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RI PT IO N BS C SU THE LEADING INDEPENDENT DAILY IN THE ARABIAN GULF

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TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2010

US militant suspects deny terror plot in Pakistan

MOHARRAM 19, 1431 AH

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Wounded Tiger lies low, no timetable for return

South Africa’s polygamous Zuma weds for fifth time

Indian police probe suicide of girl reality show star, 11

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Terror fears hit Kuwait-India door-to-door cargo services By Sajeev K Peter KUWAIT: Undue delay in customs clearance and strict documentation following alleged terror threats at Indian ports have created huge backlogs of goods at various airports in India, resulting in a virtual standstill of cargo movements from Kuwait and other Gulf states to the country, industry sources revealed. “The door-to-door cargo business to India, a popular and viable service for Indian expats, especially laborers, has been severely affected following new restric-

tions at the Indian ports,” said P N J Kumar, General Manager, Ceasars Travels Group. The cargo movement has been restricted at airports since November af ter India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials allegedly found weapons in a shipment from abroad. They also arrested 18 customs officers on large-scale corruption charges including under-invoicing, wrong cargo declaration to evade import customs duty, etc, a source close to the matter said. “The cargo movement from Kuwait to

India is at a virtual standstill today,” said N Rajendran, Manager, Caesars Cargo Co. According to him, about 120,000 kg of goods and 600 airways bills were refused clearance at Chennai airport. About 500 containers are waiting for clearance at the Chennai seaport for the last 60 days after the imposition of an embargo on cargo movement. At the Cochin port too, customs authorities refuse to clear cargo arriving from the Gulf countries. Similarly, an embargo has been imposed on clearance of cargo from the Gulf at Trivandrum airport as a result of

high volume of imports from the region. Rajendran said in Kerala, clearance is taking place only at the Calicut airport with strict restrictions on weight, documentation, cargo values etc. However, an embargo is anticipated any moment, he added. In Kuwait, various cargo agencies have collected goods from customers, although they are unable to send them to the Kuwait port. “More than 200 containers are loaded, but not sent to Kuwait port yet,” Rajendran informed. “About the same quantity is also stored in various

warehouses of cargo agencies for the last two months,” he added. He said many clients are unaware of the fact that their goods are not being sent. “It is a sad state that we can’t dispatch the goods though the clients have made full payments,” he said. He explained that low-paid income groups and unskilled laborers rely mostly on door-to-door cargo service as it is costeffective for them. With the new security restrictions in place, the authorities in Indian ports insist on personal presence of the passport-holder and his signature

Dubai opens tallest tower 828-m-tall skyscraper renamed ‘Burj Khalifa’ KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah arrive at the sixth festival to honor educators (Thank You My Teacher 6) yesterday at the theater of the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training in Shamiya. The festival coincides with the World Teachers’ Day. — KUNA (See Page 2)

in the news Grace period at PACI KUWAIT: The Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) yesterday urged citizens and expats to abide by the law and register themselves or their dependants at PACI. Accordingly, PACI has announced a grace period for violators to correct their status by Jan 31, 2010. A fine of KD 20 will be charged for each person before this date. Thereafter, a fine of KD 100 will be applied on violators.

Work permit issuance resumes KUWAIT: The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor resumed processing visa-related transactions at its facilities yesterday. It had suspended issuing visas in the last fifteen days of 2009 due to annual inventory work, reported Al-Watan. Officials said that the issuance of work permits and visa transfers will resume after statistics on the total number of permits issued in 2009 are compiled.

Nov property sales up 41% KUWAIT: Kuwaiti real estate sales rose 41 percent in the year to November, on high sales of residential and commercial property, official data showed yesterday. Sales in the state rose to KD 193.15 million ($672.6 million) from KD 137.01 million in Nov 2008, the data showed. Residential property deals, which represent the biggest portion of total real estate transactions, were up 36 percent to KD 87.56 million, compared to KD 64.38 million a year earlier.

DUBAI: Dubai opened the world’s tallest skyscraper yesterday, and in a surprise move renamed the gleaming glass-and-metal tower Burj Khalifa in a nod to the leader of neighboring Abu Dhabi the oil-rich sheikdom which came to its rescue during the financial meltdown. A lavish presentation witnessed by Dubai’s ruler and thousands of onlookers at the base of the tower said the building was 828 m tall. Dubai is opening the tower in the midst of a deep financial crisis. Its oil rich neighbor Abu Dhabi has pumped billions of dollars in bailout funds into the emirate as it struggles to pay its debts. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan is the ruler of Abu Dhabi and serves as the president of the United Arab Emirates, the federation of seven small emirates, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi. HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah sent yesterday a cable to Sheikh Khalifa to express his congratulations on the occasion of the inauguration of Burj Khalifa, and praised the distinctive architectural masterpiece which represents a significant landmark. Continued on Page 14

The Baqee cemetery is where the bitter rivalry between Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran gets personal. Iranians and other Shiites flock to the graves to pay respects to several revered descendants of Islam’s prophet, while Saudi soldiers and morality police try to prevent dramatic displays of fervent praying or

MADINAH: Muslim pilgrims visit the Baqee cemetery Nov 30, 2009. – AP

weeping. Shiites’ prayer books are snatched away, they are ordered to read only Saudi-approved verses written on billboards at the site, and groups of worshippers are broken up. Part of the reason for the heavy restrictions is religious. Saudi Arabia’s strict version of Sunni Islam, called Wahhabism, considers customs like crying - or even praying - at gravesites and revering saints repugnant because it smacks of idolatry. In fact, many Wahhabi clerics consider Shiites heretics. But beyond the religious practices lies politics. The two countries have been locked in a struggle for influence across the Middle East. Saudi forces have been fighting for more than a month with Shiite rebels on the border with Yemen who it claims are backed by Tehran. The kingdom accuses Iran of fueling conflicts in Lebanon, the Continued on Page 14

Govt to reject debt law: Sheikh Ahmad MP Deqbasi joins Popular Bloc By B Izzak KUWAIT: The government insisted yesterday that it will reject the debt relief law if passed by the National Assembly in a decisive vote scheduled for today, as supporters of the law vowed to pass it. Deputy prime minister for economic affairs and minister of housing and development Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd Al-Sabah told a

press conference that the law contains a number of legal and constitutional loopholes. “If passed, the government will recommend its rejection” said Sheikh Ahmad, adding that the only viable solution for the loans problem is through the KD 500 million defaulters’ law which the government is prepared to expand. Continued on Page 14

Tougher security for flights to US WASHINGTON: Some people traveling to the United States from or through Yemen, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and 11 other countries were subjected to extra security screening, including full body pat-downs, yesterday as US officials refined their response to a failed terrorist attack in Detroit on Dec 25. The

Saudi-Iranian frictions at graves revered by Shiites MADINAH: At the cemetery where Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) family is buried, an Iranian Shiite pilgrim overcome with emotion was jerked by a Saudi soldier, who barked a sharp order: “Stop crying!” The soldier, a gun at his hip, then hovered over the pilgrim as he wrapped up his prayers to make sure he didn’t start weeping again.

as prerequisites to clear the goods. The customs duty also has gone up now. “Under the circumstances, we find it difficult to run the door-to-door cargo business, though it was beneficial for a large number of expats working in the labor and domestic sectors,” he added. “We are not opposed to strict inspections of consignments at ports. But, let them clear the goods if they are okay without much delay. If piled up for a long period of time at ports, many goods may perish or get damaged,” another industry source said.

Transportation Security Administration outlined the new rules in a directive sent to airlines Sunday. They went into effect yesterday, but initial reports from several European countries indicated that they were still scrambling to digest and implement the new rules. Continued on Page 14

Yemen forces kill 2 Qaeda militants DUBAI: Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, is lit by laser lights during its official opening ceremony yesterday. — AP

Oil kicks off 2010 with bang LONDON: Oil began 2010 with a bang yesterday, jumping above $81 on expectations of higher energy demand in the northern hemisphere winter and after Russia cut supplies to Belarus, traders said. New York’s main futures con-

tract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, spiked to 81.68 dollars per barrel, a level last seen in October. It later stood at $81.25, up $1.89. Brent North Sea crude for February rose $2.02 to $79.95 in London trading. It had earli-

er risen as high as $80.13. “Crude oil prices rose higher, above the 81-dollar level ... supported by cold weather conditions in the US and amid news that Russia has cut oil supplies to Belarus,” Continued on Page 14

Security boosted at embassies SANAA: Yemeni forces shot dead two Al-Qaeda militants yesterday as more embassies in Sanaa closed their doors and the United States rolled out new screening of air travellers over fears of fresh bomb attacks. As Yemen pleaded for Western help to take on the hardline Islamists behind a failed bid to blow up an airliner, the would-be bomber’s homeland, Nigeria,

criticised the new security measures facing passengers flying to the United States. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a Yemenbased cell, says it was behind the Christmas Day plot to blow up a plane over Detroit which failed when chemicals sewn into Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s underwear failed to explode. Continued on Page 14


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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Historic National Assembly session today

Islamists split over dropping loans By Ahmad Saeid KUWAIT: The debate to write off the interest on citizen’s loans gained intensity hours before the historic National Assembly session today. Prior to the second reading of the proposed bill, government officials, Members of Parliament,

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir receiving a souvenir at the function.—Photos by KUNA

Kuwait honors teachers KUWAIT: Under the auspice of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah, the sixth festival to honor educators (Thank You My Teacher 6) was held yesterday at the theater of the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training in Shamiya. The festival coincides with educators celebrating the World Teachers’ Day. Arriving at the festivity scene at 10:30 am, HH the Amir was received by Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr Moudhi Al-Humoud, Chairman of the Kuwaiti Teachers’ Society Ayedh Mohammad Al-Sehali and members of the festival’s higher organizing committee. The event also saw the attendance of HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, National Assembly Speaker Jassem Mohammad AlKhorafi, Deputy Chief of the National Guards Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah, His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad AlSabah, First Deputy Premier and Defense Minister Sheikh

Renowned Kuwaiti clergyman Ajeel Al-Nashmi said at a press conference that it is legally and religiously immoral to differentiate between those citizens “who took loans and those who didn’t.” He added, “it’s also against Sharia for the government to pay interest back to the banks because interest itself is a sin in Islam.” The ex-Minister and member of the Salafi movement, Ahmad Baqer, said that the proposed legislation will overshadow the insolvent’s fund and cost the government more than KD 6 billion. He argued that the proposed law violates financial, constitutional and religious principles. Bader Al-Shebeeb, General Secretary of the Salafi movement in Kuwait, disagreed. In a press release yesterday, Al-Shebeeb said that

Defaulters fund to solve citizens’ debts: Al-Khorafi Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Acting Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah, in addition to senior sheikhs and government officials. The honoring ceremony kicked off by the National Anthem and recitation of the Holy Quran, followed by a speech by Minister Al-

New consensus on visa regulations KUWAIT: In the latest round of meetings that were held between the Ministries of Social Affairs and Labor and Interior, a consensus was reached on a few issues. From now on, the Social Affairs Ministry’s Labor department will not convert visit visas into work permits unless a conduct certificate is obtained from the prospective candidate’s native country. This certificate should also be verified by Kuwait’s consulate. The committee also recommended that the visit visa will not be converted into a work permit, unless the same sponsor secures the visit visa. It also called for holding a meeting with the immigration department to place more security restrictions, reported Al-Qabas. On the issue of renewing the worker’s residence permit, if an expatriate’s permit is canceled due to the death of a sponsor or other reasons, the committee recommends that the labor department renew the concerned party’s work permit.

Humoud. In her speech, Dr. AlHumoud appreciated HH the Amir’s generous and parental sponsorship of the festival, lauding at the same time HH’s unlimited support for the education sector. Chairman of the Kuwaiti Teachers’ Society Ayedh Mohammad Al-Sehali termed the festival “historic” due to

AIDS, Hepatitis tests policy KUWAIT: The Ministry of Health is set to introduce a new policy on testing for the AIDS virus and Hepatitis in order to comply with the cabinet’s recent decision on the issue. Health minister Dr. Helal Al-Sayer has instructed the director of the ministry’s legal affairs department, Dr. Mahmoud AlAbdulhadi, to prepare a ministerial briefing based on the most recent data and statistics released by the World Health Organization (WHO). A committee headed by Dr. Yousef Al-Nisf earlier recommended that the tests currently used by the MoH in diagnosing Hepatitis should be updated to more modern ones. He explained that the latest tests offer more reliable DNA-based Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) based results unlike the ones currently used by the ministry that depend on the discovery of the virus antibodies, which do not necessarily indicate infection with Hepatitis.

65,000kg of infected meat KUWAIT: A serious incident occurred

the fact that HH the Amir is attending it, which grants it an added value. Afterwards, a group of students performed a musical segment, followed by the honoring of distinguished educators. HH the Amir was then gifted with a souvenir on the occasion before leaving the festivity scene. — KUNA

recently when Municipality inspectors discovered 65 thousand kilograms of meat infected with salmonella and imported by a local food supply company. The mishap further developed when company representatives informed the Municipality that they had already sold the tainted food products that are unsuitable for human consumption to local restaurants, reported Al-Qabas. The company, who imported the food from India, was instructed not to distribute the shipment to the market until test results could determine if the food was suitable for human consumption. After officials contacted the supply company to inform them that their food tested positive for salmonella they were told that the meat had already been sold despite being instructed not to. While a citation was issued against the company for their violation it was revealed that the same company was guilty of selling food products before test results could determine if the food was safe for consumption.

‘Killing machines’ KUWAIT: The vehicles used to tow away broken down vehicles have become mobile “killing machines,” according to local daily Al-Watan, which revealed that the trucks used often had dangerous towing equipment mounted on the rear, which the paper said is capable of severing any vehicle behind them in the event of a sudden stop. One unnamed source told Al-

Watan that the equipment mounted on the back of the trucks was extremely dangerous, particularly since it is made of razor-sharp metal. “It is highly advisable to signal a left turn and drive around such vehicles, particularly if the drivers are unprofessional,” the source told the paper, expressing amazement that the vehicles have been licensed by the traffic department.

KUWAIT: The defaulters fund will be the right solution for solving the problems of citizens debts but such bill must go through careful parliamentary debate before referring it to the government for approval, said National Assembly’s (Parliament) Speaker Jassem Mohammad Al-Khorafi yesterday. Al-Khorafi told reporters that the defaulters fund was the best solution for citizens chained with debts especially after the government disapproval of the past parliamentary financial report on the issue. The parliamentary session tomorrow would hopefully result in the approval of the bill which was reviewed by the Central Bank of Kuwait (CB), said Al-Khorafi who noted that the government might yet again return it to the parliament if it had any remarks on the new amendments. If the government referred the bill back to the parliament, it would require around 44 votes to pass it which might be nearly impossible to achieve, said Al-Khorafi. The delay on approving the defaulters fund would lead to postponing the discussions on the bill to the next parliamentary legislative term, said AlKhorafi. — KUNA

Sharia experts and activist exclaimed their perspectives on the proposed piece of legislation. While the government and a number of MPs have taken opposing sides on the issue, the newest debate has occurred within the Islamist movement. Islamists have begun openly debating the legitimacy of paying off interest-based debts according to the Islamic tradition.

according to a Fatwa issued by noted Saudi cleric Ibn Uthaimeen, issuing interest in a loan is compliant with Sharia law. Also, Al-Shebeeb referred to the insolvent’s fund as “part of the problem rather than a solution” and rejected all justifications to vote against the bill by representatives from both the government and Parliament. In addition to the religious debate, the political debate is heating up between the government and a number of MPs in favor of the law. Minister of State for Development and Housing Affairs, Sheikh Ahmad AlFahad, said the bill “contains a number of discrepancies and loopholes in addition to being incompatible with the banking system and unfair.” Al-Fahad made his comments yesterday during a joint press conference with the Minister of Finance, Mustafa

Al-Shamali, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait, (CBK) Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah. During the press conference the Governor of CBK said the proposed legislation does not offer any solution for loans taken from investment companies and only addresses loans from banks. Many of the supporters of the bill argue that the government bailed out banks and investment companies and should now help citizens in need as well. A number of MPs expressed confidence about the bill’s acceptance in the Parliament and warned the government against maneuvering around passing the law. MP Askar Al-Enizi said the government should respect parliamentary majority. Also, MP Saad Al-Khanfoor said “the government should not be arrogant in this regard.”

Kuwaiti heads meeting on Arab Economic Council’s development CAIRO: The second meeting of the team tasked with considering strategies to develop the Arab Economic and Social Council opened here yesterday, with Kuwaiti Finance Undersecretary Khalifah Msaed Hamada presiding over the event. The two-day meeting, which gathers Arab undersecretaries concerned with monetary and economic issues, is also being attended by Arab League Deputy Secretary General Ahmad bin Hilli and a number of assistant secretaries for economic, social, and auditing affairs. Assistant Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Ambassador Mohammad Ibrahim AlTuwaijri told the media that the team will complete debate and discussion on the draft document for upgrading the council’s performance. He explained that the document consists of a combination of recommendations by the secretariat, Saudi officials, and specialist Arab organizations. Its subjects include the council’s structure, membership of the organization and its

committees, its role and prerogatives, and its relations with ministerial committees and specialist Arab bodies. The document also considers issues of financing and relationship with the private sector and civic community institutions, as well as the strategies used to take decisions and to decide on states’ membership and representation. The council held its first meeting, which was presided over by Kuwait, in October 2009, at Arab League Headquarters, with the aim of formulating an all-inclusive vision of the council’s duties and activities. The team consists of the Kuwaiti presidency, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and the Arab League. Should an undersecretary be absent, the concerned country is not allowed to send another representative, a measure taken to guarantee serious commitment on the part of members. — KUNA

Naturalization in limbo KUWAIT: The only impediment to the naturalization of any future applicants for citizenship is the cabinet’s failure to study the report on the subject written by Sheikh Thamer Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in 2007, according to a well-informed source speaking on condition of anonymity. The cabinet has not yet studied the report or any of

the recommendations made by Sheikh Thamer, the source told Al-Watan, despite the document being referred to it for study in May 2009, the source said. The unnamed insider also revealed that a list naming 150 children of divorced and widowed Kuwaiti citizens recommended for citizenship has not yet been ruled upon by the

cabinet, despite those on it having passed all the necessary legal and official formalities. This delay is largely due to the cabinet’s failure to act yet on the report recommending the revocation of 34 individuals’ citizenship on the grounds that they had not deserved being given it in the first place.

‘Reporters and Bloggers for Human Rights’ KUWAIT: A recent regional training course for journalists and bloggers has resulted in the establishment of a “Reporters and Bloggers for Human Rights” network, dubbed “Report” or “Ihky” in Arabic. Journalist and author Amal Al-Randi said yesterday that the network members are all journalists and bloggers from across the Arab world who are active in campaigning on human rights issues and for a more just and free society. She explained the network aims to “detect and document violations and report on them and launch a media and human rights campaign for the creation of more freedom of expression.”

On the training course itself, she said that it formed part of a program entitled ‘Uniting Arab Journalists and Bloggers in the Defense of Human Rights,’ and was organized by the Human Rights Information and Training Center (HRITC) in cooperation with the Middle East Partnership Initiative(MEPI). The thirty participants in the course discussed issues relating to law and legislation, international human rights laws, freedom of expression, and blogging and digital skills. Al-Randi revealed that the journalists attending the course came from across the Arab world, with Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Yemen

and Sudan being represented at the event. The network, whose launch was agreed upon at the end of the session, will tackle issues from three perspectives; freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of expression for women, and freedoms of the child, she explained, adding that, as a children’s writer, as well as a journalist, she will be focusing primarily on the third issue. Al-Randi stressed that the training session served as a means of creating impetus for stronger action to increase awareness of rights among the Arab masses and particularly to increase awareness and recognition of blogging as an essential tool to increase awareness and shape public opinion. —KUNA


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

NATIONAL

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Dying to escape: Desperation of Kuwait’s abused maids By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: Thirteen suicides of migrant workers were documented in Kuwait in November 2009 alone by Migrant Rights, an international organization for migrant workers. According to the Migrant Rights webpage, not a week goes by in Kuwait without a report about a maid setting herself on fire, hanging herself, drinking detergent, or mysteriously ‘falling’ from a roof or balcony. In

KUWAIT: Kuwait Diving Team of the Kuwait Society for Protection of Environment recently issued its annual report on the accomplishments it had locally and internationally in 2009, including fixing of buoys, removal of tires and nets and salvage of sunken boats, said the team leader, Walid AlFadhel. — Photos by KUNA

Audit Bureau addresses MoE cash violations in report KUWAIT: A recent report released by the Audit Bureau accused the Ministry of Education (MoE) of failing to collect KD 3 million in payment from companies. The study noted the Ministry’s failure to enforce penalties against companies in violation of signed contracts. The study comes as part of the Bureau’s 2008 - 2009 fiscal review of the budgets for state ministries and governmental directorates, reported Al-Qabas. The report also revealed that the Ministry failed to suspend four companies in violation of catering contracts requiring them to provide food to schools for students with special needs. The Bureau also discovered that the Ministry’s delay in finalizing contracts for catering to public schools had cost the state’s budget KD 14.1 thousand in losses. The report emphasized an action made by the Ministry which resulted in severe financial losses when they requested to change a contract regarding cleaning and furnishing equipment. The state suffered a loss of KD

239,000 for changing the contract and an additional KD 451.000 caused by overstock. The Ministry was also cited for stalling the process of updating employee data regarding their allocated social allowances. This caused an increased loss estimated at KD 146,000. They also paid KD 55, thousand in allowances for translators without referring to the Civil Service Commission and KD 176 thousand to other employees. The report addressed the Ministry’s transportation contract to provide buses at a total cost of KD 1.200 million. The report stated that the contract contained several flaws and financial losses regarding rented buildings that were not utilized. The Ministry was also accused of failing to collect money from building being rented by a number of private schools, such as the Arab Open University. Also, the report noted a loss of KD 186 thousand related to flaws in monitoring school cafeterias.

Elena began by explaining that on December 30, she requested permission from her sponsor’s wife to take a day off on January 1, New Year’s Day. The sponsor’s wife initially agreed to her request, but on December 31 apparently changed her mind, telling Elena that after incurring her husband’s disapproval over some unspecified action the day off had been cancelled. The woman then said something to Elena which the maid did not catch, leading to her asking the ‘lady’ politely if she could repeat the words in English. The woman misinterpreted Elena’s request as disrespectful, flying into a rage and being verbally abusive and offensive. “I tried to pacify my female employer,” Elena explained. “I told her I was sorry and said that I wasn’t going to go out any more this New Year. But she kept going on, so I told her that she could send me back to my agency instead. I got my bag, but before I could leave my room she called my male boss and told him that I was getting wild - of course this wasn’t true. She told me to stay in one corner until my male boss arrived. When he arrived, they talked in Arabic and after a while he stood over me and hit my head three times, telling me that I couldn’t leave and had to work for them for two years. My male boss only stopped when his wife intervened.” Elena broke off, understandably still emotionally traumatized after her ordeal, before continuing. “Right after that incident, I called my agency and told them to get me away from my sponsor. But the secretary at the agency told me to stay and forget the punch to my head, saying that it had only happened because of my stupidity and that the pain would go away anyway.” After the incident, the sponsors locked Elena inside their second-floor apartment in Dasma before going out, instructing her to carry out her duties or face further punishment. “When they left, I tried to think of a better way to escape,” Elena explained. “When I looked down from the second floor, it was high and I couldn’t think of a better way to escape but to shout while holding onto the window frame. I thought the people from the first floor could hear me anyway and they’d help. I did as I planned and while I was hanging out the window a lady from the first floor tried hard to rescue me; she provided me with a ladder, but I lost my grip of the window frame and fell.” Elena, who sustained multiple bone fractures, in her hands, hips and legs in the fall, is scheduled to undergo a major operation today. Her sponsors, meanwhile, turned up at the hospital not out of concern for her, but to tell her that they had filed a case against her for attempted suicide and for stealing valuables, although the few goods that Elena has are inside her suitcase - which they packed and brought to the hospital with them for her. “My sponsor gave the bag to

investigating this phenomenon, the Kuwait Times spoke with two Filipina housemaids, ‘Elena’ and Veronica’ (not their real names), who are currently receiving treatment in Al-Razi Hospital after jumping from their respective sponsor’s second floor apartments. Both women’s ‘falls’ which resulted in their hospitalization were reportedly recorded as suicide attempts and would have been recorded as successful suicides, had they died. Both women survived, however, and told their stories to the Kuwait Times.

Elena me; it’s in my [hospital] locker right now, but I haven’t opened it yet,” Elena said. “My madam told me that I took valuable things from their house and that she has filed a case with the police against me. I’m not worried because I don’t do such things. There is a [security] camera inside their house anyway, so how could I steal valuables?” Elena, who is married with three children back home in the Philippines, arrived in Kuwait on March 25, 2009. In fact, this couple were Elena’s second sponsors after she left her first job because, she says, the male sponsor there sexually harassed her. ‘Veronica,’ meanwhile, is currently recuperating at AlRazi Hospital after being rushed there on November 19 last year after falling from a window of

her employers’ second-storey apartment in the Salem area during an escape attempt that went horribly wrong. While attempting to lower herself to the ground using blankets knotted together, Veronica instead fell on the downstairs apartment’s balcony, breaking both legs and causing serious damage to her spine. Veronica’s case is even worse than Elena’s. She told the Kuwait Times that her boss had refused to pay her her wages for a year after ‘buying’ her from the recruitment agency for KD 600. “I remember when I was due for my first month’s salary, I told her that I could repay the KD 600 perhaps, but not right away since I have my own family to feed back home,” Veronica said, tears welling in her eyes. “She didn’t want to give me anything. But I went down on my knees to

her, saying that my family needs the money desperately. I knew that I was degrading myself immensely, but that was the only way to convince my employer that I was serious about getting my salary. I did that and I can do that for my kids.” Eventually, Veronica said, escaping through an open window was the only way she could see of saving her life and sanity since her employer would always lock the main door of the apartment, as well as exposing her to constant and brutal violence. “Many times my boss would punch me in the head, even for a very small mistake,” she continued. “As well as this, they gave me only noodles to eat. If they went out to restaurant, they might bring me leftovers. If their children refused to eat, my boss wouldn’t give me any

noodles to eat as a punishment for their kids not eating.” As with Elena, Veronica’s employers have also brought a charge of attempted suicide against her. According to both women, however, the CCTV cameras in their sponsors’ homes will reveal the truth. Elena and Veronica both said that as well as being expected to perform all the housework and other maids’ duties, they were also expected to act as nannies to their sponsors’ children, with Elena’s wards being aged seven, five and two, while Veronica’s sponsors’ children were aged four, one-and-a-half and six months. The women were expected to take full responsibility for the children, day and night, with both saying that they were allowed only three to four hours’ sleep per night.

KUWAIT: The Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Dr Mohammad Al-Afasi hailed here yesterday the positive role played by the psychological consulting centers and charity societies in the country. In remarks to the media following his meeting with representatives from the psychological consulting center and ‘Mabarrat Khair Al-Kuwait charity organization,’ the minister said that the two groups have contributed in solving the psychological and social problems that national families faced. The officials of the two groups praised the support received fom the ministry to support humanitarian action.

Wasta behind distribution of spoiled meat KUWAIT: The 65 tons of spoiled meat recently distributed to restaurants and markets has shed light on the level of negligence and corruption in the Municipality. Warehouse owners, despite being found guilty of previous offenses, were allowed to distribute the food before tests could confirm their quality, reported AlQabas. The Municipality Director

General, Ahmad Al-Sabeeh announced that leaders, supervisors and inspectors will be reappointed in an attempt to remove employees responsible for the mistake. Al-Sabeeh said “the municipality investigates several employees every day and those found in violation are punished. Our new intention is to start sending them directly to the Public Prosecutor if the

NA panel approves govt development plan

KUWAIT: Jordanian Director of the Gendarmerie Directorate Maj Gen Tawfiq Al-Tawalbeh and the accompanying delegation arrived here yesterday on a few days official visit to Kuwait. He was received at Kuwait International Airport by the National Guards Undersecretary Maj Gen Nasser Al-Deiee.

Veronica

KUWAIT: The parliamentary finance and economic affairs committee yesterday unanimously approved the government’s development strategy and two amendments forwarded to the commission regarding the citizens’ loans writeoff bill. Committee chairman Dr. Yousef Al-Zalzalah, revealed in a statement to journalists following the meeting that the committee members had concluded the session with discussion of the state development strategy, saying, “There was a great deal of harmony between the members and the government.” The chairman added that the Supreme Planning Council “responded” to all the remarks made by the MPs regarding the government plan. Among the proposed amendments agreed upon was one which specified both the widerranging and more detailed points of the policies

for the ministries and other state bodies, and another which underlined the government’s commitment to submit its annual plan at the same time as the state budget, while a third stipulates that major oil projects should be awarded only to specialist shareholding companies. On the proposed parliamentary amendments to the loans write-off bill, Dr Al-Zalzalah revealed that the committee had added two modifications, one of them regarding lawsuits against debtors, with the latter inserted into the bill by unanimous agreement among the committee members. The other amendment deals with ensuring that certain individuals, such as ministers, board chairmen of companies in which the state has at least a 25 percent stake and others in senior administrative positions, are unable to benefit from the bill. — KUNA

case carries a possibility of corruption.” He promised not to re-open the distributing warehouse until he personally completes the inspection. He also said that the distributor who allowed the meat to be sold will be taken to court. Deputy Municipal Council Chairman, Shaye Al-Sahye, said the council tries to fight corrupt directors who accept

bribes. He added that the council spoke with the Municipality Director General and some of his deputies about the corruption but to no avail. Official Municipality sources expressed concern about the level of influence the company owner has and their inability to stop him. “He was the one responsible for the import of Thai chicken infected with the bird flu in 2005”


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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Reactions towards new law vary

Assembly to discuss 10-year jail term for public offense By Hussain Al-Qatari KUWAIT: The National Assembly will discuss today a proposal submitted to the Cabinet to modify a penal law number 16 / 1960, adding a sentence of imprisonment for at least 10 years for whoever publicly offends a sect, a The government’s proposal which was published in media states, “Creating tension between the fabric of the Kuwaiti society to destroy the security and unity of the country, it is as dangerous as any offense tackled by the articles of this law, and it is necessary to add a third clause to put a stop to whoever plays with the future of Kuwait by sparking such tension.” This comes after the country was taken by storm as controversial former candidate Mohammad Al-Juwaihel spoke on a TV program on his private channel about the issue of dual citizenship, insulting a number of tribes and known Kuwaiti political figures. The

incident was shortly followed by tension between Sunnis and Shiites as a Sunni religious center managed by Fouad Al-Refaei put up banners calling for celebrating the day of Ashoura, a mourning day for Shiite Muslims. Reactions towards this law vary; while some people see it as a much needed step, others find that this limits their freedom. Nahla Al-Shemmari, a 29-year old, believes that this step only proves that the government learnt from its lesson and is on its way toward fixing the status quo. “We have so many private channels that broadcast selfish private agendas, and what’s sad is that these channels

group, a tribe or a person. The draft suggests that the punishment be meted out to whoever suggests such an idea verbally, in written text or in any other media. The aforementioned law was modified in Article 29 of law no 31 for the year 1970 to include whoever publicly calls for revolting against the ruling family or the ruling system in Kuwait. broadcast outside Kuwait. The image they reflect of our country to the outside is really shameful; this law needs to be implemented especially during such times,” she says. Echoing her sentiments, Saad AlAjmi, 34, believes that this law will set the limits to what a lot of people have come to call ‘freedom of expression.’ He lamented, “The sad reality is that we never see things the way we should. When someone offends a whole portion of our society, we insist that it is freedom of expression. “We don’t know that our freedom stops when it begins to harm others. We need organization; our media needs

to be organized and our unity is being tempered with by a number of people whose interest is anything but Kuwait.” Sharing a different opinion, a blogger who refused to give out his identity told the Kuwait Times that the suggestion is extreme. “We do need regulation when it comes to freedom of expression but ten years is quite a big number. “I say this only because I know that the interpretation of what is insulting varies from person to another, and although I believe in our judicial system, I find it exaggerated to put a tenyear imprisonment sentence.”

NA panel rejects tougher penalties for price rises

KUWAIT: Bangladeshi delegation with the management of Kuwait National Work House.

Bangladeshi pavilion inaugurated at Kuwait National Works House By Nisreen Zahreddine KUWAIT: On the occasion of the inauguration of the Bangladeshi pavilion at the Kuwait House for National Works, Bangladesh’s military attache to Kuwait Colonel Mohammad Ameen Al-Hassan attended the event along with a military delegation. Kuwait House for National Works Manager Youssef Al-Omair said that a get-together will be soon held to renew national unity. He added that Kuwait Liberation Day should serve as an occasion to unify all Kuwaitis, rising above sectarian and tribal loyalty. He expressed his happiness at the inauguration of a Bangladeshi pavilion as Bangladesh had participated in securing Kuwait’s liberation. He went on to say that the House will soon open the pavilions of several countries that participated in liberating Kuwait. Al-Omair said that an agreement has been reached between the House and the Ministry of Defense on setting up country-specific booths, and described this step as

a major achievement in the path toward strengthening the relationship shared between Kuwait and Bangladesh. Al-Omair also said that many activities will be held on the occasion of the National Day and Liberation Day. Kuwait will also host an Egyptian military delegation in mid-January 2010 to sign an agreement on the opening of an Egyptian pavilion at the Kuwait House for National Works. When questioned about relocating its premises to Garnata, Al-Omair explained that some impediments still remain in terms of property and road dispute. He assured that all these hindrances would be removed with the active participation of the Ministry of Public Works. General Mohammad Ameen Al-Hassan asserted the depth of the friendly relations that the two brotherly countries share saying that it is applicable on all levels. He described the Kuwait House for National Work to be a military museum that is a living testimony to the atrocities committed by the previous Iraqi regime.

Held Kuwaiti flees Yemen By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Former Kuwaiti military officer AlHamdi Al-Shammeri, who was arrested in Yemen over four months ago on charges of drug trafficking and various state security violations, managed to escape from Yemen and return to Kuwait on Saturday, before turning himself in to the Kuwaiti Public Prosecutor on Sunday morning. His case has been transferred to the Deputy Prosecutor for the Capital Governorate, Mohammed Al-Duaij, for consideration Al-Duaij decided yesterday to extend AlShammeri’s detention for further questioning

Kuwaitis champion women’s rights AMMAN: Kuwaitis are keen on respecting women’s rights, said Jordanian officials holding a training course in Kuwait yesterday. The organizers lauded Kuwaiti participation in the course, attended by two Kuwaiti women activists, saying their input was well received by other participants from several Arab countries. Mona Al-Dowaisan and Huda Al-Enizi, Kuwait’s representatives in the course, were very proud of the sentiments shared by the organizers. They said that their input reflected Kuwaiti and Arab women’s struggle to gain positive political and media recognition.

Official to be honored KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti official will be awarded ‘The Most Notable Sports Personality’ award at the administrative level in Dubai.. Director General of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Hussein Al-Musallam told KUNA that OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah will be honored in Dubai tomorrow, revealing that the official was ranked among the world’s best ten sports administrators. The award will be handed over by the UAE’s Vice President, Prime Minister, and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the official stated. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah is a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He served as the President of the Kuwait Olympic Committee from 1990 to 2001. In 2001 he was elected to the IOC.

‘Remove billboards’ KUWAIT: The Kuwait Municipality recently issued a warning to cleric Fuad Al-Refae, owner

until today. Al-Shammeri has also been accused by the Yemeni authorities of entering Yemen illegally. Al-Shammeri revealed during questioning yesterday that he had escaped from Yemen by paying a KD 3,000 bribe to the captain of a Yemeni vessel sailing for Kuwait to smuggle him out of the country. The fugitive was at sea for two days before the vessel dropped him off at the chalets area on the Kuwaiti coast, from where he made his way to his family’s home by hitching a lift with a lorry transporting laborers. He spent the rest of the day with his family before giving himself up to the Public Prosecutor the next morning.

of the Wathakker Center. He was granted a three-day grace period to remove all billboards erected outside the center’s headquarters, reported Al-Watan. Al-Refae reportedly refused to accept the warning notice. Commenting on the issue, Al-Refae asserted that the Center had only followed the traditions of prophet Mohammed (PBUH) to remind (Tathkeer) of Islamic occasions to defend the Prophet’s Companions.

Safar addresses corruption reports KUWAIT: The focus of reform should be to fight against those who cause corruption and expose them to the law, said the Minister of Public Works and Municipality Affairs Dr Fadhel Safar. His statements were in response to recent reports in the media of corruption within the Municipality, reported Al-Qabas. While he indicated the necessity of applying rules and regulations, Safar admitted that some citizens have turned toward corruption because of a lack of adequate salaries. Safar admitted the existence of corrupt individuals in public and private firms and governmental directorates. He stated that despite the limited number of corrupt individuals they have a destructive influence on the places they work. Safar acknowledged accusations of corruption, saying that the incidents were addressed in the press and within the Municipality before. He added that legal procedures were taken against those accused of corruption and noted that the Municipality remains one of the most productive institutions in the country. He confessed that corruption has spread in the Municipality because many who are employed there feel protected from punishment most of the time.

KUWAIT: The parliamentary Legislative and Legal Affairs Committee yesterday rejected a proposal to impose tougher penalties on retailers who increase commodity prices. The committee also refused to specify the commodities to be subsidized, as well as approving a proposal to support national products. Committee chairman MP Hussein Al-Huraiti said in a statement that the committee had turned down a request by the public prosecution to lift the parliamentary immunity of MPs Falah Al-Suwagh, Salem Al-Azmi, Ghanem Al-Mai’ and Saad Znaifer. He added that the panel had rejected a proposal to introduce tougher penalties

against retailers who increase product prices or to reclassify the act as a felony instead of a misdemeanor. It also rejected specifying certain goods to be subsidized.The committee also approved the establishment of the Food Public Authority, taking legal action against indecent acts in public places and establishing the Food Supervision Authority. It also endorsed a proposal to increase the grants paid to married Kuwaitis studying at Kuwait University and the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training from KD 250 to KD 300, as well as approving the granting of more privileges to Kuwait Airways Corporation staff. —KUNA

Stage set for Qurain Cultural Festival KUWAIT: The Sixteenth Qurain Cultural Festival will open at Dasma Theater tomorrow evening under the auspices of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad AlSabah, Secretary-General of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL) Bader Al-Refaei said yesterday. “The three-week event will be inaugurated by Minister of Oil and Minister of Information Sheikh Ahmad AlAbdullah Al-Sabah who doubles as NCCAL President,” Al-Refaei said in a press conference here. “The annual event turned to be one of the main landmarks in the Arab cultural arena due to the diversity of the exhibits and the sideline activities,” he pointed out. “The organizing committee decided to introduce a new activity which the naming of one of the friendly countries as guest of honor. This activity will replace ‘the personality of the festival’ which used to take place in the previous editions. The sisterly United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been chosen as guest of honor of this year edition,” Al-Refaei disclosed, noting that the UAE will be able to hold a cultural week during the festival. The UAE mission to the festival is scheduled to offer an operetta at the opening ceremony and hold a plastic art gallery and the prize-giving

ceremony of “Al-Bourda Award for Arabic calligraphy and Islamic ornamentations” on January 7 at the Avenues, Kuwait’s biggest shopping mall. “The UAE mission will also offer a lecture on ‘the historical roots of Kuwait-UAE cultural ties and the cultural scene in the UAE’ at AlRabeta theater in Al-Adeiliya neighborhood,” Al-Refa’ei revealed, adding that Prof. Belal Al-Bodour and Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdullah will be the key speakers. “The Emirates National Troupe For Folklore Arts will give a performance on the stage of Al-Dasma Theater in the evening of January 8, and another one at Al-Manshar complex, Al-Fehihil area in the following evening,” he went on to say. As usual the creative cultural celebrities from Kuwait will be honored at the opening ceremony of the festival. Prof. Mohammad AlRomeihi, Suleiman Al-Askari and Prof. Ahmad Abdul’al will be given the state orders of merit while artists Hamid Khaz’al and Ali Al-Awadh will share the state incentive award. On the sideline of the festival an exhibition of the maritime heritage will open Sunday morning, Jan 10, at AlSharqiyah School, Sharq Area. The exhibition will offer a panoramic view of Kuwait’s maritime history, Al-Refa’ei added. —- KUNA

KUWAIT: The team for demolition of encroachments on state properties removing a large shaded parking lot in Salmiya yesterday.

Kuwaiti publications on display in Doha DOHA: Kuwait’s participation in international cultural exhibitions helps showcase the development of which the country is undergoing, a Kuwaiti media official said here yesterday. “Cultural communication between nations is the most successful means of interaction,” head of the Kuwaiti delegation participating in the Doha International Book Fair Nasser AlDeihani said. The fair bridges Kuwaiti relations with Qatari people through publications

displayed at Kuwait’s pavilion at the fair, he noted. Publications covering cultural, economic, political, social domains alongside those tackling the country’s modernization processes distinguish Kuwaiti participation in Doha’s 20th exhibition, he said. Around 16 Kuwaiti publishers are taking part in the exhibition where countries worldwide are participating, he said, adding that the Ministry of Information distributed brochures and

books tackling Kuwaiti history and screened a movie highlighting Kuwait’s development. Al-Daihani said that Qatari Minister of Culture and Heritage Dr Hamad AlKawari who was awarded a commemorative plaque by Kuwaiti delegation, praised Kuwait’s significant participation of which showcased deeply-rooted relations between the two countries. Al-Daihani hailed Doha for holding the fair which pinpoints the “transition” of which the country went through.

A celebration that will mark naming Doha “Arab Capital of Arab Culture” will be held on the sidelines of the fair that kicked off on Dec 31 with the participation of 24 countries and 357 publishers. French cultural activities demonstrating the cultural interaction between the City of Light, Paris and Doha will be held. Egypt comes first in the number of publishers taking part in the exhibition with its 96 participation, followed by Lebanon with 70, and Qatar with 64. —KUNA


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Umm Al-Haiman’s pollution

Environmental group condemns EPA report By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: The Green Line Environment Group - Kuwait (GLEG) held a press conference at its premises yesterday to comment on a report released by the Environment Public Authority (EPA) that highlighted Umm Al- Haiman’s pollution situation. The GLEG aims to schedule a meeting with the

Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah to discuss the report of EPA. “The irregularities present in the report are dangerous, without scientific facts and information. We demand that the Prime Minister repeat the environmental screening done by EPA in Shuaiba area, and have neutral authorities participate in it,” said Khalid Al-Hajiri, Chairman of GLEG during the conference.

Al-Hajiri felt that the EPA’s board of directors are not aware of the laws and rules of EPA. “In fact, the EPA does not have any official power to shut down erroneous factories. They are only authorized to close factories in Shuaiba for a maximum period of two weeks. Even to do so, the permission of seven ministers need to be sought, which is almost impossible. The EPA’s report and its recommendations are not built on legal pillars. Also, the report omitted many environmental problems that the Umm Al-Haiman area faces,” he further said. According to GLEG, the newly appointed administration of EPA has committed other offenses. “The new administration proved that it has failed again by giving up its legally

follow the safety and security conditions. Also, samples and readings were not taken in a professional manner. Some factories then indulged activities to evade the law. In addition, the team only screened a few (about 50) factories, while more than 150 factories are located in Shuaiba, “ he explained. Al-Hajiri also accused the EPA of forging partnerships with factories to deliberately pollute the environment. “Instead of demanding that factories respect the environmental standards and limit the level of its emissions, they allowed the factories a three-month period to ‘pollute’ the environment. In fact, relocating these factories to Al Naayim, located west of Jahra is not the only feasible solution. It only transfers

appointed role in favor of consulting offices. The work of these offices is commerciallymotivated which may encourage corruption, and the EPA is not being allowed to execute its work. This administration also suffers from the lack of necessary expertise to solve these problems. They also have a lack of environmental field experience, which led to environmental, scientific, legal, and economic mistakes in the report issued by EPA,” added Al-Hajiri. The procedure of environmental screening carried out at factories in Umm Al-Haiman failed to comply with scientific standards. “The leader of environmental screening at factories is not a professional in the field. Also, most of the screening team’s visits to factories didn’t

ABU DHABI: Col Mohammad Al-Sabr presenting UAE’s Minister of Labor and the Chief of National Media Council with a commemorative plaque. — KUNA

Key role for media in countering terror ABU DHABI: Media is capable of correcting misconceptions towards terrorism, Kuwait Ministry of Interior’s spokesman Col Mohammad Al-Sabr said yesterday. Media is equipped with tools that enable it to raise awareness and correct misconceptions in individuals and society in general, Al-Sabr said on the sidelines of participating in the seminar held in Abu Dhabi on the role of media in countering terror. Al-Sabr called on utilizing hi-tech media to fight distorted ideas and beliefs that might help generate anti-society and terror-driven individuals, adding that the seminar came as a step aiming at countering terror. Al-Sabr presented UAE’s Minister of Labor and the Chief of National Media Council with a commemorative plaque and a number of the ministry’s publications. Meanwhile, seminar on ‘The Role of Arab media in Addressing the Phenomenon of Terrorism’ opened yesterday with the representatives of major media outlets and interior ministries of Arab countries taking part. The three-day event, taking place at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) here, is being organized by National Media Council (NMC) in association with ECSSR and the technical secretariat of the Arab League. The Minister of Labor of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Chairman of the NMC Saqr Ghobash Saeed Ghobash highlighted, in a keynote speech to the opening session of the seminar, the need of mass media to uphold the principle of tolerance, justice, equality and respect for nations with different cultures and religions. “The phenomenon of extremism and terrorism poses a grave threat to the security and stability of the Arab region,” Ghobash said..”UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin-Zayed Al-Nahyan and Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin-Rashid Al-Maktoum are keen on ensuring security and stability as well as seeking socio-economic development for the UAE and the entire region,” the minister underscored. “The seminar debates one of the most important issues that contemporary Arab societies face, namely, the role played by of media in addressing the phenomenon of terrorism,” he noted. The media role in addressing the phenomenon of terrorism still entails a lot of ambiguities. This gathering reflects our keenness to develop a coherent Arab media to work as a constructive taskforce in the fight against terrorism,” he said. “International debates on terrorism used to refer to the Arab region as one of the world’s main sources of terrorism but an objective assessment could tell that this region is rather a main victim of terrorism,” Ghobash argued. “The Arab media shoulders a great responsibility in combating terrorism,not by the way of institutional reactions, but by taking the initiative through radio and television messages that present enlightened visions and reflect the true values of our tolerant Islamic faith and authenticity of Arab traditions,” he concluded. Kuwait was represented at the seminar by Director of Security Media Department and Spokesman of the Ministry of Interior Colonel Mohammad Hashem Al-Sabr. — KUNA

Sheikha Fareeha expresses gratitude for political support KUWAIT: Chairwoman of Kuwait’s Supreme Committee of the Ideal Mother Award Sheikha Fareeha Al-Ahmad AlSabah praised yesterday the substantial support accorded by the political leaders for the commission. Speaking at a news conference, she said the committee had succeeded in promoting the ideal mother experience to several countries, latest of which was in Egypt where she, during her visit last month, exchanged views with Egyptian leaders on issues that concern the Arab family in general. She asserted importance of improving conditions of the Arab families, particularly dur-

ing the modern times where such a basic social entity is exposed to various threats and challenges. Sheikha Fareeha added that she had met, during her visit to Egypt, with the First Lady Susanne Mubarak and several ranking officials. She noted that such visits contribute in consolidating ties among the Arab nations. Elaborating, the chairperson of the committee said she had also visited the Egyptian hospital for children cancer, indicating that she initiated moral and financial support for this vital facility in Egypt, and hailed the paramount role of the First Lady in supporting this hospital.— KUNA

pollution instead of putting an end to it, and it will turn Jahra, Asima, Farwaniya, and Hawally governorates into a much larger Umm Al-Haiman,” he asserted. Demarcating industrial border areas has not been a widely accepted solution. “As EPA has not been functioning correctly, the idea of bordering industrial areas may cause problems and conflicts with neighboring countries. This may then reach international courts, as these factories emit large amounts of toxic smoke,” noted Al-Hajiri. In the end, Al-Hajiri concluded by saying that the government should dissolve the EPA’s new inefficient board of directors. “I think that the EPA’s report is politically motivated, and I don’t know in who’s favor,” he concluded.

Al-Naki denies freemasonry connection KUWAIT: Kuwaiti political activist and lawyer, Najla AlNaki has flatly denied accusations of working to establish a Lions Club in Kuwait. Al-Naki asserted that she had never had any such intentions, nor was she authorized to do so. Speaking during her regular forum, Al-Naki said that

she fully respects all opinions and has nothing against those who criticized her for hosting the Middle East Lions’ coordinator, Magdi Azab. Many MPs had criticized AlNaki, with Dr. Walid Al-Tabtabae warning that it had been proven that all Lions Clubs were closely related to Freemasonry,

reported Al-Watan. MP Mohammed Hayef described Freemasonry as hiding its real poisonous agenda to weaken various religions behind good intentions and charity whilst spreading poison to pull down various religions. Despite this, Al-Naki expressed gratitude to the law-

makers for raising the subject and drawing her attention to it, which encouraged her to further study both bodies. “I did not invite Azab to Kuwait; he was here to visit his family members and I hosted him at my forum upon the recommendation of my friend, the Egyptian actress Nahed Yossri,” she explained.


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Kuwait hosts Forum of Islamic Art ALEXANDRIA: The significance of Kuwait’s 4th International Forum of Islamic Art was stressed here yesterday by the Director of BA Media and Special Projects Departments Dr Khaled Azab, that will be launched in Kuwait today under the patronage of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs. He said that the forum will present remarkable cultural activities with the participation of specialists in the Islamic arts. Azab, Director of the Calligraphy Center in the Alexandria Library, expressed pleasure for being chosen as a guest of honor by the forum, pointing out that special pavilions of Arabic calligra-

phy and Islamic ornamentation would be hosted. The Alexandria library would display a number of its publications including: “Fatimid inscriptions on monuments in Egypt” , and “ History of writing from graphic expression to multi media”. A number of the center’s publications have received international awards, including the “History of Writing” which was granted the award of the best book translated into Arabic, in the field of humanities from Kuwait International Book Fair in 2006, he noted. The forum celebrated Jerusalem as the capital of Arab culture in 2009, by hosting a special pavilion for the Palestinian calligraphers, besides a pavilion of the inter-

national participating museums and others for Children to introduce to them the principles of the arts of ceramics, drawing on the water and calligraphy. Azab said that the library of Alexandria is keen on participating in all media and cultural events organized by Kuwait. He praised the distinguished role it plays in the fields of culture, and literature, pointing out that the Library will be hosting the Arab Media Forum in May 2009. A number of distinguished institutions in the field of Islamic arts are participating in the Kuwait Forum, like Library of Alexandria, Qatar Islamic Cultural Center, and The Islamic Arts Museum in Malaysia. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Fire Services Directorate team that visited the desert camps. —Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

KFSD holds awareness campaigns By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The Kuwait Fire Services Directorate (KFSD) has formed a team to visit the deserted areas that lie toward the south of the country. It is aimed at educating campers on the perils faced while pursuing outdoor activities. The Public Relations and Media Director at the Kuwait Fire Services Directorate (KFSD) Lt Col Khalil Al-Amir made the relevant announcement. Al-Amir said that the campaign began with personnel stationed at security posts where team members spoke to motorists and advised them on the importance of stocking fire extinguishers at camps and first aid kits. Lt Colonel Al-Amir said that the team visited camps and explained the safety procedures that can be observed such as leaving 10 meter distance between tents. Other measures like distributing posters and leaflets were also taken. The team also asked campers to ensure the safety of its electricity wiring without leaving it exposed to any form of contact. He also asserted that charcoal burners should not be left inside the tent when asleep as it may result in death.

Scores injured in road accidents

Expat gangs caught for drug trafficking By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The General Director of Drugs Fighting Administration Brig Sheikh Ahmad Al-Khalifa Al-Sabah has referred a number of suspects to the Public Prosecution Department in connection with drug pedAn undercover agent posing as a customer was sent to the suspect, and struck deal with him to buy three bars of hashish. He was arrested behind the fish market when he was trying to deliver the contraband. Police then searched the suspect’s residence and recovered more hashish and opium. The suspect also divulged more information about an Iranian accomplice who lives in Bneid Al-Gar. He also revealed more details about another Iranian suspect, who was also arrested. In a series of confessions made by suspects, yet another Iranian’s involvement as the main supplier was also revealed. In a separate case, three Egyptians were caught. Police received a tip off on their drug peddling activities. Several quantities of the drugs were stashed away at an apartment in Salmiya. Security personnel raided the suspects’ apartment where a quarter kilogram of hashish was hidden.

Vehicular incidents A 24-year-old citizen suffered injuries to the face and neck and a 27-year-old citizen suffered a dislocated shoulder after a motorcycle accident in Salmiya. Both were taken to Amiri Hospital. A 34-year-old Bangladeshi and a 25-year-old Syrian were injured

dling. Four were Iranians and seven were Egyptian nationals. The suspects who are all aged under 30, were found in possession of one kilogram of hashish and half a kilogram of opium. Previously obtained information revealed that a fish monger working at a local fish market was actively involved in drug trafficking.

KUWAIT: The drug smugglers pictured after their arrest. —Photo by Hanan Al-Saadoun near the Sabah Al-Nasser area after a car accident. They were taken to Farwaniya Hospital.

his left arm and leg when he fell from a van in the Sabhan area. He was taken to Adan Hospital.

A 22-year-old Saudi broke his nose and sustained several injuries after a car accident on Airport Road. He was taken to Sabah Hospital. A 38-year-old citizen broke

A 36-year-old Egyptian injured his eye while welding in Hassawi. He was taken to AlBahar Eye Hospital.

Accidental injuries

A 42-year-old Egyptian received first-degree burns on his face and shoulders after a gas explosion in Jabriya. He was taken to Mubarak hospital. A 28-year-old Egyptian broke his right femur when a door fell on him in Sharq. He was taken to Amiri Hospital.

Kuwaiti assaulted by ‘friends’ in desert KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti man reported that three ex-friends had abducted him and taken him to a desert area in Kabad before launching a vicious physical assault which left him with serious injuries and heavy bruising. The man told police that the three men had asked him to come out with them to discuss and resolve a previous disagreement, before shoving him into their vehicle and driving to Kabad where they took turns in beating him. An investigation is underway and the three accused men have been summoned for questioning.

Thieves held Jahra detectives have arrested a seven-man gang of Egyptians and Bangladeshis who specialized in stealing metal and selling it at Amghara Scrapyard. The suspects were arrested at a checkpoint on the road leading to the scrapyard in a truck loaded with stolen metal, which they subsequently admitted they had stolen. All have been remanded in custody awaiting sentencing.

Road sex pest

NBK credit cardholders get discounts KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the leading bank in Kuwait and the highest rated in the Middle East, is offering all its credit cardholders up to 50 percent discount on all Qualitynet Internet packages in the form of a 40 percent discount scheme in addition to another 10 percent as NBK Reward Points. “This offer which is valid until Jan 31, is an incredibly enticing promotion, because of its practical nature it will help our customers subscribe to or renew their Internet connections while earning two pronged benefits- the steep discount as well as NBK reward points that can be redeemed for goods and services at any of the myriad NBK rewards partners,” stated Abdulla Al-Najran, DGM of Consumer Banking Group. “This offer is open to all NBK credit

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

cardholders; therefore if you do not hold a card with NBK apply for one at the nearest branch to you so as to not miss out on this fabulous offer and many more to come in the next year,” he added. NBK credit cards accepted worldwide are the most rewarding way to pay for goods and services. Not only are they a great flexible payment option, but are free for the first year and also offer the best loyalty program in town NBK rewards, the most significant point redemption and discount scheme in Kuwait. Essa Al-Kooheji, GM-Consumer services stated, “Qualitynet, as the leading internet service provider in Kuwait, is ecstatic about teaming up with NBK to bring forth yet another innovative, exciting, and financially viable offering for NBK’s esteemed customers. Not only will

the customers be able to benefit from the savings of up to 50 percent. They will also be able to enjoy the fastest and most reliable internet service in Kuwait that are parallel with state-of-the-art customer services.” With the comfort for the customer in mind, we offer a versatile approach to the subscription and renewal process. Customers can subscribe or renew their services easily by visiting the Qualitynet outlet at Khaleejia ideally placed in the heart of Kuwait City, or simply by calling our Sales Hotline at 1-827-827, available 24 hours a day for additional convenience. “We strongly believe that without satisfied customers there are no successful businesses. So we strive to push our comfort levels, break the status-quo, and take customer satisfaction to the highest level.”

A Kuwaiti woman told police that an unidentified man had followed her vehicle in his own car, attempting to sexually harass her and trying to force her to accept his phone number. When she reached her home, he got out of his car and approached her, attempting to start a conversation, but she made it clear she was uninterested in his advances. At this point, he became verbally abusive, shouting at and insulting her, leaping into his car and ramming her own vehicle before driving away. The woman gave a description of the man, as well as his license plate details to police, who are investigating the case.

Bad date A Kuwaiti man in Yarmouk, who was awoken by strange voices in his home discovered

on investigating the source of the noise that it came from his maid’s Asian boyfriend, who she had smuggled into her room, where the couple were in bed together. The householder immediately called the police, who quickly arrived, arresting both the maid and her partner.

Suicide attempt The mother of a young Syrian girl was distraught on discovering her daughter collapsed on the floor in their home in Sulaibiya, with a quantity of prescription drugs beside her showing that the girl had taken an overdose. The mother immediately called the emergency services hotline and an ambulance rushed the girl to hospital, where doctors managed to save the girl’s life. An investigation is underway to determine the reason behind the girl’s actions.

Tw o burglaries The Kuwaiti owner of a tire repair store in Rumaithiya reported that on entering his shop one morning last week, he discovered that the door had been jimmied open by burglars, who stole KD 1,200 in cash from inside. A case has been filed and further investigations are underway. Meanwhile, in Doha a Kuwaiti citizen got a nasty shock on returning from a day out to discover that burglars had smashed a window and broken into his home, scattering his possessions around and stealing KD 500 in cash from his bedroom. The man immediately called the police to report the theft, with the crime scene officers turning up shortly after to dust for fingerprints. An investigation has been launched.

Sim card smuggler An expatriate was arrested after his attempt to smuggle mobile phone Sim cards into Central Prison where his brother is currently incarcerated was discovered by prison staff dur-

KUWAIT: The traffic department yesterday continued its campaign in Ahmadi governorate for the fourth day running, with seven vehicles being impounded, 230 citations being issued and 14 vehicles which were illegally offered for sale at the roadside being towed away. The campaign is continuing in Abu Halifa, Jaber Al-Ali and Wafra. ing a search of visitors. A member of the prison staff explained that after learning that the Sim cards were changing hands in the jail for KD 100 each, the two brothers decided to go into business providing them. A case has been filed and the would-be smuggler has been taken into custody and may soon have the chance to join his brother in the prison.

Fugitive caught A young Kuwaiti driver pulled over by patrol officers in Farwaniya was discovered to be wanted in connection with seven previous criminal cases, while the car he was driving belonged to his sister, a fugitive wanted in connection with financial fraud in the area. The young man was taken into custody and the car was impounded, while his sister has been summoned for questioning.

Stolen bike The son of a local university professor was arrested in Mubarak Al-Kabeer while riding a stolen bicycle. Patrol officers apparently became suspicious of the youth’s behavior and stopped him, only to discover that the bicycle he was riding had been reported stolen earlier. The academic’s son insisted that he had bought the bike from a friend, who was later also summoned for questioning.

Teacher nabbed An Arab teacher employed by the Ministry of Education was arrested at a checkpoint between Sabah Al-Salem and Adan in possession of 20 hallucinogenic tablets. Patrol officers initially became suspicious of the teacher’s befuddled demeanor after he stopped at the roadblock, launching a search which resulted in the discovery of the narcotics. The man was taken into custody.

Panel to deliberate on bedoon issues KUWAIT: The Joint Committee headed by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Minister Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak Al-Sabah will deliberate on the proposed law for bedoons’ social and civil rights. Regarding employment rights, officials revealed that the Civil Service Commission (CSC) has recommended that bedoon’s unemployment contradicts with the laws

that have been issued to the Council of Ministers in this connection, reported AlAnba. The commission has stipulated that the First Article of the Civil Service Law mandates that any person employed should be a Kuwaiti citizen. However, if no Kuwaiti is available for that job, priority will be accorded to Arab citizens, reported Al-Anba. The law also spells out that if the indi-

vidual’s mother is Kuwaiti and the father an Arab, then the children will be granted the father’s citizenship and will be considered Arabs, thereby giving priority over nonArabs. If the prospective employee’s father is bedoon, then children will be considered bedoon too. The law also requires that every employee identify his or her citizenship.


INTERNATIONAL

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Govt steps up accusations that West fomenting turmoil

Dozens of Iran university profs denounce crackdown TEHRAN: Dozens of Tehran University professors appealed yesterday to Iran’s supreme leader to halt the ongoing violence against protesters, adding a new and respected voice in support of the opposition. The government, meanwhile, stepped up its accusations that the West is fomenting Tehran’s post-election turmoil, saying that foreign nationals were among those arrested in the most recent clashes between security forces and pro-opposition proTehran University is the country’s largest, with 1,480 professors and teachers, according to its Web site. By speaking openly in support of the protesters, the professors are putting their careers on the line. Iranian students were the driving force of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and they led anti-government protests last month that revitalized the opposition movement, even as opposition leaders struggle to dent the power of the ruling establishment. The letter, posted on the pro-reform Greenroad Web site, called the attacks a sign of weakness in the ruling system and demanded punishment for those who beat up students. It also urged Khamenei to order arrests over the hard-line

crackdown, which intensified after protesters began chanting slogans against the supreme leader. At least eight people died in clashes between security forces and opposition supporters across Iran late last month, including a nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. It was the worst bloodshed since the height of the unrest immediately after disputed June presidential election. “Nighttime attacks on defenseless student dormitories and daytime assaults on students at university campuses, venues of education and learning, is not a sign of strength. ... Nor is beating up students and their mass imprisonment,” the letter read. It referred to attacks by pro-government paramili-

testers. Officials didn’t provide the nationalities of the arrested but accused the foreigners of leading a propaganda war and warned they face possible death sentences for seeking to topple the government. The letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, signed by 88 professors and reported by a pro-reform Web site, reflected a daring challenge to the Iran’s clerical leadership since it is sure to further arouse the anger of authorities.

tary Basij forces on pro-opposition students inside Tehran University campus last month. The attacks were launched after students took to the streets on Dec. 7 on more than a dozen campuses in the biggest anti-government protests in months. The professors said none of the attackers, who chanted slogans in support of Khamenei while beating students, have been punished. They demanded Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, also order that all students arrested in the protests be released. “Unfortunately, all these (attacks) were carried out under the pretext of protecting Islam” and the position of the supreme leader, the professors also said. A fierce government

crackdown had all but crushed mass street protests that erupted immediately after June’s presidential elections, which the opposition says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won by fraud. But the protests regained momentum in December and large turnouts at rallies showed months of arrests and intimidation have failed to stamp out the movement. Intelligence minister Heidar Moslehi said some of those arrested in protests Dec 27, when Shiite Muslims in Iran marked the sacred day of Ashoura, were foreign citizens who had come to Iran just two days before the day of the protests. “Some of the detainees ... were foreign nationals who were leading a propaganda and

a psychological war,” said Moslehi, according to state TV. He said cameras and equipment belonging to the foreigners was also confiscated. Iran has been conducting mass trials of opposition figures and activists arrested in the postelection protests. Five defendants have been sentenced to death and 81 received prison terms ranging from six months up to 15 years. Authorities said more than 500 demonstrators were arrested after the Ashoura protests and that they would be put on trial. General prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi said yesterday those trials would be speedy and that some of the detainees could also face the death penalty over rioting against the ruling establishment. — AP

Iran jails journalist for 7 years

CAIRO: Activists of “Gaza Freedom Marchers” display slogans supporting the people of Gaza, against the subterranean wall barrier being placed to stop tunnels being used to transport goods into Gaza, during a protest in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday, marking one year since the Israeli invasion of Gaza. —AP

International activists leave Egypt after Gaza entry denied CAIRO: More than 1,000 international activists have headed home after Egypt denied them passage to Gaza for a solidarity march with the besieged enclave’s Palestinians, organisers said yesterday. “Most participants of the Gaza Freedom March have gone home. Around 250 are still in Cairo, some will try to get into the Gaza Strip and some will go home,” one of the organisers, Ann Wright, told AFP. Egyptian authorities had banned the activists who had come to Cairo from 42 countries from entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing, the

only entry that bypasses Israel. They had hoped to join Palestinians for a march on New Year’s eve to mark the first anniversary of Israel’s devastating war on Gaza that killed 1,400 Palestinians. Thirteen Israelis also died. The activists had staged demonstrations and hunger strikes around Cairo to protest at Egypt’s refusal to let them leave the city. After intervention by First Lady Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt last week allowed 86 protesters to enter the Gaza Strip. Dozens of protesters who had camped out outside the French embassy in Cairo for

days have also left, embassy staff said. Egypt had said it barred the protesters because of the “sensitive situation” in the Gaza Strip, accusing them of trying to embarrass Cairo with their demonstrations. The participants of the Gaza Freedom March included Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, Filipino senator and activist Walden Bello, writer Alice Walker, 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein and hundreds of politicians, writers, artists and activists from over 40 countries. —AFP

Palestinian president stick to demand for settlement freeze CAIRO: The Palestinian president stuck by his demand yesterday for a complete halt in West Bank settlement building before resuming peace talks with Israel. Israeli-Palestinian talks broke off more than a year ago and the two sides are at odds over how to restart negotiations. The issue of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories has been a major sticking point. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently announced a partial freeze on settlement construction. But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected the offer as insincere and insufficient. Speaking to reporters after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Abbas said the two were agreed to keep insisting on a complete settlement freeze. “We have said and are still saying that at the time when settlement construction is stopped and the international legitimacy is recognized, we will be ready to resume the negotiations,”

Abbas said. Top Egyptian officials head to London and Washington this week to discuss ideas on reaching a comprehensive peace deal. Egypt has been attempting to bridge the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians. Following Netanyahu’s talks with Mubarak a week ago, Egypt’s foreign minister said Netanyahu appeared serious about resuming negotiations. A Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to discuss ongoing policy, said the ideas included all the major disagreements that have scuttled talks before, final borders, settlements and the status of east Jerusalem. Mohammed Dahlan, a top official in Abbas’ Fatah party, said there was “a base of some optimism.” “We value the Egyptian efforts and hope these efforts will be concluded in a plan or package,” he said. Abbas said Netanyahu’s ideas for restarting talks would be discussed

during the Egyptian team’s visit. “I don’t want to judge ideas that look foggy now. They will be judged after the Egyptian delegation returns from Washington ... and things get clearer then,” he said. Speaking to his Likud faction at Israel’s parliament, Netanyahu renewed his call to restart talks. “I believe that negotiations about starting the negotiations have delayed us enough. In recent weeks, I have found that there is a certain change in the climate, and we hope that there is a readiness that will advance the political process,” he said. Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Egypt still believes Netanyahu is serious. “Our position is that the (Netanyahu’s) ideas are taking the Israeli position forward,” Aboul Gheit told reporters. “This is a protracted process and needs patience, clarity and prudence so that the Palestinians do not find themselves in a difficult position.”— AP

TEHRAN: Iran has sentenced a prominent journalist critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s economic policies to more than seven years in prison and to be lashed, opposition websites reported yesterday. Bahman Ahmadi Amoui “has been sentenced to seven years and four months in jail plus 34 lashes,” the Kaleme and Rahesabz websites said. The journalist was jailed during a massive crackdown on reformists and critical journalists in the wake of the disputed June 12 election which saw Ahmadinejad re-elected amid allegations of poll fraud. The website reports did not specify the charges against Amoui, who contributed for years to reformist newspapers. Amoui, who has been in jail since June 20, was an editor in leading economic paper Sarmayeh which was shut down by the authorities in November. Iran has put about 140 people in the dock suspected of acting against national security by inciting or taking part in street protests which erupted after the election. Several reformist politicians and journalists have been sentenced to jail terms, although some have been released on bail pending appeal. On Saturday the appeals court upheld a six-year jail term handed down to Ahmad Zeidabadi, a prominent reformist journalist who has to serve his sentence in a remote town more than 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from Tehran. —AFP

Somali pirates seize second Yemeni vessel NAIROBI: Somali pirates captured a Yemeni vessel on Christmas Day, a day after they seized another ship from the Arab country, a regional maritime official said yesterday. “MV Socotra 1 was taken by pirates on Dec 25. She is still under captivity,” said Andrew Mwangura, coordinator of the Kenya-based East Africa Sea Farers’ Assistance Program. He had no more details on the ship. A day earlier, sea gangs that have made the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean waters off east Africa very dangerous boarded another Yemeni ship, the Al Mahmoud 2, and forced it and its 16-member crew toward their base. The pirates also captured the British-flagged Asian Glory with 25 crew members and the Singapore-flagged chemical tanker Pramoni on New Year’s Day. The pirates have made millions of dollars from hijacking ships for ransom in one of the world’s busiest shipping routes. They are holding at least 10 other vessels. —Reuters

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INTERNATIONAL

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jamaican Muslim cleric to be deported from Kenya NAIROBI: Kenyan immigration authorities will deport a Jamaican Muslim cleric they suspect has links to terrorism groups, a police spokesman said yesterday. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Faisal was in the east African country on a preaching tour but intelligence officials were afraid his speeches would have encouraged radi-

calism in a country that has suffered two Al-Qaeda-linked attacks. “The minister in charge of immigration has declared him as an unwanted immigrant. We don’t want him in this country,” police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told Reuters. “He has known terrorism links

and was once jailed in the UK for five years. They are so annoyed with him that they can’t even grant him a transit visa on his way to Kingston, Jamaica.” Faisal was also deported from Britain in 2007 for preaching racial hatred and asking his audiences to kill Jews, Hindus and westerners.

“From what he says, he was coming to preach,” Kiraithe said. “The contacts he was maintaining, according to our intelligence, are not the best, are not in our national interests. The contacts were ... in some neighboring countries.” Attacks in Kenya include a 1998 bomb at the US embassy

in Nairobi, a hotel bombing and a botched missile attack on an Israeli airliner leaving Kenya’s Mombasa airport in 2002. Some Kenyan Muslim clerics demonstrated against Faisal’s arrest on Sunday and said he was going to preach on greater autonomy for Muslims. “Of

course, he did not come here to appease the Kenyan government or the police, but to do his job,” said Sheikh Yahya Mohamed Atie, a retired army captain and a member of Nairobi’s Jamia Mosque. “He was calling Muslims to have more freedom. Of course, he is against democracy.” —Reuters

President brings wife total to three

South Africa’s polygamous Zuma weds for fifth time NKANDLA: Wearing leopard skins and carrying a Zulu shield, South Africa’s polygamous President Jacob Zuma yesterday married for the fifth time, in a traditional ceremony in his remote hometown. The 67-year-old

and his new bride Thobeka Madiba, 30 years his junior, danced in an open field at his homestead in Nkandla, a village deep in the countryside of KwaZulu-Natal province.

NKANDLA: South African President Jacob Zuma sings and dances with his newlywed Thobeka Madiba at their wedding ceremony yesterday in a colorful Zulu traditional wedding outfit at Zuma’s rural homestead of Nkandla. —AFP

At least 20 killed in Kenyan floods NAIROBI: At least 20 people have been killed in flash floods in Kenya over the last week following torrential rains that have left tens of thousands in need of aid, the Red Cross said yesterday. The heavy rains have been blamed on El Nino weather patter ns across east Africa, which have caused landslides and affected an estimated 70,000 people in eastern and northeast Kenya. “The rains have caused death, swept

homes away and destroyed food crops leaving an estimated 30,000 people in dire need of relief aid,” said Abbas Gullet, the secretary general of the Kenya Red Cross Society. Gullet told Reuters the flooding had killed at least 20 people across the country but numbers were likely to rise once a countrywide assessment is complete. Though the rains are destructive, they are expected to make life easier in

some areas that are still emerging from one of the worst drought spells in years. “This also means that Kenya will have more water supply and pasture for livestock compared to last year,” said Gullet. El Nino, which means “little boy” in Spanish, is driven by abnormal warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean and can have a major influence on global weather. —Reuters

Brown warns over Islamists’ march LONDON: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown would regard a planned march by an Islamic group against the Afghanistan war as “completely inappropriate” if it upset dead soldiers’ families, his office said yesterday. Islam4UK wants to commemorate the civilians killed in the conflict with a march through Wootton Bassett, a market town in southwest

England where the bodies of dead British soldiers are paraded following their repatriation. Although no date has yet been set, the mere suggestion of such a protest in a place that has become a powerful symbol of the war effort has caused uproar. Brown’s Downing Street office yesterday said it was up to the local authorities to decide whether

the march should be allowed, but condemned anything that might offend the families of dead or injured service personnel. “The prime minister’s view would be obviously that anything that is considered to be offensive to, or of concern to, families of troops wounded or killed in Afghanistan would be completely inappropriate,” a spokesman said.

LONDON: A school pupil from St Monica’s Primary School in Hackney, east London asks Ed Balls, left, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, who the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, right, is, in the offices of the Department of Children, Schools and Families yesterday. —AP

Anjem Choudary, the leader of Islam4UK, admitted that choosing Wootton Bassett was designed to gain publicity. “We need to gain media attention in order to highlight the plight of the ordinary men, women and children who are being mercilessly murdered in Afghanistan,” he told Sky News television. A total of 108 British soldiers died in Afghanistan in 2009 compared to 2,038 civilians in the first ten months of the year, according to the United Nations mission in Afghanistan. In the same inter view Choudary praised Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, who he said was hugely popular and would win any election in the Muslim world. Islam4UK calls itself a platform for Al-Muhajiroun, a radical group now disbanded which used to be headed by Omar Bakri, an Islamist preacher barred from Britain for his views. Separately, seven Muslim men appeared in cour t in Luton, north of London, yesterday charged in connection with protests at a homecoming parade in March 2009 for British soldiers who served in Iraq and Aghanistan. The court heard how the men told the soldiers to “burn in hell” and branded them rapists, murderers and baby killers. The men all deny using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. —AFP

The two formally wed when a tribal elder asked Madiba if she accepted to join the Zuma family. When she agreed, he pronounced her Zuma’s third current wife. His first wife, Sizakele Khumalo, whom he married in 1973, attended the ceremony. His second wife Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma was at the homestead preparing for the reception in a massive tent, where guests will celebrate through the night. One of Zuma’s earlier wives committed suicide in 2000, while in 1998 he divorced Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who remains in his inner circle and is currently South Africa’s home affairs minister. The guests included South Africa’s political and business elite, including Mandla Mandela, a grandson of the nation’s first black president Nelson Mandela. Local celebrities and music stars like Yvonne Chaka Chaka also attended the ceremony under overcast skies, with a gentle drizzle seen as a sign of blessing in African culture. Several sheep, goats and cows have already been slaughtered for the feast to follow. After initially declaring the ceremony would be private, it was finally opened to the public under heavy police presence. Local villagers, many dressed in animal skins and African cloth, trekked through muddy trails to attend. Madiba, who reportedly already has three children with Zuma, attended the president’s inauguration in May, where she was treated as one of the country’s three first ladies. Since then, she has attended official functions and is referred to in the media as Thobeka MadibaZuma. Even while preparations for this wedding were underway, Zuma is reportedly preparing for his sixth marriage. Earlier this week, a gift-giving ceremony was held signalling that he had paid the traditional dowry known as ilobolo for his latest fiancee, Bongi Ngema. Zuma has also been linked to a Swazi princess, but has given no clear indication that he plans to wed her. Polygamy is legally recognized in South Africa, but is mostly practiced in rural areas of the country. The practice came under the spotlight before the 2009 presidential elections, when Zuma’s polygamous lifestyle became a topic of discussion, especially among women’s rights activists. Media and political analysts also debated the issue, but their attention focused mainly on logistical matters such as security arrangements and medical costs for treating his large family. Usually Zuma brings only one wife to state functions or on overseas trips. His first wife Khumalo was given the place of honour at his inauguration in May, given higher prestige than Madiba or his other wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma, whom he married in 2008 in a lavish ceremony. Zuma and Khumalo have no children together and she still lives in Nkandla, generally preferring to avoid the public spotlight and rarely attending official functions. He is reportedly father to at least 18 children. — AFP

BERNESE OBERLAND: In this photo released by Bern Cantonal police and taken Sunday rescue workers are seen at the site where two avalanches came down a mountainside in the Diemtig valley, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland. —AP

Swiss avalanches kill 5; 3 missing beneath snow Victims not identified GENEVA: Snowfall and fog were hampering a search in the Swiss Alps yesterday for three people believed trapped after avalanches killed at least four skiers and a rescue doctor, officials said. Two of the avalanches occurred in Diemtig Valley on Sunday, the first hitting a group of skiers, the second the rescuers who came to their aid. A third avalanche buried two skiers near Switzerland’s borders with France and Italy on Sunday. In Diemtig Valley, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of the capital, Bern, eight people were pulled from the snow alive, but three , two skiers and the rescue doctor, later died in the hospital of their injuries, police spokeswoman Ursula Stauffer told The Associated Press by telephone. Another skier was recovered dead. “Rescuers haven’t been able to resume their search today because the helicopter can’t get close to the site due to the bad weather,” said Stauffer. She said the three missing skiers were part of a large group that was skiing off-piste in the Chummli area of the Diemtig Valley when an avalanche buried one member of the party around midday Sunday. Rescuers who arrived to help the skiers about half an hour later were hit by a second avalanche at the same spot, said Stauffer. Officials subsequently launched a

massive operation involving eight helicopters and 100 rescuers in an attempt to save their colleagues and the missing skiers. Stauffer declined to identify the victims of the disaster until a news conference scheduled late yesterday afternoon. Bernhard Scherz, an official with the Rubigen ski club who took part in the rescue, told Zurich daily Blick that it appeared the first avalanche was caused by skiers failing to keep a safe distance from each other on a steep slope. Scherz said one of those recovered alive from the avalanche was an Englishman. He had been buried under 8 feet (2.5 meters) of snow. But an official at the British Embassy said British citizens weren’t known to have been injured or killed in the avalanche, according to information provided by cantonal police. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she wasn’t authorized to make public statements. Separately, two skiers were buried in Sunday’s avalanche near the town of Verbier close to Switzerland’s borders with France and Italy. One skier was killed, but his guide was rescued alive, police in the southern canton of Valais said. The start of the ski season and heavy snowfall in recent days have prompted officials to warn of a heightened avalanche risk in the Swiss Alps. —AP

in the news Danish cartoonist says attacker was a lone madman COPENHAGEN: The Danish artist whose controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) enraged Muslims says police cannot protect him from attackers who act spontaneously. Kurt Westergaard tells The Associated Press he believes he is being targeted by Muslim extremists because he stands by his cartoon and insists he has “not done anything wrong.” The 74year-old artist says he was shocked by Friday’s attack during which a Somali man broke into his home armed with an ax. Westergaard said yesterday police cannot protect him 100 percent from “the terrorist type” who acts spontaneously and is “not part of a conspiracy.”Police shot the Somali man in the hand and knee, and he was later charged with attempted murder. The man cannot be identified due to a Danish court ban.

1st prez of Suriname dies in Netherlands THE HAGUE: Johan Ferrier, the first president of post-independence Suriname, has died at his home in the Netherlands. He was 99. Ferrier’s daughter, Joan Ferrier, told the Wereldomroep radio network that her father died in his sleep and was found dead yesterday morning. Ferrier was a teacher who in

1946 helped set up the National Party of Suriname, while the sparsely populated country on South America’s northeastern shoulder was still a Dutch colony. He was governor from 1968 until Suriname gainedindependence in 1975, when he became the country’s first president. He resigned and moved with his family to the Netherlands six months after a military coup by Desi Bouterse in 1980. Funeral plans were not immediately announced.

EU visit to Iran scrapped BRUSSELS: The head of a European Parliament delegation says that a trip to Iran that would have included meetings with the opposition was blocked at the last moment by authorities. The chair of the delegation, Barbara Lochbihler, says the the five-day trip was to have started on Thursday but was blocked over the weekend by Iran’s embassy in Brussels. The German lawmaker said yesterday the move was “further proof of the Iranian authorities’ blank refusal to allow any serious discussion” about the unrest in the country. At least eight people died in clashes between security forces and opposition supporters across Iran late last month and protests have continued. The Iranian embassy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Cartoonist attacker on watch list: Kenya NAIROBI: Kenyan authorities had arrested a man now charged with attempting to kill a Danish cartoonist after he arrived ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s visit earlier this year, a police official said yesterday. Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe identified the man as Mohammed Muhideen Gelle, and said he was on a terror watch list. His trip to Kenya ahead of Clinton’s August visit had

raised red flags and he also was seen associating with other suspects on the Kenyan ter ror watch list, Kiraithe said. The man cannot be identified in Denmark due to a Danish court ban. But when a s ke d w h e t h e r Ke n y a n authorities had confirmed that the suspect in Denmark was the same man previousl y i n Ke n y a n c u s t o d y, Kiraithe replied: “Yes, he’s the one.” Kiraithe said the suspect

was held on immigration c h a rg e s t h a t w e re l a t e r dropped. He was arrested July 30 and released Aug. 12. The Somali man, who has a re s i d e n c e p e r m i t i n Denmark, faces preliminary charges of attempting to kill cartoonist Ku r t Westergaard. Westergaard, one of 12 Danish artists whose cartoons of the P ro p h e t Muhammad (PBUH) outraged Muslims in 2006, escaped the attack

by fleeing to a specially made safe room and alerting p o l i c e . Po l i c e s h o t t h e Somali man in the hand and knee. Westergaard’s cartoon was viewed as the most provocative of the 12, and he has been the target of several death threats since then. He has been under roundthe-clock police protection since February 2008. Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry. —AP


INTERNATIONAL

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

9

Failed terror attack refocused president’s trip

Obama ends holiday, returns to Washington WASHINGTON : President Barack Obama ended a Haw aiian vacation yesterday w ith a return to the Washington he never really escaped. Obama and his family touched dow n at chilly Andrew s Air Force Base after an overnight flight aboard Air Force One. That capped an 11-day trip that w ould be remembered more for an Al-Qaeda affiliate’s

botched attempt to bring dow n a flight in Detroit rather than the hours spent on golf courses or dining on tropical foods. The failed terror attack refocused the president’s trip from rest and recreation on the island of Oahu to a river of memos from homeland security aides.

Even though it was called a vacation, the trip to Obama’s childhood home was hardly the holiday most Americans seek. Between golf outings, he phoned his homeland security secre-

And an attack that killed seven US intelligence officers put him on the phone with the CIA director before heading to a party with high school friends. Such a hyped-up tone was exactly what officials sought to dodge. “I asked the president if he had any special message for you guys,” deputy press secretary Bill Burton deadpanned to reporters on the way to Oahu on Dec 24. “He would like for you to relax and to not anticipate any public announcements or news-making events.” It echoed almost exactly what Burton told reporters as they headed toward Obama’s summer vacation off the coast of the state of Massachusetts. That trip saw clambakes interrupted with the renomination of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, recreation replaced with mourning the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. This week should not have come as a surprise, really. Presidents do not truly get to leave the White House behind. One aide traveled back and forth between a makeshift White House complex , at a hotel on Waikiki, to Obama’s rented residence with

tary and counterterrorism adviser for regular updates. Rather than restaurant recommendations, the president was handed thrice-daily updates from the White House Situation Room.

Mudslide city mayor seeks Brazil nuke plant shutdown This photo released by Mexico’s Federal Security Secretary Saturday shows Carlos Beltran Leyva at an undisclosed location after his arrest. — AP

Mexico nabs 3rd brother in reputed drug family MEXICO CITY: The capture of a reputed kingpin following the death of his brother has knocked out most of a brutal drug trafficking dynasty after a Mexican crackdown on corruption stripped the Beltran Leyva cartel of many snitches within security forces. Carlos Beltran Leyva was arrested in the Pacific coast state Sinaloa, where he and several of his brothers were born and allegedly started their gang. A judge ordered him held for at least 40 days while officials investigate possible charges of organized crime, the Attorney General’s Office said in a statement Sunday. His capture came just two weeks after his brother Arturo, known as “the boss of bosses” of the cartel, was killed in a shootout with marines at a luxury apartment in the city of Cuernavaca. Carlos Beltran’s arrest gave Calderon back-to-back victories in the drug war and underscored the government’s determination to destroy the 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. Calderon vowed he would not be intimidated. However, authorities were far quieter in announcing Carlos Beltran’s capture, waiting three days to make the arrest public in a terse statement Saturday night. A third brother, Alfredo, was arrested in January 2008. At least one other Beltran Leyva brother, who officials say could be named Mario or Hector, remains at large. He is listed as one of Mexico’s 24 most-wanted drug lords, with a $2 million reward offered for his capture. The downfall of Beltran Levya brothers comes a year after a sweeping corruption probe led to the arrest of a dozen highranking Mexican officials accused of collaborating with the cartel. They included Mexico’s former drug czar Noe Ramirez, who allegedly received $450,000 a month from Arturo Beltran in exchange for sensitive information. “The long suit of the Beltran Leyva was in intelligence, and they had lots of contacts with the intelligence officials,” said George W. Grayson, a Mexico expert at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. “They got the big shots ... who were on the take from the Beltran Leyva family, and that really was their strength.” Mexican officials in the past have described Carlos Beltran Levya, 40, as a key member of the gang, but he is not on the government’s most-wanted list and prosecutors have not

revealed any significant current indictments against him. “He’s the lowest profile of the brothers,” Grayson said. “The scuttlebutt is that Hector, who is still at large, is really the brains behind the outfit.” Chance and Mexico’s intelligence system appeared to have led to Beltran Leyva’s capture. The Attorney General’s Office said a citizen tipped authorities to the presence of an armed man in the Canadas neighborhood of Culiacan. Beltran Leyva gave federal police a driver’s license that identified him as Carlos Gamez Orpineda, but when the police ran the document by Mexico’s Center of Intelligence they learned it was false. He later acknowledged he was Arturo Beltran Leyva’s brother, the Public Safety Department said. Police said he was found with two guns and ammunition. The Beltran Leyva brothers allegedly worked side by side with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, before breaking away in recent years and seizing lucrative drug routes in northeastern Mexico. While a victory for the government, the success against the Beltran Leyva brothers could empower the Sinaloa cartel and other rival gangs, Grayson said. The Beltran Leyvas had increasingly relied for protection on the Zetas, a gang led by former soldiers-turned-hit men who also work with the Gulf cartel, he said. “The Zetas may now move against the Beltran Leyva and take them over, saying, ‘You are now taking orders from us, or we’ll kill you,”‘ Grayson said. “The good news is you’ve got a bad guy behind bars. The bad news is that this may enhance the Zetas.” That possibility raises fears of even bloodier turf battles in a drug war that has already claimed more than 15,000 lives since Calderon took office in 2006. In a possible sign of that fight, the bound, beaten bodies of two men were found Wednesday hanging by their necks from a highway overpass in the Sinaloa town of Los Mochis. Nearby, a message was written on a piece of cardboard: “This territory already has an owner.” The message appeared to be from the Beltran Leyva cartel. Authorities have blamed the Zetas for killing the marine’s relatives in retaliation for Arturo Beltran’s death. On Sunday, prosecutors in eastern Tabasco state, where the family was killed, announced the capture of three suspected Zetas who allegedly acted as lookouts during the attack. Four other alleged Zetas accused of playing secondary roles were arrested last week, but the killers remain at large. — AP

SAO PAULO : The mayor of a mudslide-devastated city on Sunday urged a precautionary shutdown of Brazil’s only nuclear power plants due to blocked highways while the death toll from flooding and slides rose to 75. Angra dos Reis Mayor Tuca Jordao said that while the nuclear power plants are not damaged or threatened, mudslides that that have killed at least 44 people in his city alone have disrupted escape routes needed to cope with any emergency. “We don’t want any risk,” said Jordao, whose municipality has about 120,000 people. “We want to avoid a future problem.” There was no immediate response from higher authorities, but officials of Brazil’s state-run nuclear energy company Electronuclear said a temporary closure of the plants would not seriously hurt the country’s power supply, according to Globo TV. On Saturday, before the mayor’s request, the company said a shutdown was not necessary. Crews using rescue dogs, heavy machinery, boats and helicopters took advantage of improved weather on Sunday to hunt for any survivors from the Angra dos Reis slides. A civil defense spokeswoman said two bodies were recovered in the Carioca slum , where 15 people died , and two on the Ilha Grande island, where at least 29 died when a hillside collapsed on a vacation resort and neighboring houses on New Year’s Day. The spokeswoman declined to be quoted by name in accordance with department policy. Overall, authorities said, 66 people died in slides or flooding in Rio de Janeiro state, three in Minas Gerais state and six in the Sao Paulo state city of Cunha. Lux-coely Amorim Mendes, 57, told Globo TV’s G1 Web site that she had to identify the body of her 8-year-old granddaughter at the morgue, and found the child wearing the dress Mendes had given her for the holiday. “I couldn’t believe that was

ANGRA DOS REIS: People stand by the coffins of victims of two mudslides, one in Morro da Carioca, Angra dos Reis, and another on the island of Ilha Grande, in the city of Angra dos Reis near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday. — AP actually happening to us,” she said. Survivor Luciana Maximo de Castro told Globo TV that she was among friends invited to the hotel by the lodge owner’s daughter, who died in the slide. “There was a loud noise. I didn’t know if it was a dream or if it was true,” de Castro said. “Mud covered me, kept me from breathing.” G1 reported that one family lost 9and 12-year-old daughters. Seventeen people from the city of

Aruja were staying in a nearby house, it said, and only four survived. At least five people who were staying on the island are still missing. Jordao said about 20 areas in Angra dos Reis was still at risk of mudslides and he said some people were being evacuated. The dual slides were triggered by 10 inches (27 centimeters) of rain that had drenched the region since Wednesday, authorities said. — AP

secure memos. A third-floor room overlooking a sea of whitecaps had its curtains drawn while officials used it as a secure briefing room for the National Security Council. And officials , sometimes in sandals or gym clothes , visited reporters in a the hotel ballroom they used for workspace. “We reserve the right to screw up your day at a moment’s notice,” a smiling Burton casually told reporters seeking the president’s schedule one afternoon. There was plenty to keep the first-year president busy even without the attack on the Northwest Airlines flight. As Obama heads back to Washington, lawmakers from the House and Senate must resolve their differing versions of a health care overhaul that is squeaking toward passage, his top domestic priority. A State of the Union address to Congress is due during the first weeks of 2010. The escalating war in Afghanistan is not going to run itself and the intelligence community is not going to reorganize without a direct hand from the White House. — AP


10

INTERNATIONAL

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Chinese underground bishop Yao dies at 87

BEIJING: Workers shovel snow to clear the Jinshan park in Beijing yesterday. China’s capital dug out yesterday from the weekend’s heavy snowstorms, seeking to restore flights and reopen highways and rail lines covered by drifts. — AP

Rivers, reservoirs still rising from extra water

BEIJING: Leon Yao Liang, a bishop in China’s underground church who was imprisoned for more than 28 years under the communists, has died, a USbased Catholic group reported yesterday. He was 87. Yao died on Wednesday in the northern township of Xiwanzi, where he had been auxiliary bishop since 2002, the Cardinal Kung Foundation said in an e-mail. Yao had held the position in defiance of the governmentsanctioned Patriotic Catholic Association, which has no official relations with the Vatican and does not recognize the pope’s right to appoint bishops. Born in a farming village in the northern province of Hebei in 1923, Yao was ordained a priest in 1946 and assigned as assistant pastor, said the Kung foundation, based in Stamford, Connecticut. Yao’s religious activities came under increasing restrictions after the 1949 seizure of power by the officially atheistic Communist Party, which reviled Catholicism both as a religion and as a reminder of China’s past weakness in the face of expansionist European powers. As the political climate worsened, Yao was forced into a labor camp in 1956, and two years later, sentenced to life imprisonment for refusing to renounce his loyalty to Rome, the foundation said. His release came in 1984, eight years after the death of

communist China’s founder Mao Zedong, although, like other released priests, his activities remained tightly restricted. According to France’s Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture, Yao was held for a further 2 1/2 years beginning in 2006. The group said Yao attracted about 1,000 parishioners to his weekly masses. Yao’s death was also noted on blogs maintained by Chinese Catholics, with photos showing him in his bishop’s robes, posing for photos with nuns, and meeting students at a church camp last summer. The Kung foundation said Yao’s death was being kept secret by authorities and said it had no information on funeral arrangements. A man who answered the phone at the government’s religious affairs bureau in Zhangjiakou, the municipality overseeing Xiwanzi, said he had no information about the bishop’s death. Like many Chinese bureaucrats he would only give his surname, Guo. A man who answered the phone at the Xiwanzi township government also said he had no information about Yao and refused to give his name or title. China forced its Roman Catholics to cut ties with the Vatican in 1951 and worship is allowed only in state-backed churches, which recognize the pope as a spiritual leader but appoint their own

priests and bishops. Millions of Chinese, however, belong to unofficial congregations that are loyal to Rome, such as those presided over by Yao. That leaves the Chinese church divided between government-sanctioned congregations and those loyal to Rome, although, in many places, there is a considerable degree of overlap between the two communities. Pope Benedict XVI has made improving often-tense relations with Beijing a priority of his papacy and has sought to unify the country’s faithful under his wing. But there has been little tangible evidence of progress in his four-year effort, and the Vatican recently denounced a new wave of arrests of underground priests and bishops and accused Beijing of mounting obstacles to a dialogue with the Holy See. Numerous elderly priests in the underground church remain in detention or under house arrest, including two bishops from dioceses in Hebei, Su Zhimin, 76, and Shi Enxiang, 85. The Kung foundation said it had also recently learned of the detention of three priests from Xuanhua, also in Hebei, last June. It said the local underground bishop, Zhao Kexun, was in hiding, while other priests were under increasing pressure to join the official Catholic association.— AP

Flooded Australian town declared disaster zone SYDNEY: Authorities declared two flooded farming regions in southwestern Australia natural disaster zones yesterday as residents in one town nervously watched a river peak without breaking its levees. Parts of Coonamble and Bourke districts in New South Wales state, several hundred miles (kilometers) northwest of Sydney, have been isolated by floodwaters since heavy rains last week. While meteorologists said the worst of the rain was over, rivers and reservoirs were still rising from the extra water.

Coonamble’s Castlereagh River peaked yesterday afternoon without breaking its levees, and the water level was expected to begin falling, State Emergency Services spokesman Dave Webb said. He said evacuated residents would return home overnight after the levees were examined for damage. New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally declared the two districts disaster zones yesterday, entitling them to state emergency funds including loans and subsidies. “That will provide much needed longer term help to residents,

primary producers, business owners and councils,” said Keneally while on a tour of Coonamble. “It will help them to rebuild.” On Sunday, emergency officials advised 1,200 residents in Coonamble to relocate to safer parts of town away from the rising Castlereagh River. People rode away in motorboats and ranchers herded horses and cattle through the deep water to higher ground. Brown water submerged main roads into town. The Castlereagh River peaked at 17 feet (5.2 meters), according to the

Bureau of Meteorology. The levee stands 19 feet (5.9 meters) high in most places; in others it is as low as 17.7 feet (5.4 meters). Bourke, a district with a population of about 4,400, was deluged by some of its heaviest rain in a decade, leaving dozens of properties cut off from roads and forcing some farmers to fly livestock to higher ground. The Darling River is expected to overflow in Bourke by Thursday, causing further minor flooding as it swells from rainfall farther upstream, the Bureau of Meteorology predicts. — AP

Grenade attack on home of Philippine massacre suspect

YANGON: A supporter of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party (NLD) holds a portrait of Suu Kyi outside the party headquarters to mark the 62nd anniversary of Independence Day yesterday in Yangon, Myanmar. — AP

Myanmar chief confirms elections to be held 2010 YANGON: Myanmar’s ruling junta chief confirmed yesterday that the country’s first general elections in two decades will be held this year but gave no date for the balloting, which is expected to exclude pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In a message marking the anniversary of Myanmar’s 1948 independence from Britain, Senior Gen. Than Shwe said that the regime’s “seven-step” roadmap is the only way for the country to move toward democracy. The roadmap is the junta’s program for shifting from nearly 50 years of military rule. A key step in that process was a constitution adopted in a 2008 referendum widely criticized as authoritarian. The constitution guarantees a quarter of parliamentary seats for the military. The final step in the roadmap is the elections. “Plans are under way to hold the elections in a systematic way this year and the entire people have to make correct choices,” Than Shwe said in a message printed in staterun newspapers. The message did not clarify what was meant by “correct choices” but was widely assumed to urge voters to support militarybacked political parties. Critics say the process will merely perpetuate military rule under a civilian guise. Suu Kyi, who recently had her house arrest extended by 18 months, will be unable to participate in the balloting. The junta has yet to pass necessary elections laws for the 2010 vote or set a date. Myanmar gained independence from Britain on Jan 4, 1948, after more than 120 years of colonial rule. It has

been under harsh military rule since 1962. The current junta emerged in 1988 after violently suppressing mass pro-democracy protests. It held a general election in 1990, but refused to recognize the results after a landslide victory by Suu Kyi’s party. Her National League for Democracy marked Independence Day at party headquarters in Yangon yesterday with a gathering of some 400 party members, diplomats and supporters. More than 50 plainclothes policemen observed and videotaped the meeting from across the street. The party reiterated its call for the release from detention of its party leaders and all other political prisoners and for the reopening of branch offices which were shut down in 2003. The United States congratulated the people of Myanmar, also known as Burma, on the 62nd anniversary of its independence, and said it looked forward to the day when they could “exercise freely their universal human rights.” State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly said the United States “stands ready to take steps to improve bilateral relations based on reciprocal and meaningful efforts by the Burmese government to fulfill the Burmese people’s democratic aspirations.” Than Shwe yesterday warned people to “remain vigilant at all times against dangers posed by neocolonialists.” “Neocolonialists” normally refers to Western nations that have been sharply critical of the regime’s human rights record and brutal crackdowns on any protests.— AP

COTABATO: The home of a Philippine politician due to go on trial this week over the massacre of 57 people was attacked with a grenade, police said yesterday. The grenade exploded behind a mosque in the compound of Andal Ampatuan Snr in the southern city of Shariff Aguak late Sunday, said provincial police commander Senior Superintendent Alex Lenesis. A few minutes later, a mortar shell exploded near a petrol station in the same city but both blasts were small and no one was hurt, said Lenesis. The police said the attacks could have been carried out by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Muslim rebel group which is a longtime enemy of the Ampatuan clan. “We suspect it was the work of MILF rebels out to get even with the

Ampatuans,” Lenesis said, but added that police were not ruling out “lawless elements” outside the MILF. Ampatuan Snr is the patriarch of a powerful Muslim political clan being investigated for its role in the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao province on November 23. The murders, allegedly carried out to keep a rival from running against one of his sons in elections this year, shocked the world and prompted President Gloria Arroyo to declare martial law in the province from December 4 to 12. Several Ampatuans, including Andal Ampatuan Snr, have been arrested in connection with the massacre. Amputuan Jr is due to go on trial today charged with multiple counts of murder.— AFP

HONG KONG: In this Oct 23, 2009 file photo, pro-democracy activists hold pictures of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who has arrested after asking for increased freedoms in China and the end to the Communist Party’s dominance during a protest outside the US Consulate in Hong Kong. — AP

Chinese dissident appeals subversion conviction BEIJING: An imprisoned Chinese dissident has appealed his conviction on subversion charges tied to his co-writing of a daring call for political reform of the communist state, his lawyer said yesterday. Liu Xiaobo was sentenced on Dec 25 to 11 years in prison on the vaguely defined charge of incitement to subvert state power. International human rights groups and Western nations have heavily criticized Liu’s detention, trial and sentence, seen by some as a direct slap at international pressure and a warning that the treatment for dissidents will become increasingly harsh. Attorney Shang Baojun said Liu told him at a meeting yesterday that he submitted an appeal to the Beijing High Court on Dec 29. Shang said the court had to rule on the appeal within six weeks.

“He believes that he is innocent. We are making an effort to defend his innocence, but we have no idea whether it will be successful,” Shang said. The 53-year-old literary critic co-wrote an unusually direct appeal to China’s authorities titled “Charter 08” calling for expanded political freedoms and the end to Communist Party dominance. More than 300 people, including some of the country’s top intellectuals, signed it before it was made public. Some 10,000 people have since signed the document online. Liu, a former university professor, previously spent 20 months in jail for joining the 1989 student-led protests in Tiananmen Square, which ended when the government called in the military, killing hundreds, perhaps thousands of demonstrators.— AP

South Korea seeks ‘turning point’ in ties with North Korea SEOUL: South Korea said yesterday it was seeking “a turning point” in relations with North Korea and again urged its communist nuclear-armed northern neighbor to disarm. President Lee Myung-Bak’s remarks followed a call by North Korea on Friday for an end to hostile relations with South Korea’s key ally, the United States, and a nuclearfree peninsula. “This year, South Korea and North Korea should create a turning point in their relations,” Lee said in a nationally television New Year’s address, suggesting the establishment of an inter-Korean dialogue body. Inter-Korean ties have been strained since the con-

servative Lee took office in 2008 and linked the South’s massive aid and economic cooperation to progress in the North’s nuclear disarmament. Lee also repeated his call for North Korea to return “as soon as possible” to the six-party nuclear disarmament talks that Pyongyang quit nine months ago, so that the two neighbors can improve their relationship. “For this, there needs to be a standing dialogue organization between the South and the North,” Lee said, without elaborating. “I wish North Korea can sincerely open its heart and walk on the path of dialogue and cooperation.” A presidential official told AFP that

Lee had proposed in an interview with The Washington Post in April 2008 that both Koreas establish “permanent high-level liaison offices” in each other’s capital. But the official did not confirm whether Lee was referring to the liaison offices in his proposal for an inter-Korean dialogue body. In a policy-setting editorial in the state media on New Year’s Day, North Korea called for an end to hostile relations with the US and vowed to work towards a nuclear-free peninsula. “The fundamental task for ensuring peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the rest of Asia is to put an end to the hostile rela-

tionship between the DPRK (North Korea) and the USA,” the editorial said. “It is the consistent stand of the DPRK to establish a lasting peace system on the Korean Peninsula and make it nuclear-free through dialogue and negotiations.” North Korea left sixparty nuclear disarmament talks in April last year in protest at international censure over its launch of a long-range rocket. In May, it staged its second nuclear test since 2006. US envoy Stephen Bosworth visited the communist nation last month and reached a “common understanding” on the need to resume the talks, which group the two Koreas, Japan, China, Russia and the

United States. However, no date has been fixed. South Korean Unification Minister Hyun In-Taek, in charge of handling cross-border relations, said yesterday he would bring in “a new paradigm” of relationship between the two Koreas this year. “We should try our best to achieve improvement of the South-North relationship with principles and productive humanitarianism, strengthening the potential for preparing for unification,” Hyun said in a New Year message. “Most of all, a turning point of denuclearization must be made through productive communication between South Korea and North Korea.”— AFP


INTERNATIONAL

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

11

Accused deny links with Al-Qaeda

5 Americans say no plan to attack inside Pakistan SARGODHA: Five Americans suspected of using the Internet to contact militant groups to carry out terrorist attacks told a Pakistani court yesterday they had only wanted to give fellow Muslims financial and medical aid. The

NEW DELHI: A homeless man covers himself with a blanket as he attempts to keep warm during a cold snap in New Delhi yesterday. — AFP

More than 40 die as cold wave grips India LUCKNOW: More than 40 people have died in a cold snap gripping northern India which prompted the authorities yesterday to shut thousands of schools and dole out firewood, officials said. India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh has recorded 30 cold-related deaths since Saturday, police spokesman Soren Srivastava said in the state capital Lucknow. Uttar Pradesh chief bureaucrat Arun Kumar Gupta said all schools and colleges were shut for four days until Thursday as a health precaution. Gupta said state authorities yesterday also decided to spend 100 million rupees (2.17 million dollars) to hand out free blankets and muchneeded firewood to the needy in freezing Uttar Pradesh which borders Nepal. He said most of the victims were homeless people. Night temperatures across northern India currently range between minus 3.8 degrees Celsius and nine degrees Celsius (25 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit), according to weather reports. Uttar Pradesh government spokesman Diwakar Tripathy meanwhile said an

exercise was underway to move the homeless into state-run night shelters. The Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency earlier had reported 33 dead in Uttar Pradesh, quoting official sources. In adjoining Bihar, India’s second most populous state, a spokesman from its disaster management unit reported 11 cold related deaths since Sunday and added all local schools were shut for three days from yesterday. Private welfare agencies however estimate more than 30 people may have succumbed to the cold in Bihar, one of India’s most impoverished states, since last month. PTI yesterday reported a cold-related death in hilly Uttarakhand state. Over the weekend, airline and railway schedules were severely affected due to fog blanketing north India, with poor visibility causing three train accidents that claimed 10 lives. New Delhi airport spokesman Anirudh Chatterjee told AFP that 150 passenger flights were delayed, 50 cancelled and 25 others rescheduled over the weekend due to bad weather.— AFP

KABUL: Afghan widows line up to receive food rations at a CARE International food distribution centre in Kabul yesterday. CARE International supports some 7,200 widows in the Afghan capital, providing them with food, educational and vocational courses assistance every month, the majority of whom lost their husbands during the civil-war era in Kabul in the years after 1992. — AFP

Karzai to lawmakers: Stay on job for Cabinet vote KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday ordered parliament to postpone its winter recess until a new list of Cabinet nominees is announced, following last week’s stinging rejection of most of his choices. The rejection by lawmakers of 17 of 24 nominees was a surprising slap and an obstacle to Karzai getting his second term in office into full operation and focusing on badly needed reforms. Karzai’s credibility both at home and abroad was shaken by the fraud-plagued presidential elections in August. In the vote on the Cabinet nominees Saturday, lawmakers rejected nominees viewed as Karzai’s political cronies, those believed to be under the influence of warlords and others deemed unqualified. The parliament did approve his retention of incumbents in the key portfolios of defense, interior and finance. The order, under a constitutional provision that allows the president to call extraordinary sessions of parliament, states that Karzai will introduce a new slate of Cabinet nominees within a few days. Karzai clearly hopes to have a full government in place

before the Jan. 28 international conference in London on Afghanistan. The dispute over the Cabinet came as the country faces an increasingly active insurgency. A roadside bombing killed four US service members, the first American combat deaths of the year in Afghanistan, while a British soldier died during a foot patrol elsewhere in the volatile south, officials said yesterday. A statement from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said the explosion that killed the US service members took place Sunday in the south, but did not give further details on the location or the victims’ branch of service. The deaths are the first US fatalities from hostile action in Afghanistan this year. One US service member has died of noncombat causes so far in 2010. The British soldier died while on foot patrol Sunday in Helmand province, the British Ministry of Defense said. Afghan insurgents are increasingly turning to improvised explosive devices in their fight against Afghan and international forces. Of the 304 US military deaths in Afghanistan last year, 129 were caused by

IEDs, according to a tally by The Associated Press. The Afghan Defense Ministry said its soldiers killed more than 10 Taliban fighters in heavy fighting Sunday in northern Kunduz province’s Imam Sahib district, which borders Tajikistan. One soldier was wounded in the clash. Also yesterday, NATO said a joint Afghan-international force discovered a huge cache of marijuana and turned it over to police for destruction. NATO said the cache contained up to 28,000 cubic feet (800 cubic meters) of marijuana , the equivalent of about seven standard semi-trailers. As the US and other Western nations have tried to help Afghanistan stamp out its poppy fields , the country is the world’s leading opium producer , an increasing number of farmers have turned to marijuana, which is receiving less attention from authorities. The Interior Ministry said 256 pounds (106 kilograms) of heroin were seized Sunday in an operation in Badakhshan province, and 4,100 pounds (1,900 kilograms ) of opium were incinerated Sunday in Helmand province in a joint operation of counternarcotics police and US Marines.— AP

The suspects appeared at an anti-terrorism court and were remanded until January 18, said defence lawyer Mohammad Amir Khan. “The five men denied having been in contact with al Qaeda, Jaish-eMohammad (a Pakistani militant group) or any other militant group,” he told Reuters after the hearing. “They told the court they wanted to go to Afghanistan to help their Muslim brothers, like those needing medical or financial assistance, and had no plans to carry out any activity in Pakistan.” Police told the court the five men were in contact with an AlQaedaoperative identified as Saifullah, Khan told Reuters. Police have said they would seek a life sentence for the men. “They had deep interest in the religion and they were of the opinion that a Jihad must be waged against the infidels for the atrocities committed by them against Muslims around the world,” said a police interrogation report last month. It showed pictures of a clip of a suicide attack on a USconvoy in Kabul posted on YouTube. The report said suspect Ahmed Abdullah Minni regularly visited the YouTube site and used to praise such videos. Shortly after Minni became a registered YouTube user he was contacted by Saifullah, said the report. The case has illustrated how easy it is for anyone to pursue dreams of joining jihad through cyberspace, a worrying reality for US ally Pakistan, already struggling on the ground against Taleban insurgents. It also underscores increasingly complex security challenges in the US -led global “war on terror”. The Internet offers instant, inexpensive channels to some of the world’s most dangerous militant groups, and extremists still manage international travel despite efforts to identify them and restrict their movements. In another such step, air travelers from Nigeria, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and nine other countries will face full-body pat downs before boarding airliners under security screening procedures targeting foreign passengers announced by the United States on Sunday. The procedures, which go into effect yesterday, follow the botched Christmas Day bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound USairliner, blamed on a Nigerian man US officials believe was trained by Al-Qaedain Yemen. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian, was arrested by US authorities after being accused of carrying a bomb sewn into his underwear onto the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Dec. 25. He got through security screening in Amsterdam, and was subdued by passengers and crew after trying to blow up the plane. The five Americans were arrested in Sargodha, home to one of Pakistan’s biggest airbases, 190 km (120 miles) southeast of the Pakistani capital Islamabad. The men-two are of Pakistani ancestry, one of Egyptian, one of Yemeni and one of Eritrean-have not been charged. They were found with maps and had intended to travel through northwest Pakistan to an Al-Qaedaand Taleban militant stronghold on the Afghan border, officials have said. Pakistan’s Pashtun tribal lands bordering Afghanistan are known sanctuaries for AlQaedaand Taleban militants who fled the US -led assault on Afghanistan after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The court ordered the release of Khalid Farooq, father of Pakistani suspect Umar Farooq, one of the Americans, after police said they did not find any evidence against him. — Reuters

students, in their 20s and from the US state of Virginia, were detained last month. Police officials said emails showed they had contacted the Taleban, and that the group had planned to use them for attacks in Pakistan.

SARGODHA: Pakistani police officers with detained American Muslims leave a police station to send them into prison in Sargodha, Pakistan yesterday. — AP

Pakistan airport security increased after US request ISLAMABAD: Airline passengers in Pakistan heading to the United States met increased security screening yesterday following US requests for stricter checks after a Nigerian man allegedly tried to ignite explosives on a flight to Detroit. Pakistan’s national airline said it was intensifying security checks for US -bound passengers, even though there are no direct flights to the States from Pakistan. Screening was also stepped up for those flying to the US from other parts of Asia and the Middle East. The US Transportation Security Administration said people flying into the United States from countries such as Nigeria, Yemen, Pakistan, Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria are to face the extra screening, which is likely to annoy passengers already facing intrusive security procedures. “It is beyond my imagination what more they could do,” said Nadim Umer, 40, a Karachi-based linen merchant who said he was subjected to a strip search when he

arrived in New York last June. “Those who are dying to go to America at any cost can put up with all this inhuman behavior, but I cannot.” However, the International Air Transport Association, an umbrella group representing 230 airlines, welcomed the changes. The new measures were “definitely a step in the right direction,” Singapore-based spokesman Albert Tjoeng said in a statement. “We will be working closely with airlines to determine the operational impact of the amended rules. Our aim is to improve security while reducing the hassle factor to passengers,” said Tjoeng. The new measures follow the arrest of a Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who allegedly tried to set off an explosive device on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day. A spokesman for Pakistan International Airlines said the company began applying the new security standards Jan. 1 on US -

bound passengers. Sultan Hasan said the passengers are subjected to special screening, including full body searches, in a designated area of the departure lounge. He said the airline had run advertisements in newspapers to warn prospective passengers of the increased safety measures. The TSA said the ability to enforce the new security measures is the “result of extraordinary cooperation from our global aviation partners.” Pervez George, spokesman for Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority, said the CAA was maintaining strict security standards at all airports for all flights. “We are already carrying out all possible security arrangements at our airports which can be compared with any Western airport,” George said. “Safety of the airliners and passengers as well as security at the airports is a top priority and we are maintaining it irrespective where the flight is going.” — AP

Afghan attacks kill four US troops, British soldier KABUL: A roadside bombing killed four US service members, the first American combat deaths of the year in Afghanistan, while a British soldier died during a foot patrol elsewhere in the volatile south of the country, officials said yesterday. A statement from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said the explosion that killed the US service members took place Sunday in the south, but did not give further details on the location or the victims’ branch of service. Afghan insurgents are increasingly turning to improvised explosive devices in their fight against Afghan and international forces. Of the 304 US military deaths in Afghanistan last year, 129 were caused by IEDs, according to a tally by The Associated Press. The deaths are the first US fatalities

from hostile action in Afghanistan this year. One US service member died of noncombat causes so far in 2010. The British soldier died while on foot patrol Sunday in Helmand province, the British Ministry of Defense said. The Afghan Defense Ministry said its soldiers killed 10 Taliban fighters in battles Sunday in northern Kunduz province’s Imam Sahib district, which borders Tajikistan. One soldier was wounded in the clash. Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday ordered parliament to postpone its winter recess until a new list of Cabinet nominees is announced, following last week’s stinging rejection of most of his choices. The rejection by lawmakers of 17 of 24 nominees was a surprising slap and an obstacle to Karzai getting his second term in office into full operation and

focusing on badly needed reforms. Karzai’s credibility both at home and abroad was shaken by the fraud-plagued presidential elections in August. In the vote on the Cabinet nominees Saturday, lawmakers rejected nominees viewed as Karzai’s political cronies, those believed to be under the influence of warlords and others deemed unqualified. The parliament did approve his retention of incumbents in the key portfolios of defense, interior and finance. The order, under a constitutional provision that allows the president to call extraordinary sessions of parliament, states that Karzai will introduce a new slate of Cabinet nominees within a few days. Karzai clearly hopes to have a full government in place before the Jan. 28 international conference in London on Afghanistan. Also yesterday,

NATO said a joint Afghan-international force discovered a huge cache of marijuana and turned it over to police for destruction. NATO said the cache contained up to 28,000 cubic feet (800 cubic meters) of marijuana , the equivalent of about seven standard semitrailers. As the US and other Western nations have tried to help Afghanistan stamp out its poppy fields , the country is the world’s leading opium producer , an increasing number of farmers have turned to marijuana, which is receiving less attention from authorities. The Interior Ministry said 256 pounds (106 kilograms) of heroin were seized Sunday in an operation in Badakhshan province, and 4,100 pounds (1,900 kilograms ) of opium were incinerated Sunday in Helmand province in a joint operation of counternarcotics police and US Marines.— AP

18 dead after ferry sinks in India: Police KOLKATA: At least 18 people, including 11 children, died after an overcrowded ferry capsized in a river in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, police said yesterday. The small vessel, with 38 passengers on board, sank on Sunday while crossing the

Runarayan river in Kolaghat, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) southwest of the state capital Kolkata. “The ferry was overcrowded and leaking, and it overturned in the middle of the river,” West Bengal police inspector general

Surojit Kar Purakayastha told AFP. “Rescuers have found 18 bodies swept away by the strong current. It’s sad that rescuers could not save a single child.” The vessel hit a bridge before it capsized, he said. Eleven survivors were treated in hospital.— AFP


OPINION

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

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issues

When true Elvis fans come out By Niels C Sorrells

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lvis fans might celebrate Elvis Presley’s birthday annually, but they celebrate the anniversary of his death passionately. It’s fine and good to listen to your old Elvis records and eat your favourite Elvis foods every Jan 8. But the true Elvis devotee is expected to show up for the memorial ceremonies to mark his Aug 16 death day. My year came in 1997, the 20th anniversary of his demise. Friends and family had noticed an interest - obsession, perhaps - growing when it came to Elvis Presley for about a decade by that point. With the summer free and two friends willing to share the ride and the costs, we headed off in August 1997 for Memphis, Tennessee, figuring that Elvis Death Day, as we called it, would be the time to experience Graceland, previous visits notwithstanding. We were so unprepared. Graceland in the days leading up to the anniversary of Elvis’ death is more of a carnival crossed with an Elvis impersonator convention than a standard tourist attraction. Even by Elvis standards, Elvis Presley Boulevard, which divides Elvis’ mansion from a strip mall of souvenir shops, museums and eateries, can verge on the ... tacky. During this week in August, it’s an explosion of lights, sound, personalities - all to a never-ending Elvis soundtrack consisting largely of his rendition of My Way. We did have the foresight to rent a room in advance. But the few months of advance time we’d allowed ourselves meant we could only secure a spot on the far side of town, nowhere near the action. True Elvis fans stay in the Days Inn Memphis, diagonally across from Graceland, with its 24-hour Elvis movies on closed-circuit TV and a guitar-shaped swimming pool. Extra points if you set up a table in front of your hotel room selling trinkets. Then there are the sights and shopping. Want an Elvis belt buckle? It’s just a question of what size your belt can stand and how much you want to fork out. Elvis Tshirt? Hundreds of choices. Elvis playing cards? Check. If you got to Graceland before the era of political correctness, you could have found a Confederate flag emblazoned with Elvis’ face. You want diversity? There were Sikh, black, white, male, female and country-style Elvi (or Elvises, depending on your

Elvis-fan leaning), both fat and skinny, young and old. Eventually, it was time to participate in the graveside, candlelight vigil. The line didn’t look too bad, we thought, stretching just from the gate to the far corner of the Graceland estate. Only upon closer examination, did we realize, to our dismay, that it doubled back upon itself five times. Neophytes that we were, we had not brought our own candles. Those were distributed by Graceland staff. Having failed to bring something to protect the flame from the wind, we were forced to improvise candleholders out of soda bottles. Next we learned that a lot of people take this very seriously, are grieving and do not - REPEAT, NOT appreciate any jokes about Elvis or his storied lifestyle. Our scared silence blended well with the reverent silence all around us. As the night went on, we did meet some people near us. The two women behind us were even less prepared than we’d been. Memphis residents, they had decided at the last minute to check out the hubbub. After hours in line, they were not about to give up, little knowing it would be almost 5 am before we made it to the grave. Eventually, we got to the gate, and all joking stopped. On the driveway from the gate to the house - a path not generally open to pedestrians - stood a double line of at least 20 men holding tiki torches - the Honor Guard. Giddy as we were with lack of sleep, no one even dared to crack wise at this point. From there, the line seemed to move faster. Rounding the house, we came to the cemetery - usually the end point of a Graceland tour. Again, the more prepared fans were leaving keepsakes - including a giant toothbrush, at least 30 cm long - along with bushels of flowers. We had considered bringing something, but figured anything we might contribute to the heap would just get us in trouble. I was still intimidated by stories of a man ejected from Graceland for attempting to lay a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken on the king’s grave. And then it was over, with dawn creeping onto the horizon. None of the three of us could have told you exactly why we participated in the event. Well, one member of our party would have said the other two talked him into it, but we were all glad we did. We headed off, got some doughnuts in honour of the king, and headed to bed. — dpa

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: opinion@kuwaittimes.net or via snail mail to PO Box 1301 Safat, Kuwait. The editor reserves the right to edit any submission as necessary.

On 75th birthday, Elvis still rocks hometowns By Tina Eck

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he 1970s are alive and well at the white villa on Elvis Presley Boulevard in the Blues city of Memphis that has come to symbolize the life of the King of Rock ‘n Roll. The King himself still seems to live here at Graceland, where hundreds of thousands of fans flock each year to remember Elvis and where it’s hard to imagine the old man he would be today. He would have marked his 75th birthday on Jan 8. Graceland was where Presley died in 1977 at just 42, alone and addicted to prescription drugs. Since that day, time has stood still here. The kitsch has a distinct ‘70s vibe bright fabrics, velvet, mirrors, crystal chandeliers. On his birthday and the anniversary of his death, some 50,000 fans normally gather in a candlelight procession on the grounds. House tours and Elvis souvenirs earn Elvis Presley Enterprises some 30 million dollars annually. While his estate earned a total of $55 million in the past year from all his work and the estate, making his the fourth-highest earning deceased celebrity, according to a list by Forbes magazine. Elvis Presley as a 75-year-old is nearly unimaginable. Perhaps he would be a fat man with thin white hair, like many of his childhood friends from Tupelo, Mississippi. One of those friends, Sam Bell, an African American, recalls how he and Elvis were inseperable as children, even in the racially segregated American South. Sam and Elvis would go in separate entrances for blacks and white in the cinema. “As soon as the lights went out, Elvis climbed over the railing to sit by me,” says Bell. “Elvis would carry around a broom and play like it was a guitar,” Bell remembers with a laugh.

At a talent show at a fair, Elvis had his first public performance when he was in the fifth grade. He stood on a chair to reach the microphone and sang a heart-rending ballad about a dog who had died. But it was a rueful performance and he was beaten by another local person, Shirley Jones. Jones’ clearest memory of Elvis was that he dumped her best friend with a handwritten note to pursue another girl. Sara Ann Patterson is one of the most famous “Elvis Girls” from Tupelo. She was never his girlfriend, but is a woman with an unforgettable memory - she was kissed by the King. At 15, she got backstage at a concert in Tupelo and received a hug and a kiss from the superstar. “It was simply outrageous,” remembers Patterson, now 68. “My heart nearly stopped, I was envied by all my female classmates and got fan mail from around the world.” She wore the clothes she had on at the concert until they fell apart. In 1948, Elvis sang a goodbye song to Tupelo’s Milam Junior High School with his $7 guitar and moved with his family 120 km northeast to Memphis. In the basement of the family’s new apartment, the young Elvis practiced his singing and guitar playing. As a student at LC Humes High School, his passion for music of all kinds began to grow. Gospel music from the city’s churches and the wild blues in the clubs of Memphis’ famous Beale Street captured his imagination. Elvis visited nightly gospel singalongs in Ellis Auditorium, where he saw the passionate movements of the black singers and was impacted by the spirituality and athleticism of the church music. Gospel would always remain his favourite style. In 1953, Elvis earned his high school diploma and got a job as a truck driver. Just weeks later, the 18-year-old walked

into Sun Records with $4 in his pocket to record a ballad. He hoped it would allow him to meet legendary producer Sam Phillips, who had given blues greats like BB King and Chester Burnette their start. Instead, Elvis met with the secretary Marion Keisker. “Who do you sound like?” she asked. “I sing like nobody,” he said in a now famous exchange. Keisker was impressed, but her boss Phillips was not convinced. He invited Elvis a year later to a studio session, when he was in need of a singer. That session, in which Elvis let

his nervousness show through, was not particularly successful. Only after the band took a break around midnight did Elvis lose his shyness, grab the microphone and let loose an old blues song. He had his first hit - That’s All Right. On the local radio station the song was played the next evening 14 times, and the phones didn’t stop ringing the listeners loved it. But no one could believe that it was a white singer. Within just two years Elvis was a superstar. He outraged sensibilities with his sexy hip swings and “black”

musical style, singing his way into the hearts of millions of girls, appearing in films and on television. The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was born. The fascination remains even decades later. Pilgrims are again expected at Graceland from around the world for his birthday. They will bring flowers, memorials and teddy bears to the grave of their idol. “I gave the Elvis cult a maximum three or four years after his death,” said friend George Klein. But looking at the hype still surrounding Graceland, it is clear that Elvis still lives at 75. — dpa

Whole year of tributes for Elvis By Liliana Martinez-Scarpellini

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massive celebration is set to start Friday to mark the 75th birthday of the king of rock ‘n’ roll, Elvis Presley. And it looks to be among the longest, most crowded birthday celebrations ever held for an artist. Across the United States, various activities are scheduled to take place throughout 2010. The main event, however, starts Thursday in Presley’s mansion, Graceland, and is set to be crowned by a cake-cutting ceremony, all under the eye of ex-wife Priscilla and his daughter Lisa Marie. The event is part of a long weekend of celebrations at the site where the “king” was found dead on Aug 16, 1977. Between Thursday and Sunday, Memphis, Tennessee is set to host a major pilgrimage of Elvis fans seeking to pay tribute to their idol, who was buried in Graceland 32 years ago. The list of events looks endless. Registered fans are set to gather in Graceland, where there will be an Elvis Day ceremony that is open to the public and broadcast live on the artist’s official website. Special tours of the mansion are to take place, along with concerts of Elvis’ favourite gospel music. George Klein, who wrote Elvis: My Best Man, is set to sign copies of the book. Beyond Graceland, moreover, Memphis is to host charity events in Elvis’ name, as well as a concert by the city’s Symphony Orchestra and a party on Beale Street, where all nightclubs are to play songs and sell drinks to honour the late singer. For many of these events, tickets sold out well in advance.

In Las Vegas, Elvis’ stage city par excellence, the Cirque du Soleil is putting on a show under the title Viva ELVIS, which mixes dance, acrobatics and music, with 75 artists in the recently-opened Aria Resort & Casino. On Elvis’ birthday proper, Friday, Los Angeles is to open an exhibition at the Grammy Museum to show the work of Alfred Wertheimer, the photographer who followed Elvis before he reached stardom. The show, called Elvis 21 and featuring 56 digital prints, will travel to nine US cities over three years. Washington did not want to miss the fun. In March, the Newseum, which looks out on Capitol Hill, is to open an exhibition on the impact of the performer of All Shook Up on popular culture. The show will feature costumes and other personal objects belonging to Elvis, from the Graceland archives. The television channel TMC is set to mark Jan 8 with an Elvis film marathon, including introductions from Priscilla and his best friend Jerry Schilling. Other media are also joining the celebrations. The radio station Sirius will hold a raffle, while Facebook plans to open a fan page. Apple has designed an application, called Elvis Mobile, so that fans can follow all events to mark the legend’s birthday. There will be enough Elvis to cater for all tastes. Even his mythical red-and-white 1956 Harley Davidson is set to be on show in Milwaukee. And more adventurous fans will have the chance to join an Elvisthemed cruise that is to leave Jacksonville, Florida in November for Nassau, Bahamas, for four days of complete immersion in the king’s world. — dpa

For many, ‘King’ Elvis is still alive...honestly “E By Silvia Ayuso

lvis lives!” - For many fans, this is not a mere proclamation that the music of the “king of rock ‘n’ roll” holds its ground today as it did in its golden age. The phrase is also evidence of a firm conviction that Elvis Presley did not die in Aug 1977 and that he is about to celebrate - in hiding somewhere in the world - his 75th birthday on Friday. This has become one of the biggest urban legends in the history of music and has generated scores of books, documentaries and, in the age of telecommunications, websites devoted to a single effort: refuting the death of the “king” and documenting Elvis sightings. There is no shortage of such material. There are hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of people who say they have seen Elvis Presley in places as common as restaurants, laundromats or stores in remote US towns, but also in countries like Britain and even Afghanistan. “I never believed the Elvis alive sightings til November 12, 2000. On this day in Hutchinson, Kansas: I pulled into a gas station for pop and smokes. I went to the men’s restrooms and yes, it was there I met Elvis. I said, ‘You’re the king!’ to which he replied, ‘Once, kid, but not anymore.’ I promised not to tell anyone,

but how do I keep such big news to myself?” This is one of hundreds of messages posted on the Elvis Sighting Bulletin Board (www.elvissightingbulletinboard.com), one of the countless websites that track Elvis sightings “as a public service so that the public will not be alarmed when seeing the king at their local supermarket or skinny dipping in the neighbour’s pool.” Director Adam Muskiewicz has devoted recent years to making the documentary, The Truth About Elvis, in which he interviews people close to the “king,” people who witnessed his last few hours, in search of an answer to “the many unanswered questions about Elvis.” Marketing strategy or true curiosity? The fact is that Muskiewicz, who also set up Elvis sighting websites like www.elviswanted.com, even offered a generous reward for anyone who provided “evidence” that Elvis is still alive. The money has so far not been claimed. Elvis himself never claimed the two tickets that American football coach Jerry Glanville left for “The King” ahead of a game in Memphis in the 1980s, an anecdote that almost gave him greater fame than his coaching

ability. It also provided Glanville with a title for his autobiography, Elvis Don’t Like Football: The

Life and Times of the NFL’s Most Outspoken Coach. “I hear Elvis is living now in Michigan or Minnesota,” Glanville said at the time. “Well, we’d like him to come and be on our bench. I don’t care how much weight he’s gained. We still love him,” the thencoach of the Houston Oilers said. Theories rejecting Elvis’ death on Aug 16, 1977 at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, of an overdose of prescription drugs at age 42, were quick to emerge. There were allegations of an involvement by the FBI and even mention that the “king” was in a witness-protection program following his participation in a raid on organized crime. As “proof” - highly documented in websites and books like Gail Brewer Giorgio’s The Elvis Files: Was His Death Faked? - those who insist on Presley’s good health claim that the coffin did not hold him but one of his impersonators or even a wax figure. Some point to inconsistencies in the death certificate or, most commonly, note the misspelling of Elvis’ middle name - Aron - in the tomb at Graceland, where it was spelled with a double a. Those in charge of

Elvis’ estate have long stopped paying attention to such theories, although some of them are refuted, discreetly, in Graceland’s official website, www.elvis.com. There, under “FAQs,” the site explains that Elvis’ middle name only has one a in his birth certificate - as Aron. But to honour his dead twin brother Jesse Garon Presley, “toward the end of his life, Elvis sought to change the spelling of his middle name to the traditional and biblical Aaron,” the official website says. His father knew of the plan, the website says, so he chose to write it with a double a on his tombstone. The official website also devotes one page to Elvis sightings, but it actually asks fans to document their favourite films, books or “any other cultural or social event” devoted to the “king”. Among them, hundreds of Elvis impersonators who every year crowd Memphis, Los Angeles, and above all Las Vegas stand out. For Michael Romeo, one of the bestknown Elvis impersonators in the Californian scene, there is no doubt: While Presley is indeed dead, his soul is still alive, he told dpa. “People like me keep his spirit alive. We have to. Elvis is the George Washington of American men. He was the first rock & roll star,” Romeo said. — dpa


ANALYSIS

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

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Asia exits crisis but risk of unrest lingers By Andrew Marshall

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sia is leading the world out of global recession, but the financial crisis may yet have a dangerous sting in the tail the risk of social unrest as unemployment and inequality rise even as economies recover. Fears of widespread unrest last year failed to materialise, and most Asian economies are now posting impressive growth. But unemployment is a lagging indicator, and many political risk consultancies are warning that 2010 may hold nasty surprises. “Although we maintain that the crisis has already inflicted its deepest wounds, its impact will continue to be felt throughout 2010,” the Economist Intelligence Unit said in a report. The main downside risks to economic stability this year include asset price bubbles, deflationary pressures, and the danger of “an increase in the frequency and intensity of social and political unrest, given increased unemployment, weak growth and impending fiscal austerity measures in many countries,” the EIU said. Much of the risk is concentrated in Asia. The EIU rates China in the “high risk” category for social unrest in 2010, upgraded from “moderate” risk in 2009. Also in the high risk category are Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bangladesh and North Korea. But unrest does not necessarily lead to market meltdown. The key question is whether violence is widespread enough to threaten major political upheaval or to significantly disrupt economic activity. Viewed in these terms, China is less of a risk, but Thailand and the Korean peninsula could be flashpoints for 2010. The single most worrying

South Korean Army recruits yell out during their training at the Military Training School in Nonsan, South Korea yesterday. – AP political risk for investors in Asia is that an eruption of unrest in China destabilises the country and undermines its crucial role as an engine of global economic growth. This would not only cause a major sell-off of Chinese assets, it would undermine markets worldwide. But most analysts rate this risk as extremely low in the coming year. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences last month said China had seen unprecedented levels of social conflict in 2009. But crucially, unrest has almost always been fueled by local grievances and directed at local officials, rather than challenging the legitimacy of the central government. And ethnic unrest in Xinjiang and Tibet never reached a level where it was a major threat to national cohesiveness and a

worry for investors. There is little doubt that 2010 will see multiple outbreaks of mass unrest in China. Tens of thousands of “mass incidents” are reported annually and the trend was moving sharply upwards even before the economic slowdown. Unemployment in China, though officially at 4.3 percent for urban jobless, is estimated by analysts to be much higher given the tens of millions of migrant workers. Income inequality is also growing - the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences expects the income of urban residents to grow 10 percent in 2010 versus just 6 percent for the rural poor. The government is clearly worried about the dangers of a mass movement emerging last month it jailed its most prominent dissident, Liu

Xiaobo, to 11 years in jail for campaigning for political freedoms. But so far there is no evidence of widespread popular anger towards the government. While protests remain localised, investors need not worry unduly about China unrest. Elsewhere in Asia, unrest is a greater concern for markets. Thailand is a particular worry. It was mired in an intractable political conflict, broadly between urban elites and the impoverished rural poor, even before the global financial crisis battered the country’s economy. “Thailand is least comfortable politically,” Standard Chartered strategists wrote in their 2010 outlook for Asia. “The combination of a weak, effectively unelected government facing sometimes violent street protests

and a troublesome former premier hovering nearby is a recipe for major uncertainty. “Should the health of the revered king worsen again, the situation could become even more tense and threaten the sovereign rating. Confidence would suffer, foreign direct investment inflows could be deterred, and existing high levels of excess capacity would increase, dragging growth lower.” North Korea is a wild card. Kim Jong-il’s regime has for years been defying analysts’ predictions of its imminent demise. Information is scarce but the North’s economy is widely believed to be going from bad to worse. Although Pyongyang’s announcement it will return to nuclear disarmament talks should get more aid flowing,

there are increasing signs of strain. A sudden currency redenomination late last year added to the hardship of many North Koreans, and there were reports of rare public protests following the move. With Kim’s health also in doubt, the risk of sudden major upheaval cannot be discounted. An implosion of the regime is a key political risk for the region - not just because it would increase the danger that an unstable North Korea could launch an attack on its neighbours, but also because political collapse could lead to the sudden reunification of the peninsula, with heavy economic costs. Analysts say that North Korea political risk is so difficult to quantify that it is unlikely to be properly priced in, meaning South Korean markets could dive if the Pyongyang regime wobbles. A final unrest risk is India. As with China, outbreaks of violence are common in Asia’s other emerging superpower, and generally are not of major concern to investors. But Indian asset prices rallied sharply in 2009 on hopes that the surprisingly strong mandate won by the Congress party in last year’s election would allow it to power ahead with economic reforms. Progress has been considerably slower than many investors had expected, and their optimistic forecasts may have to be revised. In November, tens of thousands of farmers protesting about low state sugarcane prices blockaded India’s parliament and forced the postponement of the winter legislative session. And in December, moves to split a large southern state caused an uproar and revived calls to split other states as well. While major upheaval is not expected in India in 2010, social pressures may well be a drag on reform, and on its markets. — Reuters

China starts slowly in 2010 race against inflation By Simon Rabinovitch and Zhou Xin

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hina’s central planners won last year’s race, rushing to shore up growth before collapsing exports dragged down the economy. They have adopted less urgency in their approach to this year’s race: taming inflation before it takes off on the back of super-charged growth. Beijing has started to trim back ultra-loose policies adopted at the height of the global financial crisis in late 2008. But these have been tentative steps, marginally in the direction of tightening, and pressure is building for more decisive action. A clear sign of potential trouble came in the first data points of the new year. Surging factory orders and output pushed both of China’s purchasing manager indexes (PMIs) to fresh highs, but the surveys also revealed very strong rises in prices. Policymakers and investors who ignore the warnings about inflation would be doing so at their own peril. After all, a jump in Chinese PMIs in early 2009 was one of

the best leading indicators of the country’s ultimately stunning recovery. “We are probably at a tipping point when news of very strong growth is not necessarily welcomed anymore as inflationary pressures are clearly rising quickly,” Yu Song, an economist with Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong, said. Consumer prices in November rose 0.6 percent from a year earlier after falling for most of 2009. Inflation it set to rise in the coming months, partly due to the base effect of low prices a year earlier, but also because money supply grew at a record pace of roughly 30 percent last year. The question is whether inflation will start to moderate around the middle of 2010 - the baseline forecast of many analysts - or turn into more of a headache. Economists at Morgan Stanley, for example, forecast that annual consumer price inflation will crest at 3.6 percent at the end of the second quarter before falling to an average of 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter. It is by no means too late for Beijing to tamp down on the price pressures.

Much will rest on how it applies bank lending controls - a far more important tool than interest rates in Chinese monetary policy. Record new bank credit in 2009 of nearly 10 trillion yuan ($1.5 trillion) was heavily concentrated in the first half. This is the usual lending pattern in China and one that the government is determined to break, insisting in recent pronouncements that banks lend more evenly throughout this year. So all eyes will be on new loans data in the first quarter. Loans of more than 1 trillion yuan a month could fuel steep price rises and signal “drastic tightening” down the road, Yu said. But if officials succeed in controlling lending, the economy will be on its way to achieving high growth and low inflation, he said. Chinese leaders from Premier Wen Jiabao to central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan have pledged in recent weeks that they will maintain appropriately loose monetary policy while also “enhancing flexibility”. Observers have interpreted this as an indication of their intention to gradually step up tightening.

Indeed, over the past month, Beijing has scaled back a tax exemption on property sales, increased a tax on auto purchases, vowed to crack down on speculation in the sizzling housing market and given banks stricter lending guidelines. “There is no doubt that the government is heading in the correct direction and it chose the right time to start, but the most challenging point is how to control the pace of tightening,” Gao Shanwen, an economist at Essence Securities in Beijing, said. The central bank has also started using open-market operations to delicately tighten policy. It has conducted net cash drains from the market for 12 straight weeks, including in a surprise reverse repurchase agreement on the last day of 2009. Yet, basic liquidity management should not be confused with more serious tightening. About 2 trillion yuan, more than one-quarter of China’s annual 2009 budget, had been due to be allocated in December; the central bank needed to mop up some of the cash sloshing about as a result. “The government is unlikely to take extremely aggressive tightening mea-

sures in 2010, as it is still not fully confident about the foundations of the economic recovery,” Gao said. Few analysts think the People’s Bank of China will raise banks’ reserve requirements or interest rates until headline inflation really catches the public’s attention, perhaps sometime late in the second quarter. Currency appreciation would, in normal circumstances, help serve tightening goals. But Beijing seems almost paralysed by fears that a strengthening yuan would attract currency speculators, the hot money inflows revving up inflation. Zhang Ming, an economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the top government think-tank, forecast that the yuan would rise by less than 5 percent against the dollar this year. Offshore forwards pricing suggests investors currently expect the yuan to appreciate about 2.7 percent. “We can rule out the possibility of a big one-off revaluation,” Zhang said. “And, of course, if the dollar’s real effective exchange rate increases, then the yuan will have less need to appreciate against it.” — Reuters

Afghan parliament taking baby steps to maturity By Sardar Ahmad

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fghanistan’s infant parliament has taken steps towards maturity on the war-torn country’s path to democracy with its rejection of most of President Hamid Karzai’s cabinet nominees, experts said. In a country better known for centuries of war, poverty and corruption, the emergence of a functioning parliament has shone a light on Afghan aspirations for selfdetermination. Parliament’s defiance in the secret ballot on Karzai’s cabinet picks has also brought hope that at least one of the three institutional pillars - legislative, judicial and administrative - takes its task seriously. “I think the structure of the parliament itself is a success,” MP Shukria Barakzai told AFP. “Being formed of warlords, communists and (former) Taliban, people from all sorts of ethnic and political backgrounds is a success. “People who fought each other with rockets and shells are now working under the same ceiling, despite sometimes throwing water bottles at each other,” she said, referring to the often fiery debates. That spirit was on display Saturday during the vote count, which showed the 232 MPs who attended firmly knocking down 17 of Karzai’s 24 nominees. Even the seven who were

Afghan parliament member Ramazan Bashardost displays his voting ballot for the new cabinet in Kabul Jan 2, 2010. – AP approved hardly won with resounding confidence, barely winning more than the 117 votes - or 50 percent plus one needed. Observers noted MPs appeared to reject nominees they feared might have represented vested interests or had ulterior motives. “Those (nominees) who were intro-

duced by warlords were not approved, as well as those who were thinking that being in government is like being in business - they had their faces slapped,” Barakzai said. Karzai has long relied on warlords to prop up his fragile government and his cabinet choices were seen as a test of

his commitment to clean government for the country rated the world’s second most corrupt. While his wishlist did not appear stacked with cronies, those voted down included warlord Ismail Khan, whose nomination as water and energy minister was seen as a reward for supporting Karzai in the election. Those approved were defence, agriculture, interior, finance, education, culture, and mines and industries, most of whom had the backing of Karzai’s Western supporters. Karzai had wanted to finalise his cabinet before an international conference in London on Jan 28 to discuss the future of the country. While the UN’s special representative to Afghanistan, Kai Eide called the result a “political setback” as it prolongs political stasis, he acknowledged it was good news for the development of democracy. “There’s a positive aspect that proves that the institution functions, that parliament has made full use of its authority on the constitution,” he told reporters on Sunday. “It must be respected. It’s certainly not the kind of rubber-stamping parliament that we see in other countries. The parliament has taken its responsibility and made full use of it,” he said. The parliament, elected in 2005, is comprised of two chambers, the powerful 249-seat lower house Wolesi Jirga,

or house of the people, and the largely symbolic 102-seat upper house Mishrano Jirga, house of the elders. The constitution guarantees 64 women MPs, although two are known to have left for asylum in Europe and a third woman was fired for making statements in the chamber against “war criminals”. The legislature had not until now been regarded as a balance on administrative power, allowing Karzai’s government to achieve its goals without threatening the foundations of the state. Getting here has been a rough road, and some decisions have damaged its reputation-including the law passed in its first year giving amnesty to warlords and former militia leaders. Analysts say its development is hampered by Afghanistan’s lack of a political party system, leaving most MPs operating as independents. “The parliament is fragmented, the MPs vote on their own assessment, there are no political parties behind them,” said Haroun Mir, director of Afghanistan’s Centre for Research and Policy. Accusations that MPs take their jobs too lightly are tempered by the fact that 10 have been killed - six in 2007 alone mostly in Taliban attacks. “I think in general we have been doing well. We have done our share in building up democracy,” Barakzai said. — AFP

focus

Attempted bombing puts focus on Yemen By Mark Bowden

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ne of the consequences of Umar F a r o u k Abdulmutallab’s failed attempt to kill himself and everyone else aboard Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day has been to alert Americans to the growing fight against AlQaeda in the obscure nation of Yemen. A proud franchise of the terror organization there - AlQaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP in military speak) - claimed credit for the botched Christmas attack, which it said was carried out in retaliation for recent American-assisted air strikes against its alleged training camps and safe houses. The American military has been interested in Yemen ever since 2000, when the USS Cole was attacked in the Yemeni port of Aden. That interest has become something more like active engagement in recent years. Our government doesn’t confirm the activities of its clandestine units, but it is likely that American special operators have been conducting missions against terrorist cells in Yemen at least since 2008. This is not necessarily cause for alarm. While some decry the expansion of America’s war effort to a new front, the war against Islamist extremism has never been limited to one country or even one region. It is a war most effectively fought with legitimate local forces in the places where terror cells take root, which is why groups like Al-Qaeda tend to seek out territory that is obscure and poorly governed. Few countries fit the bill so well as Yemen. Like many of the nations where Al-Qaeda and its ideological cousins have migrated, it has never attracted much attention. For one thing, it has less oil than any of its Middle Eastern neighbors, and what little it has is very nearly depleted. The poorest of the Arab nations, it is a place where nearly half the population (46.6 percent) lives on less than $2 a day, according to the United Nations. It occupies the southwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula, and is slightly larger than the state of California. Yemen is a bastion of tribal culture. I wrote about it 30 years ago as one of the main reasons for the poaching of the threatened black rhino in central Africa, because Yemeni tribesmen paid premium prices for ornate dagger handles fashioned from rhino horns. The country’s poverty, traditional nature, relative emptiness, and lack of strong governance make it classically fertile jihadist soil. While recent reports may suggest that Yemen is a new front in the ongoing war, the country began attracting renewed attention from the US military in 2007, when intelligence-gathering in Iraq uncovered vibrant links between Al-Qaeda jihadists there and emerging cells in the arid Arab nation. According to a senior officer at US Central Command, Gen David Petraeus highlighted the growing AQAP threat at a meeting of counterterrorism officials in Qatar in the summer of 2008, while he was still commander of forces in Iraq (although he had already been confirmed as CENTCOM commander).

If recent US military activity in Yemen is any indication, Petraeus’ preoccupation with the country has grown. Obama ordered cruise missile strikes on terrorist targets there on Dec 16, and American-assisted Yemeni air strikes on Christmas Eve might have killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical cleric who reportedly inspired both Abdulmutallab and the shooting spree at Fort Hood in November (relatives of the cleric say he is still alive and well). Petraeus visited Yemen in late 2008, and again with President Ali Abdullah Saleh last summer, when, for the first time, the Yemeni leader not only accepted but “requested American assistance against Al-Qaeda. Saleh has problems galore, so it is little wonder that he’s decided to ask for help. His government, one of the only republics in the Arab world, has come under increasing stress from a combination of social, economic, natural, and political factors, all of them intertwined. He faces declining oil production, a growing youth population, and increasing water shortages. The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees from Somalia, whose northern coastline is directly opposite Yemen across the Gulf of Aden, has imported that country’s addiction to khat and a substantial arms trade and smuggling network. While elected, Saleh’s leadership long predates Yemen’s embrace of democracy, and that embrace is diffident at best. Saleh’s regime is notoriously corrupt and has a grudging hold on power that is decidedly undemocratic. He is fighting a civil war against the Houthis, a radical Shia sect, in the north, and a secessionist movement in the south. Al-Qaeda has begun targeting members of Saleh’s inner circle for suicide attacks. The president managed in the spring to postpone elections for two years, which gives him a little breathing room ordinarily he relies on tribal backing, which makes it harder for him to cooperate with Western nations. As bad as things seem for Saleh, his predicament has afforded the United States an opportunity. Just as the full cooperation of the Filipino government has helped rout the Islamist extremist organization Abu Sayyaf in its southernmost islands with minimal but effective American involvement, the full cooperation of the Yemeni government spells trouble for Al-Qaeda there. It enables Yemen authorities to do what they do best, which is to infiltrate and identify the violent radicals in their midst. And it enables the US military to do what it does best, which is to provide surveillance, weaponry, and tactical guidance. Ideally, the American presence will remain resolutely low key, a posture that benefits both us and Saleh. With any luck it will, as in the Philippines, be less about the United States going to war in another country than about Yemen dealing with the threat Al-Qaeda poses to its own government. In Yemen, as in the Philippines, their fight is also our own. NOTE: Mark Bowden is a former staff writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer and author, most recently of “The Best Game Ever”. – MCT


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Record snowfall brings misery in China, Korea Seoul gets heaviest snow in 70 yrs BEIJING: Planes were grounded and thousands of schools were forced to close as the heaviest snow in over six decades blanketed Beijing and Seoul yesterday, with temperatures plummeting across much of Asia. One person was killed and at least two others were missing in the mountains of central Japan after heavy snow. With temperatures falling in several Asian countries, Indian officials said over 40 people had died in a cold snap that has gripped parts of the north and prompted authorities to shut thousands of schools and dole out firewood. Parts of China experienced heavy snow flurries, with the capital Beijing recording its heaviest daily snowfall in nearly six decades on Sunday, the state Xinhua news agency reported. The Central Meteorological Administration reported that up to 30 cm had fallen on Beijing and Tianjin over the weekend. While skies were clear in the capital yesterday, more snow was expected in northeast China. At Beijing’s international airport - where nearly 1,200 flights were cancelled or delayed on Sunday - workers had cleared the runways and the situation

SEOUL: South Koreans shovel away snow in front of the Duksu Palace yesterday. — AP was returning to normal, an airport spokesman told AFP. More than 100 flights were nevertheless delayed and two dozen cancelled as of early yesterday, the spokesman said, adding that workers needed to de-ice the snow-covered planes that were stuck at the weekend. “I don’t remember ever seeing such heavy snowfall in the city,” one female Beijinger surnamed Zhou told the China Daily. In the South Korean capital Seoul, 28 cm of snow was measured, the most precipitation the nation has seen in a day since tracking began in 1937,

according to the Korea Meteorological Administration. The blanket of thick snow forced the cancellation of dozens of domestic flights and about 40 international flights were delayed, airport officials said. Traffic was chaotic, forcing the late start of a cabinet meeting, with ministers stuck in the wintry mess. With road traffic snarled up, Seoul’s underground system laid on extra trains, but encountered problems due to technical malfunctions, the Yonhap news agency reported. One man fell from the roof of a Seoul bad-

minton court and died while clearing snow, one of numerous weather-related accidents, police said. The city government said it was mobilising 3,500 civil servants and 1,200 vehicles to remove snow from all major roads and streets. In Beijing and surrounding areas up to 30 highways were closed or only partially open, the China News Service reported. Inner-city roads remained icy and covered with snow. More than 5,000 volunteers were deployed to keep order at crowded bus stops, Xinhua quoted Song Jianguo, head of the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, as saying. More than 3,500 schools in Beijing and Tianjin were forced to shut their doors yesterday, giving more than 2.2 million students an extra day of New Year’s holiday, state media reported. With Beijing in a deep freeze, temperatures were expected to drop to minus 16 degrees Celsius (three degrees Fahrenheit) yesterday or today, the coldest in the capital in decades, the China Daily reported. In northern Heilongjiang province, the mercury had already plummeted to minus 36 Celsius, the paper said. —AFP

Oil kicks off 2010 with bang Continued from Page 1 said Sucden analyst Myrto Sokou. “Russia, the world’s biggest crude oil and natural gas producer, has stopped its oil supplies to Belarus after failing to agree new financial terms for 2010. “The Russian supply issue seems to be an alert for European countries, with both Germany and Poland keeping an eye on the situation, following a similar situation in 2007,” Sokou said. Prices have risen on concerns over the implications of Russia’s move to cut oil supplies to Belarus, which has been effective since New Year’s Eve. However, a spokeswoman in Belarus denied yesterday reports that Russia had cut crude supplies from Jan 1. “The information on cutting supplies does not correspond to reality. Oil is arriving both for transit and for refineries,” a spokeswoman for oil processor Belneftekhim told AFP. Both of Belarus’s oil refineries are

working normally and Russian oil is arriving on schedule, the spokeswoman, Marina Kostyuchenko, said. In a conflicting report, a Belarus oil industry source told the Interfax news agency that neither refinery was receiving Russian oil yesterday morning. Media reports said Russia had stopped supplies to Belarus from Dec 31, with ongoing negotiations to restart deliveries hampered by tariff disagreements. Oil also spiked higher on concerns that freezing winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere - particularly in the United States - will push up demand for heating fuel. “Short term direction stems from colder weather in the United States which is supporting demand for winter heating fuels,” said analysts at the John Hall Associates consultancy. “The cold snap is expected to continue for some time yet,” they said in a note to clients. Cold weather also gripped Asia yesterday, with planes grounded and thousands

of schools closed as the heaviest snow in over six decades blanketed Beijing and Seoul. The oil market was also driven by strong economic data from Britain, China, Germany and the eurozone. “In economic news, manufacturing figures from China, Germany, eurozone and UK came up much better than expected this morning, suggesting decent economic improvement,” said Sucden’s Myrto Sokou. Manufacturing in China continued to expand in December as new orders received by factories rose for the ninth month in a row on booming demand from home and abroad, a survey showed yesterday. China is the world’s secondlargest energy consuming nation after the United States. The HSBC China Manufacturing PMI, or purchasing managers’ index, rose to 56.1 in December from 55.7 in November. A reading above 50 means the sector is expanding, while a reading below 50 indicates an overall decline. — AFP

Dubai opens tallest tower Continued from Page 1 Blazing fireworks rippled up and down the massive structure after it was officially opened by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. “Today the United Arab Emirates achieves the tallest building ever created by the hand of man... and this great project deserves to carry the name of a great man. Today I inaugurate Burj Khalifa,” Sheikh Mohammad said. Parachutists bearing the UAE colors of red, green, black and white then touched down as a giant portrait of Sheikh Khalifa was projected on an outer wall of the structure which cost $1.5 billion to erect. In the fireworks spectacle that followed, blossoms of flames crackled up and down the huge building and out into the Dubai night sky, followed later by lasers sweeping the horizon from the tower’s many levels. Abu Dhabi provided direct and indirect injections totaling $25 billion last year as Dubai’s debt problems deepened. Sheikh Mohammed in recent months has increasingly underscored the close relationship between the two emirates. Sheikh Mohammed serves as vice president and prime minister of the UAE federation. The developer of the newly opened tower said it cost about $1.5 billion to build the tapering metal-and-glass spire billed as a “vertical city” of luxury apartments and offices. It boasts four swimming pools, a private library and a hotel designed by Giorgio Armani. The Burj’s developers say they are confident in the safety of the tower, which is more than twice the height of New York’s Empire State Building’s roof. Greg Sang, Emaar’s director of projects, said the Burj has “refuge floors” at 25 to 30 storey intervals that are more fire resistant and have separate air supplies in case of emergency. And its reinforced concrete structure, he said, makes it stronger than steel-frame skyscrapers. “It’s a lot more robust,” he said. “A plane won’t be able to slice through the Burj like it did through the steel columns of the World Trade Center.” Dubai was little more than a sleepy fishing village a generation ago but it boomed into the Middle East’s commercial hub over the past two decades on the back of business-friendly trading policies, relative security, and vast amounts of overseas investment. Then property prices in parts of sheikdom collapsed by nearly half over the past year. Now Dubai is mired in debt and many buildings sit largely empty - the result of overbuilding during a property bubble that has since burst. Despite the past year of hardships, the tower’s developer and other officials were in a festive mood, trying to bring the world’s focus on

Dubai’s future potential rather than past mistakes. “Crises come and go. And cities move on,” Mohammed Alabbar, chairman of the tower’s developer Emaar Properties, told reporters before the inauguration. “You have to move on. Because if you stop taking decisions, you stop growing.” Burj Khalifa has more than 200 floors, only 160 of which will be inhabited, while the remaining floors are for services. It has a total built-up area of 5.67 million sq ft, including 1.85 million sq ft of residential space and more than 300,000 sq ft of prime office space, Emaar said. This amounts to 1,044 apartments and 49 floors of office space, served by 57 lifts. “We have sold 90 percent of the project,” said Alabbar. Dubai, which has little oil of its own, relied on cheap loans to pump up its international clout during the frenzied boom years. But like many overextended homeowners, the emirate and its state-backed companies borrowed too heavily and then struggled to keep up with payments as the financial crisis intensified and credit markets froze up. Meanwhile, speculators who had fueled Dubai’s property bubble disappeared along with the easy money, revealing a glut of brand-new but empty homes and crippling many of the emirate’s property developers. The sheikdom shocked global markets late last year when it unexpectedly announced plans to reorganize its main state-run conglomerate Dubai World and sought new terms in repaying some $26 billion in debt. It got some succor from a $10 billion bailout provided by its richer neighbor and UAE capital Abu Dhabi last month. That was on top of $15 billion in emergency funds provided by Abu Dhabi-based financiers earlier in the year. Burj developer Emaar is itself partly owned by the Dubai government, but is not part of struggling Dubai World, which has investments ranging from Dubai’s manmade islands and seaports to luxury retailer Barneys New York and the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2. Emaar’s Alabbar said the landmark Burj is 90 percent sold in a mix of residential units, offices and other space, offering a counterpoint to Dubai’s financial woes. At a height of 828 m, the Burj Dubai long ago vanquished its nearest rival, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan. But the tower’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. “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 10 m. The Taiwan tower rises 508 m. Work on Burj Dubai began in 2004 and moved ahead rapidly. At times, new floors were being added almost every three days, reflecting Dubai’s raging push to reshape itself into a cosmopolitan urban giant packed with skyscrapers. During the busiest construction periods, some 12,000 workers labored at the tower each day, according to Emaar. Low-wage migrant workers from the Indian subcontinent provided much of the muscle for the Burj and many of Dubai’s other building projects. The tower is more than 50 storeys higher than Chicago’s Willis Tower, the tallest building 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 sq ft, though they now can go for less than half that, said Heather Wipperman Amiji, chief executive of Dubai real estate consultancy Investment Boutique. She said some buyers may struggle to find tenants at going rates once the tower’s expected high service charges are factored in. “The investment community is quite divided,” she said. “They’re not sure how it’s going to play out.” The Burj is 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. An observation deck on the 124th floor opens to the public today, with adult tickets starting at 100 dirhams, or just over $27 apiece. The ride to the top took just over a minute during a visit for journalists early yesterday morning. Dubai landmarks like the sail-shaped Burj Al-Arab hotel and the manmade Palm Jumeirah island were visible through the haze. The Burj itself cast a sundial-like shadow over low-rise houses and empty sand-covered lots stretching toward the azure Arabian Gulf waters. And yes, Dubai is still open for business: there are gift shops at the base and the top. — Agencies

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Saudi-Iranian frictions at graves revered by Shiites Continued from Page 1 Palestinian territories and Iraq with its support for militant groups. Saudi Arabia, an oil-rich US ally, also appears increasingly worried over Iran’s nuclear standoff with the West. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal expressed rare direct concern over Iran’s nuclear program in a recent interview with Western media - prompting angry comments by some Iranian officials for the kingdom to stay out of its business. Mahdi Habibolahi, an Iranian who visited the Baqee after performing his hajj pilgrimage last month, sees a message in the harassment he and fellow Shiites face. “Maybe they want to give us a war ning, that you are different you should be careful, you shouldn’t interfere (in the region’s politics),” said Habibolahi, an English teacher. The Baqee is on a large piece of land in front of the mosque that encloses the Prophet’s tomb in the holy city of Madinah. Locked behind high marble walls and iron gates in the Baqee lie thousands of relatives, companions and descendants of the Prophet (PBUH) including four “imams”, the saint-like figures that Shiites believe should have been the successors of Muhammad (PBUH) as leaders of the Islamic world. The presence of the imams draws Shiites from around the world throughout the year, but particularly in the days after hajj. Iranian pilgrims organize an annual large prayer ceremony at the site. Sunnis consider those buried in the Baqee respected figures, but don’t recognize the imams’ authority. Elaborate

prayers and weeping at gravesites are not as common a practice among most Sunnis. For Wahhabis, it is an anathema - a suggestion that some earthly figure, even one close to Muhammad (PBUH), could be the object of veneration. Once the burial sites at the Baqee were marked with mausoleums and elaborate gravestones. But those were demolished in the early 20th century by Wahhabis. Today the cemetery is a bare stretch of dirt and sand, with graves’ locations designated only by raw, unengraved rocks or raised piles of earth - the way cemeteries are throughout Saudi Arabia. Zeenat Bu Ali, a Quran teacher from Iran in Saudi Arabia for her first pilgrimage, said she was moved to tears when she saw the Baqee’s sparseness. “I see the green dome on top of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) tomb and I expect the same thing for our imams,” she said. “Why does it have to be so dark?” Bu Ali was only able to see the cemetery through the honeycomb of a metal fence. Women are prohibited from entering the Baqee, because Wahhabis deem them too “emotional” and more likely to cause a scene. Dozens of women hang on the gates begging the soldiers for a glimpse of the gravesite. Saudi security grudgingly allows men to enter the site, but only during a short period each day, and it closely monitors those who enter to ensure they don’t go beyond simple, quick prayers. Saudi guards “complain about everything”, Habibolahi said. “If someone wants to pray loudly, they say ‘lower your voice.’ They say, ‘don’t face this way, you should face that way’. They are so concer ned about all details, and unfortunately they are not very polite.”

The soldiers break up small groups praying together and tr y to engage the Shiites in theological debates. All Shiites are restricted. Members of Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority scuffled with security forces there early in the year. But with the Iranians, it takes on distinctly political overtones. Saudis “think that Shiites are kaffir (infidels) and should be killed and removed from the world,” said Ahmed Menai, an Iranian cleric who guides groups of his countrymen on pilgrimages. So Iran’s “going towards knowledge or having nuclear technology or power is very harmful for them,” he said in English then added, referring to Israel’s suspected nuclear arsenal: “They tolerate this for Zionism, but they can’t tolerate this for Shiite people. They think that we are their enemy, but we are not their enemy.” Menai sees the hand of the US behind the Saudi-Iran rivalry, saying Wahhabis’ hatred for Shiites helps the Americans rally Sunni nations against Iran’s growing influence. “The United States saw this as a good way to make a disparity between Muslim people,” he said. At the same time, Iran does see political opportunities in the religious rites of the pilgrimage, which is supposed to be a time of Muslim unity. Protests are held annually at the Iranian camps at hajj posting political signs and chanting anti-US slogans. Before this year’s hajj, Iran’s supreme leader urged Iranian pilgrims to acquaint others with the “Islam of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Saudi officials replied that countries should not try to “politicize” the hajj. Iranian protests during the hajj turned into clashes with Saudi security in 1987 that killed several hundred people. — AP

Govt to reject debt law: Sheikh Ahmad Continued from Page 1 The Assembly approved the draft law on Dec 23 in the first reading but failed to pass it in the second and final reading and the vote was postponed till today. Under Kuwaiti law, the government can reject laws passed by the Assembly through an Amiri decree. The Assembly however can override the government’s rejection through a two-thirds majority vote, which currently stands at 44. If supporters cannot get the necessary 44 votes to make the law mandatory, they can delay the voting until the next term, which starts late October, when they will only need a simple majority, which they have. The law calls on the government to purchase personal and consumer loans taken by Kuwaiti citizens, estimated at KD

6.7 billion, write off all interest valued at KD 1.5 billion and then reschedule the payment of the principal loans over a period of 10 years through easy monthly installments. Under the law, the monthly installment should not exceed 35 percent of the debtors’ monthly income. The government has warned that passing such a law will establish a dangerous precedence and will encourage citizens to spend lavishly. The banking association has also warned that the law will have serious consequences on local banks. Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi told reporters that the only solution to the debt problem should be through the government’s defaulters’ fund after introducing certain amendments. In the previous session, Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali said the law

will cost public funds up to KD 3.725 billion. The law calls on the state to use returns on its KD 8.5 billion deposits at local banks to finance the cost of the law. Shamali also said that the law discriminates between debtors themselves, because they have taken different loans, and between debtors and non-debtors who have not taken any loans. On the political front, spokesman of the Popular Action Bloc MP Musallam AlBarrak announced yesterday that MP Ali Al-Deqbasi has officially become a member of the bloc, to increase its membership to four. Barrak also said that opposition MPs have not yet decided on the date to file a request to grill Information Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah and that a meeting will take place in the coming few days to determine the date.

Tougher security for flights to US Continued from Page 1 Many other passengers who are not from those 14 countries or traveling through them will continue to see additional screening measures, according to a senior TSA official. For instance, in another refinement of measures put in place after the Christmas incident, it is now up to the plane’s captain whether to require passengers to put away electronic devices during the flight and to remain seated for the final hour before landing. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity. TSA also said Sunday that all passengers on US-bound international flights will be subject to random screening and airports were directed to increase “threat-based” screening of passengers acting in a suspicious manner. People who are from or traveling from or through these countries are supposed to have full-body pat-downs and have their carryon luggage checked: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Yemen. The US has designated Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria to be state sponsors of terrorism. The other 10 countries are considered “of interest”. People from there or traveling through there could also be subject to full-body scanning and explosive detection technology as part of their screening.

The new security measures come in response to the failed attempt to bomb a jetliner as it approached Detroit after a flight from Amsterdam. Witnesses said a 23-year-old Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, ignited an explosive mixture but it failed to do serious damage to the Northwest jetliner or its passengers. He has told US investigators he received training and instructions from Al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen. US President Barack Obama, who returned to Washington from his Hawaiian vacation, was meeting with his homeland security adviser yesterday. The deputy homeland security secretary was traveling to London yesterday to meet with officials on international aviation security. TSA security directives are issued to the airlines to be carried out. David Castelveter, spokesman for the Air Transport Association, which represents major US air carriers, said he would not discuss any new TSA measures because doing so might compromise security. “We are not having discussions about the measures or how they work or do not work,” Castelveter said in an interview. He said the measures are being implemented with the least amount of customer inconvenience possible. If the security measures are not followed, the TSA can penalize the airlines, according to another TSA official who was not authorized to speak about the enforcement rules. The penalties

could include warnings, fines and recalcitrant airlines could ultimately be barred from flying to the US. A Saudi security official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, says there are more security personnel at the airport in Riyadh. He had no other details. A spokesman for Pakistan International Airline said the company has instituted new security standards for US-bound passengers. Passengers are subjected to special screening, including full body searches, in a designated area of the departure lounge, said the spokesman, Sultan Hasan. The airline has run advertisements in newspapers to advise passengers of the stepped-up security. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Sunday that full body scanners would be introduced in British airports and officials in Amsterdam said last week they would begin using the scanners on passengers bound for the US. In the Yemeni capital, security personnel at the Sanaa airport were ordered to apply strict measures, including careful baggage examinations and patting down travelers, especially those departing for the United States as the final destination, an official said. The security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to talk about security measures to the media, said the airport was expecting to receive some new equipment to provide better security. — AP

Yemen forces kill 2 Qaeda militants Continued from Page 1 With Western pressure growing for Sanaa to tackle AQAP, a website linked to the defence ministry said two bodyguards had been killed as security forces tried to capture Mohammed Al-Hanq, one of the group’s most senior leaders. While Hanq had managed to flee, “the clashes led to the killing of two bodyguards who are relatives of his and are suspected Al-Qaeda members,” sep26.net website quoted a security official as saying. Earlier, a tribal source requesting anonymity said two suspected Al-Qaeda members were shot dead near Arhab, 40 km north of Sanaa, by security forces hunting for Hanq. Two of Hanq’s company, his son and his nephew, were killed and three others were wounded in the firefight, while he managed to escape, the source said. With fears of fresh attacks still rife, the US and British embassies remained shut for a second day running while other missions also limited access. France said it would “no longer authorise public access to the premises of our diplomatic mission” while Japan and the Netherlands halted consular services and Italy said it would only deal with people with appointments. Speaking on a visit to Qatar, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Kurbi said

that his country needed help to take on the militants who have found the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country a fertile ground for recruitment. Abdulmutallab himself was staying in Yemen until earlier this month where he is said to have undergone training. “Certainly there is a problem with AlQaeda and an interest among the international community in its activities,” Kurbi said. “Yemen is capable of confronting these groups, but it needs international aid to form and train anti-terrorist units as well as economic aid, since the problem also has an economic dimension.” The instability leads the United States to see Yemen as a potential hot house for Islamist militancy. But one analyst said that was only part of the problem. “Terrorist networks stand to benefit if the state gets weaker but it’s not terrorism that will undermine the government, it’s the economic crisis forced by declining oil revenues,” said Ginny Hill, of London’s Chatham House thinktank. “Yemen’s patronage system has held the country together for several decades but oil production in Yemen is falling now, which means there’s less and less money to go round, and that’s creating an economic crisis with multiple political implications.” US President Barack Obama’s counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan said

on Sunday that Washington was making a “determined and concerted effort” to help fund Yemen’s special CounterTerrorism Unit. At the same time, US officials said Yemen was one of 14 “terror linked” countries to which enhanced airline passenger screening would be applied. Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia are among some of the other countries affected. The new designation means that all passengers flying into the United States from the listed countries will be subject to measures such as body pat-downs and searches of their hand luggage. Nigeria, which has already announced plans to introduce body scanners at Lagos airport in the wake of the Christmas Day plot, was angered by the new move which it said amounted to discrimination. “It is unfair to include Nigeria on the US list for tighter screening because Nigerians do not have terrorist tendencies,” Information Minister Dora Akunyili told journalists. “It is unfair to discriminate against over 150 million people because of the behaviour of one person.” The new security measures have caused confusion in some airports, including at Rome’s Fiumicino where passengers headed to the United States faced major delays at security checks yesterday. — Agencies


SPORTS

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

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Iran on brink of booking Asian Cup spot SINGAPORE: Iran can book their place at the 2011 Asian Cup finals, ease the pressure on coach Afshin Ghotbi and give Bryan Robson’s Thailand a boost with a win over Singapore tomorrow. Ghotbi was ridiculed by local media in November after the three-times Asian champions lost 1-0 to Jordan and a defeat in Singapore in tomorrow’s Group E match would further fuel the calls for his departure. Iran top the group on seven points from four matches, one ahead of Singapore followed by Thailand (5) and Jordan (4) with the top two sides from each group qualifying for the finals in Qatar. Ghotbi received further criticism last week when his Team Melli finished last in a four-team invitational tournament in Qatar, losing to the hosts and Mali but finishing with a win over North Korea in their final match on Saturday. “I am happy we beat the tournament champions

told yesterday’s Titan Sports newspaper.

Iranian soccer official resigns over email to Israel North Korea in our last match,” Ghotbi told www.mehrnews.com. “Although we did not get satisfying results in the Qatar tournament we made good assessments of our players’ capabilities.” Robson’s Thailand face a must-win game in their penultimate match at home to Jordan tomorrow. Thailand slumped to a surprise 1-0 home defeat by Singapore in December only four days after beating their Southeast Asian rivals 3-1 away, leaving qualification out of their hands. Robson then followed that result by coaching the under-23 side to a surprise first round exit in the South East Asian Games last month. “We slipped up, but the players know how important

extras Barca chief eyes politics MADRID: The president of European football champs Barcelona said yesterday he may create a political party to seek independence for Spain’s Catalonia region and that he was considering running for office. “I am attracted by the idea of running with a new party open to all other parties or platforms that believe Catalonia needs its own state,” Joan Laporta told El Mundo newspaper in an interview. Catalonia, whose main city is Barcelona and which has long been home to an independence movement, will hold regional elections in the autumn. “I will decide before Easter and I will announce it when my mandate as head of FC Barcelona is finished (this summer),” the 49-yearold lawyer said. He said he has had discussions with Catalonia’s main nationalist parties. Laporta said that, before reaching a decision, he wanted to know whether the some 20 percent of Catalonians who polls show favor independence were ready to pursue the idea.

Man United mulls bond issue LONDON: Manchester United is considering a bond issue as part of the English Premier League champion’s efforts to control its 700 million pound debts, a report said yesterday. Investment bank JPMorgan and Germany’s Deutsche Bank are advising the football club, champions for the last three years, on options to improve the club’s financial situation, the Financial Times said, quoting unnamed sources. One option under consideration would be the issue of high-yield bonds, according to the newspaper. The Sunday Times reported that the cash raised would be used to pay back some of Manchester United’s existing debts. The club owes about 700 million pounds (788 million euros, 1.12 billion dollars) to banks, financial institutions and hedge funds, according to debt specialists, quoted by The Sunday Times. Most of this stems from the American Glazer family’s takeover in 2005 which was criticized by fans because so much debt was loaded on to the club.

Ruiz lifts Puebla in Interliga FRISCO: Carlos Ruiz scored twice to help Puebla beat Tigres UANL 4-1 in the Interliga football tournament on Sunday. In the later game, apertura champion Monterrey and Jaguares de Chiapas played out a scoreless draw. Alavaro Gonzalez also scored two goals for Puebla, which is making its InterLiga debut. The eight-team tournament of top Mexican club teams, will determine two spots in the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club championship. Gonzalez, who left the match in the 53rd minute with a broken nose following a violent collision, scored goals 13 minutes apart in the first half to give Puebla a 2-1 lead after Tigres jumped on top early. “The two forwards, we each scored two goals, so that’s good,” Ruiz said. “I think we play a great teamwork, and for the forwards to score two goals, that’s great for us.” Tigres, the only team to have won the InterLiga twice, struck first through Itamar Batista, but Puebla responded eight minutes later.

Defoe fined for speeding LONDON: England striker Jermain Defoe pleaded guilty yesterday to another motoring offence and was fined for breaking the speed limit. The Tottenham Hotspur forward, through his lawyer Dean George, admitted driving a Land Rover 4x4 at 45 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone in Portsmouth, on the southern English coast, on May 8 last year. The 27-year-old Londoner did not attend the one-day hearing at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court. “It was 1:08am, there was no other traffic on the road, there were no other aggravating features,” George said. Defoe was given four points on his driving license, fined 400 pounds (650 dollars, 450 euros) and ordered to pay 45 pounds costs plus a 15 pound surcharge. Defoe’s previous driving offences were four points for speeding in October 2008, six points for speeding in April 2009, disqualified from driving for six months in July 2008, and a further six-month ban in July 2009. Former West Ham hitman Defoe rejoined Tottenham from Portsmouth for 15 million pounds on January 6 last year. Defoe, who has scored 11 goals in 38 full internationals, is the English Premier League’s joint-top scorer this season with 14 goals.

Dadi leaves Perth for Phoenix SYDNEY: Ivory Coast striker Eugene Dadi will play out the remainder of the Australian A-League season with Wellington Phoenix after gaining an early release from his contract with Perth Glory, the clubs said yesterday. Dadi, 36, whose contract was due to expire at the end of this season, sought an early release from Perth Glory and later Monday Wellington Phoenix said they had immediately picked him up in the January transfer window. Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata said Dadi would provide another attacking option for the New Zealand club, which already has overseas strikers, Paul Ifill and Chris Greenacre. “Eugene’s a vastly talented and experienced striker who will offer coach Ricki Herbert something different up front,” Pignata said. “He’s a big, strong and cunning striker and as a club we feel he’ll be valuable for us in the closing stages of the season as we seek to secure a spot in the playoffs.” Dadi played 22 games and scored 10 goals for Perth after joining the club in 2008/09.

Real to visit Taiwan TAIPEI: Legendary Spanish football club Real Madrid may visit Taiwan for the first time in August, the company that is arranging the trip said yesterday. The Spanish powerhouse, which toured Asia in 2003 and 2005, is scheduled for a friendly match in Beijing on August 8, and Taiwan hopes to host another leg of the team’s Asian visit. “In principle we have obtained the support of our partner organizing the Beijing visit,” Elephant Ching, president of Taipei-based Dot Han Integrated Marketing Co said. “If we reach an agreement, the Spanish team will travel to Taipei on August 1 and play on August 4.” The visit will cost about three million euros (4.3 million US dollars), and the company will seek financial assistance from the government, he said. “This is a large amount of money, but it would definitely be worth it as it’s sure to boost the image of Taipei internationally,” he said.

this game is and they’ve been working really hard,” the former England captain said. “It is a must win game but the pressure’s not on us any more than the other three teams. They’ve had bad results when they really didn’t want to have bad results.” Asian heavy weights With the games not falling on an official FIFA international match date, Asian heavyweights Australia and Japan have been robbed of most of their European-based players for their away matches. Japan need just a point in Yemen tomorrow to clinch qualification from Group A and coach Takeshi Okada has given 13 players their first call-

ups to the squad for the match. Bahrain can also qualify from Group A if they beat Hong Kong and Yemen fail to beat Japan. Australia face a much trickier task away to Group B leaders Kuwait, who stunned the Socceroos with a 1-0 win in Canberra last year. The teams are level on seven points from four matches and both can qualify tomorrow depending on the result of the other group match between Indonesia and Oman in Jakarta. In Group D, China can join Syria in qualifying if they beat the West Asian side in Hangzhou. “We will concentrate on attack in training over the next few days. We’ve got to beat Syria,” team manager Du Wei

Email to Israel Iranian media reports say one of the country’s sports officials has resigned after his emailed New Year’s greetings to members of world soccer’s governing body were mistakenly forwarded to Israel’s soccer federation. The reports by several newspapers said Sunday that Mohammad Mansour Azimzadeh Ardebili sent the email through the sport’s governing body, FIFA. It was supposed to go to all FIFA members except Israel, but was apparently forwarded to Israel’s soccer federation, too. Ardebili was a spokesman for Iran’s soccer federation. Since Iran’s Islamic rulers came to power in 1979, the country has not recognized Israel. Iranian athletes avoid playing Israeli competitors in international matches. — Agencies

Messi boosts Barca for Sevilla Cup clash MADRID: Holders Barcelona have top scorer Lionel Messi back in contention for their King’s Cup last 16 first leg at home to Sevilla today (2100 GMT). The Argentina forward, who was crowned FIFA World Player of the Year last month, missed Saturday’s 1-1 La Liga draw at home to Villarreal after being granted an extra few days holiday over the winter break. The La Liga leaders take on the 2007 Cup winners for the first of three clashes between the sides in 12 days. Sevilla, who have slipped to fifth in the standings, return to the Nou Camp after next week’s second leg. The Andalucians have lost their last two games and have been hit by a string of injuries to key players such as Brazil striker Luis Fabiano. Like Barca, who have lost midfielders Seydou Keita and Yaya Toure to the African Nations Cup, Sevilla are also deprived of Mali striker Frederic Kanoute and Ivory Coast’s Didier Zokora. “They are a dangerous team whatever shape they are in,” Barca reserve goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto told reporters. “Toure and Keita are fundamental players for us, and I imagine the players they are losing (to the African Nations Cup) are important for them as well. It will be an evenlybalanced tie.” Giantkillers Alcorcon of the Segunda B (third tier), who dumped Real Madrid out in the last round 4-1 on aggregate, warmed up for tomorrow’s visit of Racing Santander with a 2-1 league win over Real’s youth team Castilla on Sunday. Second division sides Recreativo Huelva and Celta Vigo host Atletico Madrid and Villarreal respectively tomorrow, while La Liga heavyweights Valencia, who lifted the trophy in 2008, and Deportivo Coruna meet at the Mestalla. Valencia climbed to third in the league after scrambling a last-minute winner for a 1-0 home win against Espanyol on Saturday, and could have midfielder David Silva back in the side after a month on the sidelines with a knee injury. On Thursday, second division leaders Hercules are at home to Osasuna, second division Rayo Vallecano receive inform Real Mallorca and struggling Malaga take on Getafe. — Reuters

Valencia play Depor, giantkillers Alcorcon face Racing

BARCELONA: FC Barcelona players Lionel Messi from Argentina (left) and Andres Iniesta pose with the six cups won during the past season before their Spanish La Liga soccer match against Villareal at the Camp Nou stadium. — AP

Celtic boss defends the McDonald snub GLASGOW: Celtic boss Tony Mowbray defended his decision to start the Old Firm derby with Scott McDonald on the bench despite the Australian striker coming on to score in the 1-1 draw with Rangers. McDonald, the club’s top scorer who is being courted by Wigan and Middlesbrough, made an immediate impact when he gave Celtic the lead eight minutes after being called into action at Parkhead. But his manager defended the decision to leave the Socceroos star on the bench. “He has done that before when he came off the bench at Falkirk and scored two,” Mowbray said. “Scott’s not very happy at sitting on the bench of course, I can understand that. “But my job is to pick the team I think can go and give Rangers the most problems and I don’t think anyone can sit here and say we didn’t give Rangers lots of problems today. “I feel vindicated that the selection of the team was fine. We know Scott is a goal-scorer and we know what he brings to the team and he came off the bench and did just that.” Rangers boss Walter Smith has demanded an immediate improvement if his side are to retain their Scottish Premier League crown following a late goal in the 1-1 draw. Smith saw his Scottish Premier League leaders dominated by a Celtic side who had a MarcAntoine Fortune goal controversially chalked off before they took a well-deserved lead through McDonald in the 79th minute. But the Ibrox side struck back just two minutes later when Lee McCulloch headed past Artur Boruc to score with Rangers’ first shot on target. The draw left Smith’s side seven points clear at the top ahead of their city rivals, who have played a game less. “We can play far better than we played today in all aspects of our game,” said Smith. “We will have to put our whole concentration in making sure that’s what we do. Our record last year in the league was good. If the second-half of this season is as good as this last year in terms of number of points gained and number of wins then we would have a good opportunity to retain the championship.” Rangers held an eight-point lead at one stage two years ago before losing the league to Celtic and their rivals suffered a similar collapse when they threw away a seven-point advantage to allow Smith’s side to claim the title last season. Smith said these statistics show his side can’t afford to rest on their laurels despite having a healthy lead at the top. “People talk about how many points ahead you are in the league,” Smith said. “But you have to look at the last couple of seasons where there has been many times where teams have been a good few points in front of the other and they have managed to claw it back and change it round. “The last two seasons have seen a big swing in the number of points. “The point is a far better one for us than it is for Celtic at this stage of the season. They will obviously feel a little bit aggrieved with the way the game went when they didn’t win it.” Mowbray insisted the league title race was far from over. “I think we can challenge for the title,” said the Hoops boss. “For everybody who watched today it is there in front of your eyes so we will be OK, I’m sure.” — AFP

New Roma striker Toni to start against Cagliari Milan’s Beckham expecting to be on bench against Genoa MILAN: Striker Luca Toni will start for new club AS Roma at Cagliari tomorrow (1400 GMT) when Serie A returns from its mid-season break. The striker has signed on loan for the rest of the season having been frozen out at Bayern Munich and goes straight into the inform side, joint fourth after going seven games unbeaten. “I’ve found him to be fitter than I expected. He will play at Cagliari. With him, it’s a different Roma,” coach Claudio Ranieri, without the injured Francesco Totti, told reporters. Cagliari, who have taken Juventus defender Lorenzo Ariaudo on loan, will have to cope with a Toni desperate to shine and force his way back into the Italy squad for the World Cup. Another fresh arrival in Serie A with June’s tournament in South Africa on his mind is David Beckham. The England midfielder has begun his second loan spell at AC Milan from Los Angeles Galaxy in a bid

to secure his World Cup place, but he does not expect to start at home to Genoa (1945). “Of course I scored against Genoa (last season) and I would love a repeat. I remember that goal with great emotion. However, I am here to be helpful to the team, even five minutes’ playing time is fine,” said the 34-year-old, whose team lie second. Leaders and champions Inter Milan also hope to recruit a new-yet-old face for their trip to Chievo (1130). Forward Goran Pandev, signed as a youngster by Inter almost a decade ago before making his way to Lazio, is a free agent after leaving the Rome club following a contract dispute. The Macedonian has said he is desperate to sign before tomorrow with Inter short of forwards given Samuel Eto’o is with Cameroon at the African Nations Cup, David Suazo has been loaned to Genoa and reserve Marko Arnautovic has not impressed. Coach

Jose Mourinho, who will still have Diego Milito upfront, is likely to include the little-used Patrick Vieira in midfield with Dejan Stankovic and Thiago Motta suspended. Inter are eight points above Milan, who lost to Palermo last time but have a game in hand, and nine ahead of the severely faltering Juventus in third. Reports are rife that Russia coach Guus Hiddink could replace rookie Ciro Ferrara if Juve do not play well in tomorrow’s trip to high-flying Parma (1400), where Fabio Cannavaro is suspended, and Sunday’s home game with Milan. The Turin club have backed Ferrara and denied contact with Hiddink but more dreadful performances by close-season signings Felipe Melo and Diego could force their hand. Fiorentina, who also had a bad patch before the break to drop to 10th, welcome defender Felipe for the Tuscan derby at lowly Siena after the Brazilian signed on loan from Udinese. — Reuters

ROME: AS Roma forward Luca Toni holds his new soccer team jersey during a media presentation in Rome. AS Roma has signed Italian striker Luca Toni on a six-month loan deal from Bayern Munich. — AP


16

SPORTS

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Furious Fergie faces City after Leeds loss Ferguson to wield axe after miserable loss MANCHESTER: Furious Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson threatened to wield the axe after his star-studded side slumped to a shock FA Cup defeat against fallen giants Leeds. United were beaten 1-0 by third-tier Leeds in the third round at Old Trafford on Sunday and Ferguson has pledged to shake things up when his team face Manchester City at Eastlands tomorrow in the League Cup semi-finals. After Manchester United’s shocking loss at home to Leeds in the FA Cup, manager Alex Ferguson is out to avoid another embarrassing defeat when it meets neighbor Manchester City in a League Cup semifinal and is set to drop some of his underperforming stars. Ferguson was angry that his team did not match the workrate or fighting spirit of third tier Leeds at Old Trafford on Sunday when United lost 10. “You have to bounce back, get it out of your system,” said Ferguson, who now comes up against new City manager Roberto Mancini at the City of Manchester Stadium tomorrow in the first leg of the semifinal. “We have a semifinal and a lot of these players won’t be playing. I had the team in mind but there may be changes now, I was shocked by the performance.” It was the first time since 1984 two years before Ferguson arrived at the club - that United had gone out of the competition so early. Ferguson will be able to recall the likes of Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes to the starting lineup. But City has a chance to take advantage of its neighbor’s defensive frailties to open up a healthy lead in the first leg

before they meet again at Old Trafford Jan. 19. Ferguson had to make a late change to his starting lineup Sunday when central defender Nemanja Vidic was injured in the warmup. That means the Serb, who has played a vital role in United’s recent successes, will be doubtful for a semifinal in which Mancini has several striking options to test the United defense. City had a routine 1-0 victory at League Championship club Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Saturday with one of the backup strikers, Benjani Mwaruwari, scoring the goal. Benjani may only just make the bench tomorrow with Mancini likely to field Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz or Craig Bellamy in attack. In today’s semifinal, Blackburn hosts Aston Villa in a repeat of Saturday’s FA Cup meeting which Villa won 3-1. Villa has won the League Cup five times - second only to Liverpool’s seven and looks strong enough to handle Blackburn again over two legs. Blackburn will also be without striker El-Hadji Diouf, who was sent off in Saturday’s game for an ugly foul on Senegalese countryman Habib Beye, but Brett Emerton could return from injury. Villa manager Martin O’Neill is likely to strengthen his team by recalling goalkeeper Brad Friedel, defender Richard Dunne, midfielder James Milner and striker Gabriel Agbonlahor, who were all left out of the starting lineup on Saturday. In Premier League action, Stoke hosts Fulham today and Arsenal aims to leapfrog Manchester United and move within a point of leader Chelsea by beating Bolton tomorrow. — Agencies

Chelsea won’t get African Nations ‘blues’: Ancelotti LONDON: Carlo Ancelotti remains convinced his Chelsea side can overcome the loss of their African Nations Cup stars after the holders started the New Year with a crushing 5-0 FA Cup home win over Watford. And the Chelsea manager reacted to Sunday’s victory here at Stamford Bridge by denying reports of a rift with French forward Florent Malouda. Ancelotti’s Premier Leaguer leaders crushed their Championship opponents to earn a fourth round tie away to another second-tier side in Preston North End. The win was secured by two goals from Daniel Sturridge his first for the club - strikes from Frank Lampard, Malouda and John Eustace’s own-goal. The performance of Sturridge particularly pleased Ancelotti who asked the 20-year-old to lead the attack in the absence of Didier Drogba, on African Nations duty in Angola with the Ivory Coast, and injured forward Nicolas Anelka. And the Italian coach believes the morale boost of getting off the mark in only his third start since his pre-season move from Manchester City will provide Sturridge with a major lift. “It was a good performance and Sturridge played very well,” said Ancelotti. “Without Drogba, it was important to have him in good condition. He scored two goals and that’s important for a striker, to score. “But he deserved that. He played very well for the whole match and ‘stayed’ well. “It was important for him. It’ll improve his confidence. He has a lot of potential, and great quality, and he can show that on the pitch in January.” Anelka will be fit for the Chelsea’s weekend trip to Hull City and Ancelotti is already thinking about fielding

Leeds eye return to big time after stunning Utd MANCHESTER: Eliminating Manchester United from the FA Cup provided Leeds fans with a reminder of past glories - and evidence the team is on the way back following the most dramatic collapse in English football. By clinching a first victory at Old Trafford in 29 years on Sunday, Jermaine Beckford has reinvigorated the three-time English champions’ promotionpush from the depths of the third tier, which they lead by eight points. And it gave the 9,000 visiting fans a chance to roll back the years. Just 10 years, though, since their once-powerful club started the new millennium topping the Premier League. Leeds was one game from the Champions League final in 2001, but failure to reach the competition the following season precipitated the club’s highprofile downfall in a mountain of debt. Leeds chairman Peter Risdale had gambled on future success, but on-the-pitch failure triggered a fire-sale of players, relegation to the League Championship in 2004 and financial administration, which saw the team drop into League One for the first time. Now Simon Grayson is ready to lead his team back into the big time after inflicting United’s first loss to lower-league opposition in the world’s oldest cup competition since 1984, two years before manager Alex Ferguson’s reign began. “It was a fantastic achievement beating United,” said Grayson, the former Leeds player who took charge in December 2008. “Our club has had a lot of negativity over the last five or six years with administration and relegation. When I came to the club I thought it had hit rock bottom and wouldn’t go any lower.” Sunday’s evidence suggests it shouldn’t. “Leeds is a big football club, going back to the 60s and 70s - we have not just an English fan base, but we have a European and worldwide

fan base,” Grayson said. “But we are in League One for a reason and the only way we get back into the big time is by getting to the Championship and then hopefully the Premier League. “I want to be back here in the next few years managing Leeds United in the Premier League. We did say to the players today, ‘If you can perform at Old Trafford, there’s no reason why you can’t make yourselves a fine career in the game.”‘ A key task for Grayson is persuading Beckford, who has scored 20 goals so far this season, to stay at Elland Road. The 26-year-old Englishman could leave for free at the end of the season when his contract expires or Leeds could opt to cash in during the January transfer window. What Grayson is sure of is that Leeds will not indulge in the financial recklessness that characterized the start of the last decade. “We made a decent amount of money (from tickets at United), we’ve got back on an even keel on the financial front as well,” Grayson pointed out. “But sometimes when a player I’m not saying that I want him (Beckford) to leave - has only four months on his contract, selling him might bring in two or three players that might benefit hopefully for this year and next year. “But that’s the worst case scenario and the best-case scenario is that he stays.” At the helm is Ken Bates as chairman, the man who sold Chelsea to Roman Abramovich in 2003 before turning to reviving Leeds two years later. “Leeds might be in Division One, but they are a big club, they have always been a big club, and they remain a big club. It is just that they have been badly run for the past ten years,” Bates said. “Now we have no debts, we are making money, everything is now under control, we have a good team and a good manager, and how many clubs in the Premier League can say that?” — AP

Todayʼs matches on TV (local timings) English Premier League Stoke City v Fulham ..........................................22:45 ShowSports 1 ShowSports 2 Premiere Sport CL1 English League Cup Blackburn v Aston Villa.....................................23:00 Aljazeera Sport +5 Spain Copa del Rey Barcelonav Sevilla...............................................0:00 Aljazeera Sport HD

two forwards in the absence of Drogba and Ivory Coast teammate Salomon Kalou. “He (Anelka) will be ready for Saturday,” Ancelotti confirmed. “He’s been training with the team and will do so again this week. He and Sturridge can play together. And the manager believes he saw enough signs to suggest Chelsea can also cope with the temporary loss of Ghana’s Michael Essien and Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel. “I think that we can do a good January, good performances without the African players. “I had good answers about other players. Juliano Belletti played very well in central midfield. I think we can do good performances without the other African players,” Ancelotti explained. Malouda, meanwhile, revealed he had sought talks with Ancelotti after being left out of the starting line-up in a number of major games this season. “I spoke with Malouda before the game against Birmingham and explained to him my position,” Ancelotti said. “He explained his position. “For me, that was finished. But there’s no problem. It’s normal that a player wants to play every game. Above all, the important games. For us, for me, Malouda is an important player.” Watford manager Malky Mackay, meanwhile, admitted the gulf in class between the two sides had been vast. “If we’d started the game the way we started the secondhalf, it might have been a different game,” he said of a match where the visitors were 3-0 down at half-time. “It’s about learning. There’s the standard if you want to be a top England international. That’s what you’re up against. That was European standard football out there.” —- AFP

Wenger ready to make a splash in January sales

MANCHESTER: Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney walks from the pitch after his team’s 1-0 loss to Leeds United in their English FA Cup third round soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium on Sunday Jan 3, 2010. — AP

O’Neill still wary of Rovers BLACKBURN: Martin O’Neill insists Aston Villa will not have an edge over Blackburn in their League Cup semi-final first leg despite a victory in the first game of the teams’ ‘triple-header’. Ahead of today’s tie at Ewood Park, Villa knocked their Premier League rivals out of the FA Cup with a 3-1 home win at the weekend. But Rovers manager Sam Allardyce used a fringe team in the FA Cup and is concentrating on the League Cup tie. O’Neill, who made seven changes for the FA Cup third round game, is also desperate to bring Villa their first trophy since they lifted the League Cup in 1996. “It won’t do us any harm winning the game and it is better to have won than lost,” said O’Neill, whose side will face either Manchester United or Manchester City at Wembley if they win their two-legged clash with Rovers. “But it’s a different competition, different matches and a different set of circumstances. “It was good for confidence though and that’s important. “We’ve got a

big semi-final to look forward to now. Everyone is talking about it. Blackburn are saying it’s their biggest game for a long, long time. “There are two games to be played and every single minute in these matches will be vital.” South African star Benni McCarthy, whose future at Blackburn remains uncertain, could return to the Rovers line-up after he was one of nine changes for the game at Villa Park. Allardyce also has Brett Emerton available again after his recovery from a groin strain but fellow Australian Vince Grella misses out with a thigh injury and Senegal winger El-Hadji Diouf is suspended after he was sent-off for a challenge on Habib Beye at the weekend. Swedish defender Martin Olsson was one of the players drafted in at the weekend but the fullback is sure that Villa will face a completely different proposition in midweek. The youngster expects to drop back to the bench for the League Cup tie but admits that Ewood Park is buzzing at the prospect

of the semi-final, with Allardyce more excited than anyone. Olsson hopes Blackburn’s solid home form, which has seen them lose just twice in all competitions at Ewood Park this season, can give them an advantage from the first leg and thinks cup success can boost them in the league. “We changed around a lot of players in the FA Cup so most of them are rested for the Carling (League) Cup game. We had a team that hasn’t been playing a lot so there will be six or seven new faces in the team. “We just want to do our best. We’re playing so well at Ewood Park and if we keep doing that, we won’t have any problems in going through. “It’s been a while since we’ve been in semi-finals, so of course it’s good and everybody is up for it and the chance of going to Wembley. “The gaffer (Allardyce) is probably talking about it the most, all the players are excited and they know we have the chance of going to the final and that will help us in the Premier League.” —AFP

LONDON: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits he is ready to make a splash in the January sales as he searches for the right player to improve his title-chasing squad. Wenger’s side are in the hunt for three trophies after coming from behind to set up an FA Cup trip to Stoke with 2-1 win at West Ham in the third round on Sunday. The Gunners trailed to Alessandro Diamanti’s first half strike and were within 12 minutes of going out at the first hurdle until Aaron Ramsey capped a fine individual display with the equalizer. Eduardo put the seal on Arsenal’s dramatic late fightback when he headed in Carlos Vela’s cross in the 83rd minute to send the north Londoners into Wednesday’s crucial league clash against Bolton on a high. Arsenal can move into second place in the Premier League, and within one point of leaders Chelsea, if they beat Bolton and Wenger’s side also have a Champions League last 16 clash against Porto to look forward to. With so much to play for and injuries robbing his squad of Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott, Wenger knows a top-class signing could make a major difference as he tries to end the club’s five-year wait for a major trophy. “At the moment we have nine injuries. We could do with a player or two. We’ll try to be in the market,” Wenger said. “I have the money and the desire (to sign someone) but I don’t have the player. Basically it depends how the big guns will move. I speak of Manchester City and Chelsea. “If they buy from English clubs the market will be busy. If not then it won’t because there is not a lot of money around.” Knowing how important it is to beat Bolton, Wenger sent out a weakened team against West Ham with five changes to eleven that defeated Portsmouth last week. For long periods at a ice-cold Upton Park it looked as if that gamble would lead to Arsenal’s exit as Diamanti converted Valon Behrami’s pass to deservedly put West Ham ahead. But Wales midfielder Ramsey, 19, was at heart of all Arsenal’s best moments and he helped turn the tide in Arsenal’s favor. “Ramsey was one of the

few in the first half who played at a high pace. He improves from game to game,” Wenger said. “In pre-season I set a target for him to play 15 to 20 games and it looks like he will get that quite quickly. “He has great physical stamina, is quick and can play on the flanks when Fabregas comes back. Of course his best position is central midfield because he is a goalscorer.” While he searches for the right man to bolster his squad, Wenger is also encouraged by the form of Croatia forward Eduardo, who has scored three times in his last four games as he returns to peak form following the broken leg that sidelined him for a year. “He comes slowly back,” Wenger said. “He has been out for a year. A footballer is not like an engine where you drive off at 100mph. He is getting better with each game.” West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola took heart from the way his depleted side pushed Arsenal hard and the Italian is convinced the Hammers will pull clear of the relegation zone when they get injured stars like Scott Parker back. “Trust me this team is going to be hard to beat when we have everybody back,” he said. “It would be nice to bring someone in. But everyone knows the financial situations and knows we have problems. As far as I know nobody is going.”—AFP

Arsene Wenger


SPORTS

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

17 Scoreboard

S African’s Morkel, Steyn claim three wickets each Cricket

Scoreboard at the close of the second day of the third test between South Africa and England at Newlands in Cape Town, South Africa yesterday. South Africa first innings (overnight 279-6) G. Smith c Prior b Anderson 30 A. Prince c Prior b Anderson 0 H. Amla lbw b Onions 14 J. Kallis c Prior b Onions 108 AB de Villiers c Strauss b Swann 36 JP Duminy c Prior b Swann 0 M. Boucher lbw b Broad 51 D. Steyn c Trott b Anderson 26 M. Morkel c Swann b Anderson 0 P. Harris not out 10 F. de Wet lbw b Anderson 0 Extras (b-1, lb-13, w-1, nb-1) 16 Total (all out; 86.1 overs) 291 Fall of wickets: 1-1 2-46 3-51 4-127 5-127 6-216 7280 8-280 9-281 10-291. Bowling: Anderson 21.1-1-63-5 (nb-1, w-1), Onions 20-4-69-2, Broad 19-6-54-1, Swann 22-1-74-2, Pietersen 4-0-17-0.

Cook, Bell, Prior keep England afloat

CAPE TOWN: Seamers Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn took three England wickets each to lift South Africa on the second day of the third test yesterday. England, replying to the hosts’ 291, reached 241 for seven at the close thanks to battling innings by Alastair Cook, Ian Bell and Matt Prior. Cook fell just after tea for 65, paddling Morkel to midwicket, and Prior and Bell added 41 for the sixth wicket before Bell cut the nagging seam bowling of Jacques Kallis straight to backward point. Bell made 48 in nearly three hours at the crease and Prior, who survived several anxious moments, completed his 12th test half-century two balls before the close. He finished unbeaten on 52 with Graeme Swann on five. South Africa, resuming on 279 for six, lost four wickets for 12 runs in a dramatic collapse in the morning. Centurion Jacques Kallis fell to the first ball he faced, the second of the morning, when he edged a superb away-swinger from Graham Onions to wicketkeeper Prior for 108.

SHARP CATCH Steyn also failed to add to his score of 26 when he edged James Anderson’s first ball of the day into the slips, Jonathan Trott taking a sharp catch. Anderson gained reward for his top-class swing bowling when he dismissed Morkel, Swann taking a superb diving catch at second slip, and Friedel de Wet for ducks to complete fine figures of five for 63. England were quickly in trouble when captain Andrew Strauss edged a flatfooted drive at an away-swinger from Morkel to be caught behind for two. Cook and Jonathan Trott took the score confidently to 36 before Steyn struck twice in his third over. Trott, who had cruised to 20, chopped a delivery into his stumps and, two balls later, Kevin Pietersen sent an ambitious drive straight back to the bowler who reacted sharply to take a one-handed catch. Paul Collingwood was the only wicket to fall in the afternoon session, trapped lbw by Morkel for 19. South Africa are 1-0 down in the four-match series having lost by an innings in the second test in Durban last week. — Reuters

Holyfield title boutin Uganda delayed KAMPALA: Evander Holyfield’s WBF heavyweight title bout against South African Francois Botha in Uganda has been postponed from January to late February to give the boxers and organizers more time to prepare, the fight’s promoter said yesterday. Pro Box Promotions manager Eddie Bazira said the fight will now be held Feb 20 instead of the originally scheduled Jan. 16 date. “We have realized that we need more time to publicize the event regionally and worldwide and also to give the fighters ample time to prepare themselves,” Bazira said. “I assure the world that the fight will take

place.” The aging American fighter was also scheduled to fight Ethiopian-American boxer Sammy Retta in September in Ethiopia’s capital but promoters have

Boxing postponed the fight several times and its venue is still undecided. Organizers for the fight at Kampala’s Nambole Stadium have predicted a crowd of 80,000 fans and the potential of a big pay-per-view payout for the cash-strapped Holyfield, a former four-time world champion who has won only five of his last 12 contests.

Holyfield (42-10 with 2 draws) has not fought since losing a points decision to Nikolai Valuev a year ago. The 47-year-old American, a former world cruiserweight and heavyweight champion, believes a victory could give him a shot at a more prestigious title. Holyfield’s last two fights were losses to Sultan Ibragimov and then to Valuev, a majority decision he disputed. Since then, Ibragimov has retired and Valuev lost his WBA title to Britain’s David Haye. Botha (47-4 with 3 draws) retained his WBF title by drawing with Pedro Carrion of Cuba in Germany in October. — AP

Kuwait hosts 9th Arab shooting competition By Abdellatif Sharaa KUWAIT: The Higher Organizing Committee of the 9th Arab Shooting Sport Committee has completed all preparations for the start of the tournament and opening ceremony. The committee is headed by the Chairman of the Kuwait Shooting Federation and the President of the Asian Shooting Confederation, Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah. The opening ceremony will be attended by Chairman of the Board and Managing Director of the Public Authority for Youth and Sports, Major General Faisal Al-Jazzaf, and President of the Arab Shooting Federation Duaij AlOtaibi. Also attending are several other leaders of various Arab shooting federations. Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah welcomed all delegations to Kuwait and expressed hope that the tournament will be appreciated by all participants. He explained that the organization used past experiences to come up with new ideas for this event. He added that past tournaments had very high standards and he is sure this year’s competition will continue the tradition. Meanwhile, trainer of the Omani pistol team, Mohammad Sabri said the team is ready for the competition. He added that his registered team was the same team that broke records during the West Asian tournament. Sabri said he expects the numbers by the Omani team to be high and anticipates claiming several medals. There will be strong competition between the shooters from Saudi Arabia, Tunis, Qatar, and Kuwait because they all have very

Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah high standards, he said. Oman’s rifle coach Hilal AlRashidi said that the competition will be strong because the skill level of the competitors are close. However, he said, he expects his team to win in the end. Al-Rashidi added that this tournament is one of the most important regional tournaments with its level of recognition and interest. Female Yemeni shooters Ahlam Al-Naqjjar and Fatima Al-Ghambasi said they hope to gain experience through direct contact with seasoned shooters in the pistol event. Al-

Najjar said she feels very prepared for the tournament and will work hard to produce promising results in honor of her country. She said she was impressed so far with the reception and organization by Kuwaiti officials. Protocol and opening ceremony official Amina Ismail said the opening ceremony will start at Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Sabah Olympic Shooting Range Complex. She added that the ceremony will include several entertaining presentations and that all are welcome.

CAPE TOWN: South Africa’s Morne Morkel (foreground) reacts after taking the wicket of Paul Collingwood (background) during their third test cricket match yesterday. — AP

Dilshan stars in Lankan victory DHAKA: Tillakaratne Dilshan cracked a solid century to power Sri Lanka to an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh in a triangular one-day series match here yesterday. The inform opener hit 104 for his sixth oneday hundred as Sri Lanka surpassed Bangladesh’s 260-7 with more than five overs to spare in the day-night match. Bangladesh were earlier wellserved by Mohammad Ashraful, who made an impressive 75 to help his side post a competitive total. Sri Lanka will now clash with India today. Each side will play four league matches before the top two make it to the final on January 13. Dilshan, who had smashed two centuries in India in a five-match series just before this tournament, put his side on course for an easy victory with a 148-run stand for the second wicket with skipper Kumar Sangakkara. The Sri Lankan captain was more aggressive than his partner, scoring a 73-ball 74 with 10 fours before being caught behind off debutant seamer Shafiul Islam. Bangladesh had a chance to dismiss Dilshan when the batsman was on 61 in a total of 156, but skipper Shakib Al Hasan failed to hold a return catch. Man-of-the-match Dilshan, batting with a runner because of a hamstring injury during the later part of his knock, completed his century when he drove spinner Ashraful for a four. Dilshan, who put on 59 for the third wicket with Thilan Samaraweera (41 not out), hit 12 fours in his 122-ball knock. Bangladesh were earlier struggling at 74-4 after being put in to bat when Ashraful added 58 for the fifth wicket with Mushfiqur Rahim (35) and 95 for the next with Mohammad Mahmudullah (45). Ashraful reached his 20th half-century in one-day internationals with an aggressive shot, pulling paceman Suranga Lakmal for a four. He hit six boundaries in his 94ball knock before being run out in the penultimate over. Bangladesh scored 92 in the last 10 overs, with Naeem Islam (22 not out) smashing 20 in the closing over bowled by Lakmal. The hosts made an impressive 65-run start through Tamim Iqbal (40) and Imrul Kayes (23) before losing four wickets in the space of nine runs, with Lakmal taking two. Iqbal, struck on the helmet off paceman Chanaka Welegedara, smashed the bowler for four boundaries in the same over. Lakmal put Bangladesh under pressure when he dismissed Raqibul Hasan for nought and Shakib for one in successive overs to reduce the hosts to 74-4. — AFP

Giant-killer Soderling eyes Aussie Open redemption CHENNAI: World number eight Robin Soderling said yesterday he looked forward to an improved showing at the Australian Open after making a heady start in the new season. The lanky Swede, who ended Rafael Nadal’s reign at the French Open in 2009, enhanced his reputation as a giant-killer by beating Roger Federer in the semi-final of an

exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week. Soderling lost to Nadal in the final on Saturday, but said the tournament put him in the right frame of mind for the season ahead. “Abu Dhabi was the best possible preparation I could have had,” he told reporters ahead of his maiden appearance in India for the 400,000-dollar Chennai Open which started yesterday.

England first innings A. Strauss c Boucher b Morkel 2 A. Cook c Prince b Morkel 65 J. Trott b Steyn 20 K. Pietersen c & bowled Steyn 0 P. Collingwood lbw b Morkel 19 I. Bell c Duminy b Kallis 48 M. Prior not out 52 S. Broad b Steyn 25 G. Swann not out 5 Extras (lb-2, w-2, nb-1) 5 Total (for seven wickets, 82 overs) 241 Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-36, 3-36, 4-73, 5-133, 6-174, 7-225. Still to bat: J. Anderson, G. Onions. Bowling: Morkel 19-3-57-3 (w-1), De Wet 16-3-36-0 (nb-1), Steyn 19-5-64-3, Kallis 14-2-27-1 (w-1), Harris 9-0-39-0, Duminy 5-0-16-0.

“I played well against some of the best players in the world there and that made me feel good about the season, especially the Australian Open.” Soderling, who was beaten by Marcos Baghdatis in the second round of last year’s Australian Open, was eyeing a longer stint when the season’s first Grand Slam starts in Melbourne on January 18. “I don’t

know why I have not done well at the Aussie Open, because I actually like Australia a lot,” the French Open finalist said. “There is no reason really. I enjoy playing on all surfaces and I think I have a good chance of doing well there, like any other player. “A lot will also depend on the draw because there are some tough players out there.” — AFP

DHAKA: Sri Lanka’s Tilakaratne Dilshan (right) plays a shot as Bangladesh wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim looks on during the first one-day international cricket match of the tri-series in Dhaka yesterday. — AP

Scoreboard DHAKA: Scoreboard at the end of the tri-series one-day match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka yesterday. 1), Dilshan 3-0-16-1 (w-1), Lakmal 9-1-63-2 (w-5), Randiv 10-051-2 (w-2), Kandamby 5-0-21-0, Pushpakumara 5-0-21-0.

Sri Lanka won by seven wickets. Bangladesh innings T. Iqbal c Lakmal b Dilshan I. Kayes c Samaraweera b Kulasekara M. Ashraful run out R. Hassan c Samaraweera b Lakmal S. Hasan c Welegedara b Lakmal M. Rahim lbw b Randiv Mahmudullah lbw b Randiv N. Islam not out A. Razzak not out Extras (w-15 lb-3) Total (seven wickets; 50 overs)

40 23 75 0 1 35 45 22 1 18 260

Did not bat: R. Hossain, S. Islam Fall of wickets: 1-65 2-71 3-71 4-74 5-132 6-227 7-238 Bowling: Kulasekara 10-1-46-1 (w-1), Welegedara 8-0-39-0 (w-

Sri Lanka innings U. Tharanga c Mushfiqur b Rubel T. Dilshan c Naeem b Mahmudullah K. Sangakkara c Mushfiqur b Shafiul T. Samaraweera not out C. Silva not out Extras (b-4 lb-9 w-9 nb-2) Total (three wickets, 44.5 overs)

14 104 74 41 4 24 261

Did not bat: T. Kandamby, M. Pushpakumara, S. Randiv, S. Lakmal, N. Kulasekera, C. Welegedara. Fall of wickets: 1-35 2-183 3-242 Bowling: Shafiul 5-0-39-1 (nb-1), Rubel 7-0-47-1 (w-2 nb-1), Shakib 10-0-43-0 (w-1), Razzak 10-0-37-0 (w-2), Mahmudullah 6-0-32-1, Naeem 5.5-0-39-0 (w-3), Ashraful 1-0-11-0 (w-1).


18

SPORTS

Tuesday, Januar 5, 2010

Federer counting on outstripping 2009 successes DOHA: Roger Federer answered his doubters, some of whom claim his record-breaking success will make it harder to achieve more in 2010, by suggesting he may enjoy an even better year than last. Federer, whose triumphs in the French Open and Wimbledon took him to a career total of 15 Grand Slam titles, reckons it is quite possible that he will win more titles on the new ATP World Tour which began yesterday than he did in

2009. “I think I can definitely, if my body allows me, win many more tournaments than I did last year,” the 28year-old Swiss legend claimed. “I really just had to focus on the big tournaments, the major events last year. Obviously those are the hardest ones to win, and it reflects in the tournaments I was able to win. I hardly played any smaller events. “But if I am healthy this year I can win many more tournaments. And

that could also get me more confident, more momentum, and even more things could also become possible - even though last year was fantastic.” Federer’s bullish attitude is not good news for Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - especially as Federer also claims to know why he has lasted the course better than his younger rivals so far have. Part of it has been due to his smooth

court coverage, which is less destructive to the body than the movement of the other three. But part has been due to important choices he has made, Federer claims. “It’s just important to listen to your signals. I think that is also one thing I did really well when I became number one in the world. I had all the things going for me and huge opportunities, to go and chase money or tournaments around the world I said

I’m not going to do it, you know,” he pointed out. “I said I am going to look at the big picture and it’s been paying off - so I’m very happy with my decisions over the years.” He concluded: “I would like to stay number one in the world, it’s an obvious goal, there are no secrets about that, because going from number two to number one was hard work, and not an easy thing to do, especially with Rafa playing so

Gutsy Henin makes a winning return Roddick starts new year with victory; Ivanovic advances BRISBANE: Justine Henin had barely finished off her first win since coming out of retirement when talk of her winning an eighth Grand Slam singles title began in earnest yesterday. Henin beat second-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia 7-5, 7-5 in the first round of the Brisbane International, her first official tour match since announcing her comeback in September. Petrova said Henin was a better, more aggressive player than she was when she quit the tour in May 2008 and had no doubt the 27-year-old Belgian could win another Grand Slam title. “That’s why she’s back. She’s hungry to win Wimbledon,” Petrova said before Henin attended her first post-match news conference in 20 months. “The changes she’s done in her game is actually leading toward that.” Henin spent a combined 117 weeks at No 1 in the rankings, winning seven majors, an Olympic gold medal and 41 WTA titles. “I feel better today than when I retired, that’s for sure,” Henin said. “Better emotionally, mentally, better with myself and that makes a big difference that I will enjoy being on the tour again.” Ana Ivanovic won her first match since September, while No. 4 Daniela Hantuchova and No 6 Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada also advanced. No 5 Alisa Kleybanova lost to fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Top-seeded Andy Roddick beat Australia’s Peter Luczak 76 (5), 6-2 in a night match, his first since withdrawing at Shanghai with a knee injury in October. Defending men’s champion Radek Stepanek won in straight sets, and Richard Gasquet beat Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in his first match since the Court of Arbitration for Sport last month rejected an appeal from the World Anti-Doping Agency against the Frenchman being cleared of wrongdoing after traces of cocaine were discovered in a March drug test. Henin’s victory yesterday followed exhibition wins last month, including one over

BRISBANE: Justine Henin of Belgium hits a return on the way to defeating Nadia Petrova of Russia in her first match since coming out of retirement, in the first round of the Brisbane International tennis tournament yesterday. — AFP Petrova in Cairo. “It’s a big step my first match. I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long,” Henin said. “Finally, I walked on the court. The crowd ... I was really touched. At the beginning, everything seemed very big: the stadium, all the people.

Wickmayer shines without ban threat AUCKLAND: Belgian Yanina Wickmayer celebrated her return to competitive tennis with a first-round win in the ASB Auckland Classic yesterday, her first match since being freed from a one-year ban. Having received a wild card to play in Auckland three weeks after the ban for breaching antidoping regulations was lifted, the tournament third-seed beat her unseeded German opponent Julia Goerges 6-3, 7-5. “I was really happy to play,” Wickmayer, 20, said. “It’s been a tough time for me, so it was really nice for me to be on court again and compete.” Wickmayer, who was initially suspended for failing to fulfil the “whereabouts” rule regarding drugs tests, made few unforced errors in the windy conditions and served with greater accuracy than Goerges. The world number 16 raced through the opening set and led 5-4 in the second before dropping serve for the first time in the match. She immediately broke back to claim vic-

tory. Wickmayer said her greater aggression at crucial moments was the key to the outcome. “She was playing really well, but I was the more aggressive on important points,” she said. “It was a tough one and I’m glad I pulled through.” Wickmayer will next face the winner of the match between Romanian Ioana Raluca Olaru and British qualifier Elena Baltacha. Top seed Flavia Pennetta also made it safely through the opening round, taking just 70 minutes to beat American veteran Jill Craybas 6-2, 6-4. The Italian world number 12 admitted to some nerves before her first outing of the new season and did not feel on top of her game. “I’m really happy because I didn’t think I played my best tennis but I was able to go through this match,” she said. She will now play the winner of the match between Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain and Romanian qualifier Edina Gallovits. — AFP

I’m not used to it anymore. “Everything went well. I have a lot to work on, but for a first match, a first tough round, I can be really positive today.” Henin said it only took three or four games to settle back into the rhythm.

“Mentally, I was able to play my best when the score was tight at the end of both sets,” she said. “I really enjoyed being out there - that’s what I’m going to remember today.” Being more aggressive on her serve has been a priority in recent

months for the diminutive Belgian, who knows she needs to earn more easy points against the bigger women on the tour to remain competitive. “I worked very hard and changed a few things in my game,” she said. Petrova said she’d watch with interest as Henin and Kim Clijsters, another Belgian who made a tour comeback last year shortly before winning the US Open, progressed in Brisbane. She said she’d tip Henin in the Belgian duel, saying Clijsters might have trouble keeping up in the rallies. Clijsters plays Australia’s Alicia Molik in the second round on Tuesday. Henin is playing in Brisbane this week and Sydney next week on wild card entries as she prepares for the Australian Open, her first major in two years. She will next play qualifier Sesil Karatantcheva of Kazakhstan, who beat Australia’s Casey Dellacqua 6-2, 0-6, 7-6 (1). Third-seeded Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion, won the last three games to finish off a 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 win over Australian Jelena Dokic 7-5, 1-6, 6-3. The 21-year-old Serb hasn’t played since a first-round exit at Tokyo in September, which followed a disappointing first-round loss at the US Open. After one match back and with a No 21-ranking, she’s aiming to return to the top 10 and play in the year-end championship. “Obviously there were nerves in the beginning, but I did a really good preparation and that gave me a lot of confidence,” she said. Roddick said his left knee felt fine and he was happy with his fitness heading into the Australian Open. “I by no means expected to come in after four months and breeze right into it,” he said. “First rounds are always a bit dicey. I was hitting it all right towards the end, so that’s a good thing.” In other men’s first-round results, Colombia’s Alejandro Falla beat seventh-seeded Jeremy Chardy of France 6-4, 64 and eighth-seeded Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil defeated Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. — AP

Russians win thriller against the Germans PERTH: Elena Dementieva’s service yips didn’t stop Russia edging past Germany 2-1 in their Hopman Cup Group B tie here yesterday. As has often been the case during her career, Dementieva struggled to hold serve and dropped her opening singles match of 2010 in disappointing fashion to youngster Sabine Lisicki. But Igor Andreev was able to square the tie by beating Philipp Kohlschreiber in the men’s singles. The Russians then claimed the match with a gripping 6-4, 7-6 (9/7) win over the Germans in a marathon deciding mixed doubles that lasted over two hours. Dementieva’s old service woes surfaced again in her first outing of the year with the promising Lisicki winning 6-4, 6-1 in a surprisingly one-sided encounter that lasted barely an hour. The 28-year-old world number five appeared to have made great strides with her serve over the past

year, but was a long way off the touch that saw her storm through her last Antipodean campaign. Then, she won successive tournaments in New Zealand and Sydney before reaching the semi-finals of last year’s Australian Open on the back of a 15-match winning streak. The shaky Dementieva’s serve was broken six times by Lisicki, and double faults from her racquet on the final two points of the match took her tally to a horrible 10 in just nine service games. The normally precise Dementieva’s forehand also misfired, with a confident Lisicki hitting 13 forehand winners to just three. Dementieva admitted the quality of Lisicki’s play exposed her own lack of match practice. “I wish I had more preparation for a match like that,” the Russian said. It was a similar story in the mixed doubles, with more double faults from Dementieva, who was only

able to hold serve twice from five attempts. However, her groundstrokes improved noticeably in the mixed and heavy hitting from she and Andreev, who by contrast was always able to serve himself out of any trouble, enabled them to scramble the win. While it left Dementieva with something to ponder, the women’s singles match was a tremendous start to the new season for the 20-year-old Lisicki, who was troubled by ankle and shoulder injuries in the second half of 2009, but still ended the year ranked 22nd, after climbing up from 54. “I’ve been working really hard in the off-season and I am really happy to win that match,” she said. “I want to get higher in the rankings, I did a great jump last year and I am looking forward to this year.” Andreev leveled the tie by continuing his dominance of Kohlschreiber, with his eighth win in as many meetings with the German, 6-3, 67 (2/7), 6-3. — AFP

well, and with other guys around. “That was a major accomplishment for me and I would like to stay there as long as possible. And try to finish 2010 as world number one.” Federer begins today against Christophe Rochus, the world number 86 from Belgium, and should go on to have a semi-final with Nikolay Davydenko, the world number six from Russia who caused a big surprise by wining the ATP World Tour

Masters, the season-end title, in London. If he does it will offer a chance of revenge for Federer, whose last match of 2009 was to lose for the first time in 13 matches to Davydenko, six weeks ago in the semi-finals. Federer should play the final on Saturday against Nadal, who starts against Simone Bolelli, the world number 93 from Italy, and may meet Mikhail Youzhny, another top 20 Russian, in the semis. — AFP

Gasquet focusing on court, not in the court BRISBANE: Richard Gasquet exhaled deeply and stuck out his tongue, relieved that he could finally start scrutinizing a victory on court rather than one in court on a doping charge. The 23-year-old Frenchman had a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen yesterday in the first round of the Brisbane International, his first tournament since a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling took the uncertainty out of his immediate career. He said the victory was important to help clear his mind after months of turmoil which started when a doping test last March showed traces of cocaine. “It is just good for me to play with nothing in the head,” said Gasquet, who was a semifinalist here last year. “It was most important I could play relaxed.” The CAS last month rejected an appeal from the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Tennis Federation against an earlier decision to clear Gasquet of a doping violation. A panel of three lawyers from the Lausanne-based CAS accepted Gasquet’s claim that he inadvertently consumed cocaine by kissing a woman in a Miami club hours after withdrawing injured from a tournament.

The judges decided that the quantity of the drug in Gasquet’s urine test was “minute” and that he was “clearly not a regular cocaine user.” “The possibility of contamination became the most plausible explanation,” CAS said. Asked if the experience had made him a different player, Gasquet shrugged his shoulders three times, took another deep breath, and said it hadn’t changed his style, but he’d learned a lot from it. “I had another story, for sure. But I’m not a different player. I just lose six months. For sure I need to have a rhythm. “I spent a lot of time with a big story for the head. That’s why it’s not easy to come back, that’s why I’m happy to win.” Gasquet missed the French Open and Wimbledon while suspended, and in his first main-draw match after returning lost in straight sets to top-seeded Rafael Nadal at the US Open. He finished outside the top 50 last season for the first time in five years but now is aiming to add to his five career titles and get back closer to his careerhigh No 7 ranking. “I’ve won tournaments in my life, so why not. I want to play relaxed match after match to improve my level ... and to come back and play my best game.”— AP

Cilic makes confident start in Chennai’s title defense CHENNAI: Croatian second seed Marin Cilic made a confident start to his Chennai Open title defense when he brushed aside Russian Igor Kunitsyn 6-2 6-4 yesterday. World number 14 Cilic needed an hour and 13 minutes to quell his 104thranked opponent. “I think I played a pretty good match. Most important my service was very good,” Cilic told reporters. Big-serving Cilic breezed through the opening set after breaking Kunitsyn in the third and fifth games and quickly led 3-1 in the second.

“I think he didn’t have any breakpoints in the match which shows that I was top of him, especially in the first set,” said Cilic, who beat Indian Somdev Devvarman in last year’s final. “In the second I got an early break and I was able to control from there.” Serbian fourth seed Janko Tipsarevic opened his campaign against former world number one Carlos Moya later yesterday. Swedish world number eight Robin Soderling, the top seed, plays American Robby Ginepri in the first round today. — Reuters

PERTH: Great Britain’s Andy Murray plays in a match against Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev during their men’s singles match at the Hopman Cup tennis tournament yesterday. — AP

Murray levels Hopman Cup match for Britain PERTH: Britain’s Andy Murray beat Andrey Golubev 6-2, 6-2 yesterday to level the Hopman Cup match with Kazakhstan at 1-1. Earlier, Yaroslava Shvedova beat 15-year-old Laura Robson 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 to give Kazakhstan a 1-0 lead. Murray, who won when Golubev double-faulted on match point, and Robson were to play Shvedova and Golubev in mixed doubles to decide the opening match for both teams at the eight-country tournament being played indoors at the Burswood Dome. Murray and Robson were the underdogs in the deciding match - Murray has only played two career mixed doubles matches. The Kazakhstan pair played together in clinching the Asian Hopman Cup to qualify them for Perth. “I thought I played really well, it felt good,” Murray said of his singles win. “I thought I was picking the ball up really well, which you can’t always say in the first match of a new year,” In the earlier match, Igor Andreev and Elena Dementieva won the deciding mixed doubles to give Russia a 2-1 victory over Germany. Andreev and Dementieva beat Germany’s

Sabine Lisicki and Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 7-6 (7). Andreev beat Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3 to level the match after Lisicki beat Dementieva 6-4, 6-1 to give Germany an early 1-0 lead. It was Andreev’s eighth win in a row over Kohlschreiber. “Maybe it’s the kind of style of his play that is more comfortable for me,” Andreev said of his dominance over Kohlschreiber. “Hopefully it continues like this with Philipp. It was a really tough match for both of us. We played some good points and I’m really happy to start the year with victory.” Dementieva was outplayed by Lisicki and wasn’t helped by her poor serving with 10 double faults. “I’ve been working really hard in the last few weeks in the offseason so I’m really happy to win that match,” Lisicki said. “I want to get higher in the rankings. I did a great job last year so I’m looking forward to this year.” Spain and Romania share top place in Group A after winning their opening matches against the United States and Australia respectively on the weekend. The top teams in each group play in Saturday’s final. Today, the US takes on Australia and Spain plays Romania. — AP


SPORTS

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

19

76ers hold off undermanned Nuggets NBA

OTTAWA: Mike Richards #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers gets knocked down by Alex Kovalev #27 of the Ottawa Senators in a game at Scotiabank Place on January 3, 2010. — AFP

Senators down Flyers NHL OTTAWA: Alex Kovalev broke a lengthy scoring slump with a career-best four goals and an assist to lift the Ottawa Senators to a 7-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL on Sunday. The Senators jumped out to a 41 lead before squandering it, then ran away with three third-period goals. Kovalev scored his first goals in 11 games, dating to a hat trick on Dec 12 against Carolina. It was his 12th NHL hat trick. His first goal came against Flyers starter Michael Leighton, who was replaced by Brian Boucher after giving up two goals on

Kovalev breaks a lengthy scoring slump five shots. Ottawa’s Pascal Leclaire allowed three goals on 10 shots before being relieved by Brian Elliott. Chris Kelly had his first career two-goal game for the Senators, who won for the fourth time in five games. Jarkko Ruutu added a goal and an assist, and Ryan Shannon and Anton Volchenkov had three assists each. Arron Asham had a goal and assist, and Ian Laperriere Darroll Powe and Mike Richards scored on the power play for the Flyers. Sabres 1, Canadiens 0 At Montreal, Ryan Miller posted his fifth shutout of

the season and Tim Connolly scored the lone goal as Buffalo beat Montreal to extend its winning streak to four. Miller turned aside 30 shots including Mike Cammalleri’s one-timer with just over 12 seconds remaining - for his second straight win since being chosen for the US Olympic team on Friday. It was his 17th shutout in 299 NHL regular-season games. Connolly scored his fourth goal in four games in the second period for Buffalo, which has won 14 of 20 (144-2) since Nov 27. Carey Price made 29 saves for Montreal.

NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Sunday. Ottawa 7, Philadelphia 4; Buffalo 1, Montreal 0; Florida 6, Pittsburgh 2; Chicago 5, Anaheim 2. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF New Jersey 29 10 1 118 Pittsburgh 26 16 1 133 NY Rangers 19 17 5 108 NY Island 17 18 8 107 Philadelphia 19 19 3 117

GA 89 116 115 134 118

PTS 59 53 43 42 41

Buffalo Boston Ottawa Montreal Toronto

Northeast Division 26 11 4 112 21 12 7 105 22 16 4 122 21 20 3 114 14 19 9 115

93 95 125 120 145

56 49 48 45 37

Washington Atlanta Tampa Bay Florida Carolina

Southeast Division 24 11 6 145 18 17 6 132 16 15 10 103 17 18 7 123 11 23 7 102

116 135 121 135 146

54 42 42 41 29

Western Conference Central Division Chicago 29 10 3 137 Nashville 25 14 3 121 Detroit 21 14 6 108 St. Louis 17 18 6 108 Columbus 15 19 9 112

90 119 104 121 143

61 53 48 40 39

Northwest Division 24 13 6 128 24 12 5 114 25 16 1 132 20 19 3 111 16 22 4 115

124 98 103 124 138

54 53 51 43 36

Pacific Division 8 7 142 14 4 111 15 3 124 12 11 122 19 7 115

106 99 120 127 137

61 54 51 47 39

Colorado Calgary Vancouver Minnesota Edmonton

San Jose 27 Phoenix 25 Los Angeles24 Dallas 18 Anaheim 16

Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

Panthers 6, Penguins 2 At Sunrise, Florida, Radek Dvorak scored three goals for his third NHL hat trick and Tomas Vokoun stopped 46 shots as Florida sent Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh to its seasonhigh, fifth straight loss. Rostislav Olesz, Jordan Leopold and Steven Reinprecht also scored for the Panthers, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit and snapped a three-game losing streak. Nathan Horton, Michael Frolik and Gregory Campbell each had two assists. Sidney Crosby and Tyler Kennedy scored firstperiod goals, and MarcAndre Fleury made 29 saves for Pittsburgh, which has lost six of seven. Blackhawks 5, Ducks 2 At Chicago, Marian Hossa scored twice and Antti Niemi stopped 22 shots before losing his shutout bid in the third period of Chicago’s victory over Anaheim. Kris Versteeg, Troy Brouwer and Jonathan Toews also scored for the Blackhawks, who won their third straight. With 61 points, Chicago is tied atop the NHL standings with the San Jose Sharks. The Blackhawks have won 12 of 15. Niemi was seeking his fifth shutout in 11 starts this season, but Petteri Nokelainen scored the first of his two goals with 3:21 left. He connected again 1:19 later. — AP

Vonn’s injury is still playing on her mind

LIENZ: Defending overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn of the US reacts with her arm in a sling after crashing in the first run of an alpine ski, Women’s World Cup giant Slalom, in this file photo. — AP

ZAGREB: With six weeks until her first race at the Vancouver Olympics, Lindsey Vonn is trying to stop worrying about her bruised left arm. The reigning overall World Cup champion returned to the US team’s Austrian base in ‘Zell am See’ yesterday to get some rest ahead of the speed races in Haus im Ennstal this week. Skiing with her arm in a splint, the 25-year-old American was hampered by pain and couldn’t fully attack in Sunday’s World Cup slalom in Zagreb. She was 1.71 seconds off the leading time after the first run, and then went out in the second after missing a gate. A week after injuring her lower left arm in a crash in a giant slalom at Lienz, Austria, Vonn is still unable to completely focus on her skiing. “I hope my arm gets better for Vancouver,” she said. “I feel positive despite Zagreb. My goal is to get my arm healthy and to get my confidence back, and put my arm out of my mind.” Last season, Vonn had to race with her right hand taped to the pole after injuring her thumb on a champagne bottle at the world championships in February. There is, however, one main difference. “It’s the whole arm that hurts, not just the thumb like last year,” Vonn said. “That makes it harder to put it out of my mind. But I accept it.” US team technical head coach Trevor Wagner said Vonn was “still a little tentative with her arm, but it’s healing up nicely and she’ll get another good break here before going into speed races.” Vonn prefers the speed races to the technical events and said she was “looking forward to Haus,” where she could regain the lead in the overall standings. She has been overtaken by main rival and friend Maria Riesch, who finished fourth in Zagreb. Riesch has 599 points, with Vonn five behind. “It would have been nice for the overall if she’d scored a few points,” Wagner said. “But she’s racking them up in speed races, so she’ll be fine.” The event in Haus im Ennstal consists of downhills on Friday and Saturday - the first being a replacement for the race canceled in Val d’Isere, France, last month - and a super-G on Sunday. The first downhill training is scheduled for Wednesday. — AP

DENVER: Allen Iverson scored 17 points and Elton Brand added 16 as the Philadelphia 76ers held off a furious rally to beat the injury-riddled Denver Nuggets 108-105 on Sunday. Nene had 24 points and 15 rebounds, and Ty Lawson scored 23 points for the Nuggets, who have lost six of eight. The Nuggets played their second game in as many nights without their top two scorers. Carmelo Anthony (right knee contusion) and Chauncey Billups (left groin strain) sat out the game. It was Iverson’s second game in Denver since he was traded last year. Lakers 131, Mavericks 96 At Los Angeles, Jordan Farmar led seven players in double figures with 24 points as the Los Angeles Lakers trounced the Western Conference’s second-best team in a 131-96 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night. Andrew Bynum had 19 points on 8 of 8 shooting, five rebounds and four assists, Lamar Odom had 15 points and 15 rebounds, Kobe Bryant 15 points and eight assists, Sasha Vujacic and Shannon Brown 11 each and Derek Fisher 10 for the defending NBA champions, who improved to a league-best 27-6. Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and eight rebounds for the Mavs, who never led and shot poorly the entire game. Jason Kidd was scoreless in 27 minutes. Bobcats 91, Cavaliers 88 At Cleveland, Ronald Murray hit a 3-pointer with 56 seconds left to put Charlotte up for good as the Bobcats beat Cleveland. Stephen Jackson scored 22 points, Gerald Wallace added 19 and Raymond Felton had 17 for Charlotte, which won for the first time at Quicken Loans Arena after 10 straight losses. LeBron James scored 29 points for the Cavs and Mo Williams added 27. Raptors 91, Spurs 86 At Toronto, Chris Bosh scored 22 points to become the leading scorer in Raptors histo-

Murray 3-pointer helps Bobcats halt Cavs’ run

LOS ANGELES: Dallas Mavericks’ Drew Gooden (right) fouls Los Angeles Lakers’ Lamar Odom (left) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan 3, 2010. The Lakers won 131-96. — AP

NBA results/standings WASHINGTON: Results and standings after Sunday’s National Basketball Association games: Charlotte 91, Cleveland 88; New York 132, Indiana 89; Toronto 91, San Antonio 86; Philadelphia 108, Denver 105; LA Lakers 131, Dallas 96. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT Boston 24 8 .750 Toronto 17 18 .486 NY Knicks 14 20 .412 Philadelphia 10 23 .303 New Jersey 3 30 .091 Cleveland Chicago Milwaukee Detroit Indiana Orlando Atlanta Miami Charlotte Washington

Central Division 27 9 14 17 13 18 11 21 10 23

.750 .452 .419 .344 .303

Southeast Division 24 9 .727 21 11 .656 16 15 .516 14 18 .438 10 21 .323

ry and help Toronto win its sixth in seven games. Bosh, who also had 15 rebounds, made a jumper from the top of the key with 1:39 left in the third quarter to eclipse Vince Carter’s mark of 9,420 points. Bosh now has 9,428 points. Tony Parker scored 23 points and Tim Duncan had 21 points and 12 rebounds for

GB 8.5 11 14.5 21.5

Western Conference Northwest Division Portland 22 13 .629 Denver 21 13 .618 Oklahoma City 18 15 .545 Utah 18 15 .545 Minnesota 7 28 .200

10.5 11.5 14 15.5

LA Lakers Phoenix LA Clippers Sacramento Golden State

2.5 7 9.5 13

Dallas San Antonio Houston Memphis New Orleans

Pacific Division 27 6 21 13 14 18 14 19 9 23

.818 .618 .438 .424 .281

Southwest Division 23 11 .676 20 12 .625 20 14 .588 16 16 .500 15 16 .484

the Spurs, whose win streak was snapped at five games. Knicks 132, Pacers 89 At New York, Wilson Chandler scored 23 points, and David Lee added 22 points and 16 rebounds, as New York flirted with the biggest victory in franchise history. Danilo

0.5 3 3 15

6.5 12.5 13 17.5

2 3 6 6.5

Gallinari finished with 20 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks, who led by 48 points - the largest lead in the NBA this season - and won for the 10th time in 15 games. The Knicks’ largest victory is by 48 points, done three times. Luther Head scored 18 points for the Pacers. — AP


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Toothless Real fail to pounce on Barca slip Real held at Osasuna, miss chance to go top MADRID: Real Madrid spurned the chance to replace Barcelona at the top of the Spanish first division on Sunday as they fired blanks in a frustrating 0-0 draw at Osasuna. Barcelona had dropped two points as they lost their 100-percent home record with a 1-1 draw against Villarreal on Saturday, but Real could not capitalize and stay two points behind the champions in second. It was only the second time Real had failed to score in the league this season - the other occasions being a 1-0 loss at Barcelona and a 0-0 draw with Sporting Gijon. “We did everything we could but just couldn’t score,” said Brazilian Marcelo. “Osasuna’s back-line was well-organized and made it very difficult for us to get through. “We planned to be up at the top with Barcelona but it wasn’t possible. Now we have to rest and think about the next game.” Real coach Manuel Pellegrini was without Kaka as the Brazilian recovered from a groin injury so Rafael van der Vaart coninued as the attacking midfielder behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain. With Pepe out injured for the season, Argentine Ezequiel Garay joined Raul Albiol in central defense although they were largely untroubled until the 41st minute when a Javad Nekounam header stirred goalkeeper Iker Casillas into action. Higuain, with five goals in his last three matches, had Real’s best chance on 65 minutes but goalkeeper Ricardo Lopez denied the Argentine. Real replaced Higuain with captain Raul in a last throw of the dice but it was to no avail. While Barcelona have a last 16 Kings Cup match against Sevilla today, Real can rest up as they have already been eliminated by minnows Alcorcon. Osasuna have now held champions Barcelona (1-1) and Real at their Reyno de Navarra stadium and beat them both last season in the final two games of the campaign. Real Mallorca are Real’s next opponents and they moved above Sevilla into fourth place with a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao as they maintained their perfect home record with an eighth successive home victory. “We are fourth but we face Real Madrid on their patch in the next league game and it will be difficult to get points there,” said Mallorca coach Gregorio Manzano. Julio Alvarez scored the Mallorca 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 and turn their attention to the Kings Cup as they travel to Rayo Vallecano tomorrow. New Almeria coach Juanma Lillo enjoyed a winning start as his side clinched a crucial 1-0 win over relegation rivals Xerez. Substitute Jose Ortiz Bernal netted an 89th minute winner just three minutes after coming on to gift Lillo a debut win after taking over from axed Mexican Hugo Sanchez. “I am not bothered about the fact that it was my debut but more that we won the match. That was the most important thing,” said Lillo. “The three points help us make a good leap in the table and see things a bit differently.” Almeria move three points above the relegation zone while basement boys Xerez slide towards relegation lying eight points from safety with just one win all season. Struggling Malaga were left frustrated as they twice surrendered the lead to be pegged back 2-2 at Sporting Gijon and stay third from bottom. At the other end of the table Deportivo La Coruna missed the chance to move level on points with fourth-placed Sevilla, who lost 2-1 at Atletico Madrid on Saturday, with a 0-0 draw at Real Zaragoza. — AFP

LOS ANGELES: Results and standings in the National Football League on Sunday, last day of the regular season:Buffalo 30 Indianapolis 7; Houston 34 New England 27; Minnesota 44 NY Giants 7; Pittsburgh 30 Miami 24; Chicago 37 Detroit 23; Carolina 23 New Orleans 10; Cleveland 23 Jacksonville 17; Atlanta 20 Tampa Bay 10; San Francisco 28 St Louis 6; Kansas City 44 Denver 24; Dallas 24 Philadelphia 0; San Diego 23 Washington 20; Baltimore 21 Oakland 13; Tennessee 17 Seattle 13; Green Bay 33 Arizona 7; NY Jets 37 Cincinnati 0. American Football Conference AFC East W L T PF PA PCT y-New England 10 6 0 427 285 .625 z-NY Jets 9 7 0 348 236 .563 Miami 7 9 0 360 390 .438 Buffalo 6 10 0 258 326 .375 AFC North y-Cincinnati 10 6 0 305 291 .625 z-Baltimore 9 7 0 391 261 .563 Pittsburgh 9 7 0 368 324 .563 Cleveland 5 11 0 245 375 .313 AFC South *-Indianapolis 14 2 0 416 307 .875 Houston 9 7 0 388 333 .563 Tennessee 8 8 0 354 402 .500 Jacksonville 7 9 0 290 380 .438 AFC West y-San Diego 13 3 0 454 320 .813 Denver 8 8 0 326 324 .500 Oakland 5 11 0 197 379 .313 Kansas City 4 12 0 294 424 .250

National Football Conference NFC EAST y-Dallas 11 5 0 361 z-Philadelphia 11 5 0 429 NY Giants 8 8 0 402 Washington 4 12 0 266 NFC North y-Minnesota 12 4 0 470 z-Green Bay 11 5 0 461 Chicago 7 9 0 327 Detroit 2 14 0 262 NFC South *-New Orleans 13 3 0 510 Atlanta 9 7 0 363 Carolina 8 8 0 315 Tampa Bay 3 13 0 244 NFC West y-Arizona 10 6 0 375 San Francisco 8 8 0 330 Seattle 5 11 0 280 St. Louis 1 15 0 175 • - clinched division and homefield clinched division z - clinched wildcard.

250 337 427 336

.688 .688 .500 .250

312 297 375 494

.750 .688 .438 .125

341 325 308 400

.813 .563 .500 .188

325 .625 281 .500 390 .313 436 .063 advantage y -

Jets earn playoff spot

PAMPLONA: Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema from France (right) duels for the ball with Osasuna’s Cesar Azpilicueta during their Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Reyno de Navarra stadium in Pamplona, northern Spain on Sunday Jan 3, 2010.— AP

Wounded Tiger lies low KAPALUA: For the second year in a row, Tiger Woods will be a notable absentee from the early part of the PGA Tour schedule but this time it is entirely due to self-inflicted wounds by the world number one. Af ter becoming engulfed in a media storm following a bizarre early morning car crash that took place outside his Florida home on Nov 27, Woods finally admitted he had cheated on his Swedish wife, Elin Nordegren. Woods, the greatest player of his generation and arguably of all time, announced last month he would be taking an indefinite break from golf to try to repair the damage he had done to his private life. The world’s best known and most marketable athlete had previously carved out a squeakyclean image of excellence, which has since been sullied by allegations of multiple extra-marital affairs. A 14times major winner, Woods has given no hint as to when he might return to competition. He usually plays his first event on the US PGA Tour at Torrey Pines in late January but that now seems highly unlikely. Publicly embarrassed and exposed by the tawdry revelations about his double life, Woods is almost certain to lie low for as long as possible. He could return to the circuit for the March 11-14 WGC-CA Championship in Miami in Florida but many pundits are banking on him delaying his comeback until the Masters in April. Winning majors has been the driving force in his career and Woods has long targeted the record 18 piled up by his

NFL results/standings

‘No timetable for return’

In this image released by Vanity Fair, golfer Tiger Woods is shown on the cover of the February 2010 issue of “Vanity Fair” magazine which goes on sale nationwide on Jan 12. — AP

childhood idol Jack Nicklaus. The Masters, the first of the year’s four majors, takes place at Augusta National from April 8-11 and Woods would hate to miss out on an event where he is a four-times champion. FALL FROM GRACE Only Woods can know when he will be ready to face the golfing public and the media following his stunning fall from grace, with sponsors and organizers having to count the days before his return. A year ago, Woods was still recovering from reconstructive knee surger y and his eagerly awaited retur n to competition came a full eight tournaments into the 2009 season, ending an eight-month hiatus. Television ratings for tournaments where Woods usually plays slumped by almost 50 percent, causing advertising rates to fall, and there was also a sharp decline in on-course attendances. L ast month, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem tried to play down fears the sport would suffer from Woods’s absence. “I’m not saying that I think everything is fine,” Finchem said during a conference call. “We’re in a down economy, it’s harder to sell and having the number one player in our sport not play is not a positive thing. It does hurt television ratings.” However, Finchem added: “If Tiger is out for a couple of months or eight months or a year, we’re going to have a successful year. “It won’t be at the same levels without our number one player ... but I think the doom and gloom needs to go away.” — Reuters

EAST RUTHERFORD: Rex Ryan’s top-ranked defense shut down the Cincinnati Bengals as the New York Jets clinched their first playoff berth in three seasons with a 37-0 victory at a frigid Meadowlands on Sunday. Needing a win to keep their season alive, the Jets (9-7) set up a rematch against the Bengals (10-6) in the first round of the playoffs Saturday at Cincinnati. Rookie Mark Sanchez was 8 for 16 for 63 yards with no turnovers before being replaced by Kellen Clemens late in the fourth quarter with the game in hand. Thomas Jones ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns and do-it-all Brad Smith had 92 yards rushing, including a 32-yard TD run, as the Jets set a record for rushing yards in a season. Texans 34, Patriots 27 At Houston, rookie Arian Foster scored two touchdowns and Bernard Pollard recovered a fumble for a touchdown as the Texans briefly kept their slim playoff hopes alive before the Jets snatched it away. The Texans, who finished with a winning record for the first time in team history, needed the Jets to lose against Cincinnati in Sunday’s night game to earn the team’s first postseason appearance in its eight-year history. Tom Brady played most of the game despite New England (10-6) having already clinched its playoff spot. Cowboys 24, Eagles 0 At Arlington, Texas, Tony Romo threw a pair of early touchdown passes and the defense took over from there, sending Dallas to the National Football Conference East title. The Cowboys (11-5) earned their third straight impressive win, and the shutout also made for a major milestone in the club’s storied history: First-ever backto-back blankings. Only twice in the previous 49 seasons had they even had two shutouts the entire season. Donovan McNabb was 20 of 36 for 223 yards, and Philadelphia (11-5) finished with 228 total yards. Ravens 21, Raiders 13 At Oakland, California, Willis McGahee ran for a career-high 167 yards and three touchdowns as the Ravens clinched an American Football Conference wildcard berth. The Ravens (9-7) went into the regular season finale knowing a win would put them in the playoffs and a loss would send them home for an early winter. The Raiders (5-11) provided a stiff challenge for much of the game but were unable to pull it out in the end behind former starter JaMarcus Russell. Titans 17, Seahawks 13 At Seattle, Chris Johnson became the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, then scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run with 4:33 remaining. Johnson ran 36 times - three short of Earl Campbell’s franchise record set in 1981 against Seattle for 134 yards and both touchdowns for the Titans (8-8). Chiefs 44, Broncos 24 At Denver, Jamaal Charles ran for a Chiefs-record 259 yards on 25 carries and linebacker Derrick Johnson returned two Kyle Orton interceptions for touchdowns in Kansas City’s first victory in nine tries at Invesco Field. Steelers 30, Dolphins 24 At Miami, a swarming Steelers defense sent two Miami quarterbacks to the sideline, including Pat White with a scary head injury, but the reigning Super Bowl champions were eliminated from the playoff chase. The Dolphins (7-9), who won the AFC East in 2008, were also eliminated with 2 minutes left in the game when Houston beat New England. Pittsburgh (9-7) needed losses or ties by the Ravens, Broncos and Jets to reach the playoffs, but they were eliminated when Baltimore beat Oakland.

Vikings 44, Giants 7 At Minneapolis, Brett Favre passed for 316 yards and four touchdowns without a turnover in less than three quarters against the Giants. The NFC North champion Vikings (12-4) cruised into the locker room to start watching the Philadelphia-Dallas game with an eye on their seed for the NFC playoffs. With the Eagles’ loss, the Vikings earned the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a firstround bye. Bills 30, Colts 7 At Orchard Park, New York, Despite near whiteout conditions in the first half, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes for Buffalo (6-10), including a 41yarder to Terrell Owens. Fred Jackson had 212 yards rushing to reach 1,000 for the first time in his career. Packers 33, Cardinals 7 At Glendale, Arizona, Aaron Rodgers, playing mostly against the Arizona reserves, shredded the Cardinals in three quarters, completing 21 of 26 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown. Charles Woodson returned an interception 45 yards for another score as the Packers (11-5) won for the seventh time in eight games. It was the most onesided home loss for Arizona in coach Ken Whisenhunt’s three seasons with the Cardinals. Panthers 23, Saints 10 At Charlotte, North Carolina, Jonathan Stewart rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown, and the Panthers (8-8) won their third straight. Stewart surpassed Pro Bowl pick DeAngelo Williams for the team rushing lead as they became the first teammates since the AFL-NFL merger to each rush for over 1,100 yards. Williams (1,117 yards) sat out his second straight game because of a sprained ankle, while Stewart (1,133 yards) left in the third quarter after aggravating his chronic left Achilles’ tendon injury. Chargers 23, Redskins 20 At San Diego, California, Billy Volek threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to fullback Mike Tolbert with 35 seconds left to rally the playoff-bound Chargers to their 11th straight victory. Browns 23, Jaguars 17 At Cleveland, Jerome Harrison rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown, and Josh Cribbs ran for a TD, giving Cleveland its first four-game winning streak since 1994. That pushed coach Eric Mangini into an uncertain offseason with momentum to fight for his job. Falcons 20, Buccaneers 10 At Tampa Florida, Matt Ryan threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Falcons finish with consecutive winning records for the first time in franchise history. Standing in for injured leading rusher Michael Turner, Jason Snelling ran for 147 yards on 25 carries for Atlanta (9-7). 49ers 28, Rams 6 At St. Louis, Vernon Davis equaled the NFL record for touchdown receptions for a tight end with his 13th of the season, helping the 49ers finish strong and the lowly Rams clinch the No 1 overall draft pick. Frank Gore added 107 yards rushing on 23 carries and two late TDs for the 49ers (8-8), who pulled away after a desultory first half in which they mustered only 52 yards and trailed 3-0. Bears 37, Lions 23 At Detroit, Jay Cutler matched a career high for a second straight week with four touchdown passes. The Bears (7-9) won their final two games and three of the first four. The problem: Chicago lost eight of 10 games between its strong start and finish. — AP

SAN DIEGO: San Diego Chargers fullback Mike Tolbert (35) goes over the top of Washington Redskins’ Andre Carter (99) on a run during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Jan 3, 2010. — AP


Incredible offer on Tahoe from Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons

22

Qatar Airways rounds off busy year with delivery of 4 aircraft

23

JAL shares soar on credit lifeline

25

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

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Dubai’s Emaar looks abroad for growth DUBAI: Dubai’s Emaar Properties will focus its efforts abroad and on non-property sectors such as hospitality and hospitals, the company said yesterday, as a real estate crunch hits its home market. On the day it opens the world’s tallest building, Burj Dubai, Emaar said it was not considering a merger with unlisted rival developer Nakheel, which is at the centre of a $26 billion debt storm involving its government-held parent company Dubai World. Emaar said the $1.5 billion tower, which is over 200 storeys high, would provide a 10 percent yield for the firm and that the opening would boost earnings for most of 2010. But investors took little heart from the outlook and sold Emaar shares down 2.2 percent, pulling Dubai’s broader index down 2.1 percent. Emaar cancelled a merger in December with the property units of Dubai Holding in a dramatic strategic reversal following the financial implosion of companies tied to government-owned Dubai World, one of the emirate’s largest conglomerates. Dubai Holding is owned by the ruler of the Gulf emirate. “All the studies which we made, we couldn’t find a way ahead and it wasn’t the right time for a merger at this time,” said Issam Galadari, chief executive of Emaar Dubai, at a media briefing. Chairman Mohamed Alabbar told reporters there were no plans to merge with Nakheel, the largest property company in the Middle East, which is struggling under a collapse in earnings and a debt pile worth around $20 billion. The Emaar executives put a brave face on the launch of Burj Dubai, saying it was a positive move forward as the emirate’s property prices stabilized, despite wider expectations for continued stress in Dubai’s real estate sector. “You have to ask why we are building all this? To bring quality of life and a smile to people and I think we should continue to do that,” Alabbar told journalists. “Dubai is where our life is. We have beautiful long term plans for development in Dubai,” he said. Emaar is the Arab world’s largest listed developer. The tower’s height, a closely guarded secret, but known to exceed 800 meters (2,625 feet), was to be announced yesterday night as Dubai’s ruler officially inaugurates the opening. The tower’s opening has been delayed twice and, unlike other projects, survived cancellations after the crisis hit the onebooming city. “We build for years to come. Crises come and go,” said Alabbar. “the world has gone through two years of difficult times. We must have hope and optimism.” — Reuters

Emaar chairman rules out merger with debt-laden Nakheel

TOKYO: Atsushi Saito, president and CEO of the Tokyo Stock Exchange Group Inc (center), is flanked by kimono-clad women on the floor of the exchange during a ceremony to kick off this year’s first trading of stocks yesterday. Japan’s Nikkei stock average shot up 118.74 points to 10,665.18 an hour after the opening bell. — AP

Global stocks gain as New Year hope soars LONDON: Global equities began the new decade in a brisk, optimistic spirit yesterday on prospects for recovery in contrast to near despair and deep uncertainty 12 months ago when shares crashed amid the worst downturn since the 1930s. Markets reopened for business after a holiday weekend spent celebrating, popping champagne corks and ushering in the New Year, and saying goodbye to the old with relief. Financial markets were at risk of systemic breakdown for several months from the end of 2007 into the beginning of 2008, but by April socalled “green shoots” of recovery, driven by huge state stimulus programs, were beginning to show. Now, the big question is whether the momentum of recovery can be sustained as governments and central banks begin to wind down their costly, and eventually unsustainable, spending and rescue programs, and the provi-

sion of “cheap” money. A significant pointer to the answer will come with the trend in the first few days of trading, notably on Wall Street where the financial crisis of 2007 erupted. Yesterday, the British, French and German stock markets rose in early afternoon deals, extending a rally from April-May in which they all gained more than 22 percent, amid increasing signs that the global downturn was over. London’s FTSE 100 index of leading shares added 0.73 percent, the Paris CAC 40 index leapt 1.10 percent and Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index won 0.65 percent. Across Asia yesterday, Tokyo struck 15month high, buoyed by government plans to expand a credit line to troubled Japan Airlines. However, Hong Kong drifted lower in muted trading. “The FTSE 100 started the year on the front foot, led by the heavyweight banks and

Outdone by Dubai, Taiwan tower seeks green award TAIPEI: Outdone by a tower extending over 800 metres in Dubai, the world’s former tallest building, Taipei 101, wants to become the highest green structure by completing a checklist of clean energy standards, a spokesman said yesterday. Taipei 101 will spend T$60 million ($1.9 million) over the next year to meet 100 criteria for an environmental certificate that it would hold over Dubai, spokesman Michael Liu said. The office-commercial tower that reigned for five years as the world’s highest building at 509 metres (1,670 feet) expects the US-based Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design to give it the certificate in 2011. “We’re focused now on becoming a Taiwan landmark, that won’t change, and on going green. We’d be the tallest building to get a green certificate,” Liu said by telephone. Taipei 101, he said, would work with its 85 office tenants to cut electricity and water use, while encouraging them to recycle more refuse. Annual utility savings should total T$20 million. Restaurants would be asked to bring in supplies from as close as possible to reduce transportation. “We can reduce power, trash and water by more than 10 percent,” he said. “We’re already pretty green. In principle there’s no major problem.” The Taiwan skyscraper, complete with an observation deck popular with tourists, has already met 60 of the checklist items, including double-paned windows to retain cool air. Green towers are unusual in Asia, a region with the world’s busiest construction sector yet one of the poorest records for eco-friendly building. Burj Dubai, started at the height of the economic boom and built by some 12,000 labourers, will now become the world’s tallest building. It opened yesterday as Dubai seeks to rekindle optimism after its financial crisis. — Reuters

TAIPEI: Taipei 101, the world’s former tallest skyscraper, stands above Taipei yesterday. The company that owns Taipei 101 shrugged off the loss of its title as the world’s tallest skyscraper to Burj Dubai, instead highlighting an attempt to go green. — AFP

energy firms,” said analyst Nicola Poskitt at spread-betting firm City Index. “We have seen investors coming in this morning in positive moods and firmly looking for equity markets to continue their moves higher after last year saw the FTSE rally 22 percent. “The sentiment is still on the recovery theme and considering the fact that historically the first trading day of the year usually ends with gains, this rally is no surprise.” All three main European markets, which had closed early last week for the New Year holiday weekend, each gained more than a fifth last year amid growing investor confidence over economic recovery. London and Paris each gained more than 22 percent in 2009, while Frankfurt won almost 24 percent last year. “Today sees the markets on the up,” added Capital Spreads analyst Simon Denham. “This is not exactly surprising as the

DP World to go ahead with London Gateway Dubai World makes debt payments on time LONDON: Port operator DP World will go ahead with the foundation stage of its postponed London Gateway project despite the market downturn, it said yesterday. The unit of debt-laden state-owned holding company Dubai World said it had decided to proceed with the construction of essential infrastructure for the planned port and logistics park. “DP World will continue to review the development of the port and park operations in line with market demand,” it said in a statement. The company, which is not part of its parent’s restructuring plans, yesterday bought further development land and Royal Dutch Shell’s remaining interest in the project for 136 million pounds ($219 million), it added. London Gateway is a planned 1.5 billion pounds deep-sea container port incorporating Europe’s largest logistics park, located on the north bank of the river Thames, about 25 miles from central London. DP World, a subsidiary of debt-laden state-owned holding company Dubai World, said it had paid regular coupon and profit obligations tied to a sukuk and a bond issue on time. The ports operator, one of the largest in the world, and listed on Nasdaq Dubai, said it had distributed profit for the 180-day period on its $1.5 billion sukuk issue due in 2017, according to a statement on the bourse website yesterday. The profit rate was 6.25 percent for a payout of $46.9 million. DP World, which is not part of its parent’s debt restructuring plans, also said it had completed a coupon payment of $59.9 million for the period ending Dec 31, 2009 on a $1.75 billion bond issue due in 2037. Dubai sent shockwaves through global markets on Nov. 25 when it said it would request a standstill on billions of dollars of debts linked to Dubai World and its property units Limitless and Nakheel, developer of three palm-shaped islands. Dubai World is expected to pitch a formal standstill proposal on its debt payments to creditors this month, while it comes up with a restructuring plan. The conglomerate has already moved to ringfence its profitable assets, and said that its debt restructuring excludes firms on a “stable financial footing” such as DP World, Istithmar World, and Jebel Ali Freezone. The DP World statement coincided with the highprofile inauguration of the world’s tallest tower, Burj Dubai, as the emirate pursues efforts to bolster investor sentiment that plummeted with the Dubai World debt announcement. —Reuters

first day of virtually every year seems to be positive as funds look to place at least a bit of their cash pot.” The energy sector was lifted as oil prices soared beyond 81 dollars per barrel on expectations of higher heating fuel demand amid a freezing cold winter in the northern hemisphere. Meanwhile, in Asia yesterday, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei-225 index jumped 1.03 percent to 10,654.79 points-which was the best finish for the Tokyo Stock Exchange since early October 2008. Japan Airlines (JAL) shares soared by more than 30 percent after the government on Sunday agreed to double a statefunded loan to the cash-strapped carrier to 200 billion yen ($2.2 billion). New York stocks had slumped at the close of a turbulent year on Thursday, after positive jobs data sparked concerns that interest rates may rise sooner than anticipated. But shares

settled only slightly below their 52-week highs with strong gains for the year. Wall Street reopens later on Monday for its first trading session of 2010, with the market dogged by concerns on the timing of any interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve amid economy recovery. In early 2009, markets had slumped on fears about governments’ abilities to beat the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. But they were boosted as leading central banks and governments launched radical measures to boost lending, stabilize struggling banks and cut interest rates to historically low levels. “Overall, many of the factors that have driven equity markets higher in 2009 remain in place-loose monetary policy, low yields on cash, attractive valuations and cash on the sidelines waiting to be invested,” said analysts at brokerage Killik & Co.— AFP


BUSINESS

22

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Setting inflation target very difficult

Saudi’s dollar peg purely for economic reasons: CB RIYADH: Saudi Arabia pegs its riyal to the US dollar purely for economic reasons, not because of emotions or politics, its central bank governor said yesterday, adding it sees difficulties in setting an inflation target. The greenback, “Businessmen understand better than anyone else the benefits of pegging the riyal to the dollar,” Muhammad Al-Jasser, Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), told a business gathering in the capital of Riyadh. “Pegging the riyal to the dollar is not motivated by emotional or political considerations, but (it is) purely for economic interests,” he said. Most of Saudi foreign trade, oil revenues and commodities trade is in dollars as well as 60 percent of global reserves, he added. The governor said on Saturday that the country sees no need to change its dollar-based foreign exchange regime as the regime had served the national economy well in the last two decades.

to w hich the kingdom has pegged its riyal since 1986, had been under pressure in recent months, reviving expectations it could help boost inflation in the biggest Arab economy, a major importer of food products.

Jasser also said yesterday he saw setting an inflation target as “very difficult,” responding to businesses’ call to establish one, only saying that SAMA’s role was to make the economic cycle as smooth as possible. The world’s biggest oil exporter saw annual inflation climbing to 4.0 percent in November, from October’s 28-month low on rising home rents and import costs. The government sees the full year inflation rate at 4.4 percent. Jasser also said the country’s financial system have overcome the global financial crisis and remained stable, adding banks must opt for caution in deposit management, especially during crises. But he opposed the view of Council of Saudi Chambers, a private sector lobby, that the country’s banks were reluctant to lend, say-

ing banks were lending more than 100 percent of their deposits. “It is impossible to imagine how banks refrain from lending, one of the main sources of their profits,” Jasser said. Fahad Al-Sultan, secretary general at the council, which represents national chambers of commerce and industry, said during the gathering that Saudi banks’ conservative approach to lending was unjustified. Growth in lending to the Saudi private sector was anemic in 2009 after double digit growth rates seen over the previous six years. Bank credit stood at 723.4 billion riyals ($192.9 billion) by endNovember, compared with 723.2 billion riyals a year earlier, SAMA’s data showed last week. — Reuters

Hassan El Houry CEO of NAS

Naser Fahad Al-Obeid, Director of Engineering at NAS

NAS provides aircraft maintenance certification to Qatar Airways KUWAIT: The leading provider of quality airport ground handling services in developing countries, National Aviation Services (NAS), yesterday officially announced that it has won a contract to provide Aircraft Maintenance Certification to Qatar Airways, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines. Qatar Airways has entrusted the responsibility of certifying their B-777 and Airbus 320 aircraft at Kuwait International Airport to NAS. Besides the new Aircraft Maintenance contract that is valid for three years, NAS will continue to provide Qatar Airways with standard ground handling solutions like Passenger, Ramp, Lounge and Cargo services. Civil Aviation regulations require certification of all aircraft engaged in commercial air transportation for their airworthiness prior to each flight by approved Aircraft Maintenance Organizations. NAS Kuwait has obtained the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) part-145 approval as an Aircraft Maintenance Organization for line maintenance certification of aircraft to International Standards. This signifies its dedication and commitment to realizing its vision and objectives in providing value added services ranging from standard Ground Handling services to Aircraft Maintenance Certification to its customers.

NAS is the first Private Ground Handling Company to have obtained the EASA Part 145 approval in Kuwait. “We are proud to achieve yet another milestone in our quest for quality service delivery” commented Hassan El Houry CEO of NAS. “The Qatar Airways decision to award this contract to NAS reinforces their faith in us as a comprehensive aviation service provider and we will continue to exceed all our clients’ expectations” he stated. “Aircraft Maintenance is one of the most stringently regulated fields within the aviation industry worldwide that requires a thorough and accurate approach that can pinpoint each and every detail of the aircraft’s mechanics before releasing it for take-off. The level of accuracy is required to be immaculate and these checks are done by our experienced & certified industry professionals giving our airlines total peace of mind when they fly,” added Naser Fahad Al-Obeid, Director of Engineering at NAS. Although NAS has been providing ground handling and passenger services to Qatar Airways for over three years now, the addition of aircraft maintenance certification to the list of services only solidifies Qatar Airways’ trust in the company’s abilities and further validates the reputation of NAS as a leader in its field.

Etihad appoints vice-president Corporate Communications Incredible offer on Chevrolet Tahoe from Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Automotive is starting the New Year with a bang as the company unveils an extraordinary offer on the Chevrolet Tahoe. Throughout the month of January, customers will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grab the Tahoe at the starting price of KD 8,999. This exceptional offer is in line with Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Automotive’s commitment to continue providing customers with unparalleled offers and services on Chevrolet vehicles. The Chevrolet Tahoe is handcrafted for the adventurous driver seeking a full-size SUV with on-road and off-road capabilities that is able to handle the harsh desert terrains. This vehicle caters to both families and adventurous adrenaline seek-

ers, and is the perfect match for anyone seeking a true off-road vehicle. Chevrolet’s ultimate full-size sports utility vehicle comes fully prepped from the outside in. Delivering raging power through a Vortec 5.3-litre V8 engine generating 355 bhp, the Tahoe’s engine is topped off with a 6-speed automatic transmission and offers segmentleading fuel efficiency. Four unique trims are offered, the LS, LT, LTZ, and Z71, with two- and four- wheel drive models are available. Nothing compares to the off-road capabilities of the Z71. Aided by the legendary Z71 suspension and rugged on/off road tires, the Z71 has a segment exclusive automatic locking differential, massive wheel flares, an aggressive front fascia and

a satin-chrome trim, highlight the exterior appearance. On the inside, the Chevrolet Tahoe spacious interior creates an environment equivocal to luxury, exuding quality, precision, and comfort. Equipped with comfort features such as remote vehicle start, power remote lift gate, rear parking assist and rear-view camera, a touchscreen navigation system, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, BOSE(r) sound system, and a sunroof, the Tahoe can comfortably accommodate up to nine passengers in three rows of seating. Safety is always a priority with Chevrolet, exhibited clearly by the Tahoe’s advanced safety systems. Fully packed with airbags to protect all three rows of seating, ABS

Anti-lock Braking System, and StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Program, all passengers can ride at ease knowing that the ride is fully secure and their safety is ensured. Yusuf A. Alghanim & Sons Automotive, the sole distributor of Chevrolet in Kuwait, adds the finishing touch to the Tahoe ownership experience with the highest quality after-sales services. With the world’s biggest and most advanced automotive service center, customers need not worry about their service and maintenance needs. Dedicated to world-class service and high quality vehicles, Yusuf A. Alghanim & Sons have, yet again, brought the epitome of performance to the streets of Kuwait.

ABU DHABI: Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has appointed Hareb Al Muhairy to the position of vice president, corporate communications. Hareb, a UAE national, will be based at Etihad’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi and report to the airline’s senior vice president corporate affairs, Ms Belinda de Rome. In his new role, Hareb will oversee the airline’s expanding corporate communications team and be responsible for Etihad’s global media strategy as well as promoting the airline’s development and achievements as media spokesman. Etihad chief executive officer, James Hogan, said: “As the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad is committed to attracting and retaining top Emirati talent. Hareb has made a great contribution to the airline since he joined us in 2004, and with the skills and relationships he has developed in his time at Etihad, he is ideally suited to take on this senior role.” Hareb joined Etihad after studying political science and management at the UAE University in Al Ain. He has held various posi-

Hareb Al-Muhairy tions in marketing and product development, as well as being posted to London as business development manager. Since joining Etihad’s corporate affairs department in April 2009 as head of corporate communications, Hareb has been responsible for planning and implementing the media strategy for the airline in the Middle East.

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 .4590000 .4070000 .2740000 .2710000 .2550000 .0045000 .0020000 .0777740 .7577310 .4020000 .0750000 .7428230 .0045000 .0500000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2865500 .4632300 .4110110 .2762440 .2751560 .0552270 .0402600 .2590270 .0369340 .2047160 .0030870 .0061950 .0025130 .0034210 .0041980 .0780560 .764670 .4052620 .0764520 .7446610 .0062290 TRANSFER CHEQUES RATES .2886500 .4665010 .2782000 .0769400

.2930000 .4690000 .4150000 .2840000 .2810000 .2620000 .0075000 .0035000 .0785560 .7653460 .4180000 .0790000 .7502880 .0072000 .0570000 .2886500 .4665010 .4139140 .2782000 .2771050 .0556190 .0405450 .2608570 .0371950 .2061660 .0031090 .0062390 .0025310 .0034450 .0042280 .0785530 .7653170 .4081320 .0769400 .7494100 .0062730

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 262.000 785.340 4.490 278.600 694.400 15.800 56.200 54.180 416.000

37.660 6.185

406.790 0.193 86.490 3.890 210.500

SELL DRAFT 260.500 765.340 4.168 277.100

52.434 414.500

Rate for Transfer 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

280.100 8.820 78.530 287.800

GOLD 1,188.240 TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 466.000 287.800

Selling Rate 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

747.390 3.430 6.235 79.170 76.840 206.530 41.160 2.512 466.000

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

37.810 6.480 0.034 0.290 0.251 3.200 408.530 0.194 86.490 38.700 4.240 212.000 2.183 51.200 747.570 3.480 6.460 79.600 76.840 206.530 41.160 2.765 468.000 41.500 281.600 6.400 9.030 222.000 78.530 288.200 1.430

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

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 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 (Per 1000) US Dollar 287.400 Euro 414.750 Pound Sterling 466.000 Japanese Yen 3.105 Indian Rupee 6.190 Egyptian Pound 52.480 Sri Lankan Rupee 2.511 Bangladesh Taka 4.152 Philippines Peso 6.220 Pakistan Rupee 3.420 Bahraini Dinar 765.000 UAE Dirham 78.250 Saudi Riyal 76.750 *Rates are subject to change


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

BUSINESS

23

Sector woes could act as a drag on recovery

US November construction spending declines by 0.6% WASHINGTON: US construction activity fell for a seventh consecutive month as spending on both residential and commercial projects declined, a w orrisome sign that lingering troubles in construction w ill act as a drag on

MUMBAI: P Balendran, director and vice-president of General Motors (GM) India, poses with the newly-launched Chevrolet Beat in Mumbai yesterday. Chevrolet Beat will be launched in over 150 markets around the world including those in Europe, other parts of Asia and North America in the coming days. Beat is the next offering from the 300 series after the Cruze. — AFP

GM launches new small car, eyes Indian growth NEW DELHI: General Motors launched a new small car yesterday priced at about $7,000 that will be released first in the Indian market and eventually sold in 150 countries. The Chevrolet Beat is a compact hatchback aimed at the growing Indian middle classes that GM hopes will help boost its sales in the country by 30 percent this year to 100,000 units. On the eve of the Delhi auto show, which kicks off today, GM India chief Karl Slym admitted the Beat would enter an increasingly competitive market where foreign manufacturers are jostling for position in the small car segment. “There is a competitive market in India,” Slym told reporters. “There are more and more players coming in with different capabilities.” The Beat, to be priced at 334,000 rupees

($7,000) in its basic model, will be sold in more than 150 countries worldwide, including Europe, other parts of Asia and North America, the company said. Small cars account for 80 percent of passenger car sales in India. The Beat will be one of the attractions at AutoExpo 2010 in New Delhi, which runs until January 11 and is a showpiece for compact vehicles. Slym also said GM India would double production at its Talegaon plant in the western state of Maharashtra to 90,000 cars per year because of the Beat’s introduction. The company said its sales in December more than doubled to 8,258 vehicles, the highest ever in a month since it started selling cars in the country in 1996. Indian car sales are expected to cross two million units in 2010. — AFP

UK may take action over Ryanair payments system LONDON: The head of Britain’s business regulator has hit out at Ryanair, saying in a newspaper interview it may act over the way the budget Irish airline almost taunts passengers with its payment system. John Fingleton, chief executive of the Office of Fair Trading, told the Independent newspaper the airline engaged in “puerile” and “almost childish” behavior in the way it charges passengers for paying for flights online. Ryanair rejected the criticism as inaccurate. The newspaper said Ryanair advertises taxes and other fees up front but only mentions charges for paying by credit card at the end of the booking procedure to prevent customers from opting to use an alternative and free credit card to escape the fee. Under consumer law, businesses must advertise all compulsory charges, but Ryanair offers one type

of card for free. “Ryanair has this funny game where they have found some low frequency payment mechanism and say ‘Well, because you can pay with that (the charge is optional),” the newspaper quoted Fingleton as saying. “It’s almost like taunting consumers and pointing out ‘Oh well, we know this is completely outside the spirit of the law, but we think it’s within the narrow letter of the law’,” he said. “On some level it’s quite puerile, it’s almost childish. This is just playing silly games at the margins of it all and we might or might not go running after something like that.” The airline, which has clashed with the regulator before, defended itself to the newspaper. Ryanair also said in a separate statement there were no hidden fees on its website and it included all non-discretionary charges in its advertised prices. —Reuters

The weakness was widespread with spending on housing falling by the largest amount since June and non-residential building dipping for an eighth consecutive month. While the overall economy began growing again this past summer, the worry is that weakness in such areas as construction will dim prospects for a recovery strong enough to reduce double-digit unemployment. The 0.6 percent drop in construction activity in November followed a 0.5 percent decline in October which was revised downward from an original estimate showing a much smaller dip. The seven straight declines pushed construction spending down to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $900.1 billion, the slowest pace in more than six years and 13.2 percent below the level of activity a year ago. Private residential activity dropped by 1.6 percent in November to an annual rate of $250.7 billion after a big 4.8 percent surge in October, an increase that had been driven by builders trying to finish projects before the original November expiration for a popular home buyers tax credit, a tax break that has since been extended by Congress. Spending on commercial projects from office buildings to factories and shopping centers edged down a slight 0.03 percent, the eighth straight drop. Commercial building activity has been hurt by a severe credit crunch as developers are having trouble getting new financing from banks leery to extend further credit as default rates rise sharply for commercial real estate projects. The November drop pushed nonresidential building down to an annual rate of $330.5 billion. Spending on government projects fell 0.4 percent to a rate of $318.8 billion reflected a 0.5 percent fall in state and local construction projects, an area that has been hurt by deep budget shortfalls caused by the recession. Spending on federal construction projects rose by 1.1 percent in November. — AP

the overall economic recovery. The Commerce Department said yesterday that construction spending in the US dropped 0.6 percent in November, a bigger decline than the 0.4 percent drop that economists had been expecting.

NEW YORK: Traders watch market activity at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. — AP

Qatar Airways rounds off busy year with delivery of four new aircraft Qatar Airways expands Boeing 777 fleet

DOHA: Qatar Airways has taken delivery of four new aircraft this month, wrapping up an eventful 2009 for the Dohabased airline. With the largest delivery schedule in a single month for Qatar Airways, the two Boeing 777-200 Long Range aircraft and two Airbus A320s take the airline’s rapidly-growing fleet size up to 76 aircraft. Qatar Airways currently has outstanding orders for more than 220 aircraft worth over $40 billion. With a planned delivery schedule of more than one new aircraft a month over the next few years, the new aircraft deliveries will replace older aircraft and boost the fleet to maintain a young and modern portfolio of planes. The latest arrivals round up a busy year for Qatar Airways, which saw the airline take delivery of a total of 11 new aircraft; launch four new routes - Houston, Melbourne and two Indian destinations of Amritsar and Goa; order 24 Airbus A320 family of aircraft; and set up a new corporate jet subsidiary, Qatar Executive. One of the two newly-delivered Boeing 777-200LRs will be used to step up frequency on the recently-launched nonstop Doha - Melbourne route from the current three-flightsa-week to daily beginning January 1. The other Boeing 777200LR has been deployed on flights to the Far East. Qatar Airways now operates 13 Boeing 777s - eight of the 300Extended Range and five 200-Long Range versions. The two-class Boeing 777-200LRs feature 42 Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration with each of the 78-inch seats converting into 180 degree horizontal flat beds, and 217 Economy seats in a 3-3-3 layout offering up to 34-inch pitch. All seats provide personal touch screen seat back television screens with more than 900 interactive audio and video entertainment options. The newly-inducted A320s feature 12 seats in Business Class and 132 in Economy. They are the first deliveries of the airline’s 24 Airbus A320 family of aircraft ordered at the Paris Air Show in June. The remaining 22 narrow body aircraft, which includes 18 Airbus A320s and four A321s, are due to be delivered over a two-year period ending in December 2012. Featuring state-of-the-art technology with individual seat back TV screens, every passenger will be able to experience personal audio and video on demand entertainment options on Qatar Airways’ new fleet of narrow-body aircraft for the first time. The new single-aisle A320s, operating on selected routes in the Middle East, Europe and South Asia, feature a wide choice of movies, TV programs in different languages, as well as up to 500 international CD albums. The TopSeries system, which also includes interactive games, has been developed and installed by French company, Thales. Qatar Airways’ existing narrow-body fleet comprises eight Airbus A321s, 11 A320s and two Airbus A319 Long Range aircraft. Six of the aircraft - four Airbus A321s and two

Two Boeing 777s, 2 Airbus A320s raise fleet size to 76 aircraft

Airbus A320 Business Class A319s - will be retrofitted with the new Thales entertainment system over the next few months. Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said deliveries of the latest aircraft demonstrated a commitment by the airline to develop its fleet size and continue to offer the travelling public with the latest inflight features. “Today’s consumer is becoming more demanding and, we at Qatar Airways, recognize the need to remain at the forefront of the aviation industry by flying modern aircraft and offer the best levels of comfort and inflight amenities,” he said. “The additional Airbus A320s and A321s give Qatar Airways a firm footing in the rapid development and expansion of our regional network, while the Boeing 777s are quickly emerging as the backbone of our long-haul and ultra long-haul flying program. “Our short-haul passengers are now able to have a different flying experience with entertainment at their fingertips. Over the next few months, more and more passengers will experience the new inflight product as the airline takes further deliveries of these narrow-body aircraft.” Added Al-Baker: “Our latest order demonstrates Qatar

Airways’ strong commitment towards continuing its aggressive global expansion strategy. Despite the current economic climate hanging over many economies around the world, Qatar Airways continues to build on a clear long-term strategy to develop its operations globally.” The year 2009 saw Qatar Airways operate the world’s first commercial passenger flight using fuel made from natural gas from London to Doha; expand its exclusive Premium Terminal for First and Business Class passengers at Doha International Airport; open a brand new transit terminal at the airport; and announce in December alone, six new routes for 2010 - Ankara, Tokyo, Bengaluru (Bangalore), Copenhagen, Barcelona and Sydney. The airline continued its award-winning streak with accolades from leading independent audit Skytrax. Qatar Airways was named Best Economy Class in the world; maintained its exclusive Five Star ranking; voted Best Cabin Crew in the Middle East for the seventh year running; earned the title of Best Middle East carrier for the fourth consecutive year; and being named World’s Leading Airline - Business Class for the second year running at the World Travel Awards.


24

BUSINESS

Blue-chips bearish, stocks fall Global Daily Market Report KUWAIT: The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) ended first trading session of the New Year on a negative note led by declines witnessed in several of the blue-chip stocks. Global General Index (GGI) shed 4.42 points (-2.38 percent) during yesterday’s session to reach 181.81 points. Furthermore, the Kuwait Stock Exchange Price Index posted a loss of 114.40 points (1.63 percent), to close at 6,890.90 points. Market capitalization was down KD718.09mn yesterday to reach KD29.52bn. Market breadth During the session, 116 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards decliners as 84 equities retreated versus 17 that advanced. A total of 103 stocks remained unchanged during yesterday’s trading session. Trading activities ended on a mixed note yesterday as volume of shares traded on the exchange was up 40.18 percent to reach 251.26mn shares. However, value of shares traded decreased by 7.55 percent to stand at KD33.72mn. The Investment Sector was the volume leader yesterday, accounting for 45.85 percent of total shares and the Services Sector was the value leader, with 36.38 percent of total traded value. International Financial Advisors was the volume leader with 51.36mn shares changing hands. Agility was the value leader, with a total value of KD4.98mn. In terms of top gainers, National Cleaning Company was the prominent gainer for the day, adding 7.69 percent to close at KD0.140. On the other

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dubai heads regional losers; Saudi up on oil MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS

hand, The Securities Group was the biggest decliner for the day, dropping by 8.93 percent and closed at KD0.255. Sector wise Sector wise, all of Global’s sectoral indices ended on a negative note yesterday except for Global Insurance Index which was unchanged. Global Services Index was the

top decliner, down 4.28 percent backed by declines witnessed in the telecom companies. Among them, Zain had the biggest decline of 5.88 percent and closed at KD0.960. In addition, Agility, the second biggest decliner in the market, shed 8.77 percent and closed at KD0.520. Global Investment Index posted a 3.38 percent drop

making it the second biggest decliner backed by The Securities Group. Furthermore, Kuwait Projects Company (Holding) posted a 4.12 percent loss to end the day at KD0.465. Global Islamic Index was the only gainer up a marginal 0.06 percent backed by 21 companies in the index ending in the red yesterday. In terms

of decliners, Global Large Cap Index took the top spot with a 2.72 percent decline backed by Agility. Oil news The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $77.13 a barrel on Thursday 31/12/2009, compared with $76.77 per barrel recorded the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations.

DUBAI: Dubai led most Middle East markets lower yesterday as investors booked profits from the previous day’s two-week high and analysts warned further declines are likely, although Saudi Arabia was buoyant as oil prices spiked. Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) hit a 14-month closing high after oil prices reached their highest level since late October, helping the index make minor gains for a third day. Dubai’s index fell 2.6 percent, Kuwait’s benchmark dropped 1.6 percent in its biggest one-day loss for five weeks and Qatar’s bourse declined for the fourth session in five. Oman and Bahrain also fell, while Egypt rose. “The market had been going up for a few days before the year-end so it’s natural to see some profit taking,” said Haissam Arabi, chief executive and fund manager at Gulfmena Alternative Investments in Dubai. Emaar Properties fell 3.4 percent ahead of the official opening of Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest structure. The firm’s shares jumped almost 8 percent the day before, but traders were little moved by the firm saying it would make a 10 percent return on the tower. Dubai’s loss was its largest for nearly two weeks, while yesterday’s relatively large volume was a worry for some analysts. “The market has given a bearish signal-the way it was sold says it is going lower and is still below the 50-day moving average,” said Musa Haddad, head of MENA equity desk at National Bank of Abu Dhabi. “It’s mainly speculators-institutions are not in the market, if they were they wouldn’t be selling this aggressively. Any rally is an opportunity to sell, not to buy.” In Saudi Arabia, SABIC climbed 3.3 percent after oil surged more than 2 percent intraday to above $81 a barrel, its highest level since Oct. 26. Rising crude prices give Saudi petrochemical producers an advantage over rival manufacturers from higher tax countries. The Saudi index climbed 0.8 percent to 6,202 points, though volumes wer below 100 million shares for a fifth session. “For Saudi Arabia, 6,100 is a very signifi-

cant level-a break below that could see a fall to 5,800 to 5,900 points,” said NBAD’s Haddad. “The market is moving sideways so it’s better to wait for the fourth-quarter figures.” Kuwait’s blue-chips were hammered. Agility plunged 8.8 percent to a 49-week closing low, while Zain dropped 5.9 percent. The latter has now fallen 30 percent since Sept 8, the day major shareholder the Kharafi group said it had agreed a deal to sell a 46 percent stake in the telecoms operator “We were told the takeover would take four months, so most expectations are that the deal will now not take place,” said Naser AlNafisi, general manager for Al Joman Center for Economic Consultancy in Kuwait. More than 30 Kuwait stocks fell more than 5 percent in a broad-based sell-off. “On the last two days of the year, investors pushed the market up above 7,000 points, now it’s the New Year prices are correcting from these artificial levels,” added Nafisi. “After every quarter and especially the end-of-year, investors try to push up prices to increase the value of their portfolios.” HIGHLIGHTS DUBAI The index fell 2.6 percent to 1,817 points. ABU DHABI The benchmark dropped 0.5 percent to 2,758 points. SAUDI ARABIA The measure rose 0.8 percent to 6,202 points. OMAN The index fell 0.8 percent to 6,420 points. QATAR The measure fell 0.7 percent to 6,959 points. EGYPT The index rose 0.8 percent to 6,324 points. — Reuters


BUSINESS

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

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Euro manufacturing output narrowly up in December BRUSSELS: Manufacturing activity across the euro-zone expanded in December but at a slower pace than initially detected and with the shadow of price pressures building, a survey showed yeterday. The 16-nation euro currency bloc’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector, published by data and research group Markit, rose to 51.6 points in December, from 51.2 points in November. It was the third month running in which the widely-watched reading has been above the crucial 50.0 boom-or-bust line, but the readings were uneven. Output of investment goods and consumer goods rose fastest, while new orders

increased for the fifth consecutive month. The rate of job losses eased slightly and Italy joined France and Germany in taking a significant leap forward. However, it was the 19th month in a row in which people overall left the workforce instead of joining it, and Irish output fell while the downturns in crisis-hit Greece and Spain remained entrenched. “The final December readings confirm that euro-zone manufacturing ended the year on a positive note, with the headline PMI at a 21-month high,” said Markit senior economist Rob Dobson. “Although this was tempered by the lower-than-flash outcomes for the output

EU special economy summit on Feb 11 BRUSSELS: European Union leaders will hold an extraordinary summit on February 11 focused on bolstering the economy, the EU’s new president, Herman Van Rompuy, said yesterday. “I’m preparing already the next European council on the 11th of February. I took the initiative to convene this council with the main theme-the economy,” he said in Brussels, where the informal meeting will be held. “We need more economic growth in order to finance on a sound basis

our social model, to preserve our European way of life,” said Van Rompuy, who has just started his new job. EU leaders are scheduled to hold another summit, which is traditionally focused on the economy, on March 2526. Spain, which took over the EU’s rotating presidency for six months on January and is working in parallel with Van Rompuy, has also made the economy the focus of its term at the helm of the 27-nation bloc. —AFP

and new orders indexes, the rates of increase signaled for both these variables still represent a marked turnaround from the unprecedented downturn at the start of the year,” he added. However, analysts warned that the trough remains perilously at hand. “The pace of expansion could decelerate throughout 2010,” said Clemente De Lucia of BNP Paribas, adding that the survey “started to highlight signs of growth peaking”. “Indeed, several headwinds are likely to weigh on activity,” he underlined, citing “fragile” domestic demand and the volume of jobs lost which will combine with an inflation “rebound” to choke private consumption.

Global Insight’s Howard Archer also noted “some potentially worrying developments,” highlighting “especially an easing back in orders growth,” amid “the second successive slowdown in the overall rate of improvement.” He said the European Central Bank would only “very gradually” be able to withdraw emergency liquidity measures throughout the course of 2010, and that interest rates would have to be kept at historic lows. The 16 nations which use the euro and the wider 27-nation European Union, home to half a billion people, posted expansion in the third quarter of 2009 — 0.4 percent in the euro-zone area and 0.2 percent for the whole EU. —AFP

Total to pay $800m in cash, $1.45bn in funding

Total in $2bn shale gas tie-up with Chesapeake PARIS/LONDON: France’s Total signed a $2.25 billion tie-up with Chesapeake Energy becoming the latest international oil major to take advantage of low gas prices to snap up shale gas assets. Total said it would

TOKYO: A member of Japan Airlines (JAL) ground staff waits for customers at Tokyo International Airport yesterday. JAL’s shares skyrocketed after the government agreed to expand a financial lifeline to the troubled carrier, easing fears that it might file for bankruptcy.—AFP

JAL shares soar on credit lifeline TOKYO: Japan Airlines (JAL) shares skyrocketed yesterday after the government agreed to expand a financial lifeline to the troubled carrier, easing fears that it might file for bankruptcy. JAL stock ended up 31.3 percent at 88 yen, off a high of 93, as investors welcomed Tokyo’s decision at the weekend to double a state-backed loan to Asia’s largest carrier to 200 billion yen ($2.2 billion). “There was talk about the company’s operating funds drying up unless it secured a bigger credit line by January. I suppose that worry eased,” said Makoto Sengoku, a market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Securities. But concern lingered that JAL might eventually file for bankruptcy protection to aid its restructuring-a development that would be likely to leave investors out of pocket. JAL’s future “is still uncertain,” Sengoku said. Shares in the airline had nose-dived almost 24 percent on Wednesday, the final trading day of 2009, hitting a record low at one point after local media reported that bankruptcy was a possibility for the beleaguered airline. The market jitters come as JAL seeks to pull itself out of deepening financial misery by reducing international flights, cutting pension payments to retirees and tying up with a foreign carrier. JAL has been offered financial assistance by both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which are competing to take a stake in the Japanese carrier as a way to expand into the Asian market. The Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported in its online edition Monday that JAL had decided to forge a capital tie-up with Delta Air Lines and join the SkyTeam global alliance, leaving the OneWorld group, which includes American Airlines. JAL denied the report, saying it was still

in negotiations with the two US carriers. “There is no such fact that we have decided on Delta. We’re continuing talks with both American and Delta,” a company spokesman told AFP. American Airlines added in a statement that it was continuing talks with JAL on the aid offer and remained convinced that it and its alliance were “the best partners for Japan Airlines”. JAL, battered by the global recession, is seeking its fourth government bailout since 2001 in the face of mounting losses. As a temporary stopgap, cabinet ministers agreed Sunday on an increased credit line from the state-backed Development Bank, seeking to soothe investors’ fears before the market reopened for the new year. Local media have reported that the statebacked Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp (ETIC), which is overseeing JAL’s restructuring, is considering the possibility of the carrier filing for protection from creditors. The body is expected to decide on a financial package for the carrier in mid-January. JAL president Haruka Nishimatsu told local media that he was opposed to any bankruptcy filing. “Legal liquidation gives an image that will affect us and reduce the number of our clients,” he said in an interview with the Asahi Shimbun daily published on Sunday. 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. JAL has suffered a long period of financial turbulence stretching back to its privatisation more than two decades ago. — AFP

Spyker to file final Saab bid by January 7: CEO AMSTERDAM: Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker Cars is working on its final offer for General Motors’ Saab assets and will file its bid by a January 7 deadline, Spyker’s chief executive said yesterday. Swedish daily Dagens Industri said yesterday Spyker cars would revise its bid for GM’s lossmaking Swedish carmaker Saab for a third time to address GM’s criticism of its current offer. “We have gotten time for a final offer. Nothing has been rejected,” Spyker CEO Victor Muller told Reuters.

Muller said he would file an offer by a deadline that would expire on Jan. 7 but he declined to give details. Saab said last week General Motors had extended a deadline that expired on Dec. 31 to accept bids for the Swedish car brand. Saab said there were several potential bidders but it declined to give names, except for Spyker. Paul Akerlund, union representative at Saab, said GM had given until Thursday for bids and would go ahead with its wind-down process. “GM hasn’t closed any doors” Akerlund said. — Reuters

BOSTON: Saab automobiles are seen in the showroom of Herb Chambers Saab of Boston. General Motors Co said, it is pressing ahead with plans to shut down Saab, though it will continue to hear bids for the Swedish car brand.—AP

Analysts said the deal made strategic sense for France’s largest company by market value and that the price was in line with recent transactions. “The deal highlights a disciplined approach to capital allocation and that M&A focus at Total remains more toward smaller ‘bolt-on’ asset acquisitions, as opposed to larger corporate deals,” analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a research note. Shares in Total were up 1.8 percent at 45.80 euros by 1231 GMT, just ahead of a 1.6 percent gain in the DJ Stoxx European oil and gas sector index. Chesapeake shares rose 5.2 percent in premarket US trade. The deal follows similar investments by US and European rivals in North American shale gas, which is harder and more expensive to extract than gas from traditional reservoirs. Chesapeake has made similar tie-ups with BP and Statoil, in the past 18 months, while in December, the US’s largest oil and gas company, Exxon Mobil agreed to buy shale gas producer XTO Energy Inc for about $30 billion. The investments are spurred by confidence that growing demand for energy will boost gas prices from their current depressed levels, ensuring fat margins. Also, Western companies are looking closer to home for investments as barriers to investment in resource-rich countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait limit their options overseas. The deal will give Total additional production of 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of gas, and reserves of 130 million barrels of oil equivalent, with the possibility that additional drilling could prove up reserves twice this size. “This joint venture will provide us with a solid position in an attractive longterm resource base under competitive terms,” Total Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said in a statement. The CEO added the entry into the shale gas business would help Total develop expertise which could be used in developing unconventional gas reserves internationally and help it expand its position more broadly in the US natural gas market. However, shale gas production is facing growing scrutiny from regulators and tougher opposition from environmentalists, who say the fluids used to crack open gasrich rocks can contaminate ground water. Last week, the US Environmental Protection Agency said it had “serious reservations” about allowing shale gas drilling in New York City’s watershed, warning of a threat to the drinking water for 9 million people. Total said it was conscious of the environmental risks but that it had confidence in Chesapeake’s capacity to manage these. Under the terms of the deal, Total will fund 60 percent of Chesapeake’s share of drilling and completion expenditures until the end of 2012, Chesapeake said in a statement. —Reuters

take a 25 percent stake in Chesapeake’s Barnett Shale gas fields in Texas, paying $800 million in cash and providing $1.45 billion towards the fields’ development over up to six years.

SINGAPORE: A woman wears a headscarf while visiting the waterfront at Singapore’s business district in Singapore. Singapore’s economy shrank in the October-to-December period after surging for two straight quarters, sparking fears of a renewed recession. — AP

Cadbury bidding war speculation mounts LONDON: Speculation of a bidding war for British candy maker Cadbury PLC mounted yesterday after Swiss food group Nestle agreed to sell off its majority stake in eyecare unit Alcon and announced a smallerthan-anticipated share buyback program. Analysts suggested that Nestle could be clearing its decks in preparation to counter a hostile 9.8 billion pound ($16.3 billion) cash and shares offer from Kraft Foods Inc., which is also tipped to raise that current bid. Nestle, the maker of Nescafe coffee and KitKat chocolate bars, said yesterday it is selling its 52 percent stake in Alcon for $28 billion to Swiss drug maker Novartis. It

added that the deal would allow it to launch a new 10 billion Swiss franc ($9.64 billion) share buyback program for two years once its existing 25 billion program is completed this year. “This implies that Nestle has made use of just $10 billion of the forecast $28.5 billion stake sale proceeds and adds to market speculation that Nestle might be in the process of building a ‘war chest’ to enter the Cadbury fray,” said Charles Stanley analyst Jeremy Batstone-Carr. However, BatstoneCarr added that Nestle’s interest is likely to be limited to Cadbury’s gum operations, should Kraft or another suitor emerge tri-

umphant. Cadbury, which is battling to remain independent, has confirmed receiving tentative approaches from The Hershey Co and Italy’s Ferrero International SA. Batstone-Carr said that Kraft remains the most likely suitor at present and is widely expected to raise its offer before a UK Takeover Panel deadline of Jan. 19. Cadbury shares were trading at 804 pence, up 0.8 percent yesterday, well above the 738 pence per share offer price from Kraft. Cadbury, the maker of Dairy Milk chocolate and Dentyne gum, is due to release a trading update, including Christmas sales, on Jan 15. — AP

Reinsurance prices fall in Jan renewals: Broker LONDON: Global catastrophe reinsurance prices were weaker as policies came up for renewal on January 1, weighed by stiff competition, according to a survey by reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter. The cost of reinsuring against natural catastrophe losses fell by 6 percent in the US and as much as 5 percent in mainland Europe, Guy Carpenter said, while rates in Britain were down by between 5 and 10 percent. The broker, part of US financial services group Marsh & McLennan, said the decline reflected intense competition between reinsurers, whose capital reserves have been bolstered by rebounding financial markets and low claims volumes last year. “A combination of factors, including the rally in global financial markets, relatively low catastrophe losses in 2009, and lingering recessionary effects on demand, has resulted in an excess of supply and heightened competition at this year’s January 1 renewal,” Guy Carpenter Global Head of Business Intelligence Chris Klein said. Analysts at Oriel Securities in London said the decline in prices was broadly in line with market expectations. “The absence of catastrophe losses combined with a strong recovery in industry capital was widely expected to drive softer (catastrophe) rates in particular, and that is indeed what has happened,” they wrote in a note. The Guy Carpenter survey is consistent with reports issued last week by rival brokers Willis Re and Aon Benfield, which highlighted a softening of reinsurance prices in the run-up to Jan. 1 due to a combination of strong reinsurer capital and subdued demand for reinsurance cover. — Reuters

MUMBAI: A general view of the Mumbai Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai yesterday. India’s stock markets were trading 0.64 percent higher or 112.43 points at 17,577.24 yesterday. — AFP


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Asia’s factory output picks up steam in December BEIJING: Factories in Asia stepped up production in December, with China’s output growing at its fastest pace on record, suggesting economic activity is gathering pace in the region that is leading the global recovery. Manufacturing activity hit a sevenmonth peak in India last month and it also rose in South Korea, where factories added the most jobs in nearly two years, purchasing managers’ indexes showed yesterday. In China, the HSBC PMI rose to 56.1 from 55.7 a month earlier to reach its highest level since the survey began in April 2004. A reading above 50 indicates manufacturing activity is expanding, while a level below 50 suggests contraction. “China’s manufacturing PMI will likely remain above 50 and even accelerate in coming months, as exports are improving, private investment is coming back and public investment remains robust,” Ting Lu, an economist at Bank

of America-Merrill Lynch said in a research note. Stimulus-fuelled economies in Asia, notably China, have been recovering rapidly since around the middle of last year, leading the worldwide rebound from the global crisis. Growth in Japan’s manufacturing activity picked up for the first time in three months in December and upbeat export orders from China are likely to continue lifting production, a Nomura/JMMA survey showed last week. December’s PMI for the euro zone is due at 0858 GMT and US figures are due at 1500 GMT. Both sets of data are expected to show a pick-up in activity. By contrast, Russia’s PMI fell to 48.8, the lowest in five months, from 49.1 in November. In the last 17 months, the index has only once risen above 50, which was in September 2009. Output in India and South Korea gained momentum, underlining expec-

tations that they will be the first Group of 20 nations after Australia to raise interest rates following the crisis. The Bank of Korea reviews monetary policy on Friday, while the next scheduled meeting of the Reserve Bank of India is on Jan. 29. India’s PMI rose for the first time in three months in December to 55.6, the highest level since May, from 53.0 in November. South Korea’s index increased to 52.84, the highest point since August, from 52.61 in November. “The Bank of Korea can afford to stay on hold this week, but we stick by our call that interest rates will go up before the end of this quarter, mainly to ease worries over household lending growth and asset bubbles,” said Frederic Neumann, senior Asia economist at HSBC. China’s heavy public spending on infrastructure launched in late 2008 has catalysed private investment in factories and property, lifting year-on-year

economic growth to 8.9 percent in the third quarter. The fiscal stimulus is also adding upward pressure on prices. Chinese manufacturers raised their prices at the fastest rate in 17 months in December, the PMI showed. Companies said the inflationary pressure came from a combination of buoyant market demand and rising raw material prices, particularly for steel. But many analysts believe that industrial overcapacity will restrain inflation pressures and that the government will rein in money growth to keep a lid on inflation. “We believe inflation will be manageable in the coming months,” Qu Hongbin, chief China economist at HSBC, said. The Chinese leadership has pledged greater policy flexibility this year, which the market has interpreted as a pledge to gradually shift to a tightening bias after taking only small steps until now to wind down ultra-loose monetary policy. — Reuters

Swiss firm to focus on eye-care industry

Novartis looks to take over Alcon for $38.5bn BASEL, Switzerland: Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG said yesterday it plans to take over eye-care company Alcon Inc by paying $38.5 billion for the 77 percent stake it does not already own. Novartis said it will

complete its pre-agreed purchase of Nestle SA’s 52 percent stake before carrying out an all-shares merger with Alcon that would give it control of the remaining 23 percent stake held by minority shareholders.

BASEL: Swiss drugs giant Novartis’ headquarters in Basel. Novartis yesterday said it bought an additional 52 percent stake in the world’s biggest eye firm Alcon from Nestle for $28.1 billion (19.7 billion euros). — AFP

Strike halts Chile Chuqui output, Altonorte near deal CALAMA: Workers at Chile’s Chuquicamata, the world’s second biggest copper complex, began a strike over pay early yesterday, hitting output from global No. 1 producer Codelco and boosting prices for the metal. News of the strike, the first at Chuquicamata since 1996, came hours after employees at the Altonorte copper smelter said they were close to reaching a wage deal with owner Xstrata to end a near week-long strike that also fanned supply fears. Codelco sources have estimated the Chuquicamata complex in far northern Chile, which includes the Chuquicamata and Mina Sur deposits and produces around 4 percent of the world’s mined copper, will lose up to 1,800 tons of copper output per day and cost the state around $8 million per day in lost revenue. Chuquicamata was expected to produce 565,000 tons of copper in 2009. “Operations have stopped. There is no production,” a Codelco official told Reuters, asking not to be named. Workers at the complex began their strike over pay at 0800 GMT. The stoppage helped drive international copper prices higher, though a senior Codelco official said the stateowned giant has enough stocks to honor deliveries early this year. By 1102 GMT, copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange was trading up around 2 percent at $7,504 a ton, a fresh 16month high and adding to

gains of around 140 percent posted during 2009. “Most workers have adhered to the strike. We’re waiting for a call from the administration to resume talks,” said Jaime Graz, a leader at one of Chuquicamata’s three unions. Strikes at Codelco have historically been short-lived and analysts expect the latest stoppage to be brief and cause little supply shortfall, albeit while supporting market sentiment. Local newspaper La Tercera quoted a Codelco official as saying the company could make a new offer to workers yesterday in a bid to halt the strike. Unions said Codelco made a wage offer on Saturday in a bid to head off the strike, but they refused to study it because it was not a formal offer. Codelco has said it was ready for the strike but has not specified how long its stocks will last.

The strike comes just as Codelco was set to break years of dwindling output, the firm does not face another round of major wage negotiations until later this year. Local experts say the strike does not have much backing around the country as most Chileans do not understand the Chuquicamata workers’ position, because they are considered well paid. Workers only very narrowly voted to strike. Codelco is also a key revenue earner for the state, so the government, which has relied heavily on windfall copper savings to fund fiscal stimulus to counter global financial crisis and Chile’s first recession in a decade, will be keen to avoid a protracted disruption. Last-ditch negotiations between Codelco and the unions failed over the weekend, when union leaders rejected an improved compa-

ny offer. Workers argue that they should enjoy benefits similar to peers at private mine Escondida, the world’s biggest copper mine, which is majority-owned by global diversified miner BHP Billiton. Union leaders at the Altonorte smelter said late on Sunday workers could sign a deal with global miner Xstrata as early as yesterday and possibly resume operations later the same day. An Xstrata spokeswoman in Chile said the company hoped to clinch a final deal yesterday. The Altonorte complex produced 232,000 tons of copper anodes in 2008. Xstrata said the stoppage coincided with general maintenance at the plant, which lowered anode output to a minimum. Maintenance work, which is carried out every 2-1/2 years, is due to end on Jan. 20. — Reuters

Zambia 2010 GDP likely above 7%: CB chief LUSAKA: Zambia is likely to register economic growth exceeding 7 percent in 2010, spurred by a resurgence in mining and a boom in construction and agriculture, Bank of Zambia (BoZ) Governor Caleb Fundanga said yesterday. The Central Statistical Office said in October the economy was expected to grow by 6.3 percent in 2009. Fundanga said two new mines were expected to open in north-western Zambia and that Munali nickel mine, which closed at the height of the global financial crisis, would likely resume operations. Zambia is Africa’s largest copper producer. He said rising international copper prices and large construction projects would support economic growth. “All these factors suggest that there is going to be remarkable development and one should expect a growth of at least 7 percent or even above for this year,” Fundanga said.

Fundanga also said the country was likely to meet the 2010 target of braking inflation to 8 percent. Annual headline inflation slowed to single digits for the first time in 21 months in December. “The fact that inflation was brought down to 9.9 percent in December is something worth celebrating and going forward we think that inflation should dip further to around 8 percent,” Fundanga said. BoZ acting director of economics department, Mulenga Pamu said Zambia’s chances of meeting the inflation target would be boosted by rising international copper prices that should support the local currency. “The increase in copper prices always leads to the appreciation of the kwacha and that will help to ease inflationary pressures. With these positive fundamentals, we expect to achieve the 8 percent targeted annual inflation rate for this year,” Pamu said. — Reuters

The Basel-based drug maker already owned 25 percent of Alcon when it agreed in April 2008 to pay Nestle $28 billion to acquire its majority stake. “This is the right time to simplify Alcon’s ownership to eliminate uncertainties for employees and shareholders,” said Novartis chairman and chief executive Daniel Vasella. “It will also allow us to strengthen innovation power by combining R&D efforts and grow our global market presence thanks to our complementary product portfolios,” he said in a statement. Alcon is based in Huenenberg, Switzerland, and has its US headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. The company employs some 15,000 people worldwide and specializes in surgical equipment and devices, contacts lens solutions and other consumer eye-care products. It posted a net profit of $515 million, or $1.71 per share, in the third quarter. Alcon said a committee composed of its three independent board members has engaged financial and legal counsel to evaluate the proposed merger. Under the terms of the merger proposal, Alcon’s minority shareholders would receive 2.8 Novartis shares for each Alcon share, the companies said. “Based on the Novartis share price and US dollar/Swiss franc exchange rates prior to the announcement, this would value each publicly traded share of Alcon at approximately $153,” Alcon said. This is considerably less than the $180 per share Novartis is paying Nestle. The proposed merger requires regulatory approval. “Novartis intends to gain full ownership of Alcon Inc. by first completing the April 2008 agreement with Nestle SA to acquire a 77 percent majority stake in a global leader in eye care,” Novartis said. It would then enter into an all-share direct merger with Alcon for the remaining 23 percent minority stake. “The addition of Alcon will strategically strengthen our health care portfolio and our position in eye care, a sector with dynamic growth due to the increasing patient needs of an aging population,” the chairman and chief executive of Novartis, Daniel Vasella, said. At CM-CIC, analyst Arsene Guekam, said that the acquisition was “perfectly appropriate” to the strategy pursued by Novartis. “The growth of this market is very sustained and the level of margin comparable to that of the pharmaceutical industry,” he said. — Agencies

HONG KONG: This photo shows a display board of the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong. Global equities began the new decade in a brisk, optimistic spirit yesterday on prospects for recovery in contrast to near despair and deep uncertainty 12 months ago when shares crashed amid the worst downturn since the 1930s. — AFP

Upbeat data bolsters UK recovery hopes for 2010 LONDON: A sharp rise in manufacturing activity, mortgage approvals and a key measure of money supply boosted hopes yesterday that Britain’s economy is gaining traction after an 18-month recession. The data backs government and Bank of England forecasts that Britain’s economy, which unlike the euro zone and United States remained stuck in recession in the third quarter, returned to growth towards the end of 2009. The figures also strengthened expectations that the BoE will not extend its asset purchase program designed to boost money supply and promote lending once the 200 billion pound target is reached in early February. “It’s been a strong start to the year for UK domestic data,” said Philip Shaw, economist at Investec. “While the Monetary Policy Committee has left the door ajar for more quantitative easing, we think it is more likely that 200 billion will be the final total.” British manufacturing activity expanded at its fastest pace in more than two years in December, according to the CIPS/Markit purchasing managers’ index which rose to 54.1 last month, after a surprise fall to 51.8 in November. Particularly encouraging was a 4 point rise in the new orders index to 57.4, its highest level since July 2007. The increase was driven by domestic demand, as growth of new export orders was only slight. Sterling rallied to a session high versus the dollar after the data. The economy represents the key battleground for votes in the pre-election campaigns of Britain’s main political parties, which kicked

off in the last few days for in preparation for a national vote due by June 2010. The Conservative opposition has profited from the weak state of the economy and is tipped to win power for the first time since 1997, while the Labor government is hoping that a quick rebound will improve its chances at the polls. The recovery in Britain’s housing marketwhere prices rose almost 6 percent in 2009 according to the Nationwide Building Societycontinued to maintain momentum. Approvals for mortgages for house purchase, a lead indicator of demand, rose by almost 3,000 in November to 60,518. This was the highest level since March 2008, and more than double the record low hit in November 2008. “The figures have surprised positively,” said Amit Kara, economist at UBS. “They are consistent with our more constructive view on UK housing as well as for overall economic growth this year.” The recovery in house prices and a brightening economic outlook have made banks less cautious about lending. Net mortgage lending rose by a surprisingly large 1.459 billion pounds in November, its highest since February. And while consumers repaid unsecured debt for a fifth consecutive month, the 376 million pound repayment was well below the 591 million pounds repaid in October. There was also a marked rise in the BOE’s preferred money supply measure, which attempts to strip out distortions from the financial sector and measure flows through the real economy. — Reuters

GM says China sales rise 67% in 2009 BEIJING: General Motors Co said yesterday that 2009 sales in China by the company and its local partners rose 67 percent to a record 1.8 million vehicles amid tax cuts and incentives to help boost the industry. Detroit-based GM and other global automakers are looking to China’s fast-growing market to drive sales amid slack demand elsewhere. Chinese auto purchases surpassed those in the United States for all but two of the first 11 months of the year. Total sales for December are yet to be released. GM said its own China sales in December soared 96.6 percent from a year earlier to a new monthly high of 189,793 vehicles. “Despite the sales records in

2009, it looks as if 2010 will be even stronger. The industry outlook is strong and we expect more growth, albeit on a somewhat slower pace,” GM China president Kevin Wale said in a statement. Beijing has helped to boost auto sales with tax cuts and subsidies for drivers to shift to cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars. Most of that aid has gone to Chinese makers of smaller cars, though foreign producers also see sales rising. GM and other automakers are looking to first-time buyers in smaller Chinese cities to help drive sales as incomes outside the country’s prosperous east coast rise. GM said its SAICGM-Wuling joint venture with

local partners Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp. and Wuling became the country’s first automaker to exceed 1 million units in annual sales in 2009. It said sales rose 63.9 percent to 1.06 million vehicles. Sales by Shanghai GM, a joint venture with SAIC, rose 63.3 percent to 727,620 units, GM said. GM’s corporate operations in China also expanded rapidly in 2009. The company opened a science laboratory and a vehicle safety lab and broke ground on what it says is China’s biggest vehicle proving ground. Last month, GM and SAIC announced they were launching a new venture to produce and sell cars in India. — AP

INDONESIA: Handout photo taken and released by the Indonesian presidential press office yesterday shows Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (bottom R) as he waves to Indonesian Stock Exchange workers to mark the opening ceremony of the first trading day of the new year of the Indonesian Stock Exchange in Jakarta yesterday. Yudhoyono promised to boost investment by removing red tape blamed for slowing growth in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. — AFP


TECHNOLOGY

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems Also called: Backache, Lumbago gery or minimally invasive surgery (MIS), but usually we prefer the MIS as first choice, which allows us to solve this problem through a very small incision(3-4mm), using very tiny instruments. For patients, minimally invasive surgery means less trauma to the body, less blood loss, smaller surgical scars and less need for pain medication. Patients leave the hospital sooner after minimally invasive surgery and return to normal activities sooner than with conventional open surgery.

f you’ve ever groaned, “Oh, my aching back!”, you are not alone. Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lives. Back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain. Acute back pain comes on suddenly and usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Back pain is called chronic if it lasts for more than three months. Most back pain goes away on its own, though it may take awhile. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers and resting can help. However, staying in bed for more than 1 or 2 days can make it worse. If your back pain is severe or doesn’t improve after three days, you should call your health care provider. You should also get medical attention if you have back pain following an injury.

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What is Back Pain? Acute or short-term low back pain generally lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Most acute back pain is the result of trauma to the lower back or a disorder such as arthritis. Pain from trauma may be caused by a sports injury, work around the house or in the garden, or a sudden jolt such as a car accident or other stress on spinal bones and tissues. Symptoms may range from muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and range of motion, or an inability to stand straight. Chronic back pain is pain that persists for more than 3 months. It is often progressive and the cause can be difficult to determine. What are the causes of low back pain and upper back pain? Rarely, infections and tumors cause lower back pain and upper back pain more common causes include: • Mechanical problems - difficulty moving your spine in certain ways: An example is disc degeneration - the discs located between the vertebrae of the spine have broken down with age. Other mechanical causes of back pain include spasms, muscle tension, and ruptured or herniated discs. • Injuries: Spine injuries such as sprains and fractures can cause either short-lived or chronic pain. Sprains are tears in the ligaments that support the spine, and they can occur from improper twisting or lifting. Fractured vertebrae are often the result of osteoporosis. • Change in appearance - redness, bruising • Acquired conditions and diseases: Many medical conditions can cause or contribute to back pain. These include scoliosis, pregnancy, kidney stones, and fibromyalgia. What are the symptomsof back pain? The symptoms of back pain are: • Persistent aching or stiffness along the spine, from the base of the neck to the hips. • Sharp, local pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back — especially after strenuous activity. • A chronic ache in the middle or lower back, especially after sitting or standing for a long time. Is there any treatment? Most low back pain can be treated without surgery. Treatment involves using over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce discomfort and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation. The goal of treatment is to restore proper function and strength to the back, and prevent recurrence of the injury. Medications are often used to treat acute and chronic low back pain. Effective pain relief may involve a combination of prescription drugs and over-the-counter remedies. Although the use of cold and hot compresses has never been scientifically proven to quickly resolve low back injury, compresses may help reduce pain and inflammation and allow greater mobility for some individuals. Bed rest is recommended for only 1-2 days at most. Individuals should resume activities as soon as possible. Exercise may be the most effective way to speed recovery from low back pain and help strengthen back and abdominal muscles. In the most serious cases, when the condition does not respond to other therapies, surgery may relieve pain caused by back problems or serious musculoskeletal injuries. What is the prognosis? Most patients with back pain recover without residual functional loss, but individuals should contact a doctor if there is not a noticeable reduction in pain and

inflammation after 72 hours of self-care. Recurring back pain resulting from improper body mechanics or other nontraumatic causes is often preventable. Engaging in exercises that don’t jolt or strain the back, maintaining correct posture, and lifting objects properly can help prevent injuries. Many work-related injuries are caused or aggravated by stressors such as heavy lifting, vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture. Applying ergonomic principles - designing furniture and tools to protect the body from injury - at home and in the workplace can greatly reduce the risk of back injury and help maintain a healthy back. What research is being done? The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and other institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct pain research in laboratories at the NIH and also support pain research through grants to major medical institutions across the country. Currently, researchers are examining the use of different drugs to effectively treat back pain, in particular, chronic pain that has lasted at least 6 months. Other studies are comparing different health care approaches to the management of acute low back pain (standard care versus chiropractic, acupuncture, or massage therapy). These studies are measuring symptom relief, restoration of function, and patient satisfaction. Other research is comparing standard surgical treatments to the most commonly used standard nonsurgical treatments to measure changes in health-related quality of life among patients suffering from spinal stenosis. Many people complain that they have Herniated Disk, what does that mean? Also called: Bulging disk, Compressed disk, Herniated intervertebral disk, Herniated nucleus pulposus, Prolapsed disk, Ruptured disk, Slipped disk.Your backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between

them are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. A herniated disk is a disk that slips out of place or ruptures. If it presses on a nerve, it can cause back pain or sciatica. Symptoms include • Back pain that spreads to the buttocks and legs, when the herniated disk is in your lower back • Neck pain that spreads to the shoulders and upper arms, when the herniated disk is in your upper back • Tingling or numbness • Muscle spasms or weakness With treatment, most people recover. It can take a long time. Treatments include rest, pain and anti-inflammatory medicines, physical therapy and sometimes surgery. Losing weight can help, too. Can you explain for us what do you main Sciatica ? Sciatica is a symptom of a problem with the sciatic nerve, a large nerve that runs from the lower back down the back of each leg. It controls muscles in the back of your knee and lower leg and provides feeling to the back of your thigh, part of your lower leg and the sole of your foot. When you have sciatica, you have pain, weakness, numbness or tingling. It can start in the lower back and extend down your leg to your calf, foot, or even your toes. It’s usually on only one side of your body. Sciatica may be due to a ruptured intervertebral disk, narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the nerve called spinal stenosis, or an injury such as a pelvic fracture. In many cases no cause can be found. Sometimes sciatica goes away on its own. Treatment, if needed, depends on the cause of the problem. It may include exercises, medicines and surgery. In case patients are not responding to medicines or exercises, what is the solution ? In this case we have to go for the surgical option, which can be open sur-

Modern Treatment for Herniated Discs- HydroDiscectomy (HydroCision) What is the latest and safest techniques you are using for such cases? HydroDiscectomy from HydroCision, is one of the latest and safest technique I’m using, it is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a high-speed water stream to remove herniated disc tissue, relieving the nerve pressure that causes back and leg pain, which provides benefits over other procedures(Laser,Heat & radiofrequencies). It uses a small puncture, which means the patient will experience less pain, under local anaesthesia, no general anaesthesia, no hospital stay, faster recovery, back to work quickly, than with open surgical methods. HydroCision intends to solve unmet needs and improve outcomes in spine surgery by providing fluidjet-driven medical devices for use in open and minimally-invasive spine procedures, to simultaneously cut, ablate, and remove hard and soft tissue quickly, safely, and effectively without the collateral thermal or mechanical trauma of other surgical modalities. A further major advantage of Hydrosurgery is the ability to achieve “differential” tissue excision. This allows the spine surgeon to quickly and safely remove soft tissue, such as disc nucleus, without damaging the surrounding harder annulus tissue or vertebral endplates. Befor and during the procedure: we usualy perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine the location and severity of the herniated disc. Only discs that have not ruptured into the spinal canal may be treated with HydroDiscectomy. HydroDiscectomy is performed using a fluoroscope which is a machine that projects live x-ray pictures onto a monitor. This allows us to place the SPINEJET device within the spinal disc without using a large incision. The procedure may be performed using a local anaesthesia so you may remain awake. Then we insert the SPINEJET device by dilating a tiny hole in the disc wall. Once the device is in place, the water-jet action works to quickly remove a part of the disc (15-25% of the total disc) making a space for the bulge to get back to the normal. This procedure we call it nerve root Decompression by HydroDiscectomy , the entire procedure takes 10-15 minutes. After the procedure: • In most cases, the patient is able to go home after 2-4 Hrs. • Plan on bed rest with gentle streching for several days. • The patient need over-thecounter or prescription pain medication for several days. • He may able to return to work in 2-3 days depending on his job. • He should avoid lpong periods of sitting as wel as bending, twisting and lifting for several weeks. • Finaly, he can start a streching or physical exercise program after about a week. Who is a good candidate ? A good candidate for HydroDiscectomy if: • The disc is bulging and material inside the disc (nucleus) has not ruptured into the spinal canal. • Symtomps are sever and disabling. • Pain has not improved after four or more weeks of non-surgical treatment. • The patient has signs of nerve damage in the leg (severe weakness, loss of coordination, loss of feeling). • Symtomps are getting worse. • He is not a candidate for open surgery.

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Future uncertain for stuck Mars rover LOS ANGELES: Spirit has always been the unluckier of NASA’s twin Mars rovers. Just weeks after landing in a Martian crater in 2004, it went haywire and transmitted gibberish to Earth. Engineers eventually nursed it back to health. As if the near-death experience wasn’t enough, Spirit was upstaged early on by its twin Opportunity, which landed in a geologic gold mine and was the first to determine that the frigid, dusty planet possessed a wetter past. Bad luck has fallen again on Spirit. As the workhorse rover marks its sixth year on the red planet on Sunday, it finds itself stuck in a sand trap, perhaps forever. The six-wheel robot geologist has been in jams before, but this is the worst predicament yet. With Martian winter arriving in several months, Spirit may not have enough power to keep going unless scientists can point the solarpowered rover toward the sun. Spirit “has always been our drama queen,” chief scientist Steve Squyres of Cornell University said. The latest misfortune occurred in April when Spirit, driving backward because of a lame wheel, broke through the crusty ground like a person falling through a frozen pond and became bogged in fluffy sand. Little progress has been made to free Spirit since. NASA was dealt a major setback recently when another wheel appeared to have stopped moving, leaving Spirit with only four working wheels to plot its great escape. “With only four driving wheels, it doesn’t look good,” project manager John Callas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said. It’s been a particularly rough year for Spirit. Besides getting stuck in a sand rut, it suffered sporadic bouts of amnesia and other woes including sudden computer reboots. Though the prognosis of getting Spirit out looks bleak, scientists are not ready to give up yet. But if they exhaust all escape options, they will switch to Plan B and try to tilt the rover to the north where it can get more sunshine to keep

running so that it can continue to do science in one spot. “If we can’t get the rover unstuck, it will become a Mars lander,” Callas said. Unlike a rover, which performs science experiments as it roams, a lander studies its surroundings while stationary. Fortunately for researchers, what may turn out to be Spirit’s final resting spot looks like a scientific bonanza. The sand is rich in sulfate, a mineral that forms in the presence of water, researchers say. Originally designed as a three-month mission, Spirit and Opportunity have operated past their warranty. Since Spirit landed on Jan. 3, 2004, followed by Opportunity three weeks later, the rovers have driven a total of more than 16 miles (26 kilometers), cresting hills and peering into craters. Spirit and Opportunity are also closing in on the record for longest-running Mars surface mission currently held by the Viking 1 lander, which operated on the planet for six years and 116 days. From the start, Spirit has had hard luck. Squyres, the mission’s chief scientist, attributes part of that to geography. Opportunity didn’t have to work hard to impress scientists because it parachuted to an ancient lakebed awash with minerals that pointed to geologic evidence of past water. Spirit, on the other hand, touched down in the rugged lava plains of a crater on the opposite side of the planet and had to trek toward the hills to make discoveries. “In order to get the science, we simply had to push Spirit harder,” Squyres said. There’s one feat that Spirit achieved on its own. In 2005, it became the first robotic craft to scale an extraterrestrial hill as tall as the Statue of Liberty. With Spirit immobile, it’s still snapping pictures of its surroundings and sending data back to Earth. Spirit’s next challenge will be surviving the upcoming Martian winter. Meanwhile, Opportunity has been busy grinding into a dark-toned rock that scientists think may be a stony meteorite. — AP

Networks blur policy of not paying for interviews NEW YORK: Policies forbidding payment for news interviews are being increasingly blurred by US television networks vying for access to accidental celebrities and photos. Three of the past month’s accidental celebrities — Jasper Schuringa, the Dutch tourist who helped thwart an attack on a Detroit-bound plane; David Goldman, who took a custody fight for his son to Brazil; and the White House party-crashing Salahis — have either sought or received goodies from TV networks eager to hear their stories. Schuringa gave interviews to outlets that had agreed to purchase blurry cell phone images he’d taken of a man who authorities say tried to use explosives to take down the plane. Goldman and his son accepted NBC’s offer of a ride home from Brazil on a charter airplane. Representatives for Michaele and Tareq Salahi, who embarrassed the Obama administration by sneaking into a state dinner, were reportedly seeking six-figure bids from networks to tell their story. “I don’t know if people would have thought of that in the past,” said Andy Schotz, head of the ethics committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. “But now often the first thing people think of is to get a publicist, a lawyer and an agent and figure out how to make money” from instant notoriety, he said. The society condemned NBC for “checkbook journalism” with the Goldman trip. NBC said it had already chartered a plane to bring its personnel back from Brazil, and Goldman’s lawyer said the invitation was accepted so father and son could avoid being accosted by multiple camera crews on the way home.

But NBC took multiple pictures and interviewed Goldman on the plane before his exclusive interview for the morning news show “Today” with Meredith Vieira. And the network seems immune to the industry’s financial troubles: A chartered jet from Brazil to New York would cost about $90,000, according to Blue Star Jets, a New Yorkbased charter company. Going commercial, a coach seat runs under $1,400. Policies against paying for interviews are in place to avoid distorting the news. The concern is that news subjects will change their stories to make them more valuable or please those who paid them. Evasion efforts seem centered primarily on ultra-competitive morning news shows and prime-time magazines. These outlets now fight for stories that might have been considered tabloid fodder years ago, often against Web sites or other outlets that won’t hesitate to pay for an interview or information. News organizations now frequently pay interview subjects for the use of personal photos or videos. Both CNN and ABC paid for a Schuringa photo, reportedly thousands of dollars, and insisted they were not paying for an interview. Yet the Web site Gawker.com said Shai Ben-Ami, a Schuringa friend who was helping arrange media appearances, made it clear the Dutch hero wouldn’t speak to an outlet that didn’t buy rights to a photo. Ben-Ami would not comment to The Associated Press. It’s an increasingly easy dodge in these days of cell phone cameras, when there are usually visual images available to accompany an interview. Morning shows will often bring

an interview subject to New York and cover expenses. (It’s not payment for an interview, but it can be a nice vacation.) Networks can skirt ethics policies by putting their entertainment divisions in charge of an interview, said Nicolla Hewitt, a longtime network news booker. These would seem most likely in cases involving major celebrities. “Do I think it’s right? No,” Hewitt said. “But is it the new reality? Yes.” Paul Friedman, a veteran news executive and CBS News senior vice president, said there’s a generational change with more people in the industry who argue that the old standards are too rigid. The Schuringa case led Foster Kamer, a Gawker.com writer, to mock the network news divisions. Gawker has acknowledged that it paid for a story last fall where a collaborator to Richard Heene provided evidence that the “balloon boy” episode was a hoax. “Mainstream outlets who hold themselves in higher regards than those (like ours) who openly admit ponying up for a story are doing the same thing themselves, the sole difference being: We don’t feel the need to lie about it,” Kamer wrote. “Why do they?” Paul Levinson, head of the communications department at Fordham University, said he’s been paid for interviews by the British Broadcasting Corp. (“I’m not allergic to money,” he said.) He said he can’t recall a case where the story was distorted because money was exchanged and argues that the policy doesn’t make sense. “It has always been the case that our free press operates in a capitalist economy — meaning money is involved, whether we like it or not,” he said. — AP

25,000 Britain-trained doctors to leave for India NEW DELHI: Nearly 25,000 British doctors of Indian origin are set to emigrate to India within two to four years, a report said yesterday quoting a British medical association. “There are around 15,000 young Indian-origin doctors undergoing training in differ-

ent parts of Britain who will return to India,” Ramesh Mehta, president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, told media in New Delhi. “Also, at least 10,000 senior doctors of Indian origin who are retiring from their jobs in the UK are set to

return to India,” the doctor said, according to India-based The Economic Times. Mehta said many of them were expected to take up positions in seven new elite medical centres for which the Indian health ministry is looking for quality doctors. The centres will be dotted

around the country and modelled on the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), considered India’s best staterun research and treatment centre. “We believe that these young doctors who are undergoing training in the UK currently can be of great help in the new AIIMS-like insti-

tutes,” Mehta said. The central government has given the go-ahead to seven AIIMS-type medical institutions in the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Economic Times said. — AFP

NEW YORK: This Monday, Feb 2, 2009 picture shows the Time Warner Center, background left, in New York. Sculptures at Columbus Circle are seen in the foreground. The Fox television network and Time Warner Cable on Friday announced an agreement in principle on a television programming deal that allows signals to continue for millions of cable subscribers. — AP


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HEALTH & SCIENCE

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

China records 659 swine flu deaths in 2009 France on the defensive over flu vaccine surplus BEIJING: China said yesterday it had recorded 659 swine flu deaths in 2009, nearly all of them in the last two months of the year, and warned that the danger of mass outbreaks still existed in certain areas. The health ministry said the total number of A(H1N1) infections recorded since the virus was first detected last year stood at 120,940. At the end of October, the reported death toll stood at just six. The number of recorded deaths then spiked, reaching about 180 at the start of December and 659 by the end of the month. “The danger of an explosion of outbreaks in some places exists, and the number of fatalities and serious cases will remain at a rather high level,” said Liang Wannian, director of the ministry’s emergency response office. Serious difficulties remained in containing the spread of the virus in rural areas and at schools, Liang told a press conference. Ministry officials had already warned of a “grim” winter flu outlook, and are urging caution ahead of the February Lunar New Year holidays, when hundreds of millions of people swamp roads and railways to visit family. In November, renowned medical whistle-blower Zhong Nanshan, who helped expose the scale of the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, said the true A(H1N1) death count was being covered up. The government responded

by ordering more accurate case reporting by officials. China has so far vaccinated 49.9 million people, Liang said-the largest campaign in the world, but still only a small proportion of the country’s 1.3 billion people. Chinese laboratories were at the forefront of worldwide efforts to develop and mass-produce a swine flu vaccine, but the quick clinical trials and production cycle led to concerns that the shot was perhaps unsafe. Liang said China’s vaccine was not linked to the deaths last month of two people following their inoculations. “Following confirmation, the deaths... had nothing to do with the inoculations,” Liang said, without giving the causes of death or any details about the two deceased. Officials have said that adverse reactions were only reported in a handful of cases-about one out of a million jabs. Meanwhile, the French government fought off yesterday criticism that it had poorly planned its swine flu vaccine programme after it bought more doses than needed and announced plans to sell surplus stock. France bought 94 million doses of the vaccines for the A(H1N1) virus, expecting to provide its population with two doses each, but only five million people have been vaccinated and one dose has been found to be sufficient. “What would people be saying if the pandemic had been serious?” said

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, a trained medical doctor, after several opposition politicians took a swipe at the government. “We are very happy that this virus turned out to be less virulent than we thought,” he said. The minister cautioned that winter was not yet over and that there could still be a spike in illnesses that would prompt more people to turn up for their shot. Qatar has bought 300,000 doses and Egypt is negotiating to buy two million, according to the health ministry. France is also in discussions with Mexico and Ukraine to buy some of its stock. Socialist opposition spokesman Benoit Hamon said the government had provided pharmaceutical companies with a boon and that it was waging a campaign of “fear mongering” to try to liquidate the vaccine stock. President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government is trying to justify the fact that it “paid one billion euros to pharmaceutical companies who are the big winners in this entire affair,” said Hamon. Swine flu has killed at least 12,220 people worldwide with the biggest share of victims in the United States and Canada, though it is now declining in North America, according to the World Health Organisation. A total of 198 people-including 24 children under the age of 15 — have died from the virus in France and its overseas departments, according to health authorities. — AFP

VAL-DE-REUIL: In this photo taken Oct. 19, 2009, swine flu vaccines are seen at the Sanofi-Pasteur production plant manufacturing a vaccine for the H1N1 flu virus, in Val-de-Reuil, western Paris. The French Health Ministry says the country is selling its extra swine flu vaccines to other nations. The ministry says Qatar has bought 300,000 doses and Egypt is in the process of buying 2 million. — AP

China river diesel spill prompts water use alert HONG KONG: Pedestrians cover their faces as they cross a street in Hong Kong yesterday. Hong Kong’s roadside air pollution reached life-threatening levels one in every eight days last year, a report has revealed, citing figures obtained from the government. — AFP

Hong Kong air pollution at ‘life-threatening’ levels HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s roadside air pollution reached life-threatening levels one in every eight days last year, a report said yesterday, citing figures obtained from the government. The roadside air pollution index recorded by the Environmental Protection Department showed there were 44 days of “very high pollution” in the Central district last year, the South China Morning Post said. The figure was significantly higher than 39 days in 2008 and 13 days in 2005, the newspaper said. “Very high pollution” levels-with the air pollution index exceeding 100 — can significantly aggravate the symptoms of people with heart or respiratory illness, the department said. Healthy people may experience irritation to the eyes, wheezing, coughing and sore throats. A roadside station in the densely-populated Mongkok district recorded 37 “very high pollution” days last year, compared to just one five years ago, the report said. In Causeway Bay, another busy shopping and residential hub, the figure is up five-fold from 2005, reaching 25 days, the report said. A department spokesman said the trend could be partly attributed to unfavourable

weather conditions and that the index did not reflect the full picture. “Selective picking of a certain range of Air Pollution Index readings for comparison will not give a fair and comprehensive picture of how air quality changes over the years,” a department spokesman said in a written reply to AFP. However, a team of scientists said findings from their own research show that the roadside pollutant levels in Central were two or three times higher than the government figures. “From the findings of our study, we can logically deduce that the number of ‘very high pollution’ days would be more than the (government’s) figure,” said team leader Chak Chan, acting head of the environment division at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Chan said their findings were more accurate because they used mobile measuring devices, while the government used stationary tools. Air quality in Hong Kong continues to deteriorate due to emissions from the southern Chinese factory belt over Hong Kong’s northern border and local emissions from power generators and transport. The city has been wrapped in a thick blanket of haze for most days in recent months. — AFP

BEIJING: Hundreds of thousands of Chinese were ordered yesterday to stop drinking water from the Yellow River after an upstream pipeline leaked 100 tons of diesel fuel into a tributary. The leak is the latest environmental disaster to strike China’s waterways, considered among the world’s most heavily polluted. The diesel spilled from a broken pipeline on Wednesday into the Wei River, which feeds into the Yellow River, a water source for millions of Chinese. Three counties and an industrial zone in western Shanxi province have been ordered to halt their use of river water, according to a notice issued by the local government. The areas have a combined

population of about 850,000 people. The warning contradicted earlier reports that the contaminated water had been contained after workers dug diversion channels and used floating dams and solidifying agents to try to stop the diesel spill. “Relevant departments remind those living along the river that for the sake of safety, both people and livestock should suspend use of Yellow River water for drinking,” said the notice from the region’s Yuncheng city government publicity office. Yuncheng is an industrial center 720 miles (1,160 kilometers) southwest of China’s capital, Beijing. The notice did not say how much of the slick had made it into the river, saying only that tests showed the leak

sion and a treatment for depression,” he added in the study published in the Friday issue of Sleep magazine. The study followed the nightly habits of some 15,659 college and high-school students, and found those who consistently went to bed after midnight had a 24 percent higher risk of depression than those who turned in before 10:00 pm. Night owls also ran a 20 percent higher risk of battling suicidal thoughts, the study added. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adolescents should sleep at least nine hours or more a night. Those who were tucked in before 10:00 pm reported they slept on average about eight hours and 10 minutes. But that amount of sleep dropped sig-

nificantly for those in bed after midnight. And adolescents who slept five hours or less a night were 71 percent more likely to suffer depression and 48 percent more at risk of becoming suicidal, the study said. “It is a common perception and societal expectation that adolescents do not need as much sleep as pre-adolescents, yet studies suggest that adolescents may actually require more sleep,” said Gangwisch. “Studies have found that adolescents do not go to bed early enough to compensate for earlier school start times, and transitions to earlier school start times have been shown to be associated with significant sleep deprivation.” — AFP

oil and gas. More than 20 percent of water tested in nearly 200 Chinese rivers was considered unsafe for use, according to a report by the Ministry of Environmental Protection on the state of the environment in 2007. China’s Environmental Ministry has tried to shut down polluting factories along China’s main waterways, but its power is limited because local environmental protection bureaus are under the control of local governments. In 2005 carcinogenic chemicals, including benzene, spilled into the Songhua River, forcing the northeastern city of Harbin to sever water supplies to 3.8 million people for five days. The accident also strained relations with Russia, into which the poisoned waters flowed. — AP

East Timor’s ticking AIDS timebomb DILI: The tiny nation of East Timor could face a deadly AIDS epidemic, with promiscuity among youths, low condom use and general ignorance leading to a sharp increase in reported cases, doctors said. “Most likely it will be a disaster in the near future,” said Dr. Daniel Murphy, founder of

Bairo Pite Clinic, one of four voluntary AIDS testing centres in Dili. East Timor is considered a low prevalence country for HIV, but government statistics point to a significant increase in the number of registered cases, rising from six in 2003 to 117 in April this year-a 20-fold leap.

Beat the blues by going to bed early NEW YORK: It seems parents have long been right. Going to bed early is key to getting enough sleep and helping adolescents feel on top of the world, a new study reported. A lack of sleep among youngsters may trigger depression and suicidal thoughts, according to the study by the Columbia University Medical Center. “Our results are consistent with the theory that inadequate sleep is a risk factor for depression, working with other risk and protective factors through multiple possible causal pathways to the development of this mood disorder,” said lead author James Gangwisch. “Adequate quality sleep could therefore be a preventative measure against depres-

“could create an impact on the water quality of the Yellow River.” China’s second-longest river has already seen its water quality deteriorate rapidly in recent years as discharge from factories has increased and water levels have dropped because of diversion for booming cities. The pipeline’s owner, China National Petroleum Corp., said last week that it had plugged the leak in the pipeline and had removed a “large amount” of contaminated water, mud and sand. There was no immediate word on disruption of supplies from the pipeline, a key fuel conduit which links the capitals of northwest Gansu province and central Henan province. CNPC is China’s largest producer of

PRETORIA: This Oct. 27, 2009 photo shows Dr Patience Kweza, right, examining Mashamaite, left, a 4-year-old boy recently switched to secondline drugs after becoming resistant to the first regimen at the Tshwane District Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa, where the drugs only started arriving a few years ago, resistance is partly the unforeseen consequence of good intentions. — AP

The actual number of people living with HIV in East Timor, however, could be much higher as many people don’t get tested, Murphy said. “They think they have it under control,” he said, criticising complacency in the government of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, a former guerrilla and hero of the struggle for independence from Indonesia. “They should be going around the country and screening everyone. The benefit of being tested is you can get to grips with the epidemic and start therapy earlier and slow the spread down.” A 2004 study compiled by Family Health International found an HIV prevalence of three percent among female sex workers in deeply Catholic East Timor and one percent among men who have sex with men. The study found that a lot of men who had unprotected anal sex with other men also had sex with women. But knowledge of HIV did not equate to safe sex, it found. About 40 percent of sex workers didn’t know what a condom was while none asked clients to use one. More than 40 percent of East Timor’s population of 1.1 million are under 15 years of age. Women have, on average, eight children, while about 40 percent of men in East Timor are illiterate, and misconceptions about HIV are rife. A generation in need Of the 117 registered HIV cases, most were transmitted through heterosexual activity and the most affected demographic is 15-29-year-olds, health ministry HIV/AIDS officer Narciso Fernandes said. “Most young people have a misconception about the transmission of HIV,” he said. In 2006, a UNAIDS-funded survey

found that only seven percent of respondents had ever used a condom. Some 57 percent didn’t know how to use one and 35 percent were unaware condoms could prevent HIV. A United Nations Children’s Fund survey of more than 1,000 youths aged 15-25 in 2007 found that although 61 percent had heard of HIV, about half thought transmission could occur through mosquito bites or sharing clothes. Only a quarter of those surveyed knew condoms could prevent HIV. “This is why this is happening to the young people, because they don’t get education,” Fernandes said. National Aids Commission member Francisco Jeronimo said data gathered from a loose network of organizations all over the country indicated the real rate of infection could be some 40 times higher than officially reported. “The number of registered cases is about 120, but the estimate is in excess of 5,000,” he told AFP. “A lot of the work being done is to find those people who are being hidden from the official register to make sure we get the correct picture about the reality of the prevalence of this disease.” Kit Ming Leung, technical advisor on HIV/AIDS for the East Timor Red Cross, said the government should rethink its strategy, adopted from successful campaigns in other Asian countries, of targeting high-risk groups. “It seems many of the HIV cases that are being presented at hospitals are mostly not from high-risk groups,” she said. “My concern is that the current response model is looking primarily at high-risk groups and missing the general population-particularly young people.” A hard route to acceptance For the people living with

HIV in East Timor today, there are constant struggles. Many find themselves out of work and unable to support their families. Maria da Costa (not her real name) is HIV-positive and part of the Esperanza (Hope) group in Dili. Formed in 2004, the group is made up of about 50 people living with HIV who met through Bairo Pite Clinic, where they go for counselling and medication. “The important thing is for the ministry of health and clinics to spread information to all the people and go to rural areas,” da Costa, 34, said. “It even happens that nurses will spread information to the neighbours of people diagnosed with HIV. They tell them not to go close to this family and not to play with their children. They think that if they play together they will get infected.” Da Costa’s husband was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and died last year. One of their children, a six-year-old boy, has also tested positive. The church’s response is going to be crucial in East Timor, which is 95 percent Catholic. Reverend Daniel Marcal works on the HIV/AIDS support programme of Church World Service, a charity formed by the National Council of Churches. He says loosened attitudes towards relationships, or “free sex”, are commonplace. “When I speak in the church, I say free sex is a sin, but I can’t guarantee all my members will have the same view as me,” he said. “In East Timor, the government doesn’t prioritise HIV. They prioritise dengue fever, tuberculosis and malaria. “Now we are not taking the situation seriously enough to prevent it, so maybe more of the population of East Timor will soon be living with AIDS.” — AFP


30

WHATʼS ON IN KUWAIT

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

ESF rewards artists and musicians

T

he English School Fahaheel held its annual school wide Art and Music competition and inaugurated the new Lloyd Webber Theatre where the exhibition was held. Creative arts have a long history of excellence at ESF and are an important part of the English curriculum. The competition was sponsored by Mc Donald’s and was opened by Kuwait’s renowned artist Thuraya Al Baqsami.

Last week prizes sponsored by Mc Donald’s for the art competition were awarded to students at a special morning assembly. Prizes were also presented to students who won in the music competition. Students and Art and music Dept teachers shown with the winning students in their winter school and PE uniforms at the Lloyd Webber Theatre

Happy Birthday to our lovely baby Urmi Debnath who celebrated her 10th birthday On 1st January 2010. We all wish her success on every step in life. God Bless her. Best wishes come from Didun, Mammy, Papa, Sweet sister Mimi, Sonu, Mou didi, Tisha, Diya, Bubun, Pannu, Kartik, Neha, Manu kaka, Somu dada & Debu kaka.

KCWA presents ʻKala Milanʼ

K

uwait Canara Welfare Association (KCWA) is pleased to announce the mega event “Kala Milan” on Friday 9th April 2010 at American International School auditorium, Kuwait. The show will be a mixed bag of entertainment with theater, music & dance. Recently performed maiden Tiatr of Mangalorean Konkani ‘Kuwait Soddun Vetana’ will be performed on this occasion in response to the public demand and overwhelming popularity of the Tiatr. This indeed will be a golden opportunity for the people who missed to view the Tiatr last time, which depicts the real family drama and trauma of thousands of Mangaloreans working in Kuwait. The Tiatr which was originally written by Rosary ferns (Goa) was translated into Mangalorean Konkani by Lancy Rodrigues, Bondel who will be again directing it with the same cast/artists for the Tiatr, along with a totally new comedy sequel played by the top comedian Stephen Machado and team.

Victor Concesso, one of the popular Konkani singers will be flying in from India with his melodious super hit songs to perform for the first time in Kuwait. To further entertain the audience, one of the most reputed dance groups of Kuwait ‘Jovas XLNC’ will be performing sensational dances for the songs. KCWA which was established in 1988 is one of the premier organizations in Kuwait having established poor children’s education funds in more than 150 schools in Coastal Karnataka to provide primary education regardless of caste and creed (for more information please log on to www.kcwa.org). In Kuwait, KCWA has been instrumental for the past years in successfully organizing various cultural events and providing an opportunity to the Konkani singers/composers to come to Kuwait and show their talents. The proceedings of this event will be forwarded to “KCWA Poor Children’s Education Fund”.

T

he little ones of LKG from Jabriya Indian School had much fun in Hawally Park’ when they were taken for a picnic. All the tiny tots just forgot books and

Embassy information EMBASSY OF GREECE The Embassy of Greece has the pleasure to announce that with a view to promote business interaction and commercial relations between Greece and Kuwait and to present further support for the Kuwaiti importers, it requests all Kuwaiti Companies dealing with or representing Greek Companies in Kuwait to contact this Embassy as soon as possible and to provide by fax or e-mail the following information: (Name of the company, tel no, fax no, e-mail, type of business, name of the Greek companies/clients). The Embassy’s contacts are as follows: e-mail: gremb.kuw@mfa.gr; fax: 24817103, and tel no: 24817100, 24817101, 24817102.

JIS LKG at ʻFunlandʼ pencils and were thoroughly enjoying their hearts out. Their laughter and childish and pure excitement was wonderful to see and left them as winners of this day!

EMBASSY OF PHILIPPINES The Embassy of the Philippines wishes to inform the Filipino community in the State of Kuwait, that the recent supreme court decision to extend the registration of voter’s applies only in local registration in the Philippines under Republic Act no. 8189 and does not apply to overseas voters which is governed by Republic Act no. 9189, hence it has no impact on the plans and preparations on the conduct of overseas absentee voting. The overseas absentee voting for presidential elections will start on 10 April 2010 and will continue uninterrupted until 10 May 2010 daily at the Philippine Embassy. Registered overseas absentee voters are advised to schedule their days off in advance to avoid complications in their schedules. Qualified voters are encouraged to get out and vote.

Announcements Today R aag ‘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 K a l a n j a l i Po n g a l Vi z h a 2 0 1 0 : Kalanjali Kuwait is planning to organize ‘Pongal Vizha’ on January 15, 2010 in American International School. Special program, similar to Paattukku Paatu (in Tamil), by World famous Bh Abdul Hameed will be conducted. Interested participants can send an email with their details to kalanjaliq8@gmail.com for selection process in Dec 2009 or contact 99816937 / 66457286.

K K M A c h i l d re n ’ s d r a w i n g c o n t e s t : 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 www.kkma.net The Association thanked all class teachers and the art/drawing teachers of your school for their kind support without which we could not have received such an immense response. Contest titled as ‘World Peace’ KKMA-Tiffany Drawing Contest is conducted to promote a culture of nonviolence and peace by raising awareness among young children about these

concepts. The competition was open to all students of Indian Schools in Kuwait and divided in to four categories - Primary School (Class 1 to IV), Upper Primary School (Class V to VII), Secondary School (Class VIII to Class X), and Senior Secondary School (Class XI and Class XII). The Phase 1 of the contest was held early this year in which each of the entrants was requested to submit one piece of drawing which responds to the theme, “World Peace”. All entries were then reviewed by a judging panel 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 C RY c ke t 2 0 1 0 : 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 www.focckwt.org or email focckwt@yahoo.com


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

WHAT始S ON IN KUWAIT

31


INFORMATION

32 Ministry of Interior website: www.moi.gov.kw

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 FIRE BRIGADE Operation Room 777 Al-Madena 22418714 Al-Shohada始a 22545171 Al-Shuwaikh 24810598 Al-Nuzha 22545171 Sabhan 24742838 Al-Helaly 22434853 Al-Fayhaa 22545051 Al-Farwaniya 24711433 Al-Sulaibikhat 24316983 Al-Fahaheel 23927002 Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh 24316983 Ahmadi 23980088 Al-Mangaf 23711183 Al-Shuaiba 23262845 Al-Jahra 25610011 Al-Salmiya 25616368

Kuwait Forecast Four day Forecast

For labor-related inquiries and complaints: Call MSAL hotline 128 HOSPITALS Sabah Hospital

24812000

Amiri Hospital

22450005

Maternity Hospital

24843100

Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital

25312700

Chest Hospital

24849400

Farwaniya Hospital

24892010

Adan Hospital

23940620

Ibn Sina Hospital

24840300

Al-Razi Hospital

24846000

Physiotherapy Hospital

POLICE STATION Al-Madena Police Station Al-Murqab Police Station Al-Daiya Police Station Al-Fayha始a Police Station Al-Qadissiya Police Station Al-Nugra Police Station Al-Salmiya Police Station Al-Dasma Police Station

24874330/9 CLINICS

Roudha

22517733

Adhaliya

22517144

Khaldiya

24848075

Keifan

24849807

Shamiya

24848913

Shuwaikh

24814507

Abdullah Salim

22549134

Al-Nuzha

22526804

Industrial Shuwaikh

24814764

Al-Khadissiya

22515088

Dasmah

22532265

Bneid Al-Ghar

22531908

Al-Shaab

22518752

Al-Kibla

22459381

Ayoun Al-Kibla

22451082

Al-Mirqab

22456536

Sharq

22465401

Salmiya

25746401

Jabriya

25316254

Maidan Hawally

25623444

Bayan

25388462

Mishref

25381200

W.Hawally

22630786

Sabah

24810221

Jahra

24770319

New Jahra

24575755

West Jahra

24772608

South Jahra

24775066

North Jahra

24775992

North Jleeb

24311795

Al-Ardhiya

24884079

Firdous

4892674

Al-Omariya

4719048

N.Kheitan

4710044

Rabiya

4732263

Fintas

THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY FOR CIVIL INFORMATION Automated enquiry about the Civil ID card is 1889988 AIRLINES

Yesterday始s

Prayer Timings Fajer Shorook Dohor Aser Maghreb Ishaa

Today始s

05:189 06:43 11:53 14:45 17:04 18:26

2:01 & 15:46 Low Tide

EMERGENCY 112

09:18 & 21:29

PRIVATE CLINICS

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

Kuwait Airways Wataniya Airways Jazeera Airways Jet Airways Qatar Airways KLM Air Slovakia Olympic Airways Royal Jordanian Reservation British Airways Air France Emirates Air India Sri Lanka Airlines Egypt Air Swiss Air Saudia Middle East Airlines Lufthansa PIA Alitalia Balkan Airlines Bangladesh Airlines Czech Airlines Indian Airlines Oman Air Turkish Airlines

22433377 24379900 177 22477631 22423888 22425747 22434940 22420002/9 22418064/5/6 22433388 22425635 22430224 22425566 22438184 22424444 22421578 22421516 22426306 22423073 22422493 22421044 22414427 22416474 22452977/8 22417901/2433141 22456700 22412284/5 22453820/1

Sea watch

3900322

Ophthalmologists:

22434064 22435865 22544200 22547133 22515277 22616662 25714406 22530801

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

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

Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi 25330060 Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah 25722290

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

25655535 Dentists:

Dr Anil Thomas

3729596/3729581

Dr. Shamah Al-Matar

22641071/2

Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed

22562226

Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer

22561444

Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan

22619557

Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash

22525888

Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan

25653755

Dr. Bader Al-Ansari

25620111

Neurologists:

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 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

Physiotherapists & VD: Dr. Deyaa Shehab 25722291 Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees 22666288

25345875

Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman

22636464

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

22633135

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

25658888

Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr

25329924

Psychologists/Psychotherapists Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688 info@soorcenter.com www.soorcenter.com 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

INTERNATIONAL CALLS Afghanistan Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antiga Argentina Armenia Australia Austria Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia Botswana Brazil Brunei Bulgaria Burkina Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Colombia Comoros Congo Cook Islands Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Cyprus (Northern) Czech Republic Denmark Diego Garcia Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England (UK)

0093 00355 00213 00376 00244 001264 001268 0054 00374 0061 0043 001242 00973 00880 001246 00375 0032 00501 00229 001441 00975 00591 00387 00267 0055 00673 00359 00226 00257 00855 00237 001 00238 001345 00236 00235 0056 0086 0057 00269 00242 00682 00506 00385 0053 00357 0090392 00420 0045 00246 00253 001767 001809 00593 0020 00503 0044

Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guinea Guyana Haiti Holland (Netherlands) Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Ibiza (Spain) Iceland India Indian Ocean Indonesia Iran Iraq Ireland Italy Ivory Coast Jamaica Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Liberia Libya Lithuania Luxembourg Macau Macedonia

00240 00291 00372 00251 00500 00298 00679 00358 0033 00594 00689 00241 00220 00995 0049 00233 00350 0030 00299 001473 00590 001671 00502 00224 00592 00509 0031 00504 00852 0036 0034 00354 0091 00873 0062 0098 00964 00353 0039 00225 001876 0081 00962 007 00254 00686 00965 00996 00856 00371 00961 00231 00218 00370 00352 00853 00389


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

33 ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available from 1st Feb in CAC flat with Keralite Bachelors for a decent person. Rent KD 42. Interested pls contact 99486009, 97517417 (C 20132) 5-1-2010 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 Mitsubishi Galant, model 2003, silver grey color, in very good condition & insured up to October 2010, engine overhauled in November 09 from M/S auto-1 (Ex Al Gannam), price fixed KD 1,200. Call: 66608427. (C 20131) 5-1-2010 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 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

SITUATION VACANT

Required live in maid for Keralite family. Please call 99509436. (C 20129) 5-1-2010 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

CHANGE OF NAME I, Rema Ullas holder of Indian Passport No. E5285163 hereby change my name as Reema Mogal Rahiman. (C 20130) 5-1-2010

No: 14600

Flight Schedule Arrival Flights on Tuesday 05/01/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jazeera 0263 Beirut Middle East 406 Beirut K.L.M. 0447 Amsterdam/Bahrain Wataniya Airways 2011 Sharm El $Heikh 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 R53 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 1slamabad 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

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

Kuwait 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 Airways Wataniya Airways 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

552 0457 0134 284 548 546 678 800 0173 0345 118 857 215 0303 510 0493 0239 0125 0367 2101 227 982 0427 2003 473 1025 542 0177 874 786 614 744 774 575 104 618 572 1201 0459 0261 217 402 0136 859 0445 502 0449 0429 081 0117 0185 327 239 636 1029 1129

Damascus Damascus Doha Dhaka Luxor Alexandria Muscat/Abu Dhabi Amman Dubai Sanaa New York Dubai Bahrain Abu Dhabi Riyadh Jeddah Amman Sharjah Deirezzor Beirut Colombo/Dubai Washington DC Dulles Dubai/Bahrain Cairo Baghdad Dubai Cairo Dubai Dubai Jeddah Bahrain Dammam Riyadh Chennai/Goa London Doha Mumbai Jeddah Damascus Beirut Bahrain Beirut Doha Dubai Amsterdam Beirut Doha Dubai/Bahrain Baghdad Abu Dhabi Dubai Tunis Islamabad/Sialkot Frankfurt Dubai Bahrain

14:35 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 21:20 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 Tuesday 05/01/2010 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 Arudhabi 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 Gulfair 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 01:22 Sharjah Emirates 856 Dubai Qatari 0133 Doha Etihad 0302 Abu Dhabi Kaiitta 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

FOR AIRPORT INFORMATION 161

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

Kuwait Middle East Oman Air 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 Glonal 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 Kim Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Kuwait

103 405 0646 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 218 171 171 403 102 0i37 301 860 0445 0480 0636 0526 0534 0502 411

London Beirut Muscat Lamerd Jeddah Cairo Dubai Dubai Beirut Dubai Jeddah Damascus Jeodah Beirut Riyadh Bahrain Amman Doha Doha Dammam Dubai 8ahrain 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 As Wan Luxor Bangkok/Manila

12:30 12:55 13:15 13:35 13:40 13:55 14:25 14:30 15:00 15:05 15:10 13:30 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


SPECTRUM

34 CROSSWORD 860

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Calvin Aries (March 21-April 19) The intellectual and the

emotional parts of you may compete from time to time. When an opportunity comes up to problemsolve today, you might consider proposing that some time be allowed for you to think about a situation before giving an opinion without much thought. This way you will either be able to research or think on a commonsense answer. If you have decided to travel before the end of this month, check your plans to make sure all the paper work is in order. Letters and phone calls to friends and family members seem to be calling your name. This is also a good day for love. A shared interest with a loved one will bring a harmonious end to this day. After the evening meal, music may be more desirable than the usual routine of the evening. Taurus (April 20-May 20) You may find yourself wanting

to explode with emotion but patience will win over whatever negative seems to dominate this morning; this too shall pass. The trick is what you do with those feelings. Consider using a mentor that will see things from a different perspective. If your mentor is not present, carry a picture of that person you might consider a mentor and learn wonderful lessons through referencing what that person would behave in difficult situations. You could use a picture by the phone of one of your friends that is good at dealing with difficult phone calls; refer to that person in your mind; you will be able to deal with a difficult phone call. Poetry and art may be possible this evening. Movies, books and all forms of escape prove enjoyable.

Pooch Cafe

ACROSS 1. A fatal disease of cattle that affects the central nervous system. 4. The small projection of a mammary gland. 8. The act of slowing down or falling behind. 11. A drug combination found in some over-the-counter headache remedies (Aspirin and Phenacetin and Caffeine). 12. Goddess of the dead and queen of the underworld. 13. A hospital unit staffed and equipped to provide intensive care. 14. A police officer who investigates crimes. 15. Divulge information or secrets. 16. A logarithmic unit of sound intensity equal to 10 decibels. 17. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 19. A range of mountains (usually with jagged peaks and irregular outline). 24. Open-heart surgery in which the rib cage is opened and a section of a blood vessel is grafted from the aorta to the coronary artery to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery and improve the blood supply to the heart. 25. A piece of furniture that provides a place to sleep. 27. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 29. A family of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in southeastern Asia. 31. A highly unstable radioactive element (the heaviest of the halogen series). 34. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 35. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 36. (Greek mythology) Goddess of the earth and mother of Cronus and the Titans in ancient mythology. 38. The protoplasm of the germ cells that contains chromosomes and genes. 41. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 42. A summary that repeats the substance of a longer discussion. 46. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 47. Call upon in supplication. 49. (Irish) Mother of the Tuatha De Danann. 50. United States liquid unit equal to 4 quarts or 3.785 liters. 51. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 52. A strategically located monarchy on the southern and eastern coasts of the Arabian Peninsula. 53. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 2. A detailed description of design criteria for a piece of work. 3. (computer science) A coding system that incorporates extra parity bits in order to detect errors. 4. A bachelor's degree in theology. 5. The fatty flesh of eel. 6. By bad luck. 7. A sock with a separation for the big toe. 8. A small faint zodiacal constellation in the southern hemisphere. 9. Sour or bitter in taste. 10. A Russian prison camp for political prisoners. 18. A person forced to flee from home or country. 20. Liquid containing proteins and electrolytes including the liquid in blood plasma and interstitial fluid. 21. Not divisible by two. 22. English essayist (1775-1834). 23. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 26. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 28. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 30. The sixth month of the civil year. 32. United States abolitionist (1786-1865). 33. A Bantu language spoken by the Chaga people in northern Tanzania. 37. In bed. 38. Being ten more than one hundred ninety. 39. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 40. The arch of bone beneath the eye that forms the prominence of the cheek. 43. The capital and largest city of Japan. 44. A rotating disk shaped to convert circular into linear motion. 45. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 46. A heavy brittle diamagnetic trivalent metallic element (resembles arsenic and antimony chemically). 48. A ductile silvery-white ductile ferromagnetic trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Your ideas may run counter to some particular plan of action. There is an opportunity, however, to turn things around and understand a difficult situation or a difficult person. You will find an answer that will satisfy everyone. Mistakes come when you rush—pace yourself. A young person may announce that they want you to make room for them in the future. This may be as simple as taking on the job of tutoring. You love languages and may be teaching your language to a person that does not speak your language. There is also an opportunity to correct someone’s speech. Because of your winning ways and your sense of humor, this day can end in a most positive way. A drive this evening, weather permitting, will be a good way to balance out the day.

Non Sequitur

Cancer (June 21-July 22) It may be time to look at the quality of work you produce and the payment you receive. The time that you put into some project or some work-related job may need review. It may be that you are in business for yourself and whether that is true or not the day affords you time to think about your professional progress and how you can plan any changes that will make positive things happen. Promise yourself to keep to a goal-schedule and accomplish one big goal each quarter. For the rest of this month learn different ways to meditate, problem-solve or be in a state of peacefulness. Use those stressful feelings as a signal to become centered. You will find communication between loved ones easy this eveningromance is possible. Leo (July 23-August 22) Be aware of power struggles today and plan your strategies carefully. You may unexpectedly find some long-term problems clear up; particularly if you go the extra mile to help in a difficult situation or with a difficult person. Figuring out how to organize projects and people are apt to become a topic of special interest and an opportunity to stretch and grow. Involved in research you will make certain that quotes and here say is backed by authority or evidence and must have practical worth and application. There is intense study and thought. There is also time later today to enjoy a little rest and relaxation with your favorite mate. Be aware of maintaining a balance in your life—family, work, play, education, exercise and rest are important factors.

Zits

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Your friends and family are impressed with your perseverance. There is satisfaction in a job well done. Keep up the good work. Now that a new year has begun, you may decide it is time to clear out some of the old clutter and create clean spaces. Cleaning out drawers, notes, magazines, newspapers, clothes, old equipment, etc., can be a part of the clearing away process to begin all new. Do not forget to either recycle or bundle for a charity. Do not try to accomplish everything in one day, however. Getting things organized and placed in a particular area seems to be a phase you might well want to integrate into your everyday life. It is so much more peaceful to have an organized work place and a well-run home place. Another job; well done.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Power struggles could be intense with group issues today. There could be some disagreements. If you are trying to prove a point, find statistics or examples to back up your ideas and try again later. Give the idea time to settle for a day or two before you approach the subject again—you may be pleasantly surprised. Inventions and quality ideas are possible when you communicate and agree to disagree. The satisfaction of a job well done is one of your greatest incentives. A sense of support and harmony is a good thing. An older person may need your help this afternoon. In the process of listening, you may find that listening is really all that is needed. Of all people, you know how important it is to have others listen to your own ideas.

Mother Goose and Grimm

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) The past few days

have been a good break from work. If you let working conditions upset you or you feel restricted in your activities instead of charged and encouraged, you may want to search for another job. As you return to your job this week, think outside the box. Be health wise and eat a well-balanced meal. Take your breaks and check out your options for advancement or change of department within your place of work. Look for work that would give you the opportunity to succeed at something. Keep a listening ear to the door of opportunity—you will have a chance to improve, change or upgrade your position soon. A romantic opportunity comes your way this evening. Save some time for watching the sunset. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Discussions surrounding an increase in salary or benefits may present some insights into a technique to reach your goals. You always see the positive and with a new plan on your mind, you will see good things develop in future business success. Turn about fair play brings you around to helping another person; family member perhaps, to develop his or her plans for future business success. All this brainwork may culminate in sharing a meal together. There is an opportunity to visit with the young people in your family that you have not had a chance to get to know. Laughter is one of the best healers and you may be able to teach a young person how to take life a little easier. Encouraging volunteer work is a big plus for your today.

Yesterday’s Solution

yester

Yesterday’s Solution

to

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) Others value you for your ability to make practical decisions concerning group issues. You have a natural sense of what the public wants and you may begin to think more seriously about serving in some political capacity. Clear decisions affecting others could be made now. Spend some time in a volunteer or charity service and you will not only make a positive difference around you but you will become more acquainted with the social and societal expectations and beliefs of your surroundings. You will soon find good ideas regarding the cash flow in your life. If you have not saved quite enough to invest, keep on working at it. You may enjoy becoming involved in a good book this evening and escaping from day-to-day realities.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Adjust to changing plans today. You may be helping with the care of young people or looking for an opportunity to teach or entertain others. You are in for some positive energy within your own personal future—go ahead and get started with your plans now. This is a good day to get your own personal things done; or to just relax. Good eye-hand coordination and a sustained effort make almost any task run well. You may feel like exercising or getting out of the house for a while this afternoon. Emotions are very present but within control. Poetry and art may be possible later. Movies, books, and all forms of escape could prove very enjoyable. Lovers, children and other people or things dear to your heart are emphasized. Pisces (February 19-March 20) You are confident, inventive and energetic. Your leadership ability is valuable when problems occur that hold up the completion of projects. Take advantage of the energies that are around you now because they are all positive—any constructive activity today will have good results. A feeling of being at peace and stable on the emotional level comes into play at this time. Stability is satisfying and you strive for this in work and in your family life. Your wit and friendly nature bring comfort to all who know you. Be careful of the temptation to overspend this afternoon. Compare prices if you have a need to purchase an expensive item. Think of money as portions of your working time—then you will have wise choices in using your money.


TV PROGRAMS

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

35

Orbit listings / Show listings AMERICA PLUS 00:00 Janice Dickinson 01:00 Private Practice 02:00 Grey’s Anatomy 03:00 Cold Case 04:00 Gilmore Girls 05:00 *24* 06:00 GMA Recorded 08:00 GMA Health 08:30 What’s the Buzz 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 GMA Health 17:30 What’s the Buzz 18:00 The Closer 19:00 Lost 20:00 The O.C. 21:00 Private Practice 22:00 Grey’s Anatomy 23:00 Supernatural ANIMAL PLANET 00:50 Animal Cops Phoenix 01:45 Into the Lion’s Den 02:40 Untamed & Uncut 03:35 Escape to Chimp Eden 04:30 Animal Cops Phoenix 06:20 Lemur Street 06:45 Monkey Business 07:10 Aussie Animal Rescue 07:35 Pet Passport 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 Into the Lion’s Den 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 K9 Cops 20:10 Into the Lion’s Den 21:10 Animal Cops Phoenix 22:05 Untamed & Uncut 23:00 K9 Cops 23:55 Animal Cops Phoenix BBC ENTERTAINMENT 00:45 Holby City 01:45 Blizzard - Race To The Pole 02:45 A Year At Kew 03:45 Holby City 05:45 Blizzard - Race To The Pole 06:35 Bargain Hunt 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 Eastenders 19:00 Holby City 21:00 The Weakest Link 21:45 Doctors 22:15 Eastenders 22:45 The Whistleblowers 23:35 Blackjack 01: Murder Archive BBC LIFESTYLE 00:05 Sweet Baby James 00:30 Masterchef Goes Large 01:25 Cash In The Attic Usa 01:50 Hidden Potential 02:15 Living In The Sun 03:15 Indian Food Made Easy 03:45 Sweet Baby James 04:10 Masterchef Goes Large 05:10 Cash In The Attic Usa 05:55 Hidden Potential 06:20 Living In The Sun 07:20 Colin And Justin’s Home Show 08:00 Antiques Roadshow 08:50 Cash In The Attic Usa 09:30 Hidden Potential 09:55 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 11:25 Living In The Sun 12:20 Antiques Roadshow 13:05 What Not To Wear 13:55 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 15:25 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 20:40 Masterchef Goes Large 21:05 Indian Food Made Easy 21:35 Sweet Baby James 22:00 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 Hardtalk - U 01:00 World News Today: Business Edition - U 01:45 Sport Today - U 02:00 Bbc World News - U 02:30 Hardtalk - U 03:00 Bbc World News America - U 04:00 Bbc World News - U

04:30 04:45 05:00 05:30 05:45 06:00 07:00 07:30 08:00 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

Asia Business Report - U Sport Today - U Bbc World News - U Asia Business Report - U Asia Today - U World News Today - U Bbc World News - U Hardtalk - U Bbc World News - U 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 My Country - 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 Kill Or Cure? - 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

22:35 Lee 23:00 23:25 23:50

The Life & Times of Juniper Camp Lazlo Samurai Jack Megas XLR

CINEMA CITY 01:00 Under Still Waters - 18 03:00 Scorched - PG15 05:00 Netherbeast Incorporated PG15 07:00 Custody - PG 09:00 Everest Pt.*1* - PG 11:00 California Dreaming - PG 13:00 Girl’s Best Friend - PG 15:00 Everest Pt.*2* - PG 17:00 Constellation - PG15 19:00 Bridal Fever - PG 21:00 Brazil - PG15 23:00 Touch and Go - 18

-

CNN INTERNATIONAL 00:00 Connect The World 01:00 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 Inside Africa 08:00 World Report 08:30 Backstory 09:00 World Report 10:30 World Sport 11:00 World Report 11:30 World Business Today 12:00 World Report 12:30 Inside Africa 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

Across The Universe on Show Movies 2 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 07:10 Eliot Kid 07:35 The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack 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

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

World Sport Prism News Special International Desk Quest Means Business Amanpour. World One

DISCOVERY CHANNEL 00:00 Destroyed in Seconds 00:30 Destroyed in Seconds 01:00 Miami Ink 02:00 Street Customs 02:55 River Monsters: Killer Catfish 03:50 Rides 04:45 Mythbusters 05:40 How It’s Made 06:05 Ultimate Survival 07:00 Extreme Engineering 07:55 Rides 08:50 Street Customs 09:45 How Do They Do It? 10:10 Mythbusters 11:05 Ultimate Survival 12:00 Mighty Ships 12:55 How Do They Do It? 13:25 How It’s Made 13:50 Fifth Gear 14:15 American Chopper 15:10 Miami Ink 16:05 Mythbusters 17:00 Ultimate Survival 18:00 Destroyed in Seconds 19:00 Street Customs 20:00 How Do They Do It? 20:30 How It’s Made 21:00 Mighty Ships 22:00 Extreme Engineering 23:00 X-Machines DISCOVERY SCIENCE 00:40 Extreme Engineering 01:30 Robocar 02:20 Mighty Ships 03:10 Mega Builders 04:00 Beyond Tomorrow 04:50 NASA’s Greatest Missions 05:45 How Stuff’s Made 06:10 Green Wheels 06:40 One Step Beyond 07:10 Robocar 08:00 Thunder Races

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

NASA’s Greatest Missions Mighty Ships How Stuff’s Made Stunt Junkies Robocar Green Wheels One Step Beyond NASA’s Greatest Missions Mighty Ships iPod Revolution How Stuff’s Made Thunder Races Brainiac Extreme Engineering Ecopolis Discovery Project Earth How It’s Made Mythbusters Ecopolis Discovery Project Earth

DISNEY CHANNEL 00:00 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 00:20 Handy Manny 00:45 Special Agent Oso 01:10 Lazytown 02:00 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 02:45 Handy Manny 03:10 Special Agent Oso 03:35 Brandy & Mr Whiskers 04:00 Fairly Odd Parents 04:25 Hannah Montana 04:45 I Got A Rocket 05:10 Wizards Of Waverly Place 05:35 Phineas & Ferb 06:00 Higglytown Heroes 06:10 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 06:35 Handy Manny 07:00 Special Agent Oso 07:20 Lazytown 08:10 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 Sonny With A Chance 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 Streets Of Hollywood 00:40 E! Investigates 01:30 25 Most Stylish 02:20 Sexiest 03:15 Ths 05:05 Dr 90210 06:00 Ths 07:45 Style Star 08:35 Behind The Scenes 09:25 Perfect Catch 10:15 Thsc 11:05 Ths 12:50 Kourtney And Khloe Take Miami 13:40 Ths 15:25 Behind The Scenes 16:15 E!es 17:10 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 18:00 E! News 18:25 The Daily 10 18:50 Streets Of Hollywood 19:15 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties 19:40 Ths 21:20 Leave It To Lamas 22:10 E! News 22:35 The Daily 10 23:00 Dr 90210 23:50 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties EXTREME SPORTS 00:00 Strikeforce 01:00 AST Winter Dew Tour 02:00 Rebel Events 2009: Wangl Tangl 02:30 Rebel Events 2009: Wangl Tangl 03:00 Strikeforce 04:00 LG Action Sports World Championships 05:00 Ride Guide Snow 2007 06:00 Sacred Ride 07:00 AST Winter Dew Tour 08:00 Sacred Ride 09:00 Avalanche Trophy 2008 10:00 AST Winter Dew Tour 11:00 Rebel Events 2009: Wir Schanzen 11:30 Rebel Events 2009: Nine Nights Season 12:00 Sacred Ride 13:00 Avalanche Trophy 2008 14:00 Ride Guide Snow 2007 15:00 Rebel Events 2009: Wir Schanzen 15:30 Rebel Events 2009: Nine Nights Season 16:00 Sacred Ride 17:00 Avalanche Trophy 2008 18:00 Red Bull Empire of Dirt 19:00 AST Winter Dew Tour 20:00 Ride Guide Snow 2007 21:00 Avalanche Trophy 2008 22:00 Rebel Events 2009: Wir Schanzen 22:30 Rebel Events 2009: Nine Nights Season

23:00 AST Winter Dew Tour FOX SPORTS 02:00 World Sport 2010 02:30 PGA TOUR Year in Review 03:30 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl TBA at TBA Glendale 08:30 Golf Central International 09:00 The Golf Channel - TBA 11:30 Golf Central International 12:00 Everton TV Classic Highlights 15:00 Interliga: Atlante v Estudiantes Tecos 17:00 Interliga: America v Santos 19:00 ICC Cricket World 19:30 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl TBA at TBA Glendale

FAM 12:45 The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian - PG 15:15 Dragonlance - PG 17:00 The Jungle Book I - FAM 18:45 The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian - PG 21:15 Piper Penguin And His Fantastic Flying Machi - PG 22:30 Barbie Fairytopia Mermaidia FAM SHOW SERIES 00:00 Criminal Minds 01:00 Lipstick Jungle 02:00 C.s.i. New York 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 Lipstick Jungle 14:00 C.s.i. New York 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 Turn Back Your Body Clock 21:00 Hotel Babylon 22:00 24 23:00 Heroes

MGM 01:10 Wish You Were Here 02:40 A Dangerous Woman 04:20 Slamdance 06:00 Hot Under The Collar 07:25 Marie: A True Story 09:15 I Could Go on Singing 10:55 Bikini Beach 12:35 Ski Patrol 14:05 Prancer 15:45 Fast Food 17:15 The Burning Bed 18:50 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum 20:25 The Happy Hooker 22:00 Mr. Wonderful 23:40 Ski School NAT GEO ADVENTURE 00:00 Word Travels 00:30 Lonely Planet 01:30 Finding Genghis 02:00 The Ride: Alaska To Patagonia 02:30 Destination Extreme 03:00 Madventures 03:30 Surfer’s Journal 04:00 Bondi Rescue 04:30 Destination Extreme 05:00 Madventures 05:30 Word Travels:the Truth Behind 06:00 Word Travels 06:30 Lonely Planet 07:30 Finding Genghis 08:00 The Ride: Alaska To Patagonia 08:30 Destination Extreme 09:00 Madventures 09:30 Surfer’s Journal 10:00 Bondi Rescue 10:30 Destination Extreme 11:00 Madventures 11:30 Departures 12:30 Meet The Natives - Usa 13:30 Culture Shocks 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 Departures 18:30 Meet The Natives - Usa 19:30 Culture Shocks 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 Departures NAT GEO WILD 00:00 Secrets Of The King Cobra 01:00 Kalahari Supercats 02:00 Guardians Of Nature 03:00 Mother Warthog 04:00 Insects From Hell 04:30 Snake Wranglers 05:00 The Living Edens 06:00 Secrets Of The King Cobra 07:00 Kalahari Supercats 08:00 Guardians Of Nature 09:00 Mother Warthog 10:00 Insects From Hell 10:30 Snake Wranglers 11:00 Hammerhead Highway 12:00 Polar Bear Alcatraz 13:00 Searching For The Snow Leopard 14:00 Hunter Hunted 15:00 Gorilla Murders 16:00 Insects From Hell 16:30 Snake Wranglers 17:00 Hammerhead Highway 18:00 Polar Bear Alcatraz 19:00 Searching For The Snow Leopard 20:00 Hunter Hunted 21:00 Gorilla Murders 22:00 Insects From Hell 22:30 Snake Wranglers 23:00 Hammerhead Highway ORBIT NEWS 1 00:00 ABC Now Bell/ Good Money LIVE 00:30 ABC NOW Top Line / Inside the Newsroom 01:00 ABC NOW Ahead of the Curve (as live) Mon/Wed/Fri 01:30 ABC Nightline Twitter 02:00 McLaughlin Group 02:30 ABC World News Live 03:00 NBC Nightly News Live 03:30 ABC World News (Mon) 04:00 NBC Today Show 07:00 NBC Nightly News (Mon) 07:30 ABC Nightline Live 08:00 ABC World News (Mon) 08:30 NBC Nightly News (Mon) 09:00 Newshour with Jim Lehrer 10:00 ABC Nightline 10:30 NBC Nightly News (Mon) 11:00 ABC World News Now Live 12:30 NBC Early Today Live 13:00 ABC America This Morning Live 13:30 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 PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer 23:00 MSNBC Countdown w/K. Olbermann ORBIT NEWS 2 00:00 MSNBC Live

The Hammer on Super Movies 01:00 MSNBC Live Hardball 02:00 MSNBC News Live The Ed Show 03:00 MSNBC (As Live) Hardball 04:00 MSNBC Live Countdown w/K. Olbermann 05:00 MSNBC Live The Rachel Maddow Show 06:00 MSNBC (as live) Countdown w/K. Olbermann 07:00 MSNBC (As Live) The Rachel Maddow Show 08:00 MSNBC (As Live) Hardball 09:00 MSNBC (as live) Countdown w/K. Olbermann 10:00 MSNBC (As Live) The Rachel Maddow Show 11:00 MSNBC (As Live) The Ed Show 12:00 MSNBC (as live) Countdown w/K. Olbermann 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 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 (taped) Hardball 21:00 MSNBC (taped) Countdown w/K. Olbermann 22:00 MSNBC (taped) The Rachel Maddow Show 23:00 MSNBC Live 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 Imagination Movers 13:50 Little Einsteins 14:10 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 14:30 Special Agent Oso 14:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 15:20 Jo Jo’s Circus 16:10 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 COMEDY 00:00 Gavin And Stacey 00:30 According To Jim 01:00 The Daily Show - Global Edition 01:30 The Colbert Report - Global Edition 02:00 Plus One 02:30 The Inbetweeners 03:00 Home Improvement 03:30 The Colbert Report 04:00 The Daily Show - Global Edition 04:30 The Colbert Report - Global Edition 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 Gavin And Stacey 15:30 According To Jim 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 With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Weeds 22:30 The Inbetweeners 23:00 South Park 23:30 How I Met Your Mother SHOW MOVIES 1 01:00 The Flock - R 03:00 Christmas At The Riviera - PG 05:00 Man On Wire - PG 15 07:00 Grace Is Gone - PG 15 09:00 The Celestine Prophecy - PG 11:00 The Old Curiousity Shop - PG 13:00 Snowglobe - PG 15:00 The Celestine Prophecy - PG 17:00 The Old Curiousity Shop - PG 19:00 Juno - PG 15 21:00 The Bank Job - PG 15 23:00 Pink Panther 2 - PG 15 SHOW MOVIES 2 00:00 Across The Universe - PG 15 02:15 The Indian Runner - PG 15 04:30 Xanadu - PG 06:15 The Lonely Guy - PG 15 08:00 The Odd Couple 2 - PG 15 10:00 Olsen Twins: When In Rome FAM 12:00 Travellers And Magicians - PG 15 14:00 This Christmas - PG 16:00 Olsen Twins: When In Rome FAM 18:00 Travellers And Magicians - PG 15 20:00 The Children Of Huang Shi PG 22:00 Calender Girls - PG 15 SHOW MOVIES ACTION 01:00 Artefacts - PG 15 03:00 The Invincible - PG 15 05:00 Outpost - 18 07:00 Artefacts - PG 15 09:00 Chocolate - PG 15 10:30 The Scorpion King 2: Rise Of A Warrior - PG 15 12:30 Battle Of Wits - PG 15 15:00 Chocolate - PG 15 17:00 The Scorpion King 2: Rise Of A Warrior - PG 15 19:00 Casino Royale - PG 15 21:30 Wild Things - 18 23:30 Jeepers Creepers - 18 SHOW MOVIES COMEDY 00:00 I Really Hate My Job - PG 15 02:00 Little Giants - FAM 04:00 Bee Movie - PG 06:00 Pure Luck - PG 15 08:00 Little Giants - FAM 10:00 House Arrest - FAM 12:00 Christmas In Wonderland - PG 14:00 Rat - PG 16:00 House Arrest - FAM 18:00 Christmas In Wonderland - PG 20:00 Wedding Daze - 18 22:00 Ghost Town - PG 15 SHOW MOVIES KIDS 00:15 Mee Shee - PG 15 02:00 Only Yesterday - PG 04:15 The Mighty Ducks - FAM 06:15 Barbie And The Three Musketeers - PG 08:00 D3: The Mighty Ducks - PG 10:00 Piper Penguin And His Fantastic Flying Machi - PG 11:15 Barbie Fairytopia Mermaidia -

SHOW SPORTS 1 00:00 Premier League 02:00 Barclays Premier League Highlights 03:00 Premier League 07:00 Barclays Premier League Highlights 08:00 Premier League 10:00 Scottish Premier League, Highlights 10:30 Premier League 12:30 Barclays Premier League Highlights 13:30 Premier League 15:30 Premier League Classics 16:00 Barclays Premier League Classics 16:30 Futbol Mundial 17:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 17:30 Premier League World 18:00 Premier League 20:00 Portugol 20:30 Brazilian League Highlights 21:00 Premier League Highlights 22:00 Premier Lague World 22:45 Live Premier League SHOW SPORTS 2 00:00 Guinness Premiership 02:00 Gillette World Sport 02:30 Premier League Classics 10:30 Gillette World Sport 11:00 Weber Cup Bowling 12:00 PDC World Darts Championship 17:00 Weber Cup Bowling 18:00 Guinness Premiership 20:00 PGA European Tour Review 21:00 Futbol Mundial 21:45 Premier League Classics 22:15 Scottish Premier League Highlights 22:45 Live Premier League SHOW SPORTS 3 01:30 Futbol Mundial 02:00 Scottish Premier League 04:00 Weber Cup Bowling 05:00 Barclays Premier League Highlights 06:00 European Tour Weekly 07:00 Scottish Premier League 09:00 Test Cricket Highlights 11:00 Premier League World 11:30 Live Test Cricket 18:30 Test Cricket SHOW SPORTS 4 00:30 WWE SmackDown! 02:30 UFC All Access 03:00 Bushido 04:00 Rat Race 04:30 Red Bull Air Race 06:30 UFC All Access 07:00 WWE ECW 08:00 WWE Vintage Collection 09:00 Rat Race 09:30 Red Bull Air Race 11:00 Bushido 12:00 WWE ECW 13:00 Red Bull X-Fighters 15:00 Rat Race 15:30 UFC All Access 16:00 UFC 108 19:00 LG Action Sport 20:00 UFC Unleashed 22:00 NFL SUPER MOVIES 01:00 Perfect Witness - 18 03:00 Alice Upside Down - PG 05:00 Finding Amanda - 18 07:00 Perfect Witness - 18 09:00 Momma’s Man - PG 11:00 Shadows in Paradise - PG15 13:00 Nancy Drew - PG 15:00 Drawn - PG15 17:00 The Hammer - PG 19:00 El Escorial Conspiracy - PG15 21:00 Fool’s Gold - PG15 23:00 Beautiful - 18 TCM 00:45 Masquerade (1965) 02:30 Where Eagles Dare 05:00 The Screening Room 05:30 Zebrahead (1992) 07:15 The Screening Room 2009 08:00 The Alamo (1960) 11:25 An American in Paris 13:15 Beau Brummell 15:05 Masquerade (1965) 16:50 Where Eagles Dare 19:20 The File Of The Golden Goose (1969) 21:15 High Society

Star listings (UAE timings) Star Movies 16:00 Kyle XY 16:50 V.I.P. 17:00 Reaper 17:50 One Day At A Time 18:00 Painkiller Jane 18:50 Dilbert 19:00 Ghost Hunters International 19:50 V.I.P. 20:00 Reaper 20:50 One Day At A Time 21:00 Painkiller Jane 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 American Idol 05:00 Ghost Hunters International 05:50 V.I.P. 06:00 Grey’s Anatomy 06:50 One Day At A Time

07:00 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 15:30

Kyle XY Dilbert Reaper 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 According To Jim According To Jim

Granada TV 20:30 Airline (Series 5) 21:00 Confessions Of 22:00 Emmerdale 22:30 Coronation Street 23:00 Confessions Of 00:00 Fight School * 01:00 Mystery Tuesday: Sparkling Cyanide

03:00 The Jeremy Kyle Show 04:00 Traffic Jams From Hell 05:00 Emmerdale 05:30 Coronation Street 06:00 Fight School * 07:00 Mystery Tuesday: Sparkling Cyanide 09:00 The Jeremy Kyle Show 10:00 Weddings From Hell 11:00 Emmerdale 11:30 Coronation Street 12:00 The Paul O’Grady Show 13:00 Ballroom Bootcamp 14:00 Mystery Tuesday: Eleventh Hour 15:30 Strange But True? (Series 4) 16:00 Emmerdale 16:30 Coronation Street 17:00 The Paul O’Grady Show 18:00 Ballroom Bootcamp 19:00 Mystery Tuesday: Eleventh Hour 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 AMP Celebrasian Electrico and Hujian 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 [V] Countdown 16:00 Backtracks 17:00 [V] Tunes 18:00 [V] Plug 18:30 The Playlist

19:00 Loop 20:00 [V] Countdown

Specials:

Fox News 20:00 Happening Now 22:00 The Live Desk 00:00 Studio B with Shepard Smith Live 01:00 Your World with Neil Cavuto 02:00 Glenn Beck with Glenn Beck 03:00 Special Report with Bret Baier 04:00 The FOX Report with Shepard Smith 05:00 The O’Reilly Factor 06:00 Hannity 07:00 On the Record with Greta Van Susteren 08:00 The O’Reilly Factor 09:00 Hannity 10:00 On the Record with Greta Van Susteren 11:00 Glenn Beck with Glenn Beck 12:00 Fox Report 13:00 Special Report with Bret Baier 14:00 The O’Reilly Factor

15:00 16:00 18:00 19:00

FOX & Friends First Live FOX & Friends Live America’s Newsroom America’s Newsroom

National Geographical Channel 20:00 ABOUT ASIA -ShowReal Asia : Stuntmen of Bollywood 21:00 42 Ways To Kill Hitler 22:00 Convoy - War For The Atlantic Wolfpack Rising 1 23:00 Locked Up Abroad -Sao Paulo Death Trap 00:00 Naked Science -Colliding Continents 01:00 ABOUT ASIA -ShowReal Asia : Stuntmen of Bollywood 02:00 Seconds From Disaster -Texas Oil Explosion S3-12 03:00 Lockdown -Women Behind Bars 04:00 World’s Deadliest Animals Urban Jungle S3-3 05:00 ABOUT ASIA -ShowReal Asia : Stuntmen of Bollywood 06:00 Seconds From Disaster -Texas

Oil Explosion S3-12 07:00 42 Ways To Kill Hitler 08:00 Naked Science -Colliding Continents 09:00 Nat Geo Junior -Wild Chronicles :7 09:30 Nat Geo Junior -Mad Labs : 4 10:00 Lockdown -Women Behind Bars 11:00 Seconds From Disaster -Texas Oil Explosion S3-12 12:00 ABOUT ASIA -ShowReal Asia : Crime Scene Bangkok 13:00 Adventure Wanted -Eiger Base Jump S1-3 14:00 Blowdown -Nuclear Explosion S1-1 15:00 Salvage Code Red -Graveyard Coast 16:00 Lockdown -Gang Wars 17:00 Adventure Wanted -Eiger Base Jump S1-3 18:00 Blowdown -Nuclear Explosion S1-1 19:00 Salvage Code Red -Graveyard Coast


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atthew McConaughey has become a father for the second time. The ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ actor and his partner Camila Alves welcomed daughter Vida Alves McConaughey into the world on Sunday and both mother and baby are doing well. The actor - who already has an 18-month-old son Levi with Camila - wrote on his website: “Happy New Year everybody!!! On Sunday, Jan. 3rd at 12:13am, Camila gave birth to a healthy 7lb. 7oz. baby girl named Vida Alves McConaughey.... Vida is Portuguese for ‘life’ and that’s what God gave us this morning... Camila’s recovering wonderfully and we are both truly honored to welcome this little lady into our family... thanks for all your well wishes and prayers along the way. another blessed day. we give thanks. just keep livin, Matthew and Camila. (sic)” Matthew recently revealed how he was looking forward to adding a new addition to their family. Speaking soon after his 40th birthday in November, he said: “The 30s were good to me and I’m really looking forward to my 40s, ‘cause I’m a late bloomer. Got everything I need for a perfect 40th... a happy and healthy lady, son, and another baby on the way.”

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Beckham snubs the Simpsons avid Beckham was refused a role in ‘The Simpsons’ because he wasn’t famous enough. The soccer star - who lives in Los Angeles with his wife, former Spice Girls singer-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham, and their three sons - approached the creators of the hit US animated comedy series to make a cameo appearance but was turned down as show chiefs didn’t feel Americans knew enough about him. Al Jean, the show’s principal writer and executive producer, said: “We get a lot of requests from celebrities, and it’s always a shame when we have to turn people down. “We had a request from David Beckham and I had to phone him up and tell him sorry but I didn’t want him on the show right now. I didn’t think he was a big enough star for an American audience. “I got a lot of grief about that. Some people got really angry about it and I was told, ‘I bet you would have put George Best on.’ I can pretty much say I would have turned him down too.” David isn’t the only star to have left the team behind ‘The Simpsons’ unimpressed, with Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger’s diva-like attitude leaving many unhappy when he recorded a guest role. Actor Hank Azaria, who voices characters including Chief Wiggum, Apu and Moe, revealed to Live magazine: “They sent me down to greet Mick Jagger when he arrived to record his part, and I said, ‘Hey, Mick, we’re thrilled to have you here.’ And he kind of blew right by me like I was the greeter, and went, all dismissively, ‘Yeah, we’ll get it.’ It made me a little bit annoyed. I knew it was going to get awkward, because I was about to walk upstairs and record with him.”

Jay-Z to organize Williams’ wedding

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he rapper - who wed pop star Beyonce Knowles in 2008 at a secret ceremony in New York - has offered to help the ‘Angels’ hitmaker plan his upcoming nuptials to his girlfriend of three years, Ayda Field, because he thinks he can throw an excellent party. He said: “I would be happy to help Robbie organize his wedding. I am sure he will make it an extravagant party. I had my 40th birthday last month in the Dominican Republic. That would be a great place for Robbie’s wedding. It’s the most stunning place on earth. It has everything - beautiful beaches, scenery, golf courses - and is easy to fly guests to.” Despite recently denying he and Ayda were engaged, speculation is growing that Robbie popped the question to the actress over the festive period as she was photographed at the weekend wearing a giant diamond band on her ring finger. Jay-Z has now invited the couple over for dinner to start working on the arrangements for their union and has even promised to throw in a personal performance as a wedding gift. He explained to The Sun newspaper: “The entertainment at my party was all hot and if Robbie wants my help he should come over for dinner and Beyonce and I can help him out. She is great at organizing parties, she loves it. “I don’t know what Robbie’s entertainment plans are, but as a wedding present, I would get up after the speeches and do a little set.”

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indsay Lohan is determined to make huge changes in her life. The ‘Mean Girls’ actress admits she had a turbulent 2009 - which saw her split several times from on/off girlfriend Samantha Ronson, her debut collection for fashion label Ungaro critically panned and her film work dry up - and wants to make sure 2010 is lot better by getting rid of the negativity which surrounds her. She tweeted: “To answer everybody’s question... My new year’s resolution is to stop letting the lucky few that have my heart, try2constantly tear me down. 2010 is about moving forward, not backwards. Leaving the bad (people, habits, and negative energy behind) time to make changes-right!?!? (sic)” Last month, Lindsay’s father Michael begged Samantha to help him save his daughter by making her go to rehab to be treated for the addiction he claims she has to prescription drugs. He said: “Maybe Samantha will help Lindsay turn her life around and get her into rehab. At least I know Samantha cares. Time is running out for Lindsay. We need to save her.” While Michael is keen to welcome Samantha back into his daughter’s life, he wants to exclude her mother, his estranged wife Dina, and branded her a “sick human being”. Michael has previously vowed to help turn Lindsay’s life around. He said: “I want my daughter off prescription medication. She never needed it in her life... I’m not going to watch my daughter die. Hate me now, but you will love me more later because I’m going to turn her life around.”

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nd Alves onnie Wood spent the first night he met Ekaterina Ivanova snorting cocaine. The Rolling Stones guitarist’s former lover Ekaterina - also known as Katia - has claimed he invited her to stay in a luxury hotel suite with him and took the class A drug as they got acquainted with one another. Katia - who initially got to know Ronnie, 62, when he came to drink in a bar where she worked as a waitress - explained: “I sat next to him with a cigarette and I dropped some ash on his trousers. “He said, ‘You’ve just ashed my trousers.’ I looked him up and down and said, ‘I don’t give a f**k.’ “He just went, ‘I love you.’ Basically, I was rude, he was sleazy and we kind of bounced off each other. “A group of us went on to The Hempel Hotel in west London and stayed up all night doing cocaine and drinking. “I don’t know whose coke it was, but it just appeared on the table and Ronnie did some and so did I. Maybe four or five lines. “I ended up passing out on his bed, but we spent the next two days together.” Katia and Ronnie’s relationship blos-

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Morrison blames hacker for false information an Morrison has again refuted claims he has become a dad for the third time. The 64-year-old singer was reported last month to have fathered a baby with his tour manager Gigi Lee but is adamant the claims are false. He said in a statement: “There is no truth in the suggestion I have recently become a father.” The birth of George Ivan Morrison III was announced on his official website, but the posting was blamed on a hacker and was not made by the ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ singer or Gigi. But now a friend of 42-year-old Gigi’s, Carla Higdon, has suggested Van is the father of the baby, born on December 28. She said: “I haven’t seen the baby since he was born. But I went with Gigi when she had a sonogram and it was labeled with her name and Van’s and she said, ‘He looks just like his daddy.’ “ Carla alleges Gigi started a relationship with Van - who is married to Michelle Morrison, with whom he has two children - over four years ago. Discussing the apparent affair, Carla is quoted by the Daily Mirror newspaper as saying: “She was constantly travelling to London or wherever he was. She’d tell her boyfriend she was going to Ireland to hook up with ‘Marina’, but that was a codeword for Van. “I’ve only ever spoken to Van once. He called the house where she was living and I picked it up and he said, ‘Gigi, it’s Van!’ and I said, ‘Hold on.’ “

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somed, even though he was married at the time. The pair eloped to Ireland for a drinking holiday in July 2008 and after returning Ronnie entered rehab. He was expected to rejoin his family after he had completed the stint, but instead left his wife of 23 years Jo for the 21-year-old beauty. Katia is adamant “no two people have ever been so in love” to begin with, but after five months together Ronnie relapsed into drinking and taking drugs, ruining their relationship which ended in December. She added in an interview with The Sun newspaper: “He would never drink in the mornings if I was around. But if I went out, I’d come back and find him drunk. I tried reasoning with him, nagging him, taking him to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Nothing stopped him for more than a few weeks. “We moved in together straight away, it was very intense and passionate and in the end it was too much.” The pair finally split after Ronnie assaulted Katia in public following a night out in Surrey, South East England.

rooke Mueller’s mother isn’t keen for her daughter to reconcile with Charlie Sheen. Moira Fiore admits Brooke - mother of the ‘Two and a Half Men’ actor’s nine-monthold twin sons, Bob and Max - wants to get back with Charlie despite him allegedly assaulting her Christmas Day but isn’t sure it’s a good idea. She told E! online: “She hasn’t spoken with him. But she wants to reconcile with him. “I have mixed emotions about it. But she won’t listen to any advice I give her.” When asked if she felt comfortable about the twins being in the same house as Charlie, she replied: “I’d rather not comment about that.” It was recently reported Charlie’s family had been investigated by social services. Pitkin County Social Services officials reportedly visited Brooke last week following her allegations that the actor assaulted her and after finding Bob and Max to be “just fine” agreed she can continue caring for the tots. A source said: “The people from the social services agency talked to Brooke, her mom, her step-dad and her nanny, and told them that everything looks good and Brooke appears to be an excellent mother. “Brooke and the twins, Max and Bob, are planning to stay in their rented Aspen house for at least another month. After that they may go to Palm Beach to visit family for awhile.”

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Alexa Ray Joel to study psychology lexa Ray Joel is going back to school to study psychology following her apparent suicide attempt. Alexa - the 23-year-old daughter of ‘Piano Man’ singer Billy Joel and ex-wife Christie Brinkley - was rushed to hospital last month after reportedly taking an overdose of pills but has now said she plans to go back into education to study because she wants to help other young women who find themselves in the same position. The singer-songwriter wrote on her MySpace page: “I have many exciting new developments for the New Year. Most importantly, to help young girls with something I feel I know a GREAT deal about:

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Heartbreak-Related Depression. “Although it does not get much attention in our society, it is a very serious and painful condition. I hope to bring this topic more to light... I’m even going back to school for psychology in the hope to learn more about this and many other afflictions that many of us have had to face.” Alexa split up with boyfriend Jimmy Riot twice last year, and thanked fans for standing by her at such a difficult time. She wrote: “I just wanted to thank you all for the incredible outpouring of love and support. It’s certainly been a whirlwind of a month, but reading all of your encouraging posts has never failed to cheer me up!!!” —Bang Showbiz


SPECTRUM

Ritchie’s sequel plans in troubled waters

uy Ritchie’s plans for a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ sequel are in jeopardy after Robert Downey Jr claimed the character could be portrayed as gay. Andrea Plunket, who holds the US copyright to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary creation, is unhappy with comments made by Downey that Holmes and his sidekick Dr Watson could be lovers. And Plunkett says if Ritchie and the screenwriters want to take the character - who is played by Downey in the current movie - in that direction she will not allow a follow-up film. She said: “I hope this is just an example of Mr Downey’s black sense of humor. It would be drastic, but I would withdraw permission for more films to be made if they feel that is a theme they wish to bring out in the future. “I am not hostile to homosexuals, but I am to anyone who is not true to the spirit of the books.” Plunket’s worries were sparked after Downey said in an interview with US talk show host David Letterman that Sherlock could be considered a “butch homosexual”. It is not the first time Downey has spoken about the implied “bromance” between Holmes and Watson - who is played by Jude Law. He said: “I think the word bromance is so passe. We are two men who happen to be roommates who wrestle a lot and share a bed.”

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37 Verne Troyer can drive a horse and carriage

Kim Cattrall is ʻtotally insecureʼ

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

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Carey gets re-touched during concert

he ‘Sex and the City’ actress - who split from chef Alan Wyse last July after five years together - insists she isn’t confident enough to approach men herself and can’t understand how other women do it. She said: “I could not go into a bar and pick up a man - that is so foreign to me it’s not even in my hemisphere. I am totally insecure. That is predatory behavior, and I don’t consider myself a predator. In fact, I feel sometimes that I am the pursued.” The 53-year-old star - who has been married three times - admits she is only just getting used to her single status but has started dating again, despite finding it difficult conducting her personal life in the public eye. She added to You magazine: “Am I enjoying my freedom? I’m not sure if I’m there yet. I’ve been so busy since we split that I haven’t had much time to adjust. I’m starting to date; it feels all right. It’s very hard to be private about that. Whenever you step out for a drink or dinner, whomever you’re with becomes your latest beau. Which is a bit of a laugh for my gay friends.”

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he 32-year-old actress - who recently starred alongside the British star in ‘Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang’ - wants to turn out just like Emma because the 50-year-old Oscar-winner gave her great advice on how to cope with being a working mother. Maggie - who has a three-year-old daughter Ramona with her husband Peter Sarsgaard - said: “I want to be her when I grow up. Emma was the one who said to me - when I was a newlywed, I had no nanny and I was working on this movie. She said, ‘You have to let yourself drop the ball. Human beings do that. If you don’t, some really important part of you won’t survive.’ She wrote it to me in a text. I think about it all the time.” The ‘Dark Knight’ actress - whose brother is actor Jake Gyllenhaal -feels like she has “sacrificed” a lot since she gave birth but admits she still makes mistakes as a parent. She told the USA Today newspaper: “Being a mother forces me to be so responsible. I’m very protective, and I try to keep Ramona out of this Hollywood stuff. But I make mistakes. I have that tug of wanting things that feel good to me and trying to figure out what I have to sacrifice. I haven’t been perfect at that.” Maggie also believes motherhood has softened her “fierce” personality. She added: “When I was in my 20s, I thought the idea was to be as strong as you could in my work, in my life.

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Could Mosshart break Moss’ heart?

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el C uses Victoria Beckham to get tables in restaurants. The singer admits her fame is not as big as her former Spice Girls bandmate and says she is not afraid to invent meetings with the fashion designer in order to get what she wants. She confessed: “I still can’t always get a table in restaurants. Although I do have a trick up my sleeve. I always say Victoria Beckham is coming when I book. There is always a table free then.” While Mel remains friends with Victoria and the rest of the group - Geri Halliwell, Mel B and Emma Bunton - she admits they don’t always get on when they go out together. She told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper: “To be honest, when we first split I didn’t see the other girls for a couple of years. Then we began calling each other, and when we did the reunion tour we rediscovered how close we really are. And motherhood has mellowed all of us. “Now we meet when we can. We still fight, but usually after a few too many drinks.”

ariah Carey had her hair and makeup re-touched by one of her entourage during a sold-out concert at the weekend. The ‘Hero’ singer was performing to a packed out audience at the Borgata Hotel and Casino, in Atlantic City, when her stagehands brought out a chaise longue on which she laid down on. She was then pampered while enjoying a glass of champagne. Laying back on her on stage throne, she playfully asked: “Do they expect me to stand up for the whole show? They call me a diva... because I am.” During her stay at the hotel, Mariah had a huge rider and needed ten carts to carry all her luggage. The 40-year-old star recently admitted she loves being known as a diva but doesn’t think she is demanding enough. She said: “You know what? I guess I am a diva in many ways! When it comes to certain things, yes, I can be difficult and a little bit rigid about what I want. “Am I demanding? I don’t think I’m demanding enough.”

ohn Mayer thinks his twitter account is a substitute relationship. The ‘Gravity’ hitmaker who was rumored to have been dumped by actress Jennifer Aniston because of his obsession with the social networking website - admits interacting with other users of the microblogging site can be as satisfying as going on a date. Explaining his new song ‘Half of My Heart’, he said: “It’s about questions of, do I want to share my desires with someone else or do I just want to save them myself with my laptop and my Twitter account? these are substituting relationships. “Knowing that I could blog right now from my iPhone and it’s up on the internet with people reading it and responding to it. How much is that a synthetic version of having dinner with somebody? How intimidating must it be to try to find an ‘in’ with the man who is consistently satisfying himself by all means necessary? Where is her place in that?” The singer - whose previous girlfriends have included Cameron Diaz and Jessica Simpson believes romantic relationships are difficult because they need time devoting to them and cannot be postponed until more convenient times. He added to The Times newspaper: “Interpersonal relationships are not bookmarks. You don’t go to load all tabs, ‘How was your day honey?’ You don’t go, ‘You know what, I’m gonna put this conversation with the woman I love on my iPod and listen to it on the subway’. You have to be present, in this synthetic, listen-later sort of world.”

Gyllenhaal wants to be like Thompson

Mel C uses Beckham’s name

because they don’t use cars. And, of course, there’s no electricity. I respect them a lot. The Amish like to live a very plain lifestyle, the way they think God intended. It sort of brings you back to like ‘Little House on the Prairie’ days or something.” The ‘Austin Powers’ star also revealed he has started working on his memoirs. He added: “I’m also in the beginning stage of writing a book. It’s going to be an autobiography about how I grew up.”

he ‘Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’ star picked up the skill when staying with his relatives, who are followers of the strict Amish religion - a form of Christianity that encourages simple living - and admits he still admires the lifestyle. He said: “I used to be Amish. I had to stay a lot with my grandparents or aunts and uncles who are Amish, so I was sort of partially Amish. When I go back there now I still get into that culture. I can drive a horse and buggy

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Mayer finds Twitter as satisfying as dating

Pattinson chipped his tooth by flossing it obert Pattinson chipped his tooth by flossing it so hard. The ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon’ heartthrob is said to be so keen to dispel rumors he has bad personal hygiene, he damaged one of his gnashers by cleaning them so thoroughly. His co-star for the next film in the ‘Twilight’ franchise, ‘Eclipse’, Bryce Dallas Howard, said he confessed to her. She said: “He was like, ‘Oh, I have to go to the dentist.’ And I was like, ‘Oh no, what happened? Just a check-up?’ And he was like, ‘No, I chipped a tooth.’ “I was like, ‘How?’ And he was like, ‘Flossing.’ Who does that? I don’t even floss. So he’s hygienic. Trust me.” Last year rumors spread from the set of ‘Twilight Saga: New Moon’ that British actor Robert doesn’t wash often enough. A source said: “He stinks. I mean, it’s awful. He never showers, and it drives people on the set crazy. He completely reeks.” While Bryce dispelled such rumors, she added she was daunted by meeting the 23-year-old actor, who portrays vampire Edward Cullen in the ‘Twilight’ franchise, but he helped her overcome her fears. She added to New York magazine: “I actually came out to him that I was totally nervous about meeting him. He’s such a sweet young man, and there’s such a distinctive difference between him and Edward Cullen. “He does such a wonderful job embodying that character, and bringing that character to life. —Bang Showbiz

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lison Mosshart has declared her love for Kate Moss’ boyfriend. The Kills rocker insists her bandmate Jamie Hince - who she dated before he became romantically involved with the supermodel - is closer to her than anyone else and says their relationship is like that of a “married couple”. She gushed to Vogue magazine: “Jamie and I are like a ridiculous married couple. He’s the one I tell everything to. Our lives depend on each other. He’s the closest person to me. “It’s the most beautiful thing. And I want people to fantasize about it.

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There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s beautiful.” The pair first met over a decade ago before going on to form the band and they have since released three albums. Discussing “ridiculous” rumors of a rift with former supermodel Kate, she said she considered her “a friend”. When Jamie and Kate first got together in 2008, some were concerned that his relationship with US-born Alison may get in the way. A source said: “He has a very intense friendship with Alison, which can be difficult for other women to understand.”


SPECTRUM

38

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Travel

Ohio nature preserve has view of gorge, many birds, fish and wildflowers An old pioneer cemetery lies off the Hoggard Trail.

An overlook gives a view of Paint Creek in the Buzzard Roost Nature Preserve.

t is one of the very best vistas in Ohio. And very few people know about it. Buzzards Roost Nature Preserve overlooks Paint Creek, just west of Chillicothe in Ross County. It’s a pretty, forested gorge that is up to 600 feet deep where the Allegheny Plateau meets the glacial plains of central Ohio. I learned about the little-known preserve from a new book by Jim McCormac and Gary Meszaros, “Wild Ohio: The Best of Our Natural Heritage” (Kent State University Press, $49.95). The gorge features steep walls of crumbly black shale and Berea sandstone that rise above Paint Creek, one of the prettiest and wildest streams in Ohio. It is equal to any up-high vistas that I have found in Hocking, Adams, Washington, Columbiana or Scioto counties, with sandstone shelves that jut out over the steep-walled valley. A few locals have dubbed the Paint Creek Valley the “Yocatangee Gorge,” an Indian term for beautiful place.

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Sandstone cliffs dominate the scenery. The ridge tops are forested in second-growth black and rock chestnut oaks and Virginia pine. The soils become moister and richer as you descend toward the creek and its floodplains. Trees found there include tulip trees, red oak and American beech, cottonwood willows, Ohio buckeyes, dogwoods, pawpaws, hornbeams, redbuds and hop-hornbeams. Buzzards Roost is also home to an array of woodland birds, and 45 species of fish, including several pollution-sensitive species, are found in Paint Creek. In all, 19 species of atrisk fish have been confirmed in the stream. It is rich in freshwater mussels, too. Biologists in 2004 conducted a one-day survey of the preserve and found 350 plant species. Since then, another 250 have been documented. It is a great park for wildflowers,

where northern and southern species grow together on the rims and in the valleys. In the spring, you can find wild geraniums, mayapples, buttercups, golden ragworts, starry chickweeds, large flowered trilliums, sessile trilliums, Virginia bluebells, trout lilies, spring beauties, jack in

always easy, especially when the rocks are wet, Merkamp said. No climbing is permitted on the cliffs. Ross County recently got a $15,380 Ohio NatureWorks grant to develop a facility for environmental and science education at the Buzzards Roost preserve, Merkamp said. That

The Frugal Traveler:

facility probably will open in 2011. Ross County, you might be surprised to know, has more miles of rivers, streams and creeks than any of Ohio’s other 87 counties. The Southern Ohio Floaters Association runs float trips on Paint Creek, with boaters camping on islands in the stream. To get to the Buzzards Roost Nature Preserve, take US 50 west from Chillicothe. Turn left (south) on Polk Hollow Road. Proceed about 1.8 miles to the top of a steep hill. Make a sharp right turn onto Red Bird Lane. The road dead-ends into the preserve. There are three small parking lots, several old farms and small cabins that have been abandoned on the property. For information, contact the Ross County Park District at 15 N Paint St, Suite 301, Chillicothe, OH 45601, 740-773-8794, http://www.rosscountyparkdistrict.co m. There are other historical and outdoorsy attractions in Chillicothe, 45 miles south of Columbus. The biggest attraction is known as Mound City. Its earthworks are part of the National Park Service’s 1,245acre Hopewell Culture National Historical Park that encompasses Mound City and four other Ohio sites. Mound City looks like a grassy park or a golf course, but it’s really an ancient cemetery. The 13-acre site off state Route 104 three miles north of Chillicothe is an archaeologically important site

Room for special kids:

Hotel offers a suite with autism in mind

because it contains 23 re-created Indian mounds memorializing the dead that date back at least 1,500 years. The site was probably used by the ancient Hopewell Indians for ceremonies, including human cremation and other community rituals. Some of the mounds may be tied to

An old farm meadow is slowly being reclaimed by nature. —MCT photos

the pulpits and toothworts. Some rare and threatened flower species are also found at Buzzards Roost, which got its name from the turkey vultures that can be seen roosting along the gorge. You are also apt to find waterfalls in the spring, when the side streams are flowing high toward Paint Creek. The preserve began about 10 years ago, when Jean Barnhart donated a 383-acre tract to Ross County in memory of her late husband, Earl H. Barnhart. Since then, the preserve has grown to 1,332 acres, although facilities are limited, said park spokesman Gary Merkamp. “It’s like a wilderness down in there,” he said of the gorge. “What we’ve got is a gem. ... It just needs a little polishing.” There are two short trails: the 0.56-mile Hoggard Trail and the 0.42-mile South Point Lookout Trail. The white-blazed Hoggard Trail runs along a small stream, through a Depression-era pine plantation, past an old pioneer cemetery and vernal pools. The blue-blazed South Point Lookout Trail takes visitors to Paint Creek Gorge, which was carved by glacial meltwater. More trails and facilities are planned, Merkamp said. Visitors are asked to stay on the marked trails and not descend the cliffs to Paint Creek because of fragile species growing on the steep slopes. Getting safely up and down the slopes is not

Stacey Wohl and her son, Logan, 10, of Long Island, stayed in the hotel room during a recent visit to the area. —MCT

ranking dead for partial cremation. The ashes, along with material objects, were placed atop a clay platform, buried and covered by a small mound. There is also evidence of wood ceremonial buildings at Mound City. The mounds vary in the number of burials, the layers of coverings and the kinds of artifacts they contain. The Central Mound is the largest, perhaps 30 feet high. Thirteen cremated human burials were accompanied by copper falcon effigies. Fragments of the human skulls had been cut and drilled, perhaps to create a ceremonial death mask. The Mound of Pipes included more than 200 carved stone pipes in the shape of birds, animals and reptiles. Replicas are on display in the visitor center. The Mica Grave Mound contained evidence of a wood building with a pit lined with mica. Inside were cremated human remains, along with obsidian (volcanic glass), tools, toad and raven effigy pipes, and a human-shaped copper headdress. Nearby were elk and bear teeth, large obsidian points, 5,000 shell beads and two copper headpieces, one with antlers and the other perhaps in the form of a bear.

This farmhouse is a major landmark in the Buzzard Roost Nature Preserve. astronomy with alignments linking the Earth, sun, moon and stars. Mound City can be thoroughly visited in 90 minutes to two hours. It includes a small visitor center with a 17-minute video presentation and exhibits of artifacts from the site, including pottery, copper items and animal-shaped effigy pipes. A 1.5mile trail circles Mound City, with audio stations and a self-guiding brochure, but visitors generally are drawn straight into the mound complex, which is surrounded by a low embankment of dirt. Mound City is where the Hopewell Indians brought their high-

The Hopewell Indians thrived for 700 years, from 200 BC to 500 AD, in southern Ohio. They farmed, hunted, fished and gathered food. For information, contact Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, 16062 State Route 104, Chillicothe OH 45601, 740-774-1126, http://www.nps.gov/hocu. Other Chillicothe attractions include the Great Seal State Park, with 20 miles of trails, off Rocky Road just northeast of Chillicothe; and Adena Mansion and Gardens, a state memorial that was the home of Thomas Worthington, who helped Ohio gain statehood. —MCT

ll the glassware in the Alpine Suite at the Clinton Inn Hotel in Tenafly is unbreakable-the wine glasses, the water tumblers, even the glass in the cabinet doors. The furniture has rounded corners with soft bumpers. A round table has replaced a square one. Flower vases and other decor have been glued down. The iron is stored behind a safety lock and the windows are locked. The television is fixed securely to the wall, instead of sitting on a credenza, as in other guest rooms. Everything in the suite has been designed to give peace of mind to guests who have children with autism. Even the inside lock on the door of the suite is mounted high, out of reach of small grasping hands. Most important of all, the door has an alarm that sounds-beep, beep, beep-if a child attempts a hasty exit. “Autistic kids tend to wander,” said

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“People look down at you like you’re a bad parent,” he said. “It’s kind of sad, actually, for the whole family. So at our hotel, we provide a different strategy.” Families who have children with autism checking into the Clinton Inn are given a welcome box full of fun things, including puzzles, crayons, coloring books, a night light and a stick-on hand tattoo to identify children if they become lost. Unbreakable items in the Alpine Suite include glassware for parents, “if they want to have a glass of wine, while their kids are bouncing off the wall,” Morreale said. “It’s not an easy lifestyle.” A special-needs menu, and complimentary in-room movie are also offered. In addition, 5 percent of the proceeds from guests in the suite go to the support organization Autism Speaks. The Palmer’s Crossing Restaurant & Lounge at the hotel has reserved Table

Manager of the Clinton Inn, Tony Morreale, has an autistic son and wanted to offer an option for these families.

Tony Morreale, the manager. “Parents need to know when they’re wandering.” Morreale believes he is the first hotelier to accommodate these children and their parents with their own rooms and a specially trained staff. Autism is a complex developmental disability that can appear between 18 months and 2 years of age. It is a neurological disorder that stunts a child’s behavior, communication skills and social interaction. One in 94 children in New Jersey have a form of autism spectrum disorder, compared with one in 110 children nationally, according to federal health statistics. “Each child is different,” Morreale said. “We couldn’t build a room for all of them. But safety is the universal word.” For all the love they engender, children with autism are still challenging, frustrating and exhausting for their parents. Traveling, especially staying in a hotel, can cause travail for all concerned. Morreale speaks from experience: His 7year-old son, Anthony, has autism and they learned how difficult it is to travel when they took him to Cape May, NJ, a few years ago. “We stayed in a nice hotel, but it was a disaster,” Morreale recalled. “He just didn’t want to be there. He wanted to be where it was a familiar environment that he knew.” “He didn’t understand the meaning of a hotel or a vacation,” he said. Exposure to uncomprehending adults is also tough.

44 for autism families and will donate 10 percent of all meal checks to the Alpine Learning Group, an autism learning center in Paramus. The inn also promotes related organizations, such as Autism Speaks. Morreale did a lot of research to find a similar hotel facility, but believes the Clinton Inn’s “is the only one on the planet.” The Alpine Suite opened only a few weeks ago, but already has satisfied customers. Stacey and David Wohl stayed there recently with their autistic son, Logan. They also have an autistic daughter at a residential school. “We were at Disney World, and Logan ran away” briefly, said Stacey. She also feared that her son, given to running around their $350 room, would fall off its unprotected balcony. Logan, a tall, rambunctious 11-year-old boy, can ski. But a family trip last year to Stowe, Vt., also ended quickly because their room lacked a special lock and David Wohl had to spend the night sitting in a chair propped against the door. “We don’t have a life. That’s why this hotel works so well for me,” Stacey Wohl said. “They said they could help me. They have a private dining room.” Logan couldn’t open the locked window in the suite, and the door alarm alerted her that he was trying to get out. “This was easier for me,” she said. “He couldn’t break everything. We had peace of mind. We slept last night. It was comfortable and I wasn’t nervous.” —MCT

Managing paperwork and time on the road he breakdown occurred during a long commute from Maine to Florida when a traveling laptop crashed in the middle of the workday. Stalled without a por table office, we blew one deadline and suffered through a roadside meltdown with frayed nerves. Fortunately, convenient access to system installation disks-tucked into a suitcase-and online storage of critical data solved the problem. Hitting the road with work assignments can be a challenge for even the most seasoned traveler. Deadlines, receipts and office files can clutter flight paths. And family drama can generate additional layers of

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Many public trains and buses offer free Wi-Fi connections for travelers. —MCT photos

chaos. Stay streamlined with these road warrior tips. Go digital: Avoid carrying large amounts of paper by storing critical information in a secure online location. Use a flash drive to save backup copies of key documents, images and other hard drive files. Jungledisk.com offers affordable storage with daily scheduled backups. You can also store the latest version of work files in personal email accounts. Keep receipt piles at bay with a travelsized scanner. Neat Receipts, www.neatco.com, has a unit with user-friendly sof tware to document expenses in digital form. Use time: Stay current

on projects by making the most of time spent on buses, trains or planes. Those blocks of time are perfect for tasks that don’t require Internet access. Use airport delays to review research notes, e-mails and business contacts. Work around the schedules of young children, teens and other family members when business trips overlap with family vacations. Rise early or stay up late to work while the rest of your entourage sleeps. Maintain records: Review workplace policies about travel expenses and daily spending allowances. Establish routines for storing or scanning travel receipts needed for expense

repor ts and tax records. Collect paper receipts in a mid-sized notebook with built-in folders, and take notes about money spent on tips, vending machines and other cash-only expenses. If accompanied by family during a business trip, carefully segregate personal and work expenses. Pack equipment: Before the trip, create a list of needed equipment. Computer cables, batteries, digital cameras and office supplies are among the tools needed to create a traveling cubicle. It can be expensive and difficult to replace lost or forgotten cables or computer accessories when traveling. —MCT

A travel-sized laptop supports light packing and productivity on the road.


SPECTRUM

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

39

Lifestyle

Tunnels beneath Vegas a refuge for homeless people nderneath its glitzy casinos, far from the bright marquees, there is another Las Vegas, a pitchblack, dank underworld virtually unknown and unseen by those who live, work and play above. About 300 people-mostly men battling demons of various addictions-live in the underground storm system built to protect the desert playground from the infrequent cloudburst. There’s no sign or word of welcome down here. Drug use is nearly universal. Most people carry makeshift weapons and the police don’t often come unless they’re called. But the denizens have found a haven in the labyrinth of concrete tunnels that snake beneath the city and its suburbs. In a place where total darkness can be just one bend away, visitors to this urban netherworld stumble across the unexplainable. A beat-up teddy bear lies next to a dirty chef’s knife propped up against a wall. Graffiti turns into murals near sparse pockets of light. A scruffy black cat’s meow is startling as it scrambles in a pile of junk to escape a flashlight’s beam. The echoes of footsteps change as boots hit standing water, or accidentally kick empty beer bottles as they tiptoe past midday sleepers. Fetid smells of garbage, dirty water and wet cloth waft through the corridors. Each subterranean encampment can be as spartan as a few worn blankets, or as elaborate as an apartment fitted with queen-size beds, dining utensils and knickknacks. One camp just west of the Las Vegas Strip is wallpapered with hardcore pornography, a collage of magazine pages modified with hand-drawn comic booklike dialogue bubbles giving voice to naked women. “You’d be surprised the things that wash down in this channel ... it’s hard to even describe,” said Rick “Iron” Cobble, a 45-year-old Oklahoma native, who sleeps in a 5-foot-high tunnel near the south end of the glittering Strip, not far from the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Cobble, battling severe drug addiction while living near a mound of washed up garbage, said his only belongings are a small mound of blankets and his clothes. “Right now I’m just trying to survive,” Cobble said. “That’s the only way you can put it.” Rich Penksa, a retired correctional sergeant who began traversing the tunnels earlier this year for a nonprofit’s homeless outreach, said he first heard about the tunnels years ago from prison inmates who told tales of living under Sin City when not behind bars. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt odder than when I’m down in that tunnel environment,” said Penksa, who once encountered thousands of spiders feasting on the baby mosquitoes multiplying in standing water. Penksa frequents the tunnels for HELP of Southern Nevada, which is working to place tunnel residents into more conventional homes. What started as a piecemeal set of individual drains is now part of a 500-mile maze of pipes, washes, basins and open channels, said Betty Hollister, spokeswoman for the Clark County Regional Flood Control District that built the system. Local jurisdictions maintain it using sales tax money at a cost of $7.9 million (euro5.5 million) last fiscal year. About 200 miles of the systemmostly built since 1986 — are underground drains ranging from 2-foot pipes to 12-foot-high, 20-foot-wide reinforced concrete boxes that shape channels, Hollister said. The people who call these tunnels home-mostly men ages 35 to 50, are a distinct breed, Penksa said. “Even the folks that are homeless above ground are very leery of the inhabitants of the tunnels. They’re kind of feared,” he said. Annie Wilson, homeless liaison for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, said officers usually only go into the tunnels when they are called or if they

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A graffiti referring to the title of a book written by Matthew O’Brien about the lives of homeless people who live in storm tunnels is shown in Las Vegas.

Eric smokes a cigarette while standing outside the storm tunnels.

Eric, left, a homeless man who only gave his first name, combs his hair as he chats with Phil, who also declined to give his last name, in storm tunnels.

Phil is reflected in the mirror as he looks for his toothbrush.

Eric, right walks with Matthew O’Brien, a writer and homeless advocate, in storm tunnels. are doing homeless outreach. Penksa said he has encountered a few children and women living alone below, but no families. Most inhabitants don’t like intruders and avoid conversation. Eric D, a 40-year-old New Yorker who has spent the past five years sleeping between four tunnels near various casinos, said he’s largely left alone in these desolate hallways-leaving him free to use drugs. “Down here, we’re out of sight, out of mind,” he said. “Which is cool with me because that’s the way I prefer it.” Eric, who asked that his last name not be used, said people end up in the tunnels for a lot of different reasons-he’s addicted to methamphetamines and marijuana. “This is the worst situation anybody could ever be in, and I did it to myself,” he said. Eric said the pitch black passageways are livable if you’re not claustrophobic, don’t mind cockroaches or black widow spiders and can tolerate “nasty” smells

that get worse when things get wet. Even small amounts of rain make the tunnels dangerous. “When the water comes, if you’re not ready for it, it’ll take you,” Cobble said. “It’s not like a little trickle.” The drains and 82 basins work together like bathtubs, with rainwater filling basins then draining through large output pipes, Hollister said. The system, driven by gravity, propels water east to Lake Mead. The change in elevation from Red Rock Canyon — 2,800 feet (850 meters), or twice the height of the Stratosphere Tower-means water can travel as fast as 30 mph (50 kph) through the tunnels with levels rising as much as one foot per minute, Hollister said. Eric is known as the weatherman among his tunnel neighbors because he spends hours watching television in the casinos’ sports books and keeping up with weather forecasts. “I’ve seen these things fill all the way to the roof,” he said. “If somebody doesn’t watch

Phil sheds tears as he talks about his family.

the weather, and you get caught, you can lose your life in here.” Fortunately, Las Vegas went 347 days without any rainfall in 2009, and had only five days where at least 0.10 of an inch of precipitation fell. Still, since 1960, there have been 31 flood deaths in the city, according to the flood district, including five deaths since 1992 believed to be homeless people. Matthew O’Brien, a writer who began exploring the tunnels in 2002 and wrote a book about them published in 2007, said people live in the tunnels for a wide range of reasons, including to get out of the desert summer heat that easily passes 100 degrees. O’Brien said the vast majority are addicted to either drugs, alcohol, gambling or some combination of the vices. “In these tunnels, no one bothers you, no one harasses you-there’s a permanence,” he said. “When you leave and come back, you know your home’s going to be there in the tunnel.” O’Brien said the tunnel residents largely live off the excesses of the casino corridor by panhandling or cashing out unplayed slot machines-a practice known as the credit hustle. Eric says the hustle, while once lucrative, has become less reliable as Sin City battles a harsh economic downturn keyed by deteriorating tourism. “The money, up until I’d say three years ago, was just too good to not do it. I literally averaged $150 a day cash money in my pocket,” Eric said. “And when you have a speed habit like I did and you have a marijuana habit like I do, it was the greatest thing in the world.” Penksa said the majority of tunnel dwellers don’t want assistance. Still, HELP has placed 18 tunnel residents into permanent housing since March. Eric said he’s hoping to get out of his concrete home soon, and would likely be out already if not for his marijuana habit. “I have to make right with my family and I don’t want them thinking I’m going to spend my whole life living like this, like a bum,” Eric said. “Fifteen years of doing the same monotonous, dumb stuff, it’s time I gotta do something right for myself. I can’t do it no more, I’m so tired of being who I am.”—AP

A shopping cart lies in storm tunnels near the Strip in Las Vegas. — AP photos

Blind woman learning to be a chef kitchen is a spiritual place for Laura Martinez, a space that arouses her senses, excites her imagination. It’s not where she imagined herself finding such satisfaction. When she was too young to understand she was blind, she dreamed of being a surgeon. She grew up and out of such fantasies and studied briefly to be a psychologist. But the kitchen beckoned. It lured her away from her family in Moline, Ill., to the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary program at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. “I’d never worked with a blind student before,” said Karine Bravais-Slyman, who heads the institute’s general education department, “but Laura did incredibly well in the kitchen. She showed many students that even with this type of impairment, she could still do better than students who have their sight.” Martinez had been cooking for years, either with her mother in the kitchen at home, making traditional Mexican dishes, or on her own. Now she was learning to cook wholly from scratch, deboning chickens and preparing deli-

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Australian prime minister turns children’s author ustralian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is about to become a published children’s author, with a tale about the lives of two family pets at one of his official residences, a spokeswoman said on Sunday. The new book, ‘Jasper and Abby and the Great Australia Day Kerfuffle’, follows the adventures of Jasper, a reallife black cat, and Abby, a golden retriever dog, and will be published later this month. A spokeswoman told Reuters that Jasper and Abby were “very much genuine members of the Rudd family”. The book, published by Allen and Unwin, will go on sale later this month with proceeds going to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. Rudd has co-authored the book with actor Rhys Muldoon, a presenter of a long-running Australian children’s program, ‘Play School’. Australia Day is a national holiday celebrated every year on January 26, the day in 1788 when the First Fleet landed in Sydney to found Britain’s first colony in Australia. — Reuters

cate French sauces and creams. “I had to learn to feel the food or to smell or listen to the sound it made in the pan,” said Martinez, 25. “I can tell by feel whether meat is raw, medium or well done. You just learn through time.” Persistence has never been a problem for her. As an infant, Martinez had eye cancer and soon had lost one eye and all ability to see. She has no memory of seeing. Her mother refused to treat her differently from her three brothers and two sisters. For a long time growing up, Martinez didn’t understand she was different from anyone else. “I thought everyone saw the way I did,” she said. She vividly recalls how she and her brother would sometimes sneak out one of their mother’s kitchen knives and go in the backyard to carefully dissect leaves. That’s where the idea to be a surgeon was born: “I eventually realized that being a chef would be a little like being a surgeon. At least I’d be able to use my knives.” To complete the Le Cordon Bleu program, Martinez is working daily in the cafeteria

Laura Martinez, right, who is blind, is helped by volunteer chef Gladis Rodriguez as she makes tortilla soup at the Lighthouse for the Blind. — MCT

kitchen at the Chicago Lighthouse, a center for people who are blind or visually impaired. On a recent morning she stood over a broad yellow cutting board, deftly slicing chicken breasts with a razor-sharp, 8-inch knife. The image of a blind person slicing meat is ripe for mockery, but Martinez made the act a delicate ballet of moving fingers and firm, precise cuts. She sees the meat with her hands, positions it just right for cutting, brings the strips around again so they can be cubed, constantly grasping and feeling around the edges to monitor her work. Her eyes behind thick sunglasses, she stands straight and stoic, in a world of her own: “I concentrate. I pay attention. I imagine the flavor, the smell, the texture and the color. I always have a picture in my head of what I’m making.” “She has a sense of colors that is not visual; she associates colors in terms of food items,” said Bravais-Slyman. “For greens, she thinks about salad; for reds, she thinks about strawberries or apples. Everything for her relates to food.” Martinez will graduate from

her program in March, and faces an uncertain future. She knows, and Bravais-Slyman and others agree, it will be difficult for her to find restaurants willing to take on a blind chef. Job counselors at the Lighthouse for the Blind have said they will assist in her search, and Martinez acknowledged she likely will have to start somewhere small and work relentlessly to prove herself. But that has been the case much of her life. “I worry about it,” she said, “but I still fight. I don’t give up.” That’s why she has already begun formulating a menu for the restaurant she plans to open someday in Miami. It will feature a mix of Mexican and Italian dishes, inspired by her mother’s cooking as well as the myriad flavors and spices that ignite Martinez’s senses. She will call it La Diosa, which means “the goddess.” “Everybody has a god, no matter their religion,” Martinez said. “I think positive and pray for good things to happen.” And whether through faith or persistence, Martinez believes that good things, indeed, will come. — MCT

Colm Toibin takes Costa Book Awards fiction prize rish writer Colm Toibin was named novelist of the year yesterday in Britain’s lucrative Costa Book Awards for his emigrant saga “Brooklyn.” The judges praised Toibin’s “poised, quiet and incrementally shattering” story about a young Irishwoman in the 1950s caught between a new life in New York and the pull of her homeland. Raphael Selbourne won the first novel award for “Beauty,” the story of a young Bangladeshi woman in Britain on the run from an arranged marriage. The prizes-known until 2006 as the Whitbread Book Awards-were established in 1971. They are open to residents of Britain and the Republic of Ireland. The prizes are awarded in five categoriesnovel, first novel, poetry, biography and children’s book. Each category winner receives 5,000 pounds ($8,000). One of the five will receive the 25,000-pound book of the year award Jan 26. Graham Farmelo won the biography prize for “The Strangest Man,” a life of physicist Paul Dirac. The poetry prize went to Christopher Reid for “A Scattering,” and US born writer Patrick Ness won the children’s book award for “The Ask and the Answer.” The awards were renamed in 2006 after sponsorship switched from retail and leisure group Whitbread to the Costa coffee shop chain.—AP

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Bollywood personalities (L-R) Tara Sharma, Suchitra, Johnny lever, Ishita Sharma, and Fardeen Khan attend a promotional event for the Hindi film ‘Dulha Mil Gaya’ in Mumbai on January 3, 2010. —AP

Bollywood actor Salman Khan (3rd R) is seen onstage with children during a promotional event for the Hindi film ‘Veer’ in Mumbai on January 3, 2010. —AFP

‘Avatar’ passes $1 billion at world box office vatar” sped past the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office after three weekends in release, making it the fourth-biggest movie of all time, according to new data. James Cameron’s 3-D sci-fi epic earned $1.02 billion, powered by sales of $202 million during the New Year holiday weekend, distributor 20th Century Fox said. The only movies ahead of it are Cameron’s “Titanic” ($1.8 billion), “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” ($1.12 billion), and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” ($1.07 billion). North American moviegoers chipped in $68.3 million, setting a record for a film in its third weekend. The old mark of $45 million was set by “Spider-Man” in 2002. After 17 days in cinemas across the United States and Canada, “Avatar” has earned $352.1 million, placing it at No 15 among all movies in terms of ticket sales.

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the tale of a disabled ex-Marine sent from Earth to infiltrate a race of 10-foot blue aliens and persuade them to let his employer mine their homeland for natural resources. It was reportedly the

Fox, a unit of News Corp, forecast the film would end up in the $500 million range in the North American market. Cameron’s 1997 drama “Titanic,” the biggest film of all time before accounting for inflation, earned $601 million, followed by 2008’s “The Dark Knight” with $533 million. “Star Wars” currently holds the No 3 berth with $461 million. “This is like a freight train out of control,” said Fox distribution executive Bert Livingston. “It just keeps on going.” Even “Titanic” could be threatened. When ticket-price inflation is included, that film had earned $241 million after 17 days, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo. Foreign sales at $670 million The international total for “Avatar” stands at $670.2 million. The film is playing virtually everywhere. It opened in China on Saturday, and will reach Italy-its final market- on Jan 15. “Avatar” is

Indian women drive equality in India n her canary-yellow sari and gold earrings, with a pair of thin-framed spectacles perched on her nose, Surekha Yadav could be any woman stepping down from the train at Mumbai’s main railway station. But the 44-year-old mother-of-two stands out from the crowds on the platforms at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) as she doesn’t just travel on the trains-she drives them. Yadav was the first female passenger train driver on Mumbai’s Central Railways and has become a standard-bearer for women in a traditionally maledominated industry. Since she first jumped into the cab of Mumbai’s packed commuter trains 10 years ago-attracting curious looks from commuters-one other “motorwoman” now plies the same suburban route. Two are assistant drivers. There are also women train drivers on the Western Railway network, ferrying many of the six million people who use the city’s overstretched network every day. Yadav, who admitted having no interest in trains before applying for a job as an assistant goods train driver in 1989, said she has had nothing but support from her male colleagues.

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This undated file photo released by 20th Century Fox, the character Neytiri, voiced by Zoe Saldana, is shown in a scene from ‘Avatar.’ —AP

most expensive film ever made, with a budget of at least $300 million. In the absence of any major new releases, the rankings of the rest of the films in the North American top 10 were largely

British PM Brown named worst-dressed man rime Minister Gordon Brown has received a pre-election kick in the pants, being named the worst-dressed man of the year by the British edition of GQ magazine. Brown, who faces a grueling battle at this year’s general election, beat off competition from French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British comedian Russell Brand and reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-il for the title. Brown moves from

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three in last year’s rankings to top the 2010 list for being “anything but a prime example of British style,” the men’s magazine said. “Perhaps the French president should spend less time worrying about his stature a n d m o re t i m e w o r r y i n g about his style,” it added of Sarkozy, who reportedly at five-foot five-inches (1.65 meters), often wears stacked heels. London mayor Boris Johnson also made the top

“They encouraged, helped and took care of me,” she said, adding she had taken special training to become the first woman driver of a “ghat loco”, the two-engined passenger trains that climb the hills of western Maharashtra state. “Because I was the only woman, they were curious whether I could do it or not,” she told AFP. Women like Yadav can be found throughout Indian history, from warrior queens like Rani Lakshmibai and members of the independence movement to the first-and so far, only-female prime minister, Indira Gandhi. Prathiba Patil, the current president, is the first woman to hold the post, the lower house of parliament has its first female speaker in Mira Kumar, while women are wellrepresented at many of India’s largest companies. But although India’s constitution “guarantees to all Indian women equality”, differences between the sexes still exist, particularly in rural areas, in terms of access to education, health care and even food. Just over a third of Indian women aged 15 to 49 said they had experienced domestic violence, according to a 2007 National Family Health Survey. Overall violence against women increased by nearly 25 percent between 2003 and 2007, the latest available government statistics show. The highest rises-over 30 percent-were recorded for kidnap, abduction and torture.—AFP

1 0 . B r i t i s h a c t o r Ro b e r t Pattinson, 23, star of the “Twilight” vampire romance franchise, meanwhile, topped the best dressed list, which comes out Thursday. The members of pop band Take That came in second, followed by Arctic Monkeys’ singer Alex Turner, with US style guru Tom Ford, Bond star Daniel Craig and Elton John’s partner David Furnish also winning top 10 spots. David Cameron, leader of

in brief Gaga, Boyle UK’s 2009 best sellers

‘Hurt Locker,’ French films win US critics awards

ady Gaga’s single “Poker Face” and Susan Boyle’s debut album “I Dreamed A Dream” were crowned Britain’s biggest-selling records of 2009, the Official Charts Company said on Sunday. New Yorker Lada Gaga’s debut single, “Just Dance,” was number three in the official singles chart of 2009, just behind Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.” Boyle, the runner-up of the “Britain’s Got Talent” TV show, claimed top spot in the year’s album chart af ter “I Dreamed a Dream” sold more than 1.5 million copies in six weeks. The 48-year-old Scottish singer was unknown before her appearance on the talent show last April and became an overnight Internet sensation. Boyle edged Lady Gaga’s “The Fame” into second place in the list of the year’s best-selling albums ahead of Michael Buble’s “Crazy Love.” In the latest week’s British singles chart, Lady Gaga’s single “Bad Romance” returned to the number one spot. She pushed X Factor winner Joe McElderry’s debut single “The Climb” down to number two. Black Eyed Peas moved up three places to third with “Meet Me Halfway.” In the week’s albums chart, there was a return to the number one slot for Paolo Nutini’s “Sunny Side Up” which was first number one in June 2009. Lady Gaga’s “The Fame” occupied number two with Boyle’s album in third.

he Hurt Locker,” an independently made film about US bomb disposal experts in Iraq, picked up several more awards Sunday when the National Society of Film Critics chose it as the best film of 2009, solidifying its status among favored Oscar contenders. The movie also yielded honors for its director, Kathryn Bigelow, while Jeremy Renner won best actor for his breakout role as a cocky bomb technician. Both the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association had already chosen the film and Bigelow for their top prizes. French productions won several of the critics’ top awards. Yolande Moreau was named best actress for “Seraphine,” based on the life of French painter Seraphine de Senlis, while “Summer Hours” won for best foreignlanguage film.

L This photo taken on September 15, 2009 shows Indian train driver Surekha Yadav posing at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) in Mumbai. —AFP

unchanged from the previous week. “Sherlock Holmes” was No 2 with $38.4 million, taking the 10day total for the Robert Downey Jr action-adventure to $140.7 million. It was released by Warner Bros. Pictures, a unit of Time Warner Inc. Fox’s family offering “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” followed at No 3 with $36.6 million, and a 12-day total of $157.3 million. The Universal Pictures comedy “It’s Complicated” held steady at No 4 in its second weekend with $18.7 million. The film, starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, has earned $59.1 million. Universal is a unit of General Electric Co. The Sandra Bullock smash “The Blind Side” was No 5 with $12.7 million. Warner Bros.’ football-themed drama has earned $209.1 million after seven weekends.—Reuters

Ke$ha leads US pop singles chart for second week ookie pop singer Ke$ha leads Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart for a second week with “TiK ToK” while setting the record for most single-week downloads by a female artist (610,000). The prior mark

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was set by Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” (419,000) exactly a year ago. Gaga surpasses that sum as well with “Bad Romance” selling 445,000 downloads this week, good enough for No 3. Iyaz’s “Replay” jumped two places to No 2. Former No 1 “Fireflies” by Owl City rebounded one to No 4, while recent chart-topper “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z + Alicia Keys fell three to No 5. Jason Derulo’s “Whatcha Say” (No 6) and Jay Sean’s “Down” (No 7) each moved up a slot. Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” returned to the top 10 after a six-week break, soaring 11 places to No 8. “Sexy Chick” by David Guetta featuring Akon slid three to No 9. “Do You Remember,” featuring Sean Paul & Lil Jon, jumped four places to a new high of No 10, breaking a three-week streak of no titles moving into the top 10. —Reuters

Britain’s main opposition Conservatives party and widely tipped to win this year’s election, was named at number eight. Fo o t b a l l e r David Beckham and rapper Dizzee Rascal rounded out the top 10. Singer Grace Jones, known for her unique fashion style, made the top 50 at 42 — despite not being a man, with the magazine stating: “Name one man who can make the tuxedo look this cool.”—AFP

Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown meets school children from St Monica’s Primary School in Hackney, east London yesterday. —AP

Indian police probe suicide of girl reality show star, 11 n 11-year-old Indian girl who had appeared on television reality shows apparently committed suicide after her parents withdrew her from a dance school, local media reported yesterday. Police were called to a flat in the eastern suburbs of Mumbai on Saturday after Neha Sawant was found hanging by a dupatta, or scarf, inside a locked room, the Mumbai Mirror said. The child, described as an amazing dancer and who had performed on three television talent shows, was taken to hospital but pronounced dead on arrival. Senior police inspector Subhash Divekar, leading the investigation, said there was no question of foul play, as the door was locked from the inside. “It is indeed a case of suicide. We are still investigating as to why she took the drastic step. We haven’t found any suicide note from the spot yet,” he was quoted as saying.

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Neha’s father told the daily tabloid that he and his wife had pulled their daughter out of a dance academy several months ago because they thought her constant performing was affecting her schoolwork. She showed no signs of wanting to take her own life, he added. Television reality and talent shows have become popular on India’s cable and satellite channels, with many copying successful formats from countries like Britain and the United States. But psychologists have warned that exposing youngsters to the limelight too soon can have a negative effect on their enjoyment of childhood, with harsh criticism from judges leading to self-image problems. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has also expressed concern that young participants were often working more than 12 hours a day, calling for better regulation and a ban on contestants aged under 16. —AFP

A member of the Edo Civilian Firefighters’ Association performs on the top of a bamboo ladder to celebrate business following the New Year’s holiday at Mitsukoshi department store in central Tokyo yesterday. The popular traditional firefighters’ stunt attracts New Year shoppers to the department store every year. —AFP

5 Jan  

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