Hollywood 19:15 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties 19:40 101 Craziest Tv Moments 21:20 Wildest Tv Show Moments 21:45 Reality Hell 22:10 E! News 23:00 Dr 90210 23:50 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties EXTREME SPORTS 00:00 Strikeforce 01:00 Strikeforce 02:00 X Games 15 2009 03:00 Fim World Motocross Championships 2009 04:00 FIM World Supermoto 2008 05:00 I-Ex Season 2 07:00 FIM World Supermoto 2008 08:00 Sacred Ride 09:00 Avalanche Trophy 2008 10:00 AST Winter Dew Tour 11:00 Rebel Events 2009: Wangl Tangl 12:00 Sacred Ride 13:00 Avalanche Trophy 2008 14:00 Ride Guide Snow 2007 15:00 Rebel Events 2009: Wangl Tangl 16:00 Sacred Ride 17:00 Avalanche Trophy 2008 18:00 AST Winter Dew Tour 19:00 LG Action Sports World Championships 20:00 Ride Guide Snow 2007 21:00 Avalanche Trophy 2008 22:00 Rebel Events 2009: Wangl Tangl 23:00 LG Action Sports World Championships FOX SPORTS 00:00 Motorworld 00:30 Raceworld 01:30 ACC Sunday Night Hoops Xavier v Wake Forest 03:30 ACC Sunday Night Hoops Clemson v Duke 06:00 The Golf Channel - TBA 09:00 Everton TV Classic Highlights 12:00 Dream Team Season 7 14:00 PGA TOUR Year in Review 15:00 NFL: Teams TBA

18:00 Dream Team Season 8 19:00 ACC Sunday Night Hoops Florida v North Carolina St. 21:30 ACC Sunday Night Hoops Xavier v Wake Forest 23:30 ACC Sunday Night Hoops Clemson v Duke

23:00 Heroes SHOW SPORTS 1 01:30 Scottish Premier League 03:30 Goals Goals Goals 04:00 Barclays Premier League 06:00 Barclays Premier League Highlights 07:00 Premier League 09:00 Test Cricket Highlights 11:00 Scottish Premier League 13:00 Premier League 17:00 Futbol Mundial 17:30 Premier League World 18:00 Premier League Classics 18:30 Scottish Premier League 20:30 Barclays Premier League Highlights 21:30 Premier League World 22:00 Premier League Classics 23:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 23:30 Futbol Mundial

MGM 01:20 House Of Games 03:00 Miracle Mile 04:25 Laws Of Gravity 06:00 Sweet Lies 07:35 Futureworld 09:20 Hennessy 11:05 Buona Sera, Mrs.campbell 12:55 The Escape 14:25 The Glory Stompers 15:50 Napoleon 17:10 Sticky Fingers 18:35 Arena 20:10 The Playboys 22:00 Ski School 23:30 Kidnapped NAT GEO ADVENTURE 00:00 Bondi Rescue 00:30 Surfer’s Journal 01:30 Jailed Abroad 03:30 Photo To Go 04:00 Cycling Home With Rob Lilwall 04:30 Lonely Planet 05:30 Bondi Rescue 06:30 Surfer’s Journal 07:30 Jailed Abroad 09:30 Photo To Go 10:00 Bondi Rescue 10:30 Destination Extreme 11:00 Madventures 11:30 Word Travels:the Truth Behind 12:00 Word Travels 12:30 Lonely Planet 13:30 Finding Genghis 14:00 The Ride: Alaska To Patagonia 14:30 Destination Extreme 15:00 Madventures 15:30 Surfer’s Journal 16:00 Bondi Rescue 16:30 Destination Extreme 17:00 Madventures 17:30 Word Travels:the Truth Behind 18:00 Word Travels 18:30 Lonely Planet 19:30 Finding Genghis 20:00 The Ride: Alaska To Patagonia 20:30 Destination Extreme 21:00 Madventures 21:30 Surfer’s Journal 22:00 Bondi Rescue 22:30 Destination Extreme 23:00 Madventures 23:30 Word Travels:the Truth Behind NAT GEO WILD 00:00 Orca Killing School 01:00 Chimp Diaries 01:30 Savannah 02:00 Spain’s Last Lynx 03:00 Python Attack 04:00 Rescue Ink 05:00 Divine Delinquents 06:00 Orca Killing School 07:00 Chimp Diaries 07:30 Savannah 08:00 Spain’s Last Lynx 09:00 Python Attack 10:00 Rescue Ink 11:00 The Living Edens 12:00 Secrets Of The King Cobra 13:00 Kalahari Supercats 14:00 Guardians Of Nature 15:00 Mother Warthog 16:00 Insects From Hell 16:30 Snake Wranglers 17:00 The Living Edens 18:00 Secrets Of The King Cobra 19:00 Kalahari Supercats 20:00 Guardians Of Nature 21:00 Mother Warthog 22:00 Insects From Hell 22:30 Snake Wranglers 23:00 The Living Edens ORBIT NEWS 1 00:00 NBC Weekend Today Show 01:00 ABC This week (Sun) 02:00 ABC World News Live 02:30 NBC Nightly News Live 03:00 ABC World News (Sun) 03:30 NBC Nightly News (Sun) 04:00 NBC Sunday Today Show 05:00 ABC This week (Sun) 06:00 NBC Meet The Press (Sun) 07:00 ABC World News (Sun) 07:30 NBC Nightly News (Sun) 08:00 ABC World News (Sun) 08:30 NBC Nightly News (Sun) 09:00 ABC This week (Sun) 10:00 ABC World News (Sun) 10:30 NBC Nightly News (Sun) 11:00 ABC World News Now Live 12:30 NBC Early Today Live 13:00 ABC America This Morning Live 14:30 NBC Early Today 15:00 NBC Today Show Live 19:00 ABC Now Money Matters / Bell 19:30 ABC NOW / Good Money 20:00 MSNBC Live Dr. NANCY 21:00 MSNBC Live Andrea Mitchell Reports 22:00 NBC Meet The Press (Sun) 23:00 ABC This week (Sun) ORBIT NEWS 2 00:00 ABC NOW Nightline Twitter (Mon) 00:30 ABC Now Ahead of the Curve (Fri) 01:00 ABC Now Nature’s Edge (Mon) 01:30 ABC Now Good Money (Fri) 02:00 ABC Now Job Club (Wed) 02:30 ABC Now Daily Download + Now you Know (Fri) 03:00 MSNBC (As Live) Investigates 10:00 NBC Meet the Press (taped) 11:00 MSNBC (As Live) Investigates 12:00 NBC Meet the Press (taped) 13:00 MSNBC First Look (Live) 13:30 MSNBC Way Too Early w/W. Geist (Live) 14:00 MSNBC (taped) Hardball 15:00 MSNBC (taped) The Ed Show 16:00 MSNBC (taped) Countdown w/K. Olbermann

SHOW SPORTS 2 02:00 Barclays Premier League Highlights 03:00 Premier League World 03:30 Live Test Cricket 10:30 Futbol Mundial 11:00 Weber Cup Bowling 12:00 Guinness Premiership 14:00 Barclays Premier League Highlights 15:00 PGA European Tour Review 16:00 Futbol Mundial 16:30 Gillette World Sport 17:00 Weber Cup Bowling 18:00 PDC World Darts Championship 23:00 PGA European Tour Review

The Go-Getter on Super Movies 17:00 MSNBC Live Morning Meeting with Dylan Ratigan 18:00 MSNBC Live Morning Meeting with Dylan Ratigan 19:00 MSNBC Live 20:00 MSNBC Hardball Weekend (Sun. 12:00G) 20:30 MSNBC Your Business (Sun. 12:30G) 21:00 NBC Meet the Press (taped) 22:00 MSNBC Live

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

PLAYHOUSE DISNEY 08:00 Special Agent Oso 08:25 Handy Manny 08:50 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:15 Imagination Movers 09:40 Chuggington 10:10 Handy Manny 10:30 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 10:50 Special Agent Oso 11:15 Imagination Movers 11:40 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 12:05 Chuggington 12:20 Chuggington 12:55 Handy Manny 13:05 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 13:30 Little Einsteins 13:50 Handy Manny 14:10 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 14:30 Little Einsteins 14:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 15:20 Jo Jo’s Circus 15:45 Jo Jo’s Circus 16:10 Higglytown Heroes 16:35 Higglytown Heroes 17:00 Happy Monster Band 17:05 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 17:30 Happy Monster Band 17:35 Handy Manny 18:00 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 18:25 Special Agent Oso 18:50 Chuggington 19:00 Imagination Movers 19:25 Handy Manny 19:50 Chuggington 20:00 Special Agent Oso 20:15 Little Einsteins 20:40 Handy Manny 20:50 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 21:00 End Of Programming

SHOW MOVIES 2 00:00 Adoration - PG 15 01:45 Straw Dogs - R 03:45 Interview With An Assassin PG 15 05:30 West Side Story - PG 15 08:30 Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid PG 10:00 The Secret Garden - PG 12:00 Trekkies 2 - PG 14:00 The Odd Couple 2 - PG 15 16:00 The Secret Garden - PG 18:00 Trekkies 2 - PG 20:00 The Lonely Guy - PG 15 22:00 Ceux Qui Restent - PG 15

SHOW COMEDY 00:00 My Family: Christmas Special 01:00 Free Radio 03:00 Home Improvement 03:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 04:00 Free Radio 05:00 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 05:30 Will And Grace 06:00 My Wife And Kids 06:30 Home Improvement 07:00 Fresh Prince Of Bel Air 07:30 Three Sisters 08:00 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 08:30 8 Simple Rules... 09:00 The Nanny 09:30 Rita Rocks 10:00 Will And Grace 10:30 My Wife And Kids 11:00 How I Met Your Mother 11:30 8 Simple Rules... 12:00 Three Sisters 12:30 The Nanny 13:00 Fresh Prince Of Bel Air 13:30 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 14:00 Home Improvement 14:30 Rita Rocks 15:00 My Family: Christmas Special 16:00 Three Sisters 16:30 The Nanny 17:00 Fresh Prince Of Bel Air 17:30 8 Simple Rules... 18:00 Will And Grace 18:30 My Wife And Kids 19:00 How I Met Your Mother 19:30 Rita Rocks 20:00 Gavin And Stacey 20:30 According To Jim 21:00 The Daily Show - Global Edition 21:30 The Colbert Report - Global Edition 22:00 Plus One 22:30 The Inbetweeners 23:00 South Park 23:30 How I Met Your Mother SHOW MOVIES 1 01:00 Clean Break - 18 03:00 Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day - PG 15

Termination Point - PG 15 Heavy Metal In Baghdad - PG Sicko - PG 15 Fireproof - PG Grace Is Gone - PG 15 Sicko - PG 15 Fireproof - PG Man On Wire - PG 15 Lions For Lambs - PG 15 The Foot Fist Way - PG 15

SHOW MOVIES ACTION 01:00 Virtuosity - 18 03:00 Princess Mononoke - PG 15 05:30 The Host - 18 07:30 H.i.t. - PG 15 09:00 The Invincible - PG 15 11:00 Outpost - 18 13:00 Artefacts - PG 15 15:00 The Invincible - PG 15 17:00 Outpost - 18 19:00 Incubus - PG 15 21:00 Prophecy 5 - 18 23:00 Felon - 18 SHOW MOVIES COMEDY 00:00 How High - 18 02:00 Sixteen Candles - PG 15 04:00 Dennis The Menace Strikes Again - PG 06:00 Made Of Honor - PG 15 08:00 Sixteen Candles - PG 15 10:00 Bee Movie - PG 12:00 Pure Luck - PG 15 14:00 Little Giants - FAM 16:00 Bee Movie - PG 18:00 Pure Luck - PG 15 20:00 American Pie 2 - 18 22:00 Serial Mom - 18 SHOW MOVIES KIDS 01:15 Clockstoppers - FAM 03:00 Stan Lee: The Condor - PG 04:30 Barbie - And The Diamond Castle - FAM 06:00 D2: The Mighty Ducks - PG 08:00 Never Ending Story 2: The Next Chapter - FAM 10:00 The Mighty Ducks - FAM 11:45 Barbie And The Three Musketeers - PG 13:30 D3: The Mighty Ducks - PG 15:15 Mee Shee - PG 15 17:00 Only Yesterday - PG 19:00 D3: The Mighty Ducks - PG 20:45 The Mighty Ducks - FAM 22:30 Barbie And The Three Musketeers - PG SHOW SERIES 00:00 Criminal Minds 01:00 Doctor Who 02:00 C.s.i. Miami 03:00 Survivor: Samoa 04:00 Law And Order 05:00 Emmerdale 05:30 Coronation Street 06:00 Criminal Minds 07:00 24 08:00 Heroes 09:00 Survivor: Samoa 10:00 Law And Order 11:00 24 12:00 Emmerdale 12:30 Coronation Street 13:00 Doctor Who 14:00 C.s.i. Miami 15:00 Heroes 16:00 Criminal Minds 17:00 Survivor: Samoa 18:00 Emmerdale 18:30 Coronation Street 19:00 Law And Order 20:00 Lipstick Jungle 21:00 C.s.i. New York 22:00 24

SHOW SPORTS 3 01:30 Guinness Premiership 05:30 Barclays Premier League Highlights 06:30 PDC World Darts Championship 11:30 Live Test Cricket 18:30 Test Cricket SHOW SPORTS 4 00:15 Live NFL 03:00 UFC 108 06:00 WWE Vintage Collection 07:00 WWE Bottomline 08:00 UAE National Race Day 08:30 FIM World Cup 09:00 Rat Race 09:30 FIA GT 11:00 Bushido 12:00 WWE Bottomline 13:00 Red Bull Air Race 15:00 Rat Race 15:30 WWE SmackDown! 17:00 WWE Bottomline 18:00 WWE Vintage Collection 19:00 UFC 108 22:00 NFL SUPER COMEDY 00:30 Two And A Half Men 01:30 Drew Carey Show 02:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 03:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 03:30 SNL 2009-2010 05:00 Curb Your Enthusiasm 05:30 Two And A Half Men 06:30 The Simpsons 07:00 Frasier 07:30 Drew Carey Show 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 Simpsons 12:30 Drew Carey Show 13:00 SNL 2009-2010 14:30 Curb Your Enthusiasm 15:00 Two And A Half Men 16:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 17:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 17:30 Frasier 18:00 The Best Of Jimmy Kimmel Live 19:00 The Simpsons 19:30 Drew Carey Show 20:00 The Best Of Jay Leno Show 21:00 The Best Of Tonight Show With Conan O’ Brien 22:00 The Best Of Late Night Show With Jimmy Fallon 23:00 Entourage 23:30 The Best Of Jimmy Kimmel Live SUPER MOVIES 01:00 Lie to Me - R 03:00 In Tranzit - PG15 05:00 The Go-Getter - PG15 07:00 Max Payne - PG15 09:00 Player *5150* - PG15 11:00 The Jerk Theory - PG 13:00 The Nines - PG 15:00 Alice Upside Down - PG 17:00 Shadows in Paradise - PG15 19:00 Momma’s Man - PG 21:00 Nancy Drew - PG 23:00 Finding Amanda - 18 TCM 00:55 Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) 02:40 Kelly’s Heroes 05:00 Bad Day at Black Rock 06:15 Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) 08:00 White Heat 09:50 Desert Bloom (1986) 11:40 Kelly’s Heroes 14:00 Kidnapped (1971) 15:50 An American in Paris 17:40 The Alamo (1960) 21:10 Beau Brummell 23:00 Zebrahead (1992) THE HISTORY CHANNEL 00:40 Battles B.C. 01:30 Cities Of The Underworld 02:20 The Universe 03:10 Ice Road Truckers 3 04:00 Evolve 04:55 How the Earth Was Made 05:50 Warriors 06:40 Battles B.C. 07:30 Cities Of The Underworld 08:20 The Universe 09:10 Ice Road Truckers 3

Star listings (UAE timings) Star Movies 16:00 Scrubs 16:25 Scrubs 16:50 V.I.P. 17:00 Ugly Betty 17:50 One Day At A Time 18:00 Ghost Whisperer 18:50 Dilbert 19:00 Ghost Hunters International 19:50 V.I.P. 20:00 Ugly Betty 20:50 One Day At A Time 21:00 Ghost Whisperer 21:50 Dilbert 22:00 [V] Tunes 23:00 Worst Week 23:30 NGC Program 00:00 [V] Tunes 01:00 [V] Tunes 02:00 7th Heaven 03:00 American Idol 04:00 According To Jim 04:30 According To Jim 05:00 Ghost Hunters International 05:50 V.I.P.

06:00 06:50 07:00 07:25 07:50 08:00 08:50 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:50 11:00 11:50 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00

Grey’s Anatomy One Day At A Time Scrubs Scrubs Dilbert Ugly Betty V.I.P. Worst Week The Bold And The Beautiful 7th Heaven One Day At A Time Grey’s Anatomy Dilbert [V] TUNES Ghost Hunters International American Idol American Idol

Granada TV 20:00 The Last Detective (Series 1) 22:00 Resolutionaires * 23:00 Traffic Jams From Hell 00:00 Resolutionaires * 01:00 Crime Monday: The Last Detective (Series 1)

03:00 The Springer Show 04:00 Confessions Of 05:00 Emmerdale 05:30 Coronation Street 06:00 Resolutionaires * 07:00 Crime Monday: The Detective (Series 1) 09:00 The Springer Show 10:00 Confessions Of 11:00 Emmerdale 11:30 Coronation Street 12:00 The Jeremy Kyle Show 13:00 Fight School * 14:00 Crime Monday: The Detective (Series 1) 15:30 Airline (Series 5) 16:00 Emmerdale 16:30 Coronation Street 17:00 The Jeremy Kyle Show 18:00 Fight School * 19:00 Crime Monday: The Detective (Series 1 Channel [V] 22:00 [V] Plug




22:30 The Playlist 23:00 Loop 00:00 Backtracks 01:00 Double Shot 02:00 [V] Plug 02:30 The Playlist 03:00 Loop 04:00 [V] Special 05:00 [V] Tunes 06:00 Double Shot 07:00 Backtracks 08:00 Loop 09:00 [V] Plug 09:30 Double Shot 10:00 Backtracks 11:00 [V] Tunes 12:00 [V] Plug 12:30 The Playlist 13:00 Loop 14:00 AMP Celebrasian Electrico and Hujian 15:00 The Goode Family 15:30 Keys To The VIP 16:00 Backtracks 17:00 [V] Tunes

18:00 [V] Plug 18:30 The Playlist 19:00 Loop 20:00 AMP Celebrasian Electrico and Hujian 21:00 The Goode Family 21:30 Keys To The VIP



Fox News 21:00 America’s News HQ host Shannon Bream 23:00 Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace (repeat) 00:00 The O’Reilly Factor(repeat) 01:00 America’s News HQ hosts Gregg Jarrett and Julie Banderas 03:00 FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace (repeat) 04:00 FOX Report Sunday host Julie Banderas 05:00 Huckabee with Mike Huckabee 06:00 Hannity with Sean Hannity 07:00 Geraldo At Large with Geraldo Rivera 08:00 Huckabee with Mike Huckabee

09:00 10:00 Rivera 11:00 12:00 13:00 13:30 14:00 14:30 15:00 16:00 18:00

FOX Report Sunday Geraldo At Large with Geraldo Hannity with Sean Hannity War Stories with Oliver North Bulls and Bears (repeat) Cavuto On Business (repeat) FORBES on FOX (repeat) Cashin’ In (repeat) FOX & Friends First Live FOX & Friends Live America’s Newsroom

National Geographical Channel 20:00 About Asia -ShowReal Asia : Bettle Battles: Kwang Bang 21:00 Big, Bigger, Biggest -Aircraft 22:00 Inside -India’s Hidden Plague:Ashley Judd’s Mission 23:00 Reverse Exploration -1 00:00 Naked Science -Birth Of The Earth S2-13 01:00 ABOUT ASIA -ShowReal Asia : Bettle Battles: Kwang Bang 02:00 Seconds From Disaster -

Superstore Collaspe S3-5 03:00 Hitler’s Secret Bunkers 04:00 Megafish 05:00 ABOUT ASIA -ShowReal Asia : Bettle Battles: Kwang Bang 06:00 Seconds From Disaster Superstore Collaspe S3-5 07:00 Is It Real? -Chupacabras S2 07:30 Is It Real? -Psychic Detectives 10 08:00 Naked Science -Birth Of The Earth S2-13 09:00 Nat Geo Junior -Planet Mechanics : Solar Paella 10:00 Hitler’s Secret Bunkers 11:00 Seconds From Disaster Superstore Collaspe S3-5 12:00 ABOUT ASIA -ShowReal Asia : Stuntmen of Bollywood 13:00 42 Ways To Kill Hitler 14:00 Convoy - War For The Atlantic Wolfpack Rising 1 15:00 Locked Up Abroad -Sao Paulo Death Trap 16:00 Hitler’s Secret Bunkers 17:00 42 Ways To Kill Hitler



Monday, January 4, 2010

Britney feels free he ‘Toxic’ singer has learned to relax and focus on her own interests since her much-publicized breakdown in 2007. She said: “I’m learning to take better care of myself and not get stressed or down about things for nothing. I’m taking my time these days and not letting myself get under any pressure other than to


just feel happy about myself and to work on my music. “I want to show people I am a strong woman. I have a lot of great things ahead of me that I want to accomplish. “I feel positive and much happier, things are looking good again. I’m learning to relax and not place so much pressure on myself.” The ‘Womanizer’ star says working on

Fox didn’t enjoy ‘lesbian kiss’ egan Fox hates watching her kiss with Amanda Seyfried. The 23-year-old beauty has to lock lips with the ‘Mamma Mia!’ star in ‘Jennifer’s Body’ but isn’t comfortable seeing the smooch played back to her because it was very “awkward to film. Bisexual Megan - who has previously claimed she feels more comfortable kissing her female co-stars rather than her male ones - said: “I feel it’s so awkward and quiet, there is no score underneath it and it’s just... Could you watch yourself doing it? It’s awkward and it was really awkward to film it. “I would say it’s easier kissing someone who you know doesn’t want to kiss you, that’s more comfortable than going into a scene with somebody that you think is anticipating it or is going to enjoy it. That’s worse in a working environment. But I knew clearly Amanda was not excited about it.” Amanda has previously said she felt “uncomfortable” kissing Megan. She said: “I was uncomfortable, because I normally kiss men. Even in front of people, to kiss someone for the first time, female or male, is still awkward. “It’s also awkward when you’re being filmed doing it. And then, of course, there’s still the producers that get to watch that scene every day, and you’re like - it’s inevitable, men are going to get turned on. You know people are going to get turned on when they see this, because it’s, you know, taboo.”


he Kasabian frontman spent time waiting for guitarist Serge Pizzorno to finish writing the group’s latest album ‘West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ by buying obscure items from the auction website. He said: “I had to wait for Serge to get the songs ready. It’s hard for me when we’re not touring or anything. There’s not really much I can do apart from this. I’m in a cage and he’s free, in the wildlife, roaming about. I started s**tting it. Shall I get high? What shall I do with my day? What can I do with my night? “I’d go on eBay. I buy everything. Really bizarre s**t. I bought a karate outfit. A Cobra


imon Cowell was given a £500,000 painting for Christmas. The music mogul - who runs record label Syco - was treated to an original painting by British graffiti artist Banksy, to


Gallagher’s chart war iam Gallagher has warned brother Noel not to start a chart war with him. The singer - who recently confirmed he is working on new material with ex-Oasis bandmates Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock - insists there is no bad feeling towards the group’s former guitarist but doubts his sibling’s solo record will be as good as his LP. Liam said: “He’s doing his thing, we’re doing our thing, I wish him all the best. I don’t wish him anything bad, I’m his brother. I love him to death. “So long as you don’t release the same day as ours because we’ll have you.” The ‘Live Forever’ star also revealed his new line-up are currently experimenting with new names but he is unsure about what moniker to go for as he will always be associated with Oasis. He added to Sky News: “It’s me and Gem and Andy, we’ve got a new bass player who’s mega, we’ve got the old drummer, Chris Sharrock, who’s amazing, the old keyboard player.


Mika hates taking his clothes off he ‘Grace Kelly’ singer dances around in his white underpants in the promotional video for his single ‘We Are Golden’ but insists he is embarrassed about flaunting his body. He said: “I’m so prudish. I hate taking my clothes off and it seems funny that I’m now known for running around and dancing in my underpants!” Although he loves wearing clothes, Mika admitted he doesn’t have a lot of variety in his wardrobe as it is mainly white. He said: “My clothes really aren’t that interesting, I have a lot of white in my wardrobe. But my favorite item of clothing is probably my $7 Gap jean I got when I was 17. I love them and they’re still so comfortable.” Meanwhile, the 26-year-old star recently revealed he was bullied at school, leaving a “cripplingly shy” teenager. He said: “As a teenager I was a coward and a loser. I was shy. I was very camp in my own way but I didn’t realize I was. I was bullied for being different. “It was so bad that I was worried about surviving into my 20s.”


Kai outfit from ‘The Karate Kid’. It’s not actually from the film. It’s a copy of it. It’s quite baggy.” Tom is not the only rocker with an interest in the auction site. Former Stone Roses star Ian Brown recently revealed that his children- nine-year-old son Emilio, with wife Fabiola Quiroz Brown and two older sons, Frankie and Casey, from a previous relationship make money by selling his autographed posters on the internet. He explained: “My kids have started selling posters of me on Ebay. They get me to sign them and then sell them online for £10. “It saves me having to give them money!”

replicate one of the 50-yearold TV personality’s favorite artworks . The artist - who is known for his stencil-style public pieces - superimposed Simon’s head on a reproduction of Degas’ 1874 creation, Rehearsal Of The Ballet On Stage. A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “Record label execs wanted something unique to give Simon. He’s a secret art collector and loves Degas - plus he’s a huge fan of Banksy. So they got Banksy to mock up one of Degas’ most famous works. In the picture, it looks like Simon’s deciding whether or not the girl has the ‘X Factor’. “He took one look at it and declared it ‘hilarious’.” The 50-year-old ‘X Factor’ judge’s record company has achieved massive profits this year after Syco acts Leona Lewis, Susan Boyle and Alexandra Burke sold millions of LPs worldwide. Despite Simon’s celebrity status, executives at his label had a hard time persuading Banksy to help them out. The source explained: “Banksy rarely does private commissions so it was a real coup by record label bosses to secure his services. They are very pleased with what he created.” Simon has hung the painting at his luxurious London home, and has already had two prints made up for his houses in Barbados and Los Angeles.

Boyle to duet with Bocelli usan Boyle is to duet with opera singer Andrea Bocelli. The Scottish singer whose debut album ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ was the fastest-selling debut LP ever released by a woman - will team up with the Italian operatic legend for a new TV talent show even though she beat him in the US album charts. The pair will join together for upcoming ITV1 show ‘Pop Star to Opera Star’, where pop musicians will compete against each other by singing classical arias. A source told The Sun newspaper: “Susan has held Andrea off the top of the US charts for weeks - it’s incredible. But he holds no grudges, he joked that he ‘must sing with this amazing woman.’ “ The blind tenor’s latest album, ‘My Christmas’, was kept from the Billboard top spot by 48-year-old spinster Susan’s LP. When they perform together, the pair are expected to duet on one


Diablo Cody is scared of girls

Tom Meighan is obsessed with eBay

her recent album ‘Circus’ was key to helping her move forward with her life. She added: “I’ve been through a lot and I’m really excited by my album. I’m very proud of it. I really enjoyed the process of putting the album together and it’s been kind of therapeutic for me. Music is such a huge part of me.”

of Grammy-nominated Andrea’s most famous songs - either ‘Time To Say Goodbye’, which he famously performed with Sarah Brightman, or ‘The Prayer’, which he sang with Celine Dion. Susan shot to fame earlier this year when she appeared on British TV show ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ - on which she finished second. Since releasing her award-winning album earlier this year, Susan has already fulfilled her lifelong dream of performing alongside musical legend Elaine Paige.

he scriptwriter says she drew inspiration for her latest movie ‘Jennifer’s Body’ about a dead cheerleader who returns to kill and eat her classmates - on the struggles and fears of growing up. She said: “When I started the script, I was thinking about what’s scary to me and I decided, girls are scary! One of the first lines of the movie is ‘Hell is teenagers’. “If you think about all the subgenres of horror - vampires, werewolves, zombies - none of these transformations are as profound as puberty. The experience of becoming an adolescent is horrifying.” Diablo also admitted she drew inspiration from people she knew at school when coming up with her lead character, who is played in the film by Megan Fox. She explained: “Everyone knows the alpha female. She steals your boyfriend and dates the guys you can’t have. So yes, it’s more about getting revenge on that girl than on any of the guys who dumped me. “It was about exposing her for the monster she is - and showing how insecure she is. I love the fact that Jennifer has these moments, because that’s the truth of the matter. Those girls, the ones who flaunt their power, are the most insecure.”


Jay-Z makes bodyguards drink shake ay-Z makes his bodyguards drink a special protein shake. The 39-year-old rapper is keen for his six security men to be in tip top condition, and so makes them gulp a drink made from his own recipe. A source said: “Every day Jay-Z lines up his guards, hands them a protein drink of his own concoction - fresh vegetable juices, fruits, protein


powder, wheat germ, vitamin supplements - then eyeballs the tough guys until every last drop is gone.” Jay-Z doesn’t even let up from the routine when he is on tour. He ensures all hotel kitchens are given the recipe, and then requests seven glasses of the drink are brought to him and his companions by room service. This is not the first time Jay-Z’s love of drinks

has been documented. The ‘99 Problems’ rapper recently admitted he used to motivate his staff at Def Jam records where he was label president with champagne cocktails. He said: “I had Bellini Fridays! Basically at 4pm on Fridays we’d all have Bellinis. Alcohol can smooth everyone out. I’m not promoting drinking to young people though!”


Monday, January 4, 2010



Joshua Tree National Park is an often-overlooked treasure The National Park Service maintains the William Keys Ranch as it was when the family left.

La Quinta Resort & Club has 41 swimming pools.

osemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon get the publicity, and the visitors. But there are plenty of lesser-known national parks that offer gorgeous vistas and pristine back country, far from the maddening crowds. Joshua Tree, Big Bend, Capitol Reef, Isle Royale, Kenai Fjords and Theodore Roosevelt are national parks that may never be the stars of a Ken Burns documentary. But each offers its own charm, and you won’t find a traffic jam at any of them. In fact, Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Isle Royale in Lake Superior have no traffic at all; you explore them by boat or by sea plane. When I visited Theodore Roosevelt in remote western North Dakota and asked the ranger whether he was busy with visitors that day, he replied, “You’re No 2.” Franklin Roosevelt made Joshua Tree a national monument in 1936, and Bill Clinton elevated it to a national park in 1994. The park is well known in Southern California but, like some Americans living else-


A makeshift memorial to Gram Parsons is in the courtyard of the Joshua Tree Inn, where he died.

The setting sun silhouettes a namesake plant at Joshua Tree National Park. where, I first heard of this eerie expanse of cactus-studded desert and mountains in 1973 after the strange death of Gram Parsons, a singer-songwriter who was a member of the Byrds and a pioneer of country-rock music. Parsons, who may be best known for his later duets with Emmylou Harris, died of an overdose in the Joshua Tree Inn, where his admirers still maintain a makeshift memorial of candles, flowers and a tiny guitar in the sandy courtyard outside the blue door of room No 8. In the days after his death, two of his drunken buddies absconded with Parsons’ casket and tried to fulfill his wish of being cremated in the Joshua Tree desert. The purported spot where the body was partially burned is in the vicinity of Cap Rock, one of the park’s geologic landmarks. A nearby rock face is scrawled with messages, some put there as recently as this year by fans still mourning 35 years later. Ranger Pat Pilcher, who gave

me a tour during my three-day visit to Joshua Tree, said the National Park Service does not encourage visits to the site or the resulting graffiti. “We don’t officially sanction it,” Pilcher said. “But it’s in the circuit. It’s not like it’s a secret, obviously.” Like many national parks, Joshua Tree had a prime mover. Minerva Hamilton Hoyt, a Mississippi belle who moved to Southern California, founded the International Deserts Conservation League in 1930. She worked to preserve the landscapes that were being devastated by cactus collectors and vandals, and lobbied Roosevelt to protect the area. The national monument was named Joshua Tree for the forests of dagger-leaf plants that dominate the high-desert valleys. Early Mormons, who named the trees, thought they looked like the prophet Joshua summoning his followers. The park’s other noted image is its rock piles, which come in fantastic shapes

and sizes. Some are spheres, some are stacked like a giant’s blocks. All were formed by 90 million years of erosion. “That’s the question we get the most,” Pilcher said. “Who piled those rocks up like that?” Although Joshua Tree is within a few hours’ drive of the 18 million inhabitants of Los Angeles and San Diego, it is easy to be alone in the nearly 800,000 acres of the national park, 80 percent of which is designated wilderness. On my arrival, I made the short but steep climb to the top of Ryan Mountain for a 360-degree look at the park at sunset. The summit was crowded with two other hikers. The next day, an eight-mile, round-trip hike took me through the low desert to Lost Palms Oasis, a hidden valley filled with the park’s largest grove of stately fan palms. The only sounds were the rustling of the palm fronds and the song of a cactus wren. Nights were spent at the 29 Palms Inn, which was built in the 1920s, maintains a funky ambiance and has the best restaurant in the town of Twentynine Palms. The area also is home to the world’s largest Marine base, which contains simulated Iraqi villages for practicing desert warfare. The Joshua Tree lore includes stories of the McHaney Gang of rustlers and prospectors who filed about 300 claims in their search for gold. Some hit pay dirt; most found dry holes. Pilcher, the ranger, opened the locked gates for a visit to the homestead of the William Keys family. Keys was a caretaker for the Desert Queen Mine, one of the few successes, and he took over the property in 1917 after the mine owner’s death. The nearest town was a

six-day ride by horseback, so Keys and his family scavenged the mining operations for any bit of equipment that might help them eke out a living in the harsh terrain. A cyanide tank became a chicken coop, an old tractor was jury-rigged to cut wood. “They were packrats, this is their Home Depot hardware department,” Pilcher said in a yard full of tables stacked with rusted nuts, bolts and tools. “They had to haul all this stuff in by horse and wagon, and everything was cobbled together. I’m amazed at their ingenuity.” The park service maintains the homestead exactly as it was when Keys died in 1969. Perhaps the most amazing story of Joshua Tree is the plants and wildlife that are able to survive in a climate in which the summer temperature reaches 115 degrees and the average annual rainfall is 4 inches. This year has been especially dry; the park had recorded a meager 0.56 inch of rain by midOctober. The desert tortoise, which is federally listed as threatened but holding its own in the park, lives most of its life protected from the heat in underground burrows. The spindly branches of the ocotillo plant appear to be dead until they burst forth with green leaves and flame-red flowers at their tips with the slightest bit of rain. Indeed, about half of the park’s 1.3 million annual visitors come February through May, when the temperature is mild and rain turns the desert floor into a carpet of wildflowers. “Some 250 species of birds occur here, and there are 800 species of plants in the parkthey’re finding new ones all the time,” chief interpreter Joe Zarki said. “There are two desert

ecosystems, the Mojave and Colorado deserts, and six mountain ranges. We are one of the most famous rock-climbing sites in the world and have some 270 miles of hiking trails.” The park does have its problems, especially because of its location within the suburban sprawl and smog of Southern California. “If you get out to Keys View on a clear day, you can see 90 miles into Mexico,” Zarki said. “But that’s limited to a few days out of the year now.” Exotic grasses also have moved in and provide tinder for fire from lighting strikes that normally would burn out on the bare ground. The park’s larger plants, such as pinon, juniper and its signature Joshua trees, are not adapted to fire and take many years to recover, altering a landscape that attracted people like Minerva Hamilton Hoyt, Gram Parsons, and today’s TV and film producers. “Since we’re so close to Los Angeles, we get a wide variety of television commercials filmed out here,” Zarki said. “The rocks, the boulder formations, which are of endless variations, all ringed by Joshua trees, it’s one of the iconic landscapes of the West.” Lesser-known parks have much to offer Here are capsule summaries of five lesser-known parks that are worth a visit. For more on national parks, visit Big Bend: Tucked into the notch of southwestern Texas along the Rio Grande, Big Bend has more than 800,000 acres of desert and mountains. You can start a hike among the flowering cactus of the desert and by afternoon be in the pine and pinon forests of the Chisos Mountainswithout seeing another person. When the river is running, outfitters offer rafting through stunning canyons. It’s home to rattlesnakes, mountain lions, black bears and some 450 species of birds. Kenai Fjords: Denali gets the most visitors of Alaska’s national parks, but Kenai Fjords features more than 600,000 acres of calving glaciers, ice-capped peaks and rocky coasts. Most visitors see it by boat or plane tours out of Seward. Kayak adventures also are available. Expect to see seals, sea otters, black bears and humpback whales. Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge opened last summer and is the only lodging within the park. Capitol Reef: Zion, Bryce and Arches are the best known among Utah’s parks, but Capitol Reef also offers red-rock wonders like the Waterpocket Fold, a 100mile-long wrinkle in the Earth’s crust. There are twisting canyons, massive domes and sandstone spires. Get there on Route 12, which has been billed as America’s most scenic highway. The town of Torrey, the park’s western gateway, has an

excellent restaurant in Cafe Diablo, which serves “rattlesnake cake” appetizers. I s l e Ro y a l e : Ac c e s s i b l e only by boat or seaplane, Isle Royale is a remote, road less island in northwestern L ake Superior. Visitors paddle its inland waterways, explore its rugged coast or dive into the

depths to see shipwrecks. Most people arrive aboard Ranger III, the park service’s largest ship, based out of Houghton, Mich. A trail leads through the north woods across the island’s spine from Rock Harbor Lodge. You can hear loons and wolves, and see moose, beavers and foxes. —MCT

Skull Rock is one of the unusual geologic formations found in Joshua Tree National Park. —MCT photos

Lost Palms Oasis has the park’s largest groves of stately fan palms.

If you go: The jumble of rocks found in the park were formed by some 90 million years of erosion.

Joshua Tree National Park: The park has visitor centers at Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms on the north, and at Cottonwood Spring on the south. The park is 140 miles east of Los Angeles. It offers camping: $10 for a first-come, first-served site and $15 for a reserved site, with a limit of six people and two vehicles. The ranger-guided tour of Keys Ranch is $5 for adults, $2.50 for children 6-12. Off-road driving is prohibited. Outfitters offer horseback rides in the park. 1-760-367-5500 and 29 Palms Inn: The inn is near the national park visitor center at Twentynine Palms. It has casitas and cabins on 30 acres of natural preserve called the Oasis of Mara, 73950 Inn Avenue, 1-760-367-3505 and —MCT

Joshua Tree National Park is an eerie landscape that contains two deserts and six mountain ranges.

Botswana: Weed intrusion threatens fish and tourism on Okavango he Okavango Delta, a natural treasure in northern Botswana, is under threat after a large portion of the reservoir was infested with weed threatening tourism and fishing industries. Salvinia molesta weed also known as Kariba weed, which originates from South America, is believed to have found its way to the delta through the water that flows in from Angola’s infested rivers. The free floating dark green weed makes it very difficult for cruising, especially on canoes, and also suffocates the different fish species which is a headache for communities who depend on the delta for their livelihood. “It is thus important for members of the community and tour operators to combine forces and fight this weed which is threatening the livelihood of most people in the Okavango region. “Its effects may not be felt at the moment but if it spreads further then the fishermen will definitely feel the pinch,” said Ketlhatlogile Masepelinge, a fisheries biologist at the University of Botswana. The problem which was increasing prompted the community and tourism stakeholders to work together to get rid of weed as both parties had a lot to lose should the weed spread. “Fishing is a source of income for most of us in this part of Botswana, and if it means working day and night to destroy this weed which is threatening our fish, then let it be so,” said Faosiko Wake, the chairman of the Okavango Fishermen’s Association. Tourism will also suffer should the problem persist. “Tourists love cruising in the delta and we have to make sure that nothing stands in their way,” said Morongoe Ntloedibe, chief executive officer of Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana. The weed is being destroyed using weevil insects which feed on it and destroy it in the process. Tour operators and members of the community have to breed this insect which has a lifespan of about 60 days then release it into the delta. “This is the best way of getting rid of this weed as the method is friendly to the environment. We could have used chemicals but these are harmful to other organisms in the water,” the director of environmental affairs in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Environment, Steve Monna, told AFP. He said the weed has been present in the delta for some time but in small quantities. However the spread was caused by floodwaters and winds in recent months which prompted government to launch the program to destroy it. “It is now up to the communities and tour operators to make sure that they work hard in breeding the weevils,” he said. Monna said so far the program was progressing well as both parties had shown commitment to working towards destroying the weed. —AFP




Monday, January 4, 2010


In with the new, recycle the old tuff, stuff, and, more stuff! Now that St. Nick has eaten the cookies and gone, kids are playing with all their new toys and wearing their new shoes and clothing. So, what should you do with their old (but still good) stuff? Don’t dump it! Donate it! Do Your Part and give your used toys, clothing and shoes a second life. Begin by tackling the toy situation. Many of the toys children outgrow are still perfectly good. You can donate working toys, certain video game units and plush animals to your local homeless shelter, battered women’s shelter or Salvation Army. It’s always a good idea to check with the organization before donating toys. Each toy must pass Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines and recalls before it can be donated or sold. Due to massive toy recalls in recent years, some groups no longer accept used toys and many


another person’s life around. By taking your items to Goodwill you are funding employment and training programs that benefit over a million people every year. Donations taken

children’s hospitals and care facilities only accept brand new toys. Did St Nick deliver a new bicycle this year? You must remember the joy you felt when you got your first bike. Now, imagine giving that same feeling to a child in need. You can donate your family’s old bikes to many different organizations that will deliver them to those who need them the most. and are good places to find out what’s available in your community. Goodwill and Salvation Army will also accept bicycles and bicycle parts. If grandma did your child in with new outfits, it’s probably time to part with some of the items that no longer fit or that your child no longer wears. Goodwill and Salvation Army are both seeking additional gently used clothing items this year because donations have also suffered from the recession. Your child’s hand-medowns could quite simply help turn

Do your part and give your used toys, clothing and shoes a second life. —MCT

to Salvation Army are recycled or sold through Family Stores with all proceeds funding operations at 119 Adult Rehabilitation Centers in the United States.

Nelson-Atkins museum offers a new look at America’s oldest art D

irector Marc Wilson of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art summed up the new American Indian galleries in a simple sentence: “We’ve made a bold statement in terms of real estate and in terms of money.” Real estate, as in gallery space, is precious in a museum. The Nelson added its Bloch Building in 2007, moving its modern and contemporary collection into the new location and freeing space in the original 1933 building. The old Native American collection had been housed in 1,500 square feet of space, tucked into a corner of the third floor. Initial plans were to relocate the collection to a gallery about twice that size. That was ultimately expanded to a suite of three galleries with 6,100 square feet, which opened in November. The galleries are on the same floor as the reinstalled Galleries of American Art, not in the basement or some out-of-the-way corner. The statement was, indeed, bold: American Indian art no longer is consigned to the “primitive” or “tribal” galleries, with dusty dioramas of mannequins dressed in headdresses and beadwork that may, or may not, have been from the correct tribe. The art of the first peoples is on the same level, literally, as the great art of America. “It’s about the aesthetic sensibilities and how each culture developed a method to express it,” Wilson said. “When you examine it, you’ll see this art is exceedingly hot.” The new American Indian galleries thrust the Nelson into the forefront of all museums that exhibit such art, not only because of the prime real estate and $8 million spent on architectural

If you go: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: 45th and Oak streets; 1816-751-1278 and Hours are 10 am4 pm. Wednesday, 10 am-9 pm. Thursday and Friday, 10 am-5 pm. Saturday and noon5 pm. Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Admission is free. The museum has a restaurant, cafe and shop. Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association: 1800-767-7700 and —MCT

A glowing micaceous jar by New Mexico artist Lonnie Vigil is among the contemporary pottery on display. design, dramatic lighting and Italian casework. The galleries also are exceptional for the quality of the 205 works on display, several of them masterpieces of their genres. For the job of finding and selecting each treasure, Wilson turned to Gaylord Torrence, who was a professor at Drake University when he was hired in 2002, first as a consultant and then as founding curator of the Department of American Indian Art. An author and respected authority in the field, Torrence’s job was to sort through, and build, the museum’s uneven collection. “If I couldn’t find

an object that I felt was great in stature, I simply didn’t acquire anything,” he said. “I wasn’t out trying to buy types of objects, I was trying to acquire the greatest objects of their kinds. “Any Native American object has historical, cultural and aesthetic qualities that have to be considered. But in an art museum, aesthetics is the most important aspect of those three.” Since its opening in 1933, the Nelson has bought a stake in Native American art. The museum made purchases from the Fred Harvey Co, which had buyers searching the Southwest for great pottery, baskets and weavings, and from George Gustav Heye, whose collection became the core of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington. Ralph Coe, a director of the Nelson, organized the “Sacred Circles” exhibition that opened in London in 1976, then moved to the museum in Kansas City the next year. Coe had combed through the great collections of the world to

tion into the museum’s collection with an eye on filling in the remaining weak spots. Many of the purchases for the new galleries were made from the Donald J Jones Fund for American Indian Art. This fall, a final task in Torrence’s mission to round out the collection ended with a gift from Morton and Estelle Sosland. Long-time museum patrons, the couple gave 34 works of art from the Pacific Northwest Coast, including several of the masterpieces now on display in the new galleries. The gift transformed the collection’s weakest area into one of its strongest. In explaining the gift, Morton Sosland pointed out the secondary status many museums give to Native American art. “At the Nelson-Atkins, American Indian art is given prominence in greatly expanded space and by striking presentations that leave no question as to its eminence,” Sosland wrote in an article for the museum’s magazine. Of the 205 pieces in the new galleries, about 50 are from the original collection, 15 are from the Donald

existence, a fine first phase goes for about $500,000 in today’s auctions. “I was looking at these old Polaroid photos and-bang! — there one was,” he recalled. “I went out to storage that same day and unrolled this incredible first phase in perfect condition.” The first phase had been among the Fred Harvey purchases, as were several monumental pots and baskets. Also already in the collection, but yet to be displayed, was a fetish necklace by Zuni master carver Leekya Deyuse with 600 birds and animals fashioned from coral, shell,

The impressive basket on display include one by the Tlingit of the Pacific Northwest in the new American Indian galleries.

The Chilkat robe on display is unusual in its use of green, red and pink, in addition to the traditional colors of white, black and yellow.

assemble an encyclopedic display of Native American art, with an accompanying catalog, that remains a defining statement in the field. Coe also gave the Nelson another gift, his friendship with Donald D “Casey” Jones, a Kansas City newspaper editor who left his Indian collection and his wealth to the museum. The bequest moved Wilson, the museum director, to hand Torrence the task of incorporating the dona-

Jones collection, 25 are on loan from regional institutions and collections, and the rest were acquired by Torrence through purchases and gifts. One of Torrence’s premier finds came as he perused old catalogs of the museum’s collection. He was in the process of attempting to acquire a first-phase chief’s blanket, among the earliest of Navajo weavings. Simply, yet superbly, striped and believed to number about 50 in

Field of dreams:

Pop the question, museum style eelam Patel couldn’t believe it when she saw her boyfriend, Neal Patel, reach his hand into a case at The Field Museum in Chicago and grab the diamond ring sitting inside. “I thought, ‘What is he doing? He’s breaking into this case at the Field Museum! He’s going to get arrested,’” she said. A second later Neal, 24, got down on one knee and asked Neelam, 25, to marry him. The case, identical to the others in the newly refurbished Grainger Hall of Gems and specifically lit to hold a diamond ring, is part of a new offer by the museum to pop the question there. The $350 fee includes a champagne toast, with optional add-ons like flowers, music and limo service.


turquoise and jet. “It will drop you to the floor,” Torrence predicted. Among his purchases, Torrence was most pleased with an Arikara buffalo rawhide shield from about 1850, with a buffalo bull staring out. “It’s a masterpiece of Plains Indian visionary painting,” Torrence said. “It has beautiful brushwork.” The museum has yet to put out a catalog of its new, improved collection. Torrence said that would be premature. “The collection needs to grow before we do any major publication; this is really a foundation to build on,” he said. “My wish list would include a classic Navajo serape. We’re really weak on Eskimo ivory carvings. I’m looking for a great piece of pictographic beadwork. And there’s a particular Pueblo pot that I have my eye on.” —MCT

The simple striped blanket from 1850s is a chief’s blanket among the Navajo weavings.

An Arikara buffalo rawhide shield from 1850 is a masterpiece of Plains Indian visionary painting.

And, don’t forget about the shoes. We all know how fast kids will outgrow their shoes and that means that their old ones probably still have some life left in them. Thirty million children around the globe don’t have shoes to put on their feet this year. So, instead of trashing your families shoes, donate them! collects shoes of all kinds and distributes them to children who desperately need them. And, don’t toss out those athletic shoes that are too worn out to wear again. Nike’s Reuse A Shoe program will take them, grind them up, and create all sorts of things with them-everything from running tracks to tennis courts. This season, as new items come into your home take the time to reduce, reuse or recycle the old ones. You’ll Do Your Part to keep those items out of the landfill while providing a brighter year ahead for someone less fortunate. —MCT

A large tray by the Chumash of Southern California dates to 1820 and dominates the basketry. —MCT photos

Thinking of getting engaged? For $350, you could use this display case at Chicago’s Field Museum to pop the question. —MCT “We’re kind of floored by the response,” said Megan Williams Beckert, who is in charge of special events at the Field. They’ve had seven proposals since they installed the case in mid-October, and several inquiries a week. The museum previously offered a similar, lower-key service. About half a dozen men a year would rent a Plexiglas case that was rolled into the hall for the proposal, Beckert said. Neal Patel knew one of those men, who mentioned it when Neal was brainstorming creative proposals. “I’m a romantic,” he said. “I wanted to give her a story she would never forget.” The two are both fourth year medical students, he at Rosalind Franklin University and she in Ohio, though she’s doing her rotations in Chicago this year. On a date last month, Neal told Neelam he had a surprise for her, which she said was not unusual. “She starts freaking out,” Neal said. “About 45 minutes after it happened, she asked me, ‘I said yes, right?’”— MCT


Monday, January 4, 2010



Muslim-Hindu punk rock bands part of new movement

This Dec 15, 2009 photo shows members of the Muslim Hindu punk band, The Kominas, taking a cigarette break before rehearsing in Wayland, Mass. From left are guitarist Arjun Ray, drummer Imran Malik, and guitarist Shahjehan Khan. (Right) Arjun Ray of the Muslim Hindu punk band The Kominas, rehearsing in Wayland, Mass. — AP photos rtwork from India’s Punjab state decorates the Ray family home. A Johann Sebastian Bach statue sits on a piano. But in the basement-cluttered with wires, old concert fliers and drawings — 25-year-old Arjun Ray is fighting distortion from his electric guitar. For this son of Indian immigrants, trained in classical violin and raised on traditional Punjab music, getting his three Pakistani-American bandmates in sync is the goal on this cold New England evening. Their band, The Kominas, is trying to record a punk rock version of the classic Bollywood song, “Choli Ke Peeche” (Behind the Blouse). “Yeah,” said Shahjehan Khan, 26, one of the band’s guitarists, “there are a lot of contradictions going on here.” Deep in the woods of this colonial town boils a kind of revolutionary movement. From the basement of this middle-class home tucked in the woods west of Boston, The Kominas have helped launched a small, but growing, South Asian and Middle Eastern punk rock movement that is attracting children of Muslim and Hindu immigrants and drawing scorn from some traditional Muslims who say their political, hard-edged music is “haraam,” or forbidden. The movement, an anti-establishment subculture borne of religiously conservative communities, is the subject of two new films and a hot topic on social-networking sites. The artists say they are just trying to reconcile issues such as life in America, women’s rights and homosexuality with Islam and old East vs. West cultural clashes. “This is one way to deal with my identity as an Arab-American,” said Marwan Kamel, the 24-year-old lead guitarist in Chicago-based AlThawra. “With this music, I can express this confusion.” The movement’s birth is often credited to the novel “The Taqwacore,” by Michael Muhammad Knight, a Rochester, New York-raised writer who converted to Islam. Knight coined the book’s title from the


Arabic word “Taqwa,” which means piety or God-fearing, and the word hardcore. The 2003 book portrayed an imagined world of living-on-theedge Muslim punk rockers and influenced real-life South Asians to form their own bands. South Asian and Middle Eastern punk bands soon were popping up across America and communicating with each other via MySpace. At the time of book’s release, Basim Usmani and Khan already were experimenting with punk and building the foundation for The Kominas, which loosely means “scoundrels” in various South Asian languages. When Usmani, now 26, came across the book, he was writing songs and sporting a mohawk-just like the punk rocker on the novel’s cover. Usmani contacted Knight, who agreed to buy a bus on eBay for $2,000 to help launch the first “Muslim punk rock tour” in the US in 2007. Kamel, the son of a Syrian father and Polish mother, bought a one-way ticket to Boston to join the tour, and Canadian drag-queen singer Sena Hussain met up with them along the way. The musicians performed at various venues but were notably kicked off stage during an open mic performance at the Islamic Society of North America convention in Chicago. Traditional Muslims at the convention decried the electric guitar-based music as un-Islamic while others were upset a woman dared sing on stage. The episode was documented by Pakistani-Canadian filmmaker Omar Majeed in his new documentary “Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam.” “These guys are not prophetizing or preaching anything specific about Islam,” said Majeed, whose film is set for release in the United States later this year. “They just happen to be young and Muslim, and they write songs and do art that expresses that idea.” Imam Talal Eid, executive director of the Islamic Institute of Boston, said some traditional Muslims may object to such music because they focus on its sexual

attraction rather than its use for spiritual enjoyment. “But I think we can come up with a moderate opinion that distinguished what is forbidden from what is not,” said Eid. “It’s a new issue among Muslims.” The musical style of each group varies. Some songs on The Kominas’ album “Wild Nights in Guantanamo Bay” lean toward the humorous and ironic, including

writes occasionally for the Guardian newspaper in England. Ray is a medical researcher at Harvard. The groups have toured since that first Taqwacore trip, playing in small clubs, in basements at parties and in Hispanic cultural centers. Typically, The Kominas and AlThawra say they play in front of 50 to 80 people. The bands have

rock is very American, and this is assimilation through a back door.” He called the bands “a good opportunity for stereotype-smashing.” The Kominas, who sing mostly in English, now are trying to break the image they are just a “Muslim punk band,” especially since one of their founders, Ray, is Hindu. On their next album, Ray said the band will have songs in Hindi. Ray’s father, Rahul, said he supports his son’s artistic efforts, even if he doesn’t fully understand the music. “It’s just very hard to make a living through music,” said Ray, who is a cancer researcher at Boston University. “But they are getting attention for some reason.” Usmani said he grew up as a “nonreligious” Muslim-American so his journey into punk caused few problems, although he admits his family doesn’t like the drinking and smoking that pervade the music scene.

with the traditional lungi, a cloth that South Asian men wrap around their waists. An Iraqi woman in a hijab bobbed her head to the music while others slammed-danced in front of the stage. At one point, audience members yelled jokingly that their music was forbidden and playfully threw shoes at the bandan act usually identified as an insult among Muslims. The bands represent just another example of creative youngsters doing what American kids have done for generations: forming bands and making loud music. The fact they are Muslim doesn’t mean there’s some hidden message; Vote Hezbollah goes so far as to denounce violence on its MySpace page. Usmani said despite their obvious ironic messages, he fears that his band and others like it will keep getting “stupid questions” about subjects like Sept 11. For

Shahjehan Khan rehearsing. “Suicide Bomb the Gap.” In their song “Sharia Law in the USA,” the lyrics mock the portrayal of Islamists: “I am an Islamist/I am the anti-Christ/most squares can’t make a most-wanted list/but my-my how I stay in style.” Their sound mixes hard-edged punk, ska and funk. Meanwhile, Al-Thawra sings about political events in the Middle East with songs like “Gaza: Choking on the Smoke of Dreams.” Their music is closer to heavy metal. Other bands include the Washington, DC-based Sarmust and the Texas group Vote Hezbollah. Like most punk groups, bands produce their own albums and sell them at shows and online. Most band members hold full-time jobs, so tours are sporadic. Usmani works full-time at a call center and

noticed Latino punks getting into their music. Al-Thawra recently picked up a guitarist from Mexico City named Mario Salazar. The cover of Al-Thawra’s next album will feature the image of the US Mexico border fused with Israel’s West Bank separation barrier. Alan Waters, an anthropology professor at University of MassachusettsBoston, said it should come as no surprise that young Muslim and Hindu immigrants are expressing themselves through rock or that their music would strike a chord with other “disenfranchised” populations in the US, such as Latinos and other children of recent immigrants. “If they’re touching or singing about identity, it’s going to make a connection,” said Waters. “Punk

Drummer Imran Malik and guitarist Basim Usmani of the Muslim Hindu punk band The Kominas, rehearsing. Khan and Kominas drummer Imran Malik, 25, also said they aren’t as observant as their families might like. “I mean, if you put a sword to us,” said Usmani, “one of us might pray.” During a recent performance by The Kominas in a Cambridge club, Usmani played guitar while wearing a roundtopped hat known as a pakul along

example, Usami said a reporter once questioned him on how he felt about some Muslims being terrorists. He responded by asking her how she, as a white person, felt about the African slave trade. “We have people asking us about (stuff) that has nothing to do with chords we want to play,” Usmani said while smoking a cigarette. “Or how loud we want to be.”—AP

Canadaʼs Chinese immigrants assimilate quickly, easily n a cafe in this western Canadian town, a customer orders a soda from his server. Though both customer and waitress are Chinese, the pair converse easily and comfortably in English. The waitress speaks both Mandarin and Cantonese, so she would have no difficulty understanding the order in either of China’s main languages. So why speak in English? “That’s what we speak here,” she said. The interaction is not an anomaly in this town, where nearly half the 188,000 residents are of Chinese origin, nor in Vancouver, the nearest city, where some 381,500 people-one in five residents-are originally from China. It is an example of the way the majority of Chinese immigrants to Canada have assimilated quickly and easily into the country’s population. Immigration from China has grown rapidly in recent years, with the number of newcomers swelling the Chinese population in Vancouver by 22.8 percent between 1996 and 2001, and 11.3 percent from 2001 to 2006, according to government agency Statistics

I Bono calls for control over Internet downloads rish rock star Bono called yesterday for tougher controls over the spread of intellectual property over the Internet, arguing that file swiping and sharing hurt creators of cultural products. “The only thing protecting the movie and TV industries from the fate that has befallen music and indeed the newspaper business is the size of the files,” the lead singer of the band U2 wrote in an op-ed piece in The New York Times. He pointed out that “the immutable laws of bandwidth” indicate that technology is just a few years from allowing viewers to download entire movies in just a few seconds. “A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has


made clear that the people it hurts are the creators-in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us,” Bono noted. The singer pointed out that the US effort to stop child pornography and China’s effort to suppress online dissent indicate that it is “perfectly possible to track” Internet content. “Perhaps movie moguls will succeed where musicians and their moguls have failed so far, and rally America to defend the most creative economy in the world, where music, film, TV and video games help to account for nearly four percent of gross domestic product,” Bono said. —AFP

Canada. Contrary to popular belief, economic opportunity is not always the primary motive for those who choose to move from China to Canada and those who emigrate may even seek funds from family back home rather than sending remittances. That was the case for Eileen L ao, 43, who left Guangzhou for Vancouver in February 2007. “Our level of living is worse,” she told AFP. “We had no financial problems in China,” Lao added. But to buy a house in Richmond, she and her husband-an engineer who has only been able to find part-time work-had to borrow money from family back home. So why cross the ocean and move? “I wanted to change my life,” she said, adding that despite a few lifestyle changes she is “quite happy” with her new life in Canada. Lao had visited Canada four times before emigrating with her husband and their daughter Huang. The family speaks Cantonese at home, but Huang, 17, attends a school

A Chinese-Canadian woman wearing a medical mask cleans the floor in a downtown Toronto Chinese mall. —AP

where only English is spoken. Eileen Lao speaks the language with ease and has a hard time pinpointing any difficulties adapting to life in her new home. “Mailboxes are green in China, they are red here,” she said finally. “Because of the color it took a while before we knew these were mailboxes.” She also acknowledged finding it tough to accept the approach of Canada’s media, which she deals with in her capacity as a public relations person for SUCCESS, an NGO that helps new immigrants to Canada. “Media is different here. In China it is propaganda, promotion of things well done. Here they speak of disasters or human rights, look for negative sides,” she said. Despite the differences, Lao hopes to one day acquire Canadian citizenship, expressing a comfort with her new country that is echoed by many Chinese immigrants. According to a 2002 study by Statistics Canada, 76 percent of Chinese immigrants felt strongly attached to Canada and 58 percent said they also strongly identified with their own ethnic and cultural group. —AFP

Visitors watch Korean tiger paintings by South Korean artist Suh Gong-im during her exhibition celebrating New Year in Seoul, South Korea, yesterday. The year of 2010 is the Year of Tiger under the 12-year Chinese cycle where each calendar year is named after one of the 12-key animals in turn. —AP

A far-off museum to save an Ethiopian tribe’s soul omen jump up in their fluff y orange cotton skirts, waggling their shoulders at men who are swif t to join the dance, sporting white feathers in their hair and shepherd’s crooks in their hands. This tribal dance pays tribute to the heroes of the small Konso community, an ethnic group which has lived for 700 years in a remote region of southeast Ethiopia 600 kilometers (375 miles) from the capital Addis Ababa. The fete was organized to celebrate the inauguration in December of a local museum dedicated to Konso culture, which will above all serve to preserve the Waka, or funeral steles in carved wood that have long been placed on the tombs of Konso clan chiefs. These rare carvings have long been easy prey for arts traffickers and tomb raiders without scruples who sell them abroad for a few thousand euros (dollars) apiece. Ethiopian customs agents have since 1996 impounded more than 200 of the statues, often the size of a man, but no system of conservation was put in place until a French ambassador went to the Konso region. “It was pure chance, I was on my way back with colleagues from a paleontological


site,” said Stephane Gompertz, the former ambassador who is now the Africa director at the French foreign ministry. “We visited Konso villages and from there, we were taken to see the premises of the cultural office and the police station where they kept the Waka stolen from the tombs and recovered by the customs,” he explained. “Konso officials asked us if we could help them to build a museum to protect these statues,” Gompertz said, emphasizing the help that was provided for the project by the Museum of Primitive Arts on the Quai Branly in Paris. The Waka are traditionally placed on the tombs of chiefs or of tribal heroes, recognized for their feats of velour in hunting and in war. “The Waka are made of very tough woods like acacia, and can last for 200 years,” said Denote Kusia Shenkri, a Konso elder. “But when they are taken or rot, then the spirit of the dead man flies away. It can’t be replaced because the Konso believe that you only die once.” The museum is a vast edifice constructed in the spirit of the Konso culture, renowned for its fortifications built around villages, its farming terraces and its tukuls, which are round huts with thatched roofs. “I

thought it mattered to take inspiration from local traditions so that the Konso think of the building as their own and help in the construction,” said architect Thierry Begat, who conceived the building that took three years to build. The total budget is 120,000 euros (173,000 dollars), with France paying two-thirds and the rest provided by the Konso. Wearing a tall blue turban, Kala Gesagn Woldedawit, the traditional

will be fewer and fewer Waka.” “The Waka are stolen, and thus there are no more heroes, because there are no wild beasts nor enemies to kill. So this museum is important for keeping up our old traditions and future generations will be able to see the Waka and understand our traditions.” “Even if the Waka are no longer in their original place, they can have a strong symbolic significance and here

Konso tribesmen take part on December 18, 2009 in a dance festival. —AFP leader of the Konso, is proud of the creation of the museum, especially since “there

they will be well looked af ter,” the chief added. Ethiopia’s junior culture min-

Konso tribes people take part on December 18, 2009 in a festival to celebrate the inauguration of a local museum dedicated to their culture. —AFP

ister, Mahamouda Gaas, stressed that the “museum is only a first step, since our goal is that the Konso culture be recognized as a world heritage by UNESCO.” The Waka museum has opened at a time when Ethiopia-on an aggressive campaign to boost tourism figures-is opening its south to visitors, like it long has its

north with the Orthodox churches carved in the rock at Lalibela, the Gondar castles and the Axoum obelisks. Once seen by the West as a “famine country” thanks to photos of parched land and emaciated children during a devastating drought in the 1980s, the country is slowly emerging as a favoured African tourist hub like its


philosopher’s legacy for political gain, and among those objecting was the writer’s son, Jean Camus. His daughter Catherine however objected that the critics were themselves using the memory of her father for their own ends. “I have seen my father being transformed into an antiSarkozy missile,” she told

A file picture taken in 1959. shows French writer and 1957 Nobel laureate Albert Camus (1913-1960), reading a newspaper in Paris. —AFP of the leading literary figures of his day, having won the Nobel Literature Prize in 1957. But Sarkozy’s proposal in November to honour him by having his remains installed in the Pantheon, the resting place for French national heroes, provoked a wave of protest from France’s left. Many commentators argued that Sarkozy was trying to exploit the left-wing

RTL radio. But she did admit she was surprised that the president had proposed to honor her father in this way. “Men of power do not usually like Camus,” she said. Born on November 7, 1913, in Algeria, Camus came from a very poor background. But his potential was quickly spotted by a teacher who encouraged him to develop his talents. He published his first book at the

age of 24, then moved to Paris. When much of France was occupied by the Nazis during World War II, he became active in the Resistance writing for and editing the underground newspaper Combat. By the end of the war in 1945 Camus had already published a number of key works, including “The Stranger” and “The Myth of Sisyphus”, both in 1942. “The Stranger”-also titled “The Outsider” in some English editions-became an international bestseller. The story of a curiously emotionless man, a white Algerian, who shoots an Arab dead, it is told in the spare and limpid style for which Camus became known. Camus’s writing, both his fiction and nonfiction, was about the search for meaning in life and the need to revolt. While associated with the left, he was nevertheless very much his own man intellectually. In 1945, when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, he was one of the few western intellectuals to denounce it. But unlike many radical writers of his generation, he also denounced the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union, clashing bitterly on this question with Jean-Paul Sartre, the other leading French intellectual of the day. For his biographer Olivier Todd, Camus was “ a dangerous writer”, challenging the ideological dogma that the end justified the means. —AFP

Addis Ababa. However, Konso chief Kaka Gesagn Woldedawit is optimistic that “tourism brings us lots of opportunities.” “Trade is developing for our handicrafts, people are employed in the hotels and the restaurants, and even our traditional dancers perform for the tourists. It encourages the young people to stay.” —AFP

Survivor of 1906 SF quake dies at age 107

50 years after death, Camus again at heart of controversy ifty years after his death, the writer Albert Camus is again the focus of controversy, as the left accuses French President Nicolas Sarkozy of trying to co-opt a thinker they claim as their own. Camus, when he died in a Paris car crash on January 4, 1960, aged only 46, was one

more illustrious southern neighbor Kenya. “In the course of the past couple of years, tourists have begun to combine the visit of the historic north of Ethiopia with a visit to the south,” said Freddy Hess, who is a tour operator. The authorities are asphalting the roads, but they have not reached Konso, which is a 12-hour drive from

eanette Scola Trapani, one of the oldest survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, has died at age 107. Dolores Legge told the San Francisco Chronicle that her mother had been suffering from pneumonia and passed away at her home in El Dorado Hills on Monday. Trapani had clear memories of the disaster, even though she was only four years old at the time, Legge said. “She vividly remembered the terrible smell of the smoke from the burning city and how she and her family had to live in a tent in the Presidio,” Legge said. The April 18 cataclysmic quake was followed by days of fire that left much of San Francisco in ruin. Trapani was born on San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill on April 21, 1902 and she was raised in the city. She married Vincent Trapani in 1929, and they remained married until his death in 1996. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at S Vincent de Paul Church. “My mother was married in that church,” Legge said. “We wanted to bring her back to San Francisco.”—AP


Filipino men dressed in costumes as the Three Kings distribute candies to children on the streets of Manila yesterday. —AP

Artist priest finds God in abstract expressionism here’s no steeple out front, no rows of pews inside, not even so much as a crucifix on display. Still, this cramped little art studio in the middle of what, until not very long ago, was a street with as many broken dreams as it has potholes, is the closest thing to paradise Father Bill Moore has found. It’s the place where the 60-year-old Catholic priest serves God by creating abstract paintings that he sells by the hundreds. No ordinary preacher, Father Bill, as he’s known throughout Pomona’s fledgling arts district, long ago discarded his clerical collar in favor of a painter’s smock. Only on Sundays does he trade it for holy vestments to deliver Mass at a local church or one of several detention facilities for youthful offenders. All other times Moore is head of the Ministry of the Arts for the West Coast branch of his religious order, the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. His job is to serve God by painting


whatever comes to mind. “That’s Bill’s gift, his talent, and we have to support that,” says Father Donal McCarthy, who is the order’s West Coast provincial and Moore’s superior. “When you’ve got a creative person, you shouldn’t stifle that creativity.” Leaders of the order, founded more than 200 years ago in France, know of no other member whose only mission has been to paint. But then Moore, a child of the ‘60s who can quote the words of Jim Morrison, Bruce Springsteen and Jesus Christ with equal facility, has been a barrierbreaker since he ignored his provincial’s order his freshman year of college to study either philosophy or theology. He majored in art instead. “The next year, a letter came from the provincial saying all the students are now encouraged to major in subjects of their choice. I thought that was very cool,” Moore recalls with a smile as he sits in the lobby of

his modest studio sipping coffee. A copy of underground comic-book artist R. Crumb’s “The Book of Genesis” sits on the coffee table and works by Japanese artist Kazumi Tanaka (a personal favorite) are displayed here and there. Since early childhood, Moore says, he knew he had the calling-to be a painter. The call to be a priest came later. “I was doing little abstract paintings when I was a little boy, like around 8, 9 years old,” Moore recalls. “My grandmother would just think they were the greatest things,” he continues with a laugh. “The rest of the members of my family, they were, ahh, kind of more like art critics.” Not that the art world has been all that harsh on him. Moore’s works, which are of ten compared to those of abstract expressionist Mark Rothko, sell for more than $5,000 apiece, and he has been the subject of frequent shows at galleries throughout the Southwest. —AP

Father Bill Moore shows one of his pieces. —AP

4 Jan 2010  
4 Jan 2010  

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