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Abbas insists peace talks only option, slams Hamas By Badrya Darwish KUWAIT: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday said peace talks with Israel were the only option for the Palestinians, after ruling out war and a continuation of the present stalemate. “We have three options – go to war, which I cannot do on my own. No Arab nation wants war. Palestinians aren’t capable of waging

war alone,” he said at a press conference at Bayan Palace yesterday. “The second option is a continuation of the status quo, which has been going on for 60 years and could go on forever. The third option is peace negotiations. We went all the way for peace - from Oslo to Annapolis to Sharm ElSheikh etc – and we are ready to continue these talks,” he said. “The only solution before us is

to go back to the Roadmap, which means a return to the borders before 1967, return of refugees and East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.” Abbas blamed Israel of obstructing the peace process by building more settlements. “We cannot start any peace talks unless settlements are halted,” he said. On relations with his bitter rivals Hamas, the

Palestinian president blamed the Islamist group of masterminding a coup against him. He also accused them of planting two bombs targeting him. On the horrific humanitarian situation in Gaza which is deteriorating daily, Abbas again put the blame on Hamas. “We went to Makkah and reached an agreement with Hamas, but the moment we returned, they reneged on it. Continued on Page 14

Assembly delays vote on debt bill Session marred by chaos, heated exchanges By B Izzak

KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlSabah welcomes Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at the Bayan Palace yesterday. — AFP

KUWAIT: Heated arguments between MPs yesterday brought a premature end to the National Assembly session that was due to hold the second and final vote on the

multibillion-dinar debt relief plan. The session was first delayed for more than two hours when MPs presented about 10 amendments to the law and asked the financial and economic affairs committee to study them and bring a

new report. When the session was resumed, more amendments were presented and its debate created chaotic scenes and heated exchanges between supporters and opponents of the bill. At this point, speaker

‘Radical’ climate change forecast KUWAIT: A leading Kuwaiti meteorologist has warned of probable “radical” climate change bringing an increase in phenomena such as sandstorms, floods, large-scale sand movement and similar problems to Kuwait in the future. Prominent local meteorologist Issa Ramadan revealed that temperatures in the country rose steadily between 1962 and 2008, with the trend continuing as the winter of 2009-2010 has been

confirmed as the warmest on record. The increasing temperature extremes and fluctuating rainfall levels recorded in Kuwait over the past few decades indicate the reality of the climate change phenomenon, he asserted. The average temperature in Kuwait has increased by one-and-a-half degrees since 1962, Ramadan explained, adding that a combination of natural causes and Continued on Page 14

Squeegees ready for Burj window-clean

DUBAI: A telescopic boom unit is seen on the Burj Khalifa tower. – AFP

MELBOURNE: An Australian company has described the epic task of cleaning the windows of the world’s biggest skyscraper in Dubai, using squeegees, buckets - and 7.3 million US dollars of high-tech equipment. Dale Harding, general manager of Cox Gomyl, said the firm designed and installed the Burj Khalifa’s unique window-cleaning carousels which were in action ahead of its official opening this week. Continued on Page 14

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 receive tribal notables at Dar Salwa Palace yesterday. The Amir later held a luncheon in their honor. — KUNA

Jassem Al-Khorafi adjourned the session for the day when his repeated calls for calm went in vain. Khorafi later told reporters that he was forced to end the session due to chaos and when MPs refused to end their arguments. The arguments were mainly focused on technical details of the controversial bill which calls on the government to purchase around KD 6.7 billion of personal and consumer debts taken by Kuwaiti citizens from banks and investment companies. Under the bill, the government is required to scrap interest estimated at KD 1.5 billion and reschedule the repayment of the principal debt over an extended duration without any interest. The amendments were technical in nature, the most important of which was not setting a fixed period for rescheduling the debt. The bill only stipulates that the new monthly installment should not exceed 35 percent of the debtors’ monthly income. Central Bank governor Sheikh Salem Abdulaziz Al-Sabah later said in a Continued on Page 14

Israeli officers cancel UK trip Israel approves east Jerusalem building project JERUSALEM: An Israeli military delegation has canceled an official visit to Britain, officials said yesterday, the latest in a string of politicians and army officials to put off travel to the UK because of fears of war crimes prosecution. Israel complained that the practice, spearheaded by pro-Palestinian activists, is harming relations, and Britain’s visiting attorney general said an urgent solution must be found.

The Israelis called off their trip because their British army hosts could not guarantee they would not be arrested, the Israeli officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. Neither the Israeli military nor the British government would comment. The incident underlined the effectiveness of a proPalestinian legal campaign to harass Israeli officials in the wake of war crimes

allegations after Israel’s devastating invasion of Gaza a year ago to stop rocket attacks. Israelis brand the tactic “lawfare”, which they denounce as warfare through distortion of laws and conventions. It has crimped the travel plans of many officials and put Israel on the defensive in international bodies. In Britain, pro-Palestinian groups have forced Israelis to cancel trips Continued on Page 14

Pak acid attack victims pin hope on new laws

ISLAMABAD: This picture taken on Dec 10, 2009, shows Pakistani acid attack victim Naziran Bibi (left) as she attaches a handmade hair extension she knitted for acid attack survivor Naila Farhat at the Acid Survivors Foundation in Islamabad. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Naziran Bibi knows exactly what she would consider apt justice for the person who hurled acid in her face, burnt out her eyes, disfigured her beyond recognition and destroyed her life. An eye for an eye, she tells AFP, her rage palatable in her small room at a charity’s office in Pakistan’s capital, her children scrambling over her as she gropes for a sewing box and twists thread round her fingers. “If someone burns a face with acid, his face should also be burnt with acid. If someone blinds someone’s eyes, his eyes should also be blinded,” says Bibi. “Yes, I want it done... my life is over now.” Continued on Page 14

KENTING, Taiwan: This undated handout photo shows a new species of crab found on a beach of Pingtung, southern Taiwan. A Taiwanese marine biologist said he had found the new species of crab which is coloured like a polka-dotted strawberry. Professor Ho Ping-ho of National Taiwan Ocean University said he made the discovery while carrying out research on the environmental impact from a shipwreck last year on the beaches of southern Kenting National Park. — AFP

AMMAN: In this Jan 2, 2010 photo, King Abdullah II of Jordan and his wife Queen Rania look towards the coffin of Jordanian intelligence officer Ali bin Zeid during a ceremony. — AP

CIA bomber was Qaeda triple agent Attacker Kuwait-born Jordanian AMMAN: A suicide bomber who killed eight people at a CIA base in Afghanistan was an Al-Qaeda triple agent who duped Western intelligence services for months before turning on his handlers, jihadist websites boasted yesterday. The Jordanian intelligence services, believing the bomber to be their double agent, brought him to eastern Afghanistan with the mission of finding Al-Qaeda number two, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the websites and Western intelligence agents cited by US media said. But instead he blew himself

up at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost province near the Pakistani border, killing seven CIA agents and his Jordanian handler, a top intelligence officer and member of the royal family. The deaths of the seven agents marked the US Central Intelligence Agency’s worst single loss of life since the bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 and President Barack Obama was to hear a scathing report on US intelligence-gathering in Afghanistan later yesterday. Continued on Page 14

Egypt’s border wall could choke Hamas RAFAH, Gaza Strip: A jackhammer pounded large steel beams side by side into the sandy soil on the Egyptian side of Gaza’s border, putting in place an underground wall that could shift the balance of power in this volatile area. Once completed, the steel barrier would cut off blockaded Gaza’s last lifeline and - by slicing through hundreds of smuggling tunnels under the 14-km Gaza-Egypt border - could increase pressure on the territory’s Hamas rulers to moderate. Since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Hamas is believed to have stepped up its weapons imports considerably and Israel has struck hard to stop the flow of arms. But the underground passages also pose a threat to Egypt, which is increasingly concerned about an Islamic militant regime on its doorstep that could spill into its territory and incite violence. The Islamic militants have so far shown little willingness to compromise in power-sharing talks with their Western-

backed rivals or in negotiations on a prisoner swap with Israel. Their hold on Gaza is at least partly dependent on supplies and cash coming through the tunnels. On Monday, workers operated huge machines just behind the Egyptian border line, offering a rare glimpse at what the wall is made of. Continued on Page 14



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

API holds workshop

Study shows ‘surprisingly’ large Arab middle class KUWAIT: A recent study conducted by the Undersecretary of the Arab Planning Institute (API) revealed that the Arab world’s middle class is surprisingly large. The study was presented at a workshop in the API’s head office yesterday morning. The study, titled ‘The Political Economy of

Inequality in the Arab Region and Relevant Development Policies,’ determined the size of the Arab middle class by processing economic data received from six separate Arab countries. Economist Ali Abdul Qader Ali, who conducted the study, said that one of the preconditions for economic development is to have a society with a middle class capable of distributing wealth.

Ali’s study included analyzing economic data from Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Yemen in the period between the 1990s and the beginning of the century. “We noticed that during this time Arab countries, compared with the rest of the world, were distinguished by average degree of inequality in the distribution of consumer spending and income,” Ali said. “I was surprised with the size of the middle class in the Arab world,” he added. Ali’s study claims that in the year 2005 the middle class in the Middle East and North Africa region was 79 percent of the population, compared to 75.5% in the year 1990. “Based on that,” says Ali, “it is not right to assume that the middle class in the Arab world is shrinking.” The study concludes that the Arab model began sustainable achievements in development in the 1960s. Ali states that there is a tendency

(GCC) countries when this study was conducted. “We now have the data for some GCC countries and we need to study it thoroughly to see how the middle class looked precisely in this region,” he said. He added that there was not enough available data on poor-

By Ahmad Saeid

KUWAIT: Dr Esa Al-Ghazali, the head of API (left), and Dr Ali Abdul Qader Ali, Undersecretary of the API. — Photo by Ahmad Saeid to believe that the Arab middle class experienced an ‘authoritarian bargain,’ where developmental achievements was traded for political freedom in this part of the world. Ali said that there was not enough data available on the Gulf Cooperation Council

er Arab countries, such as Sudan and Djibouti, and they were excluded from the study. On a separate note, Ali said that the impact of the international financial crisis on the economies of GCC countries will be “alright as long as oil prices are stable.”

Kuwait to host globalization conference KUWAIT: Minister of Education and Higher Education Moudi Al-Humoud exploring the monument. — Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh

Thank you My Teacher’ monument unveiled By Rawan Khalid KUWAIT: The Kuwait Teachers’ Society has entered the Guinness Book of World Records thanks to the ‘Thank You My Teacher’ monument constructed by school pupils of all ages using 1,025,000 pencils. The achievement was announced during a ceremony held at the 360 Mall yesterday to mark World Teachers’ Day, which was patronized by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-

Ahmad Al-Sabah and sponsored by VIVA. The KTS unveiled the unique monument during the event, which was attended by Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr. Moudhi AlHumoud, KTS President Ayed Al-Sahli and many teachers and KTS members. In her speech during the ceremony, which was attended by numerous parents, teachers and students, many of them waving miniature Kuwaiti flags, Dr.

Al-Humoud said, “I am very proud of the achievement in this monument, which reflects the immense and richly deserved gratitude to all teachers who dedicate their lives to educating people. With this monument, we say, ‘Thank you to the teachers.’” On behalf of the KTS, AlSahli expressed his thanks and gratitude to all who worked on the monument, revealing that the monument would be featured in the next Guinness Book of World Records.

KUWAIT: A conference with the theme “Family and globalization, challenge and opportunity” is to be held Sunday and review valuable Gulf experiences in this field, Head of Social Development at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor Shaikha Al-Adwani said, yesterday. The official added, at a press conference, that the conference’s goals are to present positive examples of family and social development projects in the Gulf region where globalization was a contributing factor. She remarked that another goal is to encourage more efforts by social, cultural, and economic institutions to support family development initiatives, as well as to suggest mechanisms to adjust to and deal with globalization and expansion and boom in interconnectivity and communications through the latest technologies available today. In addition to review of Gulf experiences and projects, the conference would host a number of figures from Kuwait and beyond to address the said issues. The conference is held under the sponsorship of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser AlMohammad Al-Ahmad and lasts three days, according to the statement. — KUNA

Integration of eight hospitals in two years KUWAIT: Deputy Chief of the National Guards Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received at his office yesterday, visiting Director of Jordan’s Gendarmerie Forces Maj Gen Tawfiq Al-Tawalbeh and the accompanying delegation. — KUNA

Old court order threatens oil minister’s position KUWAIT: Reports about a court order that was issued to the Minister of Information and Oil Sheikh Ahmed Al-Abdullah AlSabah during his previous tenure (as Minister of Communication) has been making headlines. He has been accused of wasting millions of dinars in public funds, and the allegation may jeopardize AlAbdullah’s position. In case he survives an interpellation motion, he will continue to occupy the position of Minister of Oil. MP Musallam Al-Barrak urged the government to take serious measures against AlAbdullah because of the court order. This implies that AlAbdullah was not trustworthy enough to run the ministry that controls the basic source of national income, reported Al-Rai.

KUWAIT: Eight hospitals would be expanded and integrated within the upcoming two years, said Undersecretary at the Health Ministry Abdulkarem Jaffar yesterday. The ministry would also focus on developing transportation within the health sector, said Jaffar after the meeting for the council of the Health Ministries secretaries. Jaffar also indicated that the conference on health insurance was also on the agenda of the meeting, revealing that the World Bank would be present at the event on Jan 17. The establishment of health affairs secretariat was also discussed in the meeting, stated the official, who revealed that secretariat would focus on issues of paramount health importance such as allowing for approval of treatment abroad and other issues. Meanwhile, head of the emergency medicine in the Health Ministry Dr. Faisal Al-Ghanem told KUNA that the ministry is ready to receive women staff within the emergency department, revealing that there were 160 job positions to be filled by those eager to work. — KUNA

KUWAIT: Some of the encroachments demolished by the committee this week.

Follow up demolition teams destroy illegal structures By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: The committee in charge of demolishing encroachments on state property has not only been monitoring the removal of illegal structures, it has also assigned another team with the task of taking follow up actions. This is to ensure that violators do not repeat or rebuild encroachments. The Farwaniya team had demolished a large diwaniya that was built on state property; it covered an area of 8x13 meters in Firdous, on the main road that leads to Sulaibiya. “The follow up teams have been entrusted with the responsibility of detecting new structures that were built in areas that have already been scrutinized. We noticed that a large illegal diwaniya was recently built using timber from the Kena Carpis trees,” said Riyadh Bu Rabei, Head of the Farwaniya demolishing team. “We don’t issue any notice or warning. We

have already done so in the past, and all the owners had removed the illegal structures by themselves. The notice period is usually issued to new areas where the demolishing teams pass by for the first time,” he added. This taskforce takes follow up action on the work that has already been carried out by demolishing teams. “This ensures that individuals develop good civic sense, that laws are respected, and that instructions issued by demolishing teams are followed. The members of the team usually keep a check on different residential and commercial areas, houses and gardens to make sure that no trees or hedges are overgrown,” highlighted Bu Rabei. “The owner of this particular demolished diwaniya was under the false impression that the demolition teams would not return. So he rebuilt his diwaniya. He was wrong and we demolished it so that it would serve as an example to other violators,” he concluded.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010



‘Very bad’ from a professional viewpoint

Disagreement over citizens’ debt write-off draft law By Nisreen Zahreddine KUWAIT: The Kuwait Economic Society held a seminar on Monday to discuss the draft law on debt write off. MP Rola Dashti, former minister of planning Ali Al-Moussa, and constitutional analyst Mohammad Al Fayli were the prominent members who participated in the event. Al-Moussa

KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah yesterday received the football player in Al-Arabi Sports Club Majed Mohammad Al-Thawani. The player presented His Highness with a commemorative shield on the occasion of his retirement, effective on the 9th of this month. —KUNA

Minister condemns increase in number of underage drivers KUWAIT: Interior Minister Sheikh Jaber AlKhalid Al-Sabah has expressed anger at the rising numbers of dangerous underage drivers, who he said are getting behind the steering wheel and threatening the lives of people on Kuwait’s streets by breaking the law in extremely serious ways. Speaking in a phone interview with local daily Al-Qabas, the minister said that the problem had been worsening in recent times due to a failure on the part of parents to observe their responsibilities to make their children aware of the seriousness of such acts. Sheikh Jaber further asserted that some parents not only stand by and watch their children drive recklessly, but give their permission and even encouragement to do so. The minister indicated that he had personally arrested 45 juveniles aged between 15 and 17 who

were caught committing various driving violations, and had ordered that they be charged and penalized accordingly. Sheikh Jaber Al-Khalid said that security officers have been fully authorized to take all the necessary measures in punishing these violators, emphasizing the crucial importance of society’s role in increasing young people’s awareness of the need to respect the law and law enforcement officials. The minister revealed that the number of road casualties recorded in Kuwait fell in 2009, praising the role played in this by the regular establishment of checkpoints at various locations across Kuwait, reported Al-Qabas. Sheikh Jaber Al-Khalid also announced that Kuwait will shortly see stiffer implementation of traffic regulations and more security awareness campaigns.

Al-Moussa said that the real issue concerns 13,000 cases and not the larger figure of 320,000. He asserted that every one fell under the purview of the draft law. He illustrated it by saying that the draft law only considers those who borrowed money from banks and investment companies - disregarding those who purchased from websites and merchants. These are called consumer loans but have been excluded from the Central Bank’s statistics. He then questioned their apparent exclusion from the draft law. He feels that the regulation only covers loans taken out by Kuwaitis and expats which was then amended to include only Kuwaitis. He added that salaries earned are taken as the base according to which loan amounts are calculated, not the assets owned by the individual. He went on to say that if an individual earns a salary of KD 15,000 the value of the assets he owns is ignored by the said draft law. Al-Moussa said that what contributes to the biggest predicament is the fact that those MPs who support the draft law possess technical knowhow to prove that the government is unable to withdraw money after it has been deposited. He added that depositing money in banks unnecessarily for an extended period of 15 years, as suggested by the draft law, will harm the country’s banking operations. Dr. Mohammad Al-Fayli

criticized the draft law, pointing out to the fact it is ‘very bad’ from a professional viewpoint and questioned the purpose it would serve. He pointed out that setting up the insolvency fund has only resulted in renewed demand for debt cancellation. Those people who were ‘harmed’ as a result, did not account for even three and half percent when compared to the total percentage of insolvencies.

KUWAIT: Speakers at the seminar: Dr Mohammad Al-Fayli (left) MP Rola Dashti, former minister Ali AlMoussa. —Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh noted that governmental interference in economic activities will assure prosperity and satisfaction for its citizens, even if it negatively affects capital. On the other hand, he highlighted that the legislative power is not authorized to interfere in a haphazard manner. Al-Fayli added that it is disclosing an individual’s statement of financial assets publicly

is not an acceptable practice unless it is permitted by law. As such, no such law exists - which makes it a constitutionally illegal practice. Al-Fayli also termed the draft law to be ‘unfair’ as it is not implemented equally among all citizens. MP Rola Dashti described the draft law as ‘the law of false dreams.’ She explained the reasons behind her objections

Egyptian journalists seek KJA support

KUWAIT: A visiting delegation of police officers from Sharjah yesterday hailed training standards at Kuwait’s Saad Al-Abdullah Academy for Security Sciences. The comment came in a statement by the UAE Ministry of Interior issued during meeting between the delegation, headed by the Manager General of Sharjah Police and Deputy Head of the Police Academy Brig Gen Hamid Al-Hedaidi, and Saad AlAbdullah Academy officers. The UAE delegation witnessed the latest theories applied to police training in Kuwait and visited the Officers’ Training College. —KUNA

KUWAIT: A representative of the Egyptian Journalists in Kuwait (EGKW) group has revealed that 50 members to date have demanded membership of the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate, with the number growing steadily. Osama Galal, a spokesman for the group, revealed that a special campaign was to be launched yesterday on behalf of the group members. “We are meeting with the Kuwait Journalists’ Association [KJA] Secretary General Faisal Al-Qinae to discuss the KJA’s possible support for this cause, to get [EJK members] membership of the EJS and the Arab Journalists’ Union,” he explained. Galal pointed out that members of the EJK have already held discussion

with the EJS, saying that the syndicate is well aware of their demands, “but they have never been taken seriously enough.” The EGKW continued, “I hope that the chairman of the EJS’ board Makram Mohammed Ahmed will take these demands into full consideration. Galal said that it was bizarre that Egyptian journalists in Kuwait were able to obtain membership of the KJA and the World Press Organization (WPO) without having the right to join a similar body in their homeland. He pointed out that other Egyptian professionals working in Kuwait, such as doctors and engineers, were able to join specialist groups for their own professions,

toward it, stressing that the main point of contention lies in the vague description of the ‘aggrieved segment.’ She mentioned that the insolvency fund defined the aggrieved individual as the person who has incurred a monetary loss exceeding 50 percent of his income. It was later redefined to set 35 percent as the limit. She added that the most

aggrieved segment comprises those who face charges and lawsuits, and the draft law has overlooked this aspect. Dashti asserted that this particular case should be dealt with as a legislative deviation. She expressed hope that a proper review of the law be done, in addition to conducting an in-depth analysis of the problem without compromising public funds.

in the news Old woman harassed

Osama Galal asking why journalists should be denied the same right. Galal stressed that the door was still open to any Egyptian journalist in Kuwait wishing to join the campaign, saying that they could do so through the group’s website at:

KUWAIT: An elderly Kuwaiti woman has lodged a complaint at Abu Halifa police station, accusing the head of the citizens’ services department of verbally abusing her and throwing her out of his office. The old lady told officers at the police station that she had gone to the citizens’ service department to complete the paperwork for her Asian maid’s residency visa. Staff there informed her that some of the necessary paperwork was missing, telling her that they could not complete the official procedures without the signature of the department head, who she approached for assistance. When she asked him for help, however, he was extremely abrupt to her. The old lady said that when she berated the senior official for his rudeness, he was verbally abusive in reply and threw her out of his office, reported Al-Shaheed. The elderly lady has filed a complaint with a ministry undersecretary against the department head, and an investigation is underway into the incident.

Jahra mall crackdown KUWAIT: Jahra police arrested 35 youths in a crackdown on sex pests in local malls who had been harassing women there. Fifteen Asians were also arrested for residency violations during the campaign, while a further 19 were detained for violating labor legislation, with all those arrested being taken to the local police station, reported Al-Watan. The unannounced campaign was launched on an evening last week upon the direction of Brigadier General Mohammed Al-Enezi, who ordered the formation of a six-man security team to coordinate the operation, led by Major Mutair Al-Sabeel.



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Top priority to national unity

Govt vows commitment to Amir’s principles KUWAIT: During its weekly meeting on Monday, the cabinet voiced its great appreciation of the “noble” guiding principle outlined in His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah’s speech on the importance of safeguarding national unity and enforcing the application of law. The cabinet, chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, reviewed HH the Amir’s speech of

KUWAIT: Dr Adel Al-Falah touring the venue after the inauguration ceremony of the Islamic Arts Forum. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Islamic Arts Exhibition opens By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: On Monday night at the Grand Mosque in Kuwait City, the Fourth International Forum of Islamic Art was inaugurated by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs. Undersecretary for the Ministry, Dr. Adel Al-Falah, hosted the event in the presence of visitors who crowded the venue during the colorful opening ceremony. He mentioned in his speech that Islamic art serves to intellectually and culturally enlightened mankind. He added that art is a tool of communication between individuals and stressed Arab and Muslim’s love of art and beauty. The exhibit displays remarkable Islamic calligraphy, art, paintings, photographs, pottery and much more. The exhibition features artists from different Islamic countries from around the world and will last until January 15. The venue also reserves a corner for children and young adults to learn about Islamic art. “The exhibition is exemplary and marvelous,” said Alexander Musienko, Councilor of the Russian Embassy, after touring the displays. “They are all unique, beautiful and wonderful works of art. It’s an example of how Islam can present itself to the world. Exhibitions like this are a very important tool to understanding each other’s religion and culture. I am happy to see the contemporary art of Islamic culture and I hope to see the same with other religions,” he added. Noor Nizreen Osman, Education Manager at the Ministry of Education in Malaysia thanked Kuwait for inviting her country to participate in the exhibition. It is the first time a Malaysian group has been featured in the forum. “We have several types of ceramic and calligraphy art to show to people in Kuwait. We brought with us a piece of Malaysia,” she said. Malaysian art, according to Noor can be associated with a Chinese Islamic style but is unique in stroke and feature. Master Calligrapher Haji Noor Deen Mi Guang Jiang, from Arabic Calligraphy China, demonstrated his calligraphy skill in front of cameras and visitors. Haji Noor Deen was

Al-Roudhan said that HH the Amir had underlined the importance of strengthening national unity and rejecting conflicts which cause discord and divisions in Kuwaiti society, and that everyone seek to translate meaning of good citizenship into deeds. HH the Amir warned against chaos and called for resorting to the rule of law, noted Al-Roudhan, adding that the ruler had also warned against the potential for a setback in Kuwaiti democracy that could be caused by violations of the constitution and law. HH the Amir also asserted the importance of the executive and legislative authorities overcoming their differences for the sake of development, as well as praising the media’s “vital” role, although he warned against deviation from delivering what he considered the “noble” and responsible message. Al-Roudhan said that the cabinet members had voiced their great appreciation of

last Tuesday, in which he expressed dismay at “ alien practices” which he said contradict patriotic principles. In his speech, HH the Amir said that these practices deviate from Kuwait’s constitutional and legal framework, as well as from “our genuine social values and traditions,” said Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Al-Roudhan in a statement issued after the cabinet meeting.

HH the Amir’s speech and his advice, vowing to abide by his recommendations in all fields. During the meeting, the cabinet was apprised of the contents of recent letters sent to HH the Prime Minister by the president of Benin and the Somali Prime Minister on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest. The cabinet also welcomed the forthcoming visit of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas who arrived yesterday, within the framework of existing brotherly relations between the two brotherly countries, and ways and means of reinforcing and bolstering them in all fields. Later on during the meeting, HH the Prime Minister elaborated on the results of a recent visit by Omani Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to Kuwait, and findings of his talks with HH the Amir on how to further consolidate existing cooperative ties between Kuwait and Oman out of intimate brotherly

bonds between both nations’ leaders, and how to support the GCC’s progress in various domains, as well as discussing the latest regional and international developments and several issues of mutual concern. After this, the cabinet considered recommendations made during a recent meeting of the committee on legal affairs, a draft decree authorizing a new architecture college in Kuwait University, a draft decree authorizing an American medical science university, a draft decree raising the amount of capital, and revising the founding contract and statute of Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait, a draft decree increasing the capital of the Kuwait Public Transport Company, and another approving an economic and technical cooperation deal between Kuwait and Swaziland. The cabinet approved all the aforementioned draft decree and referred them to HH the Amir for final approval. — KUNA

in the news

KUWAIT: The fourth International Forum of Islamic Arts exhibition being held at the Grand Mosque in Kuwait City invites anyone interested on Islamic arts to visit the venue until Jan 15.

awarded a Master’s Degree in Arabic Calligraphy in Cairo in 1997 and has been invited to numerous workshops and seminars on Arabic calligraphy all over the world. Haji Noor spoke on his expertise in the fusion of Chinese and Arabic calligraphy; “This is my first time to join the exhibition at the Grand Mosque here in Kuwait but I have been to exhibitions in several countries around the world.” Kids can also enjoy the venue in their own separate section. Managed by the Grand

Mosque’s Islamic Art Center Coordinator, Mashael Tarabulsi, the kids center will cater to children who are on field trips. The center has prepared several activities for children such as drawing, coloring, paintings and making pottery. “We have a section for kids who want to work on calligraphy and for children who want to paint. We also reserved a section for children who just want to have a good time,” she said. A number of distinguished institutions from countries such

as Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Qatar, Turkey, Malaysia, and many more are featured in the forum. The exhibition is sponsored by Deputy Prime Minister for Legal Affairs and Minister of Justice and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Rashid AlHammad. Director General of the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture, Dr. Halit Eren, praised the event and participating groups for contributing to spreading the message, beauty and soul of Islamic art.

Expat assaults Kuwaiti woman KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti woman has filed charges of physical assault and attempted murder against an Egyptian expatriate, who she claims attempted to run her over with his car. In her deposition, the woman stated that the man, who works for a well-known local merchant, had assaulted her following a dispute between them before jumping into his car and attempting to run her over, after which he drove away. A case has been opened and police are searching for the accused man to question him. Gas blast An Egyptian expatriate sustained first degree burns to the face, along with several other injuries, when a gas cylinder exploded while le he was attempting to attach it to the cooking range in his home in Jabriya. An ambulance was quickly at the scene, rushing the injured man to Adan Hospital, where he was immediately admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Brothel bust Farwaniya police arrested five Asian prostitutes and five men at a Jleeb AlShuyoukh flat that was being used as a brothel. The police raid followed a tip-off from local residents about the activities in

the flat. All those arrested have been detained in custody awaiting trial. Jahra brawl Four Kuwaiti men sustained injuries of varying severity in a fight in Jahra, in which knives and other implements were used as weapons. Police were quickly at the scene, breaking up the fight before paramedics took the injured to hospital. An investigation is underway into the brawl.

Camper mugged A Kuwaiti man was recently attacked and robbed at the Jahra campsite where he had pitched his tent. The man was reportedly sitting in his tent when unidentified assailants burst in, launching a brutal assault on him before stealing his money and fleeing the scene. The man immediately went to the local police station to report the incident and an investigation is underway Illegal assignation A Kuwaiti citizen has brought a case against an unidentified man who reportedly had a clandestine relationship with the accuser’s daughter. The enraged father was

apparently searching for his daughter after becoming worried at her absence when he saw her getting out of the man’s car, which then drove off. When he confronted his daughter about what he had seen, she admitted that she had been out on a date with the man, who she initially met via mobile phone, before taking her to his apartment where they were intimate. Police are attempting to trace the young man for questioning. Fugitive recaptured A Kuwaiti man wanted in connection with a KD 1.1 million check fraud case who escaped custody several times previously has been recaptured by police following a lengthy pursuit. Police surrounded the building which the fugitive took shelter in at the end of the chase, forcing him to surrender. He has been taken to Central Prison. Drunk flier A drunken Kuwaiti man was arrested on his return to Kuwait after cabin staff on a flight from Bahrain had to physically restrain him when he began verbally abusing and starting fights with other passengers while heavily intoxicated.

Meat store closed KUWAIT: The company that recently sold 65,000 kilograms of meat contaminated with salmonella submitted paperwork to have their stores reopened. They were rejected by the Head of the Municipal Council, Shaya AlShaya, and the Deputy General Assistant for Municipality Service Affairs, Mohammad Al-Otaiby. The company’s representative was informed that their case had affected national food security and that the law needs to be enforced in this case, reported Al-Qabas. The distribution company was shut down after it was discovered they sold tainted meat prior to receiving test results designed to determine the safety of imported food. The tests revealed that the quantity of meat was infected with salmonella and unsuitable for human consumption. Meanwhile, members of the Municipality addressed a report published recently by Al-Qabas accusing them of corruption. They agreed to discuss the issues mentioned in the report at the next council session while some members accused employees in the technical system of supporting corruption. The Municipal Council also decided to send all the cases which the Municipality had recently lost to legal and financial committee for investigations. Combined vaccinations KUWAIT: The Ministry of Health (MoH) is planning to merge the seasonal flu vaccinations with those against the A H1N1 (swine flu) virus so that the two inoculations can be given in the form of one injection. The decision was announced on Monday by Dr. Musab Al-Saleh, the head of the health ministry’s epidemics department, who revealed that around 19,000 people have already been inoculated against the swine flu virus in Kuwait, adding that a further 500,000 batches of the swine flu vaccine are expected to reach the country within the next few days. Dr. Al-Saleh said that the probable reason behind the limited take-up of the swine flu vaccine was due to misplaced concerns over potential side effects, as expressed in the media, reported Al-Qabas. The senior medic also revealed that the clinics in all the country’s schools are expected to be fully operational shortly. ‘E-linked’ ministries KUWAIT: The Municipality and the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) are to create an electronic link between them to facilitate easier sharing of paperwork for projects, as well as to ensure tighter control over bureaucratic procedures. An agreement on the electronic link was signed yesterday by the Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Municipal Affairs Dr. Fadhel Safar, and Minister of Electricity and Water Dr Bader Al-Shuraian.

KUWAIT: The Civil Defense Department yesterday conducted a joint drill with the Kuwait Fire Services Directorate, with personnel from the two bodies evacuating staff from the 60-storey Al-Raya Tower, which is at present the tallest building in Kuwait. —Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


5 MoU to be signed soon

Indonesia may lift ban on sending workers to Kuwait By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) about to be signed between Kuwait and Jakarta could pave the way for the lifting of the Indonesian government’s temporary ban on sending Indonesian workers to Kuwait, according to a senior “The initial reason for the MoU was to request that the Kuwaiti government provide more protection for our workers in Kuwait. So yes, the ban [on workers coming to Kuwait] will be lifted if we agree on the content of the MoU,” he explained. The Indonesia Embassy in Kuwait approved the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration’s plan to finally settle its migration issues with Kuwait through the MoU, which they also want to sign with Malaysia. Reports from Jakarta noted that immediately after signing the MoU, conditions for Indonesian workers in Kuwait will improve. The memorandum could include the introduction of a mandatory monthly minimum wage and weekly day’s holiday for Indonesian workers and an end to employers being allowed to retain their passports. “While I do not know the nature of the MoU if it’s true, this is good news for our workers. But we haven’t received the MOU yet. It could be sent through the Embassy of Kuwait in Jakarta; they could actually direct the documents to the Ministry of Foreign

Indonesian Embassy official here. Aris Triyano, the First Secretary and Spokesman for the Indonesian Ambassador in Kuwait Faisal Ismail spoke with the Kuwait Times yesterday about the issue in response to the news from Jakarta, which suggested imminent improvements in migrant workers’ conditions in Kuwait once the two countries finally sign the MoU.

Affairs here. But as far as the embassy of Indonesia in Kuwait is concerned, we do not know about the MoU as yet,” he said. He confirmed however that a preliminary meeting was held in Kuwait last year between Kuwaiti and Indonesian officials regarding workers’ rights, but added that the final agreement had not yet been released. “I can only confirm our preliminary meetings with the Kuwaiti side last year; as far as I know, we invited them [the Kuwaiti officials] to visit Jakarta, and they haven’t responded yet to our invitation. So I assume the MoU has not been completed as yet. But I think, given the readiness of two countries to enter into agreement, it could happen pretty soon,” he said. The Jakarta Globe website quoted Iskandar Maula, the director of the Indonesian Ministry of Overseas Workers, as conceding that Kuwait needs more time to study the proposals contained in the MoU. He stressed that the agreement is necessary as there are many Indonesian workers in Kuwait who have been unable to leave the country after encountering problems, citing sponsors’ lack of cooperation

as the major obstacle. Jakarta suspended the deployment of Indonesian workers to Kuwait in September 2009, citing increasing numbers of problems experienced by Indonesian domestic staff working here. Triyano explained that many domestic workers had heard about the parliamentary human rights committee’s earlier amnesty for expatriate workers hired by fake companies (on Article 18 visas), which allowed such workers to either amend their status to make it legal or leave the country without being penalized. Misunderstanding the nature of the amnesty, many of the domestic staff fled to the embassy and to its shelter in Khaifan, believing that the pardon would allow them to escape their sponsors. In reality, however, only His Highness the Amir can grant amnesties for other categories of expatriate worker. “The number of runaway housemaids has increased in the past few weeks or so after they heard about the amnesty,” Triyano told the Kuwait Times. “They thought that the amnesty was given to all.” In fact, however, only His Highness the Amir can grant amnesties for other categories of worker.

kuwait digest

Outlaws or outcasts? KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir receiving delegations of Kuwaiti students unions in US (top), UK and Ireland (above). — Photos by KUNA

Municipality rejects PAAET project KUWAIT: The Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) has found itself in hot water following the Kuwait Municipality’s refusal to grant it a license to establish a KD 70.7 million project. This project pertained to the construction of a 22-storey building in Shuwaikh where the main administration and student service offices would be located. The

PAAET had already received KD 80 million from the Finance Ministry in funds, in addition to the Audit Bureau’s approval. However, the Municipality rejected the request after it was instructed to contact the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). This is in order to ensure that the proposed building’s height would not pose a threat to air traffic. The PAAET contacted the DGCA and

received its approval to begin construction. However, the Municipality rejected PAAET’s request when they were informed that the project would be put on hold due to the formation of a new committee, reported Al-Watan. The PAAET is expected to exert pressure until the construction license is procured, especially since it has received the DGCA’s approval.

ll those who want to run a country without facing any kind of opposition should immediately pack up and embark on a mission to the moon. He will be able to run the government he desires there, without having to face objections. No grilling motions, no parliamentary queries and there won’t be a need for a cabinet. He will be the sole ruler, president, minister, undersecretary, manager, employee, worker and the people,” wrote writer Soud Abdul Aziz AlAsfour in his column that appears in AlRai. He went on to elaborate “here on the earth, opposition will always exist as long as authorities and governments do.” “The


more failure that such governments incur, the fiercer will be the opposition. It’s a simple law of nature. Every action has an equal opposite reaction. The path our government has been taking will surely lead to devastation,” he underscored. He also noted that curbing freedom, exercising control over the media and the use of public and private funds to do so, in addition to criticizing the opposition’s closeness to people will only create more tension that could, at some point wipe everything out. “People are being humiliated, their public funds robbed, their opinions withheld and their patriotism questioned. Finally, they are asked to exercise restraint so that the nation can be protest-

ed against uprising,” he added. He pointed out that the worst case of moral corruption occurs when an individual falsely believes that he is beyond the purview of law and is capable of abusing authority or political money. “This severely imbalanced relationship between three powers is very evident. The executives play the upper hand and have been crushing opposition. It will surely lead its members either to break the law by falling into the control of extremists or leave the country similar to what hundreds of opposition members did in Third world countries,” he warned. He urged for a rational step to be taken before it is too late.



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Abbas visit significant

Kuwaiti-Palestinian ties enter a new chapter KUWAIT: Significance of the visit by head of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Mahmoud Abbas to Kuwait stems out of the stress put by the Kuwaiti leadership on supporting the Palestinian people and promoting the bilateral relations between the two sides. This visit will also highlight developments of the situation in the Middle East region, especially the currently exerted

BOT extension to attract investors KUWAIT: The announcement by a senior government official that new strategies are to be introduced to achieve more integration between the public and private sectors in the development process, including the extension of investment through the Build Operate Transfer (BOT) system, have met with approval from Kuwait’s business community. The recent announcement by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the Deputy Prime Minister’s Assistant for Financial Affairs, was welcomed by Tawfiq AlJarrah, the CEO of the Kuwait Commercial Markets and Complexes

Company (KCMCC), who said that this strategy could strengthen the economy, allowing private sector firms to participate in future state projects. Responding to Sheikh Ahmad AlFahad’s statement, Al-Jarrah said that the government official’s words mirrored the views of Kuwaiti economists and investors, who he said had placed the desire to extend the implementation of the BOT system for a further 40 years at the top of their wish list. Al-Jarrah said that the previously decided 20-year term for the BOT system’s implementation had not been long

enough to make meaningful advances, especially since in its former structure it incorporated several points which caused conflict between investors and the state. The KCMCC CEO also said that extending the BOT system’s range would attract more investors from both inside and outside Kuwait to invest in the country, reported Al-Watan. Al-Jarrah concluded by expressing optimism about Sheikh Ahmad AlFahad’s steady progress towards repairing the current problems in the local economy.

Kuwaiti meeting to discuss promotion of humanitarian activities in Gulf KUWAIT: Officials of zakat (alms) authorities from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states held their seventh meeting here yesterday to discuss strategies for the promotion of these humanitarian religious activities. Speaking during the inaugural session of the meeting, Abdul Qader Dahi Al-Ajeel, the Director General of Kuwait’s Zakat House, said that the holding of such gatherings was initiated by a proposal put forward by the GCC

Secretariat General to the council’s finance and economic cooperation committee in 1998. The idea turned out to be a fruitful one, he continued, leading to coordination between the secretariat and zakat authorities in the GCC member states to initiate such gatherings. Another speaker, Aqel Munawer Al-Dumairi, the Director General of the GCC Secretariat General’s Audit Bureau, emphasized the

necessity of helping those on low income with zakat funds. The donation of alms is ideal for resolving serious problems such as poverty and illiteracy, he stated. The GCC Secretariat General had proposed the formation of a special commission grouping officials of zakat authorities in the council member states to discuss coordination of their activities. The committee had held a series of meeting since its establishment. —KUNA

in the news ‘Ghost’ workers KUWAIT: Several irregularities have been detected at the Communications Ministry mainly owing to the finger print attendance system that is in use. The most glaring of which is the alleged presence of 500 ‘ghost’ employees that work with nonexistent departments at the ministry, reported Al-Jarida. Officials said that Communications Minister Dr Mohammad AlBaseeri is trying to rectify the ministry’s administrative situation, adding that the problems were unearthed by former minister Nabil bin Salama and under secretary Abdelmohsen AlMazidi.

Bedoon servicemen KUWAIT: The Chief of Staff of the Kuwaiti military has reportedly introduced a ruling not to renew the military service contracts of bedoon (stateless) personnel over 55 years old. A Ministry of Defense (MoD) official said that Lieutenant General Sheikh Ahmad Al-Khalid AlSabah had approved the proposal along with several others, reported Awan. Although the official retirement age for all military personnel is 60, former Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Air Marshall Fahad Al-Amir had previously issued a decision stipulating that those over 55 years of age should undergo medical tests to ensure that they were fit to continue in service.

KU delegation KUWAIT: Students from the girls’ college of Kuwait University visited KUNA headquarters yesterday touring its different departments to know the work mechanism and the procedures of news writing, editing and transmitting. The delegation was briefed by a public relations tour guide about the latest technology at KUNA and its internet and short messages services. The students underscored the great role played by KUNA in providing up todate news. At the end of the visit, the delegation hoped that they receive training at the engineering department in KUNA to exchange expertise.

Agriculture scam

NBK executives meet Colorado students KUWAIT: A group of students from the University of Colorado recently met with the executive administration of the National Bank of Kuwait, led by NBK’s group CEO Ibraheem Dabdoub, CEO Isam Al-Saqr, and

Deputy CEO Sheikha AlBahar, in order to get familiar with the success story of the NBK, and their ability to face crises and maintain its stability throughout, in addition to its achievements. The students received

cogent answers to their questions, as the NBK officials demonstrated to them their policies which is based on protection against threats and crises, combined by hard work, perseverance and knowledge seeking.

KUWAIT: The Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) recently issued a statement warning citizens against individuals or consultation offices that offer large sums of money in exchange for agricultural plots used for (plantation, animal grazing, beekeeping). The PAAAFR further instructed its citizens to report such incidents so that legal action can be taken. He further asserted that the sale of agricultural plots can be made directly without the intervention of a mediator, reported Al-Qabas. Furthermore, the PAAAFR noted that the decision to allow the distribution of agricultural plots among citizens has not been passed.

This positive development showed itself during the Arab economic, development and social summit held in Kuwait last year and its discussion of the conditions in Gaza and the Arab reconciliation. At that time, His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, said in his closing address of the summit, “Thus Kuwait summit came as a summit of economic, development, social and Arab blast-off, a summit of solidarity with our kith and kin in Gaza to help them overcome the repercussions of the Israeli aggression.” HH the Amir went on to say, “It is as well a summit of restoring the Arab solidarity, straightening out the Arab differences and putting the Arab action on the right track in order to further unify the Arab ranks out of belief in the singleness of self-determination and as an embodiment of the spirit of Arab coherence.” Further, he said: “Standing up for our kith and kin in Gaza and reconstructing this afflicted strip became a collective international responsibility and that what we agreed upon represents a step toward ridding of the consequences and repercussions of this aggression, a gateway toward achieving peace, a

efforts for reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and closing the Palestinian ranks. The KuwaitiPalestinian relations saw major and significant development after HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah made a stride in streamlining them and bringing them back to their previous era of coordination and joint action.

support for all efforts aiming at perpetuating the ceasefire.” HH added, “It is also a consolidation for all efforts aiming at ending the aggression, withdrawal of the Israeli troops from the strip, lifting the siege from Gaza, opening the crossings, and strengthening the efforts of the donor countries for reconstructing what was destroyed by the Israeli military machinery in Gaza.” Meanwhile, head of the PNA Mahmoud Abbas hailed during his meeting with Kuwaiti Journalists Society in 2009 the distinctive Palestinian-Kuwaiti relations at all levels. Abbas described his relations with His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as “An excellent and old one” going back to the 1970s and it is still continued up till now as it did not affect by the rupture of relations between Kuwait and Palestine. He noted that Palestinian stance on the aggression launched by Saddam Hussein against Kuwait in 1990” Was very regrettable and it should not be like that and that is Kuwaitis’ right.” Abbas pointed out that Kuwait did not slacken any time on offering support in all

forms to the Palestinian people. In the first visit of its kind for a ranking Kuwaiti official since long time for the Palestinian territories, Sheikh Ahmad Fahd Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah paid a visit described as “historic” to the territories to take part in Jerusalem’s celebration as the capital of the Arab culture in March 2009. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd lauded in a press statement upon his arrival to Jordan heading toward the Palestinian territories the Kuwaiti-Palestinian relations describing them as special and historic ones and asserting that the Palestinian cause was and will be always enshrined in the hearts of Kuwaitis whether as a leadership, government or people. Kuwait assistance to the Palestinian people did not stop whether at the morale or material level and the last of which was Kuwait’s voluntary and exceptional contribution in 2008 and 2009 to the International Labor Organization at a value of $1 million out of its realization of the burdens shouldered by ILO and to enable it meet its commitments especially in the Palestinian territories under the difficult political, economic and livelihood conditions encountered by the Palestinian people. —KUNA

Parliament approves police regulation KUWAIT: The National Assembly approved yesterday, in the first and second reading, regulation of the police squad adding a new article to the code of medal-awarding. The lawmakers blessed a report prepared by the parliamentary committee for interior and defense affairs, with regard of bills proposed by a number of MPs for amending the article

(number 71 repeated) of the law number 23 of 1968, concerning the police force law. In the first reading, 46 members of the parliament voted in favor, with one rejection, out of the 47 present MPs. In the second reading, the voting was unanimously supportive. The parliament approval of the report was on the basis of the provision number 104 of the

assembly bylaw. The draft law that was proposed by MPs stipulated amending the last term of the article 71 repeated of the law number 23 of 1968 concerning the police squad. The first term said that a non-commissioned officer should have served at least five years in the police and passed a training course, where terms for

the enlisting should be sepecified by a decision by the ministry undersecretary. The parliament also approved by unanimity, in the two readings, a report by the committee of interior and defense affairs regarding the draft law, adding a new term to the law number 17 of 1962 concerning the awarding of medals and badges. —KUNA

Kuwait travel ban bribes case adjourned KUWAIT: The trial of two servicemen charged with assisting individuals banned from travelling to leave the country in exchange for bribes has been adjourned by the Criminal Court until Feb 1. The case began when one of the officials, working at Kuwait International Airport (KIA), was caught red handed assisting individuals banned from traveling to leave the country after a sting operation was set up to catch him in the act. The second defendant was arrested for providing the official with information about those who would pay for this illegal service. Both men have pled not guilty to the charges against them, with the second defendant’s lawyer claiming that his client was arrested without the proper evidence being presented against him. The court’s adjournment was based on a request from the defense for extra time to prepare their case, reported Al-Qabas. In a separate case, the Court of Cassation has rejected an appeal by an insurance company which had been ordered to pay KD 160,000 to a woman injured in a car accident, in addition to a monthly payment of KD 500 for the rest of her life.

‘Low pay-scale behind staff shortage’ KUWAIT: The Minister of Health, Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer recently justified the shortage in health care professionals, including doctors and technicians at Salem Al-Ali Hearing and Articulation Center owing to the low payment scales. Speaking in response to a parliamentary query filed by MP Waleed Al-Tabtabae, AlSayer stressed that the ministry had conducted 80 transplants for Kuwaitis, and 16 for non-Kuwaitis since 2001. He added that 80 patients had been referred abroad, with expenses met by the defense and interior ministries, reported Al-Rai. Al-Sayer explained that in order to put an end to the situation, an advertisement was placed in various newspapers at Arab countries. However, most doctors do not find Kuwait an attractive enough destination when compared to facilities offered at other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

KUWAIT: Prof Ahmad Shakir (top) addressing the students.

EPA launches two-week course on remote sensing technology KUWAIT: Environment Public Authority (EPA) launched yesterday a two-week training course on utilizing remote sensing technology in environment-oriented sectors, EPA’s environmental observation center said. The course is part of 51 workshops directed at paving the way for the establishment of a comprehensive environmental information bank, the center’s Chief Mohammad AlAhmad said. Fourteen Kuwaitis are receiving training in the course that tackles the use of remote sensing technology in discovering environmental problems through analyzing data and satellite photos on the terrestrial areas, the ecosystem, etc, Al-Ahmad said.

Course trainer, Professor at Reyrson University in Canada Ahmad Shakir said that the databases established by the center would be the ground for researches and studies directed towards establishing better environmental policies. Shakir, an expert in the domain of remote sensing, said that the center with its great contributions to the environment was a tremendous achievement for Kuwait, adding that although Kuwait was a country that produces oil, it is keen on reducing gas emissions and save environment. He called on individuals and society in general to cooperate and help save environment, and noted that Kuwaiti leadership was a pioneer in the domain. —KUNA


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Iran accepts Clinton non-deadline on nuclear talks TEHRAN: Iran said yesterday it welcomes Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s comments that there is no hard-and-fast deadline for starting nuclear dialogue. On Monday, Clinton said the Obama administration remained open to negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, though it will move toward tougher sanctions if Iran does not respond positively. She stressed there was no hard-and-fast deadline for Iran. Responding yesterday, Iran’s foreign ministry welcomed the com-

ments “We share the same idea with her. Deadlines are meaningless. We hope other countries return to their natural path, too,” said Ramin Mehmanparast, a foreign ministry spokesman. The remarks were a rare positive response by the Iranians to US comments on its nuclear program. The US and other Western allies accuse Iran of working to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge and says its program is for peaceful purposes. The West is primarily concerned

about high levels of uranium enrichment, which can be used to make an atomic bomb. At lower levels, enriched uranium is used in the production of fuel for nuclear power plants. Iran has dismissed an end-of2009 deadline imposed by the Obama administration and its international partners to accept a UN-drafted deal to swap most of its enriched uranium for nuclear fuel. The deal would reduce Iran’s stockpile of lowenriched uranium, limiting, at least temporarily, its capability to make nuclear weapons. In her comments

Monday, Clinton also said the administration was appalled by the Iranian government’s crackdowns on street protests, which she described as “mounting signs of ruthless repression.” 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 the contested June reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mehmanparast rejected these Clinton remarks. “Westerners are following those who do not represent the Iranian people,” he said. “A mistake that some western countries commit is that they, with political intentions, are after those who support chaos and outrages.” Iran regularly accuses western countries, mostly the United States and Britain, of supporting unrest in Tehran. On Sunday the country’s intelligence minister said several foreign nationals were among those detained during last month’s clashes.

Mehmanparast did not elaborate on the nationality of the foreign detainees and said their issue would be investigated by authorities. “If it is confirmed that they did not have any intention in the event, they will be released,” he said. Iran also released a list of 62 international organizations it said were planning a “soft revolution” by supporting the opposition in Iran. The intelligence ministry list includes George Soros’ Open Society Institute, the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy, the

National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the Brookings Institution and US National Defense University. The list also includes TV networks like BBC Persian and Voice of America in Farsi as well as the East European Democratic Center in Poland and the British nonprofit Wilton Park. Intelligence ministry said any link with the organizations would be “illegal.” Also yesterday, Irans state radio said the country’s parliament rejected a request by US Senator John Kerry to visit ran.— AP

Public seats to be distributed by ballot

Iraq inquiry restarts ahead of Blair evidence LONDON: Britain’s public inquiry into the Iraq war resumed yesterday after the Christmas break, as details emerged about the looming appearance by Tony Blair, who led the country into the controversial conflict. Blair will give evidence sometime in the two-week period from January 25, although the exact date for

NASIRIYAH: In this photo released by the Iraqi Police, showing some of the artifacts seized by the police which were discovered hidden near a shrine, in Nasiriyah, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq yesterday. — AP

Police seize ancient artifacts amid smuggling fears in Iraq BAGHDAD: Iraqi police yesterday seized a small cache of ancient statues and other artifacts in the south of the country that officials said were set to be smuggled out of the country and sold. Iraq, home to world’s most ancient urban civilizations, has had its priceless heritage plundered and sold to collectors abroad in the chaotic years since the US-led invasion. The 39 artifacts were discovered stashed in a hole near a shrine outside the southern city of Nasiriyah, said a police official. They included statues and shards with writing on them dating back to the ancient Sumerian civilization, which is more than 4,000 years old. The

official had previously said 29 artifacts had been discovered. He said a tip-off led police to believe the pieces were going to be smuggled to Iran. A government official who works with the archaeology department confirmed the seizure. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. Iraqi law says all artifacts over 200 years have to be handed over to the Iraqi government for inspection. The country is dotted with ancient archaeological sites that have little or no protection. The US military was heavily criticized for not protect-

ing the National Museum’s treasure of relics and art following Baghdad’s fall in 2003. Thieves ransacked the collection, stealing or destroying priceless artifacts that chronicled some 7,000 years of civilization in Mesopotamia, including the ancient Babylonians, Sumerians and Assyrians. Iraqi and world culture officials have struggled to retrieve the treasures but met with little success. Up to 7,000 pieces were still believed missing when the museum reopened last year. A US military officer said the sale of stolen antiquities is believed to have helped finance Iraqi extremist groups.— AP

Press watchdog demands release of Iranian journalist VIENNA: A press watchdog group yesterday called for the immediate release of a journalist critical of the Iranian president’s economic policies who has been whip lashed and sentenced to some seven years in jail. “It is unacceptable that the Iranian authorities are responding to criticism in the media by arresting journalists and handing down prison sentences,” said Anthony Mills of the International Press Institute in a statement. “The crackdown on the media must end immediately and the journalists imprisoned simply for doing their job must be freed,” said Mills, press freedom manager at the Vienna-based institute. The watchdog has highlighted the case of Bahman Ahmadi Amoui, who was jailed during a massive crackdown on reformists and critical journalists in the wake of the disputed June 12 election which saw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected amid allegations of poll fraud. Amoui was sentenced to seven years and four months in jail plus 34 lashes, according to the sentence made public on Monday by opposition websites, which did not specify the charges against the journalist. 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 kilometers (600 miles) from Tehran.— AFP

BAGHDAD: US Senator Joseph Lieberman (ICT), speaks during a press conference at the US Embassy in Baghdad yesterday. Four US senators voiced “regret” over a US court’s decision to drop charges against the American private security guards working for Blackwater accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in an unprovoked attack in 2007. — AFP

But the first really high-profile witness will come before Blair Alastair Campbell, his fiery former communications chief and close ally will appear next week, on January 12. Labor figures are reportedly worried Blair’s appearance could cause problems for the ruling party as struggling Prime Minister Gordon Brown starts campaigning in earnest for Britain’s general election, to be held by June. Meanwhile, an Internet campaign has been launched for Blair to face tough questions about why he took Britain into the unpopular war, amid criticisms the probe, led by a retired top civil servant, has gone too easy on some witnesses. “When it comes to Tony Blair, we can’t let this happen,” said activist group 38 Degrees, which is inviting people to submit questions they want the inquiry to put to the ex-premier. “Blair made the decision to commit us to a war in Iraq. We deserve to know the real reasons he went ahead.” Blair stood shoulder-to-shoulder with then US president George W. Bush over the 2003 invasion,

but faced a major backlash in Britain over the decision. He resigned in 2007 despite having led his Labor party to three election wins. Britain justified the invasion at the time by arguing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) but these were never found. Blair insisted last month he would have supported the war, which did not gain explicit United Nations approval, even if he had known there were no Iraqi WMDs. The appearance of Campbell could also cause a headache for Labor, which is battling to claw back the main opposition Conservatives’ double-digit opinion poll lead before the election. In 2003, he strongly denied a BBC report that he “sexed up” a dossier claiming Iraq had WMDs and could launch a chemical or biological strike within 45 minutes. An official inquiry also exonerated him. In July that year, Ministry of Defence (MoD) weapons expert Dr. David Kelly was found dead near his home with slashed wrists. Campbell resigned from his job in August 2003, insisting

South Sudan vote could lead to war: Top adviser KHARTOUM: South Sudan’s vote on independence next year will lead to a new war unless key questions of the north-south border, nationality and external debts are resolved, a senior presidential adviser said. Ghazi Salaheddin from President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) criticised the law governing the 2011 referendum passed in December after months of wrangling, saying it lacked any deadline to address outstanding problems. “Imagine if we had the referendum and separation happened and we had not yet agreed on the borders? This is war,” he told the small stateowned Blue Nile television, according to a transcript seen by Reuters yesterday. Most of Sudan’s oil fields traverse the north-south border which has yet to be demarcated. Sudan’s external debt is about $30 billion. Salaheddin said hundreds of thousands of southerners in the north and northerners living in the south would be left in limbo if their nationalities were not defined. He also warned of regional problems over what international agreements would be respected by a separate south, giving the example of an agreement over Nile waters with Egypt. “The government cannot go ahead with this referendum

until some of these issues have been discussed,” he said. “It is (now) possible that the ... southerners could vote for separation without us having settled the issues of the border, nationality and international agreements and this is a prescription for war,” he said. The southern former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which signed a 2005 north-south agreement sharing wealth and power, called Sahaleddin hostile and said he wanted to rewrite the peace deal. “If you make these things conditions for the referendum then it will never come,” Atem Garang, the SPLM’s deputy speaker of parliament, told Reuters. He said some key issues like the border could be decided before the 2011 vote, but a six-month period after any vote for secession had been set aside to discuss outstanding problems. Fought over issues including religion, ethnicity, ideology and oil, a north-south civil war that began in 1983 claimed an estimated 2 million lives and drove 4 million from their homes, destabilizing much of east Africa. Five years of stalling in implementing the 2005 peace deal has fuelled distrust between the NCP and SPLM and many fear a return to war if there is a hint of malpractice during the referendum. — Reuters

his one-day session has not yet been disclosed. Public interest is so great that a ballot will be held for seats. There will be a “particularly high level of interest” from the families of British soldiers who died in Iraq, a statement from inquiry officials said, adding that a third of seats are being reserved for them.

he wanted to quit the previous year. The inquiry has fought back against claims Blair and others might not face rigorous questioning. Chairman John Chilcot said last month that it was “not here to provide public sport or entertainment” but “to get to the facts.” A spokesman insisted Blair will be “appearing very much in public”, despite fears some of his evidence could be heard privately for national security reasons. The first witness to give evidence to he resumed probe yesterday was William Patey, Britain’s ambassador to Baghdad between 2005 and 2006. He said he had received almost daily telephone calls from Downing Street, acknowledging that politicians may have set over-ambitious targets for what could be delivered. “There was a tension between the desire for instant results and the realities on the ground,” said Patey, now ambassador to Saudi Arabia. “What you could achieve in the sort of timescales that London needed for political reasons-there was a disconnect.”— AFP

LONDON: Sir William Patey arrives to give evidence at the Iraq Inquiry at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in central London yesterday. — AFP

Iraq records 77 executions for terrorism offences in 2009 BAGHDAD: Iraq executed 77 people last year, all of whom were convicted of terrorism-related offences, the country’s supreme court said yesterday. “Seventy-seven death sentences were enforced in 2009,” the head of the court Medhat Al-Mahmud said in a statement. According to the court, the prisoners were found guilty in “cases related to terrorism” and their punishment was applied as a matter of priority. Last month, human rights group Amnesty International said at least 120 prisoners had been executed by Iraq in 2009, and a further 900 remained on death row. There was no immediate explanation of the discrepancy between the court’s figures and those given by the Londonbased watchdog. An Amnesty spokesman said it had obtained its figure via officials and had verified it with multiple sources. “We are concerned, and we’ve been calling publicly for the govern-

ment of Iraq to declare a moratorium, and we will continue to do that,” Said Boumedouha, a spokesman for Amnesty in London, told AFP. “The UN, the EU as well as lots of organizations are putting pressure (on Iraq) to declare such a moratorium.” In its December report, Amnesty urged Baghdad to stop the executions of all people condemned to death, adding “some are likely to have been sentenced after unfair trials”. Baghdad reintroduced the death penalty in 2004, after a brief moratorium immediately after the US-led invasion of 2003. Those sentenced to death are usually hanged. According to Amnesty, at least 285 people were sentenced to death in Iraq and 34 executed in 2008. In 2007, at least 199 were sentenced and 33 executed. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki is an ardent supporter of capital punishment, but President Jalal Talabani opposes its use.— AFP



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Jailed Azerbaijani paper editor faces new charge BAKU: A jailed Azerbaijani newspaper editor faces a new criminal charge, following a decision by Europe’s human rights court to hear his previous case, his lawyer said yesterday. Eynulla Fatullayev has been charged with drug possession after heroin, which he claims was planted, was found during a search of his cell, lawyer Isakhan Ashurov said. The Penitentiary Service said the drugs were found Dec.

29 in the lining of Fatullayev’s jacket and under the insole of his shoe. Fatullayev, the founder and editor of the Russian-language weekly Real Azerbaijan and the Azeri-language daily Everyday Azerbaijan, is serving an 8 1/2-year sentence after writing an article saying the former Soviet republic could support a US attack on neighboring Iran. Fatullayev, who had been under government pressure for years,

called the October 2007 conviction politically driven. He was found guilty of making a terrorist threat, inciting ethnic conflict and tax evasion. His two newspapers, which reported critically on the government, were closed down. Advocacy groups connected the new charge to the decision in September of the European Court of Human Rights to hear Fatullayev’s

previous case. “Even if there is a positive decision from the European Court, Fatullayev could face three years of imprisonment under the new charges,” the groups said in a joint statement. The prosecution of Fatullayev and other independent journalists in the oil-rich country has raised concerns in the West. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists urged the

Azerbaijani authorities to drop the “absurd” new charge. “The government persecution of Eynulla Fatullayev is excessive in its zeal and scope,” said the committee’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, Nina Ognianova. Fatullayev was convicted after an article published in early 2007 in Real Azerbaijan claimed that Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliev could support US military action

US -built radar facility and an airport near the Iranian border that was upgraded with US money. Fatullayev has been in prison since April 2007 when he was sentenced to 2 1/2 years on charges of disseminating false information related to the country’s six-year war with Armenia over the territory of NagornoKarabakh. His sentences are being served concurrently. —AP

against Iran. The article, written under an alias, listed sites in Azerbaijan that could be attacked by Iran if Azerbaijan were to support US military action against Iran. The Azerbaijan government, which has cultivated close ties to Washington, had pledged its territory would not be used for military action against Iran, but people living along the border were nervous, pointing to a

Agency blames violence, demands by rebels

WFP suspends operations in much of southern Somalia NAIROBI: The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) has suspended its work in much of southern Somalia due to threats against its staff and unacceptable demands by Al Shabaab rebels controlling the area, a WFP spokesman said yesterday. The WFP has been central to international efforts to address an acute humanitarian crisis in the drought- and conflict-torn Horn of Africa

nation. Experts say half the population need aid. “Unacceptable conditions and demands from armed groups have disrupted WFP’s ability to reach many of the most vulnerable people in southern Somalia,” spokesman Peter Smerdon told Reuters. “Despite this suspension, WFP remains active in much of central and northern Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu.” He added, however, that it was now virtually impossible to reach up to 1 million women, children and other highly vulnerable people. About threequarters of the 3.76 million Somalis who need aid are concentrated in central and southern regions. Most of those areas are controlled by the al Shabaab rebel group, which Washington says is Al-Qaeda’s proxy in Somalia. Fighting in the country has killed 19,000 civilians since the start of 2007 and driven another 1.5 million from their homes. Amid the chaos, Western security agencies say it has become a safe haven for Islamist militants, including foreign jihadis, who are plotting attacks in the region and beyond. Smerdon told Reuters that al Shabaab controlled 95 percent of the territory where its work had been disrupted. In November, the rebels issued a string of conditions for humanitarian agencies wanting to operate in the south. “These included removing women from their jobs and a demand for a payment of $20,000 every six months for security,” Smerdon said, adding that al Shabaab elders had later demanded that WFP and its contractors cease all their activities on Jan. 1, 2010. He said the United Nations took that deadMOGADISHU: In this Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010 file photo Internally displaced Somali children wait with con- line seriously. “The food stocks are out ... tainers in hand to receive food aid at a food distribution centre in Mogadishu, Somalia. —AP Most equipment has been brought out and vehicles have been brought out, as well as obviously all our staff,” he said. “Staff safety is a key concern for WFP.” A senior al Shabaab official reached by telephone in the southern port of Kismayu was jubilant at the news. “It is our great pleasure to see WFP and the other spy agencies suspend their involvement in Somalia ... We will never allow them to GENEVA: The bodies of three skiers two. A second avalanche about half an hour missing three would be found alive. come here again,” Sheikh It was the worst avalanche disaster in missing after an avalanche in central later hit the rescuers who arrived to help Ibrahim Garweyn, head of public Switzerland were found yesterday, raising the skiers. An emergency operation Switzerland since February 1999, when affairs in the rebel-held port, to seven the death toll in the country’s involving eight helicopters and 100 res- two snow slides swept away several told Reuters. worst avalanche disaster in more than a cuers was able to pull nine people from the chalets in the canton of Valais, killing 12 “We have great land and we decade, rescue officials said. The bodies of snow. One man was already dead. Three people. The start of the ski season and can grow our own crops.” In a Swiss woman, a Swiss man and a German others died in the hospital of their injuries. heavy snowfall in recent days have November, al Shabaab’s selfThe earlier victims were identified as a prompted officials to warn of a heightened man were found in the Diemtig Valley, 25 styled “Office for the miles (40 kilometers) south of the capital, German and three Swiss, one of whom avalanche risk in the Swiss Alps. Supervision of the Affairs of Bern, said Theo Maurer, chief instructor was a rescue doctor who had flown in to Elsewhere Sunday, a Swiss man was Foreign Agencies” accused of the Swiss air rescue service Rega. No help. Rescuers were unable to search for killed and his guide was injured in an WFP of devastating local agrithe remaining skiers Monday because fog avalanche near the southern town of other people have been reported missing. culture by importing relief The victims were part of a group of off- and snow prevented them from safely Verbier. Last week, an avalanche killed rations. Senior officials in piste skiers who were hit by an avalanche accessing the mountainous area by air or three people skiing off-piste in neighborSomalia’s transitional adminisshortly before midday Sunday, burying on foot. Experts held out little hope the ing France.—AP tration declined to comment. But the spokesman for Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca, a pro-government militia, accused WFP and other international organizations of directly helping their hardline rebel rivals. “It is good news that WFP and al Shabaab have collided now. They have been operating in al Shabaab-controlled areas, but they still faced kidnappings, killings, threats and extortion,” Ahlu Sunna’s Sheikh Abdullahi Sheikh Abu Yusuf told Reuters. “Most of central Somalia has been peaceful for a year but they have not helped people, except for doing surveys. They should please come and help the people in these peaceful areas.” The turmoil in Somalia has spilled into the waters of the strategic Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, where Somali pirates have driven up insurance costs and made tens of millions of dollars in ransoms by hijacking ships and their crews. A former Islamist rebel, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, was elected president in January. While there were hopes he would be able to reconcile with the insurgents, he has made little headway and his government controls only a few blocks BERNESE OBERLAND: Dozens of rescue workers search yesterday for the three missing persons at the of Mogadishu. Rival rebel site where last Sunday two avalanches came down a mountainside in the Diemtig valley in the Bernese groups also routinely fight for territory. —Reuters Oberland. —AP

Switzerland avalanche death toll reaches seven

MANCHESTER: Members of the public are seen in Heaton Park in north Manchester after heavy snowfall across the region, in Manchester, England yesterday. Many schools have been closed and some airports have suspended flights after heavy snowfall across large areas of the country, as Britain’s authorities has issued severe weather warnings. —AP

Transport disrupted as snow, ice sweep Britain LONDON: Hundreds of schools were shut, travelers faced air, rail and road delays, and even venerable soap opera “Coronation Street” was disrupted yesterday as snow and icy weather swept Britain. A driver was killed when two trucks collided on a highway near Manchester in northwest England, and scores of accidents were reported on icy roads. Automobile support service RAC said it was dealing with 1,400 incidents an hour. Up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow was forecast in some parts of the country as the bad weather moved south from Scotland. Schools were closed across Scotland and northern England, and train services between London and the north were disrupted.

All flights were canceled to and from Manchester Airport in northwest England for several hours after snow closed the runway, and delays and cancelations hit airports including Liverpool’s John Lennon airport, Leeds/Bradford in northern England and London’s Luton and Gatwick. Sports and entertainment also felt the impact. Police in northwest England said yesterday’s soccer game between Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa was being postponed due to severe snow. Filming at the Manchester studios of “Coronation Street”, a popular TV soap about a working-class community in northwest England , was suspended after cast and crew

members were kept away by the snow. Temperatures were just below freezing in most areas, falling as low as -10 C (14 F) in northern Scotland. This winter has been the coldest for years, driving a surge in demand for heating fuel. Authorities on Monday urged power suppliers to switch temporarily from gas to other fuels such as coal. The measure, known as a gas balancing alert, has only been used once before, in March 2006. Weather service the Met Office said snow would reach as far south as London, with unusually cold weather expected to continue for the next two weeks. The office said Britain was experiencing its longest cold snap since 1981. —AP

in the news Italian police nab 14 in anti-Mafia arrests ROME: Italian police said yesterday that they had arrested 14 alleged members of Mafia clans fighting to control areas near Naples. Police in Naples said that 11 of the arrests were carried out in predawn raids in the southern Italian city. Two other men were picked up in nearby towns and one in Bologna, in northern Italy. The Naples area is home to the Camorra crime syndicate. The clans are fighting to take control of drug trafficking and extortion rackets in some of Naples’s northern suburbs, said Capt. Gianluca Migliozzi of the local Carabinieri police. They are charged with Mafia association, illegal possession of weapons and drug trafficking. Separately, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni confirmed that a bomb blast that damaged a courthouse in another southern Italian city, Reggio Calabria, was the work of the powerful local crime syndicate, the ‘ndrangheta. Maroni said in an interview with financial daily Il Sole 24Ore that he will increase the number of police and improve ties with the judiciary as part of measures to fight the ‘ndrangheta. The blast early Sunday damaged the entrance of the courthouse.

Man jokes about terrorism at airport BERLIN: Police say a German man was temporarily detained at Stuttgart airport after he repeatedly told security personnel that he had explosives in his underwear. The 42-year-old man apparently was joking about the failed attempt by a Nigerian man to blow up a jetliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Day by igniting explosives concealed in his underwear. Police said a full body search of the German man yesterday did not turn up any explosives, but Tuifly airline refused to let the man, his wife and daughter board the plane to Egypt, where they planned a vacation. The police said in a state-

ment that the family would not be refunded for the cost of their canceled trip and could “expect a fine of up to $1,444 ... and possible costs for the police operation.”

Radical cleric stuck in Kenya after visa denials NAIROBI: An official says Kenyan authorities are having trouble deporting a Jamaican-born Muslim cleric because other nations are refusing to allow him to transit through their countries. Kenya’s immigration minister has said he was expelling Sheik Abdullah el-Faisal because of a history of being involved in terrorist activities. El-Faisal served four years in British jail for inciting murder and stirring racial hatred by urging followers to kill Americans, Hindus and Jews. A Kenyan official said yesterday attempts to deport El-Faisal have failed. Tanzania declined to grant him a visa, and South Africa and the UK have declined transit visas. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the issue.

Kenya floods kill at least 34 NAIROBI: Heavy flooding across Kenya has killed at least 34 people, police said yesterday, raising the previous death toll of 22. Bodies of 12 people swept away by the raging waters were recovered in a region recently devastated by a severe drought, said Francis Munyambu, the police chief of the Rift Valley province. “There are more people who have been found dead in different areas after they were washed away by the floods. Most rivers are swollen and people cannot cross,” Munyambu said. Torrential rains have deluged several parts of the country since Christmas, sweeping away houses, destroying crops and livestock, and displacing at least 20,000 people.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Court upholds Moussaoui’s 9/11 conviction, life in prison WASHINGTON: A US appeals court upheld Monday the conviction and life sentence of Zacarias Moussaoui for complicity in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit rejected claims by US lawyers for Moussaoui-the only person charged in the United States in the attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives-that his guilty plea and sentences on six criminal conspiracy counts were invalid. It also struck down their efforts to refer the case back to a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, where he pleaded guilty in 2005 of conspiracy in the suicide hijackings of passenger planes that crashed into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. “We affirm Moussaoui’s convictions and sentences in their entirety and deny his motion to remand,” the three-judge panel said in its ruling. The court decision took place amid intense debate over whether terror suspects should be tried in civilian US courts or in specially designed military tribunals known as military commissions. Republicans and some of President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats have blasted his administration’s decision to try a Nigerian accused of trying to bring down a USbound jetliner on Christmas Day. Lawmakers also have pushed back against the White House’s plans to transfer five accused 9/11 plotters-including self-proclaimed mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed-from the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to New York for trial in US federal court. Moussaoui’s attorneys had asked that their client’s sentence and conviction be remanded because his constitutional rights were violated and the government had failed to provide classified evidence that could have been used for his defense. But Justice Department lawyers argued that the judge presiding over the trial ensured that Moussaoui, a French national of Moroccan descent, understood his rights. “Moussaoui claims that the district court failed to inform him of the nature of the charges and ensure that he understood them,” the appeals court said in its 78-page opinion. “We disagree.” After dodging the death penalty during a months-long trial in the Alexandria court, Moussaoui was sentenced to life in prison. The court of appeals upheld that sentence. “We find it significant that Moussaoui never sought to rescind the admissions he had just made, nor to withdraw his guilty plea during the nearly yearlong period that elapsed between his plea and the conclusion of the sentencing proceeding,” the appeals court judges wrote. Moussaoui, who later recanted his testimony only to claim he was part of another Al-Qaeda plot, is serving a life sentence in solitary confinement at a super-

MINNESOTA: This undated photo obtained from the Sherburne County, Minnesota Sheriff’s Office shows avowed Al-Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui. — AFP maximum security prison in Colorado. During the trial, Moussaoui testified that he was supposed to hijack a fifth plane and crash it into the White House. Four planes were involved in the 9/11 attacks. Defiant, he shouted “God curse America” to the courtroom and swore the United States would never catch AlQaeda leader Osama bin Laden. He can still ask the full appeals court to review his request and then make a final appeal before the US Supreme Court. Arrested several weeks before the AlQaeda attacks in New York and Washington, Moussaoui was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release in May 2006. But the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) handed Moussaoui a possible unintended lifeline in November 2007 by admitting that it provided false information to the court when the defense team requested interrogation tapes of two terror suspects. The CIA had said in May 2005 that it did not have any recordings, adding it has since found an audio tape and two videos. In court papers filed in November 2007, the prosecution argued that Moussaoui’s name was not mentioned in any of the three recordings and that therefore the CIA’s mistake was not detrimental to the defendant. The recordings still exist-unlike interrogation videos of two AlQaeda suspects that the CIA has admitted destroying in 2005, a revelation that triggered charges the agency was trying to cover up possible torture. — AFP

allies looked for ways to tamp down bitter intra-Democratic feuds that still clouded the fate of the legislation. A headline battle looms over the provision of a governmentbacked “public option” to compete with private insurers — a core component of the House version that Senators stripped from their less expansive bill. Another potential obstacle is the House bill’s tougher restrictions on federal funds subsidizing abortions: While pro-choice lawmakers denounce the limits, some centrist Democrats say they will withhold support without them. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was to meet first with Democratic committee chiefs in the House, amid an insurrection on the party’s leftflank at the Senate’s watereddown version of the bill. Later, Pelosi and Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer were to attend the White House talks in person while Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his deputy, Senator Dick Durbin, were to join by telephone. Democrats say they want final passage before Obama’s State of the Union speech, which Pelosi has suggested could slide to early February from its typical late January date. The House approved its ver-

sion of the bill on November 7. The Senate adopted its version December 24. According to media reports, Democrats may look to blunt Republican delaying tactics by skirting the traditional “conference” in which formally appointed delegates from each chamber meet to work out a final compromise. Instead, key lawmakers and top White House officials would put together a final plan from the House and Senate version in informal talks sometimes known as “ping-pong” because the process can include the two chambers sending bills to each other until a final compromise is achieved. Democrats have virtually no margin for error: The Senate’s Christmas Eve vote rallied exactly the 60 votes needed to pass the bill, and some centrists have said they will oppose any major changes. The United States is the world’s richest nation but the only industrialized democracy that does not provide health care coverage to all of its citizens. As a nation, the United States spends more than double what Britain, France and Germany do per person on health care. But it lags behind other countries in life expectancy and infant mortality, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).— AFP

Cuba calls American screening rules ‘anti-terrorist paranoia’ HAVANA: Cuba’s official newspaper Gramma said Monday the new US rules tightening security checks for airline passengers traveling from or through 14 countries, including Cuba, were the result of “anti-terrorist paranoia.” “As part of its anti-terrorist paranoia,” the United States strengthened security measures at its airports and has imposed “tighter checks” on passengers from 14 countries, including Cuba and others it accuses of “supporting terrorism,” the Communist Party’s daily said. “These desperate guidelines affect all airlines, US or otherwise,” Gramma added, noting they went into effect on Monday. The US Transport Security Administration (TSA) said the new measures would include random “enhanced” checks on all international passengers flying into US airports, as well as compulsory stricter checks on those coming from or via 14 nations. The countries targeted by the new measures include Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria, all US-designated state sponsors of terrorism. It will also

Focus on reviews of the botched attack

US overhauls terror watchlists WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama unveils new security reforms yesterday, after a Christmas Day bomb plot prompted a US review of intelligence gaps and an overhaul of terrorism watchlists. Obama, who has

US president, Democrats forge ahead on health care overhaul WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama and his top allies in the Congress worked yesterday to map the way to enacting a sweeping overhaul of US health care by his annual marquee State of the Union speech, now weeks away. Obama and the Democratic leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives were to discuss their final drive to pass the legislation, his top domestic priority, in talks at the White House set for 5:45 pm. The high-stakes discussions, at the dawn of a mid-term election year expected to see an erosion of the Democrats’ House majority, aimed to chart the best way for the two chambers to reconcile their rival versions of the bill and approve a final compromise that the president could sign into law. Both bills aim to extend health care coverage to some 31 million Americans out of the 36 million who currently lack it, while banning abusive health insurance practices and curbing skyrocketing US medical costs. Passage would hand Obama and congressional Democrats a huge victory ahead of November elections that, if history is any guide, are likely to result in sizeable Republican gains in Congress. With Republicans locked in unyielding opposition to the plan, Obama and his top legislative


apply to passengers traveling from or via Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and Nigeria. The New York Times and Washington Post quoted government officials as saying the other four countries were Algeria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. There are no regular flights between Cuba and the United States, but four daily charter flights connect Havana with three US cities, including Miami, Florida, where more than one million Cuban exiles and emigres reside. The charter flights were increased to eight per day in late December, after US President Barack Obama earlier in the year lifted some travel and remittance restrictions to Cuba. Washington broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 and imposed an economic boycott on the island. Both governments recently resumed negotiations on migration and postal exchange issues, but efforts to end the boycott are stymied by US insistence that Cuba should change, while Havana suggests the United States do the same.— AFP

An administration official told AFP the president would unveil an “initial series of reforms” following the meeting. The talks will focus on reviews of the botched attack on a Northwest flight as it approached Detroit, as well as improved intelligence-sharing. “There’s already been a rescrubbing of all the different lists,” White House spokesman Bill Burton told reporters, referring to watchlists of those with suspected terrorist ties and the narrower list of those barred from boarding US-bound flights. “Probably thousands upon thousands upon thousands of names were scrubbed, and probably dozens were moved to different lists.” Obama has directly linked the Al-Qaeda network, responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, to the bid to blow up the Northwest jet carrying 290 people. Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, allegedly tried to detonate explosives as the plane was approaching Detroit from Amsterdam, but the explosives failed to detonate properly and he was overpowered by passengers. The administration has ordered tightened security measures for incoming passengers. Travelers flying to the United States from or via 14 countries including Iran, Nigeria and Yemen will undergo mandatory enhanced screening. The new measures drew protests from some of the countries singled out. “It is unfair to discriminate against over 150 million people because of the behavior of one person,” said Nigeria’s Information Minister Dora Akunyili. Cuba’s official Communist Party daily Granma blasted the measures as “anti-terrorist paranoia.” Cuba is among four countries, along with Iran, Sudan and Syria, currently deemed by the State Department to be state sponsors of terrorism. All are subject to the rules, as are the 10 other countries of concern. A prominent US Muslim rights group criticized the move as “ethnic profiling.” “While singling out travelers based on religion and national origin may make some people feel safer, it only serves to alienate and stigmatize Muslims and does nothing to improve airline security,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on AmericanIslamic Relations. Obama received a review into the incident from the CIA Monday and met with his top counterterrorism advisor John Brennan. Brennan has defended the nation’s 16 security agencies, saying there had been “no smoking gun” that could have helped unmask the plot earlier despite warnings from Abdulmutallab’s father, a wealthy Nigerian banker. FBI agents in Ghana have also probed Abdulmutallab’s stay there, amid allegations he bought his ticket for Detroit in that country. Obama says Abdulmutallab spent time in Yemen during the summer where he was allegedly in contact with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has claimed responsibility for the thwarted attack. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, called instability in Yemen a global threat. The US embassy in Yemen reopened yesterday after having shut on Sunday due to Al-Qaeda threats. On the eve of Obama’s security meeting at the White House, the US intelligence community received a harsh jolt from one of its own. In a scathing report, Obama’s military intelligence chief in Afghanistan, Major General Michael Flynn, blasted intelligence-gathering there as an ignorant, flawed operation, with US officers “ignorant of local economics and landowners, hazy about who the powerbrokers are and how they might be influenced... and disengaged from the people in the best position to find answers.”— AFP

denounced “systemic” intelligence failures in the bombing attempt, was scheduled to meet yesterday with US intelligence chiefs on findings of two reviews into a Nigerian man’s bid to bring down a US-bound jet.

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE: President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet people as they step off Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Monday after spending the holidays in Hawaii. —AP

Fake plot shadowed Obama inauguration NEW YORK: Barack Obama was inaugurated as president last year under the shadow of what officials said was a credible terrorist plot to attack the ceremony, The New York Times reported Monday. The threat proved a false alarm. But the incoming administration took it so seriously, the Times reported, that contingency plans were drawn up in case the incoming government and president were killed. Obama was inaugurated January 20, 2009, on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington, DC. According to intelligence officials, a group of Somalis was believed to

be crossing from Canada to explode a bomb as Obama took the oath, an event watched by more than a million people in the center of Washington and millions more on television worldwide. “All the data points suggested there was a real threat evolving quickly that had an overseas component,” Juan Carlos Zarate, previous president George W. Bush’s deputy national security adviser for terrorism, was quoted as saying. Out of precaution, the White House selected Robert Gates- Bush’s defense secretary and set to remain in the post under Obama — as successor to the lead-

ership in a worst case scenario. Gates was sent to a secret location during the inauguration, the Times reported in the article published on its website. Obama’s counterterrorism advisor John Brennan told the Times that as the inauguration drew nearer the plot “seemed to be growing in credibility and relevance.” Brennan said he suspected a “poison pen” threat in which militants revealed information to harm rival groups. The Times quoted officials saying the plot was declared a false alarm 72 hours after it was announced.— AFP



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

China says ‘still room’ for talks on Iran nuclear issue BEIJING: China yesterday called for continued dialogue to resolve the international standoff over Iran’s nuclear program, saying there was “still room” for diplomacy. “We believe that dialogue and negotiation are the proper way to resolve the Iran nuclear issue,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters. “We still have room for diplomatic efforts and we hope all parties will adopt more flexible and pragmatic poli-

cies to enhance the diplomatic efforts so as to promote an early resumption of talks.” The statement came after the United States on Monday said “the door is still open” for Iran to meet world demands on its nuclear aims, but warned it was discussing with its allies the “next steps”, which could include sanctions. Tehran has dismissed a US-set deadline of December 31 to agree to a UN-brokered nuclear fuel swap deal and

instead issued the West a one-month “ultimatum” expiring January 31 to accept a counter-proposal. “The door is of course still open for Iran to do the right thing and live up to its international obligations,” said Bill Burton, a White House spokesman. Separately, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States has discussed with its allies “pressure and sanctions” on Iran over its

nuclear programme, which the West suspects is a cover for atomic weapons-building. The deal brokered by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), called on Tehran to ship most of its low enriched uranium (LEU) stockpile abroad to be further enriched into reactor fuel. Despite the threat of tougher sanctions, Iran came out with its own pro-

posal of a simultaneous and staged swap of LEU with reactor fuel. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran would press on with plans to produce higher enriched nuclear fuel if there is no agreement. On Monday, the Chinese spokeswoman, in a statement faxed to AFP, called for “consensus” on the IAEA proposal “by all concerned parties at an early date”. China

is involved in the talks on Iran’s nuclear program along with Britain, France, Russia and the United States-the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council-and Germany. Iran is already under three sets of Security Council sanctions over its defiance and refusal to suspend enrichment, which lies at the heart of international fears about its nuclear program. — AFP

7.2-magnitude temblor triggered landslides

1,000 left homeless on Solomons after tsunami HONIARA: Landslides and a tsunami destroyed the homes of about onethird of the population on a Solomon Island, but lives were likely spared as residents with memories of previous disasters fled quickly to higher ground, officials said yesterday. From the air, extensive damage could be seen on a remote western island after a 7.2-magnitude temblor triggered

the landslides in the Pacific Solomon Islands on Monday, said disaster management office director Loti Yates. No injuries have been reported some 30 hours after the biggest in a series of quakes churned a tsunami wave that was up to 10 feet (3 meters) high as it plowed into the coast, officials said.

NEW GEORGIA ISLANDS: This handout photo released yesterday by the National Disaster Management Office shows an Australian policeman (L) delivering emergency supplies to survivors on Rendova after a series of powerful earthquakes and a 2.5 metre tsunami struck the Solomon Islands. — AFP

Deep freeze in China as South Korea cleans up record snow BEIJING: The Chinese capital was in the grip of its coldest weather in 20 years yesterday after snow storms caused chaos, while South Korea sent out an army of civil servants and soldiers to clear clogged roads. China’s national weather centre said the mercury dipped yesterday to minus 15.6 degrees Celsius (four Fahrenheit) — the lowest in more than two decades, after Beijing was hit by its heaviest snowfall in 60 years at the weekend. But air travel was back to normal at Beijing international airport following three days of flight cancellations and delays caused by the heavy snow and freezing temperatures, and schools were open again. The freezing weather was expected to continue until tomorrow for the Chinese capital, nearby Tianjin and Inner Mongolia, with temperatures forecast to fall as low as minus 32 degrees Celsius, the weather centre said on its website. On the outskirts of Beijing, thousands of truck drivers were forced to sleep in their vehicles for two nights when snow made the road impassible and caused a 20-kilometre (12-mile) backup, the state-run Beijing News reported. Some drivers said they were afraid to sleep for fear of dying of exposure but others said they were prepared for the traffic snarlup. “We brought food as we expected the jam,” said one trucker, who brought two cases of instant noodles and a thermos of water. In Inner Mongolia, a train hit a wall of snow more than two meters (more than six feet) high on Sunday, leaving 1,400 travelers in the dark and without heating overnight before they could be evacuated, the China Daily

said yesterday. “Though snow stopped yesterday, the temperature was minus 28 Celsius, freezing the doors,” Zhang Jianwen, a police officer involved in the rescue effort, told the paper. Nearly 2,000 people including police and local farmers dug out the train, which was heading from the city of Harbin to Baotou in Inner Mongolia, the report said. Central China is under a snow storm warning until today, stretching from Henan to Hunan provinces, the weather bureau said. In South Korea, tens of thousands of civil servants and soldiers were mobilized to clear record snowfalls as freezing temperatures left roads and highways icy in

many areas. Weathermen said it stopped snowing late Monday in Seoul and nearby areas but the southwest coast received up to 21 centimeters (about eight inches) of snow between late Monday and early Tuesday. Almost 28 centimetres of snow fell in Seoul on Monday, the heaviest since records began in 1937, according to the Korea M e t e o r o l o g i c a l Administration. A man in his 50s fell to his death from the roof of a badminton court in Seoul while trying to clear snow on Monday, Yonhap news agency said. In the central city of Cheongju, some 3,000 chickens perished as their coops collapsed under the weight of snow, it said.

In Seoul alone, about 48,000 people including civil servants and volunteers were mobilised to remove snow. The defence ministry said 19,000 solders were deployed for snow clearing nationwide, while military helicopters carried blankets and food to isolated villages. Cars crawled along icy roads as temperatures plunged to minus 10.4 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) in Seoul and minus 20.4 in Cheolwon, northwest of the capital. A day after heavy snowfalls grounded many flights, service on international routes returned to normal Tuesday, but domestic air traffic and railway transportation remained crippled in some areas. — AFP

However, more than 1,000 people have been affected after some 200 houses were destroyed on Rendova, an island some 190 miles (300 kilometers) from the capital Honiara. Only 3,600 people live on Rendova. Photographs taken from police helicopters yesterday showed debris lining the foreshore and damaged houses on the coasts of Rendova and Tetepare, as well as deep scars on hills and cliffs caused by landslides. Hillsides crashed down and the tsunami inundated homes Monday, but residents’ memories of earlier disasters probably helped prevent any casualties, officials and residents said. In April 2007, an 8.1 temblor unleashed a tsunami that killed more than 50 people. A quakechurned tsunami that killed more than 200 on nearby Samoa and Tonga in September was another reminder, locals said. “People are very sensitive, as a quake conjures up memories, and people immediately begin going to higher ground,” police commissioner Peter Marshall told The Associated Press. “The fact it was daylight, the isolated nature of the wave and that the landslides were in a relatively sparsely populated area” also helped, he said. The largest quake, magnitude 7.2, happened about 9:30 a.m. local time Monday and caused the tsunami to hit the coast a short time later. At least nine other quakes greater than magnitude 5.0 have rocked the earthquakeprone region since, including three yesterday night. In the provincial capital Gizo, dive shop owner Danny Kennedy said the general rule is that “if there’s anything more than 20 seconds of shaking or any sea water recedes, head for the hills.” A police boat patrolled yesterday to check the coastline, where many homes are at sea level, making them vulnerable to tsunamis, National Disaster Management Office spokesman Julian Makaa said. No casualties had been reported so far, he said. One village, Retavo, home to about 20 people, was reportedly completely inundated by a wall of sea water up to 10 feet (3 meters) high, but Makaa said no deaths or injuries had been reported there. Emergency food, water and tarpaulins were being shipped in. The Solomon Islands lie on the “Ring of Fire”, an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones that stretches around the Pacific Rim and where about 90 percent of the world’s quakes occur. — AP

QUEZON: Andal Ampatuan Jr, center, the prime suspect in the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao in southern Philippines last Nov, is escorted into the courtroom at the heavily-guarded Philippine National Police headquarters at Manila’s Quezon city yesterday in the Philippines. — AP

Philippine massacre suspect pleads not guilty to murder MANILA: A member of a powerful political clan yesterday pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the Philippines’ worst election massacre of 57 people, including journalists and members of a rival’s family. Andal Ampatuan Jr, a town mayor in southern Maguindanao province where his family ruled unopposed for years, has been initially charged with 41 counts of murder in the Nov. 23 attack on an election caravan in the volatile southern Philippines. Sporting a designer watch and a necklace with an “A,” Ampatuan stood emotionless beside his lawyer in front of Regional Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes as a court staffer read the charges accusing him of “conspiring, confederating and mutually helping” others in the gruesome murders. He is the only suspect charged with murder in the killings thus far. Prosecutors said there was “evident premeditation” in the killings, characterized by the use of “superior strength, treachery and cruelty.” Prosecutors said they have witnesses who will testify that Ampatuan led more than 100 government-armed militiamen and police in stopping the caravan at a security checkpoint outside Ampatuan township, then forcing the victims at gunpoint to a hilltop clearing where they were gunned down and buried in mass graves. Among those killed were at least 30 journalists and their staff in what is considered the world’s deadliest single attack on media workers. The carnage has sparked international outrage, prompting President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to briefly impose martial law in Maguindanao to crack down on the powerful Ampatuan clan, a key political ally, and its private army. Ampatuan’s father, the former provincial governor who heads the clan, and several other close relatives also have been accused of involvement in the killings but have yet to be indicted. They too have denied any role in the massacre. The victims included the family and supporters of the Ampatuans’ election rival, Esmael Mangudadatu, who sent his wife, sisters and other female relatives to file his candidacy papers hoping they would not be harmed. Mangudadatu said

Ampatuan threatened to kill him if he ran for governor in national elections in May. Prosecutors presented Ricardo Diaz of the National Bureau of Investigation as their first witness. He said he received autopsy reports, statements from witnesses, pictures and video footage of bodies and the crime scene. Ampatuan’s lawyer, Sigfrid Fortun, won a ruling from the judge disallowing as evidence a flash disk that purportedly contained video and pictures of the victims on grounds that Diaz did not personally record them. Prosecutors said they will present investigators who recorded the images at the next hearing scheduled for Jan. 13. Fortun has filed a motion for his client to be released on bail, which prosecutors opposed yesterday citing possible reprisals against witnesses, Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuno told reporters after the hearing. Dressed in a striped polo shirt, Ampatuan yawned and appeared tired during the hearing, said Dante Jimenez, head of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, a citizens’ group. “It seems he was very insensitive to the proceedings,” Jimenez said. Editha Tiamzon, widow of Daniel Tiamzon, a driver for the private UNTV television network, said she felt anger. “It’s my first time to see him. ... I want justice.” Mangudadatu said he was “still grieving but happy” that the trial had begun more than a month after the killings. “Let us help each other and pray that the victims will get justice and those responsible for this heinous crime be found guilty,” he said. Arroyo’s political backing of the clan, which helped her win crucial votes during the 2004 elections, has allowed the Ampatuans to flourish dangerously for years in Maguindanao, a predominantly Muslim province about 560 miles (900 kilometers) south of Manila, the International Crisis Group, a prominent think tank, said last month. Arroyo’s aides have acknowledged her close alliance with the Ampatuans but said that did not authorize them to commit crimes. The Ampatuans were expelled from Arroyo’s ruling party after the killings. — AP

Dozens of Malaysians face charges after hotel sex raids

BEIJING: A man takes a rest shoveling snow off a road in downtown Beijing, yesterday. China’s capital dug out Monday from the weekend’s heavy snowstorms, primary and middle schools were closed in Beijing and more than 300,000 people were assigned to clear snow in the capital with shovels, scrapers and brooms. — AP

KUALA LUMPUR: Dozens of Malaysians charged with sexual misconduct in New Year’s Day hotel raids, including a 54-year-old grandmother, will face court next month, officials said yesterday. Malaysia’s Islamic morality police arrested 58 Muslim Malays for “khalwat” or “close proximity” under religious laws that bar Muslims from being alone with a member of the opposite sex before marriage. The raids targeted 20 budget hotels in the eastern resort town of Kuantan, the capital of Pahang state. “We will be charging them in a sharia court in February. If found

guilty they face a fine and a sixmonth jail term,” Ahmad Rafli Abdul Malek, head of the Pahang Islamic Department, told AFP. Ahmad Rafli said the 54-year-old woman, a grandmother of eight, was caught with a 38-year-old man. He related that when his officers knocked on their hotel door, they said: “How can we open the door. We are naked.” Malaysia has a dualtrack legal system and Islamic courts can try Muslims-who dominate the multicultural population-for religious and moral offences. Ahmad Rafli said the department was concerned that increasing numbers of

couples were spending time alone before marriage and that this could lead to illicit sexual activity. “Then we will face issues such as abortion and dumping of babies,” he said. Malaysia’s minorities, which include ethnic Chinese and Indian communities, have complained over rising “Islamisation” of the country that is threatening its secular status. Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old parttime model, was sentenced to six strokes of the cane by an Islamic court in Pahang in July for drinking beer, although the punishment has not yet been carried out.— AFP

Wednesday, January 6, 2010



US intelligence focuses too much on enemy: Report

US spy work lacking in Afghanistan: NATO KABUL: Eight years into the w ar in Afghanistan, the US intelligence community is only “marginally relevant” to the overall mission, focusing too much on the enemy and not enough on civilian life, according to NATO’s top intelligence official. The stinging assessment from US Maj Gen Michael Flynn orders changes to address these shortcomings. His 26-page report was published Monday by the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington, an unconventional release, Flynn acknow ledges, but one he says

HELMAND: Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, meets local leaders in Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, Afghanistan on Saturday. — AP

Clock ticking for Karzai to show progress: Experts KABUL: The clock is ticking for Afghan President Hamid Karzai to stitch together a cabinet before a major conference on his country’s future as Western allies demand swift action on graft, experts said yesterday. Karzai has issued a decree banning lawmakers from taking their winter holiday so he could push through replacements for the 17 cabinet nominees they rejected on Saturday. Analysts and diplomats said the move stems from a realization that he has just six monthsbefore the US mid-term election season-to commit to establishing clean government in return for military and financial support. “I think Karzai will run out of time if he doesn’t quickly start using the time he has,” Haroun Mir, director of Afghanistan’s Centre for Research and Policy Studies, told AFP. The first milestone is an international conference scheduled in London on January 28 to discuss security and development in Afghanistan. While the conference is a British initiativeannounced unilaterally and, according to a Western diplomat in Kabul, without consulting the Afghan government-Karzai needs to present a credible plan of action. That means having a government in place-and MPs have said they expect to be presented with a new list of nominees by the end of this week. Of the 24 names Karzai put forward last month for cabinet portfolios, only seven won approval in a secret ballot of 232 of the 249 lawmakers. The rejections effectively leave Afghanistan without a fully functioning government, dragging out a political vacuum that has prevailed since an August presidential election. Any further delays in establishing a government could also harm Karzai’s reputation at home-where Afghans are jaded by corruption and inaction after eight years of dependency on international aid, analysts said. “To show that he is turning the situation around, he has until June,” when the US mid-term election season begins and questions start being asked about engagement in Afghanistan, said another Western diplomat. “Without that, international support will fall off,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The British will focus on

the security dimension, rather than development, and the US will start to bypass him, focus on key parts of the country, cleaning up the insurgency, and then scarper,” the diplomat warned. By ordering parliament to deal with the cabinet issue immediately, Karzai has “at least bought himself another six weeks,” Mir said. “You’ve got the London conference where Karzai will meet with donors who want to help his government-and with no government there would be no point in going,” he said. It also allows him to remove one problem from his long list, Mir said. Karzai could then focus on parliamentary elections scheduled for May, which the international community, including the United Nations, has said it will not bankroll without evidence of serious reform. UN spokesman in Afghanistan, Aleem Siddique, told reporters that no request had yet come from the Afghan government to provide funds for the polls. “We will judge any request for financial contributions according to the commitment demonstrated in reforming the key electoral institutions in this country so we can see a cleaner, fairer parliamentary poll,” he said. The international community was appalled and embarrassed by the levels of fraud uncovered after the August poll, in which more than a quarter of the votes were found to be fake, most of them in Karzai’s favour. Soon after, graft watchdog Transparency International rated Afghanistan the second most corrupt country in the world, after Somalia, and public opinion in the West soured dramatically against continued engagement in the country. With a Taleban insurgency threatening his government and set to boost to 150,000 the number of US and NATO troops, Karzai cannot afford to extend the political crisis that has stymied progress for almost six months, Mir said. “There is already speculation about whether the parliamentary elections should take place on time or not-that will obviously lead to a new political crisis, should they not go ahead on time, and Karzai cannot and would not be able to deal with two crises at once, the cabinet and the elections,” he said. — AFP

AMRITSAR: A Sikh devotee pays obeisance as he takes a dip in the holy pond on the birth anniversary of the tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, at Golden Temple, Sikh’s holiest shrine in Amritsar, India yesterday. Tenth and final Sikh guru, Gobind Singh, is considered a forefather in the religion. — AP

Manslaughter charges filed over India chimney collapse RANCHI: Indian police have filed manslaughter charges against three local managers of the Britain-based Vedanta mining group in connection with an industrial chimney collapse that killed 40 workers. The three men, all employed by Vedanta’s India subsidiary Balco, were charged in court with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, police officials said yesterday. Another man, working as project manager for the Indian company contracted to build the chimney at a Vedanta-owned power plant in the central state of Chattisgarh, was also charged. The

partially built 178-metre (584-foot) chimney collapsed in bad weather on September 23, burying labourers under tonnes of concrete. Ratan Lal Dangi, police chief of Korba district where the plant was located, said the charges were backed by expert reports alleging the use of sub-standard materials and inadequate soil-testing. Dangi said the reports contradicted claims that the weather conditions had caused the collapse. “Lightning and bad weather were not the reason ... rather workmanship was poor and also the supervision and monitoring were poor,” he told AFP by phone. — AFP

The report said field agents are not providing intelligence analysts with the information needed to answer questions asked by President Barack Obama and the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal. US intelligence officials and analysts are “ignorant of local economics and landowners, hazy about who the powerbrokers are and how they might be influenced, incurious about the correlations between various development projects ... and disengaged from people in the best position to find answers,” Flynn wrote. The officials “can do little but shrug in response to high-level decision makers seeking the knowledge, analysis and information they need to wage a successful counterinsurgency,” said the report, which was co-authored by Flynn’s adviser, Capt. Matt Pottinger, and Paul Batchelor with the Defense Intelligence Agency. “These analysts are starved for information from the field , so starved, in fact, that many say their jobs feel more like fortune telling than serious detective work,” said the report. “It is little wonder then that many decision makers rely more on newspapers than military intelligence to obtain ‘ground truth.”‘ Field intelligence officers should not limit their reports to diagraming insurgent networks, Flynn said. They also should provide information about meetings with villagers and tribal leaders, translated summaries of local radio broadcasts that influence local farmers and field observations of Afghan soldiers and aid workers. In the report, Flynn orders teams of analysts be assembled to collect information on a myriad of subjects at the grassroots level to replace the current practice of having one analyst study governance, a second look into narcotics trafficking and a third insurgent networks. Unclassified portions of the material will then be made available to the military, donor nations and aid workers. “The authors of this document outline changes that must occur throughout the intelligence hierarchy,” the report said. “Its contents should be considered a directive by the senior author. ... We chose to embody it in this unconventional report, and are taking the steps to have it published by a respected think tank, in order to broaden its reach to commanders, intelligence professionals and schoolhouse instruction outside, as well as inside, Afghanistan.” In conventional warfare, troops depend on big picture intelligence to figure out their ground strategies, but in a counterinsurgency, troops, aid workers and others on the ground are usually the best informed about the enemy, the report said. Brigade and regional command intelligence summaries that rehash the previous days fighting are of little use compared with periodic reports that also address changes in the local economy, corruption and governance. “I don’t want to say we’re clueless, but we are,” according to an operations officer quoted in the report. “We’re no more than fingernail deep in our understanding of the environment.” “The US intelligence community is only marginally relevant to the overall strategy,” the report concluded. When he took command in Afghanistan in June 2009, McChrystal made similar calls for collecting more “white” information about local goings-on along with “red” analysis about enemy activities. Lt Gen David Rodriguez, second-in-command to McChrystal, subsequently ordered regional commands to begin answering wide-ranging questions about the Afghan government and local populations. Little, however, has changed in the collection of mostly enemy-related intelligence, the report said. The report quotes McChrystal as saying in a recent meeting: “Our senior leaders, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, Congress, the president of the United States , are not getting the right information to make decisions with. We must get this right. The media is driving the issues.”— AP

w ill help broaden the reach of his directives. The report w as compiled before the CIA suffered a deadly blow to its operations on Dec 30 w hen a suicide bomber killed seven CIA employees and a J ordanian intelligence officer inside Camp Chapman, a highly secured forw ard base in Khost province in eastern Afghanistan. The CIA is not mentioned in Flynn’s report, w hich focuses on the thousands of uniformed and civilian intelligence personnel serving w ith the Defense Department and joint interagency operations in the country.

KASHMIR: Activists from the Muslim Khawateen Markaz (MKM) shout pro-freedom slogans during a protest demanding the implemention of the United Nations resolution on Kashmir of January 5, 1949, in Srinagar yesterday. — AFP

Kashmir vital for regional peace: Pakistan leader MUZAFFARABAD: The settlement of a dispute between Pakistan and India over Kashmir is vital for regional peace, Pakistan’s president said yesterday as his government faces growing pressure to combat militancy. India suspended a five-year-old peace process with its old rival Pakistan after an assault on the Indian city of Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants in November 2008. India has sought help from the United States to put pressure on Pakistan to dismantle what it calls the infrastructure of the militants who carried out the Mumbai attack in which 166 people were killed. The United States also wants Pakistan to eradicate Taleban militants fighting in Afghanistan from safe havens in Pakistani border regions. President Asif Ali Zardari said regional peace was inextricably linked to the settlement of the decades-old dispute over the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir which both Pakistan and India claim in full but

rule in part. “As world attention is on Pakistan, then together with Pakistan, the world has to talk about the Kashmir problem as well because only then can peace be brought to the region,” Zardari said in a address to Pakistani Kashmir’s legislature. “We cannot delink regional peace from peace in Kashmir ... we have highlighted this thinking in the world and will keep projecting it.” The United States wants the nuclear-armed South Asian rivals to reduce tension and resume their stalled dialogue on a range of issues from trade to Kashmir so Pakistan can focus on the war against the Taleban and al Qaeda on its Afghan border. Pakistani and Indian leaders and senior officials have met several times on the sidelines of international gatherings but India insists Pakistan must take forceful action against militants before talks are resumed. Pakistan has acknowledged that the Mumbai assault

was plotted and partly launched from its soil and is prosecuting seven suspects in a closed-door hearing. Zardari said Pakistan and India, which have fought three wars since their independence from British rule in 1947, should learn to live in peace. “We know that we cannot change our neighbors but they should also know that they can also not change their neighbors.” India, which rejects outside involvement in the Kashmir dispute, accuses Pakistan of arming and sending Islamist militants across the border to fight Indian rule in Kashmir. Pakistan denies that, saying it only extends political, moral and diplomatic support to what it calls Kashmir’s freedom movement. While India and Afghanistan accuse Pakistan of backing rebels fighting the Indian and Afghan governments, Pakistan says India and Afghanistan are helping separatist rebels in Pakistan’s gas-rich Baluchistan province. — Reuters

Militants blow up Indian village opens Pakistan school DIY railway station KHAR: Militants yesterday blew up a boys’ school in Pakistan’s northwest tribal region bordering Afghanistan, the latest in a wave of attacks destroying educational institutes, officials said. “A 22-room government high school in Nawagi village of Bajaur district was blown up with explosives,” said local administration official Ghulam Saidullah. “Eighteen classrooms were completely destroyed in the bombing.” Islamist militants opposed to co-education have destroyed hundreds of schools, mostly for girls, in the northwest of the country in recent years as they wage a fierce insurgency to enforce sharia law. Local tribal police and intelligence officials also confirmed the incident and said no casualties were reported. Pakistan’s tribal belt has become a stronghold for hundreds of Islamist extremists who fled Afghanistan after a US-led invasion toppled the hardline Taliban regime in late 2001. Security forces launched a huge operation against the militants in Bajaur in August 2008. In February 2009, they claimed the area had been cleared, but unrest has rumbled on and military raids have continued. Yesterday, the army said it killed two militants in ongoing operations in the Taliban bastion of South Waziristan, while three insurgents were killed in the Swat valley. Under pressure from Washington to do more to crush extremist sanctuaries along the frontier, Pakistan poured tens of thousands of troops into South Waziristan last October in an attempt to oust Taliban fighters. The offensive followed a decisive operation in Swat, which largely cleared the northwest district of Taliban fighters after a two-year uprising. — AFP

NEW DELHI: An Indian village has built its own railway station and persuaded authorities to stop trains there so that local people can travel to nearby towns for work and college, officials said yesterday. Residents of Tajnagar, who had watched trains pass through their village for decades, started a campaign for a station in the village in 1982 but their pleas remained unanswered. Two years ago they took the matter into their own hands by collecting 45,000 dollars to build their owncomplete with two platforms, electricity and a ticket counter. “We have agreed that seven passenger trains will stop at this station a day, and we believe it is financially viable,” Anant Swaroop, a railway ministry official, told AFP. “The site is built according to specifications after we gave the villagers some designs. The station will be operational from today and will benefit a lot of people.” Construction on the building started a year ago and the first train pulled into the plat-

form yesterday to be greeted by cheering crowds, the local member of parliament and a religious blessing. “Most of the 3,000-plus people living in the village are farmers,” Tajnagar resident Ranjeet Singh told the Times of India. “But such was the burning desire to have a station that everyone contributed according to their capacity.” India’s vast railway system, a legacy of British colonial rule, covers about 63,000 kilometres (40,000 miles) of track and has nearly 7,000 stations. It employs at least 1.5 million people and carries 18.5 million passengers every day. The do-it-yourself station will allow villagers from Tajnagar to travel the 20 kilometres to Gurgaon, a booming satellite city outside the capital New Delhi. “We thought that as the railway line passes through the village, we should have a station here,” Hukum Chand, one of the station’s committee members, said. “The Railways told us they had no funds. So, finally we decided to craft our own destiny.”— AFP



Wednesday, January 6, 2010


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Qaeda shifts south By Lamine Chikhi


n unprecedented lull in Islamist militant violence in Algeria suggests AlQaeda’s North African branch is shifting its campaign of ambushes, bombings and kidnappings southward to the vast Sahara desert. For the first time since the early 1990s when a full-blown conflict broke out between government forces and armed Islamists, Algeria is experiencing a five-month period with only one major attack by insurgents. But analysts say the insurgents who operate as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have not been finally defeated. Instead they have been displaced to the Sahel desert region, incorporating parts of Algeria, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. “There is no longer an organization called Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” said Liess Boukraa, deputy head of the African Center for Studies and Research on Terrorism, a think tank funded by the African Union. “There is what I call Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Sahel.” A growing Al-Qaeda presence in the Sahel is an additional worry for Western governments already concerned that the group is finding safe havens in Somalia and Yemen. The response by governments in the Sahel is hampered by porous borders and a lack of troops and equipment to oversee a vast region containing few people but big reserves of oil, gas, uranium and other minerals coveted by the industrialised world. Now a growing number of kidnappings of foreign tourists, aid workers and diplomats in 2009 has raised pressure on the region’s governments to make good on promises to cooperate more in fighting Al-Qaeda in the Sahara. “This year will be a key test for what Algeria can do with its southern partners to tackle the expansion of these various groups in the frontier regions,” said Anne Giudicelli, a Maghreb security expert at Parisbased consultancy Terrorisc. “The Americans have started to put their nose in and the Europeans are going to get more involved - a lot is riding on what happens in this zone,” she said. On Algeria’s Mediterranean coast, thousands of kilometres north of the Sahel and home to the majority of the 35 million population, people are savouring relative peace after years of violence. About 200,000 people were killed at the peak of the conflict in the 1990s,

according to estimates from international non-governmental organisations. Hundreds of people were killed in a series of suicide bombings in 2008 and as late as the first half of 2009, there were regular bombings and attacks on police or army convoys. An ambush in October that killed 7 police was the only big attack since July. The coordinator of the United Nations’ Al-Qaeda and Taleban monitoring team, Richard Barrett, noted the reduction in violence in the second half of 2008. “Ramadan - the last Ramadan in Algeria - was the quietest Ramadan they’d had for 15 years,” he said at a seminar, referring to the Muslim holy period in late August and early September which in past years had seen an upsurge of attacks. Evidence of the change can be found in the Kabylie region, east of the Algeria capital which has for years been known as the “triangle of death”. The rebels used its inaccessible mountains as their main base and residents rushed home before dark to avoid getting caught up in attacks. Now, girls kept away from school because their parents did not want to enrage radical Islamists have resumed their studies. In a hotel in the Kabylie region town of Boumerdes, the lobby has a prominently signposted bar - unthinkable a few years ago because the militants forbade alcohol. The violence has not been stamped out. In isolated areas away from the capital there are sporadic attacks on government targets. In Algiers itself, several Western embassies last month stepped up their already tight security in the run-up to the Dec 11 anniversary of a 2007 truck bombing of the United Nations office in the city. Outside the US embassy on the day of the anniversary, heavy vans and jeeps with diplomatic plates were parked across the entrance to stop any vehicles approaching. However, most commentators say that the Islamist insurgency has been severely weakened. “The loss of popular support has been the key factor behind AQIM’s defeat,” said Sheikh Yahya, a former regional commander of Islamist rebels in northern Algeria who surrendered in 2001 under a government amnesty. “Secondly, several fatwas (religious orders) issued by well known and respected Islamic clerics encouraged fighters to lay down their arms,” he told Reuters at his home in a village in the Bouira region, a former insurgent stronghold. — Reuters

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Restore brilliance to nation’s faded glory By Trudy Rubin


hen I look ahead to the next decade, here’s the question that haunts me: Can America get its mojo back? In 2000, the great strength of the United States was not simply its overwhelming military power, but the other qualities that aroused international respect - our “soft power.” Much of the world still regarded our free-market economy as one they wanted to copy. Our democratic institutions were admired by many and abhorred by autocratic rulers who feared their people looked to us as a model. Love us or hate us, most of the world admired how well our system worked. In tandem with our “soft power,” our military was viewed as virtually unbeatable - and bolstered by our economic power. This image of unshakable competence gave the United States very real leverage in the world. That was then. As we enter 2010, America’s glow - of economic competence and democratic achievement has dimmed. Here’s what has replaced it: an image of a United States whose free-market capitalism is faltering and whose democratic institutions cannot produce results. No longer are developing nations eager to emulate our economic and political model. (Add to this, in the wake of the long-bungled Iraq war, the growing global perception that America’s mighty military cannot cope with low-tech Islamist insurgents.) That shifting view of America wouldn’t matter so much if it rested on flawed perceptions. What makes me worry is that the new foreign view of America the incompetent may prove all too true. Even after the collapse of the high-tech bubble in the 1990s, our ability to spring back and innovate created the expectation that our economy would always revive. Foreign governments were willing to underwrite our debt because our credit was golden, our currency sound, and our ability to repay unquestioned. That was then. In the first decade of

the 21st century, during a fiscally irresponsible Republican administration, the United States heedlessly ran up foreign debt. Our financial sector - freed from regulation - indulged in gross speculation as if there were no tomorrow. Then came the crash. The Obama administration, left to pick up the pieces, looks unlikely to produce serious reform of a financial structure ready to resume risky speculation. We are in hock up to our eyeballs to China, on whom we continue to depend to finance our staggering fiscal imbalances. Only God knows what we’ll do when interests rates rise, as they ultimately will. Who would want to emulate such a model? I still believe American ingenuity can rescue us from the path down which we’re heading. But when I read that investment banks are reviving the speculative tactics that created the global recession, I wonder about our prospects. If we can’t rectify a financial system that’s driving us over a cliff, where are we headed? Never mind that we have a health system twice as expensive and far less effective than those in several European countries. People around the world used to talk about our innovators who developed incredible new products in their garages. But today, automakers and other once-signature US industries are gasping for life, and banks won’t make loans to new small businesses. We’re not educating the scientists we need for tomorrow and are hampering the hiring of foreign grad students who have become our scientific mainstay. What’s even worse, we’re letting China get out in front in developing the green-technology industries that we are counting on to create tens of thousands of jobs. This new image of the United States as economic bumbler has real consequences for our economic future. The world once looked to the United States to take the lead in international financial institutions, which worked to our advantage. Most international transac-

tions are still conducted in dollars, the world’s reserve currency, which saves us untold millions. Now that we cannot seem to put our own house in order (and now that China has emerged stronger from the global economic crisis, in comparison with America’s troubles) all that is changing. I believe the United States is fully capable of staging an economic comeback, even if our role won’t be what it once was. However, to rebuild, the

country has to face its problems squarely, including those in the financial sector, the health and education systems, and within our political institutions. Instead, we see a Congress where Republicans focus on obstruction and Democrats cannot cohere enough - and sufficiently shake off special interests - to confront crucial problems. Meantime, President Obama has failed to put his stamp on key legisla-

tion. He seems unable to reassure an angry public that knows something is deeply wrong with the country, but feels rudderless. Let’s hope our leaders do better in the new year, lest the next decade confirm the image of America as incompetent, in the world’s eyes and our own. We need our mojo back. NOTE: Trudy Rubin is a columnist and editorial-board member for the Philadelphia Inquirer — MCT

Vanunu - our duty to speak up By Duncan Campbell


ore than five years ago, Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at the Israeli nuclear facility in Dimona, was released from prison after serving 18 years for revealing Israel’s nuclear weapons secrets. This week he was arrested again in Jerusalem, accused of talking to foreigners, in breach of conditions imposed on his release. It was in 1986 that Vanunu told his story to the London Sunday Times and was lured to Italy by a Mossad agent, where he was drugged and sent back to Israel, charged with treason and espionage. He emerged from prison in 2004 believing even more passionately in a nuclear-free world, and non-violence as a solution to the problems in the Middle East. His defiance has taken the form of talking to whoever will listen, and for this he continues to be prevented from joining his adoptive parents in the US or supporters who have offered him a home elsewhere. His latest arrest stems from a relationship with a Norwegian woman. As his lawyer said this week: “He is not accused of divulging any information. She is not interested in nuclear matters - she is interested in Mordechai Vanunu, who seems to be interested in her.” The absurd rationale for the restrictions is that he could still pass on damaging secrets to foreign powers. If that were the real reason, why was he initially told that he could leave the country if he just behaved for six months and did not talk to foreigners? Moreover, the idea that - a quarter of a century after holding a junior technician’s post at Dimona, he has something dangerous to pass on is not remotely credible. The real reason for harassing Vanunu is a vindictiveness towards a man who has been impertinent enough to come out of jail unbowed. Of course, if Vanunu had been allowed to leave the country, he would have drifted out of public consciousness. Now, every time he is arrested the world is

reminded that Israel has a nuclear weapons facility, a fact used by its enemies to justify their own weapons programmes. A terrific new documentary, The Most Dangerous Man in America tells the story of Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon papers about the conduct of the war in Vietnam, and faced the possibility of a 25-year jail term. Like Vanunu, Ellsberg had come across the secrets of what his government was doing and believed he had a duty to share it with the world. Like Vanunu, Ellsberg was vilified by his government; but the crude attempts to blacken his name backfired and Ellsberg was dramatically cleared. From his home in California, Ellsberg - now one of Vanunu’s most consistent supporters - said: “I correspond to the American Vanunu, though Nixon didn’t succeed in giving me the 115-year sentence he indicted me for.” Without such whistleblowers prepared to risk their freedom, we would live in greater ignorance of what governments plan. What happens to Vanunu is important for Britain and the British press. It was to London and the Sunday Times that he came with his story. It was from London that the first stage of his illegal kidnapping took place. The foreign secretary has this week rightly protested on behalf of the Briton Akmal Shaikh, executed for drugs smuggling in China. There is a similar duty to speak up on behalf of a man who trusted that Britain was a place where he could safely tell the world about the proliferation of nuclear weapons. As Yossi Melman wrote in Haaretz at the time of Vanunu’s last arrest: “In a proud country that purports to observe the judicial and moral norms of the enlightened world, one might have expected it to take courage and allow Mordechai Vanunu to be free once and for all.” NOTE: Duncan Campbell is a former Guardian crime correspondent – Guardian

Don’t prop up ailing Yemen regime By Brian Whitaker


oncerned about the “regional and global threat” from terrorists in Yemen, Gordon Brown is to host an emergency summit in London this month. Yemen, at the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula, tends to be off the international political radar unless something untoward happens affecting foreigners; it then gets a brief period of attention before being forgotten again. The current wave of attention was prompted by the attempt to blow up flight 253 last month, the Fort Hood shootings in November and, to a lesser extent, the attempted assassination of the Saudi deputy interior minister in August - all of which had a Yemeni link. The fear these incidents arouse around the world is of course very real, yet it is not necessarily shared by the Yemenis. Al-Qaeda is little more than a nuisance in comparison with Yemen’s other problems: the war in the north with Shiite Houthi rebels that has cost thousands of

lives and made at least 100,000 homeless; the agitation by secessionists in the south; the widespread disaffection with the government; an economy that is in dire straits; the rampant corruption. And looming on the horizon are the problems of drought, as wells are drilled deeper and deeper, and overpopulation - Yemen has the highest birth rate in the Middle East, and there is a growing influx of refugees from the Horn of Africa. The Al-Qaeda connection dates back more than 20 years, to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, when unemployed jihadis migrated to Yemen. Geographically and socially there are significant resemblances between Afghanistan and Yemen: the Yemeni state is virtually nonexistent outside the cities; it is an impoverished tribal society with a weapons culture and numerous unofficial militias. This, with Yemen’s large and porous land and sea borders, makes it relatively easy for Al-Qaeda to operate without much interference. Even before Al-Qaeda arrived, Yemen was a recognised safe

haven for extremists. Members of the Baader-Meinhof gang took refuge in the south - then run by Marxists - in the late 1970s, as did Carlos the Jackal in the 1970s and 1980s. Last January Al-Qaeda announced a merger between its Saudi and Yemeni sections, regrouping and centring itself in Yemen - a move probably undertaken as a result of a campaign against the organisation by Saudi authorities. Yemen will remain fertile

ground for Al-Qaeda and similar groups unless its wider problems can be sorted out - by ending internal conflicts, developing the economy, controlling population growth, conserving water - and, above all, establishing a stronger and more effective state. Building a stronger state does not mean more authoritarian rule but less. The need is for a state that has people’s support and confidence one that is seen to serve the interests of the nation rather than a

A tourist shops at a market in Sanaa on Monday. – AFP

clique, that can deliver services efficiently, and is capable of enforcing the rule of law equitably. The tricky question is how to achieve that, and what role outsiders can - or indeed should play. It’s tempting to rush in, saying “something must be done”, without considering what the negative effects might be. The recent US-sponsored airstrikes against Al-Qaeda are a case in point: they appear to have killed dozens of innocent people, which inevitably inflames anti-western sentiment. Yemen does need help in dealing with Al-Qaeda but the less visible it is, the better. The US right has other ideas, though, and would much prefer to see Barack Obama go in with guns blazing. Helping to protect the 2,000km coastline from an influx of arms and infiltrators is a sensible idea, since Yemen has no navy of any significance. It can be done unobtrusively, and the Americans, Saudis and Omanis are said to be already engaged in that. Such action will probably make a difference but won’t entirely halt infiltration. Whatever else is done, it’s

important to distinguish between measures that benefit Yemen and those that benefit the regime of its president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. The worst of all outcomes would be to be seen as propping up Saleh at a time when his power is clearly ebbing. He has to step down by 2013, when he will be 71, unless he changes the constitution - a move that is not impossible but in the present circumstances would probably cause uproar. Saleh may claim he is the only person who can save Yemen from the abyss - with international support, of course - but his bluff should be called on that. As Marc Lynch put it in a recent article for Foreign Policy magazine: “The government of Ali Abdullah Saleh is to a great extent the problem, not the solution.” Saleh has had opportunities for reconciliation with the Houthi rebels, and could have headed off the southern secessionist movement, but he has squandered them. NOTE: Brian Whitaker is author of The Birth of Modern Yemen — Guardian


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Taleban try to bomb Pakistanis into submission By Michael Georgy


aleban insurgents are unleashing more suicide bombers on large crowds of civilians in an attempt to bomb Pakistanis into submission and discredit the military after major offensives against their strongholds. Pakistan’s AlQaeda-linked Taleban served notice of their plans on Friday when a militant in an explosives-laden SUV drove on to a volleyball field in a village in the northwest and blew himself up in the middle of a game, killing 90 people. Such carnage will both terrorise civilians and raise new questions over the effectiveness of Pakistan’s military, despite government assertions that a security offensive launched in October dealt a major blow to the Taleban. The United States sees Pakistan as the critical front-line state its war against the Taleban in Afghanistan. It wants Pakistan’s army to root out militants who cross the border to fight US forces there. But Pakistan’s military would likely point to the volleyball game killings and similar attacks as clear proof that it must concentrate on threats from homegrown Taleban militants. Some analysts argue that nucleararmed Pakistan, and the region for that matter, can only be stable in the long term if the army hunts down all militant groups in the country, including those Afghan Taleban factions not fighting the Pakistani state. “Given the fact that there is such a close nexus here between these various terror

Local residents remove dead bodies from the scene of a suicide car bomb attack in the village of Shah Hasan Khan in Bannu district, bordering the Taleban stronghold of South Waziristan on Jan 2, 2010. — AFP groups. These distinctions didn’t pay off in the past,” said International Crisis Group South Asia Director Samina Ahmed. “All that has happened is that the alliance relationships between these groups have now solidified and become far more dangerous.” But fighting all of the groups at once would mean giving up alliances with mili-

tants the Pakistani military wants as leverage in Afghanistan, especially if, as Pakistan anticipates, the United States pulls out before the country is stabilised. And it could create new enemies for a military that’s already stretched. Some 30,000 troops were used in an offensive against the Taleban in October in South

Waziristan. The Taleban responded with bombings that killed hundreds of people. “From the Pakistani point of view, are you capable of withstanding a much larger rebel Taleban force than the one that already exists? I have my doubts on that,” said Kamran Bokhari, regional director for the Middle East and South Asia at Stratfor

global intelligence firm. Powerful Al-Qaeda-linked warrior Sirajuddin Haqqani is possibly the best example of why the military averts its eyes from some groups on the US military’s hit list. Entrenched in Pakistani border enclaves, his network has no interest in fighting the Pakistani state. He runs a large part of the insurgency battling US and NATO forces

in Afghanistan. So he would be a very influential tool for Pakistan in Afghanistan when Western forces pull out. “The relationship between Islamabad and Haqqani doesn’t appear to be the classic patron-proxy where the proxy will do what the patron says and nothing else,” said Bokhari. “This guy is an independent operator. He does his own stuff as well. He is independent and he has got the relations with the Pakistanis.” Washington’s embattled ally, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, is at odds with the military and could be embroiled in a new political crisis if his aides, including the defence and interior ministers, face prosecution over renewed corruption charges. All of that uncertainty is likely to encourage the Taleban to press ahead with spectacular attacks on civilian targets to spread chaos and terror. They have targeted civilians before. But analysts say the volleyball game attack one of the bloodiest in Pakistan in over two years indicates they will take bloodshed to new levels. There is very little Pakistan’s military can do to counter the new strategy. “It’s a huge challenge because you never have enough security to protect the innocent civilians. Particularly when you have determined suicide bombers,” said Riffat Hussein, chairman of the department of defence and strategic studies at Quaid-eAzam University. “Clearly, they are declaring war against the civilian population.” — Reuters

Tensions persist in German governing coalition By Helen Maguire


he new year has not started well for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as her government coalition partners spent the holidays squabbling over taxation, Afghanistan and a senior museum appointment. Merkel, of the Christian Democrats (CDU), smiled for the cameras on Monday, striking a chord with young carol singers at her first official engagement of the year. However, dissonance was brewing ahead of this week’s coalition meeting between Merkel’s CDU, the Free Democrats (FDP) and the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU). The pro-business FDP has been vocal in reiterating the tax cuts pledged in the election campaign, despite CDU and CSU resistance over fears of blowing federal debt out of proportion. Birgit Homburger, the FDP’s parliamentary leader, said all the measures agreed under the coalition deal

were necessary to create jobs and boost growth. “We only agreed to measures in the coalition agreement that can be financed and justified. For this reason, the second step will come too,” Homburger told daily Berliner Zeitung. Days previously, CSU-leader Horst Seehofer had warned the FDP against promising excessive tax cuts. During last year’s election campaign, Merkel sold the centre-right coalition with the FDP to voters as the route to economic recovery. But the veneer soon began to fade in the light of economic realities which left little room for the promised tax cuts. Tellingly, a cumbersome “growth acceleration law” almost failed to win the support Germany’s powerful - and cash-strapped - states in the Bundesrat, or upper house of parliament, last month. Nevertheless, FDPleader and Vice-Chancellor Guido Westerwelle continued to defend his party’s tax plans, saying, “We are doing what we promised before the election.”

Things are no easier on the international front, where Merkel has traditionally shone when the going has been tough at home. After a disappointing result for the “Climate Chancellor” at the UN’s climate change summit in Copenhagen, Merkel is also facing uncomfortable questions over German’s military role in Afghanistan. The chancellor and her Defence Minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, could both be called in front of a parliamentary investigation into a September airstrike which claimed high civilian Afghan casualties. Guttenberg, last year’s rising star and close Merkel ally, has come under fire for allegedly knowing about the high number of civilian casualties when he described the attack as “militarily appropriate.” Germany’s most senior military officer, who Guttenberg sacked for withholding crucial details of the attack, has challenged the minister’s version of events - effectively calling him a liar.

The airstrike reignited a debate in Germany about the role of the Bundeswehr, at a time when it is under international pressure to join US President Barack Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan. Even something as seemingly innocuous as a new refugee museum has pitted coalition members against one another, as Merkel’s cabinet has remained in limbo over a controversial board appointment. The CSU wants a seat on the museum board for Erika Steinbach, a controversial leader of ethnic Germans expelled from Poland and other eastern European nations after World War II, whose descendents are key CSU voters. Meanwhile Westerwelle has threatened to veto Steinbach’s nomination, backing Polish concerns that she was a divisive figure who had once backed the recovery of land lost by expellees. Within the coalition government, there are mutterings that Merkel has not adapted to the new power constellation since last year’s change of govern-

ment. In the previous “grand” coalition with the Social Democrats, Merkel’s role was that of chief mediator, able to keep the peace between the two political behemoths. But after 11 years in opposition, the smaller FDP remains boisterous in government, which means a more authoritarian form of leadership is needed if Merkel wants to maintain the upper hand. The parliamentarian leader of the CSU, Hans-Peter Friedrich, launched a veiled attack on Merkel’s leadership at the weekend. “She needs to make it clear what she wants in core areas,” he told daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Economics Minister Rainer Bruederle of the FDP called for greater discipline within government ranks. “It is better for the listener if everyone is singing the same melody,” he told daily Tagesspiegel. The young carol singers, ending the festive period with a musical flourish in Merkel’s office, could have hardly put it better at the start of Merkel’s not-so happy new year. — dpa

‘Brand Hyderabad’ takes hit in Indian unrest By Syed Amin Jafri


he city of Hyderabad, once a symbol of the new emerging India and home to IT giants such as Google and Microsoft, is mired in protests, threatening its future as an investment-friendly hub. The southern state of Andhra Pradesh, of which Hyderabad is the capital, has been rocked for weeks by violent demonstrations for and against the division of the state into two entities. The national government first backed the idea under pressure from a hunger strike, then appeared to backpedal, and since then almost daily disruptions by protestors have dented the city’s image as a fertile ground for business. Chief Minister K. Rosaiah told reporters last week that firms, including metals group Bharat Forge and French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen, had relocated projects or deferred planned investment on account of the turmoil. “The image of Hyderabad as an investment destination and a hub of information technology, pharmaceuticals and other industries has taken a beating because of the unrest,” said Rosaiah. Hyderabad’s star rose during the 1990s and last decade as India established itself as a global IT hub, offering low-cost services to multinational companies for a fraction of the cost in their domestic markets. A proposed new state called Telangana would be carved out of Andhra Pradesh’s poor tribal belt, a drought-prone region which supporters say has been neglected by the state government for too long. Hyderabad is located in what would

This file photograph taken on July 15, 2009 shows private security personnel closing the gates at the main entrance to the Google offices at Hitec City in Hyderabad. – AFP become Telangana, but neither Telangana supporters nor those in the rump of Andhra Pradesh are willing to give up the capital and its spoils. The 400-year-old city boasts a mix of tall glass buildings amid its many minarets and historic temples, a sign of the software boom which began when US software giants Oracle and Microsoft first planted themselves on Indian soil. Hyderabad has since attracted several Fortune 500 and Indian companies, including the disgraced outsourcing giant

Satyam, once the city’s pride. In 2009, Satyam was discovered to be the source of India’s biggest corporate fraud, worth more than three billion dollars. Now, frequent strikes and road and rail blockades have caused widespread disruption to the operation of several firms, including software and pharmaceutical companies. Analysts say the political turmoil has created a sense of uncertainty among investors, many of whom might look to the rival, larger Indian IT hub of Bangalore.

“Foreign investors are following the ‘wait and watch’ strategy before making any financial commitment in the region,” said Deepak Kher, an IT analyst working in Hyderabad. The state government has created a task force to protect the city’s business interests after industry representatives and corporate executives conveyed their concerns to the state government. Chief minister Rosaiah appealed to protestors “not to subject industries to hardship as the latter are no way concerned with their

demands”. He said Hyderabad’s pharmaceutical industry had suffered a loss of five billion rupees ($100 million) in the past one month, and that hotels had registered a 40-percent drop in reservations. He also said the world’s largest steel maker, Arcelor Mittal, and Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai have put proposed investments on hold. Hyderabad accounts for software exports of $7.55 billion and pharma and bulk drugs exports of $3.23 billion annually, according to local and national government estimates. J A Chowdary, former president of the Hyderabad Software Exporters Association, said companies were being disrupted by the strikes and street protests, though losses could not be quantified yet. “All IT exports and businesses are definitely taking a beating due to the agitation,” he told AFP. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi party, which is spearheading calls for the new state, accused the state government of using fear to discredit the movement. “Several industries did not come to Hyderabad because of the faulty policies of the government. Why blame the Telangana movement?” party member T Harish Rao said. Communication experts say the image of Hyderabad as the modern face of India - cosmopolitan, fastpaced and professional - was under threat. “Both sides are fighting to get Hyderabad but they are failing to realise that this political mess will dampen Hyderabad’s image all over the globe,” said Madhukar Sabnavis, an executive with advertising firm Ogilvy and Mather. — AFP


Time for a fresh look at a fateful year, 1989 By Michael Meyer


light snow came down in Bucharest, covering the mounds next to freshly dug graves, open and gaping in long straight rows. “Here are the fallen,” intoned a solemn priest as four men placed a wooden coffin before him on a wobbly trestle. Jacob Stetincu, shot by a sniper, lay wrapped in a thin cotton sheet, wearing a worn blue beret, snowflakes catching in his grayed mustache. After a hurried sacrament, the men nailed his coffin shut, carried him to the nearest grave - his widow struggling to keep up - and shoveled in the heavy earth. The priest, working in shifts with a dozen of his brethren, was already shaking holy water on the next victim of Nicolae Ceausescu’s brutal reign. It was the bitter last day of an epic year, 1989. Revolutions had swept across Europe. From Poland to Hungary to East Germany, communist regimes toppled like proverbial dominoes. The Berlin Wall was gone, the Cold War over. And now, the hated regime of Nicolae Ceausescu was gone as well, the only revolution won with blood in the streets. Abruptly, I felt an overwhelming need to be out of Romania, out of Eastern Europe, before the New Year. Perhaps it was the visit to the cemetery and the poor innocents being buried in the snow. “Revolution overload,” one friend called it. The faded Orient Express left for Vienna that night. Twentyseven hours later, I walked into my house in Bonn, the capital of what was then still West Germany, in time to join a midnight chorus of friends and neighbors singing “Auld Lang Syne,” just as people were in Berlin, Prague, Warsaw and Budapest. For the newly free peoples of Eastern Europe, this was a moment of celebration. On Christmas Day in Berlin, Leonard Bernstein had conducted Beethoven’s Ninth (“Ode to Joy”) with the word “joy” changed to “freedom.” Less than a year later, long-divided Germany would be reunited, and a year after that, the Soviet Union would come undone. The grim concrete symbol of the world’s division, East versus West, free and unfree, began its slow fade into historical imagination. And with it, so did truth. The recent 20th anniversary celebrations of these epochal events are over. For Americans, especially, the fireworks and rousing rhetoric recalled victory in an existential struggle - four decades of Cold War confrontation, trillions of dollars spent on national defense, too many lives lost in shadowy wars overseas. And in most ways it was a victory. The year 1989 changed the world. It moved us from a world of division and nuclear blackmail to one of new opportunity and unprecedented prosperity. It set the stage for our contemporary era: globalization, the triumph of free markets, the spread of democracy. It ushered in the great global economic boom that lifted billions out of poverty around the world and established America as the one and only superpower. Yet it was a dangerous triumph, chiefly because we claimed it for our own and scarcely bothered to fully understand how this great change came to pass. We told ourselves stick-figure parables of defiance and good-versus-evil triumph, summed up in Ronald Reagan’s clarion call: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” From the vantage point of 20 years, we should be wiser. The reality is that “our” victory in the Cold War was not what we thought it was, nor did it happen the way we think it did. Most painfully, the myths we spun about it have hurt the world and ourselves. What are these myths

that we embrace as truths? First, people power. Most popular accounts of 1989 come down to a simple plot line: Eastern Europe’s longrepressed citizens, frustrated by poverty and lack of freedom and inspired by our example, rose up and overthrew their communist overlords. Well, yes and no. In East Germany, that is pretty much what happened. In Hungary, by contrast, change came from the top, as a small cadre of communist reformers threw over the old order and began, quite literally, cutting holes in the Iron Curtain. In Poland, the activists of the Solidarity trade union sat down with their onetime jailers and agreed to hold elections. There, democracy came first, and only afterward revolution. A second myth concerns the role of history. Americans tend to see the end of communism as foreordained, born of its inherent flaws. This is the tectonic overview of history as the interplay of great and seemingly inevitable forces. Seen from the ground, however, it looked very different. Factors beyond our control figured in the equation as well, not least a drop in oil prices from roughly $40 a barrel in 1980 to less than $10 a decade later. And if you were there the night the Berlin Wall fell, you know that it came to pass, in the dramatic way it did, because of a freak accident - an utterly human blunder. In a Cold War vignette now become famous, played and replayed on YouTube, the spokesman for the East German Communist Party misread a press release and told his country’s people they were free to go-”immediately,” as of the night of Nov. 9, 1989, and not the next day, when new travel rules were officially supposed to take effect. In the ensuing administrative chaos, the Berlin Wall “fell.” The iconic pictures of Berliners dancing atop the wall owe as much to happenstance as to culminating history. A third myth is the most dangerous: the idea of the United States as emancipator, a liberator of repressed peoples. This crusading brand of American triumphalism has become gospel over the past two decades in certain foreign policy circles, especially among neoconservatives. For them, the revolutions of 1989 became the foundation of a post-Cold War worldview. All totalitarian regimes are hollow at the core, they suggest, and will crumble with a shove from the outside. If the inspiration for this was the Berlin Wall, coming down as Reagan “ordered,” the operational model was the mass protests in Romania leading to the violent overthrow of the Ceausescu regime. “Once the wicked witch was dead,” as Francis Fukuyama put it, “the Munchkins would rise up and start singing joyously about their liberation.” It is a straight line from this fantasy of 1989 to the misadventure in Iraq, and beyond. The theologian Reinhold Niebuhr famously warned about the dangers of “mis-memory” or, worse, the deliberate rewriting of history in order to shape the future, much as the old communists tried to do. The United States contributed uniquely to the end of the Cold War, from the reconstruction of Europe and containment to capitalist economics. But others “won” it, on their own (and our) behalf. Among them were the likes of Jacob Stetincu, all but forgotten in his grave. Drunk on pride and power, we Americans have tried to rewrite history. Having got it so wrong, it’s time to figure out how, and why, and move on. NOTE: Michael Meyer, Newsweek’s bureau chief for Germany and Eastern Europe in 1989, is the author of “The Year That Changed the World” — MCT



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Israeli officers cancel UK trip Continued from Page 1

SALFIT: Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad throws a package into a fire lit to burn products from Jewish settlements in this West Bank town yesterday. The Palestinians have launched a boycott of Israeli products made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. — AP

Assembly delays vote on debt bill Continued from Page 1 statement that failure to set a fixed duration for repayment would mean that some debts will have to be repaid over periods exceeding 15 years. The governor also provided new figures on the debt. He said that the principal amount of all personal and consumer debts taken from banks and investment companies stands at KD 4.9 billion and that the amount of interest and returns that would have to be scrapped stands at KD 1.818 billion. The old figures were supplied by the Assembly’s financial and economic affairs committee, which said it got them from the government. Sheikh Salem also said that 317,000 Kuwaiti debtors have

taken a total of 489,000 loans. He added that if only 20 percent of the loans need to be rescheduled over more than 15 years in accordance with the law, it would require the Central Bank to scrutinize around 98,000 loans, which is way beyond the bank’s manpower and technical capabilities. Sheikh Salem concluded that the law breaches the constitution, fails to achieve justice among citizens and more importantly it is absolutely difficult if not impossible to apply. During the session, Finance Minister Mustafa AlShamali appealed to lawmakers to ignore the law and instead focus on the government’s defaulters’ fund which has been assisting debtors in need over the past year.

The National Assembly approved the law in the first reading on Dec 23. The government has threatened that it will reject the law even if it is passed by the Assembly. The government can reject legislation passed by the MPs by sending it back to the Assembly. MPs however can override the rejection with a two-thirds majority in a new vote. A two-thirds majority means 44 votes in the 65-member house, including the 16 Cabinet ministers, which the supporters of the bill are not expected to have. Another way of overriding the government rejection can be made through a simple majority of the house if MPs delay the voting until the next term, which starts in October.

Squeegees ready for Burj window-clean Continued from Page 1 Twelve machines weighing 13 tonnes carry up to 36 cleaners, who use ordinary soapy water to wash down the Burj’s 24,830 reflective windows in a process that takes three months, top to bottom. “It’s the same as an average shop front cleaner would use - there’s nothing complex about it at all,” he told AFP yesterday. The cleaners stand on the specially

designed machines, which emerge from cavities in the skyscraper and track along rails skirting its curved towers. He said the company had been working overtime to get the 828-m building gleaming for Monday’s extravagant opening ceremony. “It’s an enormous challenge. The architects had some fairly high expectations,” Harding said. “It’s an iconic building with high exposure. They wanted it as clean as possible, particularly for the opening.

There have been some fairly tight deadlines over the past few months.” He said the Burj, which towers over the Dubai desert, has 120,000 sq m of glass and 45,000 sq m of aluminium and stainless steel panels. “It’s an incredible construction. People are focusing on the height of the building but the sheer size of it, the footprint, is huge. It’s really 1015 conventional buildings,” Harding said. — AFP

‘Radical’ climate change forecast Continued from Page 1 manmade factors may account for this increase. Average annual rainfall, meanwhile, fell by 120 mm between 1979 and 200203, even though this was a period when the country experienced torrential downpours in which 30 mm per hour of rain was recorded. Meanwhile, the country’s highest annual rainfall level of 65 mm was

recorded in 1997. All these factors indicate probable “radical” climate change in the future, he warned, calling on the concerned state bodies to build larger water drainage systems to cope with heavier rainfall, as well as introducing strategies to protect the southwestern part of Kuwait from the effects of dust storms and to implement environmentally protective measures in factories and industrial areas.

Ramadan said that there are a number of possible solutions to help tackle climate change and reduce associated problems, such as lowering the emissions of gases responsible for global warming through installing filters to reduce the rate of discharge of pollutants into the atmosphere. Other possible solutions, he suggested, are the use of alternative energy sources, such as solar and hydro energy, as well as wind power. — KUNA

Egypt’s border wall could choke Hamas Continued from Page 1 A drill pierced holes in the soil, a crane lifted steel beams into position and a jackhammer drove them into the ground as several workers could be seen welding. Egyptian troops in four armored personnel carriers with mounted machine guns guarded the crew. In the past, shots were fired several times from Gaza at the workers, though no one has been hurt. Hamas guards watched from a nearby position, some shouting insults at an Egyptian soldier who poked his head out of his armored vehicle. Hamas leaders are furious about the border wall and are seeking to rally Arab and Muslim public opinion against Egypt. On Sunday, demonstrators marched outside Egyptian embassies in Jordan and Lebanon, holding posters showing Egypt’s president with Israel’s Star of David on his forehead. Hamas has also marshaled Muslim scholars who decreed that the barrier is “haram”, or religiously forbidden. The scholars were responding to a statement by Al-Azhar University, Egypt’s prestigious Islamic seat of theology, which reached the opposite conclusion last week. Gaza’s borders have been virtually sealed since June 2006 when Hamas-allied militants captured an Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. The blockade by Israel and Egypt intensified a year later when Hamas overran Gaza, seizing the territory from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The blockade has evoked intense international criticism, but Israel justifies it by claiming that supplies to Gaza could end up in the hands of violent militants. In response to the stifling closure,

Gazans dramatically expanded smuggling from Egypt to bring in commercial goods, along with weapons and cash for Hamas. Today, nearly 400 tunnels run under Gaza’s border with Egypt, employing 15,000 people and bringing in $1 million in goods a day, said Issa Nashar, the Hamas mayor of the Gaza border town of Rafah. The municipality supplies electricity and levies $2,500 in taxes per tunnel, he said. Large white tents mark the tunnel entrances on the Gaza side. During a tour Monday, rows of tents were visible along most of the border. A stretch of sandy soil, about 200 m wide, runs between the tents and the first Egyptian demarcation, in some places a low stone wall and in others a line of rusty steel containers. The tunnels run under the border and emerge about a kilometer away on the Egyptian side, the exits often disguised by homes. Construction of the anti-tunnel wall is believed to have started sometime in November, though Egyptian officials initially would not discuss the project and still decline to provide details. In recent days, as opposition to the wall mounted, Egypt’s leaders have struck a defiant tone. “Egyptian borders are sacred and no Egyptian allows any violations in one way or another,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said last week. It’s impossible to gauge how much of the wall has already been completed, but smugglers watch the construction with growing concern. Tunnel operators standing near Monday’s work site said they have not been directly affected so far, but fear the day when they have to stop working.

Profits from the tunnels are still considerable. A 36-year-old former taxi driver said he makes $100 a day, a large sum for Gaza, by pumping fuel from Egypt through his tunnel. Amid the uncertainty, rumors are running wild. Many here believe Egypt plans to flood the area and are already scheming to make their tunnels waterproof. Nashar, the Rafah mayor, said enterprising smugglers have managed to cut pieces off the underground wall. Others have raised the possibility that the smugglers might simply dig deeper, going below the underground wall. Two years ago, Hamas militants cut down a metal border wall that had been erected by Israel, enabling tens of thousands of Gazans to pour into Egypt until the border was resealed. During Israel’s 38-year military control of Gaza, Israel tried in vain to halt the smuggling, including tearing down houses along the border and blowing up tunnels. In Israel’s three-week military offensive against Hamas last winter, warplanes repeatedly bombed the border area, causing some damage, but failing to close down the tunnels. The wall construction marks the highest profile attempt by Egypt to halt the smuggling and seems to have struck a nerve, judging by Hamas’ angry protests. Hamas officials portrayed Egypt as doing the bidding of Israel and the US and even hinted at another border breach. “I’m telling you, the people, they want to live and they want something to eat. They may do everything they can,” Ehab Ghussein, a spokesman for Gaza’s Interior Ministry, said Monday. “But we don’t hope to reach that point.” — AP

Abbas insists peace talks only option, slams Hamas Continued from Page 1 “We agreed to sign a reconciliation deal in Egypt, but Hamas keeps on coming up with new conditions and wastes time,” he charged. On the underground steel barrier that Egypt is building on the Rafah border between Gaza and Egypt, Abbas said it was an Egyptian sovereign decision. “They have a right to protect their borders,” he said, hinting the tunnels were being “misused”. He added that the Palestinian Authority is paying the salaries of civil servants in Gaza, and is supplying food and fuel to the impoverished territory. Abbas also said he is determined to step down from the presidency,

despite being asked by US President Barack Obama and other Arab and world leaders to stay on. Earlier, Abbas met HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for talks. Acting minister of the Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarah Al-Sabah said that talks tackled bilateral relations and ways of consolidating and developing them in all fields, expanding cooperation between the two sides in what serves their mutual interests, the most important issues of mutual concern and the latest developments on the regional and international scene. Meanwhile, exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has assured Saudi Arabia his movement is loyal to Arab states, the kingdom’s

foreign minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said yesterday, according to news reports. “I asked Khaled Meshaal whether the movement stood with Arabs or with others,” Prince Saud said, referring to Iran, a strong regional backer of Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza. “Meshaal insisted that Hamas was an Arab movement and that the Palestinian question was an Arab issue,” the Saudi minister said at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The exchange between Prince Saud and Meshaal occurred on Sunday during a visit by the Hamas leader to Saudi Arabia. Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite non-Arab Iran have been traditional rivals in the Middle East.

for fear of arrest, taking advantage of Britain’s “universal jurisdiction” law that allows prosecution of war criminals whose crimes have no direct connection with Britain. Britain is one of the pioneers of the “universal jurisdiction” concept, but the British government is concerned that its application to Israel is badly straining relations between the two countries and has vowed to solve the problem. Visiting British Attorney General Patricia Janet Scotland heard a stiff protest yesterday from deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who called the situation “intolerable”. Later yesterday, in a speech at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, she noted that the British government “is looking urgently at ways in which the UK system might be changed to avoid this situation arising again and is determined that Israel’s leaders should always be able to travel freely to the UK”. In Britain, pro-Palestinian groups have condemned moves to reform the law. “We believe no attempt should be made (to change the law),” said Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain. “There’s no reason why Israel should be singled out for special treatment. If they’re accused of war crimes, we have a duty - and legislation - to prosecute.” Israelis charge the Palestinian use of the universal juris-

diction law is a distortion of its original intention to prosecute war criminals whose own justice systems were incapable or unwilling to investigate their deeds. Though it has not satisfied international rights groups, Israel’s military has investigated its own activities in the Gaza war and says it is still looking into a handful of cases. Israeli experts charge that other examples of “lawfare” are condemnations by human rights groups and the UN of Israeli actions against Palestinian militants, especially last winter’s military operation in Gaza that left about 1,400 Palestinians dead, including many civilians, and caused widespread destruction. Last month, proPalestinian activists persuaded a London judge to issue an arrest warrant for Israeli politician Tzipi Livni, who was foreign minister during the war in Gaza. The warrant was withdrawn after Livni canceled her trip, but the matter strained relations between Britain and Israel. The threat of arrest has forced several former security officials to call off trips to London, including a former general who had to hole up on an airplane at Heathrow Airport in 2005 to avoid arrest. Last fall, Defense Minister Ehud Barak fended off an arrest attempt by successfully arguing he had diplomatic immunity. Separately, Israel has approved construction of four new apartment buildings in disputed east Jerusalem, officials said yesterday, fueling tensions with the Palestinians at a time when the US

is laboring to get peace talks moving again. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem for a future capital and demand all construction there stop before negotiations resume. The 24-unit project is being developed in an Arab neighborhood by Irving Moskowitz, an American Jew who has generously funded Jewish settlers determined to cement Israel’s hold on contested areas of the holy city. The latest project is potentially even more contentious than others because it is not in any of the established Jewish neighborhoods. Instead, it is located in the heart of a predominantly Arab area of the city. Jerusalem is the most explosive issue between Israel and the Palestinians, and the new buildings would be located in one of its most volatile sites, just outside the walled Old City with its Christian, Muslim and Jewish shrines. Stephan Miller, spokesman for Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, confirmed that Jerusalem’s local planning committee approved the project on Monday, clearing the way for construction to begin. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned the move “in the strongest possible terms.” He said if Israel wants to resume peace talks, “they must announce a total cessation of settlement activities” in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israel committed to a full settlement freeze in 2003 under an internationally backed peace plan. — AP

Pak acid attack victims pin hope on new laws Continued from Page1 Bibi is locked in a complicated legal tussle over the attack and is fighting for custody of her young children, while learning how to live without sight and struggling with surgeries to rebuild her ruined face. She is only 23 years old, but with no upper lip, a barely reconstructed nose, scar tissue where her right eye should be and a raw red socket where her left eye once was, her youth is impossible to discern. Married off against her will as a second wife to her brother-in-law after her husband died, Bibi says she was treated abysmally. Then one night last year, someone poured acid over her as she slept, causing horrendous burns. Confused, in pain and fearing for the safety of her two daughters, she was coerced by her husband into blaming a man she believes was innocent, and is now trying to retract her initial statement. Bibi thinks her husband was responsible, but he remains free. “I was in a terrible condition. I had psychological problems. I was not normal mentally... I simply want punishment for him. I want to throw acid on him. Not only on him, but on everybody who throws acid on others,” she said. The uneducated woman from Pakistan’s cotton belt in rural Punjab province may want brutal justice, but activists are pressing for a change in the law to help prevent such attacks. Thanks to a struggle in the highest court in the land by another acid attack victim - Naila

Farhat - campaigners are hopeful that this devastating form of violence can be curtailed. Pakistan is a conservative Muslim country, where women - especially in poor, rural areas - can be treated like commodities with little protection from the police and under pressure not to disgrace their families. “Their families will say ‘it’s the wrong thing to go to the courts, what will society think about you?’” said Sana Masood, the legal coordinator with Pakistan’s Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF). The nation remains without a domestic violence law. It has been drafted, but lawmakers say it is still under debate as a senator from a hardline Islamic party raised objections and sent the bill back to parliament. Acid attacks are rising, with ASF recording 48 cases in 2009 and Masood says countless more probably go unreported because of social stigma. That is up from about 30 cases in 2007, a rise Masood says could be blamed on increased stress in people’s lives as inflation soars. Farhat was just 13 years old when a man threw acid in her face in 2003 because her parents refused to let him marry their child. The attacker was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay 1.2 million rupees ($14,250) in damages, but on appeal a high court reduced the damages and said the man could go free once the money was paid. Enraged, Farhat and ASF went to the Supreme Court - the first acid attack case to be taken to the highest court - where

judges overturned the high court ruling within minutes. Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry took a personal interest in the case, and recommended that the government pass new legislation to control the sale of acid and increase punishment for acid attacks. Masood says industrial-strength acid used in cotton processing can be bought by anyone for just a few dollars. “Because of its easy accessibility to the general public, for very stupid domestic issues they will just throw acid on each other,” she said. “It does not only destroy a person’s face but it destroys a person’s life.” Also key would be the introduction of a law requiring the attacker to pay for their victim’s painful and expensive treatment and counselling. ASF has been pushing for such laws for years, but now hopes a bill will be tabled in parliament this month. “They should, with relevant amendments, pass it unanimously and we don’t expect the government to unnecessarily delay the process or create any blocks,” said parliamentarian Marvi Memon, acknowledging the process could take months. Without Farhat, these steps might never have been made, and she remains dedicated to helping other victims, coaching Bibi through her treatments and helping her come to terms with her future. “I encourage other acid attack victims and tell them that they should continue fighting for their rights and should not hesitate to come out of their homes, they should come forward,” Farhat told AFP. — AFP

CIA bomber was Qaeda triple agent Continued from Page 1 Balawi came from a nomadic bedouin clan from Tabuk, in western Saudi Arabia, which has branches in Jordan and the West Bank. He was born in Kuwait in 1977 and lived there until Iraq’s 1990 invasion of the nation when the family moved to Jordan. He graduated with honors from an Amman high school and studied medicine in Turkey. He had two daughters from his marriage to a Turkish journalist, his family said. The bombing exposed the close cooperation between Jordanian intelligence and the CIA, which has for decades helped fund and train Jordanian operatives. In return, Jordan has acted as a proxy jailer for the CIA, interrogating several Al-Qaeda militants who were flown in on rendition flights from Guantanamo Bay. A key US ally in the Middle East, Jordan has consistently offered intelligence to the United States on militants. The bombing in Khost was an embarrassment for Jordan. The country’s pro-US government has gone to great lengths to conceal its connection with the attack on the CIA to avoid angering Arabs disgruntled with Washington’s Mideast policy, which they regard as biased in favor of Israel. Jordanian media gave no details of how Captain Ali bin Zeid died even though King Abdullah II, Queen Rania and virtually the whole royal family turned up at his funeral. The slain officer’s family said that Bin Zeid had been in Afghanistan for 20 days and had been due to return home on December 30, the day he was killed. But even on Monday, officials continued to deny any Jordanian involvement in the international coalition there. Both jihadist websites and Western intelligence agents cited by US network NBC News identified the bomber as Humam Khalil Abu Mulal Al-Balawi alias Abu Dujana Al-Khorasani. Balawi was arrested in late 2007 and then recruited as a double agent by the Jordanian intelligence services but in reality continued to work for Al-Qaeda, they said. He ran a blog,, on which he posted calls for jihad - holy war - and martyrdom, that the Jordanian authorities presumably regarded as cover for the role of double agent. The blog was still available on Monday but was inaccessible yesterday. “He spent months travelling between Afghanistan and Pakistan and fed the Americans the information that the Mujahedeen (jihadists) wanted them to receive,” the Ana Muslim (“I am a Muslim” in Arabic) website boasted. “Every time that the reports which he gave proved accurate, their confidence in Abu Dujana rose.” An online jihadist magazine in Sept 2009 posted an interview with Balawi,

according to SITE Monitoring Service, a terrorist watch group that reads and translates messages on extremist forums. SITE said Monday that Balawi used his pseudonym in the postings, describing how he rose through the ranks of online jihadist forums. He said he went to Afghanistan to fight, and he exhorted others to do violence. “No words are more eloquent than those proven by acts, so that if that Muslim survives, he will be one who proves his words with acts. If he dies in the Cause of Allah, he will grant his words glory that will be permanent marks on the path to guide to jihad, with permission from Allah,” Balawi wrote, according to SITE’s translation. Balawi was taken to the CIA base in Khost because he claimed to have urgent information about Zawahiri, the website said. He was not searched as he went in because a CIA agent boasted: “He is our man, so there is no need,” the website claimed. The bomber then pretended to detail plans for a mooted operation on a piece of paper and asked the intelligence agents to gather round to look before blowing himself up, the website said. The bodies of seven CIA employees arrived Monday at Dover Air Force Base in a small private ceremony attended by CIA Director Leon Panetta, other agency and national security officials, and friends and family. A former senior US intelligence official said one of the big unanswered questions is why so many people were present for the debriefing - the interview of the source - when the explosive was detonated. A half-dozen former CIA officers told AP that in most cases, only one or two agency officers would typically meet with a possible informant along with an interpreter. Such small meetings would normally be used to limit the danger and the possible exposure of the identities of both officers and informants. Later, a senior Jordanian official said yesterday there was no proof that Balawi was, as has been claimed, the suicide bomber. “There is no proof that Humam was actually the author of the attack, especially given that Taleban websites claim that it was an Afghan,” said the official who declined to be identified. He added that Balawi had provided Jordanian intelligence with valuable information, but did not say whether he was still alive. “When the media mentioned the name Humam Khalil Al-Balawi, we inquired about his identity and we can confirm that he is indeed Jordanian, but we cannot confirm that he was the author of the attack,” said the official. He said Balawi had been interrogated by intelligence officers “around a year ago because of suspicions about his activities, but the probe found nothing and he was freed. “Humam left Jordan and traveled to

Pakistan to continue medical studies that he had begun in Turkey. From Pakistan, he contacted the Jordanian authorities by email and provided security information of extreme value that allowed (us) to abort terrorist operations that would have threatened the security of Jordan.” He added that contact had been maintained with Balawi “in the interest of the security of Jordan”. Jordanian Islamist sources said that Balawi, 36, was a doctor by profession and a married father of two. He was born in the impoverished Amman satellite city of Zarqa, hometown of Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, who became infamous for a series of videotaped beheadings of Western hostages before his death in a US air strike in June 2006. High-school friend Mohammed Yousef said Balawi deceived family and friends, telling them in March he was going to Turkey for further medical studies when in fact he traveled to Afghanistan to join militants. Yousef said Balawi did not know Zarqawi when he worked at the Palestinian camp clinic run by the UN Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, near Zarqa. Balawi deceived his family, he said, telling them last March he was joining his Turkish wife and two daughters in Turkey to take an exam that would have allowed him to practice medicine in the United States. Instead, he went to Afghanistan, where he joined other Arab fighters working with Al-Qaeda, according to the Middle East counterterrorism official who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to comment on a security incident involving the CIA. Al-Balawi was recruited in Jordan last March, when the Jordanian Intelligence Directorate jailed him for three days after he signed up to go to the Gaza Strip with a Jordanian field hospital following Israel’s military incursion there, the official said. “He fooled us, saying he was going to continue his medical studies, but he embarked on a suicide mission,” said a close relative, who also insisted on anonymity citing instructions from Jordanian authorities to the family not to talk to the media. “He never called us,” added the bearded relative as he wept over Balawi’s death. He said the family found out about the death in a telephone call last Thursday from an anonymous person who claimed to be from the Taleban. He said Balawi’s death was later confirmed to the family when Jordanian authorities summoned relatives to caution them against speaking with anyone about the incident in Afghanistan. “They even banned us from holding a wake,” he added. The relative and Yousef described the bomber as “brilliant,” a devout Muslim, well-mannered, well-spoken, but a little anti-social. — Agencies


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Wade, Beasley lift Heat over sliding Hawks 92-75 MIAMI: Dwyane Wade had 28 points and eight rebounds, and Michael Beasley scored 20 of his 22 points in the first half as the Miami Heat took control in the opening minutes on the way to beating the Atlanta Hawks 9275 on Monday. Udonis Haslem scored 12 points and Quentin Richardson added 10 rebounds for Miami, which snapped a three-game losing streak. The Heat held Atlanta, which came in averaging 104.9 points - to a season low, plus finished with a 52-30 rebounding edge. Jamal Crawford scored 23 points off the bench for the Hawks, who have lost four straight for the first time since January 7-13, 2009. Thunder 98, Bulls 85 At Chicago, Russell Westbrook scored 29 points and Kevin Durant added 25 as Oklahoma City dominated the third quarter in a victory over Chicago. Westbrook and Durant had eight points each during a 27-6 run in the third, when the Thunder shot 65 percent to take control. It was Oklahoma City’s sixth victory in seven games. Derrick Rose scored 19 points and Joakim Noah had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who were booed by their fans as they shot 22 percent in the decisive third period. Hornets 91, Jazz 87 At Salt Lake City, Chris Paul stole the ball and drove for a layup with 27 seconds left to help New Orleans end a late threat for its first victory in Utah in almost four years. Paul scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half and Devin Brown finished with a careerhigh 30 as the Hornets overcame 19 turnovers and ended a six-game losing streak at Utah. Deron Williams had 17 points and 11 assists, giving him 3,003 assists for his career, and Carlos Boozer added 18 points and 14 rebounds for Utah, which lost its third straight. Clippers 105, Trail Blazers 95 At Los Angeles, Chris Kaman scored 20 points and Eric Gordon added 19 as the Los Angeles Clippers pulled away in the fourth quarter. Martell Webster scored a season-high 25 points, including five 3-pointers, Andre Miller had 22 points and 16 assists, and Juwan Howard added 16 points for Portland, which beat the Clippers 103-99 last week in Portland. The Clippers led by four points going into the final 12 minutes. They opened with an 18-6 spurt, including six by Rasual Butler, to take their largest lead of the game, 95-80. The Blazers went nearly 4 minutes without a basket in that stretch. Butler scored 11 of his 13 points in the period. Baron Davis had 15 points and nine assists for the Clippers. — AP

Thunder outweigh Bulls


WASHINGTON: Results and standings after Monday’s National Basketball Association games: Miami 92, Atlanta 75; Oklahoma City 98, Chicago 85; New Orleans 91, Utah 87; LA Clippers 105, Portland 95. Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L Pct Boston 24 8 .750 Toronto 17 18 .486 New York 14 20 .412 Philadelphia 10 23 .303 New Jersey 3 30 .091 Southeast Division 24 9 .727 21 12 .636 17 15 .531 14 18 .438 10 21 .323

3 6.5 9.5 13

Cleveland Chicago Milwaukee Detroit Indiana

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

11 11.5 14 15.5

Denver Portland Okl City Utah Minnesota

CHICAGO: Chicago Bulls center Brad Miller (right) blocks the shot of Oklahoma City Thunder guard Eric Maynor (6), as Kirk Hinrich (left) and Nick Collison watch during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Monday, Jan 4, 2010, in Chicago. — AP

Kings snap Shark’s winning streak


SAN JOSE: Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings stops a shot by Jody Shelley #45 of the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion on January 4, 2010 in San Jose, California. — AFP

NHL results/standings WASHINGTON: National Hockey League results and standings after Monday’s games: NY Rangers 3, Boston 2; Los Angeles 6, San Jose 2.

GP New Jersey 40 Pittsburgh 43 N.Y. Rangers 42 N.Y. Islanders43 Philadelphia 41

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OT 29 10 1 26 16 1 20 17 5 17 18 8 19 19 3

Buffalo Boston Ottawa Montreal Toronto

41 41 42 44 42

Northeast Division 26 11 4 21 13 7 22 16 4 21 20 3 14 19 9

41 41 41 42 41

Southeast Division 24 11 6 18 17 6 16 15 10 17 18 7 11 23 7

Pts 59 53 45 42 41 56 49 48 45 37 54 42 42 41 29

GF 118 133 111 107 117 112 107 122 114 115 145 132 103 123 102

GA 89 116 117 134 118 93 98 125 120 145 116 135 121 135 146

Chicago Nashville Detroit St. Louis Columbus

42 42 41 41 43

WESTERN CONFERENCE Central Division 29 10 3 61 25 14 3 53 21 14 6 48 17 18 6 40 15 19 9 39

Colorado Calgary Vancouver Minnesota Edmonton

43 41 42 42 42

Northwest Division 24 13 6 24 12 5 25 16 1 20 19 3 16 22 4

43 43 43 41 42

Pacific Division 27 9 7 25 14 4 25 15 3 18 12 11 16 19 7

San Jose Phoenix Los Angeles Dallas Anaheim

54 53 51 43 36 61 54 53 47 39

137 121 108 108 112

90 119 104 121 143

128 114 132 111 115

124 98 103 124 138

144 111 130 122 115

NOTE: Two points for a win, one point for overtime loss.

112 99 122 127 137

NEW YORK: Christopher Higgins’ tiebreaking goal with 1:29 left rescued the New York Rangers and lifted them to a 3-2 victory over Boston after the Bruins scored twice late in the third period Monday. The Rangers appeared to be cruising to just their second win in 10 home games when Boston struck for two goals 1:26 apart. New York escaped when Higgins sneaked his fifth of the season past goalie Tuukka Rask. Boston trailed 2-0 when defending Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara went to the penalty box with 6:32 left and gave the Rangers their fifth power play. Instead of putting the game away, the Rangers let the Bruins back in it. Defenseman Matt Hunwick cut the deficit to 2-1 by scoring a short-handed goal with 5:27 remaining, then assisted on Blake Wheeler’s shot over goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s glove that tied it at 15:59. Higgins was the third unlikely scorer for the Rangers. Erik Christensen connected for the second time in three games and Ales Kotalik added his first goal in two months. Kings 6, Sharks 2 At San Jose, California, the Los Angeles Kings got goals from six players to snap San Jose’s season-high eight-game winning streak. It was the Kings’ third straight win and the Sharks’ first loss since Dec 12. Los Angeles scored three goals in the final 4:23 of the first period. Michal Handzus scored and then Oscar Moller and Anze Kopitar added power-play goals in the final 2:31 of the period. It was the most goals San Jose gave up in a first period this season. Los Angeles made it 50 with two goals 14 seconds apart late in the second period. The Kings went up 6-0 13 seconds into the third period. Jonathan Quick’s shutout bid was broken up when Douglas Murray scored on a power play with 16:39 left. — AP

GB 8.5 11 14.5 21.5

Orlando Atlanta Miami Charlotte Washington

.750 .438 .419 .344 .303

Western Conference Southwest Division Dallas 23 11 .676 San Antonio 20 12 .625 Houston 20 14 .588 Memphis 16 16 .500 New Orleans 16 16 .500

Higgins’ late goal rescues Rangers

Washington Atlanta Tampa Bay Florida Carolina

NBA results/standings

Northwest Division 21 13 .618 22 14 .611 19 15 .559 18 16 .529 7 28 .200

L.A. Lakers Phoenix L.A. Clippers Sacramento Golden State

Pacific Division 27 6 21 13 15 18 14 19 9 23

.818 .618 .455 .424 .281

2 3 6 6

2 3 14.5

6.5 12 13 17.5

Wildcard playoff round has instant replay feel NEW YORK: The first round of the NFL playoffs sets up like an instant replay as three of next weekend’s four wildcard games reprise Sunday showdowns that closed the regular season. Sunday’s losers, of course, refuse to concede they are doomed to deja vu and view the postseason as a fresh start. The Philadelphia Eagles, 24-0 losers on Sunday to the Cowboys, return to Dallas on Saturday in an NFC wildcard game, while the Bengals hope to rebound from a 37-0 thrashing by the Jets when they host the New Yorkers in Saturday’s AFC tilt. The AFC North champion Bengals (10-6) and Eagles (11-5) were eager for their rematches. “You got to get right back on the horse and figure out how not to get bucked

off again,” Philadelphia coach Andy Reid told reporters after losing to Dallas a second time this season. “There’s a positive to this. You’re in the playoffs and very seldom do you have the opportunity to play a team that just got after you, a second time. We have that opportunity to correct ourselves.” Bengals coach Marvin Smith said: “We get a chance to regroup and get going again next Saturday afternoon. “You don’t get a chance to do this much in the National Football League and I guess we’re blessed to have this opportunity coming next week.” The third repeat game comes on Sunday when visiting Green Bay (11-5) play the NFC West champion Arizona Cardinals (10-6), 33-7 losers to the Packers in their regular season finale. — Reuters

Yao to become a father SHANGHAI: The wife of NBA centre Yao Ming is expecting their first child, sending netizens into a frenzy of hope for a new generation to lead China’s basketball team in the future. “The news that Ye Li is pregnant is true. Yao Ming and his wife would like to thank all those who are showing concern,” Yao’s China-based spokesman Zhang Chi said. He declined to give further information, citing “the need for a relaxed environment” for China’s most famous basketballing couple to complete “the most important thing in their lives”. According to the Beijing News, the 29year-old Houston Rocket-out for the season as he recovers from a foot injury-is expected to become a father in July. No decision has been made on where the baby will be born. Both Yao and his wife-once a centre on China’s women’s national basketball teamare the offspring of professional athletes. They reportedly married at the request of sports officials in their hometown of Shanghai. Ever since the 2.29-metre Yao married his 1.90-metre wife in 2007, speculation has run rampant as to when their first baby would be born, popular Internet portal said. As both Yao and his wife were born in the 1980s and are only children, the couple will be allowed to give birth to two children under China’s recently relaxed “one-child” family planning policy, the report said. “We hope that Yao Ming and Ye Li will go further and raise more pillars of the next generation of Chinese basketball,” it said. In a online poll, 76 percent of more than 29,000 people voting said that

BEIJING: This undated file photo shows China’s All Star NBA centre Yao Ming with his teenage sweetheart Ye Li in Beijing. The wife of NBA centre Yao Ming is expecting their first child. — AFP Yao’s child was likely to grow taller than 2.05 meters, while 33 percent said the baby would grow taller than 2.20 meters. Yao and his wife returned to China late last year to do promotional work for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and to launch the season of the Shanghai Sharks, a professional Chinese basketball club that Yao recently purchased. — AFP



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Leap Year for Travis Pastrana! LONG BEACH: On New Year’s Eve, action sports icon Travis Pastrana made history in Long Beach, ringing in 2010 with a bang. The four-time Rally America Champion and nine-time X Games Gold Medalist broke boundaries and accelerated himself in to the history books by accomplishing an

amazing feat of skill and calculated risk at Red Bull: New Year. No Limits. At approximately 9:00 pm local time (midnight ET), Pastrana launched his Subaru Impreza STI rally car off the Pine Avenue Pier in Long Beach at 91 miles per hour, soaring 269 feet over Rainbow

Red Bull: New Year. No Limits. Harbor and successfully landing on a floating barge. The jump put Pastrana almost 100 feet over the former record, which stood at 171 feet. Red Bull: New Year. No Limits was witnessed live in Long

Beach by more than 75,000 fans. “I was really nervous all day long, but when I got in the car I felt really calm,” said Pastrana. “It was definitely a lot more fun than any of my practice runs, and when I land-

ed, man did that retaining wall come up fast! I’m just happy the car and I didn’t end up in the drink. What a way to head into 2010!” Pastrana is a pioneer in his sport he completed the first ever double

Game maker Electronic Arts sticks with Woods Tiger ‘still one of the greatest athletes in history’ SAN FRANCISCO: Electronic Arts Incorporated is sticking with embattled golfer Tiger Woods and plans to roll out an online game featuring the world number one this month. EA Sports President Peter Moore said Woods is “still one of the greatest athletes in history” despite the personal scandal that enveloped Woods at the end of 2009. “Our relationship with Tiger has always been rooted in golf,” Moore wrote on a company blog on Monday. “We didn’t form a relationship with him so that he could act as an arm’s length endorser. Moore also noted EA’s extensive work over the past year in developing the new game, “Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online.” EA wouldn’t comment on whether plans

for a new edition of the popular “Tiger Woods PGA Tour” console game would be affected. US telecoms giant AT&T and Accenture, the Dublin-based technology, management and outsourcing consultancy, both dropped their sponsorships of Woods in December. Their moves came after Woods was embroiled in a sex scandal, admitted cheating on his wife and decided to take an indefinite break from competitive golf. Other sponsors - Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer and razor-blade giant Gillette - have stopped using his image for the time being. Sports equipment giant Nike, which pays Woods an estimated 40 million dollars a year, has issued unqualified support for Woods.

Australia hails embattled Tiger Australian officials yesterday said scandal-hit golfer Tiger Woods was welcome back any time after his November visit delivered a 34 million dollar (31 million US) boost to the local economy. Victoria’s state government made the comments after a number of high-profile sponsors dropped the world number one following revelations over a string of extra-marital affairs. “We have made it clear that Tiger is welcome to come play golf any time in Victoria,” tourism and events minister Tim Holding said. “He has obviously made some announcements about his golfing future-we respect that and we respect his privacy.” Woods drew thousands of fans as he swept to vic-

tory at November’s Australian Masters, his last tournament before a mysterious Florida car crash brought the affairs to light and prompted him to take a break from golf. Victorian taxpayers forked out 1.5 million Australian dollars to lure the megastar to Melbourne but were rewarded by a 34 million dollar fillip in ticket sales, hotel and restaurant bookings and taxi and retail receipts. Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer and Gillette have both dropped Woods from ad campaigns, while consulting firm Accenture ended a six-year sponsorship deal. Australian media have said Woods’ alleged mistress Rachel Uchitel was also in Melbourne during the Masters tournament.— Agencies

Ozaki’s Asia eye another European scalp Ozaki wants to prove Royal Trophy win was no one-off CHONBURI: Asia are determined to retain the Royal Trophy after a shock victory over Europe last year proved Asian golfers were a force to be reckoned with, says captain Naomichi Ozaki. Ozaki ended a run of two straight defeats to lead Asia to a stunning 10-6 win last time, a victory he says his team can replicate. “I want to defend the title, I want each of my players to play well for the team and if we do that, we can show the world that Asian golf is getting stronger and stronger,” he said yesterday. “We want to prove it and make this happen. My experience on the winning team has given me confidence, I know what to do and I have my strategy.” Ozaki has recalled five players, including young Japanese phenomenon Ryo Ishikawa, US PGA player Charlie Wi of South Korea and Thai duo Prayad Marksaeng and Thongchai Jaidee, who were the only players to win all their matches last year. He said his pairings will be based on national lines, with Indian, Thai and Japanese playing together. Wi and former Asian Tour champion Liang Wenchong of China are likely to link up. Ozaki said stealing the title from a team that had won five of the last seven Ryder Cups was a huge achievement for Asian golf

and his players had their hearts set on winning again. “That week was one of the greatest I have every experienced,” said Ozaki, who hinted he would give up the captaincy after Asia were thrashed by Europe in 2007. WINNING MENTALITY “All members of the Asian team had the motivation to win. We’ve never won a tournament before and their mentality was very strong. It was the most exciting moment of my career, to share this happiness with the players. “I think the players felt the same way. I want to see the same thing happen, I think we can do it,” he said. Ozaki, who enjoyed 32 wins on the Japan Tour as a player, said he was not intimidated by his European counterpart, Colin Montgomerie, who is widely regarded as one of the Ryder Cup’s best performers. The charismatic 53-year-old said Montgomerie could get more than he bargained for by opting to both play for and captain a side in a matchplay contest where tactics and astute judgment can make all the difference. “Everyone knows Monty is a great player, he has won so many tournaments and it will be first time for him to be a captain, and at the Ryder Cup,” he said. “But a playing captain will be difficult, you have to focus on your team and focus on the play. — Reuters

All set for Kuwait Open Rally Championship By Nawara Fattahova

BANGKOK: Asian team captain Naomichi Ozaki tees off at a ceremonial opening of the Royal Trophy Europe versus Asia Golf Championship in Bangkok yesterday. — AP

KUWAIT: The technical committee of the Kuwait Motor Sports Club (KMSC) finished building a race track in the Al-Salmi area. This project was completed in preparation for the third round of the Kuwait Open Rally Championship, which will be held on Friday Jan 8. The track will also be part of the Kuwait International Rally 2010, expected to be held from March 4-6. “This will be the second round of the Middle East Rally Championship,” said Sheikh Ahmad Al-Dawood, Chairman of the KMSC. “The Club has arranged all the necessary preparations for hosting the international rally. The KMSC organizing committee hopes to give Kuwaiti participants the edge in the international rally by letting them participate in a local race first. This will give them the opportunity to compete for the top positions in the Kuwait International Rally.” The expected winners of the local rally this Friday are not far off from the winners of last rounds. “The present leader of the championship, Mishari Al-Dhafiri, ranked first in the past two rounds,” Al-Dawood explained. “He will be competing with Ali Al-Mulla, the second place competitor, who recently returned to Kuwait to participate in the local rally. Mishari Al-Sabti, who’s car suffered mechanical failures in Sulaibikhat, will also be in strong competition with them.” The Lebanese car racing champion, Michel Saleh, announced his participation in the local Kuwait rally. “My participation in this race will give me an advantage later on at the Kuwait International Rally in March,” said Saleh.

back flip on a motorcycle, has jumped out of an airplane without a parachute, and now officially holds the world record for the longest jump in a rally car. After successfully completing the record jump, Pastrana celebrated by performing a back flip off the landing ramp into Rainbow Harbor.

Pastrana’s successful feat follows in the footsteps of fellow motorsports athletes Robbie Maddison and Rhys Millen, who rang in the last two New Year’s Eve celebrations by pushing their physical, mental and technical limits to break boundaries and records, in front of thousands of fans in Las Vegas.

Japan’s Ishikawa off to Royal Trophy with Masters on mind TOKYO: Japanese teen golf star Ryo Ishikawa left for Thailand yesterday to launch his 2010 season at this week’s Royal Trophy team tournament, the day after he received an invitation to the US Masters. “I got it unexpectedly last year. But I was eagerly waiting for it this year,” Ishikawa, the Japan Tour’s 2009 money leader, said as he showed the Masters invitation to Japanese media at Narita airport. “It was great that I could see it for myself and touch it before I go to the Royal Trophy. It was so encouraging,” said the 18year-old, whose longtime dream is to win the Masters when he is 20. Ishikawa made his Masters debut last year courtesy of a special invitation from Augusta National. But this year, he qualified with his 30th place in the final 2009 world rankings. The world’s top 50 players are eligible to play in the major event held April 811. Ishikawa also started the year 2009 at the Royal Trophy, which is styled after the Europe vs America Ryder Cup. It was his first big tournament abroad. He played a part in Asia’s 10-6 maiden victory over two-time champions Europe at the Royal Trophy a year ago at the Amata Spring Country Club near Bangkok. “I have trained a lot even during the year-end and New Year break to get ready for this tournament,” said Ishikawa, who won the domestic KSB Cup in 2007 and became the youngest winner of any event on the world’s six major tours at 15. “I feel really tense because this tournament begins right at the start of a new year. I want to go on in

NARITA: Japanese teenage golf star Ryo Ishikawa displays an invitation to the Masters golf tournament of this year before leaving for Thailand to play at the Royal Trophy tournament for his first game of this year yesterday. — AFP top gear for the rest of the year from there.” The 2009 Royal Trophy has launched him onto the world stage. Known for his powerful drives and daring short game, he has since played six US PGA events on a sponsor’s exemption or a special invitation. Ishikawa has also played three majors, missing the cut at the Masters and the British Open and finishing tied for 56th spot at the US PGA Championship. This year’s Royal Trophy opens on Friday with foursomes. Japan’s Naomichi “Joe” Ozaki will again captain the Asian team, which also includes Thongchai

Jaidee of Thailand, South Korea’s Charlie Wi and Indian world traveler Jeev Milkha Singh. The European team is headed by Scotsman Colin Montgomerie and includes 2008 European Order of Merit winner Robert Karlsson, another Swede Henrik Stenson and Simon Dyson of England. “The European team is at a higher level than last year. I want to keep on piling up points even by 0.1,” Ishikawa said. “I will communicate with other Asian players and talk at length about the team’s objective and attitude.” — AFP

Captain Monty looks for Ryder Cup boost BANGKOK: Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie will put his reputation on the line when he leads Europe into battle against holders Asia in this week’s Royal Trophy. The 46-yearold, one of the greatest Ryder Cup players of all time, is backing his matchplay expertise by agreeing to play as well as skipper Europe at Amata Spring Country Club from tomorrow. Asia thumped Europe 10-6 last year after losing the first two editions of the tournament in 2006 and 2007 and will field a strong team, including the poster boy of Asian golf, Ryo Ishikawa of Japan. Europe have lost Germany’s Martin Kaymer, a two-time winner last season, and Alvaro Quiros of Spain from the original eight-man line-up although Montgomerie can call on Swedish big guns Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson, Ryder Cup teammates in 2006 and 2008. Montgomerie accepted the dual role of captain and player from tournament creator Seve Ballesteros after the Spanish legend decided he was not fit enough to skipper Europe after undergoing chemotherapy following brain surgery. Ballesteros guided Europe to their two victories before handing over the reins to Jose Maria Olazabal last year, who failed to deliver the “pickme-up” that he had promised. “Seve invited me to captain Europe at the Royal Trophy-it will be an excellent opportunity for me to spend time with

some key players who are likely to be with me at Celtic Manor in October for the Ryder Cup,” said Montgomerie. “I am really pleased to be representing Europe in Thailand and am determined to regain the Royal Trophy for Europe. It would be wonderful to secure victory for Seve.” Ballesteros believes that the Royal Trophy “will grow into one of the world’s most important events” and his appointment of Montgomerie as playing captain has given the tournament added significance in global golf. “I have the utmost confidence that he will lead our players with the greatest ability, passion and determination,” he said. World number seven Stenson and Karlsson, Europe’s leading player in 2008, are an obvious pairing given their fourball and foursomes experience in the World Cup and Ryder Cup. Fellow Swedes Alexander Noren, the winner of the European Masters last season, and Peter Hanson are also in the line-up along with England’s Simon Dyson, who hit the headlines with two victories on the European Tour in 2009. Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark and Spain’s Pablo Martin make up the team. Ishikawa was Asia’s secret weapon last year as he was making his first professional appearance outside of Japan but Montgomerie will know all about his huge potential as he played in three Majors later in 2009. — AFP


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Favorite Soderling knocked out of Chennai Open CHENNAI: Top seed Robin Soderling of Sweden crashed out of the 400,000-dollar ATP Chennai Open with an embarrassing first round loss against American Robby Ginepri yesterday. The world number eight failed to raise his game in his first appearance on Indian soil and lost 6-4, 7-5 to the 100th-ranked Ginepri in an hour and 31 minutes. Soderling, who ended Rafael Nadal’s reign at the French Open last year on way to his maiden Grand Slam final, came to India after beating world number one Roger Federer in Abu Dhabi last week. But Ginepri attacked Soderling consistently from the baseline, before clinching victory on his second match point as the Swede netted a deep return of serve. “It’s great to start the year with an important win,” said Ginepri, who has struggled to match his career-best rank of 15 in 2005 when he reached the semi-finals of the US Open. “Robin has had a fantastic run in the past year, and one is never sure what to expect in the first round against a player of his caliber. “But I just wanted to serve and return well and it all came together in the end. I am quite excited about this win.” Soderling conceded his game fell apart, but brushed aside suggestions the heat of Chennai had sapped his energy. “Everything went wrong, but the heat was not a factor,” the Swede said. “I tried my best, but it was an off-day. I was just not hitting the ball well. “It is hopefully just a one-off thing.” Soderling said he was looking to play in another tournament before the Australian Open which starts in Melbourne on January 18. “I need to play a few matches before the Open. Maybe I will play at Kooyong (an exhibition event in Australia).” Eighth seed Rajeev Ram of the United States also made an early exit after a 6-1, 6-1 defeat against Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker. Indian qualifier Prakash Amritraj fell in straight sets to American Michael Russell, while Marcel Granollers of Spain came from behind to defeat James Ward of Britain 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. — AFP

Australia keep hopes alive Spain close in on Hopman Cup final PERTH: Spain moved to the verge of a place in the Hopman Cup final after they recorded a second consecutive 3-0 win yesterday, beating an injury-hit Romania side. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez beat Sorana Cirstea 6-4 6-3 and Tommy Robredo took the first set 6-3 against Victor Hanescu before the tall Romanian quit with a thigh problem. Hanescu was unable to play the mixed doubles, leaving Spain top of Group A and needing to win just one of their matches in the tie against Australia tomorrow to reach the final of the mixed team event, a traditional warm-up for the Australian Open. Hosts Australia kept their title hopes alive, by a thread, thanks to a 2-1 win over the United States but it will take something pretty spectacular to stop Spain from claiming their place in the final. Romania enjoyed the support of the majority of the crowd packed into the atmospheric Burswood Dome but their hopes were hampered by injuries to both their players. World number 45 Cirstea struggled to move to her right because of a calf problem and Martinez Sanchez made her turn one way and then the other. Cirstea compensated by going for broke on several groundstrokes but the left-handed Spaniard had too much nous for her and after claiming a vital break in the seventh game, she served out for the opener. The Romanian hit back from an early break down in the second set but Martinez Sanchez broke again in the fifth game and held the advantage to put Spain ahead.

CHENNAI: Swedish tennis player Robin Soderling plays a return shot against US opponent Robby Ginepri during their first round match at the ATP Chennai Open 2010 yesterday. — AFP

Smith and Amla punish England South Africa build a commanding lead CAPE TOWN: Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla punished England’s bowlers in scorching heat as South Africa built a commanding lead on the third day of the third Test against England at Newlands yesterday. South Africa were 312 for two in their second innings at the close, an overall lead of 330. Smith muscled his way to his 19th Test century, finishing the day with 162 not out. He shared a second wicket stand of 230 with Hashim Amla, who made 95. It was easily South Africa’s best day of the series and with two days remaining they were in a strong position to push for a series-leveling victory. Smith and Amla took advantage of the best batting conditions of the match and England struggled as the temperature reached 37C in the shade. On the field there was nowhere for England to hide - from the sun which blazed out of a cloudless sky or Smith’s powerful stroke play. After a watchful start, the left-handed Smith attacked all the bowlers but was particularly aggressive against offspinner Graeme Swann, man of the match in the first two Tests, although Swann was again England’s most successful bowler, taking two for 104 in 33 overs. Amla scored most of his runs against the faster bowlers and was particularly prolific in the area behind point as he made his runs off 155 balls, hitting 12 fours. Amla had moved ahead of Smith at tea, scoring 73 to the captain’s 65 but Smith launched a ferocious onslaught after the interval and had taken his score to 133 when Amla was out, caught off bat and pad at short leg off Swann. Even when England thought they had Smith’s wicket they were foiled. On 51, he was given out leg before wicket by umpire Tony Hill when he missed a sweep against Swann. He asked for a television review and was reprieved when replays showed he had been struck more than 2.5m out from the stumps - beyond the reliable prediction range - and it also appeared the ball was going over the stumps. One ball after crashing Graham Onions through the covers to reach a 171-ball century, Smith played a loose shot against the fast bowler and edged the ball to wicketkeeper Matt Prior. Smith kicked his bat in annoyance and

CAPE TOWN: South Africa’s Graeme Smith plays a shot during their third test cricket match against England in Cape Town yesterday. — AP started to walk but Prior immediately acknowledged that the ball had bounced shortly before reaching him. Smith needed only another 47 balls to go from his century to 150. The day started well for South Africa when they needed just six overs to take the last three England wickets for 32 runs. It gave South Africa a lead of 18 runs. Fast bowler Morne Morkel took wickets off successive balls in the first over of the day to complete his second five-wicket haul in Tests. He finished with five for 75. Morkel had the righthanded Swann and the left-handed James Anderson caught at first slip by South African captain Graeme Smith off fast lifting deliveries. Prior hit boldly to take his overnight score from 52 to 76

before he was bowled off a bottom edge when he shaped to pull Dale Steyn, who had figures of four for 74. Smith and Ashwell Prince put on 31 for the first wicket in the second innings before Prince was leg before wicket to off-spinner Swann’s seventh ball of the innings. Prince survived one review, successfully winning the reversal of a leg side caught behind decision made by umpire Daryl Harper off the bowling of Anderson when he had five. A replay showed the ball had glanced off his pad with the bat not near the ball. But there seemed little point to his second call for a review when he prodded forward to Swann and was given out by umpire Tony Hill. He looked palpably out and this was confirmed by a replay. — AFP

Scoreboard CAPE TOWN: Scores at close of play on the second day of the third Test between South Africa and England at Newlands yesterday. South Africa (first innings 291) England, first innings 273 A. Strauss c Boucher b Morkel 2 A. Cook c Prince b Morkel 65 J. Trott b Steyn 20 K. Pietersen c and b Steyn 0 P. Collingwood lbw b Morkel 19 I. Bell c Duminy b Kallis 48 M. Prior b Steyn 76 S. Broad b Steyn 25 G. Swann c Smith b Morkel 5 J. Anderson c Smith b Morkel 0 G. Onions not out 4 Extras (lb6, nb1, w2) 9 Total (88 overs, 405 min) 273 Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Strauss), 2-36 (Trott), 3-36 (Pietersen), 4-73 (Collingwood), 5-133 (Cook), 6-174 (Bell), 7-225 (Broad), 8-241 (Swann), 9-241 (Anderson)

Bowling: Morkel 22-4-75-5 (w1), De Wet 16-3-36-0 (nb1), Steyn 22-5-74-4, Kallis 14-2-27-1 (w1), Harris 9-0-39-0, Duminy 5-0-16-0 South Africa, second innings A. Prince lbw b Swann 15 G. Smith not out 162 H. Amla c Cook b Swann 95 J. Kallis not out 20 Extras (b8, lb6, nb1, pen5) 20 Total (2 wkts. 80 overs) 312 Fall of wickets: 1-31 (Prince), 2-261 (Amla) To bat: A. de Villiers, J. Duminy, M. Boucher, D. Steyn, M. Morkel, P. Harris, F. de Wet Bowling: Anderson 11-0-50-0, Onions 13-3-51-0, Swann 33-5-104-2, Broad 15-3-52-0, Pietersen 3-0-60, Trott 5-0-30-0. Match position: South Africa lead by 330 runs with nine wickets remaining in the second innings.

ON TOP Hanescu had faded badly at the end of his opening match against Llyeton Hewitt on Saturday and even two days off was not enough to get him back to 100 percent against Robredo. The Spaniard was right on top of his game as he won the first set 6-3, after which Hanescu called it a day and then pulled out of the mixed doubles. “It’s very sad for Victor that we had to finish the match this way,” Robredo said. “But I thought I was playing really great, so I am happy for that.” Commanding performances from Hewitt and Sam Stosur gave the hosts a 2-1 victory over the United States. Stosur started the ball rolling with a 6-2 6-4 win over 18-year-old Melanie Oudin before Hewitt dismissed John Isner 6-1 7-5. The Americans gained something of a consolation when they then won the mixed doubles 2-6 6-1 10-5 but they cannot make the final. “I played extremely well today,” said Hewitt. “John’s always an awkward player for anyone. He’s pushed (Roger) Federer before and beaten (Andy) Roddick. —Reuters

Clijsters sends out warning to rivals BRISBANE: Kim Clijsters sent out an ominous warning to her rivals when she demolished Australia’s Alicia Molik in the second round of the Brisbane International yesterday. The Belgian was in ruthless form as she saw off Molik in exactly 60 minutes, breaking the Australian’s serve six times on her way to a 6-0, 6-3 victory. Clijsters’ career comeback continued to gather momentum with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Australia’s Alicia Molik at the Brisbane International. Top-seeded Clijsters won the first eight games in the second-round match until Molik, playing her first top-tier tournament since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, held serve. Clijsters won the U.S. Open last September in only her third tournament back from more than two years in retirement, becoming the first mother to win a Grand Slam singles title since Evonne Goolagong Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980. Clijsters’ title inspired a comeback by fellow Belgian and former No 1-ranked Justine Henin, who won her first tour match since May 2008 on Monday against second-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia. Having Clijsters and Henin on the opposite ends of the draw sets up the possibility of an intriguing allBelgian final in Brisbane in the lead up to the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 18 in Melbourne. Clijsters said she watched Henin’s comeback match on TV and was confident that both of them had the potential to return top of the women’s tour. “She was moving really well. Didn’t look like she’d left,” Clijsters said. “Very impressive I thought.” Clijsters said she was looking forward to another match against Henin, but also wanted to be tested by the other stars of the game. “Of course, it will be a good challenge, but there’s a lot of other girls I look forward to playing as well,” she said, picking out Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova and Venus and Serena Williams. “Those are obviously the big matches. And Justine now as well. “Justine and I, we’ve been on top of women’s tennis for a few years, so hopefully we can get back to that in the next few years.” Former No. 1-ranked Ivanovic struggled in a 6-2, 2-6, 64 win over Timea Bacsinszky in a late match to reach the quarterfinals. After dropping the second set, Ivanovic started aggressively in the third by winning the first seven points to hold serve and then earn triple break point. But Bacsinszky rallied to hold and the deciding set remained on serve. Ivanovic was serving for the match at 5-3 in the third and was two points away at 30-30 but was broken. In the next game, she earned triple match point with a forehand winner and converted with a forehand winner down the line to finish the match in 1 hour, 41 minutes. On the men’s side, third-seeded Gael Monfils edged American Taylor Dent 7-6 (1), 6-7 (5), 6-2 in a night match that didn’t feature a service break until the fifth game of the third set. James Blake continued his dominance over fifthseeded Sam Querrey, improving to 6-1 in head-to-heads with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over his fellow American. In other first-round matches, 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus beat American Mardy Fish 7-5, 7-5 and will next face fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over Australian qualifier Nick Lindahl. Australia’s Carsten Ball had a 7-5, 6-1 win over Germany’s Mischa Zverev to set up a match against topseeded Andy Roddick for a place in the quarterfinals. Clijsters is already into the quarterfinals against either Alexsandra Wozniak or Lucia Safarova. She said she hasn’t lost any momentum since the end of last season, spending time during the break training in Germany against “lots of guys” to mix it up and fine-tune her game. “After a few weeks of practicing in the off season I was ready to come out here and play matches,” she said. “I like to practice, but when I feel I’m ready, I want to start playing matches. So I was very excited to come out here and play my first matches.” She has only lost six games in her opening two matches in Brisbane, following a 6-2, 6-1 win over Tathiana Garbin in the first round, and her powerful forehand was working well against Molik. — Agencies

Clijsters continues comeback momentum

BRISBANE: Kim Clijsters from Belgium serves to Alicia Molik of Australia during the Brisbane International tennis tournament yesterday. Clijsters won the match 6-0, 6-3. — AP

China top 10 player a matter of time: Zheng HONG KONG: Two-time Grand Slam doubles winner Zheng Jie says it’s a matter of time before China produces a top-10 singles player and predicts the next generation of her compatriots will improve on her achievements. Zheng, who partnered Yan Zi to win both the Australian Open the Wimbledon titles in 2006 for China’s first Grand Slam titles, said both public interest in tennis and government support is on the rise in China, fostering an ideal breeding ground for future talent. “It’s increased significantly from four or five years ago. Even when it comes to media interest, corporate sponsors - in every aspect, there is a deeper interest and understanding in tennis,” Zheng said Tuesday at a press conference in Hong Kong, where she is competing in an exhibition tourna-

ment ahead of this month’s Australian Open. As a result, it’s easier for younger players to compete abroad and hone their talent, the 26-year-old said. “They enjoy very good conditions ... I believe if they take their chances, they can surpass our generation,” she said. Zheng said one of China’s most promising young talents as Zhang Shuai, who upset then world No. 1 Dinara Safina in the second round of the China Open in October. Zheng reached the Wimbledon singles’ semifinals in 2008, upsetting then-top-ranked Ana Ivanovic on the way and achieved a career-high singles ranking of No 15 last year, although her ranking has since dropped to 35. Zheng’s compatriot Li Na is currently No 15, but no Chinese player has ever broken into the top 10 or won a major singles title. —AP



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Yahia gets hero status in Algeria Saadane takes Algeria to new heights

AUBAGNE: Algerian national football team’s defender Antar Yahia gestures during a training session ahead of the 2010 African Nations Cup in Aubagne, southern France. The 2010 African Nations Cup will be held in Angola, from January 10 until January 31. —AFP

ALGER: In November Algeria discovered a new national hero - Antar Yahia, scorer of the goal that put them into their first World Cup finals since 1986 at the expense of bitter rivals Egypt. The defender, who struck in the 40th minute of the play-off with Egypt, was born in the French town of Mulhouse and plays for German first division side Vfl Bochum. Since joining the Bundesliga outfit he has established himself as a key part of their first team where he is under contract until 2011. Appropriately given that Mali are among Algeria’s first round rivals Yahia made his international debut against the Malians in 2004. He has gone on to make 40 appearances with the Egypt strike his fifth international goal. Yahia, relating how he had managed to outfox Egypt keeper Essam Al-Hadary, said: “ I shot it up, he caught it, I shot it down he caught it, I shot it there where the devil couldn’t catch it.” Meanwhile, Rabah Saadane has returned for his fifth stint as Algeria coach after the country failed to qualify for the 2008 African Nations Cup. The 63-year-old, a defender in his playing days, replaced Frenchman Jean Michel Cavali and oversaw Algeria’s qualification not only to Angola but also the 2010 World Cup. His previous spells at the national helm came in 1981-82, 198586, 1999 and 2003-04. Under his latest reign Algeria have prospered with the side climbing to their highest ever FIFA ranking of 26th. Born in Batna, Saadane played for a series of Algerian sides as well as French outfit Rennes before turning his attention to managerial matters. Aside from Algeria he has experience at club level with Raja Casablanca and Etoile Sportive du Sahel. —Agencies

ABIDJAN: Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba (left), flanked by Ivory Coast player Gosso Gosso (right), answers journalists’ questions during a press conference in Abidjan about the forthcoming African Nations Cup. —AFP

I Coast favored as Nations Cup launches African feast LUANDA: The 2010 African football feast begins Sunday in Angola with the Nations Cup serving as a tempting starter ahead of the multi-flavored World Cup main course. Only hosts South Africa of the six World Cup qualifiers from Africa will be missing and Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria are expected to make the Nations Cup knockout phase. Add defending champions Egypt and hosts Angola and the list of likely African champions is complete for the first Nations Cup to be staged in a Portuguese-speaking country since its inception 53 years ago. Didier Drogba-inspired Ivory Coast are the darlings of the media and for the second consecutive tournament carry the favorites tag into a 22-day extravaganza scheduled for capital Luanda plus Benguela, Cabinda and Lubango. After trampling all before them two years ago in Ghana the Ivorians came horribly unstuck in the semi-finals against title holders Egyptians, who won 4-1 with Amr Zaki scoring twice. Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic has been busy lately dampening Ivory Coast expectations, warning that while his star-sprinkled squad makes for impressive reading, the total impact is often less than the sum of the parts. Drogba, who has hinted that Angola will be his Nations Cup swansong, says the arrogance and complacency of the 2008 squad must be eradicated if the Ivorians are to win the tourna-

ment a second time. “We will treat every opponent with respect, humility and seriousness. There is no room for complacency like in Ghana. No game is won in advance,” warned the 31-year-old Chelsea goal machine. Ivory Coast are in an all-west Africa Group B with Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo and it would be a shock if the two World Cup qualifiers failed to stamp their authority. Without a Nations Cup title since 1982, Ghana have been ravaged by injuries with central defenders John Pantsil and John Mensah and midfielders Stephen Appiah and Laryea Kingston ruled out. And Serb coach Milovan Rajevac axed midfielder Sulley Muntari for ill discipline so the always demanding workload for box-tobox Chelsea workaholic Michael Essien just got a few kilograms heavier. Togo boast Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor and the pick of the Burkina Faso line-up is Moumouni Dagano, a Qatarbased striker and leading scorer in the qualifying competition with 12 goals. Champions a record six times, Egypt are another side staggering from pre-tournament blows with playmaker Mohamed Aboutraika, fellow midfielders Mohamed Barakat and Mohamed Shawky, and Zaki ruled out by injury. No country has won the Nations Cup three consecutive times and while the Pharaohs seem set to finish among the top two in Group C completed by Nigeria, Benin

and Mozambique, it is difficult to imagine them going all the way again. Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu, boosted by successful late fitness tests on Everton defender Joseph Yobo and Wolfsburg striker Obafemi Martins, has been told to reach the semi-finals or face some sombre music. In truth, only a first title for the Nigerian Super Eagles since 1994 may save the coach amid rumours of unhappiness among his assistants over some squad selections like ringrusty reserve goalkeeper Austin Ejide. The advantages of playing at home should propel Angola into the last eight from Group A with Algeria and Mali contesting the other place and Malawi looking too limited to compete successfully at this level. Celebrated Portuguese coach Manuel Jose has set a quarter-finals target for the Angolan Palancas Negras (Black Antelopes), but tradition suggests they could go further with just four of 27 hosts failing to reach the last four. Cameroon, a transformed team under the strict but fair leadership of French coach Paul le Guen, appear stronger than Group D rivals Gabon, Tunisia and Zambia and even good enough to claim a fifth title. Talismanic striker Samuel Eto’o revels in the extra responsibility of being made captain and veteran defender Rigobert Song, refusing to sulk after losing the armband and a team place, won back a slot in the starting line-up. —AFP

French coaches dominate African Nations set to have Premier impact African Nations Cup again LUANDA: The 2010 African football feast begins Sunday in Angola with the Nations Cup serving as a tempting starter ahead of the multi-flavored World Cup main course. Only hosts South Africa of the six World Cup qualifiers from Africa will be missing and Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria are expected to make the Nations Cup knockout phase. Add defending champions Egypt and hosts Angola and the list of likely African champions is complete for the first Nations Cup to be staged in a Portuguese-speaking country since its inception 53 years ago. Didier Drogba-inspired Ivory Coast are the darlings of the media and for the second consecutive tournament carry the favorites tag into a 22-day extravaganza scheduled for capital Luanda plus Benguela, Cabinda and Lubango. After trampling all before them two years ago in Ghana the Ivorians came horribly unstuck in the semi-finals against title holders Egyptians, who won 41 with Amr Zaki scoring twice. Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic has been busy lately dampening Ivory Coast expectations, warning that while his star-sprinkled squad makes for impressive reading, the total impact is often less than the sum of the parts. Drogba, who has hinted that Angola will be his Nations Cup swansong, says the arrogance and complacency of the 2008 squad must be eradicated if the Ivorians are to win the tournament a second time. “We will treat every opponent with respect, humility and seriousness. There is no room for complacency like in Ghana. No game is won in advance,” warned the 31year-old Chelsea goal machine. Ivory Coast are in an allwest Africa Group B with Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo and it would be a shock if the two World Cup qualifiers failed to stamp their authority. Without a Nations Cup title since 1982, Ghana have been ravaged by injuries with central defenders John Pantsil and John Mensah and midfielders Stephen Appiah and Laryea Kingston ruled out. And Serb coach Milovan Rajevac axed midfielder Sulley Muntari for ill discipline so the always demanding workload for box-tobox Chelsea workaholic Michael Essien just got a few kilograms heavier. Togo boast Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor and the pick of the Burkina Faso line-up is Moumouni Dagano, a Qatar-based striker and leading scorer in the qualifying competition with 12 goals. Champions a record six times, Egypt are another side staggering from pre-tournament blows with playmaker Mohamed Aboutraika, fellow midfielders Mohamed Barakat and Mohamed Shawky, and Zaki ruled out by injury. No country has won the Nations Cup three consecutive times and while the Pharaohs seem set to finish among the top two in Group C completed by Nigeria, Benin and Mozambique, it is difficult to imagine them going all the way again. Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu, boosted by successful

late fitness tests on Everton defender Joseph Yobo and Wolfsburg striker Obafemi Martins, has been told to reach the semi-finals or face some sombre music. In truth, only a first title for the Nigerian Super Eagles since 1994 may save the coach amid rumours of unhappiness among his assistants over some squad selections like ring-rusty reserve goalkeeper Austin Ejide. The advantages of playing at home should propel Angola into the last eight from Group A with Algeria and Mali contesting the other place and Malawi looking too limited to compete successfully at this level. Celebrated Portuguese coach Manuel Jose has set a quarter-finals target for the Angolan Palancas Negras (Black Antelopes), but tradition suggests they could go further with just four of 27 hosts failing to reach the last four. Cameroon, a transformed team under the strict but fair leadership of French coach Paul le Guen, appear stronger than Group D rivals Gabon, Tunisia and Zambia and even good enough to claim a fifth title. Talismanic striker Samuel Eto’o revels in the extra responsibility of being made captain and veteran defender Rigobert Song, refusing to sulk after losing the armband and a team place, won back a slot in the starting line-up. —AFP

Malis Eagles set to take flight in Angola BAMAKO: Mali, spearheaded by Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute, are making their sixth appearance in the African Cup of Nations. The landlocked, largely desert west Africa country finished runners-up to Congo in 1972 and fourth in 1994 in Tunisia, in 2002 when they hosted the biennial continental football showcase, and in 2004 in Tunisia again. Two years ago Les Aigles (Eagles) failed to make it out of a tough first round group after a 1-0 win over Benin, a worthy goalless draw against giants Nigeria and a 3-0 loss to Ivory Coast. In Angola they are drawn in Group A and face a tricky encounter against the hosts in the competitions opening fixture in Luanda on Sunday, followed by 2010 World Cup finalists Algeria four days later and closing with Malawi on January 18. If they can scrape their way past that opposition another top four finish is not impossible. Aside from 2007 African Footballer of the year Kanoute Malis Nigerian manager Stephen Keshi has a plethora of players attached to major European clubs at his disposal. —AFP

LONDON: The African Nations Cup is due to have a major impact upon events at both ends of the English Premier League table. Leaders Chelsea have seen Ivory Coast forwards Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou as well as Ghana midfielder Michael Essien and Nigeria’s John Obi-Mikel, all depart for Angola where the 2010 competition starts on Sunday. Chelsea’s Italian boss Carlo Ancelotti already has one of the best-equipped squads in England’s lucrative top flight and, if needed, can ask the Blues’ billionaire owner Roman Abramovich to bankroll some new signings during the January transfer window. However, after overseeing holders Chelsea’s 5-0 FA Cup win over Watford, which featured two goals from 20year-old striker Daniel Sturridge, his first for the London club since a pre-season move from Manchester City, Ancelotti said: “I think that we can do a good January, good performances without the African players.” There have been seasons where Arsenal, now four points off top spot, would have had as many players on African Nations Cup duty as London rivals Chelsea. This time around the Gunners will only be without Ivory Coast defender Emmanuel Eboue and Cameroon midfielder Alex Song. Even so, with Robin van Persie and Johan Djourou both long-term injuries, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would rather his squad was not disrupted by a tournament which, unlike the World Cup or European Championships, takes place

LUANDA: A picture released by the Africa Cup of Nations shows Palaquinha, the official mascot of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola. The mascot was inspired by the Giant Sable antelope, the national symbol of Angola. The 2010 African football feast begins on January 10, 2010 in Angola with the Nations Cup serving as a tempting starter ahead of the multi-flavored World Cup main course. —AFP

while the English season is in progress. “On occasions, the players come back affected by a negative experience,” Wenger said. However, Wenger reduced his African Nations Cup worries with the pre-season sale of both the Ivory Coast’s Kolo Toure and Togo’s Emmanuel Adebayor to Premier League bigspenders Manchester City. “They play the African Nations Cup every two years and I believe that when you have too many players who go in January, it is a big problem,” Arsenal’s French manager explained. If any Premier League side is likely to be adversely affected by the tournament, it is basement club Portsmouth. The cash-strapped south coast side are four points adrift at the bottom of the table and such is their dire financial position, Portsmouth have had a transfer embargo slapped upon them by the Premier League. In the midst of all their other problems, Pompey are set to lose four players to the African Nations Cup in Ivory Coast international Aruna Dindane, Algeria duo Nadir Belhadj and Hassan Yebda and Nigeria veteran Kanu. Frustrated Portsmouth boss Avram Grant, said: “I don’t know why FIFA allow this. I don’t know why they have the African Cup of Nations in January. “The players go two weeks before and need one or two weeks afterwards to recover,” the Israeli added. “We pay a lot of money, especially the big teams, to players who are not with us for two months,” the former Chelsea manager insisted. “I think FIFA need to think about this.” —AFP


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Gunners face managerless Bolton in crucial clash LONDON: Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal have a golden opportunity to underline their credentials as serious Premier League title challengers in today’s crucial clash with Bolton. Just six weeks ago Wenger’s side seemed to have been exposed as title also-rans after Chelsea’s 3-0 win at the Emirates Stadium left the Gunners 11 points behind the leaders. But surprising slips from Chelsea and Manchester United have handed Arsenal an unexpected opportunity to get back in the race which they have seized with an impressive run of five wins from six matches. Now a victory over managerless Bolton in front of the Emirates faithful will lift the

Arsenal gunning to underline title credentials north Londoners into second place and within one point of table-toppers Chelsea. Wenger is convinced his young, injury-hit squad won’t be fazed by the prospect of moving above United and increasing the pressure on Chelsea. “We know Bolton will be a big game. We will prepare well and be up for it,” Wenger said. “The victory at West Ham on Sunday will help us believe we can do it again.” For Arsenal to defy the critics and mount a prolonged title challenge would be a significant achievement for Wenger, who has seen his side decimat-

ed by injuries. Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Gael Clichy have all missed large periods of the season and now Wenger loses rapidly improving midfielder Alex Song for a month as the Cameroon star flys off to the African Nations Cup. Song’s sturdy presence in front of Arsenal’s occasionally flaky defense has played a significant role in the Gunners’ resurgence, but Wenger hopes French midfielder Abou Diaby can perform the role just as well. “We will miss Song because he is an important

player,” Wenger said. “In the system we play he plays in front of the defense and we will have to find a new balance without him.” Diaby came off the bench to help Arsenal come from behind to beat London rivals West Ham 2-1 in the FA Cup third round on Sunday and he is sure to return to the starting line-up against Bolton. The 23-year-old has a more attacking attitude than Song but he believes he can rise to the challenge of filling in for his team-mate. “I will talk about that with the manager and if he wants me to

play in that position, I am happy to do it. We will see what happens,” Diaby said. “Alex is a very important player in our team. Because he is going, we have to replace him and make sure we do the same job without him.” Being completely out-classed by Chelsea could easily have shattered the morale of a more fragile squad, but Arsenal managed to maintain their equilibrium and Diaby insists they deserve credit for showing a strong mentality under heavy criticism. “We have the quality to beat every team and when we lost to Chelsea it was very frustrating, but we have won games since then and that is the most important thing,” he said. “We showed that mentally

we are strong because we had big games, but we kept winning.” Wanderers can move out of the relegation zone with a draw today, but the most important development in the club’s future will take place in the boardroom as chairman Phil Gartside pursues Burnley boss Owen Coyle - a former Bolton striker - to replace Gary Megson, who was sacked following last week’s 2-2 draw with Hull. Coyle has held talks with Bolton and could be installed this week if compensation of around three million pounds is agreed, but caretakers Chris Evans and Steve Wigley will pick the team that takes on Arsenal. — AFP

Birmingham set to capture Michel LONDON: Miguel Marcos Michel is set to become the first big signing of Carson Yeung’s reign at Birmingham with manager Alex McLeish hoping to finalize a deal for the Spanish playmaker this week. Michel, 24, is currently at La Liga side Sporting Gijon, and is expected to move to the Premier League in a deal worth around three million pounds. McLeish almost signed the midfielder in August but the clubs were unable to agree on the structure of payments for the player. Hong Kong tycoon Yeung, who took over Birmingham in October, has promised to back McLeish in the transfer market and the former Scotland manager has said he is looking to bring in two or three quality players during January. Rangers striker Kris Boyd has also been touted as a possible target for McLeish, who has been told he can spend up to 40 million pounds. Dave Kitson, the Ireland striker who is out of favor at Stoke, would relish the chance of a move to Celtic following a six-week loan spell under former Hoops boss Gordon Strachan at Middlesbrough. Kitson, 29, joined Stoke from Reading for 5.5 million pounds in July 2008. But, having failed to establish himself as a first-team regular at the Britannia Stadium, he has welcomed reports of interest from Celtic manager Tony Mowbray, who has also been linked with a move for Blackburn’s Benni McCarthy. “I have just come back

NOTTINGHAM: Birmingham City’s Kevin Phillips (front) and Nottingham Forest’s Luke Chambers battle for the ball during the English FA Cup third round soccer match at the City Ground on Saturday Jan 2, 2010. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. — AP

Beckham, Toni to mark Serie A returns ROME: High-profile new arrivals David Beckham and Luca Toni will be aiming to be in the thick of the action for AC Milan and AS Roma respectively when the Italian league restarts after the winter break today. England midfielder Beckham is expected to start on the bench and come on at some point for second-placed Milan in their home game against Genoa after returning to the club on loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy following a successful stint at the San Siro last season. Beckham is in Italy until the end of the campaign to get the top level football needed to push for a place in Fabio Capello’s England World Cup squad. Since he left last year, Milan have changed coach and system of play, and some pundits are unsure how he will fit into new boss Leonardo’s 4-2-1-3 formation. There has even been speculation he could be used at full-back with Massimo Oddo out through injury, a prospect that does not scare the former Manchester United and Real Madrid man. “The system has changed. It will take some time to understand this new system, but not much,” he told a press conference last week. “I’d be happy to play in any role, even in goal. I’m a versatile midfielder and this will help me in any position.” The 34-year-old will have been boosted by the praise of Milan’s medical staff for his fitness after concerns that he might still be hampered by the ankle problem that troubled him in the run-up to the Galaxy’s defeat to Real Salt Lake in November’s Major League Soccer Cup final. Milan, who trail Inter by eight points with a game in hand after their visit to Fiorentina before the break was postponed due to snow, face opposition reinforced by David Suazo, after Genoa signed the Honduras forward on loan from Inter. Like Beckham, Toni has returned to Serie A on loan to boost his chances of reaching the World Cup finals after falling out of favor at Bayern Munich and being left out of recent Italy squads. But unlike the Englishman, the centre-forward is tipped to go straight into the starting lineup at Cagliari for Roma, who have climbed to fourth since Claudio

sports briefs Coyle dumps Burnley for Bolton BURNLEY: Burnley announced yesterday that manager Owen Coyle has left the club to take over Bolton. Bolton fired Gary Megson last Wednesday and Coyle, who guided Burnley to promotion to the Premier League last season, decided to move to its near neighbor where he had a two-year spell as a player. “Owen Coyle has today reaffirmed his desire to leave Burnley Football Club and join Bolton Wanderers Football Club,” Burnley said in a statement. “Burnley will now enter discussions with Bolton due to the fact that compensation between the two parties has yet to be agreed.” The 43-year-old Scot, who played for Bolton between 1993-95 and was popular with the fans, has been Burnley manager since November 2007 and led the team back into the top flight for the first time since 1976. Now he takes over a club which won the FA Cup four times but has not captured a major trophy since 1958. Bolton has been in the top flight since 2001 and finished in the top eight four seasons in a row between ‘04 and ‘07 under Sam Allardyce.

MUNICH: A fan holds a photograph of Italian striker Luca Toni. Bayern Munich’s Italian World Cup winner Luca Toni is being lent to Serie A club AS Roma for the rest of the season. — AFP Ranieri replaced Luciano Spalletti in the dugout after a bad start, with fellow 2006 World Cup-winner Francesco Totti a doubt with a knee problem. The Rome club now want to consolidate this position and qualify for the Champions League after missing out on a place in the competition this season. Toni is confident he can contribute. “I haven’t just come here for the World Cup,” he told reporters at the weekend. “I’ve come here to score goals and give a hand to the Roma cause.” Inter visit Chievo Verona without Samuel Eto’o after Cameroon irked coach Jose

Mourinho by refusing to let the striker play the game and join their African Nations Cup squad late. Goran Pandev looks sets to help cover the absence after media reports that the Macedonia striker had a medical with the champions on Sunday. Free-agent Pandev liberated himself from his contract with Lazio last month after being frozen out for making a transfer request in the summer. If the deal goes through, Mourinho may be tempted to use him immediately on the wing, as he is short of midfielders because of Dejan Stankovic’s and Thiago Motta’s suspensions. — AFP

Maradona’s earrings to be auctioned ROME: Italian media reports say authorities are planning to auction off diamond earrings seized from Diego Maradona as part-payment of the former Napoli star’s unpaid tax bill. The earrings were confiscated by tax authorities last year while Maradona was in an Alpine resort in northern Italy. The Bolzano tax police in charge of the operation at the time put the value at $5,770. Italian newspaper La Repubblica and others said yesterday that the auction would take place Jan. 14, probably in Bolzano. Local police could not immediately confirm the reports. Italian authorities say the former football great, currently coach of Argentina, owes almost $43 million in unpaid income tax. The debt dates to the 1980s when Maradona played for Napoli. Molinaro set to join Stuttgart STUTTGART: Stuttgart says defender Cristian Molinaro is set to join the Bundesliga club on loan from Juventus until the end of the season. Stuttgart said the 26-year-old

Italian is expected to sign the loan deal after undergoing a medical. Molinaro said that “I am looking forward to the Bundesliga.” New Stuttgart coach Christian Gross aims to drag the club away from the relegation zone after a dismal first half of the season left it 15th in the 18-team top division. Molinaro said “the team is better than its current position in the table.” Capello to undergo surgery LONDON: England coach Fabio Capello will undergo knee replacement surgery to cure lingering injury problems from his playing career. The operation, which is scheduled for this week, was delayed until after qualification for the World Cup had been secured and when England did not have a match, the Football Association said yesterday. “Fabio has suffered with problems to his knee for a long time due to injuries sustained during his playing career, and has been left with no option but to have replacement surgery,” FA director of communications Adrian Bevington said. The former Juventus and AC Milan player is planning to be fit to attend the Feb 7 draw in Warsaw for the 2012 European Championship qualifying groups. England’s next match is a friendly against Egypt at Wembley Stadium on March 3. While the 63year-old Capello is recovering, the Italian’s general manager, Franco Baldini, will be in Angola this month for the African Cup of Nations to monitor the World Cup finalists from the continent. Atletico to sign Arsenal’s Merida MADRID: Arsenal’s Spanish midfielder Fran Merida is set to sign a five-year deal with Atletico de Madrid, Spanish sports newspapers said yesterday. The 19-year-old’s contract with the Gunners expires this summer and he is ready to move back to his homeland, the AS newspaper said. Another sports daily, Marca, said Merida is “one step away from signing for Madrid.” The Spain under-21 international was signed from Barcelona in 2007 but has failed to secure a regular firstteam spot at the London club. Atletico has been active in the mid-season transfer window after a poor start to the season that has left it in 11th place in the Primera Liga, 17 points behind leaders Barcelona.

from being on loan at Middlesbrough, where Gordon Strachan is the manager, and he only has fantastic things to say about Celtic, including how unbelievable the fans are,” Kitson said. “Obviously Stoke would need to be happy with any deal, but moving to Celtic would be a great opportunity. I am at a critical point in my career when I should be at my peak and I need to be playing. “And, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I’m going to play too much at Stoke.” Fulham manager Roy Hodgson meanwhile is bracing himself for multiple bids for his on-form striker Bobby Zamora. Zamora, who rejected a move to Hull last summer, has scored six in his last seven games and has 11 goals to his name this season. “I’m sure he would attract attention because as I have said before, there are not so many players of that type playing in the Premier League and there are even fewer English ones playing in the Premier League,” said Hodgson. “We used to produce a lot of big, strong targetplaying type centre-forwards and we were always lamenting the fact that we didn’t have the little, quick, tricky ones to play off them. “Now it seems there is a dearth of target men so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we have calls for Bobby.” Hodgson however insists a sale is out of the question. “We’ll tell those that do bid, hopefully, that he is not for sale and we want to keep him here and we hope he wants to stay with us as well,” Hodgson said. — AFP

Today’s matches on TV English Premier League Arsenal v Bolton........................................22:45 Premiere Sport CL1 ShowSports 1 ShowSports 2 Asian Cup Qualifiers Kuwait v Australia....................................17:30 Kuwait Sport Aljazeera Sport 1 Abu Dhabi Sports 2 Aljazeera Sport Singapore v Iran........................................14:30 Aljazeera Sport 1 Thailand v Jordan.......................................4:30 Abu Dhabi Sports 1 Lebanon v Vietnam..................................15:15 Abu Dhabi Sports 1 Indonesia v Oman.....................................15:30 Abu Dhabi Sports 2 Yemen v Japan...........................................16:15 Aljazeera Sport +9 Bahrain v Hong Kong...............................18:00 Aljazeera Sport +2 UAE v Malaysia.........................................18:00 Abu Dhabi Sports 1 Dubai Sports 1 Spain Copa del Rey Barcelona v Sevilla.....................................0:00 Aljazeera Sport +2 Aljazeera Sport HD Celta de Vigo v Villarreal........................20:00 Aljazeera Sport +5 Valencia v Deportivo................................22:00 Aljazeera Sport +2 Recreativo v Atletico de Madrid..............0:00 Aljazeera Sport +7 Aljazeera Sport HD Italian League Chievo Verona v Internazionale.............14:30 Aljazeera Sport +1 Cagliari v AS Roma...................................17:00 Aljazeera Sport +5 Catania v Bologna.....................................17:00 Aljazeera Sport +10 SS Lazio v Livorno.................................17:00 Aljazeera Sport +6 Parma v Juventus.....................................17:00 Aljazeera Sport +1 Siena v Fiorentina.....................................17:00 Aljazeera Sport +7 AC Milan v Genoa......................................22:45 Aljazeera Sport +1

League Cup semis fall victim to winter freeze City-United, Blackburn-Villa matches called off LONDON: Sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow in the northwest of England has resulted in both this week’s League Cup semi-final firstleg ties being postponed. Blackburn’s meeting with Aston Villa at Ewood Park, scheduled to take place yesterday evening, and Manchester City’s derby clash with Manchester United, which had been due to be played 24 hours later, both had to be called off. Although ground staff would have been able to ensure playable conditions at both venues thanks to under-soil heating, it was decided that the conditions would make it hard for fans to get to the grounds and back home safely. The City-United first leg has been rescheduled for January 19, with the second leg now to be played on January 27. The new dates for the other semi-final have still to be arranged. Mancini faces first big test After starting his stint as Manchester City manager with three easy wins, Roberto Mancini faces his first tough test when hosting crosstown rival Manchester United in the first leg of the League Cup semifinals. With City’s first title in 34 years in sight, Mancini is expecting a completely different performance from United than the dismal 1-0 loss to third-tier club Leeds in the FA Cup this weekend. “We have two

games to reach the final and it’s important we don’t forget this,” said Mancini, who replaced mark Hughes last month. “We must concentrate more in the first game. We want to play well and score goals, but also we don’t want to concede. “It will be decided in the second match, because that will be the harder game.” The second leg is at Old Trafford in two weeks, and even though Mancini is new in town, he’s well aware of the banner that United fans hang in the Stretford End which mocks the number of years City has endured without a trophy. “When we get to Old Trafford we will take the banner down!” Mancini quipped. “It is the last year it will be up, for sure.” For City’s crop of expensively assembled players, delivering the club’s first major title since 1976 even in England’s second-tier knockout competition - is seen as a stepping stone for greater triumphs. “We’ve got a great squad of players and we’re all hungry for success,” goalkeeper Shay Given said. “We want to do something in the Carling Cup and if we can get a run going in the FA Cup then who knows? “It’s going to be a special game for everyone. We know the fans are really excited about it but so are the players. They are going to be two red-hot semifinals and it’s a

huge derby this one.” While the games may be hot, there are concerns that the weather will be too cold. The first leg of the other semifinal between Blackburn and Aston Villa yesterday was called off because of heavy snowfalls making the roads to Ewood Park unsafe. In Manchester, the Eastlands ticket office and ground was closed yesterday. In today’s only Premier League match, Arsenal will play its game in hand over the rest of the top four. A victory over Bolton at Emirates Stadium would take Arsenal second in the standings, above United, and just a point behind Chelsea af ter 20 matches. Arsenal’s title hopes had been severely hampered by a home loss to Chelsea in November that left Arsene Wenger’s side 11 points behind the leaders. But the Gunners have since won five of its last six matches to put themselves back in contention as Chelsea and United have struggled for consistency. Meanwhile, Mancini’s preparations for the derby showdown have gone smoothly, with the Italian’s new side producing three straight wins without conceding. Stoke, Wolverhampton and Middlesbrough, though, can’t be compared to United. Mancini is likely to field his strongest side - with Carlos Tevez, the offseason defect from United, set to lead the attack. —Agencies

Perfect starts for Nadal, Federer DOHA: Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal began impressively the road which most people hope will lead the two tennis legends to their 21st meeting at the opening tour nament of the 2010 ATP World Tour, the Qatar Open. Federer, the Wimbledon and French Open champion, beat Christophe Rochus, the world number 86, for the loss of only three games, while Nadal, the Australian Open champion, gradually war med to his task and eventually got well on top while conceding just six games to Simone Bolelli, ranked 93. The intensity of focus in both was marked, but their perspectives were apparently different. While Federer repeated that the year-end world number one spot would be another great goal to achieve, Nadal evaded suggesting there was any such vision for himself. “You like a lot this thing,” he told a questioner. “But for me it’s not important. If you win tournaments you will have your chance (of being number one). “But I am just trying to play well here. If I win I have more chance of being world number one. But I’m taking it day by day, and so for me being number one is not a lot.” The Spaniard’s 6-3, 63 success against his Italian opponent contained some uncertain moments early on, notably when was 15-40 down in his opening service game, and 30-40 down on his serve in the sixth game. But af ter Nadal had averted all three potential setbacks, twice with thumping serves, and once with a trademark lurching, leaping forehand, he became more confident. A turning point came after Bolelli, whose flat-hitting was often dangerous in sudden ambushes, missed a point to reach 4-3, then delivering a contentious double fault to drop serve for the first time. That happened when the baseline judge foot-faulted him on a second delivery, causing Bolelli to stare at the official, walk up and argue with the umpire, and then sit down muttering. Afterwards Nadal consolidated for 5-3, broke again in the next game to grab the set, and began the second

STOKE: Stoke City’s Tuncay Sanli celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game against Fulham during the Barclays Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium yesterday. —AP

Stoke claim points as Fulham feel the chill Stoke survive Fulham fightback to grab 3-2 win Stoke 3

Fulham 2 STOKE: Stoke mastered the elements better than visitors Fulham to climb back into the top half of the Premier League with a 3-2 win at a snow-covered Britannia Stadium here yesterday. Tony Pulis’s side seized control of the encounter after Tuncay Sanli had headed them into an early lead and fur ther strikes from Abdoulaye Faye

and Mamady Sidibe gave them a commanding threegoal advantage by half-time. Ireland winger Damien Duff pulled a goal back for Fulham just after the hour mark and a Clint Dempsey strike five minutes from time made things frantic at the end, but Stoke were able to hold out for a win that lifts them to tenth in the table, a place and two points behind their visitors. The evening had not star ted auspiciously for Stoke with their Danish goalkeeper, Thomas Sorensen, suffering an injur y the warm-up.

But once the action got underway they were quickly into their stride and Matt Etherington had the ball in the net after only two minutes only to see his effort r uled out for offside. The home fans however only had to wait ten more minutes for their side to take the lead from a corner. Robert Huth flicked Etherington’s inswinging delivery on to the far post and Tuncay was on hand to beat Mark Schwarzer from close range. Fulham came close to an equalizer when Zoltan Gera’s effort went just wide from Duff’s corner but Stoke were

to double their lead when another excellent cross from Etherington enabled Faye to slide in at the far post to score. Three minutes later Stoke were 3-0 up af ter a flowing move down their left involving both Tuncay and Etherington, whose cross was flicked on for Sidibe to score with a fine half-volley. Tuncay limped off with an injury just before the interval to be replaced by Ricardo Fuller, who had a header in first-half stoppage time scrambled off the line and a close-range shot deflected over by Schwarzer. It seemed inconceivable

that Stoke could surrender their lead but they flirted with disaster after Duff gave Fulham a lifeline with a 61stminute drive that beat standin goalkeeper Steve Simonsen with the help of a deflection off Ryan Shawcross. Dempsey had provided the pass for Duff ’s strike on goal and the American demonstrated he knows how to finish as well with a stunning, dipping volley from over 30 yards that found the net with five minutes left. That ensured a nervous finale for the home supporters but their side held on for the points. —AFP

Bahrain look to Asia to bury WCup heartbreak DOHA: World ranked number two tennis player Rafael Nadal, from Spain, serves the ball to Simone Bolelli from Italy during their Qatar ATP Open Tennis tournament yesterday. —AP set with his momentum increasing. It was a minor surprise that Bolelli held Nadal off till the sixth game before another break came. By the end Nadal was hitting the ball really well, and certainly better than last year when he was beaten in the quarter-finals by Gael Monfils of France. “I played well in Abu Dhabi and I had good rhythm when I came here,” he explained. Federer played so well against Rochus that it became evident from the moment that he broke serve for 3-1 that he was likely to trample all over his opponent. He took eight of the first nine games, and managed one humiliating forehand pass when Rochus had a good volleying opportunity from close in but still saw the great man move smoothly to return it with thundering interest. The Belgian made a big fight to hold on to the third game of the second set, and was

greeted with cheers after the ten minutes it took him to do it - but it made little difference. Rochus’ problem was that, skilful as he is, Federer was just as much so, and much more powerful too. The impressivelooking favorite soon hurtled out of sight, taking the last three games in a row. “I feel like it could be a great season,” Federer said. “I had a break after the US Open and another one at the end of 2009, and I’ve come into this season pretty refreshed. “I don’t of ten get a chance to steamroller someone like that. My movement was explosive and nice, and I feel physically fine and mentally fresh. “I feel eager to do well and I feel like I’ve got more titles in me,” he concluded ominously. Federer next plays Evegeny Korolev, a Russian ranked just outside the top 50. Nadal plays Potito Starace, the former top 30 Italian.—AFP

MANAMA: Bahrain will qualif y for the 2011 Asian Cup should they beat already-eliminated Hong Kong here today, going some way to making up for the disappointment of missing out on the World Cup. Milan Macala’s men suffered a cr ushing 1-0 loss to New Zealand in the Asia-Oceania World Cup play-off in November which deprived them of a place at the showpiece tournament. It was the second time they have fallen at the final hurdle, having lost to Trinidad and Tobago in the play-offs four years ago. But the Bahrainis will be looking at the Group ‘A’ qualif ying match against Hong Kong as one step towards some sort of redemption and a place in the Asian Cup, to be hosted by Qatar. The Bahrainis have a perfect record of three wins from three matches in this group which also includes Japan and Yemen. The Japanese, who qualified for this year’s World Cup in South Africa, are also unbeaten and lead the group on goal difference. But Bahrain still have a match in hand, Yemen are in third position with three points from three matches and Hong Kong are already out of the running having lost all their four matches so far. Bahrain will be without four of their key professionals but coach Macala is not losing any sleep over it,

the Czech tactician confident of getting the job done with the available players. Midfielders Abdulla Omar and Abdulla Fatai, who play for Swiss club Neuchatel Xamax, defender Mohammed Hubail of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Qadsia and striker Jaycee John of Belgium’s Excelsior Mouscron are the players not named in the Bahrain squad as all four are busy with their respective league engagements. Bahrain faced a similar problem in their previous match against Yemen in November last year but still won quite comfortably scoring an emphatic 4-0 victory just four days after losing their World Cup playoff against New Zealand in Wellington. “We will have the services most of our team members for the clash, except for a few of our professional players,” acknowledged Bahrain Football Association official Younes Manssor told Gulf Weekly. “Although we only need one point to make it, a bigger win is always better. I wish my team all the best as I will be on the sidelines cheering my brother Mohammed and the rest of the squad.” The Hong Kong team under coach Kim Pan Gon arrived in Manama on Monday and will be looking to end a poor run of four successive defeats during which they have conceded 14 goals and scored just one. —AFP

LA RIOJA: BMW’s driver France’s Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret compete during the 3rd stage of the Argentina-Chile Dakar Rally 2010 between La Rioja and Fiambala, Argentina. —AP

Peterhansel maintains his overall lead in Dakar Rally SANTIAGO: Stephane Peterhansel extended his overall lead in the Dakar Rally by finishing one second behind fourth-stage winner Robby Gordon of the United States entering the Atacama Desert yesterday. Peterhansel, the Frenchman who has won the Dakar nine times, looked set to record a record 53rd stage victory, but Gordon finally found sandy terrain suitable for his Hummer and came from nowhere at the end of the 203-kilometer special to edge the rally leader. Gordon finished in 1 hour, 40.21 minutes, followed by Peterhansel then Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar, 2:26 behind. Peterhansel improved to more than 7 1/2 minutes ahead of Spaniard Carlos Sainz of Volkswagen in the overall stand-

ings, and nearly 10 minutes ahead of Al-Attiyah - also in a VW. In the bikes category, defending champion Marc Coma of Spain began to make up for losing 40 minutes in earlier stages by winning on his KTM, 2:04 ahead of David Casteu of France on a Sherco, and 3:14 ahead of overall leader Cyril Despres on a KTM. The racers passed over the Andes at about 4,000 meters and began on a gravelly descent on the Chilean side and into dunes in the Atacama, one of the driest places on Earth. “Today was a fast stage with fast off-road sections, which means you have to keep your eyes on danger,” Peterhansel said. “It was tough. We had to watch out. When you have designed a car - all year long - you do hope it performs

and delivers in technology, in the sand dunes, everywhere. But nothing is ever certain.” Gordon and his Hummer were in their element, much better than Monday when he lost an hour with engine problems. With his third ever stage win on the Dakar, the NASCAR driver rose from 11th to eighth overall, 1 hour, 4 minutes behind Peterhansel. “Today’s special stage was perfect for us with a lot of camel grass,” Gordon said. “It’s on this type of terrain that the Hummer is doing great. “A stage victory means nothing to us,” Gordon added. “It’s the final victory we are in for. ... I am sure that today we managed to climb up in the standings and we will see how Chile will treat us. We should be good in the sand dunes.” —AP

BKME offers instant issuance of EMV ATM cards facility


VIVA launches new portable router


Small cars take centre stage at Delhi auto show


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

US factory orders jump 1.1% Pending home sales fall 16% in November WASHINGTON: Orders to US factories posted a surprisingly big gain in November, reflecting strong demand in a number of industries from steel and industrial machinery to computers and chemicals. The advance was double what had been expected and provided further evidence that manufacturers are beginning to pull out of their steep slump. The Commerce Department said

yesterday that orders rose by 1.1 percent in November, much better than the 0.5 percent increase economists had forecast. The increases were widespread outside of autos and aircraft, which posted declines. The report was the latest evidence of a widespread rebound in manufacturing as industries from China to Europe are beginning to flash recovery signs. The Institute of

Supply Management had reported Monday that its key gauge of US factory activity showed manufacturing was expanding in December at the fastest pace in more than three years. The Commerce report on orders showed that demand for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, rose by 0.2 percent in November, unchanged from a preliminary estimate the govern-

ment made two weeks ago. Durable goods orders had fallen by 0.7 percent in October. Meanwhile, the number of buyers who agreed to purchase previously occupied US homes fell sharply in November, a sign sales will fall this winter, undermining last summer’s recovery. The National Association of Realtors said yesterday its seasonal-

CHICAGO: Shoppers look at laptop computers inside the Apple Store in Chicago as consumers around the nation crowded stores and malls on Black Friday. Orders to US factories posted a surprisingly big gain in November, reflecting strong demand in a number of industries from steel and industrial machinery to computers and chemicals. —AP

Oil rises towards $82, cold weather supports LONDON: Oil climbed towards $82 a barrel yesterday, rising for the ninth straight session, as cold weather in key consumers the United States and Europe boosted demand for heating fuel. Investors were awaiting US oil inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) later yesterday and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) today, expected to show a drop in distillate stocks but steady crude inventories. US crude for February delivery was up 31 cents at $81.82 a barrel by 1411 GMT, off an earlier high of $81.99, a cent below the October 2009 high, and after settling up $2.15 at $81.51 on Monday, its highest close since Oct. 9, 2008. London Brent crude climbed 36 cents to $80.48. “The extreme cold weather, spreading as far as China, is supportive today,” said Rob Montefusco, oil trader at Sucden Financial. —Reuters

Japanese Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii at a news conference. —AFP

Japan govt accepts Fujii’s resignation TOKYO: Japan’s prime minister accepted his finance minister’s resignation offer because of poor health, despite earlier asking him to stay at the helm of the world’s number two economy, Kyodo News said yesterday. During talks earlier in the day, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama had said he wanted Hirohisa Fujii to stay in the cabinet but “the government eventually decided to accept Fujii’s resignation as he was adamant”, Kyodo said, citing a ruling party lawmaker who spoke on condition of anonymity. Fujii, 77, was admitted to hospital on December 28 due to high blood pressure and fatigue, saying he was exhausted after weeks of hard work on the national budget for the next financial year. He has since resumed some of his duties but said he would respect the advice of his doctors about whether to return to work full time. Fujii had been expected to return to hospital after attending a Cabinet meeting yesterday and his regular press conference today was cancelled, a finance ministry spokesman said. —Reuters (See earlier report on Page 26)

Alwaleed gives Citi shares to K Holding RIYADH: Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has transferred his shares in Citigroup worth 2.24 billion riyals ($597.3 million) to Kingdom Holding in which he holds a 95-percent stake, Kingdom said yesterday. “(Kingdom) announces that it received yesterday a donation from Prince Alwaleed in the form of 180 million shares in Citigroup of which the value stands at 2.24 billion riyals as of end-2009,” the company said in a statement posted on the bourse website. It said the donation was done “free of charge”, without elaborating further. Earlier yesterday, the Saudi bourse watchdog said it approved a request by KHC to

reduce its paid-up capital by more than 40 percent. The regulator did not disclose the purpose of the capital reduction. Saudi-based Kingdom Holding Co aims to turn profitable after the injection of shares in Citigroup held b y i t s m a i n s h a re h o l d e r Prince Alwaleed and once it completes a capital reduct i o n o f o v e r 4 0 p e rc e n t . “Prince Alwaleed’s initiative and the (capital reduction) decision ... will lead the company to profitability and enable it to distribute dividends ... once the board of directors approves it,” Kingdom said in an emailed statement yesterday. —Reuters

European, US stocks steady after big gains

Dubai exchange posts record 2009 volumes DUBAI: Currency and oil future trading gave the Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) its best year yet in terms of both the volume and value of contracts traded in 2009, the DGCX said yesterday. Full year trade hit 1.5 million contracts, up 31.6 percent on 2008. The value of the trade was $79 billion in 2009, the DGCX said. Currency futures trade rose 132 percent on the year, while crude futures rose by 140 percent. “We are confident that there is significant potential to grow existing contracts and launch new products, to further capture market opportunities and liquidity in the Middle East and beyond,” Eric Hasham, CEO of DGCX, said in the statement. The DGCX hosts trade in gold, oil, currency and steel futures, and is aiming to become a major commodities centre in the Gulf Arab region. In December, 181,105 contracts traded, an increase of 529 percent from December 2008, when the global financial crisis hit trade hard. Still, volatility in markets and the tightening of credit also attracted trade as risk management became more of a priority among investors, said Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman of the DGCX. Sulayem said he expected the DGCX’s robust performance to continue in 2010. —Reuters

ly adjusted index of sales agreements fell 16 percent from October to a November reading of 96. It was the first decline following nine straight months of gains and the lowest reading since June. The drop was far larger than the 2 percent expected from economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters, and analysts were surprised. “This was bound to happen at some point, although not by this much,” wrote a startled Jennifer Lee, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets. “Gulp,” she added. The report indicates consumers are taking their time following the extension of a tax credit deadline. The incentive of up to $8,000 for firsttime buyers was set to expire at the end of November. But Congress pushed back the date and broadened the program with a new credit of up to $6,500 for buyers who relocate. “It will be at least early spring before we see notable gains in sales activity as homebuyers respond to the recently extended and expanded tax credit,” L awrence Yun, the Realtors’ chief economist, said in a statement. Typically there is a oneto two-month lag between a contract and a done deal, so the index is a barometer of future sales. Pending sales were down 26 percent from October in the Northeast and Midwest, 15 percent in the South and 3 percent in the West. The housing market had been rebounding from the worst downturn in decades, aided by aggressive federal intervention to lower mortgage rates and bring more buyers into the market. Home resales surged last month to the highest level in nearly three years. But concerns remain that the market recovery will stall as the federal programs are phased out. The overall economy as measured by the gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the July-September quarter. That marked the first positive increase in the GDP after four consecutive quarterly declines. Analysts are expecting an even bigger gain in the just-completed October-December quarter with some of that strength coming from a revival in the fortunes of manufacturers. Further gains are expected in December given that the ISM report showed its index for new orders jumped to the highest level last month in five years. It is hoped that factories will begin rehiring laid off workers as they ramp up production. And a turnaround in employment could boost incomes and increase consumer spending, fueling the recovery. The worry among economists has been that the current recovery could falter unless the unemployment rate begins to show sustained improvement. —AP

DRESDEN: Technicians unload the nose of an A400M military aircraft from the fuselage of an Airbus Beluga plane on the airport Dresden yesterday in preparation of a fatigue test which will take place in a hangar in Dresden. Airbus increased pressure on European governments to give it more money for the troubled A400M military transport plane, saying it is considering scrapping the project just weeks after its maiden flight. —AP

LONDON: European and US stock markets took a breather yesterday following the best New Year start since 2003 as investors looked ahead to a big week of economic data releases around the world. In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 22.24 points, or 0.4 percent, at 5,522.58 while France’s CAC-40 rose 4.12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,038.18. Germany’s DAX fell 10.12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,038.18. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 7.03 points, or 0.1 percent, at 10,576.93 soon after the open while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.54 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,133.53. The muted performance comes a day after European and US stocks kicked off the year with a flyer after strong manufacturing data stoked hopes that the economic recovery this year may be stronger than anticipated. Monday’s manufacturing data started a big week in terms of economic releases. Most attention will likely center on Friday’s US nonfarm payrolls data for December and many in the markets expect the first job creation in two years. The jobs data often set the stock market tone for a week or two. “Equity markets may worry about inflation if the Friday number comes in high, but we believe it will provide confidence about the economy as corpo-

rate earnings season kicks off next Monday,” said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group. Other key economic news this week include global services activity data today and a push of speeches from US Federal Reserve officials as well as the publication of the minutes to the last Fed rate-setting meeting. There will be some interest later in a Commerce Department report on US factory orders as well as the National Association of Realtors’ pending home sales figures. The key driver to stock market performance, at least in the first part of the year, will likely be whether economic figures back up the optimism that is evident in company valuations following a nine month bull run. Stock markets around the world rallied strongly since March’s lows — the Dow and the S&P 500 for example surged more than 60 percent since then — as investors grew more optimistic about the global economic recovery after central banks and governments pushed through extraordinary policy measures to mitigate the deepest recession since World War II. Earlier, Asian markets joined in the early year advance, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 456.30 points, or 2.1 percent, to 22,279.58 and Shanghai’s main stock measure climbing 1.2 percent to 3,282.18 after falling the day before. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 stock average added 27.04 points, or 0.3 percent, to

10,681.83, its advance curtailed in the afternoon session on selling of exporters as the yen climbed again the dollar. Elsewhere, Australia’s market was up 1 percent, helped by stronger commodity prices while Singapore’s index gained 0.8 percent. However, South Korea’s Kospi edged down 0.3 percent to 1,690.62. Oil prices extended their gains, with benchmark crude for February delivery up 38 cents at $81.89 a barrel. The contract jumped $2.15 overnight. The dollar slid 0.9 percent to 91.64 yen while the euro edged up 0.1 percent to $1.4396. The US currency, which has enjoyed big gains over the last month or so, was back under pressure after US Federal Reserve official Elizabeth Duke said the central bank had to keep interest rates at ultra low levels for a while yet, despite mounting signals of an improving US economy. As in the stock markets, all eyes in the currency markets will be on Friday’s US jobs data and how the dollar reacts. “It was the surprising strength of the November payrolls data that played a key role in causing the market to reevaluate its outlook in favor of dollar strength last month and Friday’s release will be key in resolving some of the concerns regarding the likely strength of the US economy this year,” said Jane Foley, research director at —AP



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Deals key to Iraq’s push for 12m bpd capacity

Iraq’s cabinet ratifies 4 major oilfield deals BAGHDAD: Iraq’s cabinet has ratified contracts with foreign firms to develop four oilfields, pushing Iraq a step closer toward finalizing deals that may make it a leading world oil producer, the government said yesLast month, the Iraqi Oil Ministry initialed service contracts with seven foreign consortia to develop fields including supergiant Majnoon, which was awarded to Royal Dutch Shell and Malaysia’s Petronas in a December energy auction. The firms, part of a long-awaited wave of foreign investment in Iraq’s promising oil sector, must now sign final deals before they can begin work. The deals represent a mainstay of Iraq’s ambitions to transform its underperforming oil sector and bring output capacity to 12 million barrels per day (bpd), a huge increase from output now of around 2.5 million bpd. The deals ratified yesterday were offered to foreign firms

at a Dec. 11-12 energy auction, Iraq’s second this year. Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, and Petronas won the rights to Majnoon, a major field near the southern oil hub of Basra. Majnoon, whose reserves of 12.6 billion barrels make it one of the world’s largest untapped fields, was one of the prizes on the block in that auction. After a more tepid showing in an initial auction in June, Iraqi oil officials hailed the December auction as a major success. Gharaf, a smaller oilfield with 900 million in reserves, went to Petronas and the Japan Petroleum Exploration Co (Japex).

terday. “The cabinet has ratified four oilfields: Majnoon, Gharaf, and in Nineveh province Qayara and al-Najmah,” government spokesman Ali AlDabbagh said. Qayara and Najmah, located in Iraq’s restive north, were both won by Angolan state oil firm Sonangol. The 800-millionbarrel Qayara field is south of Nineveh province’s capital Mosul, while nearby Najmah has around 900 million barrels. There are three deals from Iraq’s second bidding round that must still be ratified, including Halfaya, which was won by China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), Total and Petronas. Halfaya, in southern Iraq, has estimated reserves of 4.1 billion barrels. Badrah, a 100 million barrel reservoir, is another. Badrah went to Russia’s Gazprom, Turkey’s TPAO, Kogas and Petronas.

Last but not least is West Qurna Phase Two, which was won by Russia’s Lukoil and Norway’s Statoil. The supergiant field has reserves of 12.9 billion barrel. After the deals were initialled, the government said it was seeking a number of technical or operational amendments to the contracts. “Sonangol was the first company to accept the proposed amendments followed by the other companies whose contracts were approved today by the cabinet,” said Sabah Abdul Kadhim, head of the legal and commercial section of the Petroleum Contracts and Licensing Directorate. — Reuters

Primedia International launches new division MANAMA: Regional directory publisher, Primedia International announced the launch of its magazine division, Primedia-Magazines. Building on Primedia’s vision of connecting business, Primedia-Magazines will introduce industry-specific content. Plans also include online versions to support the print product. Leading the new division will be Primedia’s new Publishing Director, Matthew

Kirkman. “Throughout 2010 considerable investment will be made to establish Primedia’s position in magazine publishing,” Mr. Kirkman said. “The titles will be of world-class standard to attract an audience of local, regional, and international industry executives and key decision makers, which in turn will establish the publications as authoritative.” Primedia-Magazines will feature a strong contract pub-

lishing presence in its scope of operations. The focus will be on key industries, highlighting the extensive infrastructure investment across the region. Kirkman joined Primedia recently and brings with him nearly 20 years of experience in the publishing field with an emphasis on contract and business-to-business publishing. Over those two decades, Kirkman has served various international markets includ-

Burgan Bank partners with Lush Cosmetics KUWAIT: Burgan Bank - amongst the leading and most dynamic commercial banks in the state of Kuwait - has entered into an exciting new partnership with Lush cosmetics offering its Premier Banking Customers exclusive offers and discounts. This partnership is one of the many exciting offers to have been introduced by the bank for its Premiere banking customers this year. The special offers includes 10% discount on purchases above KD 50 on Lush cosmetics and 10% discount on any shopping from Ballistics & Bubblebars sections at Lush cosmetics. Highlighting the benefits of this new and exciting offer, Chief Retail Banking Officer Simon Clements said, “This offer is part of our continuous efforts to provide our customers with value added services and benefits whilst banking with us. Lush cosmetics are 100 % natural and free of preservatives. We continuously aim to offer our customers special offers and discounts across different categories as well as other added features.” These offers are exclusively for Burgan Bank Premier Banking customers and are valid for a full year. The Bank’s Premier Banking Service was introduced in 2007 as part of its larger retail

banking strategy. All Premier Banking customers are exclusively serviced by highlyskilled Personal Banking Executives who regularly and personally update customers about offers and products that are of value to their financial needs.

ing the UK, North and South America, Europe, East Asia and the GCC Primedia-Magazines will bridge the gap between business directories and annual publications which are rich in editorial content as well as industry specific information. By the end of 2010 Primedia-Magazines aims to launch three titles. Headquartered in Bahrain, Primedia International currently publishes Bahrain

First and only Bank in Kuwait and ME KUWAIT: The Bank of Kuwait & Middle East (BKME) announced that it still remains the first and only Bank in Kuwait and the Middle East region to extend a unique value-added service to all its customers with the Instant ATM Card Issuance facility. Within just a few minutes, all BKME customers can have their EMV chip-enabled ATM cards issued and can also get their lost/ damaged ATM cards replaced instantly at any BKME branch. Customers can promptly select or change their PIN numbers at the branch as part of the Instant ATM Issuing service offering. BKME’s Head of Cards Center, Kiran Fatima Jaffery, stated, “With this innovative and exclusive facility, all BKME customers can visit any of BKME’s 23 branches and request a new ATM card and receive it in 5 minutes. Through the successful deployment of this unique service; BKME reduces the waiting period for customers to obtain their ATM debit card from 3 days to just 5 minutes from the account opening time; thereby giving the customers instant access to their funds.” “BKME is always in the forefront and has been a pioneer in launching innovative products and services by using latest banking technology reinforcing our commitment to constantly deliver value-added quality services and benefits to our valuable customers. With the aim of making life simple the instant ATM card issuance feature will provide utmost convenience and speed

BKME’s Head of Cards Center, Kiran Fatima Jaffery. to BKME customers to also get instant access to Internet Banking, Online Trading, instant money transfers and much more,” further added Jaffery. Call Hayakom 1812000, visit or your nearest branch for more details.

Yellow Pages, Qatar Yellow Pages, Banks in Bahrain, Arab Banking & Finance, Banking & Finance - UAE, The Gulf Directory, Dubai Industrial Directory, Bahrain E-mail, Fax, & Website Directory, The Gulf Health & Medical, The Gulf Education & HR and Variety Info Plus. Additionally, Primedia International offers e-broadcast and WAP services as well as online advertising for its valued customers.

Saudi cuts Feb light crude prices to Asia DUBAI: Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia cut its February official selling prices for crude to refiners in Asia, while raising the price for most of its crude to buyers elsewhere, state oil firm Aramco said yesterday. Aramco cut the price for Arab Light, its main export grade, for Asian buyers by 35 cents to a premium of 10 cents a barrel to the Oman/Dubai average. The kingdom raised the

price of Arab Light to US customers by 15 cents a barrel to a discount of 60 cents a barrel to the Argus Sour Crude Index. It raised the price to buyers of Arab Light in the Mediterranean by 45 cents, and in Northwest Europe by 50 cents. The following table details Saudi crude prices in dollars per barrel for February and the previous two months. — Reuters

Oman trade surplus down 32% in 2009: Minister

Chief Retail Banking Officer Simon Clements

BKME offers instant issuance of EMV ATM cards facility

MUSCAT: Oman’s foreign trade surplus fell 32 percent to 4.4 billion rials ($11.43 billion) in 2009 compared to a year earlier due to a fall in oil and gas exports, its economy minister said yesterday. “The preliminary figures indicate that the hydrocarbon exports decreased by 41 percent due to a fall of oil prices in 2009,” Ahmad Mekki told Reuters. He said non-hydrocarbon exports increased by 16 percent and re-exports grew by 14 percent in 2009 over the previous year. “Due to the domestic demand fall, overall imports dropped by 23 percent in 2009 compared to 2008,” Mekki said, without giving figures. Oman sold its oil at an average price of $56.7 per barrel in 2009, down 44 percent from the previous year. — Reuters

It’s time to sail with Ruby Tuesday’s Oceans of Flavor A great menu.... Buy 1 and get 1 free Ruby Tuesday American restaurants invites you to sail in its Oceans of Flavor all new menu, giving you the chance to taste any of its delicious seafood dishes and bite into another Ruby’s delights for free. A must try dish is the New Orleans Seafood which is a spicy, broiled white fish fillet topped with sauteed shrimp and rich Parmesan sauce. It would be a crime not to treat yourself to the Chesapeake Catch broiled white fish fillet crowded with a jumbo lump crab cake topped with Parmesan sauce and the Shrimp Scampi & Steak delicacy, that is shrimps coated with spices served over brown- rice pilaf with lemon butter -sauce. For pasta lovers Ruby Tuesday serves Parmesan Shrimp Pasta, with tender, spicy shrimp sauteed, seasoned, and served over

pasta in Parmesan cream sauce. Last but not the least, indulge your senses with over the top Salmon dishes one of which is the Asian Salmon and Shrimp, griller Atlantic salmon glazed with a peanut- barbeque sauce topped with Cajun seasoned shrimp. Ruby Tuesday also offers a variety of appetizers like Thai Phoon Shrimp and Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, and desserts with Blondie, Chocolate cake and New York Cheesecake. Ruby Tuesday’s Oceans of Flavor menu offers exclusivity to quality and taste at affordable and valuable prices. This offer is valid in Ruby Tuesday Avenues, Sharq, Multaqa Al Shaab and 360 Mall. Don’t miss the chance to try out the Flavors menu with family and friends. This offer is valid until 28th February 2010.

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

.2830000 .4580000 .4100000 .2760000 .2730000 .2590000 .0045000 .0020000 .0777740 .7577310 .4020000 .0750000 .7428230 .0045000 .0500000

.2930000 .4690000 .4190000 .2850000 .2820000 .2670000 .0075000 .0035000 .0785560 .7653460 .4180000 .0790000 .7502880 .0072000 .0570000

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

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2860500 .4601340 .4125550 .2778790 .2751790 .0554340 .0405930 .2611790 .0368760 .2049010 .0031170 .0062180 .0025090 .0034050 .0041910 .0779200 .7591430 .4045560 .0763190 .7433640 .0062860

.2881500 .4633850 .4154690 .2798470 .2771280 .055260 .0408810 .2630240 .0371370 .2063520 .0031390 .0062620 .0025270 .0034290 .0042200 .0784170 .7639840 .4074220 .0768060 .7481050 .0063310

US Dollar Sterling pounds Swiss Francs Saudi Riyals

TRANSFER CHEQUES RATES .2881500 .4633850 .2798470 .0768060

282.600 195.000 281.200 262.930 285.000 ASIAN COUNTRIES

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

3.151 6.233 3.393 2.509 3.838 206.900 37.070 4.158 6.263 8.662 0.301 0.292 ARAB COUNTRIES

Egyptian Pound - Cash Egyptian Pound Yemen Riyal Tunisian Dinar Jordanian Dinar Lebanese Lira Syrian Lier Morocco Dirham

54.500 52.450 1.390 219.900 406.000 194.200 6.326 37.320 GCC COUNTRIES

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

76.670 78.990 746.900 763.520 78.300 GOLD

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

222.000 114.000 60.000

Bahrain Exchange Company

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer Euro Sterling Pound

Canadian dollar Turkish lire Swiss Franc Australian dollar US Dollar Buying

287.350 416.940 464.930

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

SELL CASH 286.400 784.010 4.410 280.300 693.200 15.800 56.100 54.090 420.000 37.750

SELL DRAFT 264.900 764.010 4.160 278.800

52.466 418.500 37.600

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

6.480 0.034 0.290 0.259 3.230 407.820 0.194 85.590 38.700 4.240 214.800 2.183 51.100 746.280 3.480 6.450 79.460 76.710 207.280 41.830 2.760 469.000 41.400 283.500 6.400 9.020 222.000 78.390 287.700 1.430


406.370 0.193 86.590 3.900 213.300 748.100 3.420 6.275 79.030 76.710 207.280 41.830 2.508 467.000 282.000 8.850 78.390 287.300

GOLD 10 Tola


Sterling Pound US Dollar

2.515 4.170 6.260 3.130 8.660 5.535 3.890

Kuwait Bahrain Intl Exchange Co. Currency 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

TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 466.000 287.800

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 287.150 3.410 6.220 2.520 4.165 6.300 78.220 76.695 763.500 52.445 467.800 0.0000306 1.550 407.900 5.750 420.000 283.500

Al Mulla Exchange

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd 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

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

287.200 277.810 464.590 416.565 278.855 721.360 761.585 78.179 78.820 76.615 405.270 52.470 6.210 3.400

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

Transfer rate 286.900 416.250 463.000 3.135 6.235 52.440 2.510 4.149 6.275 3.411 763.500 78.200 76.680


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


KUWAIT: Iric Maliya, Deputy CEO of Commercial Sector (left), Najeeb Al-Awadi CEO of VIVA (center), Rana Al-Resheed Marketing Manager (right) seen during the conference. — Photos by Joseph Shagra

VIVA launches new portable router By Rawan Khalid KUWAIT: VIVA Telecommunications Company announced the launching of a new portable router that makes internet connection possible virtually anywhere. Their exclusive new router is the smallest and the most lightweight wireless router in Kuwait. The announcement was made at a press

New device makes Internet connection possible virtually anywhere conference held at the Holiday Inn Hotel yesterday morning. The press conference was attended by VIVA CEO, Najeeb Al-Awadi, Marketing Manager Rana Al-Resheed and Iric Maliya Deputy CEO of the Commercial Sector.

VIVA’s new device is compact and easy to carry around giving customers greater convenience and a faster internet connection anywhere they are. The device hosts an advanced HSDPA network and allows connection speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps.

At the press conference Najeeb AlAwadi said, “the new router allows up to five PCs or laptops to connect at once and acts like a Wi-Fi hotspot on the go. Unlike pre-existing routers, which are larger and rely on electrical sockets to function, VIVA’s innovative

new router operates using rechargeable batteries for up to 4 hours. This will replace the nuisance of cords and the hassle of locating a power outlet.” To coincide with this unrivalled new release, VIVA is offering a special VIVA internet package. Ease of accessibility, a speedy network, ubiquitous coverage and unbeatable performance is sure to make this new internet serv-

ice one of the hottest items of the New Year. Rana Al-Resheed, Marketing Manager of VIVA, pointed out that VIVA will continue to participate in many social events. Yesterday, VIVA sponsored the Monument to the Kuwait Teachers Society event at the 360 Mall. There will be many surprises in the year 2010, she said.

Samsung unveils Premium I8910 HD gold edition

CBK announces winners of Al-Najma Account & Discover Europe draws KUWAIT: Commercial Bank of Kuwait held the Al-Najma Account and Discover Europe draws on January 4, 2010. The draw was held under the supervision of the

Ministry of Commerce & Industry represented by Ahmad Al Hamad. Commercial Bank of Kuwait was represented at the draws by staff members of Retail Banking

Division, Technical Support Division, IT Security, and Advertising & Public Relations Department in addition to a large crowd of customers.

The winners of the Al Najma draw are:No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45

Names KD Meshref Khan Nor Mohammed 100000 Anwar Saleh Mahmoud Nazzal 1000 Mohamed Lith Naser Suliman Alfadhli 1000 Saleh Abdulrazaq Mohammed Alswail 1000 Aamer Mohammad Mefreh Alajmi 1000 Badar Sahoud Ghathban 1000 Yousef Ahmed Khaled Aldreie 1000 Abrar Hamdan Melfi Alhadiya 1000 Habiba Dahham Togan Aljamili 1000 Khalid Abdulwahab Ibrahim Alkhayat 1000 Nabil Jad Anwar Salamh 1000 Nadya Ibrahem Abdulla Altrarwa 1000 Khaldoun Mohamed Radhwan Alsaman1000 Aseel Sufian Ali Alobaid 1000 Manal Ahmad Wasef Sabagh 1000 Alyah Abdulkhuther Hasan Abas 1000 Hana Adwar Jabour 1000 Taleb Hani Muhana 1000 Chandy Mathew Beih Ci Mathew 1000 Khirtash Hamad Al SaleH 1000 Ameenah Ahmed Hasan 1000 Abdulrahman Khaled Alshaqe 500 Mahmoud Madboli Ali Mohamad 500 Yasmeen Hassan Salah Alsadeq 500 Fahad Galion Habib Romi 500 Ali Faisal Jassem Abdal 500 Eman Jamil Ahmad Alahmad 500 Fuzeya Msaoud Saoud Aljuesri 500 Shaikh Babar Ali 500 Nasser Shibeeb Suwairi Alajmi 500 Hasan Adel Abo Abas 500 Abdulkareem Eid Farhan Aledwani 500 Bahader Khan Marwat 500 Adel Hussain Abdulreda Shashter 500 Eliash Bapery Abdulkhaliq Bapery 500 Nadia Khalied Alzabout 500 Mohammed Farouq Rafei 500 Khaled Mohammed Mohammed Abdulhaleim 500 Waleed Khaled Najem Abdullah 500 Fakruddin Akbar Ali 500 Sheikha Hind Fahed Malek Al Sabah 500 Zahra Shmsaan Ahmed Rajb 500 Verjini Karam 500 Abdualhameed Anter Abdualhameed Abo Alsa 500 Rashid Salah Khazam 500

46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81

Abdelaziz & Khalid Taher Mulla Alkateeb 500 Eiad Khalid Mustafa Ayoub 500 Jenan Hamoud Abdulla Alshaiji 500 Ataalah Faisal Haliafi Al Khaledi 500 Aref Abdulrazak Shaher Alshrefi 500 Safwat Obaid Bashoot Thomas 500 Khaled Mahmoud Mahmoud 500 Mina Nadi Ayoub Georgy 500 Haik Sardar Sariyan 500 Mohammed Ashraf Nishat Mohammed 500 Amal Ali Hussain Alsalamin 500 Shaimaa Suliman Mubarak Alsanee 500 Hussain Adnan Abdulmehsen Jawahery 500 Rajab Mohammad Abdulmoutaee 500 Kamal Mahmoud Mohamed Abdulghani 500 Falah Mutar Kenaiher Shenab 500 Ghaze Ibrahem Abdulla Al Ghfeeli 500 Zir Kul Ajab Khan 500 Nezar Fouad Asaad Kassamani 500 Ali Mohammed Rida Qasimi 500 Nasser Abdullah Alajmi 500 Abas Hasan Ahmed Alrashed 500 Wasem Ismael Alshaikh Slaiman 500 Mohammed Abdullah Ali Alwazzan 500 Abdelrazaq Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq Albade 500 Basima Fawzi Mohammed Sharan 500 Mohammed Thaher Azam Saeed Mohammed500 Hanaa Abbas Reda Altimimi 500 Sheikh Faisal Ahmad Mohamad Al Sabah 500 Akbar Ali Asgar Ali 500 Mohammed Abd Matar 500 Mohammed Younes Mohammed Ishaq 500 Sabeha Mokaif Mohammed Al Shatey 500 Joseph Badih Zakkour 500 Najma Mahmoud Abdullah Sedeeq 500 Fatema Mohamed Ali Gholam Jamal 500

Discover Europe 1 Muhsen Saleh Salem Al Ajmi A prize of a trip for two to Europe Commercial Bank of Kuwait takes this opportunity to congratulate all lucky winners and also extends appreciation to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for their effective supervision of the draws which were conducted in an orderly and organized manner.

KUWAIT: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, a leading mobile phone provider, yesterday announced the availability of the I8910 HD (Omnia HD, GTI8910) Gold Edition. This premium version of the ground-breaking full touch screen smartphone features a luxurious new look inlayed with gold and a package of special accessories. The Samsung I8910 HD Gold Edition brings together high performance, style, multimedia and functionality in one device. This special edition comes in two fashionable colors-Champagne Gold and Luxury Brown-both of which are inlayed with 24 karat gold, giving the device an extra touch of style. The Gold Edition package also includes a leather case, together with special accessories including a mini-cradle and TV-out cable to enhance its superb multimedia features. Like the original I8910 HD, which has won numerous awards including European Camera Phone in the 2009-2010 European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) Awards, the Gold Edition provides the ultimate multimedia and digital entertainment experience with its HD capabilities including the world’s first 720P HD video recording and decoding on a mobile phone. “We are launching the Samsung I8910 HD Gold Edition in the Middle East for those who enjoy the amazing multimedia experience and features it offers and want an extra touch of style and sophistication with their mobile phone,” said Sandeep Saihgal, General Manager, Mobile Phone Division, Samsung Gulf Electronics. “The I8910 HD Gold Edition demonstrates our vision to pro-

vide phones for every customer in the region, while delivering functionality, style, usability and entertainment in each innovative device.” The I8910 HD Gold Edition’s video recording feature enables HD quality (720p) video capture. Further, users can enjoy HD content on an HDTV via DLNA technology and share real-time live video via the video sharing site The 16:9 screen with 16 million colors and dual stereo speakers allow users to experience SD (Standard Definition) and HD videos in cinema-scale quality. Featuring an industry-leading 8 megapixel camera, the Samsung I8910 HD Gold Edition empowers users to take digital camera-quality photographs. The 16 Gigabytes (GB) of internal memory with the addition of a 32GB microSD card provides storage of up to 48GB, or the equivalent of 35 DVD-quality movies or 18,000 photographs of 8 megapixels. The 3.7” Auto-Rotating AMOLED Display offers PC-like Web surfing on the phone coupled with super-fast Internet access on HSUPA 5.76Mbps and HSDPA 7.2Mbps. A GPS with an integrated compass allows the I8910 HD Gold Edition to accommodate both pedestrians and drivers. The navigation touch control and voice guidance via dual stereo speakers makes travel easy and safe for drivers. The I8910 HD Gold Edition’s intuitive 3D interface gives users the ability to move around and multi-task seamlessly. Motion-enabled features, including 3D games, make it easy and exciting to enjoy the best ever mobile multimedia

experiences, while a single touch Samsung Mobile Widget delivers choice up-to-date information, creating a personalised interface with which to access the infinite wealth of web content.

Gulf Bank participates in job fair Greece vows tougher deficit Bank supports future careers KUWAIT: Gulf Bank recently participated in a job fair, organized by the Manpower and Government Restructuring Program held at AlRaya Ballroom, Courtyard Marriott from December 27th-30th, 2009. The job fair was held under the Patronage of the State Minister of Cabinet Affairs Roudhan Al-Roudhan. The Bank had the opportunity to meet a number of fresh graduates and discussed various opportunities and benefits of working in the Banking sector and more specifically at Gulf Bank. Gulf Bank was recently awarded the GCC Localization Award for the

5th consecutive year in recognition of its training, development and employment of nationals. Lulwa N. Bukhadhour, Head of Recruitment commented, “The most vital and essential need in the development and sustainability of an organization is its employees. We as a bank realize how much potential is out there and attending job fair’s such as this one is a great opportunity for the Bank to meet new talent.” To apply for positions or to find out more about Gulf Bank, customers can log on to Gulf Bank’s bilingual website for more information.

cuts as EU team visit looms ATHENS: Greece said yesterday it would cut its double-digit budget deficit under the EU’s 3 percent of GDP limit by 2012, a year earlier than previously planned, bowing to pressure from markets and euro zone peers. A day before EU and ECB officials arrive for an inspection visit to Athens, the new socialist government set a more ambitious fiscal health target, pleasing bond markets but drawing skepticism from economic analysts. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou told his ministers to move faster in cutting ballooning deficits and debt, a week before Greece taps international markets for funds. “The prime minister asked that the adjustment be frontloaded and that the reduction of the deficit takes place in three years,” Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told reporters after a cabinet meeting. “The fiscal adjustment will be done quickly to exit (EU) supervision so that we can turn a new page for the country.” A team of EU and ECB officials is due in Athens this week to discuss fiscal measures in the euro zone’s weakest link. The government had pledged in December to cut the deficit to 8.7 percent of GDP in 2010 from 12.7 percent last year and under the EU ceiling by the end of 2013. “Greece has to realize the tough situation it is in and prepare a credible plan of reducing the deficit, which would contain details of how they plan to do it, not only empty promises,” said an EU official who declined to be named. After winning elections on Oct. 4 on promises of wage hikes and social spending, the socialists revealed the defeated conservatives had under-reported fiscal problems, and vowed to fix them with a 4-year plan. Measures included tax hikes, a more effective battle against tax evasion and a public sector hiring freeze. But markets and analysts were not convinced, asking for specific spending cuts especially in the state sector wage bill. Rating agencies downgraded Greek debt and the cost of Greek borrowing rose. “Markets want to see long-term measures, not short-term corrections, to ensure that fiscal consolidation will be sustainable. The set of policies should also look at the path of salaries which are not in line with productivity growth,” said Marion Dezenter, an economist with Helaba Landesbank. — Reuters



KSE enters positive territory Global Daily Market Report

percent. On the other hand, Housing Finance Company (ISKAN) was the biggest decliner for the day, dropping by 7.14 percent and closed at KD0.130. Sector wise, all of Global’s sectoral indices ended on a positive note yesterday except for Global Insurance Index which was unchanged. Global Services Index was the top gainer, up 2.32 percent backed by declines witnessed in

the telecom companies. Among them, heavyweights Zain and National Mobile Telecommunications Company posted gains of 2.08 percent and 1.32 percent, respectively. In addition, Agility, the second biggest advancer in the market, added 9.62 percent and closed at KD0.570. Global Investment Index posted a 1.83 percent gain making it the second biggest gainer backed by Al-Safat Investment

Company. Furthermore, Kuwait Projects Company (Holding), the largest company in the sector, posted a 3.23 percent gain to end the day at KD0.480. In regards to Global special indices, they all ended on a positive note with Global Large Cap Index being the top gainer. The index ended the day up 1.53 percent backed by six companies ending in the green with the remaining four being unchanged.

Markets up in more active trade, await Q4 results MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) ended yesterday’s session in positive territory the first stock rally in the New Year. Furthermore, the rise coincides with a rally in the international stock, oil and gold markets. Global General Index (GGI) added 2.59 points (+1.42 percent) during yesterday’s session to reach 184.40 points. Furthermore, the Kuwait Stock Exchange Price Index posted a gain of 79.40 points (1.15 percent), to close at 6,970.30 points. Market capitalization was up KD419.99mn yesterday to reach KD29.94bn. Market breadth During the session, 131 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards advancers as 89 equities gained versus 23 that retreated. A total of 92 stocks remained unchanged during yesterday’s trading session. Trading activities ended on a positive note yesterday as volume of shares traded on the exchange was up 111.72 percent to reach 531.95mn shares. Furthermore, value of shares traded increased by 101.34 percent to stand at KD67.89mn. The Investment Sector was both the volume and value leader yesterday, accounting for 45.60 percent of total shares traded and 33.43 percent of total traded value. International Financial Advisors was the volume and value leader with 84.64mn shares changing hands at a total traded value of KD7.81mn. In terms of top gainers, AlSafat Investment Company and Agility were the top gainers in the market, both adding 9.62

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Oil news The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $78.18 a barrel on Monday 4/1/2010, compared with $77.16 recorded the previous Thursday, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. Kuwaiti crude oil went up 82 cents to come to $77.53 per barrel on Monday, compared to Thursday’s price, according to the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.

DUBAI: Middle East markets advanced in brisker trade yesterday, although gains were modest as wary investors await full-year results. Kuwait was the standout performer, rising 1.2 percent in its largest gain for more than two weeks, Saudi Arabia advanced for a fourth day as telecoms rallied and Oman hit a fresh 10-week closing high. In Abu Dhabi, volumes more than tripled from the previous day, helping the UAE capital’s index reach a three-week closing high as investors switched cash from Dubai and its heavyweight listing Emaar Properties. “The appetite for Emaar is slowing down and there is a shift towards Abu Dhabi especially Aldar and Sorouh, which have been lagging the market for the past couple of weeks,” said Chamel Fahmy, Beltone Financial regional senior sales trader. “We’re seeing some foreign investors coming in but this isn’t long-term money.” Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate rose 3.4 and 3.7 percent respectively. Dana Gas climbed 5.3 percent after the firm said its Egypt subsidiary boosted production. Dubai’s index climbed 0.1 percent, with Emaar ending flat after giving up initial gains as investors soon discounted Monday’s opening of Emaar-built Burj Khalifa, formerly known as Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest structure. “People need to look at the bigger picture and its full-year earnings to see how well it is diversifying from the Dubai real estate sector,” said Matthew Wakeman, EFG-Hermes’ managing director for cash and equity-linked trading. Saudi Telecom Co and Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) were the most significant gainers in Saudi Arabia, rising 2 and 2.9 percent respectively.“Mobily has been doing quite nicely over the past week or so it had fallen to the low 40s (riyals) for no real reason apart from maybe the fallout from Dubai’s debt,” said a Riyadh-based analyst who asked not to be identified. “It had a bad time, but then bargain-hunters entered the stock and it has been building momentum. People are also buying Saudi Telecom as a catch-up.” Saudi Arabia’s index climbed 0.6 percent. Volumes rose for a fourth day, but remain markedly below the three-month average. “Oil prices are doing nicely and the global situation is looking good, which is helping to build

confidence locally,” the Riyadh-based analyst added. Oil was up 0.4 percent at $81.82 a barrel at 1248 GMT, rising for a ninth day, while world stocks reached their highest level since September 2008 as optimism about the global economy boosted investor risk appetite. These gains also helped Egypt’s bourse which rose 1.5 percent as Orascom Telecom surged 3.8 percent to a two-week high. Kuwait heavyweights clawed back most of the previous day’s losses, with Zain adding 2.1 percent and Agility surging 9.6 percent. “The market is doing quite well, driven mostly by Agility and Zain-there’s no news flow, just interest coming back into the market, with the New Year seeing new allocations coming through,” said Shahid Hameed, Global Investment House head of asset management for the Gulf region. “Until January-end the market will be stable to positive and I don’t see any downside risk for the time being.” HIGHLIGHTS DUBAI The index edged up 0.1 percent to 1,819 points. ABU DHABI The benchmark rose 0.6 percent to 2,775 points. SAUDI ARABIA The measure climbed 0.6 percent to 6,239 points. OMAN The index rose 0.8 percent to 6,471 points. QATAR The measure climbed 0.7 percent to 7,006 points. EGYPT The index rose 1.5 percent to 6,420 points. BAHRAIN The index rose 0.2 to 1,450 points. — Reuters


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Kraft sells pizza unit to Nestle to help fund bid

Kraft sweetens Cadbury offer as Nestle drops out NEW YORK/LONDON: Nestle ruled itself out of a bid war over Cadbury and Kraft sweetened its $16.4 billion offer with a bigger cash portion, raising expectations the US food group will win its prize. Kraft’s revised 10.2 billion pound ($16.4 billion) proposal adds 60 pence cash per share to the offer to tempt

BERLIN: People enter a job center in Berlin yesterday. The number of unemployed in Germany rose in December by 60,000 amid the global economic downturn, pushing the jobless rate up to 7.8 percent, according to official figures released yesterday. — AP

German jobless rate rises in December BERLIN: The number of unemployed in Germany rose in December by 60,000 amid the global economic downturn, pushing the jobless rate up to 7.8 percent, official figures released yesterday showed. The Federal Labor Office said the German unemployment rate grew by 0.2 percentage points from November. A total of 3.27 million people were without jobs in Germany at the end of last year, compared with 3.22 million people in November. For the full-year of 2009, an average of 3.423 million Germans were out of work, an increase of 155,000 as compared with 2008. The current jobless rate is close to the sensitive 8 percent level but less than expected. “Despite the deep recession, the job market remained robust in 2009,” Labor Office director Frank-Juergen Weise said. “Although the number of jobless rose compared to the previous year, it was not as much as feared.” The German economy,

Europe’s biggest, emerged from recession in the second quarter of 2009 and is on course to keep growing, but the government has warned that unemployment is expected to keep rising in the coming months. Initial estimates by the office show that some 130,000 to 140,000 people were working on government-funded short-term contracts as part of a program aimed at keeping Germans in jobs. Economists praised the program for stabilizing the German labor market. “Companies are being encouraged to hang onto the bulk of their work force,” wrote Timo Klein in a research note from IHS Global Insight, adding that the program allows further increases in demand to be responded to quite rapidly. According to official government figures from late December, Germany spent almost 5 billion euros ($7.18 billion) on the program. — AP

shareholders in the British maker of Dairy Milk chocolate and Trident gum, but reduces the stock portion of the hostile offer accordingly. The extra cash brings the cash portion to 360 pence and is funded from a deal whereby Switzerland’s Nestle will buy Kraft’s North American frozen pizza business for $3.7 billion.

Cadbury renewed its rejection of the Kraft takeover bid, once again calling it “derisory”. Cadbury shares fell after Nestle, the world’s biggest food group, said it did “not intend to make, or participate in, a formal offer” for the British confectioner. They fell as low of 786 pence before trading off 1.9 percent at 790 pence by 1230 GMT compared to Kraft’s cash and share bid which valued Cadbury shares at 743 pence yesterday. “Nestle’s decision effectively leaves Kraft as the overwhelming front-runner....Nestle’s decision effectively removes Ferrero and Hershey from the field as competitive forces,” said analyst Jeremy Batstone-Carr at Charles Stanley. US-based Hershey and Italy’s Ferrero expressed interest in bidding for Cadbury in November but they need to come up with fully financed bids by Jan. 23 to succeed under British takeover rules. Analysts had expected Nestle might team up with Hershey, while Ferrero was seen as needing financial help. Analyst Martin Deboo at Investec Securities said Kraft had effectively bought Nestle’s silence in the bid process while the likelihood of a competitive auction for Cadbury had fallen. “We viewed Nestle as holding the key to any competitive auction in that their participation would have liberated an otherwise financing and ambition-constrained Hershey and/or Ferrero to make a run,” he said. Many analysts and investors expect Kraft will need to pay 800 pence per share or above to win over Cadbury, and Deboo sees Kraft’s ultimate valuation of Cadbury at 820 pence. “The decision not to pursue Cadbury was always clear despite market speculation to the contrary. Now it’s in the open,” said independent analyst James Amoroso. “The Cadbury race is a one-horse race. Now Kraft has some more cash to put behind the bid.”

In this combo made from file photos, packages of Kraft American cheese singles at a store in Chicago (top) and Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars at a store in London are shown. — AP

Kraft said the move was made “because of the desire expressed by some Cadbury security holders to have a greater proportion of the offer in cash” and because some of its own shareholders had asked it to use fewer Kraft shares. Cadbury was defiant. “Kraft has once again missed the point. Despite this tinkering, the value of the Kraft offer remains unchanged and derisory with less than half the consideration in cash,” a spokesman told Reuters. Kraft said it would give detailed terms of the alternative by Jan. 19, the last day it is allowed to amend its offer under British takeover rules. The US food maker also extended its deadline for shareholders to accept its offer to Feb 2. Cadbury shareholders have said in the past that a bigger cash portion would help, but one investor was unimpressed by the new proposal yesterday. “This doesn’t really change anything. It was never really the form of the deal that was the problem, it was always the price,” said a top 20 Cadbury investor. Nestle’s sale of a majority stake in eyecare group Alcon to Novartis this week has left it with plenty of cash for acquisitions, even after launching a new 10 billion Swiss franc share buyback, which had fuelled speculation it could enter the fray for Cadbury. Nestle said the frozen pizza business it was buying from Kraft, which had 2009 sales of $2.1 billion, would boost its earnings per share in the first full year of ownership and that synergies, at an estimated 7 percent of sales, would be fully realized within five years. “Nestle’s acquisition of the Kraft pizza business is certainly not a cheap one,” said Richard Withagen, analyst at SNS Securities who has a ‘reduce’ rating on Nestle shares and a price target of 44 Swiss francs. “While the company has a strong track record in realizing synergies, it needs them to make this deal value accretive.” — Reuters

LONDON: Aviva Investors has bought US asset manager River Road for an undisclosed sum and will use the acquisition to roll out its equity products globally while targeting business from the US retirement market, chief executive Alain Dromer said. The Louisville-based value equity manager River Road has $3.6 billion in assets under management-less than 1 percent of Aviva Investors’ $364 billion. “One of the key things we want to be known for is our ability to address retirement issues,” Dromer told Reuters. “We see this as a massive opportunity for growth.” The aim is to combine River

Road’s equity offerings with Aviva’s existing fixed income capabilities to appeal to both big US pension funds and individuals via their 401(k) retirement plans. Aviva Investors’ North American business, which is based in Iowa, currently has some $46 billion under management. Dromer also wants to take River Road’s strategies to non-US clients to plug a gap in Aviva’s existing equity offering. “They already have clients outside the US but we plan to accelerate this.” He said he saw no need to cut any staff from the 25-strong team, as River Road was already a lean organization.

“We see this as a growth story-there is an opportunity to develop this business very quickly,” he said. This could come about by adding assets to existing strategies-although River Road has a limited range, one of which is closed to new accounts-or by adding new products. “There are some ideas in the making. The platform is scaleable and can accommodate new fund managers,” he said. Parent group Aviva said last year that it planned to look for takeover opportunities after freeing up cash through cost and dividend cuts, and through the partial flotation of its Dutch subsidiary, Delta

Lloyd. Britain and mainland Europe-focused Aviva is keen to expand in fast-growing Asian and US markets. The company entered the US in earnest in 2006 with the 1.6 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) acquisition of life insurer AmerUs, and reinforced its position there in October last year by listing its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Dromer said there were no plans for further acquisitions in the funds division at present, with the focus now on organic growth. “The group appetite for acquisitions was limited to US equities,” he said. “At the moment this is it.” — Reuters

Mauritania releases three businessmen in fraud case Aviva seeks global rollout from US equity acquisition

NOUAKCHOTT: Three Mauritanian businessmen detained last month on charges of embezzling millions of euros of public funds were released yesterday after agreeing to repay the disputed money, a defense lawyer said. National Bank of Mauritania director Mohamed Ould Noueiguedh, Islamic Bank of Mauritania owner Chrif Ould Abdalahi and entrepreneur Abdou Maham had been accused of embezzling the money from the country’s central bank in 2001 and 2002. The men, who have links to the Smassid tribe of former ruler Maaouiya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya, agreed to repay the money after six hours of negotiations in the central bank without legal representation, the defense lawyer said. “This proves that it’s not a judicial question, but a political one ... where negotiating is done in the shadows,” said Maitre Ebetty, part of the group’s

defense team. Mohammed Ould Maouloud of the opposition UPF party earlier said of the case that President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz “wants to manage the fight against corruption all by himself to be able to use it against his opponents”. Neither the three men nor representatives of the central bank and prosecuting authorities were immediately available for comment. Former presidential guardsman Abdel Aziz overthrew the Islamic country’s first democratically elected leader in an August 2008 bloodless coup he justified in part by accusing the former regime of corruption. He was later voted in as head of state in July polls which his opponents disputed but which have marked the start of Mauritania’s reacceptance into the international community after aid was suspended in reaction to the military takeover. — Reuters

NEW DELHI: Photographers take pictures of Honda’s New Small Concept car (left) at the 10th Auto Expo 2010 in New Delhi yesterday. — AFP

NEW DELHI: Mercedes-Benz India Chief Executive Officer Wilfried Aulbur poses with an AMG Desert Gold concept car at the 10th Auto Expo in New Delhi yesterday.— AP

Small cars take centre stage at Delhi auto show NEW DELHI: A host of new small cars were yesterday set to jostle for attention at the start of the Indian auto show, a showpiece event for compact vehicles in one of the world’s fastest growing markets. AutoExpo 2010, which runs in New Delhi until January 11, will feature global releases of cars designed for India’s growing middle classes, whose appetite for vehicles is driving sales growth of more than 10 percent a year. Recent months have seen foreign giants Ford, General Motors, Hyundai and Renault join a stampede to India, where each has promised a small, cheap model designed for what Ford boss Alan Mulally termed the “sweet spot” of the market. Many of these will be on display during the week, including concept small cars from Japan’s Honda and Toyota, General Motors’ new Beat vehicle, as well as the India-made Polo by Germany’s Volkswagen. Organisers are keen to stress the range of cars and technology on display, the 40percent increase in exhibition space compared with the last edition in 2008 and the

more than 2,000 exhibitors from 30 countries. “That’s what makes us feel now that Delhi is as big and as important as any auto show in the world,” Pawan Goenka, president of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), told reporters Monday. Ahead of the event, General Motors took the wraps off its Beat model which it intends to sell in more than 150 countries worldwide including Europe, parts of Asia and North America. Karl Slym, head of GM India, said the Beat, priced at 334,000 rupees ($7,000) in its basic form, would help increase Indian sales by 30 percent this year to 100,000 units, but he admitted that the competition was getting tough. “There is a competitive market in India,” he told reporters. “There are more and more players coming in with different capabilities.” All new entrants are looking to unseat Indo-Japanese alliance Maruti Suzuki, which accounts for 55 percent of all car sales in India and has been a top selling brand for

two decades. This year’s show is the 10th, but it first caught the world’s attention in 2008 when Indian manufacturer Tata Motors unveiled its Nano, the world’s cheapest car that has since hit the roads. The 115,000-rupee ($2,500) Nano kickstarted the race to produce cheap, small vehicles, which account for 80 percent of all car sales in India. French automaker Renault and Japanese partner Nissan aim to challenge this price level with an ultra-low cost car in 2012. Renault has projected India’s car sales will more than triple within a decade to six million sales annually from 1.8 million. Incomes are rising steadily, meaning Indians are following the familiar pattern of upgrading their personal transport from push bikes, to motorbikes, then to cars. Ten global launches of vehicles from heavy trucks to two-wheelers are planned at the Delhi event, which will see an expected 1.8 million visitors pass through its doors. — AFP

NEW DELHI: Tata Motors Chairman Ratan Tata (second left), Managing Director Ravi Kant (third left) and other officials pose at the launch of the Jaguar XJ at the 10th Auto Expo in New Delhi yesterday. — AP



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 sunset leads to eerie predicament on death and taxes WASHINGTON: America’s millionaires and billionaires can die now, and not pay later under a quirk in the US estate tax law that Congress failed to act on in 2009. The inheritance tax, which critics deride as a “death tax,” officially expired on December 31 for those who pass away in 2010. But a stiff tax will come back for anyone who survives into 2011. This bizarre scenario results from a law enacted in 2001 under president George W Bush, which gradually phased out the estate tax by increasing the exemption to 3.5 million dollars in 2009, and eliminated the tax entirely in 2010.

For budget reasons, the law had a “sunset” provision that meant it would expire and the tax would return in 2011 at the pre-enactment levels of 55 percent of any inheritance amounts above one million dollars. Paul Krugman, a Princeton economist and Nobel laureate, said that he dubbed the 2001 law the “Throw Momma from the Train Act” but that “I didn’t really think that we’d get to the point where there would be strong financial incentives for wealthy heirs to bump off their parents.” But because Congress failed to act, Krugman wrote on his blog, “it’s really happening.” The estate tax has

been among the most bitterly debated in the past decade. A number of conservatives have sought to abolish the so-called “death tax,” saying it hurts family farms and businesses. Others, including some wealthy Americans who would be subject to the tax, say that killing the tax would simply be another giveaway to megarich families who don’t need it. The macabre reality of 2010 has led to speculation, both tragic and comic, about the implications of the tax-free “opportunity” if the law is not amended. Bill Gates senior, father of the Microsoft founder and supporter of the estate tax, wrote in a column with

activist Chuck Collins that the current tax loophole evokes fiction novels in which “seemingly robust and healthy billionaires perish in mysterious accidents” while “multimillionaires die with smiles on their faces knowing they’ve outfoxed Uncle Sam one last time.” More seriously, the Wall Street Journal reported that some wealthy Americans were kept on life support through the end of 2009, while others were considering a trip to the Netherlands in 2010 to take advantage of an assisted suicide law for terminally ill patients, with the tax loophole in mind. Lee Farris, an estate tax specialist

at United for a Fair Economy, which supports reinstatement of the inheritance tax, said the current situation is unfortunate. “I think people should make life and death plans on what’s best for that person and not on tax law,” she said. “People are very upset that Congress has not taken care of this. They’ve had eight years of notice.” Farris said that Congress is likely to enact a law retroactive to January 1, 2010, but that may be tested in the courts. William Ahern of the Tax Foundation said: “People with taxable estates will die tomorrow and every day of 2010, and executors are supposed to rely on the law as it

stands. Would the federal government really try to collect tax revenue that had already been lawfully distributed to heirs or charities?” The House of Representatives in December passed a measure that would freeze the estate tax at current levels, allowing for amounts up to 3.5 million dollars to be exempted, and a top tax rate of 45 percent. But the Senate failed to act on the measure. Collins, co-founder of the activist group Wealth for the Common Good, expresses disbelief that Congress would leave the country in such a predicament. “I never thought this day would come,” he said. “I thought Congress would act

either to abolish the estate tax or reform it. The idea that the estate tax would go away one year and come back is unbelievable.” Still, Collins argues that the return of tax in 2011 will create pressure on lawmakers to find a compromise. Meanwhile, the state of limbo has led to a nightmare to tax advisers and estate planners as well as families. “The so-called ‘death tax’ is now taking on a completely different meaning,” says Kelly Phillips Erb, a tax attorney in Philadelphia. “As morbid as it seems, the timing of your death-if you’re wealthy, that isclearly matters.” —AFP

Japan FM wants to go after budget battle Hatoyama under pressure, asks Fujii to stay on TOKYO: Japan’s aged finance minister offered to quit yesterday after weeks of exhausting debate over the budget, media said, a fresh blow for Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama as he wrestles with a stubbornly frail economy and huge public debt. Hatoyama said he wanted 77-

year-old Hirohisa Fujii to stay on, but if he does go it could put the fiscal restraint he has championed at risk and weigh on government bonds, though for now investors are reassured that bond issuance for 2010-11 is set. “I want him to keep doing his best,” Hatoyama told reporters after broadcaster NTV said that Fujii-who has high blood pressure-had told Hatoyama he was worried he could not cope with a day of questioning in parliament due later this month. Hatoyama took office in September after his Democratic Party (DPJ) overturned almost five decades of unbroken rule by the Liberal Democrats, but his popular support has sagged in recent weeks due to his growing reputation as an indecisive leader. Finding a successor for Fujii from within the inexperienced ranks of his party will be another test for him ahead of a mid-year upper house election that will weaken the DPJ’s ability to pass legislation if they lose. “The market had a sense of trust in the government because of Fujii’s leadership in compiling the budget,” said Toshihiko Sakai, manager of foreign exchange trading at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust Bank. “The budget is already put in shape, but a lack of Fujii’s leadership could mean political instability in the future and is therefore negative for Japanese government bonds.” Often serving as the voice of fiscal restraint, Fujii was the main proponent of sticking to a cap of around 44 trillion yen ($476.8 billion) on new TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Yukio hatoyama and Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii attend a cabinet meet- bond issuance for the year from as the government looks to ing at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo yesterday. Fujii, 77, has offered to resign for health rea- April contain a mountain of debt. sons, but was asked by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to remain in the post. —AFP Were he to stand down after just over three months in the job, Hatoyama would struggle to find a lawmaker with both his expertise in budgetary matters and the political clout needed to resist pressure to spend more on economic stimulus projects, which would inflate the already huge public debt. “If Fujii were to step down, markets are likely to start worrying that his successor would call approved by the Icelandic LONDON: Britain’s Treasury for expansive fiscal spending to parliament on December 31, said yesterday that it expectachieve the government’s calls for the payout of 3.8 biled Iceland to meet its “obliggrowth target,” said Seiji Adachi, lion euros ($5.4 billion) to ations” to compensate the senior economist at Deutsche the British and Dutch govgovernment over the failure Securities. ernments for having compenof Icesave bank. “The UK “Even if Fujii stays on, he sated more than 320,000 government expects Iceland may not be able to push for fiscal British and Dutch savers to live up to its obligations,” a discipline further given his who lost money in the colTreasury spokesperson said health problems.” lapse of the Icelandic bank. after Iceland’s president Fujii’s two deputies, Icesave-an online subrefused to sign a bill to repay Yoshihiko Noda and Naoki sidiary of the Landsbanki Britain for reimbursing Minezaki, are possibilities for bank which had to be resIcesave investors. replacing him, as well as other cued in October 2008 — “The Treasury will concabinet members such as attracted foreign savers sult with colleagues in National Strategy Minister because of its high interest Iceland to understand why Naoto Kan. this bill has not been passed REYKJAVIK: Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar rates. But they lost their Fujii said earlier he was waitsavings when accounts were and will work with them, the Grimsson announces yesterday in Reykjavik in a ing for final results of medical frozen during the devastatNetherlands and within the tests after being hospitalised last EU to resolve this issue as speech televised to the nation that he would not sign a ing credit crunch. The week suffering from exhaustion, soon as possible,” the controversial bill to compensate the British and Dutch British and Dutch savers that a decision on whether spokesperson added. governments over the failure of Icesave bank, instead were partially compensated and he should stay in the post should by their own governments, Iceland’s President Olafur referring the issue to a referendum. —AFP be made before parliament conwhich then turned to Ragnar Grimsson said yestervenes later this month. The Reykjavik looking for the day he would not sign a con- the British and Dutch gov- the issue to a referendum. results of the medical tests were The Icesave bill, narrowly money paid out. —AFP troversial bill to compensate ernments, instead referring likely this weekend, Jiji news agency said, citing sources. Even if he stays in the post, health problems may cast doubt on whether Fujii is fit enough for a job that requires overseeing SEOUL: North Korea has upgraded the “Rason City was designated as a munic- ties in the city. the world’s second-largest econstatus of a free trade zone near its border ipality” in a decree issued by the “It is an expression of North Korea’s omy, making frequent overseas with China and Russia as it looks to boost Presidium of the Supreme People’s will to attract foreign investment and also trips and attending hours of foreign investment, state media said yes- Assembly (parliament), the official Korean to strengthen ties especially with China,” debate in parliament. terday. Central News Agency said. The cabinet Seoul’s Dongguk University professor “The concern in the market The move is also seen by analysts as a and relevant organs “shall take practical Kim Yong-Hyun told AFP. is whether there will be a delay further attempt by Pyongyang to reassert measures to implement the decree,” it But the isolated communist country in parliament deliberations on government control of the faltering econo- said. Analysts say the move to upgrade the will be cautious in opening its doors to the the budget,” said Akitsugu my, more than a month after North Korea zone to a municipality reflects outside world without progress in efforts Bandou, senior economist at drastically revalued its currency. Pyongyang’s fresh drive to revitalize the to improve relations with the United Okasan Securities. “It’s better if Three weeks ago North Korean leader area through cooperation with China and States, analysts say. a decision on whether he stays is Kim Jong-Il reportedly visited the north- Russia. In a policy-setting New Year joint edimade before parliament coneastern city of Rason, formerly RajinNorth Korea and Russia have agreed to torial, the North’s state newspapers called venes. But it’s also unclear Sonbong, which became a special econom- renovate a cross-border railway and port for an end to hostile relations with whether there will be a smooth ic zone in 1991 but never fulfilled its pro- facilities in Rason. China has also been Washington, vowing to work towards a transition if a new person were posed role as a transport hub. actively exploring investment opportuni- nuclear-free peninsula. —AFP to take over the job.” —Reuters

Britain expects Iceland to meet Icesave ‘obligations’

North Korea looks to boost failed trade zone

CALMA, Chile: Workers at Chile’s Chuquicamata copper mine wait during a general assembly at the start of a strike in Calama. Workers at two mines owned by Chile’s Codelco company, the world’s biggest copper mining concern, went on strike Monday demanding higher pay and better work benefits. —AFP

Major Chilean copper mines go on strike SANTIAGO: Workers at two mines owned by Chile’s Codelco company, the world’s biggest copper mining concern, went on strike demanding higher pay and better work benefits. Miners at the Chuquicamata and Mina Sur mines, which together account for four percent of the world’s copper production, are calling for a 7.5 percent pay hike, as copper prices hit a 17-month peak at more than 7,500 dollars per ton. Analysts said copper prices were sent higher by the strike, amid fears that market supply of the commodity will become tighter. Both mines belong to Codelco, the state-owned National Copper Corporation of Chile, which produces around 1.6 million tons of copper per year and employs around 5,600 workers. About a third of the unionized miners failed to show up when their shifts began at 5:00 am (0800 GMT) Monday. Union leaders said 95 percent of the work force at the two mines joined the strike. “From the start of the day, we’ve been monitoring the general situation and it is peaceful,”

Codelco’s human resources chief Humberto Fernandois told reporters. Some banners posted outside mining headquarters proclaimed: “All of Chile is benefiting from copper except Calama,” referring to a town near Chuquicamata, the biggest open-pit copper mine in the world. Codelco said it has contingency plans to cope with the strike, but offered no details. La Tercera daily said the company has enough copper reserves for 30 days and will be able to honor all its January contracts. The company later made a new offer to workers, raising its proposed wage hike from 3.8 percent to 4.0 percent and increasing a bonus payment in a bid to end the strike. Union leader Hernan Guerrero said the offer would be discussed at an emergency meeting of the rank and file, who would vote on it today. Codelco said in a statement its new offer was made “in the belief it is possible to work with union leaders and workers” toward a solution. The government regretted the strike action in one of the treasury’s biggest revenue-generating

sectors. “We did everything possible to avoid it, but it could not be done. This is not good for the country,” said President Michelle Bachelet as the strike got under way. Codelco has been beset by strikes and other worker actions in recent years, which have forced concessions from the company. The copper mining firm could lose eight million dollars per day of strike action, Fernandois said. The miners’ demands for more concessions come as the price of copper, which fell significantly during the global economic crisis, has jumped in recent months amid renewed demand from China, the world’s largest copper consumer. Copper prices have rocketed by more than 130 percent since early 2009, driven by signs of global economic recovery after the steep worldwide downturn. Chile had a copper output of some 5.3 million tons in 2008, and was estimated to have produced a similar amount last year, accounting for about one third of global production. —AFP

Polish roads lobby accuses Chinese firm of dumping WARSAW: Poland’s motorway constructors have leveled claims of unfair competition against a Chinese group which cracked their country’s highways market, a letter obtained by AFP yesterday said. “We note that the bid by the Chinese consortium is based on a price far below the value of the tender, which constitutes unfair competition,” the constructors’ lobby group, the OIGD, said in a letter to European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso. The letter-sent to Barroso because the commission polices competition rules across the 27nation European Union-alleged that Beijing was helping Chinese firms skew foreign markets. The OIGD urged the commission to take antidumping measures against the China Overseas Engineering Group Company (COVEC) In September, COVEC beat several European competitors in the race to build 49 kilometers (30 miles) of the A2 highway linking the Polish and German capitals, Warsaw and Berlin. The construction is part of Poland’s ongoing issuing of tenders as it drives to upgrade its infrastructure in time to co-host the 2012 European football championships.

COVEC was chosen by Poland’s state roads and highways company-and experts from Europe’s construction and public works lobby said the deal was unprecedented in the EU. In its letter, the OIGD noted that COVEC’s bid was 1.3 billion zloty (319 million euros, $456 billion). “That was 48 percent less than the estimated cost of the tender. It was also 23 percent less than the second-lowest bid,” it said, and claimed the Chinese government would simply cover COVEC’s losses. The OIGD insisted that it was “unacceptable to allow firms from outside the EU that take advantage of subsidies from their nations to compete with firms in the single market”. Ex-communist Poland, a relatively large central European country of 38 million people that joined the EU in 2004, has a transport network which needs massive upgrading to bring it up to the standards of its Western neighbors. The poor state of the infrastructure is a legacy of underinvestment during five decades of communism and of a failure to get enough road projects underway since the fall of the old regime in 1989. —AFP


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Obama administration seeks more wireless spectrum WASHINGTON: The Obama administration is calling on federal regulators to make more radio spectrum available for wireless Internet services so they can compete with broadband plans provided by the major phone and cable companies. Lawrence Strickling, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission on Monday that wireless connections

offer the best hope for injecting new competition into the duopoly market for broadband services in the United States. The NTIA, an arm of the Commerce Department, offered its input as the FCC drafts a plan for bringing affordable high-speed Internet access to all Americans. That plan, mandated by last year’s stimulus bill, is due next month. The NTIA letter draws heavily on a Justice Department analysis of the

state of competition in the broadband market, which was filed with the FCC on Monday. That analysis says it is premature to know whether next-generation, wireless services will be fast enough and reliable enough to become a viable alternative to offerings from phone and cable companies. But the Justice Department warns that the high cost of building such wire-based networks means there will likely be limited competi-

tion — with at most two choices and, in many places, just one service fast enough to handle applications that require a lot of bandwidth. Finding more radio spectrum for wireless Internet connections is therefore “a primary tool for promoting broadband competition,” Strickling wrote in the NTIA letter. The NTIA’s recommendations to the FCC include exploring ways to make more efficient use of the airwaves — for instance, by developing

new access technologies and encouraging users to share spectrum — and examining whether to reallocate spectrum now in the hands of other commercial and government users. The FCC is already considering reallocating some frequencies held by television broadcasters, which have mounted an aggressive campaign to hang onto their spectrum. Wireless companies are also eyeing bands used by satellite-communica-

tions companies and federal agencies such as the Pentagon. The industry is asking the government to make an additional 800 megahertz of spectrum available to license to wireless companies for voice and data services over the next six years. That would be a huge expansion from the industry’s current slice of roughly 500 megahertz. Ben Scott, policy director for the public interest group Free Press, said the Obama administration’s

analysis of the broadband sector offers a “sober portrait” of an industry with very limited competition. Free Press, for one, is urging federal policy makers to consider forcing big telecom companies to share their networks with rivals — an approach played down in the NTIA letter. Still, Strickling said, the administration is committed to finding “the proper balance between regulation and market forces in the Internet environment.” — AP

Nexus One is a worthy rival for the iPhone

‘Google phone’ fever high on eve of Android event SAN FRANCISCO: Google is expected to step into the mobile arena today with its own Nexus One smartphone in a direct challenge to Apple’s heavyweight iPhone handsets. Google has seized the spotlight in a week when the technology world’s attention would typically turn to a premier Consumer

LAS VEGAS: In this Jan 11, 2009 file photo, an attendee shakes hands with Hoovers Mobile’s remote controlled, Robot Hoovie, at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. — AP

Gadget makers focus on cost-effective temptations NEW YORK: Electronics sales rebounded in the just-ended holiday season, but the industry’s biggest event will still have the recession hanging over it. The International Consumer Electronics Show, which opens today, will be smaller than usual, with key products unveiled at prices that are far from extravagant. Manufacturers will use the show in Las Vegas to trot out the devices they hope will keep consumers opening their wallets, despite high unemployment. TVs with 3-D displays, svelte laptops and e-book readers will be the hottest categories. Gadget makers are in a much better mood than they were a year ago, when they were shocked by a 27 percent decline in holiday sales of electronics and appliances. In the month leading up to the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, exhibitors were canceling because they were concerned about the economy, said Jason Oxman, senior vice president at the Consumer Electronics Association, the trade association that organizes CES. In contrast, in the just-ended shopping season, revenue from electronics sales in the U.S. between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 rose 5.9 percent from the same period of 2008, according to an estimate by MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, which tracks all forms of payment, including cash. The analysts don’t give a dollar figure. And this time CES exhibitors were adding themselves to the lineup in the week before the show, Oxman said. “There’s a great deal of enthusiasm leading into 2010 that just wasn’t there in the 2009 show,” he said. The association expects 2,500 exhibitors and 110,000 attendees, roughly flat with last year but still down considerably from 2007, when 144,000 people came. CES, which began in 1967, was originally focused on home entertainment gear. But with the demise of large computer trade shows in the U.S., CES is now the main venue not just for audio and video giants like Panasonic Corp., but also such pillars of the computing world as Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer will kick off the show with a keynote speech Wednesday night, an annual role he took over from Chairman Bill Gates last year. Missing from the show, as usual, will be one of the biggest trendsetters in electronics: Apple Inc., which reveals its products at its own events. For TV makers, CES is the opportunity to demonstrate sets that will hit stores by summer, and to preview technologies that will be available next holiday season. The manufacturers have been fortunate that the U.S. is still in what is considered a TV upgrade cycle, with households replacing their old tube sets with flat panels. That trend hasn’t even slowed in the recession. Research firm iSuppli estimates that 33.8 million flat-panel sets were shipped in the U.S. in 2009, up 17 percent from 2008. A major reason is that prices keep declining — a 32-inch (81-centimeter) flat

panel can now be had for just over $300, which is about what old tube TVs used to cost. But new technologies that yield better picture quality and thinner sets have also enticed buyers, according to iSuppli analyst Riddhi Patel. The challenge for manufacturers is to keep flat panels hot. In 2010, technologies already available now are likely to be enough to drive sales, Patel believes. But to keep the excitement going, manufacturers will be rolling out 3-D TV sets later in the year, and that will be a major topic at CES. Bulky rear-projection sets with 3-D capabilities have been available for a few years, but now flat panels will get the 3-D treatment, and there finally will be a way for consumers to bring 3-D movies into the home. In December, the industry group behind the Blu-ray disc format said it had united on a standard for a 3-D version of the disc, and players are expected to be available this year. (You would still need special glasses.) In keeping with the times, 3-D TVs won’t be much more expensive than today’s high-end sets. The difference between 3-D sets and comparable 2-D TVs will likely be less than $200. A 3-D capable Blu-ray player, however, would then add a few hundred dollars to the setup. “The reason this is a blockbuster for TV manufacturers is that for a relatively small incremental hardware cost, they’re able to deliver a phenomenally unique and higher-quality experience,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, which has made several 3-D movies. Laptops have also continued to sell well during the recession, though some of the most popular ones have been small “netbooks” that cost about $300. At CES, there will be plenty of slightly larger laptops featuring new, power-thrifty chips and higher prices. Computer makers hope that consumers who have gotten an appreciation for light laptops from netbooks will want to pay a few hundred dollars more for a bigger screen and keyboard, and better video-playing performance. For the first time, e-book readers will have their own section of the show floor, with 23 exhibitors hoping to follow Inc.’s Kindle to the cusp of the mainstream. Though a reading device like Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook costs $259, a lot more than a single book, it provides access to e-books that are cheaper than the printed versions, largely thanks to Amazon’s aggressive pricing policies. With a strong new product category like ebook readers and a gee-whiz feature like 3-D for the home, coupled with an economic recovery, the show promises to be brighter than last year, if not larger. “Certainly, at this time last year nobody knew what to expect with the state of the economy and what would be happening,” said Tim Alessi, director of product development at LG Electronics USA, which is one of the bigger CES exhibitors. “We’re looking forward to going to the show with a lot less uncertainty.” — AP

“It doesn’t make any sense. It can’t be a true Google phone. I think it is about Android software, but everyone today is guessing.” A true Google phone would be one shipped by the Internet firm, according to the analyst, who believes it is more likely that new generation Android software and applications are being crafted into hardware sold by the manufacturer. “You could call it a Google phone, but it is not going to be a Google phone,” Dulaney said. “If it really is a Google phone, they are going to make people mad. I don’t think they are that stupid.” Google selling its own phone would irk makers of handsets based on Android software. Internet buzz surrounding Nexus One included some reports by people claiming to have toyed with the touchscreen smartphones. One reviewer lauded the Nexus One as a worthy rival for the iPhone, while another contended that Google’s mastery of software wasn’t reflected in the hardware. The Internet search and advertising giant has already gained a foothold in the market with its Android mobile operating system, featured in a number of phones starting with TMobile’s G1 in October 2008 and more recently with the Droid from Motorola. But the Nexus One, designed by Taiwanese handset

Electronics Show that officially begins today in Las Vegas. “Everybody seems to think it is a Google-supplied phone,” Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney said on the eve of what the Internet giant has dubbed an “Android press event” at its Mountain View, California, headquarters.

KIRKLAND: In this Oct. 28, 2009 file photo, a sign on a building is shown at Google Inc.’s new campus in Kirkland, Wash. during a media open house. The first details about Google’s plans for its Nexus One phone were expected to emerge yesterday during a press conference at the company’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. — AP maker HTC, represents a significant departure in that Google is expected to sell the Googlebranded phone directly to consumers who will not be tied to any one telecom carrier. Apple’s popular iPhone, for example, is available exclusively in the United States through AT&T, but buyers of the “Google phone” will reportedly have their choice of wireless carriers. Technology blog Gizmodo, citing leaked documents, said the Nexus One will cost 530 dollars “unlocked”-meaning it isn’t tied to a specific carrier-or 180 dollars with a two-year service agreement with T-Mobile, a subsidiary of Germany’s

Deutsche Telekom AG. Google has been coy about any plans to jump headfirst into the fast-growing smartphone market, dropping hints but not confirming its intentions outright. Agence France-Presse and other media outlets have been invited to a press event on Tuesday at Google headquarters. “With the launch of the first Android-powered device just over a year ago, we’ve seen how a powerful, open platform can spur mobile product innovation,” the invitation said. “And this is just the beginning of what’s possible.” Among the hints dropped by

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

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

Facebook blocks social network ‘suicide’ website WASHINGTON: Facebook said yesterday that it is blocking a website called “Web 2.0 Suicide Machine” that helps users delete their social network profiles. The number one social network also said it had sent a “cease-and-desist” letter to another website,, which also helps you kill off your virtual identity. The Web 2.0 Suicide Machine site, which features a hangman’s noose on its homepage, deletes profiles, friends and other information on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn for users who provide their account information. “This machine lets you delete all your energy sucking social-networking profiles, kill your fake virtual friends, and completely do away with your Web2.0 alterego,” it says. Facebook, in a statement to AFP, said the suicide site was in violation of Facebook rules. “Facebook provides the ability for people who no longer want to use the site to either deactivate their account or delete it completely,” Facebook said. “Web 2.0 Suicide Machine collects login credentials, which is a violation of our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR),” it said. “We’ve blocked the site’s access to Facebook as is our policy for sites that violate our SRR,” Facebook said. “We’re currently investigating and considering whether to take further action.” Facebook, which claims more than 300 million users, also said it had sent “a cease-and-desist letter for similarly violating our policies.” urges users to “impress your friends” and “disconnect yourself” by committing online suicide in the manner of Japanese samurai. Ritual samurai suicide was known as “seppuku.” “As the seppuku restores the samurai’s honour as a warrior, deals with the liberation of the digital body,” the site says. — AFP

Apple Inc. to unveil a tablet-style gadget for consuming music, movies, books and other media.

Apple tablet device coming this month SEATTLE: Speculation intensified Monday that Apple Inc. will soon unveil a tablet-style gadget for consuming music, movies, books and other media. The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is planning to take the wraps off such a device this month and begin shipping it in March. That jibes with several online reports that the company has scheduled an event for Jan. 26 or 27 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, one of Apple’s customary spaces for product launches. The gadget, which online pundits have at different times christened the iTablet and the iSlate, is to have a 10inch to 11-inch (25-centimeter to 28centimeter) touch screen, a bit smaller than those on Apple’s MacBook laptops but larger than the iPhone’s, said the Journal, citing unnamed people briefed on the matter. Apple spokesman Steve Dowling

said the company does not comment on rumors and speculation. Apple, which is based in Cupertino, California, has so far stayed out of the “netbook” category of small laptops with relatively weak processors and sub-$500 price tags. The company has said it doesn’t know how to make a good computer for less than $500, but has indicated it has been considering alternative ideas for that space. Analysts have predicted Apple’s new gadget could cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000, with or without a cellular data plan included. Also on Monday, Sprint Nextel Corp. said it has made a multiyear deal with a startup called Skiff for a thin electronic-book reader that operates over Sprint’s high-speed 3G network as well as Wi-Fi. The Skiff Reader will have an 11.5-inch (29centimeter) screen, larger than those

on competing devices including Inc.’s Kindle, Sony Corp.’s Reader and Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook. Sprint and Skiff tout the device as the thinnest to date, at just over a quarter of an inch thick. The reader’s entire page will be a touch screen, unlike the Kindle, which uses physical buttons for navigation, or the Nook, which has a small built-in touch screen separate from the book page. The Skiff Reader will connect to its own online content store. Skiff said it is also working with other electronics manufacturers to put its technology into a variety of devices. The companies are planning to demonstrate the device at this week’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Its price and availability date were not disclosed. — AP



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

US health care spending slowed in 2008: Study WASHINGTON: The recession dramatically slowed US health care spending to $2.3 trillion in 2008, but it still grew much faster than the economy as a whole, accounting for more than 16 percent of the nation’s economic output, says a new federal analysis. The eye-popping figure of $2.3 trillion — that’s $7,681 per person — underscores the challenges confronting President Barack Obama and lawmakers seeking to overhaul the system. Obama has repeatedly cited spiraling health costs as one of the main reasons Congress needs to pass his health care reform plan, and administration officials said the findings highlighted the need for quick action. “This report contains some welcome news and yet another warning sign,” said Jonathan Blum, a top official at the government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Health care

spending as a percentage of GDP (gross domestic product) is rising at an unsustainable rate. It is clear that we need health insurance reform now.” However, health care experts question whether there are significant cost-containment measures in the legislation passed by House and Senate Democrats before Christmas — and Republicans insist there aren’t. The new report could provide fodder for both sides as lawmakers work to reconcile the House and Senate legislation into a final bill in coming weeks. “I agree we need reform, but both the House and Senate Democrat bills make the problem worse by increasing the cost of health care,” said Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee. “They spend $1 trillion we don’t have and bend the curve the wrong way.” Republicans

cited earlier analyses by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that found the sweeping overhaul legislation that seeks to extend coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans over the next decade would lead to increased health care costs. Democrats counter that the bills begin to slow cost increases over time. However, some cost-saving measures Democrats proposed were blocked or turned into pilot projects after lobbying by doctors, hospitals or other interest groups. One major attempt to bring down health costs is a tax on high-value insurance plans included in the Senate bill but opposed in the House; it’s likely to survive in some form though exactly how remains to be seen. The new analysis by economists at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid appeared yesterday in the journal Health

Affairs. It found that total national health spending grew 4.4 percent in 2008, the slowest rate of increase since CMS began tracking health spending in 1960. By contrast, the growth rate in 2007 was 6 percent. The study seeks to measure all public and private health expenditures. Still, the growth of health costs was higher than the overall growth in gross domestic product, which stood at 2.6 percent in 2008 before adjusting for inflation. Health spending reached 16.2 percent of the gross domestic product in 2008, up from 15.9 percent in 2007. That added up to $2.3 trillion and far higher per-person expenditures than other industrialized countries, although the higher spending is generally not matched by better health outcomes, studies have found. Even with the high spending, the recession made itself felt throughout the health care sector in 2008, with slow-

downs in out-of-pocket spending, private insurance premiums and hospital spending - the latter largely because of loss of revenue from hospitals’ investment incomes. The slowdown in health insurance premium costs might seem counterintuitive, given the complaints of increased health care costs coming from individuals and businesses large and small. Part of the reason is because of the jobs lost in the recession, forcing people off the insurance roles and shrinking the overall cost of premiums nationally. Enrollment in private health insurance declined from 196.4 million in 2007 to 195.4 million in 2008, the report said. “Health care spending is usually somewhat insulated from the immediate impact of a downturn in the economy. But this recession has exerted considerable influence on the health care sector,” said CMS statistician Micah Hartman, a lead

author on the report. Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older, was the only area where the rate of spending growth in 2008 was greater than in 2007. That’s partly because Medicare recipients are largely out of the workforce and therefore more insulated from the recession. The recession also had the effect of shifting a greater share of health spending onto the federal government as the passage of the economic stimulus bill last year sent billions to states to help them with their share of Medicaid costs, including some retroactive costs. Medicaid enrollment in 2008 rose along with unemployment, but overall spending on Medicaid services slowed anyway as cash-strapped states scrimped on costs. Medicaid is the government program that provides health care coverage for the poor. — AP

Document reveals Suleman underwent long series of fertility treatments

California Medical Board accuses octuplet doctor of negligence LOS ANGELES: The fertility doctor who Nadya Suleman claimed helped her conceive her brood of 14 has been formally accused of negligence and violation of professional guidelines by the California Medical Board. The state licensing body said Monday that Beverly Hills fertility doctor Michael Kamrava acted “beyond the reasonable judgment of any treating physician” Kamrava is accused of gross negligence in three instances: Transferring too many embryos, repeatedly transferring fresh embryos when frozen ones were available, and failing to refer Suleman for a mental health evaluation. Kamrava is also accused of giving Suleman too much of a hormone while stimulating in vitro fertilization, poor record keeping and “failure to recognize that N.S.’s behavior was outside the norm and that her conduct was placing her offspring at risk for potential harm.” Calls to Kamrava’s office Monday were not returned. However, his attorney Peter Osinoff said fertility patients aren’t typically screened for mental health problems “unless there is overt evidence of pathology, and there was not overt evidence of pathology, that will be our argument.” He added that Kamrava wants to continue practicing medicine. Dr. Richard Paulson, who heads the fertility program at the University of Southern California, said it sounds like Kamrava did nothing “to prevent this disaster.” “An octuplet pregnancy, in my opinion, is a disaster,” said Paulson, who has no role in the case. Suleman has said she underwent the in vitro treatment that bore octuplets because she didn’t want her frozen embryos to go to waste.

by repeatedly providing fertility treatment to a woman identified in the complaint only by the initials “N.S.” Suleman has previously identified Kamrava as her doctor. The document says his patient became pregnant with octuplets. Suleman gave birth to the world’s longest-living set of octuplets on Jan. 26, 2009. She already had six other children.

BEVERLY HILLS: In this Monday, Feb 9, 2009, file photo, Dr Michael Kamrava, 57, leaves his office in Beverly Hills, Calif. The California Medical Board is accusing a fertility doctor of negligence and violating professional guidelines in the case of a woman who conceived octuplets. — AP However, the complaint said Kamrava never used frozen embryos in her pregnancies, and his lawyer said Suleman requested fresh embryos be used to improve chances of

success. A call to Suleman’s lawyer, Jeff Czech, was not returned Monday. The document reveals Suleman underwent a long

series of fertility treatments from 1997 to 2008 under Kamrava’s care. She first went to Kamrava’s Beverly Hills office at age 21 and underwent artificial insemination using donor sperm. She failed to get pregnant twice using that method. In 1999, Suleman consulted with Kamrava about in vitro fertilization. She underwent a procedure similar to IVF, but it led to an ectopic pregnancy. She began hormone therapy in 2000, commonly done before IVF to improve the chances of harvesting a healthy, viable egg. Her first child was born in 2001. Over the next several years, she repeatedly returned to Kamrava for IVF treatment, usually several months after giving birth, and would freeze the unused eggs. Kamrava had access to frozen eggs but failed to implant them or recommend that Suleman use them, putting her health at increased risk, the complaint said. The medical board also alleged that Kamrava “failed to exercise appropriate judgment and question whether there would be harm to her living children and any future offspring should she continue to conceive.” Kamrava continues to advertise his services in Los Angeles’ large Iranian expatriate community. For the past nine years, he has paid for airtime on Los Angeles’

Iranian radio station, KIRN 670AM, where he hosts a live, weekly call-in show. Kamrava tells listeners he is the inventor of a method that improves chances of pregnancy by using a hysteroscopy to guide the fertilized egg to the uterine lining and adhering it with an “embryo glue.” On a show last year, he said the process allows an embryo to be implanted “precisely each time instead of dropping an embryo blindly into a uterus and hoping it will take, and praying to God it’s in the best place.” The document indicates Suleman agreed to undergo that procedure after failing to get pregnant twice from IVF using fresh eggs. Kamrava transferred “a number of blastocyst embryos far in excess of ” the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s recommendations of one or two embryos, the complaint said. The document does not specify how many embryos were transferred in each pregnancy. Suleman’s difficulties in earlier pregnancies justified the use of more embryos, said Osinoff. “There were guidelines but not standards, and the reason they were guidelines is that there were different ways of care, different numbers of embryos would be applicable to different patients,” he said. — AP

LONDON: Insect keeper Laura Childs looks at a spiny stick insect during the annual stocktaking at London Zoo, yesterday. More than 750 different species are tallied up in the count. — AP

Inflatable toad gives small guys the slip PARIS: The female cane toad can pump herself up to mega-size to throw off smaller males striving to mate with her, Australian biologists reported yesterday. The unusual tactic suggests that female anurans, as frogs and toads are called, may have far more power to select their sex partner than thought, according to their study, appearing in the British journal Biology Letters. Female cane toads (Bufo marinus) are typically choosier than males when it comes to reproduction. They discriminate among potential mates by approaching the toad with the best call. But, as they head to a rendezvous with the hunk with the mightiest ribbit, they also have to run the gauntlet of excited rival males. An unwanted suitor will seek to climb on the female’s back, grasping her tightly in the armpit or groin, waiting until she starts laying her eggs in order to fertilise them. This is where the pneumatic trick comes in, say the scientists, led by Benjamin Phillips of the University of Sydney. By inflating sacs in her body, the female is able to loosen the grip and the luckless male slides off her body, defeated. As a result, the female is able to choose the size of her mate, a factor that is important to the species, says the team. Fertilisation among cane toads is most successful when males and females are similar in size. Phillips and his two colleagues worked on the small-to-XXXL hunch after noting that the cane toad puffs itself up in the presence of a predator to make

itself look scarier. Female toads likewise inflate at copulation time, but until now this was presumed to be a reflex to being pushed, kicked and occasionally flipped over as panting males wrestled for amorous contact. Phillips’ team went to exceptional lengths to test their hypothesis. They inflated a dead anuran with a pump to measure the sacs’ air pressure. There was even a touch of toad necrophilia. Male toads were given a jolt of sex hormones to encourage them to mate with dead females, so that the scientists could measure the strength of the copulatory grip. In the final phase, nine living females were given tracheal surgery to prevent them from inflating their body-and turned out to be unable to shake off even the smallest male. After the experiments, the nine were killed humanely. The paper suggests that females in other species may similarly use a defence mechanism to help them choose a mate. “Many of the traits that enable a female to repel a predator also allow her to repel unwanted suitors, and hence facilitate mate choice,” it notes. Cane toads are a notorious pest in Australia. The species, indigenous to Central and Latin America, was introduced in 1935 to help control beetles that threatened sugar-cane crops. The creature has now spread across most of tropical Australia, killing native carnivores, including crocodiles, snakes and lizards, that cannot tolerate its toxins, and devastating native frogs and toads through habitat loss. — AFP

Planet-hunting US telescope unearths hot mysteries Hunting newborn tests for super-rare gene diseases

WASHINGTON: At his first birthday, John Klor could not sit up on his own. A few months later, he was cruising like any healthy toddler — thanks to a special diet that is treating the boy’s mysterious disease. What doctors initially called cerebral palsy instead was a rare metabolic disorder assaulting his brain and muscles, yet one that’s treatable if caught in time. Urged by John’s family, Duke University researchers are working on a way to test newborns for this disease, called GAMT deficiency. It is part of a growing movement to add some of the rarest of rare illnesses — with such names as bubble-boy disease, Pompe disease, Krabbe disease — to the battery of screenings given to US babies hours after birth. “There’s other children out there that can be helped and be saved,” says Melissa Klor, John’s mother. But just how many illnesses can that tiny spot of blood pricked from a baby’s heel really turn up? And not all are treatable, so when is population-wide testing appropriate? “Families go through these odysseys of diagnosis” to learn what’s wrong with a child, says Dr. Alan Fleischman of the March of Dimes, who is part of a government advisory committee studying what to add to the national screening list. Often, “they argue that they would have been better off knowing even if there were no treatments.” Since 2004, specialists have urged that every US newborn be tested for 29 rare but devastating genetic diseases, using that single heel-prick of blood, to catch the fraction who need fast treatment to avoid retardation, severe illness, even death. States gradually adopted those recommendations, and federal health officials say the testing catches about 5,000 babies a year with disorders ranging from sickle cell anemia to maple syrup urine disease and others with such tongue-twisting names

NORTH CAROLINA: In this photo provided by the family, John Klor, then-16-months old, of Pine Knoll Shore, N.C., pushed a toy in the photo taken Sept. 12, 2009. At his first birthday, John Klor couldn’t even sit up on his own. Three months later, he was cruising like a normal toddler — when a lucky break finally diagnosed the North Carolina boy’s mysterious disease. — AP

that they go by acronyms like LCHAD. John Klor’s illness is too new for that list. By the time her son was 6 months old, Melissa Klor knew something was wrong. John missed developmental milestones, unable to sit, stop his head from wobbling, or babble. He regressed, quitting rolling over. He stared blankly for moments at a time, a kind of miniseizure. A neurologist diagnosed cerebral palsy. But John never had an MRI scan to prove the diagnosis, and Klor eventually sought a second opinion. Right after John’s first birthday came the news: His brain scan showed no sign of cerebral palsy, but he might have any of a number of degenerative metabolic disorders. In a lucky break, John’s blood and urine were sent to Duke’s genetics laboratory for specialized testing that found he could not process protein correctly. John’s body was not producing a substance called creatine that is crucial for providing energy to the brain and muscles, leading other protein metabolites to basically clog his system and damage his brain. Creatine deficiency syndromes were not discovered until 1994; Duke is one of the few labs able to diagnose them. Fortunately, John’s version — called GAMT deficiency for the enzyme, guanidinoacetate methyltransferase, that his body lacks — is treatable in the young. Doctors ordered a vegan diet — only fruits, vegetables and specially processed pastas — with no more than 6 grams of protein daily. John drinks a formula containing creatine and other missing nutrients. “Within days, we started to see him getting stronger,” says Klor, of Pine Knoll Shores, N.C. Today at 19 months, John runs and climbs stairs. He’s starting to make sounds like “ma” but speech is coming more slowly; doctors are optimistic but make Klor no promises. — AP

WASHINGTON: NASA’s new planet-hunting telescope has found two mystery objects that are too hot to be planets and too small to be stars. The Kepler Telescope, launched in March, discovered the two new heavenly bodies, each circling its own star. Telescope chief scientist Bill Borucki of NASA said the objects are thousands of degrees hotter than the stars they circle. That means they probably aren’t planets. They are bigger and hotter than planets in our solar system, including dwarf planets. “The universe keeps making

strange things stranger than we can think of in our imagination,” said Jon Morse, head of astrophysics for NASA. The new discoveries don’t quite fit into any definition of known astronomical objects, and so far don’t have a classification of their own. Details about the mystery objects were presented Monday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington. For now, NASA researcher Jason Rowe, who found the objects, said he calls them “hot companions.” How hot? Try 26,000 degrees Fahrenheit

(14,425 Celsius). That is hot enough to melt lead or iron. There are two leading theories for what the objects might be and those theories cover both ends of the cosmic life cycle: • Rowe suggests they are newly born planets. New planets have extremely high temperatures, and in this case Rowe speculates they might be only about 200 million years old. • Ronald Gilliland of the Space Telescope Science Institute says they could be white dwarf stars that are dying and stripping off their outer shells and shrinking. — AP

OAKLAND: A medical marijuana activist holds a sign during a rally January 4, 2010 in Oakland, California. Dozens of medical marijuana activists held a demonstration outside of the Ronald V. Dellums federal building in Oakland demanding medical marijuana reform. — AFP



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wishing a very very happy birthday to our daughter Manar Anawar Ghassan Ali who celebrates her 5th birthday today. May Almighty God bless you and keep you in good health. Best wishes from your dad, mum brothers Faisal, Faras, Yousuf and sister Anwar and also from family friends and relatives.

Writers Forum holds monthly meeting


riters Forum, Kuwait held the monthly meeting on January 1 at Jabriya residence of Mrs Tajwer Sultana. The meeting was presided over by Mrs Maimuna Ali Chougle and the Chief Guest was Mrs Humera Roshi. The meeting started with congratulations to Dr (Mrs) Navniit Ghandhi for her book ‘National Security; Emerging Dimensions & Threats’ published by Pentagon Press, New Delhi & launched by Consul General, US Consulate, Mumbai. The brief description of contents of the book by Dr Gandhi was fol-

lowed by the discussions on the same. All the members of the forum congratulated Dr Gandhi for this inordinate achievement. Subsequently, Mrs Shahjahan Jaffery presented Innocent Desires’- her short story in English which was very much appreciated by all the members. The second session of the meeting comprised of poetry recitation in different Indian languages of India by Umesh Sharma, Amir Diwan, Mrs Tajwer Sultana, Mrs Govind Rani Sethi, Mrs Chhaya Atavale & Mrs Navniit Gandhi in

Hindi, Mrs Maimuna Ali Chougle & Sabir Omer in Urdu, Jasbir Singh Dhiman & Gurubakash Singh Dogra in Punjabi, Mrs Shahjahan Jaffery, Rajesh Verlekar & Mohan Singh in English and Mathiyazhagan in Tamil. The meeting was concluded by Mrs Maimuna Ali Chougle with a word of thanks to all members & well wishers Dr SK Sethi, Rajiv Atavale, Shakeel, Mrs Mateen Siddiq & Milind Chaubal, the Marathi writer for their valued participation & also to Mrs Tajwer Sultana for the warm hospitability.

Happy birthday S. Baghyashri. You are so special to everyone and we pray for your long life and lots of fun. Best wishes on your 2nd birthday come from mum S Nagalatha, dad S V Ramana and the entire family in Kuwait and India.

Ethiopian Embassy celebrates New Year The Ethiopian Ambassador to Kuwait, Kdafo Mohammed Hanfre and his spouse recently hosted a reception at their residence in Jabriya on the occasion of celebrating the New Year eve. The ceremony was attended by diplomats, dignitaries and members of the media.

Nawfa Ashraf and Amel V Kutty perform dance on the occasion of Calicut District Association program held at Integrated Indian School, Abbasiya.

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 compa-

nies/clients). The Embassy’s contacts are as follows: e-mail:; fax: 24817103, and tel no: 24817100, 24817101, 24817102. 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 JANUARY 8 Mannam Jayanti: NSS Kuwait will hold Mannam Jayanthi celebrations 2010, (133rd birthday of Bharath Kesari Mannathu Padmanabhan) on January 8, 2010 at the American International School, Hawally from 5.30 pm to 10.30 pm. NSS Kuwait will honor Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma Maharaja, the present titular king of Travancore since 1991 and the head of the Travancore Royal Family, on this occasion. In connection with the celebration, NSS Kuwait will conduct a ‘Sangeetholsavam -2010,’ a Carnatic classical music (vocal) competition for all Indian students in Kuwait. Winners of the contest will be awarded gold and other consolation prizes. ‘The Sangeetholsavam’ will be adjudged by legendary music director and composer M S Viswanathan. Indian Ambassador Ajai Malhottra will inaugurate the celebration as the chief guest of the occasion. All are welcome. January 15 Mega event: Seva Darshan Kuwait will present a mega stage show ‘Bharath Darshan’ on Friday, January 15, 2010 from 9 am onwards at the Marina Hall, Jleeb Al-Shouyoukh. The mega event will showcase riveting dance and music programs featuring celebrated artists of the Idea Star Singerfame Somadas, Jins, Prashobh and Superstar Global winner Roopa. They will be supported by the famous comedy duo

Kottayam Nazir and Kalabhavan Prajod. The proceeds from the event will go to building a school project for the tribal children in the backward region of Kerala’s Marayoor area. All are welcome to the mega event. Kalanjali Pongal Vizha 2010: Kalanjali Kuwait is planning to organize ‘Pongal Vizha’ on January 15, 2010 in American International School. Special program, similar to Paattukku Paatu (in Tamil), by World famous Bh Abdul Hameed will be conducted. Interested participants can send an email with their details to for selection process in Dec 2009 or contact 99816937 / 66457286. KKMA children’s drawing contest: The grand final contest of KKMA-Tiffany drawing contest for children in Indian schools in Kuwait will be held on Friday, 15th January 2010. A press release from KKMA stated that a total number of 3000 entries were received during the first phase of the contest held in 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-thespot final contest held on January 15th 2010 at Kuwait Indian school in Jleeb (next to 6th ring road). A list of all finalists who are eligible for participating in the final contest is being

sent to their respective schools and the participants are contacted by their given contact telephone or emails. The list is also published at KKMA website The Association thanked all class teachers and the art/drawing teachers of your school for their kind support without which we could not have received such an immense response. Contest titled as ‘World Peace’ KKMA-Tiffany Drawing Contest is conducted to promote a culture of nonviolence and peace by raising awareness among young children about these concepts. The competition was open to all students of Indian Schools in Kuwait and divided in to four categories Primary School (Class 1 to IV), Upper Primary School (Class V to VII), Secondary School (Class VIII to Class X), and Senior Secondary School (Class XI and Class XII). The Phase 1 of the contest was held early this year in which each of the entrants was requested to submit one piece of drawing which responds to the theme, “World Peace”. All entries were then reviewed by a judging panel and 1000 semi-finalists were selected to advance to phase 2 final competitions which will be now held on 15th January 2009. Total of 60 winners, 15 students from each category will be then chosen and awarded with medals and gifts. MARCH 26 CRYcket 2010: the 13th annual crycket tournament is

scheduled to be held on Friday, 26th March 2010 at the KOC Hockey Grounds, Ahmadi. This tournament is organized by FOCC (Friends of Cry Club). Friends of CRY Club (FOCC) is associated with CRY (Child Rights and You), India and its main objectives are to create awareness of the underprivileged Indian children, help restore their basic rights, strive to provide support in personal development of the Indian children in Kuwait and bring out the qualities of social commitment in them. FOCC has been organizing CRY awareness programmes for children through its two annual events CRYcket (Cricket match for children below 14 years organized annually since 1997) and CRY chess tournament (for children of all ages organized annually since 2005) - and ‘Brain Bang’ programme which is an ongoing bi-weekly Accelerated Learning activity. CRYcket will be played by 24 teams of children and about 500 spectators are expected for this special one-day event. The deadline to receive the registration forms is 18th March 2010, however registration may be close earlier if the available slots of 12 teams in each category are filled. A colourful souvenir will be released to mark the 13th year of FOCC’s activities in Kuwait. For details how to become a sponsor and/or to advertise in the Souvenir or to volunteer as a FOCC member, pls visit or email

Wednesday, January 6, 2010




Wednesday, January 6, 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

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Dr Anil Thomas


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed


Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan


Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash


Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


Dr. Bader Al-Ansari



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


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


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


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


Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr


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

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

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

33 ACCOMMODATION Room available at Maidan Hawally for Filipino only with TFC, near bus stop. Please contact 97277135 Sharing accommodation available for a Keralite bachelor with 2 bachelors in a flat in Abbassiya, near Classic Typing Center. Contact after 5 pm on 66439011. (C 20133) Room for rent, for Filipino only, pwede nang lipatan, old Riggae, bldg 25, near KPTC bus stop/ UAE Exchange. Contact: 66982714/ 66166021. (C 20134) 6-1-2010 Sharing accommodation available in Kuwait city 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? ItĘźs 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)

FOR SALE Motorbike, Ducati 7495, model 2006, mileage: 3000 km, very good condition, color black, price 2800 KD. Tel: 99983300. (C 20135) 6-1-2010 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)


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: 14601

Flight Schedule Arrival Flights on Wednesday 06/01/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jazeera 0263 Beirut Middle East 406 Beirut K.L.M. 0447 Amsterdam/Bahrain Wataniya Airways 2011 Sharm El Sheikh Jet A/W 574 Cochin Wataniya Airways 2103 Beirut Kalitta 537 Sharjah Gulf Air 211 Bahrain Ethiopian 620 Addis Ababa D.H.L. 370 Bahrain Turkish A/L 1172 Istanbul Emirates 853 Dubai Etihad 0305 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 0267 Beirut Qatari 0138 Doha Jazeera 0637 Aleppo Falcon 201 Dubai Jazeera 0503 Luxor Jazeera 0527 Alexandria Jazeera 0529 Assiut British 0157 London Kuwait 412 Manila/Bangkok Jazeera 0607 Mumbai Kalitta 533 Al Fujairah Kuwait 206 Islamabad Kuwait 352 Cochin Kuwait 302 Mumbai Kuwait 676 Dubai Kuwait 362 Colombo Emirates 855 Dubai Arabia 0121 Sharjah Qatari 0132 Doha Etihad 0301 Abu Dhabi Kuwait 344 Chenna1 Gulf Air 213 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 1121 Bahrain Jazeera 0447 Doha Jazeera 0165 Dubai Jazeera 0113 Abu Dhabi Wataniya Airways 1021 Dubai 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 07:55 08:20 08:20 08:30 08:55 09:00 09:35 10:35 10:45 10:45 11:00 11:05 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 Kuwait Emirates Gulf Air Etihad Saudi Arabian A/L Jazeera Jazeera Arabia Jazeera Wataniya Airways Sri Lankan United A/L 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 118 857 215 0303 510 0493 0239 0125 0367 2101 227 982 2003 473 1025 542 0177 674 786 614 744 174 575 104 618 572 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 New York Dubai Bahrain Abu Dhabi Riyadh Jeddah Amman Sharjah Deirezzor Beirut Colombo/Dubai Washington DC Dulles 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 16:55 16:55 17:05 17:15 17:15 17:30 17:35 17:40 17:45 17:50 18:05 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 Wednesday 06/01/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jazeera 0528 Assiut India Express 390 Mangalore/Kozhikode United A/L 981 Washington DC Dulles Indian 994 Mumbai/Chennai Pakistan 206 Lahore Lufthansa 637 Frankfurt Jet A/W 573 Cochin Kuwait 283 Dhaka Turkish A/L 1173 Istanbul D.H.L. 371 Bahrain Kuwait 381 Delhi Emirates 854 Dubai Etihad 0306 Abu Dhabi Ethiopian 622 Addis Ababa Kalitta 537 Kandahar Qatari 0139 Doha Jazeera 0162 Dubai Jazeera 0164 Dubai Wataniya Airways 1020 Dubai Jazeera 0524 Alexandria Wataniya Airways 2000 Cairo Jazeera 0112 Abu Dhabi Jazeera 0446 Doha Gulf Air 212 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 1120 Bahrain Jazeera 0422 Bahrain/Dubai Wataniya Airways 2300 Damascus Kuwait 545 Alexandria Jazeera 0256 Beirut Cargolux 792 Hong Kong Kuwait 543 Cairo British 0156 London Kuwait 551 Damascus Kuwait 561 Amman Jazeera 0456 Damascus Arabia 0122 Sharjah Emirates 856 Dubai Kuwait 117 New York Qatari 0133 Doha Kuwait 173 Frankfurt/Geneva Etihad 0302 Abu Dhabi Iran Air 602 Shiraz Kalitta 533 Kandahar Wataniya Airways 2002 Cairo Gulf Air 214 Bahrain Falcon 204 Baghdad Jazeera 0426 Bahrain/Dubai Iran Aseman 6792 Mashad Global 062 Najaf/Baghdad Jazeera 0172 Dubai Kuwait 541 Cairo Wataniya Airways 2100 Beirut Jazeera 05100 Sharm EL Sheikh Jazeera 0492 Jeddah Jazeera 0366 Deirezzor Jazeera 0238 Amman Kuwait 103 London Middle East 405 Beirut Oman Air 0646 Muscat Kuwait 785 Jeddah


Time 00:05 00:30 00:40 00:50 01:10 01:20 01:40 02:55 03:15 03:15 03:30 03:50 04:10 04:15 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 08:45 08:50 08:55 09:10 09:15 09:25 09:35 09:40 10:00 10:00 10:20 10:20 10:40 11:00 11:30 11:40 11:45 11:50 11:55 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:05 12:05 12:15 12:20 12:25 12:30 12:55 13:15 13:40

Egypt Air Mm1an Air Wataniya Airways Kuwait Jazeera Saudi Arabian A/L Egypt Air Nas Air Jazeera Wataniya Airways Nas Air Jazeera Jazeera Kuwait Saudi Arabian A/L Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Royal Jordanian Qatari Kuwait Jazeera Al Masria Universal Gulf Air Etihad Emirates Arabia Jazeera Saudi Arabian A/L Jazeera Wataniya Airways Jazeera Jazeera Global Jazeera Jazeera Wataniya Airways Sri Lankan Wataniya Airways Yemenia Jazeera Kuwait Wataniya Airways Kuwait Mihin Lanka Jet Airways Jazeera Jazeera Gulp Air Kuwait D.H.L. Kuwait Middle East Falcon Qatari Kuwait Emirates Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Kuwait Jazeera

611 5065 1024 673 0496 509 622 746 0176 1200 704 0432 0458 547 501 501 773 613 801 0135 617 0182 110 216 0304 858 0126 0262 511 0184 2200 0116 0448 082 0436 0428 2102 228 1028 824 0694 343 1128 331 404 571 0266 0606 218 801 171 675 403 102 0137 301 860 0636 0526 0534 415 0502

Cairo Mashad Dubai Dubai Riyadh Medinah Assiut Jeddah Dubai Jeddah Medinah Mashad Damascus Sharm El Sheikh/Luxor Jeddah Beirut Riyadh Bahrain Amman Doha Doha Dubai Alexandria Bahrain Abu Dhabi Dubai Sharjah Beirut Riyadh Dubai Amman Abu Dhabi Doha Baghdad Tehran Bahrain/Dubai Beirut Dubai/Colombo Dubai Sanaa Shiraz Chennai Bahrain Trivandrum Dubai/Colombo Mumbai Beirut Mumbai Bahrain Cairo Bahrain Dubai Beirut Bahrain Doha Mumbai Dubai Aleppo Alexandria Aswan Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta Luxor

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



Wednesday, January 6, 2010



Aries (March 21-April 19) You may have a hard time being clearheaded as you work through your day. Patience seems to be with you today—learning what or why people do the things they do give you an understanding about your own humanness. Your instinctive orientation is toward getting down to business and completing any unfinished projects. Higher education or philosophical/religious contacts could have a part in making good things happen. Travel and other contacts with faraway people and places will play a bigger role for you soon—make your plans. It may take the travel to complete the education. Such things bring gain in one way or another. You may be feeling the push now to accomplish much. There are indications that show you are making the right choices. Taurus (April 20-May 20) You may decide to rethink the direction your career is taking. Think over your long-range plans before making any decisions just now. Evaluating and planning can bring you better ideas for future opportunities. This is a time when your path of self-development and expression becomes more and more unusual—setting you apart from the crowd and from all that is traditional. The new, the futuristic, the high-tech are the hallmarks of your lifestyle as this cycle gets underway. Ideas and technologies that change the way people live—not just one person, are a major new focus in your life now. Involvements with particular groups enhance your sense of purpose and mission. You learn through the advice you give to others.

Pooch Cafe

ACROSS 1. A small constellation near the South Pole between Tucana and Ara. 5. The federal agency that insures residential mortgages. 8. The compass point that is one point south of due east. 11. A light springing movement upwards or forwards. 12. A graphical record of electrical activity of the brain. 13. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 14. Bulky grayish-brown eagle with a short wedge-shaped white tail. 15. The syllable naming the sixth (submediant) note of a major or minor scale in solmization. 16. Type genus of the family Myacidae. 17. Minor or subordinate. 18. A high-crowned black cap (usually made of felt or sheepskin) worn by men in Turkey and Iran and the Caucasus. 21. A public promotion of some product or service. 23. A rare silvery (usually trivalent) metallic element. 24. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 25. An edge between a sidewalk and a roadway consisting of a line of curbstones (usually forming part of a gutter). 28. An ugly evil-looking old woman. 33. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 35. A state in midwestern United States. 36. The cry made by sheep. 37. A small pellet fired from an air rifle or BB gun. 38. Date used in reckoning dates before the supposed year Christ was born. 40. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 47. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 50. An audiotape recording of sound. 51. The basic unit of money in Albania. 52. German chemist who was co-discoverer with Lise Meitner of nuclear fission (1879-1968). 54. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 55. An agency of the United Nations affiliated with the World Bank. 56. An informal term for a father. 57. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) You may find yourself speaking to Junior High or Senior High group about drugs or some other important life choices today. You may find yourself being included in a decision making group . . . perhaps a city council. Connections with people on a grand scale—for example, at a distance or en masse—play a bigger part in your life now. Education, advertising and travel could play a part in this. If marriage ties or business partnership relations need mending or strengthening, now is the best time. Review the opportunities you are given today with regard to investments. You may not be happy with the results of your investments up to now, but there are other avenues opening. You may even want to look for other opinions. Romance is possible this evening.

Non Sequitur Cancer (June 21-July 22) To avoid mistakes today, stop for breaks. Sometimes we do not see the forest for the trees and a few minutes away from your work may help you to find the answer/s you seek. A friend may come to you with their problems this afternoon. You are able to get to the bottom of the story and help them discover a truth. You are most persuasive and convincing with others and today there are opportunities toward good communication. You may enjoy visiting with a young person this evening—perhaps by reading a story or in some interaction with puppet play. The laughter and light-hearted feelings of the evening are contagious. You appreciate feelings and the movement of music and may enjoy dancing. You may want to just get out and walk this evening. Leo (July 23-August 22) Working with others and excelling in a particular project can prove to be quite enjoyable. Your directional abilities are in top form. You are able to rise above emotional problems as you make every effort to create professional end results. You know just what to do in difficult situations and can act without haste. Others will learn from watching you work. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at this sort of attention, this will put you in a position of demand—others need your input on other projects. Learn to help others think for themselves. Good news—some financial difficulties can now be put behind you. Family business may grab your attention this afternoon—let others help you and everyone can smile!


Virgo (August 23-September 22) Job-related events are successful and you may even find a promotion possible soon. Do not take things for granted and do not be afraid to ask questions if you do not understand the communication of others. This will allow you to clear up some foggy thinking. Your instincts may lead you into finding some important answers concerning some quandary in the work place now. You will begin to see your accomplishments double at this time. Healing comes from destroying the roots of a disturbance. You may be advising or counseling someone this afternoon and this will end with positive results. You may enjoy getting away from routine chores this afternoon as you get the opportunity to visit with a friend. Be sure to network tonight.

DOWN 1. One of the common people. 2. Characterized by lightness and insubstantiality. 3. Artists or writers whose ideas are ahead of their time. 4. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 5. An agricultural laborer in Arab countries. 6. A collection of objects laid on top of each other. 7. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 8. Any of various trees of the genus Ulmus. 9. Common Indian weaverbird. 10. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 19. A soft white precious univalent metallic element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. 20. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 22. Bulky grayish-brown eagle with a short wedge-shaped white tail. 26. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 27. A small cake leavened with yeast. 29. The branch of computer science that deal with writing computer programs that can solve problems creatively. 30. An amino acid that is found in the central nervous system. 31. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 32. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 34. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 39. Being ten more than one hundred ninety. 41. In bed. 42. The basic unit of money in Bangladesh. 43. King of Saudi Arabia since 1982 (born in 1922). 44. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 45. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 46. Make an etching of. 48. An American doctorate usually based on at least 3 years graduate study and a dissertation. 49. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 53. A silvery soft waxy metallic element of the alkali metal group.

Mother Goose and Grimm

Libra (September 23-October 22) It may take several people, working together, to understand the workings of some new technical equipment today. A coworker friend could be giving you expert advice—ask. Everything points to your taking the initiative. This is a wonderful time to show off your talents, especially with regard to learning and teaching. You feel great support from those around you. You may even have some ideas of breaking away from the work place to begin your own business. You might consider tutoring or teaching as a business for yourself. This afternoon is a good time to dive into your favorite hobby—perhaps a cooking frenzy. You will find a great relief of stress as well as finding much attention from others over those wonderfully good smelling delicacies you prepare. Scorpio (October 23-November 21) A root of disturbance is destroyed today and a healing takes place. A co-worker may call you and tell you of a change in thinking; you see a positive outcome. Lots of positive things are happening. A noon walk after a meal may bring thoughts of some items you would like to purchase. Remember that spending money is like spending your time. You work for wages and every time you spend those wages, you spend hours of the time you need to earn more wages for payment on those desires. Ask yourself, the next time you are tempted, if you are willing to give up your time or freedom. Family and friends happily occupy your afternoon and there is plenty about which to talk. You pitch in and help someone pack for a move—not too far. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Someone in authority may change some plans and cause you to reorganize and be more conservative at this time. All of this should go rather smoothly. You might want to think of any slow-downs or difficulties today as a steppingstone to a better result. Most of your earning power comes in earning money for others. You do not seem excited about your own financial status but you will be able to save and invest. It is essentials that are needed and a list is a good thing for a future shopping trip. You have many talents and capabilities—you serve your profession but now it may be time to serve a volunteer group—children’s hospital, animal rights, etc. You may prefer working with large animals but can help train any size animal.

Yesterday’s Solution


Yesterday’s Solution


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

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

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

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

Word Sleuth Solution

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Back at the work place today, you find many opportunities to improve, adapt, grow and achieve. Plans you may have made some time ago may be in the completion stages now. You will first be concentrating on finishing up with past projects so that you feel more accomplished and less scattered. New projects will be presenting themselves soon enough—for now, it is time to bring old business to an end. Obtaining and exchanging information for some future event may begin to take priority this afternoon. Being more involved with neighbors or siblings this evening satisfies a deep emotional need. Communicating feelings accurately and staying factual will help in solving some rather trivial issues this evening.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You may have had some vision or feeling about some old thing around the house and decide to check out its worth. It may not be the worth that is important but the owner. You will have fun doing a bit of research and some of your searching could be over the Internet. The more you learn, the more the item will be worth. The unexpected happens today and it moves you in a most positive direction. Just remember, not everything is as it seems. Some things that you perceive as negative could prove to be most positive and vice-versa. You are known for detecting the real point of an issue or finding the point of change. Today is the day that you find answers and solve problems—heck, you might even find a lost piece of jewelry. Pisces (February 19-March 20) Confidence and independence create the perfect beginnings for a successful meeting plan and parts of today are perfect for smoothing out that plan. You will be persuasive and convincing in your methods of speaking and can get across some important messages; make a list now of those important points. You enjoy a special time with friends this afternoon. A gathering at a favorite restaurant may prove interesting. An earlier disagreement between you and a friend can be cleared. There are creative and imaginative possibilities concerning your future growth and these may be discussed on the home front this evening. You will make a positive difference in people’s lives. Young adults help with a project around the home. A romantic mood is indicated tonight.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Orbit Listings / Show Listings AMERICA PLUS 00:00 Lost 01:00 Private Practice 02:00 Grey’s Anatomy 03:00 Cold Case 04:00 Gilmore Girls 05:00 Lost 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 Cold Case 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 K9 Cops 04:30 Animal Cops Phoenix 05:25 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 10:10 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 14:10 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 Planet Earth 20:10 The Heart of a Lioness 21:10 Animal Cops Phoenix 22:05 Untamed & Uncut 23:00 Planet Earth 23:55 Animal Cops Phoenix BBC ENTERTAINMENT 01:05 Blizzard - Race To The Pole 02:05 A Year At Kew 02:35 A Year At Kew 03:05 The Whistleblowers 03:55 Blackjack 01: Murder Archive 05:25 Blizzard - Race To The Pole 06:35 Bargain Hunt 07:20 Balamory 07:40 Tweenies 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 Bargain Hunt 11:15 Child Of Our Time 2006 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 18:00 18:30 19:00 19:50 20:10 21:00 21:45 22:15 22:45 23:45

The Weakest Link Doctors Eastenders The Whistleblowers Model Gardens Antiques Roadshow The Weakest Link Doctors Eastenders Goldplated Casualty

13:50 14:15 15:10 16:05 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 20:30 21:00 22:00 23:00

BBC LIFESTYLE 00:05 Sweet Baby James 00:30 Masterchef Goes Large 01:00 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 04:40 Masterchef Goes Large 05:10 Cash In The Attic Usa 05:35 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 09:05 Cash In The Attic Usa 09:30 Hidden Potential 09:55 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 10:40 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 11:25 Living In The Sun 12:20 Antiques Roadshow 13:05 What Not To Wear 13:30 What Not To Wear 13:55 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 14:40 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 15:25 Daily Cooks Challenge 15:55 Daily Cooks Challenge 16:25 Cash In The Attic Usa 16:50 Hidden Potential 17:10 Antiques Roadshow 18:00 What Not To Wear 18:25 What Not To Wear 18:50 Living In The Sun 19:45 Daily Cooks Challenge 20:15 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 23:15 What Not To Wear 23:40 Indian Food Made Easy

DISCOVERY SCIENCE 00:40 Extreme Engineering 01:30 iPod Revolution 02:20 Ecopolis 03:10 Discovery Project Earth 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 iPod Revolution 08:00 Thunder Races 09:00 NASA’s Greatest Missions 10:00 Sci-Trek 10:55 How Stuff’s Made 11:20 Stunt Junkies 11:50 iPod Revolution 12:45 Green Wheels 13:10 One Step Beyond 13:40 NASA’s Greatest Missions 14:35 Sci-Trek 15:30 What’s That About? 16:25 How Stuff’s Made 16:55 Thunder Races 17:50 Brainiac 18:45 Building the Biggest 19:40 How It’s Made 20:05 How It’s Made 20:30 Engineered 21:20 How It’s Made 21:45 How It’s Made 22:10 Mythbusters 23:00 How It’s Made 23:25 How It’s Made 23:50 Engineered

CINEMA CITY 01:00 Crazy Girls Undercover - R 03:00 Brazil - PG15 05:00 Touch and Go - 18 07:00 Constellation - PG15 09:00 Everest Pt.*2* - PG 11:00 Bridal Fever - PG 13:00 Napoleon Pt.*2* - PG 15:00 Tribute - PG 17:00 The Informant - 18 19:00 The Indian - PG 21:00 The Cursed - PG15 23:00 From a Place of Darkness - 18 DISCOVERY CHANNEL 00:00 Destroyed in Seconds 00:30 Destroyed in Seconds 01:00 Miami Ink 02:00 Street Customs 02:55 Mighty Ships 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 My Shocking Story 12:55 How Do They Do It? 13:25 How It’s Made

Fifth Gear American Chopper Miami Ink Mythbusters Ultimate Survival Destroyed in Seconds Destroyed in Seconds Street Customs How Do They Do It? How It’s Made My Shocking Story Time Warp Mythbusters

E! ENTERTAINMENT 00:15 Streets Of Hollywood 00:40 50 Most Shocking Celebrity Scandals 01:30 25 Most Stylish 02:20 Sexiest 03:15 Ths 05:05 Dr 90210 06:00 Ths 07:45 Style Star 08:10 Style Star 08:35 E! News 09:00 The Daily 10 09:25 Reality Hell 09:50 Reality Hell 10:15 Ths 11:05 Ths 12:00 E! News 12:25 The Daily 10 12:50 Leave It To Lamas 13:15 Leave It To Lamas 13:40 50 Cutest Child Stars: All Grown Up 15:25 Ths 16:15 E!es 17:10 Ths 18:00 E! News 18:25 The Daily 10 18:50 Ths 19:40 Ths 20:30 E!es 21:20 Perfect Catch 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 Red Bull Empire of Dirt 02:00 Rebel Events 2009: Wir Schanzen 02:30 Rebel Events 2009: Nine Nights Season 03:00 Strikeforce 04:00 AST Winter Dew Tour 05:00 Ride Guide Snow 2007 05:30 Ride Guide Snow 2007 06:00 Sacred Ride 06:30 Sacred Ride 07:00 AST Winter Dew Tour 08:00 Sacred Ride 08:30 Sacred Ride 09:00 Avalanche Trophy 2008 09:30 Avalanche Trophy 2008 10:00 FIM World Supermoto 2008 11:00 Rebel Events 2009: Rock The Goldcoast Ep 9 11:30 Rebel Events 2009: Extreme Playgrounds-Dirt Session Ep10 12:00 Sacred Ride 12:30 Sacred Ride 13:30 Avalanche Trophy 2008 14:00 Ride Guide Snow 2007 15:00 Rebel Events 2009: Rock The Goldcoast Ep 9 15:30 Rebel Events 2009: Extreme Playgrounds-Dirt Session Ep10 16:00 Sacred Ride 16:30 Sacred Ride 17:00 Avalanche Trophy 2008 17:30 Avalanche Trophy 2008 18:00 FIM World Supermoto 2008 19:00 Fim World Motocross Championships 2009 20:00 Ride Guide Snow 2007 20:30 Ride Guide Snow 2007 21:00 Avalanche Trophy 2008 21:30 Avalanche Trophy 2008 22:00 Rebel Events 2009: Rock The Goldcoast Ep 9 22:30 Rebel Events 2009: Extreme Playgrounds-Dirt Session Ep10 23:00 Fim World Motocross Championships 2009 MGM 01:10 Golden Gate 02:40 Castaway 04:35 The Setup

Little Fish on Xtra Movies

06:05 07:40 09:20 11:00 12:50 14:10 15:45 17:15 18:50 20:30 22:00 23:25

Roadhouse 66 Untamed Heart The Mechanic The Field The Trip Joey Mannequin A Doll’s House The Hillside Strangler (1989) Mr. Accident Cohen & Tate The Pope Must Die

NAT GEO ADVENTURE 00:30 Meet The Natives - Usa 01:30 Culture Shocks 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 Departures 06:30 Meet The Natives - Usa 07:30 Culture Shocks 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 By Any Means 12:30 Jailed Abroad 13:30 Jailed Abroad 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 By Any Means 18:30 Jailed Abroad 19:30 Jailed Abroad 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 By Any Means NAT GEO WILD 00:00 Polar Bear Alcatraz 01:00 Searching For The Snow Leopard 02:00 Hunter Hunted 03:00 Gorilla Murders 04:00 Insects From Hell 04:30 Snake Wranglers 05:00 Hammerhead Highway 06:00 Polar Bear Alcatraz 07:00 Searching For The Snow Leopard 08:00 Hunter Hunted 09:00 Gorilla Murders 10:00 Insects From Hell 10:30 Snake Wranglers 11:00 Animals At The Edge 12:00 Wild Russia 13:00 Cheetah Blood Brothers 14:00 Monkey Thieves 14:30 Monkey Thieves 15:00 Wild Dog Diaries 16:00 Insects From Hell 16:30 Snake Wranglers 17:00 Animals At The Edge 18:00 Wild Russia 19:00 Cheetah Blood Brothers 20:00 Monkey Thieves 20:30 Monkey Thieves 21:00 Wild Dog Diaries 22:00 Insects From Hell 22:30 Snake Wranglers 23:00 Animals At The Edge PLAYHOUSE DISNEY 08:00 Special Agent Oso 08:25 Handy Manny 08:50 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:15 Imagination Movers 09:40 Chuggington 09:50 Chuggington 10:00 Chuggington 10:10 Handy Manny 10:30 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 10:50 Special Agent Oso 11:15 Imagination Movers 11:40 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 12:05 Chuggington 12:20 Chuggington 12:55 Handy Manny 13:05 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 13:30 Little Einsteins 13:50 Handy Manny 14:10 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 14:30 Little Einsteins 14:55 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 15:20 Jo Jo’s Circus 15:45 Jo Jo’s Circus 16:10 Higglytown Heroes 16:35 Higglytown Heroes 17:00 Happy Monster Band 17:05 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 17:30 Happy Monster Band 17:35 Handy Manny 18:00 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 18:25 Special Agent Oso 18:50 Chuggington 19:00 Imagination Movers 19:25 Handy Manny 19:50 Chuggington 20:00 Special Agent Oso 20:15 Little Einsteins 20:40 Handy Manny 20:50 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 21:00 End Of Programming SHOW COMEDY 00:00 Gavin And Stacey 00:30 According To Jim 01:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:30 The Colbert Report 02:00 Weeds 02:30 The Inbetweeners 03:00 Home Improvement 03:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 04:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

04:30 The Colbert Report 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 Malcolm In The Middle 20:00 Friends 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 Pineapple Express - 18 03:00 Kettle Of Fish - 18 05:00 Juno - PG 15 07:00 Pink Panther 2 - PG 15 09:00 Ensemble C’est Tout - PG 15 11:00 First Sunday - PG 15 13:00 Reservation Road - PG 15 15:00 Ensemble C’est Tout - PG 15 17:00 First Sunday - PG 15 19:00 I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry - PG 15 21:00 Taken - 18 23:00 The Heartbreak Kid - 18 SHOW MOVIES 2 00:00 Adulthood - 18 02:00 Numb - 18 04:00 American Movie - PG 15 06:00 The Children Of Huang Shi PG 08:00 This Christmas - PG 10:00 Asterix Aux Jeux Olympiques - FAM 12:00 Serendipity - PG 15 14:00 The Coneheads - PG 15 16:00 Asterix Aux Jeux Olympiques - FAM 18:00 Serendipity - PG 15 20:00 And When Did You Last See Your Father - PG 15 22:00 Life Through A Lense - PG 15 SHOW MOVIES ACTION 01:00 Alias - 18 03:00 Battle Of Wits - PG 15 05:30 Chocolate - PG 15 07:00 The Scorpion King 2: Rise Of A Warrior - PG 15 09:00 Redline - PG 15 11:00 Elsewhere - 18 13:00 Nitro - PG 15 15:00 Redline - PG 15 17:00 Elsewhere - 18 19:00 Mulberry Street - 18 21:00 Anatomy - 18 23:00 Anatomy 2 - 18 SHOW MOVIES COMEDY 00:00 As Good As It Gets - PG 15 02:30 Rat - PG 04:00 House Arrest - FAM 06:00 Christmas In Wonderland - PG 08:00 Rat - PG 10:00 Heavyweights - PG 12:00 Kung Fu Hustle - PG 15 14:00 Zoolander - PG 15 16:00 Heavyweights - PG 18:00 Kung Fu Hustle - PG 15 20:00 The Ladies Man - PG 15 SHOW MOVIES KIDS 00:00 Dragonlance - PG 01:45 The Jungle Book I - FAM 03:30 Piper Penguin And His Fantastic Flying Machi - PG 04:30 Barbie Fairytopia Mermaidia FAM 06:00 The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian - PG 08:30 Piper Penguin And His Fantastic Flying Machi - PG 10:00 Milagro De P. Tinto, El - PG 12:00 Barbie In The 12 Dancing Princesses - FAM 13:30 Spiderwick Chronicles - PG 15:15 Flintstones: I Yabba Dabba Do! - FAM 17:00 The Jungle Book Ii - FAM 18:45 Spiderwick Chronicles - PG 20:30 Milagro De P. Tinto, El - PG 22:30 Barbie In The 12 Dancing Princesses - FAM SHOW SERIES 00:00 Criminal Minds 01:00 Turn Back Your Body Clock 01:30 Turn Back Your Body Clock 02:00 Hotel Babylon 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

The Heartbreak Kid on Show Movies 1 12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 22:00 23:00

Emmerdale Coronation Street Turn Back Your Body Clock Turn Back Your Body Clock Hotel Babylon Heroes Criminal Minds Survivor: Samoa Emmerdale Coronation Street Law And Order House Of Saddam 24 Heroes

SUPER COMEDY 00:30 The Jay Leno Show 01:30 Drew Carey Show 02:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 03:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 03:30 Late Night Show With Jimmy Fallon 04:30 Jimmy Kimmel Live 05:30 The Jay Leno Show 06:30 The Simpsons 07:00 Frasier 07:30 Drew Carey Show 08:00 The Tonight Show With Conan O’ Brien 09:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 10:00 Jimmy Kimmel Live 11:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 11:30 Frasier 12:00 The Simpsons 12:30 Drew Carey Show 13:00 The Jay Leno Show 14:00 The Tonight Show With Conan O’ Brien 15:00 Late Night Show With Jimmy Fallon 16:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 17:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 17:30 Frasier 18:00 Jimmy Kimmel Live 19:00 Notes From The Underbelly 19:30 All Of Us 20:00 The Jay Leno Show 21:00 The Tonight Show With Conan O’ Brien 22:00 Late Night Show With Jimmy Fallon 23:00 Reno 911 23:30 Jimmy Kimmel Live SUPER MOVIES 01:00 The Inside - R 03:00 Beautiful - 18 05:00 El Escorial Conspiracy - PG15 07:00 Drawn - PG15 09:00 The Hammer - PG 11:00 Futurama: Bender’s Big Score - PG 13:00 Fool’s Gold - PG15 15:00 Lady in the Water - PG15 17:00 Genghis Khan - PG15 19:00 Kit Kittredge: An American Girl - FAM 21:00 Prom Wars - PG15 23:00 Red Riding: *1974* - PG15 TCM 00:45 Where the Spies Are 02:35 The Dirty Dozen

05:00 The Screening Room 05:30 *10* Rillington Place (1971) 07:20 The Screening Room 08:00 The File Of The Golden Goose (1969) 09:50 The Yellow Rolls Royce 11:50 The Unsinkable Molly Brown 14:00 High Society 15:45 December (1991) 17:30 Where the Spies Are 19:20 The V.I.P.s 21:15 The Wings of Eagles 23:00 *10* Rillington Place (1971) THE HISTORY CHANNEL 00:40 UFO Files 01:30 Lost Worlds 02:20 Cities Of The Underworld 03:10 Deep Sea Detectives 04:00 Battles B.C. 04:55 Human Weapon 05:50 Battle Stations 06:40 UFO Files 07:30 Lost Worlds 08:20 Cities Of The Underworld 09:10 Deep Sea Detectives 10:00 Battles B.C. 10:55 Human Weapon 11:50 Battle Stations 12:40 UFO Files 13:30 Lost Worlds 14:20 Cities Of The Underworld 15:10 Deep Sea Detectives 16:00 Battles B.C. 16:55 Human Weapon 17:50 Battle Stations 18:40 UFO Files 19:30 Lost Worlds 20:20 Cities Of The Underworld 21:10 Deep Sea Detectives 22:00 How the Earth Was Made 22:55 The Lost Pyramid THE STYLE NETWORK 00:00 Ruby - PG 00:30 Ruby - PG 01:00 Giuliana And Bill - PG 01:30 Giuliana And Bill - PG 02:00 Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane 02:30 Running In Heels - PG 03:00 How Do I Look? - PG 03:50 Split Ends - PG 04:40 Clean House - PG 05:30 Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? 06:20 Glow - FAM 06:45 Area - FAM 07:10 How Do I Look? - PG 08:00 Style Star - PG 08:30 Style Her Famous - PG 09:00 My Celebrity Home - PG 10:00 Style Star - PG 10:30 Dress My Nest - PG 11:00 Peter Perfect - PG 12:00 Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? 13:00 Ruby - PG 13:30 Ruby - PG 14:00 Clean House - PG 15:00 Clean House Comes Clean 15:30 Dress My Nest - PG 16:00 How Do I Look? - PG 17:00 Split Ends - PG 18:00 The Dish - PG

18:30 19:00 19:30 - PG 20:00 21:00 22:00 22:30 23:00 23:30 PG

Dallas Divas And Daughters Running In Heels - PG Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane Split Ends - PG Clean House - PG Ruby - PG Style Her Famous - PG The Dish - PG Dallas Divas And Daughters -

TRAVEL CHANNEL 00:00 Globe Trekker - U 01:00 Intrepid Journeys - U 02:00 Flavours Of Mexico - U 02:30 Chef Abroad - U 03:00 Chef Abroad - U 03:30 Rudy Maxa’s World - U 04:00 Inside Luxury Travel-varun Sharma - U 05:00 Globe Trekker - U 06:00 Swiss Railway Journeys - U 07:00 Intrepid Journeys - U 08:00 Globe Trekker - U 09:00 Essential - U 09:30 Rudy Maxa’s World - U 10:00 Great Scenic Railways-us And Canada - U 10:30 Skier’s World - U 11:00 Chef Abroad - U 11:30 Flavours Of Mexico - U 12:00 Planet Food - U 13:00 Globe Trekker - U 14:00 Chef Abroad - U 14:30 The Thirsty Traveler - U 15:00 Taste Takes Off - U 15:30 Flavours Of Mexico - U 16:00 Chef Abroad - U 16:30 Travel Today - U 17:00 Globe Trekker - U 18:00 Skier’s World - U 18:30 Extreme Travellers - U 19:00 Chef Abroad - U 19:30 The Thirsty Traveler - U 20:00 Intrepid Journeys - U 21:00 Inside Luxury Travel-varun Sharma - U 22:00 Travel Notebook - U 23:00 X-quest - U XTRA MOVIES 01:30 Park - 18 03:30 On The Doll - 18 05:30 Little Fish - 18 07:30 Memoirs of an Invisible Man PG 09:30 More of Me - PG 11:30 The Last Lullaby - PG15 13:30 Eavesdrop - PG15 15:30 More of Me - PG 17:30 High Noon - PG15 19:30 Saving God - PG15 21:30 The X-Files: I Want to Believe - PG15 23:30 How the Garcia Girls Spent their Summer - R

Star Listings (UAE Timings) STAR Movies

16:00 16:50 17:00 18:00 18:50 19:00 19:25 19:50 20:00 21:00 21:50 22:00 23:00 23:30 00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 05:25 05:50 06:00

Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? V.I.P. Australia’s Next Top Model Beauty And The Geek Dilbert COPS COPS V.I.P. Australia’s Next Top Model Beauty And The Geek Dilbert [V] Tunes Worst Week NGC Program [V] Tunes [V] Tunes 7th Heaven American Idol Painkiller Jane Cops Cops V.I.P. Grey’s Anatomy

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

One Day At A Time Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? Dilbert Australia’s Next Top Model Worst Week The Bold And The Beautiful 7th Heaven One Day At A Time Grey’s Anatomy Dilbert [V] Tunes Cops Cops American Idol Painkiller Jane

Granada TV 20:30 Strange But True? (Series 4) 21:00 Weddings From Hell 22:00 Emmerdale 22:30 Coronation Street 23:00 Weddings From Hell 00:00 Ballroom Bootcamp 01:00 Romance Wednesday: Dirty Filthy Love

03:00 Parkinson (Series 5) 04:00 Hotel 05:00 Emmerdale 05:30 Coronation Street 06:00 Ballroom Bootcamp 07:00 Romance Wednesday: Dirty Filthy Love 09:00 Parkinson (Series 5) 10:00 Vroom Vroom (Series 2) 11:00 Emmerdale 11:30 Coronation Street 12:00 Parkinson (Series 6) 13:00 Coach Trip (Series 1) * 14:00 Romance Wednesday: Cold Feet (Series 2) (Double Bill) 16:00 Emmerdale 16:30 Coronation Street 17:00 Parkinson (Series 6) 18:00 Coach Trip (Series 1) * 19:00 Romance Wednesday: Cold Feet (Series 2) (Double Bill) Channel [V] 22:00 [V] Plug 22:30 The Playlist

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

Loop Backtracks Double Shot [V] Plug The Playlist Loop [V] Countdown Double Shot Backtracks Loop [V] Plug Double Shot Backtracks [V] Tunes [V] Plug The Playlist Loop Vanity Lair [V] Tunes Backtracks [V] Tunes [V] Plug The Playlist Loop

20:00 Vanity Lair 21:00 [V] Tunes 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 FOX & Friends First Live 18:00 America’s Newsroom 19:00 America’s Newsroom



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Rihanna and Timberlake are secretly dating ihanna is rumored to be having a secret romance with Justin Timberlake. The ‘Russian Roulette’ singer is said to have confided in pals about her “sexy little secret”, revealing she has been getting closer to the ‘Like I Love You’ hitmaker since his relationship with Jessica Biel ran into trouble last year. A source told the Daily Star newspaper: “She’s getting close to Justin again and it’s getting hot. “Rihanna called a friend and said she had a sexy little secret to share. She started laughing and said, ‘Don’t trip, but I have hooked up with Justin’. “She said it was really good, hot and wild and that they have some of the best make out sessions she’s ever experienced.” However, despite her apparent liaisons with the ‘Sexyback’ singer, Rihanna - who worked with Justin on the track ‘Rehab’


for her album ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’ - is not said to be interested in a relationship. The source added: “She’s only out with the physical with him. And it looks like she got it.” Rihanna, 21, has previously played down rumors she has ever been romantically involved with Justin, 28, and last month she denied any romance between them. She said: “No, that rumor about Justin is incorrect. We worked together on my album. It’s not like we have the closest friendship. We just worked together one time.” Despite her denials, rumors have persisted, and the pair were said to have made a “conscious effort” to avoid each other at recent parties. Meanwhile, Rihanna has promised to reveal all her most intimate secrets in an autobiography, entitled ‘The Last Girl On Earth’ - set for release in June.

mma Bunton was left devastated after her boyfriend’s father died on Christmas Day. The former Spice Girl and her boyfriend Jade Jones who she has been dating for more than a decade - received a phone call to tell them the sad news when they were celebrating Christmas with their 18month-old son Beau at their home in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England. Jade’s father reportedly suffered a heart attack while celebrating with family and friends in his native Jamaica. Jade - who used to front boy bands Damage and BlackStone but is now a chef at Claridge’s in London - was “inconsolable” at hearing the news, while Emma was equally stunned. A friend of the couple told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “The family are devastated and still in mourning. Both Jade and Emma are shell-shocked. “Jade’s father was on holiday with his family when he suffered a heart attack on Christmas morning. The family have asked for their privacy to be respected during this sensitive time. “


50 Cent to help Jamelia Cent is planning to make Jamelia “the first lady of G-Unit”. The ‘Candy Shop’ rapper otherwise known as Curtis James Jackson III - hit it off with the British singer at the premiere of his movie ‘Dead Man Running’ in London last October, and has pledged to help her launch her career in the US by signing her up to his record label. A source close to the hip-hops star said: “He thinks she is sexy, talented and has the right personality and talent to be huge in America. “He wants to make her the new first lady of GUnit, as it has no female artists.” Jamelia recently revealed she had flown out to the US to work on her new album. She said: “I’m collaborating with some amazing producers. I’ve worked with a guy called Harmony who’s part of the Darkchild camp he’s worked with everyone from Beyonce to Lady Gaga in the past. “I’ve also worked with a couple of producers out in Atlanta - a guy called Hard Work who’s very up-and-coming, and another guy called AJ who’s produced stuff for the new Usher album.” Jamelia’s last album ‘Walk With Me’ sold 100,000 copies, but she claimed she wasn’t happy with it. She said: “I love the songs individually, but I don’t feel that if flows very well as an album.”


Bunton was left devastated on Christmas Day


years old. was just six e h a en h w rience he had such t erotic expe ion last year - admits could touch rs fi is h ad h ct e e di ny claims h cuses so sh d for sex ad avid Duchov actor - who was treate he used to make up ex a wildly, so that she had ’ tr er es h ex il e levels e teac around The ‘X F such extrem forget his first grad Tele 5: “I always ran to on ew sh gr u cr te huge channel eans I can al appeti German TV avid believes his sexu e said: “Sex, to me, m uld be possible ld to e H . co .H him ” D than sex. It pism for him h sex d grab me. form of esca at skiing is even better are his obsession wit ne, to catch an a is g in ak ai aw m th el y ve rd ll ad lo fu ea M h , se is I u en beca o childr moment. r-old star e tw ea th is -y I’m h st 49 of ay ju e ’s od er th e moth d year. T owever, myself. It Tea Leoni, th I have had a very har d I have gone a skier.” H e ot if n w m to I’ e t - bu e an arriag y and ies. My wif : “My famil royed his m the difficult almost dest -year-old Kyd. He said l al r fo l u ef n at 10, and seve er. I’m ultimately gr even stronger.” ev e as happy as gether and now we ar to at th gh u thro


Portman thinks movie premieres are like weddings he ‘Brothers’ actress - who has been single since splitting from singer Devendra Banhart in September 2008 isn’t worried about getting married because turning out for the debut of a new film gives her the same level of attention she would receive as a bride. She explained: “It’s funny, some of my actress friends and I talk about how none of us have the big wedding obsession that other girls have and I think that’s because what girls experience on their wedding days happens a few times a


year for us. “Any time you go to a premiere, you get your hair and make-up done and everyone is looking at you. So when I’m not working, I want to be comfortable.” When she isn’t involved with Hollywood Natalie admits her friends poke fun at her fashion sense. The 28-year-old star added to Elle magazine: “My friends have been calling me a crazy cat lady recently because I’ve been wearing nut-s**t clothes that don’t really match. I like things that are comfy or funny preferably both.”

ir Elton John and David Furnish are still determined to find a home for two Ukrainian children. The couple weren’t allowed to adopt 17-month-old HIV-positive boy Lev, who also has a three-year-old brother Artyom in a home, last year, but are committed to finding the boys a permanent place to live outside of care. Filmmaker David told Closer magazine: “We are going to find a home for those boys in the Ukraine. We will get them a home as it would be a long uphill battle to bring them over here.” Elton, 62, and 47-year-old David’s adoption bid was halted because same-sex marriages are not recognized by the Ukrainian government and according to the country’s laws Elton is too old to adopt. However, they pledged to support the youngsters by paying for their education and healthcare. Meanwhile, David has also revealed he and Elton did not have an extravagant Christmas, despite their reputation as big spenders. He said: “I got Elton a piece of art. We have a one present rule at Christmas. We don’t want it to be about stuff. We like to spend time with one another. We need the rest!”



sh exp u r c t s r i f ’s y uchovn



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

eona Lewis is set to duet with Robbie Williams and Kings of Leon. The 24-year-old ‘Bleeding Love’ singer is planning to go into the studio with the ‘Angels’ hitmaker this month, and the pair hope to record more than one song together. A source said: “Leona is incredibly proactive. She knows exactly what she wants and where she’s heading and is thrilled with these developments. She loves Robbie and thinks he’s a


real laugh - and the love-in is mutual. “They’re just going to go in the studio and see what comes out.” Leona’s mentor Simon Cowell is said to be particularly delighted with the collaboration as he thinks it will help convince Robbie to agree to appear as a judge on his UK TV talent contest ‘The X Factor’. The source added to the Daily Mirror newspaper: “The track will coincide with her arena tour, with the possibility that Robbie

could appear on stage. Simon is really keen on the idea and hopes it will help Robbie come on board with the ‘X Factor’.” Leona has also reportedly been in touch with Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill about a one-off track after learning the ‘Sex on Fire’ rockers had been enjoying her music. The source said: “The collaboration came about through Leona herself. Caleb and the guys are huge fans.”

Witherspoon’s work impact eese Witherspoon worries about the impact her work has on her family. The actress finds it difficult when she is parted from her two children - Ava, ten, and Deacon, six - while she is shooting movies, but couldn’t contemplate giving up her career. She said: “Sometimes it’s really difficult for me, being far away from home. Los Angeles is where my job is and I have to be close, but I never imagined that my children wouldn’t grow up next door to my brother’s children. Or that my mom and dad wouldn’t constantly be around. “You know, I had dinner every night with my grandparents as a kid, so I think missing out on that is a hard compromise.” The 33-year-old Hollywood star has to work “incredibly hard” for three months and then make the most of her long breaks with her kids - whose father is ex-husband Ryan Phillippe. She said in a interview with InStyle magazine: “I love my life without work and I love my life with work. It’s about really enjoying my time off. “You consider certain things but you just have to keep going. You have to keep it together for your kids and for yourself too. I’m trying to learn from the things that happened in my life, live more in the moment and have more fun.”

McConaughey is ‘proud’ of his family

atthew McConaughey is “proud” of his wife and newborn daughter Vida. The actor’s older brother Rooster has spoken to his famous sibling and revealed Matthew, his wife Camila Alves and baby are all “doing fine”. Rooster added: “He called me on Sunday afternoon and said, ‘I made a little baby girl.’ He’s all proud... he’s got it going on now.” Rooster told Matthew who also has an 18month-old son Levi with Camila - to “quit copying” his life, as he also has a son and a daughter. He joked to him: “Hell, we’ve


got so many McConaughey girls now, we’re all going to have to learn volleyball and cheerleading!” Matthew, 40, announced the birth of Vida on his official website earlier this week. He wrote: “Happy New Year everybody!!! On Sunday, Jan 3 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. (sic)”

Panettiere spent New Year’s Day with Klitschko


ayden Panettiere spent New Year’s Day with boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko. The ‘Heroes’ actress, who stands at just five feet, was spotted hanging out with the 6ft 6in man-mountain in Miami, after attending Lady Gaga’s New Year’s Eve party at the city’s Fontainebleau hotel resort. An onlooker told ‘Access Hollywood’: “They appeared very cozy as they hung out, and she appeared to dote over him. When they both stood up, you


couldn’t help but notice how tiny and fragile she looked next to his rippling torso.” Ukrainian-born Wladimir, 33, presently holds the IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight boxing titles. The pair have been seen together before when they were photographed in February 2009 on the red carpet at a fundraiser in Los Angeles. In March 2008 they were spotted heading to a party together, shortly after Hayden split from her ‘Heroes’ co-star Milo Ventimiglia.

d Katy Perry have ha ussell Brand and sh iti Br e Th . ed ss ble their relationship ing ss ble e to have th comic star decided ine div d an k luc ts recipien w Year’s which grants the fore midnight on Ne be t jus ss ine pp ‘I ha e th for e lov n of his Eve as a declaratio while the pair were holir ge Kissed A Girl’ sin sell wanted source said: “Rus daying in India. A ial for Katy to show her ec to do something sp to him. “They wanted to ns ea m e sh h how muc d thought ional ceremony an dit tra a in rt pa e Year’s tak w Ne on an th r time there was no bette is usually used to bless ony Eve. “The cerem d them e hope it might lea ty, 25, th in les new coup Ka d an Russell, 34, toward marriage.” Indian outfits for the ceral ion dit tra both wore t of a ok place at the foo has emony - which to ell ss Ru rio ha ary lot mountain. Legend ys since his womanizing wa he on ck ba his ed rn e tu for be t jus d ce un anno meeting Katy, and was a reformed man. He he hedoniswent to India that ed off my famous, rn tu I t igh on for cliit said: “T did I t. umental even tic hot-tub, a mon ery sense.” mate change. In ev


Ono to release a book on Lennon


Cowell to help N-Dubz imon Cowell has vowed to help N-Dubz crack the US. The music mogul spent time with hip-hop star Dappy - real name Dino Contostavlos - in Barbados over Christmas and the New Year and has offered to help the ‘I Need You’ hitmakers become a success overseas. A source told The Sun newspaper: “Dappy has been partying with Simon, who has been turning on the charm with him. N-Dubz have their sights set on America and Simon has made it clear that he could make it happen for them over there.” However, Dappy has reportedly left their manager Jonathan Shalit reeling at the thought he and his bandmates Tulisa and Fazer might be tempted to leave him and join Simon’s record label Syco. Shalit has been further angered by the fact he financed the 22-year-old singer’s lavish trip abroad with his girlfriend. The source added: “Shalit is livid. He paid for Dappy and his girlfriend Kaye to go away for Christmas and New Year. He didn’t expect his golden goose to be tempted elsewhere.”


Keys’ new album a close friend of George, 48 - believes their relationship is the perfect love story. He told Hello! magazine: “George and Elisabetta are in love. They’re both gorgeous, fascinating people and their romance is a dream. People need to dream and this couple’s love story reminds you of those legendary romances of the past. “I think I was one of the first people she confided in about George. “At first, I did wonder how an Italian girl like Elisabetta could date such an American guy like George, but time has shown that this great love is going to last. In fact, I’d bet anything on it, and it’s my wish for both of them.”


Brand and Perry’s blessed relationship

Clooney’s girlfriend is an ‘erotic dream’

ccording to fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, Italian beauty Elisabetta Canalis - who has been dating George since last year - is perfect for the Hollywood hunk because she is beautiful and intelligent. Roberto said: “Elisabetta is beautiful and very sensual. She’s an erotic dream for many men. It’s that mix of undeniable beauty and the down-to-earth spontaneity of the girl next door. And I think that’s exactly why she’s successful - a stellar smile in a sweet face, combined with an intriguing, sensual expression.” Roberto - who worked with Elisabetta, 31, on his new underwear campaign and is

oko Ono is to release a book about her life with John Lennon. The 76year-old widow of the late former Beatle has revealed she will put pen to paper over the next few years and write an autobiography about her eventful life with John. She said: “I would love to do it. I just have to find the time. “It will be my next book, which will be written in the next five years.” Yoko - who was blamed by many Beatles’ fans for causing the legendary band to split - previously claimed she wouldn’t release a book for fear of hurting the families of people close to the group, including John’s exwife Cynthia Lennon. John’s marriage to Cynthia broke down as his fame grew and shortly after he met artist and musician Yoko. They couple - who had a son Julian together - divorced in 1968, one year before his marriage to Yoko, the mother of his son Sean. Yoko is looking forward to revealing all about their affair and dispel the myths surrounding The Beatles’ break up. A Beatles expert said: “Unlike Cynthia, Yoko has never really told her side of the Beatles story and the truth about her affair and subsequent marriage to John, so the book will be much awaited. “She’s always maintained she never broke up The Beatles, so this will be her chance to put the record straight.” John died in 1980, after being shot by deranged fan Mark Chapman outside his apartment building in New York.

licia Keys’ new album is about overcoming depression. The ‘Girlfriend’ singer almost quit the music industry when her grandmother passed away in 2006 but has learned to channel her emotions use them to create a “new sound” for her latest LP ‘The Element of Freedom’. She explained: “I found more freedom. Before, I thought I could only show the strong side of me. Now there’s a mixture of strong and delicate. A new sound, a new emotion. That’s a lot of who I am right now. “In the past, I was locking myself in the studio because I thought it was the only way to create music. This was a more casual way to do it. “The tour will take me all over the world for a year and I can’t wait to play


these songs.” In 2006, the 28year-old songstress almost suffered a breakdown after her grandmother passed away. She took a three-week holiday in Egypt to grieve for her loss before she released ‘As I Am’ a year later. She explained to Britain’s Daily Star newspaper: “With the last album, I was really trying to find myself and I was feeling extremely overworked. I was also starting to understand that I was dealing with certain people in business that were not really for me and they all had their intentions and thoughts. I was snappy, I was nasty, I was mean, losing my grandmother during that time as well. Everything felt like it could all just tumble down at once.”-Bang Showbiz



Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Bright lights, Dark Ages: Next time you’re in Manhattan, visit The Cloisters he “A” Train runs from JFK International to Times Square to the Middle Ages: Its terminus in northwest Manhattan is near The Cloisters, an amazing place where you can step into a world that revolved around sacred icons, plague and what a full bag of gold florins could buy. The Met is the big art museum in this town. The Metropolitan’s prePyramids Egyptian to 21st-century collections are housed in a venue that dwarfs Buckingham Palace and fronts Central Park. A whopping 4.5 million visitors went to The Met last year. The Cloisters is its odd little sibling you don’t hear much about. Attendance last year: 220,000. It’s tucked away in pastoral Fort Tryon Park, on a hill on a bluff with stunning views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades beyond. Scan the park’s tree line for a tower that looks like it was constructed about 1,000 years ago. That’s the Cloisters, home of the largest collection of medieval art in North America. And that tower, by the way, is also an original: a spanking new skyscraper, circa A.D. 940 in the French Pyrenees. The Cloisters and its contents were brought together there by tycoon-turned-philanthropist John D Rockefeller Jrone of the men behind the Met and Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg-who had amassed a choice collection of statues, books and other items crafted by European artisans between the First Crusade and the Renaissance. In 1925, he made it possible for the Met to purchase the collection of sculptor and art collector George Barnard, who had acquired a considerable assortment of ruined medieval odds and ends in France. Rockefeller also picked up Barnard’s private museum, where those pieces were displayed, and some adjoining land. The real estate was given to New York City for a park. Barnard’s items and Rockefeller’s personal stash became the medieval-themed Cloisters. A cloister was a medieval monastery that featured covered outdoor walkways facing an enclosed garden. Cloisters were perfect for monks who needed peace and quiet-and the tranquility there defies the loud hustle of New York. Windows facing the three courtyard gardens are large and numerous. The two-level Cloisters building itself is an amazing consolidation - parts of five different cloisters shipped to the New World and expertly cemented into one facility with ornate limestone columns, arches and other pieces of architecture worked in. The result is like an elaborate movie set-but the real thing-with appeal for art lovers and for those who simply fancy castles-and-chivalry movies. (Russell Crowe’s “Robin Hood” reaches the big screen next spring.) Troves of authentic artifacts from those times are in short supply. At The Cloisters, they’re numerous-approximately 1,846 — and displayed indoors and outdoors. They range from the very large (complete, reassembled chapels) to the tiny. They collectively show Western Europe on a learning


The coolest Cloister items may have been the stained glass windows displayed in several halls. —MCT photos

The Cloisters building curve that starts in the ancient world and ends in the Renaissance. Medieval artists were often clueless when it came to visual perspective: Figures on the horizon in paintings and tapestries are the same size as those in the foreground. But calling those centuries the “Dark Ages” isn’t accurate. You see remarkable skills and achievements that get little attention. Sculptors knew anatomy and how to fashion incredibly lifelike figures. “Age of Faith” is a better stereotype: The museum’s galleries are filled with carved wood, ivory and stone representations of saints and angels. The detailing on many of the figures, crucifixes, chalices, beakers and other objects is as good as what a craft master could produce in our times. The most moving gallery might be the Gothic Chapel, a few steps down from the main floor and holding funerary sculpture. Light from an exterior window lands on the tombtopper of Jean d’Alluye, a knight from France’s Loire Valley who died circa 1248 after a busy life. He returned from the Holy Land with what he believed to be a fragment of the True Cross. This life-size and lifelike limestone carving topped his remains when he was buried in an abbey. After the abbey was sacked and destroyed during the French Revolution, this elaborate work was supposedly used as a footbridge. The carving shows the knight sleeping face up, arms folded in prayer, his body in knightly armor and with a lion (representing bravery) at his feet. Nearby is the life-size likeness of Ermengol VII of Urgell, the master in the early 1300s of a county in northeastern

If you go The basics: The Cloisters is at 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, near Broadway and Riverside Drive. From Midtown Manhattan, take the “A” train north to the Dyckman Street station. You can also get off the train one stop before (190th Street); the walk to the museum is longer but less steep. Non-flash photography is permitted; video cameras not allowed. Hours: 9:30 am-4:45 pm. Tuesday-Sunday, to 5:15 pm. March-October. Closed Jan 1, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). Admission: $20; $15 for 65 and older; $10 for students (any age, with ID); 11 and younger, free. Cost includes same-day admission to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s main building, 1000 Fifth Ave. (at 82nd Street). Details:

The extras: May-October, guided tours are offered of the courtyards’ gardens, with plants cultivated in medieval times. One garden also holds the Trie Cafe (open May-October). An orchard and wildflower meadow are also on the grounds. (The Cloisters has a helpful medieval garden blog: The Cloisters schedules various workshops, concerts and programs; events for kids range from talks on medieval games to arts-andcrafts events (make your own gauntlet, etc) Between The Cloisters and the 190th Street station is the New Leaf Cafe, a charming, cottage-like eatery in Fort Tryon Park that occupies its former stables. It is a nonprofit venture founded by singer/actress Bette Midler as part of her New York Restoration Project. Upscale burgers and salads plus entrees in a relaxing casual/upscale setting.

Spain that outlived him by no more than a century. The image on his limestone monument shows him suited for war, sleeping pleasantly, his hands clasped in prayer. The long side of his trunk-like “bed” features detailed carvings of Jesus flanked by the 12 Apostles, standing in individual mini-archways. Here and elsewhere at The Cloisters, it becomes clear how closely life intertwined with death. Average life expectancy was perhaps 35 for men, less for women, and much of the art back then was a display of piety that may have doubled as an insurance policy toward the afterlife. In another gallery, and with a very different take on life and death, is a series of seven Unicorn tapestries-elaborate wool, silk and gilt-thread weavings from the late 1400s that show a band of hunters stalking and killing the mystical animal. The hangings are large-at least 120 square feet-and filled with enough cultural and religious symbolism and allegory to lard a Dan Brown potboiler. In the sixth tapestry, the de-horned victim is hauled back to the castle, where the lords and ladies look impressed and curious but-oddly-not exactly elated. The final hanging shows the animal alive again, horn back in place, frolicking in a fenced enclosure. (Try to figure that out. Better yet, visit the Unicorn Tapestry Room when a school group is touring the place; listen to what the docent says.) One gallery is stocked with glassware. In another you can see a tiny, hand-painted devotional book that belonged to a French queen in the 1320s. Nearby is the only full deck of cards known to survive the Middle Ages — 52 fancy and handmade cards in four suits you may not expect (hunting horns, dog collars, tethers and nooses). The Cloisters is remarkably kid-friendly. A number of stone fountains, pillars and archways can be touched. (First, check the signs or ask a guard.) Many indoor items are mounted out of reach but not sheathed in glass. (The floor-toceiling unicorn tapestries are cordoned off with some kind of sonic “fence” and the beeping goes off frequently during class tours; kids feel compelled to lean over the wire for a closer look.) The biggest surprise may be the sunlit Glass Gallery, where windows facing the Bonnefont Cloister Garden are inlaid with roundels-remarkable stained-glass scenes from around 1500, each the size of a dinner plate. One scene depicts hell as a nightmare-blue place where demons and the Devil have bright yellow eyes. The unclothed Devil, carting a naked victim, has a second horrific face in his belly, and his thighs are beast heads that look to be consuming his taloned feet. The display also has fanciful stained-glass depictions of parables as well as snippets of long-gone everyday life. The most delightful shows a trio of chimpanzee carpenters attempting to assemble a gaming table. Slapstick comedy ages surprisingly well. — MCT

n ecolodge in the Alaskan wilderness, a historic hotel restored to its original elegance in New Orleans, a 1930s adobe casita in the California desert and a house of straw in Southern Illinois. A guy needs a place to lay his head, and those four were among the top 10 lodging spots found in a year of travels. They’re there, waiting for you.


10 great places to hang your hat

Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge

The only lodge within the mountains, glaciers and rocky coasts of Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska, the 16 cozy cabins have porches with views of seals, otters and black bears playing in the lagoon at the base of Pedersen Glacier. The lodge is accessible only by boat, but the four-hour ride is a wildlife tour in itself. Former St Louisan Kirk Hoessle built the lodge at the invitation of the native corporation that owns a private nature preserve within the park.

The guest-room balconies have up-close views of one of the most spectacular vistas in the Southwest, the red-rock monoliths rising from the desert floor of Monument Valley in Utah. The valley is owned by the Navajo Nation, and the tribe built the View Hotel to blend in perfectly with the landscape. The hotel’s interior and gift shop feature authentic art, and its restaurant serves Native American dishes.

• •

29 Palms Inn

• Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

• Roosevelt Hotel

The block-long lobby of the restored Roosevelt Hotel is a glittering symbol of the comeback of New Orleans.

Villages at Chaumette The hills of Ste. Genevieve County in southeast Missouri have their share of wineries, and the Villages of Chaumette on the grounds of Chaumette Winery is a great place to stay during a weekend tour. The villages is a collection of French Colonialstyle luxury condos whose owners offer them for nightly rental when away. The complex has a first-class spa with outdoor pool, and the winery’s Grapevine Grill offers gourmet dining, paired with fine wines, of course.

The 29 Palms Inn has been offering food and lodging in the town of Twenty-nine Palms, California, since 1928.

The Raphael The Raphael is another historic hotel with a million-dollar location, this one just across the street from Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza. First opened as luxury apartments in 1928, the Raphael is now a 126-room boutique hotel looking better than ever, thanks to a just-completed $10 million makeover. The renovation added two meeting rooms and a fitness center, and remodeled the hotel’s restaurant, which serves the best crab cakes in town.

A stroll into the block-long lobby glowing beneath nine crystal chandeliers harkens back to the golden years of New Orleans. Originally opened in 1893, the Roosevelt Hotel had several lives before a local investment group put up $145 million for a top-to-bottom restoration. The hotel has 504 rooms, two restaurants, a rooftop swimming pool and the classy Sazerac Bar. The grand reopening this fall put a glittering exclamation mark on the city’s comeback.

The Drake Over umpteen visits to Chicago, I’d never stayed at the Drake Hotel. This year, I saw what I was missing. A walk into the lobby tells you that the Drake is one of the iconic institutions of this first-class city. On the north end of Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile of shopping; Gucci, Bloomingdale’s and North Face are a stroll away. A tip: Pony up the extra $40 for a lake-view room, and watch Lake Michigan sparkle outside your window.

The sister islands of St Kitts and Nevis on the Atlantic side of the Caribbean are a wonderful contrast: St Kitts courts tourists, Nevis is a sleepy outpost and likes it that way. The Nisbet Plantation Beach Club on Nevis is a cluster of 36 yellow cottages and a restored circa 1778 great house on 30 acres of lawn, gardens and palm trees. An old sugar plantation, the resort has the charm of a well-maintained colonial country club, on a golden strip of empty beach.

Makanda Inn With a dozen wineries to visit, you need an overnight rest stop on a tour of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail in the national forest of Southern Illinois. The new Makanda Inn is at the halfway mark on the trail, near Giant City State Park. The owners wanted to construct an eco-friendly B&B, and used straw bales covered with stucco for exterior walls. The inn has four guest rooms and a large lounge and dining area. Artisans used local woods to handcraft the furniture, stairways and counter tops.

Built in the 1920s on 30 acres of a natural preserve called the Oasis of Mara, the 29 Palms Inn has a colorful collection of detached units and the best restaurant in the town of Twentynine Palms in Southern California. We stayed in the wonderfully funky Irene’s Historic Adobe, which has two bedrooms, a kitchen, a beamed living room with a wood fireplace, and a courtyard for morning coffee. The mystical cactus-andboulder desert of Joshua Tree National Park is minutes away.

The View Hotel

River of Life Farm Myron McKee has added the Whispering Pines cabin to his collection of tree houses overlooking the spring-fed North Fork of the White River near Dora deep in the Missouri Ozarks on the Arkansas border. The cabin has a full kitchen, a queen bed with a Jacuzzi tub for two alongside, and a covered porch with the river sparkling through the trees. The tree houses are for travelers who truly want a mountain hideaway. Take a book, and take a friend. — MCT

The Nisbet Plantation Beach Club on Nevis has 36 bungalows and has been voted a top Caribbean resort.

The Drake Hotel is an iconic institution in Chicago, Illinois.

The Villages at Chaumette in southeast Missouri are villas available for nightly rental.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010



Boys from Afghanistan’s Hazara minority ethnic group learn to make French bread and pastries at the Le Pelican cafe in Kabul on December 29, 2009. — AFP

French bakery offers future to Afghan minority children O

n the wall of Le Pelican cafe in Kabul’s dusty suburbs are photographs showing a baker’s dozen of Afghan children beaming over a tray of pastries fresh out of the huge industrial oven behind them. Nearby shelves are stacked with their wares-croissants, pains au chocolat, baguettes, apple and peach tarts and turnovers, sugar cookies, a variety of breads-which teenagers Habib and Zahir carefully put in paper bags for enthusiastic customers. In a city that has little trace of the sophistication of its past, Le Pelican Boulanger is more than just a welcome oasis for an expatriate community living and working as if under siege. The cafe is an outlet for what its French owners, Jacques and Ariane Hiriart, have built from scratch to educate children from Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazara community, who have long suffered discrimination and exclusion. At the Hiriart’s vocational centre in Kabul’s southeastern suburbs, almost 200 Hazaras-not all of them childrenlearn to read and write before they take on the task of

turning out fine French pastries and breads. The aim is to give them skills they can use to find jobs in the hospitality industry, said Jacques, though he concedes the day Afghanistan welcomes tourists from across the world is probably a long way off. Many of the children at Le Pelican child care centre “just knock on the door,” said Ariane, or she hears about them by word of mouth and invites them to come and learn. While most are children, Hazara women also come to learn to read and write, she said, adding the youngest at the centre is six and the oldest 32 years old. On the vocational side, however, it is still early days for the Hazara boys learning to make bread and hoping the skills will help them find future work. “Everyone is still very young, and there are not so many hotels here so it is difficult for them to find good work,” Jacques told AFP, sitting over a hot chocolate in a sunny alcove of Le Pelican as one of three cats dozed on the next chair. Jacques, 61, and Ariane have a long associa-

tion with Afghanistan, having first worked in Kabul for a Swiss non-governmental organization in 2000, while the brutal and extremist Taliban was still in control. Under the Sunni Taliban regime the discrimination long suffered by the Shia Hazara-believed to be descendants of the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan and his sons who swept across Central Asia in the 13th century-had become even worse. The few NGOs in the country were not permitted to work with them. After the 9/11 Al-Qaeda attacks on the United States, the couple were on the last evacuation flight to leave Kabul two days later. Within a month, the Taliban had been pushed from power in a US-led invasion, and not long afterwards the Hiriarts returned to Kabul “to do what we really wanted to do-to take care of what we considered the most vulnerable people, Hazara children,” Ariane said. Years earlier, after the death of their only child at age 10, the couple had decided to change their lives, she said. In 1986, Jacques ended his 12-year career as an oil rig

engineer to retrain as a baker, learning l’art de la patisserie with a vague plan of moving abroad and starting a new life. After running a successful boulangerie in eastern France for 10 years, they were inspired by French writer Joseph Kessel’s book “On the Horsemen’s Steps,” about the traditional Central Asian mounted game of buzkashi. “This was our inspiration, as it was for many French people, to come to Afghanistan,” said Jacques. “So we joined an NGO but it was not satisfying-what was missing was contact with the population. “I’m not really interested in doing the sort of work that means you sit behind your computer and never see what is happening outside, that is very sad. Most important for us is the contact with the local people.” As their plans took shape, they found help in odd corners-for instance, the bread oven at their centre was brought into Afghanistan by the French military, fighting with the US and NATO to quell a Taliban insurgency. “We had our first customer on September 12, 2006, the day of

my birthday,” he said, searching for the bill on his laptop. “We sold croissants, pains au chocolat and hamburger buns.” Annual operating costs are 120,000 dollars, said Jacques, adding that the cafe and sales of the bakery products had made 12,000 dollars since April 2009. They rely on private donations and keep a low profile, not wishing to draw attention in a country ranked by the international watchdog Transparency International as the world’s second most corrupt, after Somalia. Unlike many foreigners with businesses in Afghanistan, the Hiriarts refuse to pay bribes to stay open, believing they are setting an example to their trainees. For now, however, they believe they have reached a plateau and that to take their concept further they need helppreferably from another couple who will be able to run the cafe and bakery while they develop the centre. “We are searching, but it is not easy. Not many people like us want to come to Afghanistan,” said Jacques. — AFP

Lifestyle in collaboration with BOURJOIS at Centrepoint n collaboration with BOURJOIS - Paris, Lifestyle, the (cosmetics, gifts &home furnishing brand from Centrepoint) organized a fun filled activities day for its valued customers at its Salmiya store in Salem Al Mubarak St .This activity comes as part of the “Lifestyle and BOURJOIS” promotion which was launched early December 09 entitling shoppers who spend KD 16 and above on any of BOURJOIS products to enter a raffle draw and have the chance to win a brand new 4*4 Renault Koleos. Over 150 people participated in the amusing activities which included different competitions, games and many prizes presented by BOURJOIS to the audience and participants.


This undated image made available by Fox Broadcasting Co shows the cartoon family the Simpsons, from left: Lisa, Marge, Maggie, Homer and Bart, posing in front of their home. — AP

Singer Sandro, the ‘The Simpsons’ marks 450th episode ‘Argentine Elvis,’dies at 64

o speak of the latest milestone by “The Simpsons” seems to restate the obvious. Long before now, enduring life for “The Simpsons” and its brightly jaundiced folk was simply assumed. What began 20 years ago as a fluke then erupted into a pop-culture juggernaut has continued to spin yarns, spawn characters and lampoon society with no end in sight. On Sunday at 8 p.m. EST on Fox, “The Simpsons” is airing its 450th episode. “Once Upon a Time in Springfield” will be followed by an hourlong documentary from Morgan Spurlock (“30 Days,” “Super Size Me”), fancifully titled “The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special in 3-D on Ice.” During this season, when NBC’s “Law & Order” boasts of having tied “Gunsmoke” as TV’s longest-running prime-time drama, “The Simpsons” has seized the mantle as TV’s longestrunning scripted nighttime series - period. Ay, caramba! “I think we could do it for another 20 years, actually,” Matt Groening, “Simpsons” uber-creator, told The Associated Press at a recent “Simpsons” tribute by Los Angeles’ Paley Center for Media. Then he dissolved into giggles. “Omigod! Another 20? We’ll TRY,” he chortled. “We’ll do our BEST!” Here’s hoping the spectacular ensemble of voice talent keeps talking to the end. After 20 years, Dan Castellaneta remains full-throated as portly, dimwitted dad Homer, Julie Kavner is tower-tressed mom Marge, Nancy Cartwright is lippy first-born Bart and Yeardley Smith is oversmart daughter Lisa. Of course, these off-screen stars of “The Simpsons” are well served by visual artistry that, among things, keeps them shielded from the passage of time. The show’s writers play a huge role, too, with fastidiously crafted scripts that, by comparison, leave most sitcoms in the dust. (Granted, some fans may complain “The Simpsons” isn’t as sharply realized as in earlier years, but still.) “What I love about ‘The Simpsons’ is, it’s so collaborative,” Smith said. “The actors do a third, the animators do a third and the writers do a third. That’s how I see it.” Also part of the acting troupe is Hank Azaria, a go-to guy for numerous characters including police Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy and convenience-store owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. Rounding out the core cast is Harry Shearer, whose stable of roles includes Mr Burns, Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy, Kent Brockman, Dr Hibbert and Principal Skinner. Besides “The Simpsons,” Shearer, 66, is best-known from his role as bassist Derek Smalls in the 1984 mock musical documentary “This Is Spinal Tap,” and subsequently in the reallife group that film inspired. But Shearer, who began his career as a child actor on such early TV series as Jack Benny’s weekly show, keeps a multiplicity of projects under way. These currently include a new DVD, “Unwigged & Unplugged,” reteaming him musically with Tap bandmates Michael McKean and Christopher Guest. He hosts his own signature channel on the “My Damn Channel” comedy Web site. And for a quarter-century, he has churned out “Le Show,” a mostly solo act of wry humor, satirical sketches and blistering commentary, plus music (some performed by his singer-songwriter wife, Judith Owen). “Le Show” is available through numerous radio and Web outlets, and by podcast. It’s a weekly passion project that Shearer has always done gratis - which means he’s


free from any vexing business entanglements. “I never have a meeting, I never see a memo,” he says. “It’s between me and my audience.” Sipping an early morning orange juice during a Manhattan stopover a couple of weeks ago, Shearer describes “Le Show” as a place for him to give voice to whatever’s on his mind. “I’m an insatiable news junkie,” he says, “so the reading that I do, I would do anyway. The show just gives me a way to answer back.” The sensibility of “Le Show,” and much of Shearer’s creative output, is conveniently echoed by “The Simpsons,” even though he plays no part in its writing. “Matt has a satirical, anti-authority streak,” says Shearer. “From the beginning, ‘The Simpsons’ was taking the side of the family against all the authority figures and institutions that buffeted them in the modern world. Certainly, that resonated for me.” Shearer recalls the show’s first script, whose characters assigned to him were highlighted in yellow. In the next script, other characters’ dialogue would be highlighted for him. Much of the time, he didn’t see drawings of the new characters until months after he had created their voices, when the episode was finished: “Oh, THAT’S what he looks like!” How many different voices has Shearer done on “The Simpsons” in all? “The one real influence that Bob Dylan has had on my life is that, every time I’m asked that question, I give a different answer,” says Shearer. “So: hundreds,” he replies in a raspy Dylan-esque voice. As the years passed, Shearer’s many voices were part of the emerging world of Springfield, an oblivious community that seemed satisfied to settle for less in nearly everything: public education; organized religion; TV news and kids programming; government, law enforcement, business, and food and drink intake; and certainly environmental issues, such as the nuclear power plant that employs Homer Simpson, of all people, as a safety inspector. What’s the message of “The Simpsons”? That people, for all their highfalutin talk, are willing to settle for less if it’s easier or saves them a buck? Has “The Simpsons” taken on a new, unexpected relevance thanks to the current economic downturn, when standards for everything seem under threat? “You look around and the only person who ostentatiously and repeatedly proclaims his pursuit of excellence is Rush Limbaugh,” says Shearer, then does a perfect imitation of Limbaugh: “I’m presenting broadcast excellence.” “That’s got to tell you something,” Shearer says. “Everybody ELSE is just getting by.” But he, unlike most people taking stock of “The Simpsons” at this moment in its run, resists any grandiose claims for its legacy. “Together with NFL football, ‘The Simpsons’ put the Fox network on the map - whatever you think of that,” he hedges. “And Fox has changed the face of network television - you got to decide for better or worse. “I wish I could say that we inspired an awful lot of funny, smart, irreverent, acerbic shows that took a lacerating view of the institutions of society. But I don’t think we have.” Nor does he think the show - or any contemporary satire - really changes anything it lampoons. “For instance, after 20 years and 450 episodes,” Shearer sums up, “I don’t really think ‘The Simpsons’ has increased the country’s skepticism about nuclear power.”— AP

rgentine singer Sandro, whose gyrating pelvis and romantic ballads brought comparisons to Elvis Presley and made him the first Latin American to sing in Madison Square Garden, died Monday of complications from heart and lung transplant surgery. He was 64. Sandro, who recorded 52 albums, acted in 16 movies and was awarded a Latin Grammy for career achievement in 2005, suffered from chronic lung disease that led to the Nov 20 surgery. He died at the Italian Hospital in the Argentine city of Mendoza, said Dr Claudio Burgos. Born Roberto Sanchez in 1945 in Buenos Aires, he was the author of hits such as “Asi” (“Like That”) and “Dame fuego” (“Give Me Fire”), and his rock and pop tunes won him fame across Latin America. In the 1970s he became the first Latin American singer to play New York’s Madison Square Garden. Last year, in one of his final interviews, the singer blamed his smoking habit for his long illness. “I am debilitated because I cannot move. My life is my bed, my spot in the dining room where I read the newspaper, and from there I do not move,” Sandro told Mitre radio of Buenos Aires. “I am to blame for the condition that I am in. I deserve it; I sought it out. I picked up this damn cigarette.” As a youth, Roberto Sanchez began playing guitar along with Enrique Irigoytia, another boy from his neighborhood. The two formed several rock bands that sang Spanish versions of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Paul Anka hits. But it wasn’t until he was lead guitarist for the band Los de Fuego that his fame took off. During one performance, the lead singer lost his


voice and another performer broke his guitar strings. Sanchez relinquished his guitar, took over singing duties and threw himself into dancing along to the rock rhythm. The crowd went wild. Sanchez became the group’s front man and adopted the moniker Sandro — a name his mother had wanted to give him at birth, but the Civil Registry refused. Sandro y Los de Fuego made their TV debut in 1964 on “Circular Saturdays,” one of the nation’s most popular shows. Sandro’s sensual, irreverent style, gyrating hips and black leather jacket sent young female fans into a frenzy; his “babes,” as they were known, would scream wildly, pull their hair and throw their undergarments onstage. He soon earned the reputation as Argentina’s Elvis Presley. The band recorded two albums before Sandro went solo, turning to a more melodic repertoire and entering the “romantic” genre with classics such as “Quiero Llenarme de Ti” (“I Want to Fill Myself With You”). In 1969, he made his silver screen debut in a movie with the same title. A later film, “La Vida Continua” (“Life Goes On”), was a hit not only in Argentina but in much of Latin America. By 2001, he was forced to play a series of shows with the assistance of a tube attached to a microphone, to combat the effects of pulmonary emphysema. Last year he went on a waiting list for a lung and heart transplant, which doctors said was the only way to save him from a disease that had already destroyed his vocal cords and restricted his movements. He is survived by his wife, Olga Garaventa, whom he married in 2007. He had no children. — AP

In this undated file photo, Argentina’s popular singer Sandro performs in Buenos Aires.—AP

Treasury of the World exhibition to dazzle Singapore he Curator of Dar Al-Athar AlIslamiyyah (House of Islamic Antiquities) Sheikha Hussa Sabah AlSalem Al-Sabah yesterday announced that the museum’s “Treasury of the World” roving exhibition is to stop in Singapore next, exhibiting a priceless collection of Indian jewelry from the Mughal era, as of February 11 and lasting 16 days. Sheikha Hussa said this would be in participation in an Asian Civilizations arts exhibition and the exhibition is sponsored by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and is to be inaugurated by Minister of Oil and Information Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah AlSabah. The curator added that the visit in 2004 by His Highness Sheikh Sabah to Singapore, as Premier, and his admiration for the Asian Civilizations arts exhibition encouraged Dar Al-Athar to take part. Cooperation in this field between the two establishments was furthered after a subsequent visit to the exhibition by His Highness the Premier Sheikh Nasser AlMohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in 2007, Sheikha Hussa stressed. She further pointed out that a formal invitation to the House of Islamic Antiquities to take part in the exhibition was conveyed by the visiting Singaporean minister of culture in 2007. The artifact are to be transported to the new venue, which was a government heaquarters turned into a major museum in the late 1990s, in mid January. She remarked the Treasury of the World Mughal jewelry exhibition already dazzled Moscow and St Petersburg, with 560,000 and 140,000 visitors stopping by, respectively. The roving exhibition is to move on from Singapore to Malaysia where it is to be open for visitors, July 29 till end of December 2010. Dar Al-Athar’s other activities on the agenda include an exhibition in Milano, with another collection of artifact, and others in Canada and South Korea, the curator told KUNA. —KUNA


Israeli village stirs up hummus war with record bid

t the risk of whipping up discord with Lebanon, an Arab-Israeli village is planning to make the world’s biggest hummus, a humble chickpea dip that stirs passions across the Middle East. On Friday, residents of Abu Gosh, near Jerusalem, will mash up 4,000 kilogram’s (8,800 pounds) of chickpeas, sesame paste, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. That is twice as much as the Guinness record set in October by chefs in Lebanon, Israel’s neighbor, longtime political foe and culinary rival. An inexpensive, nutritious and tasty dish, hummus is the great leveler in the Middle East, enjoyed by rich and poor, by Muslims, Jews and Christians and by Israelis and Palestinians. “It is something we have in common. Something all of us love,” says Shooky Galili, an Israeli journalist who runs the Hummus Blog that seeks to “give


chickpeas a chance”. But it is also the root of heated disputes that rattle friendships and fuel animosities between longtime foes. Lebanon, technically at war with Israel since the Jewish state was created in 1948, recently sought to have the European Union register the popular dip as a Lebanese specialty. The Lebanese Society for Industrialists claims Israeli businesses are robbing them of tens of millions of dollars in potential earnings by exporting packaged hummus made with traditional Lebanese recipes. This drew outrage, derision and bemusement in Israel. “Hummus can’t be owned by anybody. It’s like saying someone owns bread,” says Galili, who calls himself “The Hummus Guy”. He deplores the bad blood over his favorite dish, but admits that the hum-

Majed Ibrahim carries various types of hummus dishes at a restaurant in the town of Abu Gosh.

mus war “is certainly one of the nicest wars we have in the region. If all our battles were like that it would be wonderful.” Hummus is sometimes described as one of the oldest known prepared foods, eaten in the Middle East for centuries. But its origins have become lost in the sands of history. Some suggest its roots might be traced to ancient Rome or Greece, but voicing such theories out loud is not recommended in this volatile region. Galili says it is irrelevant who first came up with the tasty concoction that has become an integral part of Middle Eastern culture, suggesting it should be seen as God’s gift to the region. In the Holy Land it enjoys near-cult status. Often shared with family and friends, with everyone dipping their pita bread in the same plate, the ubiquitous


edding Crashers” actor Vince Vaughn is a groom. Vaughn’s spokesman, Alan Nierob, said Mondaythat the 39-yearold “Couples Retreat” and “Swingers” actor wed 31year-old real estate agent Kyla Weber in a small private ceremony Saturday outside Chicago. He said the nuptials were attended by family and close friends. It is the first marriage for both Weber and “The Break-Up” and “Four Christmases” leading man. Vaughn previously dated “Break-Up” co-star Jennifer Aniston.—AP

Hirsch joins celeb climb of Kilimanjaro


expedition, which begins tomorrow, aims to use star power to help raise awareness about the need for clean water worldwide. The 24-year-old Hirsch says the climb combines “an epic adventure with an educational process on the global water crisis.” Fans can

Japanese participants display their works during the New Year’s calligraphy contest. —AP

Winners of the beauty contest ‘Super Grandmother’ and ‘Super Grandfather’, 84-year old Marika Sikharulidze and 71year-old Vakhtang Goguadze pose in Tbilisi, yesterday.—AFP

day-trippers on a search for the holy grail of hummus. Jawadat Ibrahim, who owns a restaurant named after the village and is organizing the Guinness bid, acknowledges that “Lebanese hummus is very good” but boasts that “Abu Gosh is the hummus capital of the world”-fighting words to rival fans. Hummus fiends in these parts tend to be as loyal to their eatery of choice as sports fans to their club. “Even if your football club doesn’t win the championship, you still believe it’s the best and everyone else is wrong. With hummus it’s the same; there’s no way you’ll convince anyone their favorite is not the best,” says Galili. Passionate hummus arguments do not, however, degenerate into hooliganism, he adds reassuringly. “We argue but we don’t kill each other.”— AFP

‘Couples Retreat’ actor Vince Vaughn marries

A view of the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival. (Inset) Visitors walk between buildings made from blocks of ice at the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival in Harbin in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province yesterday. —AP

mile Hirsch is on his way to Africa to climb the continent’s highest peak. The “Milk” and “Into the Wild” star is joining Jessica Biel, Lupe Fiasco, Isabel Lucas and Elizabeth Gore for a weeklong trek up Mount Kilimanjaro. The Summit on the Summit

dish crosses Israeli-Palestinian boundaries. Israelis generally recognize the best hummus is made by Arabs. But arguing about who serves the best hummus, and whether it should be creamy or chunky, is not for the faint-hearted. Just about everyone has a favorite hummus joint and is willing to defend it at high volume and with much gesticulation. One name that often comes up is that of Abu Shukri, a hole-in-the-wall family-run hummus eatery that has become a landmark in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City. Hummus pundits also hold the traditional restaurants in the historic Arab-Israeli cities of Jaffa and Acre in high esteem. And many aficionados have a soft-spot for Abu Gosh, an Arab-Israeli village a few minutes drive from Jerusalem, which on weekends is packed with hungry

follow the climb online and donate as little as a dollar to provide clean water to those who need it. Hirsch says he’s ready for the more than 19,000-foot (5,800meter) challenge, saying, “Put this on the books: I’m making it to the top.”—AP

Vince Vaughn

Salim Chamuda stirs some mashed chickpeas as he prepares a hummus dish at a restaurant in the town of Abu Gosh near Jerusalem.— AFP photos

LA judge sets hearing in Polanski case R

oman Polanski’s long-delayed criminal case will return to a courtroom for a hearing later this week, a court official said Monday. Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini said Judge Peter Espinoza will convene a hearing on Polanski’s case today afternoon. It’s the first time the 32-year-old sex case will be back in court since a state appeals court last month rejected Polanski’s bid to have it dismissed. The appeals court, however, suggested the case could end quickly if Polanski’s attorneys agreed to sentencing in absentia or he drops his opposition to being File photo shows extradited to the Roman Polanski United States. Polanski is under house in Oberhausen, arrest at his Swiss western chalet. He was arrested in late September on a Germany. — AP fugitive warrant. Los Angeles County district attorney’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said Polanski’s lawyers requested an in-chambers conference on the case, but prosecutors objected. Espinoza then scheduled a public hearing; Gibbons said she did not know what would be discussed. Previous in-chambers discussions have proved controversial. Misconduct has been cited in the case because the original judge may have consulted with a former prosecutor about how to sentence Polanski. There are also conflicting accounts of whether a judge in the late 1990s agreed to resolve the case, but only if the sentencing hearing was televised. Phone and e-mail messages left for Polanski’s attorney, Chad Hummel, were not immediately returned. Polanski was initially accused of raping a 13-year-old girl after plying her with champagne and a Quaalude pill during a 1977 modeling shoot. He was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molestation and sodomy, but he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse. He fled to his native France on the eve of sentencing in 1978 after spending 42 days a California prison for a psychiatric evaluation. — AP

A picture shows French actress Laura Smet.—AFP

French rocker Hallyday’s daughter hospitalized rench actress Laura Smet, daughter of rock legend Johnny Hallyday, was hospitalized in Paris Monday after consuming a mixture of medications and alcohol, an emergency services source said. According to the source, Smet, 26, allegedly attempted suicide in the church at Saint-German des Pres in central Paris and was rushed by firefighters to Val-de-Grace hospital. A police source told AFP that Smet was in a “serious” condition in hospital, but added that at this point police could not say whether it amounted to an attempted suicide. Smet’s agent, however, said the young actress had simply taken ill. “We confirm that Laura Smet has been hospitalised but there are no worries about her condition as a result of a simple illness that surfaced today,” Elisabeth Tanner told the agency Artmedia in a statement. When contacted by AFP, the actress’s lawyer, Herve Temime, said Smet “is not in any danger.” Hallyday’s own health has been in the news lately after the singer-known as the French Elvis-had to undergo two surgeries in Los Angeles to treat complications from a Paris operation on a herniated disc. He has gone to court to determine whether he was the victim of a botched operation. Smet, whose mother is French actress Nathalie Baye, is the partner of Julien Delajoux, the brother of the Paris surgeon, Stephane Delajoux, who performed the controversial operation on Hallyday. — AFP


6 Jan 2010  

kuwait times

6 Jan 2010  

kuwait times