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US warns of attack threat to SudanUganda flights

My journey to Gaza: A city under siege


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conspiracy theories

On whose side are the Arabs? By Badrya Darwish


llow me to contradict George Mitchell, the special US envoy to the Middle East, who said peace talks should not last more than two years. What peace talks is he talking about? We’ve been hearing these remarks for tens of years. I assure you, if we live for another 10 years, your successor will be saying the same thing. He’ll be using your words too. I don’t know why you are wasting your time and our time. You know what, your time is valuable, ours is not. So you can waste it the way you like. Israel doesn’t want peace. Israel was not created to have peace talks. In fact, if Israel has enough population to spread and occupy other countries, I’m quite confident it will not hesitate for a moment. I liked the statement of Mrs Clinton while talking to Arab officials and leaders to revive peace talks without preconditions. Why couldn’t she ask Israelis to freeze settlements and resume peace talks? Isn’t it high time Arabs get the message and come together and reconcile Hamas and Abbas? There can be no viable Palestine without West Bank and Gaza together with Jerusalem as its capital. Why are the Americans insisting on ignoring The 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza? Don’t misunderstand me - I’m not defending Hamas nor Abbas. I’m defending the Palestinian people and nation. Instead of the Arabs asking Khaled Meshaal, the exiled leader of Hamas, whether Hamas is with the Arabs or others, the right question to ask was whether the Arabs are with Hamas or the others. Is Hamas a full-fledged entity to ask whose side are they on? Bluntly speaking, whether with Iran or the Arabs? Is Hamas in a position to have options? Is a besieged group of people in a city like Gaza deprived of all basics of life – electricity, water, food, medicines – really a threat to the Arab world? If the Arabs give them enough help, I’m sure they don’t need to get help from Iran or anywhere else.

MOHARRAM 24, 1431 AH

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CIA bomber calls for attacks on US Balawi says attack was ‘revenge’ • CIA responds to criticism

This image taken from undated video made available from Taleban sources yesterday shows Humam Khalil Abu Mulal Al-Balawi (right) reading a statement to camera vowing revenge for the death of Pakistani Taleban chief Baitullah Mehsud, while sitting next to the new leader of the Pakistani Taleban Hakimullah Mehsud. — AP

Palestinians snub US call, want full settlement freeze Settlements ‘major obstacle’ to talks: Riyadh

MUMBAI: Indian Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan performs during an awards ceremony late Friday. — AFP

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RAMALLAH: The Palestinians yesterday insisted on a full Israeli settlement freeze before renewing peace efforts, putting a damper on a US call to revive talks with no preconditions. “A resumption of peace talks requires the complete halt of settlements” in the occupied West Bank, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP. Erakat also demanded that Israel comply with its commitment under the 2003 international roadmap for peace that calls for a “halt to all settlement activity including natural growth and Jerusalem.” Negotiations should be picked up from the point they were left when they broke down in Dec 2008, he said. So far, there has been no reaction from the Israeli government. On Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Israelis and Palestinians to resume the peace

talks without preconditions, in Washington’s latest bid to return the sides to the negotiations table. Clinton backed the key Palestinian aim of creating a state along the borders that existed before the 1967 Israeli-Arab war, but said the lines would be modified through mutually agreed land swaps, presumably to account for some Israeli settlements that would remain. The Palestinian stand was backed by the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Germany who met in Riyadh yesterday. “The illegal settlements ... constitute a major obstacle to peace talks,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud AlFaisal said in a joint news conference with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle. “A freeze on settlements is one of the main commitments of the peace process. It is not a Palestinian condition to

resuming negotiations as Israel is trying to promote,” he said. Westerwelle said a settlement freeze was part of the 2003 “roadmap” set out for peace by the West. “The roadmap conditions constitute an important building block for reviving the peace process,” he told reporters. “This also includes freezing of settlement activities. This is not only the view and the position of the German government. It is also the position expressed by the European Union as a whole.” The Palestinians have insisted the borders of their promised state encompass all of their land Israel occupied in 1967, including mostly Arab east Jerusalem - which Israel later annexed in a move not recognised by the international community - as their capital. “Resolving Continued on Page 14

ISLAMABAD: The Jordanian doctor who killed seven CIA employees in a suicide attack in Afghanistan said in video clips broadcast posthumously yesterday that all jihadists must attack US targets to avenge the death of Pakistani Taleban chief Baitullah Mehsud. Footage showed Humam Khalil Abu Mulal AlBalawi - whom the CIA had cultivated as an asset against Al-Qaeda - sitting with Mehsud’s successor in an undisclosed location. It essentially confirmed the Pakistani Taleban’s claim of responsibility for one of the worst attacks in CIA history, though a senior militant told AP that Al-Qaeda and Afghan insurgents played roles, too. The development may lead the US to further push Pakistan to crack down on Afghan and Pakistani Taleban militants who use its tribal regions along the Afghan border as safe havens. It also could prompt even more US missile strikes in the country - already on the upswing something a Pakistani intelligence official urged the Americans to avoid. Speaking in Arabic in the video shown on the AlJazeera network, Balawi noted the Pakistani Taleban had given shelter to “emigrants” Muslim fighters from abroad. Mehsud, the group’s longtime leader, was killed in August by a CIA missile strike. “We will never forget the blood of our emir Baitullah Mehsud,” said Balawi, who wore an Afghan hat and a camouflage jacket on a 1 1/2 minute video clip. “We will always demand revenge for him inside America and outside. It is an obligation of the emigrants who were welcomed by the emir. This is a message to the enemies of the (Muslim) nation - the CIA and Jordanian intelligence services,” he said. Al-Jazeera reported that the video shows Balawi training at a shooting range, but did not broadcast that part of the footage. A similar clip appeared on the Pakistani channel Aaj, though in it Balawi read haltingly from a piece of paper in English, a language Pakistanis are more familiar with than Arabic. Aaj, identifying the bomber by his online name, Abu Dujana Al-Khorasani, quoted him as saying he Continued on Page 14

Christians livid after Egypt arson attacks

CAIRO: Egyptian Christians shout slogans and hold up placards yesterday during a protest to condemn a drive-by shooting that killed six Christians in Nagaa Hammadi in southern Egypt. — AP

BAHGURA, Egypt: Residents of a southern Egypt village were furious yesterday after houses and shops owned by Coptic Christians were burnt as sectarian tensions flared in the wake of a deadly drive-by shooting. Muslim gunmen shot dead six Copts in the nearby town of Nagaa Hammadi on Wednesday night as worshippers emerged from Christmas Eve mass, one of Egypt’s deadliest sectarian attacks in years in which a policeman was also killed. Three people have now been charged in connection with the attack. Continued on Page 14

KUWAIT: A Kuwaiti man takes a pair of plastic slippers to perform wudu (ablution) before evening prayers at the Grand Mosque yesterday. Wudu is the Muslim ritual of washing the hands, feet and face before every prayer. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

CABINDA, Angola: Police escort the Ivory Coast football team from their compound yesterday. — AP

Togo quits tourney after deadly attack 3 dead as team bus ambushed CABINDA, Angola: Hosting the African Cup of Nations was Angola’s chance to show it is recovering from decades of war. But gunmen sprayed bullets at Togo’s national team, killing three people and forcing its withdrawal from the football tournament. Africa’s main football tournament was expected to open as planned today, even though players from other countries expressed shock at the ambush on the Togo team bus as it traveled through Angola’s restive oil-rich Cabinda province.

“The Togolese government has decided to recall its team,” Togolese government spokesman Pascal Bodjona said. “We cannot in such a dramatic circumstance continue the African Nations Cup competition. This is necessary because the players are in shock.” A Togolese player also said his team was withdrawing. “We have goose bumps ... who knows what is going to happen to us,” Amade Chababe, assistant coach to the Mozambique national football Continued on Page 14

DETROIT: This courtroom drawing shows Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, charged with attempting to blow up a Detroitbound US airliner, at his hearing in Detroit federal court on Friday. –— AP

Nigerian betrays no emotion in US court DETROIT: His expression flat, his eyes averted from the gathered crowd, the 23year-old Nigerian accused of trying to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day hobbled into a Detroit courtroom Friday. The rote routines of the US justice system could not dampen the tension in the room during Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s fourminute arraignment as he stood quietly while his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Reporters craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the fresh-faced son of a prominent Nigerian banker accused of trying to detonate explosives stitched into his underwear as a packed Northwest flight from Amsterdam began its descent into Detroit. Security in the ornate, marble-floored Theodore Levin

Hebba Aref, a corporate lawyer working in Kuwait, is interviewed outside the Detroit federal court Friday. — AP Courthouse was tight ahead of Abdulmutallab’s first appearance since he was tackled by passengers and escorted from the plane. Continued on Page 14



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kuwait hosts three-day workshop

New steps to counter human trafficking By Ahmad Saeid KUWAIT: A three-day workshop organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the issues surrounding combating human trafficking begins tomorrow morning, with a number of senior Kuwaiti judicial officials set to participate in the event. “The workshop aims to help the State of The event, which is being held with the participation of ambassadors and representatives of international organizations and diplomatic missions to the state of Kuwait, is being financed by the embassy of Netherlands in Kuwait. The IOM official said that Kuwait does not have direct trafficking problems, and that

this workshop is aimed at ‘locating and developing the positive sides’ in this country, to better serve the interest of Kuwait and Kuwaiti people. “Human trafficking is the wide title of the issue” said Ereiqat, adding “but it implies a number of issues that can appear in a number of indirect forms, such as forced prostitu-

Kuwait to benefit from increasing Kuwaiti employees’ qualifications by offering the required training in this regard.” Iman Ereiqat, the officer in charge of the IOM’s regional office, told the Kuwait Times. The workshop, which will be conducted by three IOM international experts, is to be attended by 20 Kuwaiti judges and general prosecutors, who were nominated by the Kuwaiti Institute for Judiciary and Legal Studies.

tion, human trading and other violations of this kind.” Ereiqat noted that judges and prosecutors are the most important people to be informed about trafficking issue because they deal with such cases by the nature of their jobs. “Kuwaiti judicial officials are highly qualified, but

there’s no harm in sharing expertise and emphasizing abilities; that’s what this kind of event is all about,” Ereiqat said. The senior IOM official concluded by explaining that the workshop is taking place as part of the continuous cooperation between the IOM and the Kuwaiti government,

“which have always fought hard against any manifestation of this issue.” The IOM, which began operating in Kuwait in 1991, was established in 1951. It now operates in 127 countries worldwide to “enhance migration management for the benefit of all,” according to the organization’s website.

in my view

I now pronounce you Student and Student By Abdullah Al-Qattan iven my experience at Kuwait University, I came to the conclusion that a person faces the question of whether he should get married or not during his pursuit of a college degree. Usually this idea starts to develop in the minds of 19-year-old males who come from the government system of education while defining his concept of a ‘perfect life.’ As a case study there is no understandable relation to the two issues, but it is there none the less. As we all know, marriage requires time, effort, money and on some rare occasions, love. If we disregarded any of these, it will be difficult to manage the rest of these requirements. The normal marriage, which takes place after graduation, demands all of the above to keep a relationship going and healthy. The campuses of Kuwait University are full of people who are willing to defend their ideas and contribute to an enlightening conversation. The topic of whether marriage should be postponed until after graduation or not was no exception. Hussa Al-Mahmeed says she got married in her second year at university while her husband was in his last year. She described her situation as a mess that cannot be controlled and that the reason they are still together is because they ignore the less important problems. Mousa Bahbahani is a single student who admits that he almost made the “mistake” of getting married at an early age. He added that a person should not enter into such a commitment without having a complete understanding of what it takes. He said that each person should consider all the aspects of marriage until the very last second. Nasser Al-Awathi said that marriage is a wonderful thing if the couple can work together to make it work. Financial issues and affording a home is not that big of a problem, she said. Parents present it that way in order to encourage us to focus on our studies, she added. If we give it any real thought, Al-Awathi said, we can see that the Kuwaiti government does more than enough to help newlyweds start their lives together, especially for those who are still studying. This may seem repetitive to some, but the divorce rate in Kuwait is quite high, especially amongst couples who get married while studying. In the end there is no real answer because there is no set path of reason to take or to follow. People will always be biased towards their own way of thinking. A person who wants to get married will always find reasons to make it happen. Those who wish to avoid it will as well. Perhaps we should be asking another question; should it be so hard to get married while getting a degree?


KUWAIT: The Sudanese Ambassador Dr Ibrahim Merghani Ibrahim held last week a reception on the occasion of the 54th Anniversary of the National Day of his country in Al-Andalus Ballroom in Crowne Plaza Hotel. It was attended by diplomats and other dignitaries. — Photos by Yasser AlZayyat

Al-Soor TV shut down by owner KUWAIT: In a surprising turn of events, former Parliament candidate Mohammad AlJuwaihel indicated during an investigation that the decision to shut down his TV channel (Al-Soor TV) was made by him and not by the Ministry of Information. Al-Juwaihel, charged with enticing sectarianism in the country through his TV station, stated that he did so in

order to stop sectarianism from increasing, reported AlQabas. With these latest developments, the charges that AlJuwaihel faces are beginning to diminish. His channel, broadcast from the United States, is immune to the multimedia law unless he is found guilty of personally attacking the country’s main political figures. Al-Juwaihel may actu-

ally only find himself facing charges of verbal assault against MP Musallam AlBarrak.

KUWAIT: Some of the participants of the meeting.

‘Outstanding schools depend on outstanding principals’ KUWAIT: A senior Ministry of Education (MoE) official has emphasized the crucial role of school principals in the effective administration of schools, asserting that an outstanding school depends mainly on an outstanding principal. Ruqaya Ali, the acting director for the Capital Education Zone, added that school principals are the foundation stone of all development within schools. On the subject of the transfers of some teachers from one area to another, Ali said that these were based on the study of schools’ budgets, which showed deficits in some areas and surpluses in others, forcing school administrators to transfer teachers to balance their budgets. She explained that the ministry had recruited a surplus of teachers, in case of teachers leaving for any reason, meaning that teachers could be relatively easily transferred from one directorate to another. On the subject of transferring the exam marking system from handwritten to com-

Ruqaya Ali puterized evaluation following the ministry’s introduction of a fully computerized system, the senior MoE official said that senior staff in all Kuwait’s directorates are currently being trained in computing skills, with school principals to receive the same training thereafter. She further explained that the handwritten evaluation system is being maintained as a fallback and for filing purposes, and may be

reintroduced if the new system meets with an overwhelmingly hostile reaction. On complaints about some school principals’ brusque manner in dealing with the concerns of pupils’ parents, Ali said that those principals who welcome parents with a kind, patient and cheerful attitude are able to defuse tense situations a lot better than less amenable ones, regardless of the magnitude of the parents’ concerns, enabling both sides to reach a constructive understanding and work together on resolving issues. She stressed however, that management will fully support principals if such encounters get out of hand. Ali urged all school principals not to consider schools as their private property that they can transfer pupils to or from while disregarding regulations. She also pointed out that the outstanding principal is vigilant in looking out for those teachers who are not performing to the best of their abilities in order to help them raise their standards.

Failaka island still suffering in debris KUWAIT: Once recognized as the country’s most beautiful island, Failaka Island is no longer seen that way in the eyes of its former residents who left following the Iraqi Invasion. Visitors and past residents of Failaka Island expressed their disappointment at the amount of neglect the island has suffered from, reported Al-Watan. Demolition teams and bulldozers have removed encroachments on state property without differentiating between licensed and unlicensed homes, or between abandoned constructions and historic sites. Visitors say these sites should be reserved due to their heritage and connection to Kuwait’s history in the 40’s, 50’s, and past century. Many of the island’s past residents watched the destruction of their old homes by bulldozers and

demolition teams. They explained that these teams tend to remove all the vehicles found on the island whether they were neglected vehicles or cars left by their owners to use whenever they come to visit. They expressed their concern that Failaka Island could turn into a safe haven for fugitives, infiltrators from Iran and drug dealers. They said that due to the lack of modern equipment that the single police station has it could become a suitable host for such illegal activity. They added that the fire station and emergency center also suffers from an extreme shortage of equipment. Meanwhile, Sheikha Muneera Saud Al-Jaber AlSabah, who visited the island with a group from the Italian Embassy in Kuwait and the Italian Ambassador, expressed optimism about the island’s future.

KUWAIT: The Development Department at the Ministry of Education in cooperation with the Global Center recently held a three-day program to focus on developing educational administration in light of the recent changes in the educational process. Several specialists participated in the program including Dr Mariyam Al-Mathkour.

Hamas delegation to visit Kuwait next week DAMASCUS: A delegation headed by Hamas chief Khalid Mishaal will visit Kuwait for two days beginning next week, a Palestinian source said yesterday. The visit is part of a regional tour the delegation is undertaking to inform Arab governments of a number of developments in the Palestinian-Israeli crisis, the source,

who preferred anonymity, said. The delegation is expected to discuss with Arab officials lifting of the Israeli siege of Gaza and Arab support for reconstruction efforts there. It will also ask these officials to have a clear-cut stance on the Egyptian steel wall built between Gaza Strip and Egypt. Hamas is obviously against the build-

ing of the wall, deeming it a further step in the economic siege against Gaza. The delegation has already been to Yemen, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Iran. While in Saudi Arabia last Sunday, Mishaal told reporters that Palestinian reconciliation efforts were “in their last stages.” The signing of a reconciliation

agreement will take place in Cairo, he promised, noting that his talks with Saudi officials aimed at heightening the prospect for such a reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. In 2007, Saudi Arabia brokered the Makkah agreement calling on Hamas and Fatah to settle their differences and form a national unity government. —- KUNA


Sunday, January 10, 2010

3 11/11 supports bedoon rights

Kuwait govt under fire for ‘non-cooperation’ KUWAIT: Kuwaiti Observatory for Emphasizing Democracy in cooperation with The 11/11 Movement held a seminar titled ‘Loans Draft Law and Bedoon Rights; Postpone or Reject.’ The 11/11 movement stressed that bedoon civil rights should be achieved and launched an attack on the Group of 26. Mutleq Al-Abeisan talked about

KUWAIT: Some of the Iraqi patients pose for a group photograph with Kuwaiti officials.

Iraqi patients leave for home KUWAIT: A group of Iraqi patients injured in violent incidents in Iraq have left for home after receiving treatment in Kuwait under a humanitarian initiative introduced by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Ministry of Health announced on Friday. “The group, made up of 29 Iraqi patients and their companions, has already headed for Iraq while the rest of the patients will do so soon,” the director of the health ministry’s Public Relations and Information Division, Faisal Al-Dosseri, told reporters here. “The Iraqi patients had been distributed among the specialist hospitals in the Sabah medical area according to the severity of their conditions and only one patient was admitted to the Amiri Hospital,” he revealed. The health ministry official also revealed that a further 20 Yemeni patients are currently receiving medical treatment in Kuwait. “The political leaders of

“We were hoping that this case wouldn’t become a subject of political interests,” he added. He criticized those Members of Parliament who were supposed to demand people’s rights but stood with the government and disappeared from the bedoon session. Naser Al-Shaleemi praised MP Daifallah Buramya and called him the champion of the loans issue. He criticized the government’s talk of rejecting the law and said “for four years more than KD 50 billion was spent in the budget and the government has not built anything. Where has

in the news H1N1 statistics KUWAIT: The Ministry of Health is to announce H1N1 (swine flu) infection statistics on a monthly basis, rather than the currently weekly one, as per the latest recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). Dr. Qais Al-Duwairi, the health ministry’s official spokesman, told reporters that the levels of infection with the swine flu virus have begun falling, adding that the MoH has taken all the necessary steps to contain the disease. He revealed that a total of 18 individuals have been diagnosed with the virus in the past fortnight, with no fatalities at all recorded recently.

the State of Kuwait, under HH the Amir, are keen on putting all medical resources at the convenience of victims of violence in the two sisterly

Arab countries,” he explained. Out of his deepseated humanitarian convictions, HH the Amir instructed the cabinet to make the

necessary arrangements for receiving and treating patients from Iraq and Yemen in order to alleviate their suffering. — KUNA

Nuke investment KUWAIT: The French government is reportedly holding meetings with the Japanese industrial giant Mitsubishi and the administrators of Kuwait’s and Qatar’s government funds to discuss possible investment in the large nuclear reactor construction firm Areva. According to French daily Le Figaro, the evaluation of the group is one of the main points under negotiation between the three bodies, with the sales of the shares possibly going ahead in Spring. A spokesperson for the Areva group said that there are no specific buyers in mind, but the company is discussing the issue with various parties, reported AlAnba. The company is seeking an investment of around 2 billion Euros, with each investor getting around 5 percent of the group’s capital.

the importance of implementing the draft law and writing off debts while criticizing the government for not cooperating with the Parliament. He addressed the session on bedoon rights in Parliament and said that The 11/11 Movement does not count on either the executive or the legislative authorities.

the amount gone?” He added that the government always creates problems during the budget session and then submits a noncooperation letter to HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. He then complained about the government’s refusal to write off debts and willingness to give other countries loans. Al-Shaleemi addressed the bedoon session and said that people who are sectarian and with no social values kidnapped the opinion of the national assembly. He warned that there may be international sanctions against Kuwait if the country

continues its injustice against the bedoon. Mohammad Al-Othman said that the people of Kuwait are looking forward to a final solution and criticized those MPs who did not attend the loans session. He added that MPs should get more familiar with the inhumane condition of the bedoon case. Fasial Al-Dabes demanded that the government respect the will of the people and not reject the loans law. Additionally, Mohammad Al-Hamlan and Fayez AlNashwan demanded justice for the bedoons and praised the debt write off draft for at least providing some justice.

Jordan won’t name street after Saddam Hussein: PM AMMAN: Jordan Prime Minister Sameer Al-Rifae said his government would not name a street in a southern town after Saddam Hussein. “Prime Minister Al-Rifae affirms that the idea of naming the street will not be recognized by the Jordanian Hashemite Kingdom,”

Kuwait’s Ambassador to Jordan Faisal Al-Humoud AlSabah told KUNA yesterday. The local municipal council in Al-Mazar town, southern Jordan, revoked a decision to name a street after Saddam Hussein. Minister of State for Information and Communications Nabeel Al-

Shareef told the Ammon news service people of Al-Mazar submitted a petition to the municipal council to revoke their decision to name one of the streets in Al-Rumaitha area after Saddam Hussein. The council met to discuss the petition and canceled the decision.— KUNA


An issue of priorities By Hussain Al-Qatari he public were on the edges of their seats as the Parliament discussed the issue of debt relief last week. If you surfed the local TV channels that day - and perhaps even still today - you’d notice that the only issue being discussed is debt relief. It seems to be occupying the local media a great deal, as opposed to more important issues. I am not trying to undermine the issue of debt. A lot of Kuwaiti families are suffering from the negligence of the Central Bank and its failure to monitor local banks. I don’t doubt that there are people in dire need of help. We have a problem with deciding on our priorities and that is why we are so far behind in so many important issues. The bedoons, for example, have been living here for decades with no rights, and it sounds utterly ridiculous to me when I realize that our parliament is debating giving some people the luxury of writing off their debts while others are


suffering from having no rights at all. No education, no proper healthcare, no marriage certificates, no birth certificates and no death certificates even. What is really sad is the fact that numerous local politicians believe that these bedoons are illegal immigrants who should not be treated as equal Kuwaitis. Many demand that they be deported, supporting this argument by claiming that bedoons are greedy and only want to benefit from a Kuwaiti passport in order to make money and receive the allowances that Kuwaitis are entitled to. It is very sad to treat such a humanitarian issue in this manner. These politicians are very influential with their supporters, and spreading this culture of intolerance will cause more damage than good. I wish that people would see others as humans and let go of differences. But then again, things don’t work by simply wishing for them to happen. All we can do is wait and pray for this predicament to pass. Email:

Meningitis case KUWAIT: A six-year-old Kuwaiti boy admitted to Farwaniya Hospital has been diagnosed with the highly infectious meningitis virus, reported Al-Rai. The hospital immediately put the boy into an isolation unit to prevent further infection and his family members are undergoing tests to check whether or not they are suffering from the condition.

League affirms commitment to peace initiative CAIRO: Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa affirmed yesterday the Arab countries’ strong commitment to the Arab peace initiative as a basis for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. Moussa, in a statement to reporters reacting to recent remarks made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who called for resumption of the peace negotiations without advance conditions, said, “Does this mean returning to square one? We hope not.” The league chief added that he was awaiting results of Egyptian and Jordanian talks with the US Administration to determine what to do next at this level. “We are for peace and for moving in the direction of peace, but this movement should be serious,” Moussa said, affirming that resumption of the peace process should be based on the Arab initiative.

Former minister criticizes reducing municipal power By Nisreen Zahreddine KUWAIT: The Kuwait Engineering Society (KES) held a seminar last Wednesday, with the guest of honor at the event being Kuwait’s former Minister of Electricity and Water and the current Secretary General of the Arab Towns Organization (ATO), Ahmad Al-Adsani. During his speech at the seminar, Al-Adsani talked about his experience in both municipal and ministerial work. Talking about municipal issues, he said that Kuwait is unlike any other countries in reducing the municipal council’s powers since the cabinet imposes its authority on the council through appointing a number

of its members. The former minister also stated that the new municipal law is turning the municipal council into an advisory body. Speaking about his ministerial experience, Al-Adsani said that government work is a collective operation where administrative and political work overlaps and interacts. Al-Adsani voiced curiosity about who will represent Kuwait City in the 2010 ATO conference, questioning whether the Minister of State for Municipal Affairs or an elected municipal council member would be the delegate selected. He suggested that it is now time to consider fully elected municipal councils to ensure that councils work properly so that

people can enjoy leisure venues, parks and open spaces. KES chairman Talal AlQahtani said in his address during the event that it is extremely important to honor pioneering Kuwaitis and gain experience and knowledge from them, saying that letting them take the lead is important and is a duty for all citizens. Al-Qahtani also condemned what he said was the government’s negative attitude in taking advantage of and benefiting from the experience of expatriates rather than that of citizens. “This is something that hurts us and cuts deep,” the KES head stated. “We have thousands of Kuwaitis who are distinguished in all fields.”

Drugs bust KUWAIT: A Pakistani expatriate, named as Lalal Khan, has been taken into custody by Drugs Control General Department (DCGD) officers on charges of drug possession, after being caught red-handed while selling three grams of heroin. Although he fled on seeing the DCGD officers, he was quickly arrested, with DCGD Director General Brigadier Sheikh Ahmad Al-Khalifa ordering that he be referred to the relevant authorities for prosecution. Big strike plan KUWAIT: Thousands of expatriate cleaning workers at the Social Affairs and Labor Ministry are prepared for a major strike. This action will come as a result of the Ministry’s failure to force their employment company to pay their salaries following several months of disappointment and repeated protests. This upcoming strike is expected to be more aggressive considering that workers are tired of empty promises and are struggling for food and shelter.

KUWAIT: ‘Kuwait Above All’ meeting in progress.

Project for Kuwaiti values KUWAIT: The activities of the First National Project to Strengthen the Values of Kuwaiti Society began on Friday morning under the slogan ‘Kuwait above all.’ The project was launched by the Thawabet Society. Project chairperson Muna Al-Rashid told reporters that the project, which has a strong Kuwaiti identity, aims firstly to emphasize the importance of national unity as a basic principle of Kuwaiti values. She explained that the project is a national ini-

tiative, which came about in response to Kuwait’s current situation in order to underline the values that shaped the Kuwaiti identity and to create a clear understanding of what good citizenship consists of, as well as focusing on developing the awareness of Kuwaiti citizens as those responsible for creating the state and its identity. The project, which is headed by former National Assembly Speaker Ahmad Al-Sirhan, has a number of male and female members and calls on citizens to serve Kuwait in an honest manner.



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Assault inside elevator

Egyptian child molester in police net in Al-Naseem KUWAIT: An Egyptian delivery man attempted to sexually molest three children in Al-Naseem. The delivery man reported to the house of a Gulf family in the area to deliver an order of food. When he arrived at the home, two boys answered the front door and were taken by the delivery man to the elevator and locked inside. As the worker began to assault the two children they started calling for

Bootleggers held Ahmadi police arrested three Indian men in AlMangaf after they were spotted selling alcohol. The men were also found in possession of 12 plastic bags filled with homemade liquor. They were taken to the proper authorities. In another incident Ahmadi police arrested a citizen on Fahaheel Highway after her was found with 54 illegal pills inside his car. An inspection into his identity revealed that he was also wanted for several previous drug related offenses. He was taken to the General Department for Drug Control.

help. The boy’s sister responded to the calls and the delivery man tried to drag the girl into the elevator as well. She managed to push away the assailant and run to her parents. The parents then called the police who were able to find the molester after a short patrol around the area. The man was arrested and taken to the proper authorities.

ous injuries after a hit and run in Abdullah Al-Salem. Police and paramedics responded to the emergency and brought the injured man to Amiri Hospital. A case was opened and police are searching for the runaway driver.

suffered a heart attack and she was brought to Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital. She died soon after her arrival.

Drunk assault

A female inmate is being accused of having an illegal affair after giving birth to a healthy baby girl inside her cell. Authorities called for an ambulance as soon as the woman went into labor and arrived to find that she had delivered the baby with the help of jail security. The inmate and her newborn were taken to Farwaniya Hospital.

Baby delivery A fight took place between two men drinking with their friends at a camp site in Sulaibiya. The other members of the group joined one of the brawlers and sexually assaulted his opponent. The assaulted man went to the nearest police station to report the assault.

Drunk driver’s rage

Party busted

A fight occurred as a result of a car accident and police were forced to intervene to keep one man from attacking the other with a sharp object. The accident occurred in Salmiya after two vehicles, one occupied by two drunk men and the other by two young men, collided. During the scuffle one of the drunk men picked up a sharp object and threatened to use it. Police responded to the incident and stopped the fight before serious injuries could be caused. The brawlers were taken into custody and one police officer sustained minor injuries during the scuffle.

Criminal investigators responded to calls of suspicious activity at a camp site in Al-Julaiah. The authorities discovered a party taking place in tent by a group of homosexuals. Seven were arrested and taken to the nearby police station for investigations

Newly weds robbed A newly wedded bride discovered that all of her jewelry was missing from her home in Al-Naeem the day after her wedding. The woman informed her husband who then contacted the police. A case was opened and police were sent to the scene to conduct an investigation.

Hit-and-run A 32-year-old Bangladeshi cleaning worker suffered seri-

Vehicle fire

Thieves arrested

A Kuwaiti family escaped from their burning vehicle soon after smoke started to appear from under the hood of their car on Fifth Ring Road. The driver pulled the car over as soon as he noticed the smoke and the family evacuated the car immediately. Firefighters responded to the emergency and put the flames under control.

Police arrested two thieves who stole 18 trucks from a company in Kuwait City. The arrest occurred after police arrested a man driving one of the reportedly stolen 18 trucks in Jahra. After being questioned, the man admitted his guilt and explained that he and an accomplice brought several of the stolen vehicles to Iraq. Both men were referred to the proper authorities.

Heart attack A Kuwaiti woman suffered a fatal heart attack while driving in Hawally. The heart attack caused her to lose consciousness and collide with another vehicle on the street. Police and paramedics responded to the emergency and immediately removed the woman from her vehicle. A medical assessment revealed that she had

in the news KUWAIT: The Capital Municipality’s Public Cleaning and Road Works Department recently carried out a major cleaning operation around the Ashairej (Doha Chalets) area, with nine heavy goods vehicles being used to remove the abandoned cars and other discarded waste materials from the area. The operation formed part of the Capital governorate’s ongoing campaign to clean up the area.

Social activists urge integrating disabled people into society KUWAIT: Two leading female social activists called yesterday for integrating people with special needs into the society. “The persons with special needs can play a great role in serving the community,” said Sheikha Intesar AlMohammad Al-Sabah, honorary chairperson of “hemmatona li diratona” (our zeal for our neighborhood) non-profit society. “They are more creative than many ordinary persons who are the real disabled persons,” Sheikha Intesar told reporters while inspecting the cleaning works of Shuwaikh beach. The voluntary work is being organized by the society in collaboration with the Environment Public Authority (EPA). Sheikha Intesar called on all segments of the community to contribute to the voluntary efforts aiming to improve the quality of the local environment and serve the homeland.

On her part, Sheikha Sheikha Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, the sponsor of the society, praised the contributions of the persons with special needs to the show “the brightest portrait of Kuwait.” “They back up the efforts to rid the country’s coastline of the harmful waste,” she pointed out. Meanwhile, chairman of Our Zeal for Our Neighborhood Society, Ibrahim Al-Mashouti extolled Sheikha Intesar and Sheikha Sheikha for their generous donations to the society. He also praised the efforts of members of the society’s volunteers to protect the environment. Al-Mashouti called on everybody to contribute to the voluntary efforts of the society in the domains of social integration and environment protection, noting that the society helped integrate up to 80 percent of the country’s disabled persons into the community. — KUNA

30,912 banned from travelling KUWAIT: The names of 30,912 people are on the country’s court ordered travel ban list of individuals who fail to pay fines. The announcement was made by Ali Al-Dhubaibi, head of the Sentences Enforcement Department. He indicated that, compared to last year, the number of travel ban cases increased in 2009 by 47 percent. And that the system has proved effective to encourage debtors to pay their fines, reported Al-Qabas. He assured that the law is being implemented equally and that 67 people, with a cumulative debt of over KD 500 thousand, are currently being held in prison for being unable to pay their debts. Al-Dhubaibi explained that there are special cases where the ban could be lifted for a temporary period of time if it is determined that a person’s medical status requires urgent medical attention abroad. He added that official documents would be required before granting such permission.

New strategy for Rekaz program KUWAIT: People in charge of the Rekaz project have come up with a new strategy to communicate with civil society organizations and increase moderation while renouncing sectarianism among youth. General Supervisor for the project, Dr. Mohammad Al-Awadhi, said during the 4th Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) meeting of Rekaz programs that the need for reinforcing patriotism has become more important than ever given recent circumstances, reported Al-Qabas. The Rekaz project is a non-profit media institution that aims to reinforce values and patriotism among Kuwaiti society and the societies of other countries. Rekaz project coordinators hope

Back to jail After arresting a man in Farwaniya, police discovered that the criminal had only just finished a term in prison for drug related charges. He was arrested on charges of forgery and was sentenced to five years in prison.

to expand its activities to reach all the continents by 2020. Al-Awadhi further called for civil service organizations to join their efforts and encourage individuals to adopt patriotic morals. Rekaz advisor, Noufal Al-Musarea, said that the organization has changed its marketing strategy in order to cope with future challenges and reinforce the principles of volunteerism.

60,000 blood donors annually KUWAIT: The Kuwait Central Blood Bank (KCBB) receives 60,000 donors annually and utilizes the latest blood purification system before the donated blood is used in patient treatment, said its head on Friday. In a press release issued by the KCBB, the organization’s director Dr. Reem Al-Radhwan explained that it is the sole tester and provider of blood supplies to all hospitals and clinics in Kuwait, both state and private, noting that the blood donated by just one donor is capable of saving the lives of four patients. There is always an acute need for blood donors, Dr. Al-Radhwan stressed, since large numbers of patients with diseases such as leukemia, as well as those seriously injured in car accidents and similar incidents, require regular transfusions as often as every two or three months.Dr. Al-Radhwan pointed out that the KCBB has been endorsed by such well-established organizations as the American Association of Blood Banks and the World Health Organization, as well as being accredited as a Gulf and regional center for training blood bank staff. The KCBB, which was founded in 1965, making it among the first blood banks to be established in the Middle East, has also seen its blood testing facilities officially accredited in 2009, a distinction usually conferred for a two year period, with the possibility of renewal.

Forged residency A Syrian man was arrested after it was discovered that he forged official documents to gain residency into the country. The man was banned from the country for being infected with a dangerous infectious disease. He was taken in for investigations.

Kuwait satisfied with media seminar results KUWAIT: A senior Kuwaiti official yesterday expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the seminar entitled ‘The role of the Arab media in addressing the phenomenon of terrorism,’ which was hosted by the United Arab Emirates earlier this month. Col Mohammed Al-Saber, the head of the Ministry of Interior’s (MoI) Media Security Department and the MoI’s official spokesman, said in a statement that the seminar delegates had issued several recommendations, including one recommending the training of media specialists in covering terrorist causes, as well as calling on the Arab interior ministries to task official spokespeople with supplying the media with comprehensive information. Col. Al-Saber, who represented Kuwait at the gathering, said the delegates also

Col Mohammed Al-Saber called for increasing the exchange of news and information among the Arab states in the fight against terrorism, training security personnel to work closely with the media, tackling attempts to link Arabs with terrorism and holding a regular annual seminar to follow up on the implementation of the recommendations. — KUNA

Amiri decision behind Bayan refurbishment KUWAIT: The State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan AlRoudhan has revealed that last year’s operation to refurbish the villas in the grounds of Bayan Palace came at the orders of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. Responding to complaints lodged by MP Faisal Al-Mislem about the cost of the refurbishment operation, which the minister revealed had cost KD 1.75 million per villa, Al-Roudhan said that the decision was taken after HH the Amir issued a decree instructing the Supreme Committee in charge of making the preparations for last year’s Arab Economic Summit to refurbish the villas in an appropriate way to host some of the heads of state attending the event, reported Al-Qabas. The minister pointed out that the refurbishment procedure had been carried out at every stage through all the correct legal channels, with the tenders being awarded following coordination between the committee, the Central Tenders Committee and the Audit Bureau.

Fraudster in custody

KUWAIT: The National Bank of Kuwait held an Open Day on Friday for its staff and their family members and friends at the Ice Skating Rink. More than 1,000 parents and children turned up to enjoy the big family day out, enjoying a wide variety of activities and entertainment.

KUWAIT: Mubarak Al-Kabeer detectives have ar rested a Syrian expatriate who forged official documents to allow him to continue his residency and his work in a Co-op in the area, as well as to take a number of holidays. The counterfeiter’s activities were discovered af ter Lieutenant Mohammed AlAwadhi, the Ministr y of Interior’s Deputy Assistant for Citizenship and Passpor ts, ordered a crackdown on illegal residents last year, issuing a directive instructing investigators to be on the lookout for suspicious cases. Detectives checking on immigration records found that a signature, supposedly by a senior Co-op official, on one Syrian expatriate’s residency visa renewal documents had been skillfully forged. Further investigation led to them discovering that the worker in

question had taken several holidays in his home country over the past year, despite regulations stating that workers are only entitled to one vacation annually. Af ter the head of the Immigration General Department, Brigadier General Kamil Al-Awadhi, was informed of the situation, he ordered that the suspect whose documents had been forged should be summoned for questioning. Detectives subsequently discovered, however, that the man had switched his cell phone off and disappeared as soon as he was contacted and asked to come in to the police station to discuss the inconsistencies in his documents, reported Al-Watan. The man’s name has been put on a travel ban list and a warrant has been issued for his arrest, with the search still continuing.


Sunday, January 10, 2010


New ideas to resolve problem

Cabinet wants to end bedoons’ suffering KUWAIT: Although the government continues to oppose introducing new legislation on bedoon (stateless) residents’ rights, it is determined to introduce rulings that will help to resolve the humanitarian and social problems they face, according to State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Roudhan AlAl-Roudhan also spoke about the government’s development plan, following the revelation that the National Assembly’s Secretariat General has received a request signed by 14 MPs to allocate the January 12 parliamentary session for discussion of the issue. The cabinet affairs minister voiced hope that the government and parliament could work together on implementing the measures outlined in the

plan, also expressing a wish that the 14 MPs would coordinate with the cabinet, which he said is ready and willing to discuss this critically important subject. Al-Roudhan stressed his own confidence in the ability of the parliament and cabinet to reach agreement on the development process, reported AlQabas. On the issue of developments concerning the grilling

Roudhan. Speaking after the latest fruitless parliamentary session to discuss the subject, the minister said that the cabinet is set to meet with the National Assembly committee on bedoon issues to discuss the matter shortly, during which the cabinet will explain its ideas to resolve the problems. motion presented by MPs Musallam Al-Barrak and Dr. Faisal Al-Mislem against information minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, AlRoudhan said that the general mood is against the motion after the two MP’s recent unsuccessful motions against His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser AlMohammad Al-Sabah and three other ministers. The minister for cabinet

affairs suggested that MPs Walid Al-Tabtabae and Dr. Jamaan Al-Harbish are unlikely to support this motion after their previous failed motion against the minister. Al-Roudhan said that it is therefore improbable that an MP can be found to present the grilling itself since the interpellator would have to be chosen from a list of MPs who have not previously taken part in a grilling session.

Key role for Sanitary Engineering Sector

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Autistic Center, which is set to open shortly, recently welcomed a team from the International Bank, which presented a donation towards the center’s facilities. Several large institutions have presented donations towards the center since its establishment was announced.

kuwait digest

A positive step


he recent campaign conducted by the Ahmadi Security Department against reckless young male drivers from across the governorate is a positive step that deserves to be acknowledged and praised, writes Mohammed Hatem in AlWatan. Brig Gen Abdulfatah Al-Ali and his men deserve to be congratulated for their efforts in the campaign, which has resulted in bringing order to the area’s streets, especially since they had to work in a hostile environment which saw them coming under attack from stone-throwing thugs. This campaign was necessary to stop these irresponsible practices which have led to the loss of several lives in the past, not to mention the continuous unrest for the area’s residents. Unfortunately, these anti-social activities found some support from Jakhour (livestock farm) owners, who played host to the disruptive youths, even providing hiding places for their vehicles. Therefore, this campaign has certainly come at the right time to bring respect back to Kuwait’s law enforcement community. The Minister of Interior also deserves to be praised for his supporting role in encouraging the security departments to carry out such campaigns and for continuously providing them with directions and support, while standing firm in the face of obstructive interference from MPs and the municipal council, who attempted to abuse their power and mediate on behalf of the lawbreakers to ensure that they weren’t penalized, using the magical ‘wasta,’ which they think justifies disregarding all laws. In addition, the Ahmadi Security Department should also be acknowledged for their efforts to get rid of those illegally using Ministry of Communications phone lines to make a huge profit out of making illegal international phone calls, which has cost the country millions of dinars per year. It should also be commended for working to rid the area of brothels, bootleggers and drug traffickers, further proving the success of the Security Department’s recent campaigns in upholding the law. On this note, I urge the department to continue its efforts, and would also like to see it clamp down on other anti-social phenomena which have been increasing in recent times, such as motorists driving through red lights, which puts innocent people’s lives in grave danger, not to mention motorists affixing clearly sectarian stickers to their car windows.

KUWAIT: The Sanitary Engineering Sector is one of the important utilities at the Ministry of Public Works, as it has a direct impact on the environment. The proper disposal of sewage water is necessary to maintaining a healthy environment for the society, and the Sanitary Engineering Sector makes sure that this is carried out with international specifications and updated engineering methods. The Sanitary Engineering Sector operates the networks of sewage drainage pipelines, where the network of pipelines receives household drainage water and distributes it to pumping stations, then to treatment stations where the sewage water is treated chemically. Sewage water treatment stations, through several mechanical and technical processes, make the water suitable for agriculture irrigation. This water is also used in strategic projects, artificial lakes and well injection. The Sanitary Engineering Sector has achieved several successful projects, including the third phase of maintenance of Kuwait’s sanitary drainage network in Shuwaikh area. The sector also established the Middle East’s largest pumping station, which will replace 29 old pumping stations, thereby cutting costs of operation, while conserving the environment. It also laid pipelines connected to pumping stations, designed to absorb the influx of sanitary drainage for next 50 years, at a total length of more than 42 km. Moreover, the Sanitary Engineering Sector is working to set up, operate and maintain the Oqaila pumping station and its sanitary drainage system. The Oqaila pumping station is designed to absorb an influx of up to 362,880 cubic meters daily up to the year 2035, and it serves all areas located south of the Sixth Ring Road. —- KUNA

Cabinet urged to meet public demand KUWAIT: Prominent local political activist Fayez AlJumhoor has called on the government to support the bill to pay off citizens’ loans, saying that 70 percent of the Kuwaiti public favor its doing so. “The cabinet should bear its political and historic responsibility to the Kuwaiti people, and commit itself to

No plans to privatize education KUWAIT: The Minister of Education, Dr Moudhi Al-Humoud, denied any intention to privatize education in the country. She added that the government is committed to improving the education process so that a better future can be achieved for students. Al-Humoud made her comments at the closing ceremony for the first annual Conference for Comprehensive Quality. She said that plans to increase the hours of school days are still being studied. The Comprehensive Quality conference was held in attempts to develop recommendations to improve the quality of the education process in Kuwait. The Minister assured that all directorates and educational sectors will be entitled to these recommendations. She also said that the Ministry intends to implement these plans as soon as possible. The conference recommended a series of workshops and seminars to be held by elite team specialists with a clear vision of how to enhance the quality of education in the country. It also recommended that a series of mechanisms should be put in place to enhance the quality of employees in the education sector as well as improving the quality of school curriculums.

their popular demand to save those who fell victims to the loans’ issue,” he said in a press release issued on Friday. Al-Jumhoor said that last week’s parliamentary session on the issue had demonstrated the public’s true wishes concerning the issue, after 35 MPs approved the draft legislation to write off the loans, arguing that this high ratio of

MPs supporting the bill reflects the view of 70 percent of the Kuwaiti public who agree to this being the best way of resolving this problem. The well-known local activist asserted that the cabinet should find a solution for this problem as tensions continue to escalate over the issue, reported Al-Watan. Al-Jumhoor blamed citi-

zens’ difficulties in repaying their loans on the Kuwait Central Bank, which he said had failed to commit itself to its role of monitoring local banks’ work, leading to these banks exploiting citizens’ ignorance of banking regulations to subject them to virtually doubled repayments that left them unable to find a way out by themselves.



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Influential group threatens to boycott Iraq election BAGHDAD: A political group including leading members of Iraq’s Sunni minority has threatened to boycott national polls in March after one of their leaders was targeted for alleged ties to Saddam Hussein’s Baath party. The Iraqi List, headed by Vice President Tareq Al-Hashemi, a Sunni Arab, former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, a secular Shiite, and MP Saleh Al-Mutlaq, an influential secular Sunni politician, blasted the decision from an independent state committee to ban Mutlaq from the elections.

It is feared that a boycott from leading Sunni politicians like Mutlaq and Hashemi could cut off wider participation from Iraqi Sunnis, which would be a grave setback as Iraq seeks to solidify security gains ahead of the US troop drawdown. The United States has vowed to halt combat operations this summer and withdraw its troops entirely by 2012. “The leaders (of the Iraqi List) call all those involved to correct this grave mistake as soon as possible in order to maintain the positive electoral

atmosphere,” the group’s leadership said in a statement aired late on Friday. The statement came a day after the government’s Justice and Accountability Commission, which is responsible for ensuring the constitutionally banned Baath party does not return to Iraqi politics, barred Mutlaq and the National Dialogue Front he heads because of unspecified links to or support for the Baath Party. “If this (ban) is enacted, the leaders of the list and its allies will reconsider

their participation in the election, which could jeopardize the electoral and political process,” a spokesman said. Many Sunnis, forced from dominance after Saddam’s ouster, boycotted the last parliamentary election in 2005, marginalizing them at a vulnerable moment and fuelling sectarian violence. Securing true political participation from not just Iraq’s newly empowered Shiite majority but also minority Sunnis and Kurds is seen as key to ensuring violence

does not erupt anew. But it is unclear what the edict from the commission, which banned Mutlaq and a dozen other groupings, will have given the stalemate over the commission’s leadership and a larger battle over how best to deal with former Baath party members. The government and parliament have not been able to agree on new leadership for the committee for over a year, and members of parliament have accused Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s government of drag-

ging its feet in welcoming former Baathists- many of them Sunnis-back into government. The commission was set up to guard against a return of the Baath party, which ruled Iraq from the 1960s until 2003, and to usher lower-level party members fired en masse by US officials after Saddam’s ouster back into government. The ban, which would be enacted out by Iraq’s electoral authority, IHEC, can be appealed in court. IHEC officials were in a meeting yes-

terday and not available for comment. The commission has not shared details of its charges against Mutlaq, who denies any wrongdoing. The Iraqi List, which also includes Deputy Prime Minister Rafie alEsawi, a Sunni, has been seeking to eat into the strong showing expected from two leading Shiite coalitions. One of those lists, State of Law, is headed by Maliki. The other is headed by the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the country’s biggest Shiite party. —Reuters

Ahmadinejad to write letter to Ban Ki-moon

Iran wants WWII reparations

BAHGURA: An Egyptian policeman gestures not to take photos as police stand guard in a street in the southern Egyptian village of Bahgura late yesterday, two days after three gunmen sprayed Christian passers-by with bullets as they emerged from Christmas Eve Mass in the same district in southern Egypt. —AFP

3 charged in Egypt Christmas Eve attack NAGAA HAMMADI: Egyptian police yesterday charged three men with premeditated murder over the shooting deaths of six Coptic Christians in a Christmas Eve attack, a judicial source said. North Qena prosecutor has charged the three suspects with “premeditated murder, putting the life of citizens in danger and damage to public and private property,” a judicial source said. Police arrested the three on Friday after the shooting in the southern town of Nagaa Hammadi in which six Coptic Christians and one Muslim

policeman were killed. The alleged gunmen, all Muslims, raked pedestrians with gunfire along a stretch of road that houses two churches and many shops in an attack that sparked sectarian clashes in neighboring villages. Yesterday, police also announced the arrest of 20 Muslims and Christians in the neighboring town of Bahgura, where Christian houses and shops had been set on fire the day before. Wednesday’s attack in Nagaa Hammadi was the deadliest since 20 Copts were killed in sectarian clashes in 2000, also in southern Egypt. Copts, who account for up

to 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 80 million, complain or routine harassment and systematic discrimination. In the capital yesterday, around 600 people demonstrated against the sectarian clashes in the south, brandishing placards denouncing “the shocking silence of the authorities” and demanding “security for all Egyptians.” A judicial source said a group of Copts, Muslims and opposition Kefaya members had also filed an official complaint against the security services, accusing them of failing to protect religious buildings.— AFP

Pro-Gaza activists leave Egypt CAIRO: A group of several hundred international activists from an aid convoy to the blockaded Gaza Strip have been allowed to leave Egypt yesterday, despite earlier threats to have some arrested because they scuffled with police, an airport official said. The official said six of the activists, who were wanted by the prosecutor general for their role in violence at El-Arish port where the convoy was delayed, were allowed to leave along with the rest. “A higher political authority ordered that all activists be allowed to depart,” said the official without naming the authority. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media. The official did not give names of the six activists, but he said two of them were Turkish, two Britons, a Kuwaiti and a Malaysian. One group of 318 activists left on a specially chartered Turkish plane that arrived in Cairo earlier in the day to pick them up. Upon landing at an Istanbul airport, dozens of people greeted the activists, waving Palestinian flags and chanting: “God is Great” and “Our salutations to Hamas!” One activist showed his arm in a sling to a television crew and said: “it was the (work of the) Egyptian police and military.” The rest of the 500 activists left Egypt earlier on several

commercial flights including 43 on a Jordanian plane bound for Amman and others for London and Amsterdam. The Viva Palestina aid convoy bound for the Gaza Strip arrived Tuesday at the nearby Mediterranean port of El-Arish where participants scuffled with Egyptian security when part of the convoy was not allowed through. The convoy was led by British MP George Galloway who was ejected from Egypt Friday and declared persona non grata by the Foreign Ministry. Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit described the aid convoy as “farcical” and said the country would no longer allow such solidarity convoys into the Hamas-run coastal area. Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas overran the strip in 2007, seizing control of the territory from Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel says the blockade is meant to pressure Hamas and prevent raw materials from reaching militants, while it allows limited humanitarian supplies into the territory. A trickle of aid is allowed in through borders with Egypt and Israel. International groups have organized several aid convoys to the coastal strip, with tons of aid, although many of the convoy are meant as a protest against the blockade. —AP

TEHRAN: Iran’s hardline president has ordered the formation of a team to study the damages the country suffered from the 1941 Allied invasion in order to demand compensation. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran suffered immensely after it was invaded by Britain and the Soviet Union during World War II despite its declared neutrality and was never compensated. “A team has been assigned to calculate all the damages (inflicted on Iran) in the Second World War. This will be an invoice they (Allies powers) must pay to the Iranian nation,” he said in remarks broadcast live on state television yesterday. Ahmadinejad didn’t elaborate on the details but he had earlier said he would write to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to ask that Iran be compensated for the damages caused to its people during the war and for the use of its territory and resources by Allied powers. Britain and the Soviet Union invaded Iran on August 26, 1941, codenamed “Operation Countenance” to secure Iranian oil fields and ensure supply lines for the Soviets fighting Axis forces. Food, fuel and other essentials were scare amid mounting inflation and there was great hardship on the Iranian people as the needs of invading powers were given priority. “You inflicted lots of damages to the Iranian nation, put your weight on the shoulders (of the Iranian people) and became victors in the World War II. You didn’t even share the war profits with Iran,” Ahmadinejad said. “If I say today that we will take full compensation ... know that we will stand to the end and will take it.” Ahmadinejad also warned that Iran may also demand compensation for the damages it suffered during World War I, the Western support for the former Pahlavi Dynasty and its hostility towards Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution. —AP

TEHRAN: A handout picture released by the official website of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows a crowd of Iranian clerics, one of them holding a portrait of Khamenei, as they listen to a speech by the former in Tehran yesterday. —AFP

Iraq confiscates arms in private security crackdown BAGHDAD: Security forces confiscated hundreds of rifles, thousands of rounds of ammunition and other military gear in a crackdown on private security contractors in Iraq, officials said yesterday. Police raided three locations in Baghdad on Friday, a week after Iraqi authorities were incensed by a US judge’s decision to throw out charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing over a dozen Iraqi civilians in 2007. Officials said they are targeting private security companies that are no longer legally licensed to operate in Iraq. “All those companies with their work permits expired are not allowed to move one metre inside Baghdad, or own one piece of weaponry,” Baghdad security spokesman Qassim Al-Moussawi said. He would not

reveal how many unlicensed contractors were on the target list, or their names. Authorities raided the headquarters of a foreign security contractor, whose name could not be immediately confirmed, on Friday night and confiscated 20,000 rounds of ammunition and more than 300 armored shields. In another location they found 400 rifles, helmets, radio devices and more than 35 vehicles believed to belong to the same company, officials said. No one was arrested. Private foreign security contractors played a major role in Iraq following the US invasion in 2003, in many cases hired by the United States to guard diplomats and other officials. Iraqis accused them of running roughshod over locals. For a time, the foreign guards enjoyed immunity from prosecution. That ended

with a bilateral agreement that took effect in 2009. The Iraqi government called unacceptable the US court’s Dec. 31 dismissal of charges against five Blackwater guards accused of shooting indiscriminately in a Baghdad traffic circle, and said it is taking its own legal steps against the company, now known as Xe Services. Major General Hussein Kamal, Iraq’s deputy interior minister, denied that the Baghdad crackdown was a reprisal for the Blackwater case. He said the ministry had given a group of security firms ample warning to renew their permits. “We have closed some of the companies and confiscated their weapons and vehicles,” he said, adding, “We are not reacting to the (Blackwater) judge’s decision.” —Reuters

Fate of 15 political parties in balance BAGHDAD: Iraq’s electoral commission will decide within days whether to ban 15 political parties from running in March polls because their leaders allegedly have links to former dictator Saddam Hussein, a spokesman said yesterday. The

move could threaten attempts to draw former supporters of the insurgency into the political process, a key plank in the US strategy to stabilize the country as American troops withdraw. Judge Qassim al-Aboudi, a spokesman for the Independent

High Electoral Commission, said the body had received complaints over 15 political parties from the committee dedicated to rooting out high-level supporters of the former regime. The whole process of “deBaathification,” named after the

former ruling party, began shortly after the US -led invasion, and has resulted in the firing of thousands of Iraqis, mostly Sunnis, from the civil service and education professions. However, the electoral body had not yet received its final for-

Lebanese prez asks US to reverse ban on Hezbollah TV BEIRUT: Lebanese President Michel Sleiman has urged the United States to reverse a decision to ban the Hezbollah television channel, Al-Manar, during talks with US Senator John MCain. “President Sleiman asked that Washington backtrack on its decision to ban certain television channels, including Al-Manar,” a statement from his office said after the Friday meeting. Sleiman’s concerns come after the US House of Representatives passed a bill in December calling for punitive measures against Middle East television networks seen as fueling anti-American hatred. Arab information min-

isters are due to meet on January 24 at the Cairo headquarters of the 22-member Arab League to discuss the US bill.The bill, adopted in a decisive 395-3 vote , asks President Barack Obama to report, six months after the text has passed, “on antiAmerican incitement to violence in the Middle East, and for other purposes.” “For years, media outlets in the Middle East have repeatedly published or broadcast incitements to violence against the United States and Americans,” the bill read. The networks listed include Al-Aqsa, the television station of the Islamist Palestinian movement

Hamas, which broadcasts from the Gaza Strip, and Hezbollah’s Al-Manar. AlManar is on a list of terrorist organizations announced in December 2004 by the United States, where the television has lost its feed and is banned from broadcasting. Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and its key Middle East ally Israel, although the Shiite movement is a major political party in Lebanon. Hezbollah has two ministers in the new national unity cabinet that US- and Western-backed Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri unveiled in November. —AFP

BAGHDAD: Iraqi police officers parade during the 88th Police Day celebrations yesterday in Baghdad. Some 1553 police officers from all over Iraq graduated during a parade attended by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri AlMaliki and Interior Minister Jawad Al-Bolani. —AFP

mal report from the Accountability and Justice Committee, al-Aboudi said. It was expected imminently and the commission would make a decision within one or two days, he said. After the commission publishes its ruling in Iraqi newspapers, candidates and parties will have three days to appeal the decision before a panel of three judges specially appointed to deal with electoral matters, he said. Iraqi voters will be closely scrutinizing the list for signs of bias. The country is struggling to overcome years of sectarian violence pitting its minority Sunni population against the majority Shiites. The Sunnidominated province of Anbar became a heartland of the alQaida linked insurgency after Sunnis largely boycotted the 2005 polls. But in the past three years, many Sunni militias have turned against the insurgents and are now working alongside the Shiite-dominated government, albeit in a strained and uneasy relationship. Analysts say the promise of political inclusion was a key part of persuading the militias to change sides. Sunni politician Saleh alMutlaq has already said he is on the list because his popularity threatens the Shiite dominated government. He heads the second-largest bloc of Sunni seats in parliament and is building an alliance with former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a Shiite, and current Sunni vice president Tariq al-Hashemi. —AP


Sunday, January 10, 2010


Somaliland forces say attack on mosque foiled HARGEISA: Security forces in Somalia’s northern breakaway enclave of Somaliland said on Saturday they had foiled an attack on a mosque in Hargeisa where the imam had spoken out against militant suicide bombings. Somaliland prides itself on its relative stability, unlike southern parts of the failed Horn

of Africa state, where hardline rebels from the al Shabaab group control large swaths of territory and are battling a weak Western-backed government. But al Shabaab, which Washington says is al Qaeda’s proxy in Somalia, wants to extend its influence north into Somaliland and neighboring, semi-

autonomous pro-government Puntland. Mohamed Saqadi Dubbad, the commander of Somaliland’s security forces, said six rockets and two mortar bombs were recovered from Imam Sheikh Aden Sira’s mosque after a local woman saw a suspected bomber carrying the explosives in a jacket. “She thought he had stolen what

he was carrying and ran to grab him,” Dubbad told reporters. “The man could not free himself, but he threatened the woman, saying: ‘I will blow you up with me if you do not release me,’ so she released him.” Imam Sira had been critical of suicide bombings carried out by Al Shabaab

insurgents in southern Somalia, and officials said he had received death threats from the militants. Al Shabaab hit Somaliland and Puntland with synchronized suicide blasts that killed at least 24 people in Oct. 2008. A court in Hargeisa has sentenced five men to death in absentia for

the bombings, which struck the Ethiopian embassy, the local president’s office and a U.N. building. It said they were on the run in other parts of Somalia. [ID:nLT624067] Somaliland, which has long sought international recognition as sovereign state, declared itself independent in 1991. —Reuters

Plane asked to return in precautionary step

US warns of ‘potential threat’ to Uganda-South Sudan flights KAMPALA: An Air Uganda flight to Sudan was diverted back to Kampala yesterday after the US embassy in Khartoum warned American travelers of a “potential threat” to commercial flights between Uganda and South

Sudan. The plane had taken off from Entebbe airport and was on its way to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, when it was ordered to return as a precautionary step.

ROSARNO: An Italian Carabiniere, paramilitary policeman, patrols in front of a barricade in Rosarno, southern Italy yesterday following overnight clashes between migrants and police. —AP

Migrants bused from riot-struck Italian town ROSARNO: Some 300 African migrants were bused early yesterday out of a southern Italian town rocked by two days of clashes between the migrants, police and local residents. Police said another migrant was wounded in a pellet gun attack in a nearby town. Many of the migrants from Ghana, Nigeria and other African countries have been camping out in tents and cardboard shelters in an abandoned cheese factory with no heating and broken windows on the outskirts of Rosarno. They also alleged they were earning illegally low wages , as little as 20 euros ($30) for a 12-hour days picking citrus fruit and other crops. Despite chronically high unemployment rates in Italy’s underdeveloped south many residents don’t want to do the backbreaking seasonal farm work.

The rioting began after two men , one from Nigeria, the other from Togo , were lightly wounded by a pellet gun attack Thursday. Migrants blamed the shooting on racism and groups of protesters stoned police, attacked residents and smashed shop windows and cars. Police said late Friday that at least 37 people had been wounded, including five migrants, 14 residents and 18 police officers. Three migrants were seriously hurt when they were beaten with metal rods, police and hospital officials said. Police reinforcements were being stationed at intersections and in piazzas to help keep order yesterday, Varratta said. Eight buses transferred the African fruit pickers from Rosarno to a temporary shelter elsewhere in Calabria, the largely impover-

ished, agricultural region in the “toe” of Italy. Several hundred others were choosing for now to stay, said Luigi Varratta, prefect of Reggio Calabria. “Calm has been restored for the most part,” said Laura Boldrini, a United Nations refugee agency official. Six miles (10 kilometers) away in the town of Gioia Tauro, an African man was reported slightly wounded in the leg yesterday morning from an attack with a pellet gun, according to Carabinieri paramilitary police. Opposition politicians accused Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative coalition, which includes an anti-immigrant party, of failing to enforce a crackdown requiring immigrants to have a job and proper housing to be granted residence permits.—AP

Ignie Igunduura, spokesman for Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority, said the plane had returned to Entebbe. “No captain would ignore a warning of this nature,” Igunduura said. “We have heard this information before and we have been aware of this threat for some time. “But any time there is renewed information, and this renewed information came from the US but also others, you don’t start taking chances.” A warden’s message published on Friday on the US mission’s website said the embassy “has received information indicating a desire by regional extremists to conduct a deadly attack onboard Air Uganda aircraft” between Kampala and Juba. “While the capacity of these extremists to carry out such an attack is unknown, the threat is of sufficient seriousness that all American air travelers should be made aware. “Air travelers on any airline and route should maintain vigilance at all times, and should report any suspicious behavior to the proper authorities.” The message gave no further details. It also said the State Department “continues to warn against all travel to Sudan, particularly in the Darfur area, where violence involving government forces, rebel factions and various armed militias continues. “American citizens who choose to travel to Sudan despite the existing Travel Warning, and those currently in Sudan, should review their security posture and take appropriate precautions.” As is routine, the message also encourages US citizens in Sudan to register with the embassy to “make it easier for the embassy or consulate to contact them in case of emergency.” Sudan rejected any security threat as unfounded and criticized the United States embassy for not cooperating over the matter. “This threat is not serious, nothing supports these allegations,” foreign ministry spokesman Moawiya Osman Khalid told AFP. “They did not inform us of this security threat, we learnt about it from the embassy’s website. They did not ask for our cooperation, which they should have done before notifying the media,” he added. — AFP

100s of flights canceled in Germany, Europe frozen BERLIN: Germans faced the cancellation of hundreds of flights yesterday as fresh snow blew in from the south, and Britons shivered through the country’s longest cold snap in three decades as icy weather maintained its grip on Europe. By early afternoon, 226 domestic and international flights had been canceled at Frankfurt airport as a strong low pressure system from the Mediterranean brought gusty winds and covered the country with several inches (centimeters) of snow. Crews struggled to clear the runways, and the few planes that managed to take off had to be deiced first, said Frankfurt airport duty manager Heinz Fass. Schoenefeld and Tegel airports in Berlin, as well as Munich airport, also reported cancelations as snow turned cities and villages across the country into scenes from a fairy tale. In Nuremberg, an Air Berlin plane slid off the runway and got stuck in the snow. Nobody was injured, but the airport was closed for more than two hours. One meteorologist called the conditions Siberian. More than 300 car accidents were reported on icy streets in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg; more than 40 people were injured. The western state of North RhineWestphalia reported 108 accidents. Northeastern German was particularly hard hit. Wind whipped the snow into yard-high drifts along the Baltic coast, making roads impassable. Radio stations reported that several villages on the Baltic island of

HAMBURG: Promenaders fight against the wind as they walk in the snow near the Alster river in Hamburg, north Germany yesterday. Germany braced for a blizzard and heavy snowfall —AFP Ruegen were completely cut off. On Fehrmarn, another Baltic island, farmers were being asked to use their farm machinery to help clear the roads, said Volker Kluetmann, an island official. “The snow is so high that even the snow plows get stuck,” Kluetmann said. “It’s what you would call a real serious winter , and the winds here are the worst part of it.” In Berlin, even the

mice were desperate escape the cold: Swarms of them have taken over the Bundestag, the country’s parliament, the daily newspaper Bild reported. In Britain, cold winds swept in from the north, sending temperatures tumbling to minus 14 degrees Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of Scotland and northern England. The country is in the midst of its longest cold snap in three

decades, and transport has been disrupted across the country. Heavy snow forced the cancellation of all flights at Dublin Airport in Ireland. Traffic at Heathrow Airport, Europe’s busiest, was also affected, with British Airways alone canceling around 50 flights at the London hub. The weather has been brutal by Britain’s temperate standards, and local authorities across

the country are running out of salt and sand. A clutch of sporting events has been canceled , including five of the seven scheduled Premier League soccer games scheduled for yesterday. In Switzerland, Geneva airport remained open despite continued snowfall yesterday, the main transit day for holiday-makers in nearby Chamonix and other French Alpine resorts.—AP

LONDON: Protesters are pictured during a demonstration calling on UK Government intervention to prevent war in Sudan near 10 Downing Street in London yesterday. Sudanese communities and activists around the world have organized demonstrations to call on international leaders to take diplomatic action to prevent a return to conflict in Sudan. —AFP

Dozens join Sudan protest in London LONDON: Around 150 people gathered outside British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Downing Street office in London yesterday, drumming loudly and calling for peace in Sudan. The group, waving placards with messages such as “Protect The Civilians In Darfur” and “UK Don’t Forget Sudan”, was campaigning as part of Sudan 365, organized by groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The initiative brings together drummers from some of the biggest bands in pop music, including Phil Selway of Radiohead and Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, in a bid to create a “beat for peace” in Sudan. Many of those involved in yesterday’s noisy protest were beating empty plastic water containers and chanting pro-peace slogans. The demon-

stration came as Sudan marks the fifth anniversary of the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended a 22-year war between majority Muslim northern Sudan and the mainly Christian and animist south. But there are fears the agreement could be under threat. “We are already seeing a grave increase in inter-ethnic violence in the south and violence continues in Darfur,” said Amnesty’s Tawanda Hondora. “The coming year poses serious threats to human rights in Sudan that can be prevented if governments act now.” Brown is expected to meet the leader of the world’s Anglicans, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and Archbishop Daniel Deng, primate of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, on the issue tomorrow.— AFP

Nigeria: Chevron pipeline attacked in Niger Delta LAGOS: Gunmen attacked a Chevron Corp oil pipeline in Nigeria’s restive Niger Delta, causing an unknown amount of damage, a government spokesman said yesterday. Linus Chima, a Delta State spokesman, said the gunmen damaged the Makaraba pipeline southwest of Warri. That pipeline transports crude oil out of one of Chevron’s seven swamp fields in the area, which produced 77,000 barrels of oil per day in 2008. Chima said government officials still were investigating the attack, which apparently occurred early Friday morning. Chevron previously pulled out of the region in 2003 over vandalism and attacks by local militants, but returned in 2007. Scott Walker, a spokesman for San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron, said early yesterday morning that he could not confirm the attack on the pipeline operated by its Nigerian subsidiary. “We are not speculating on any comment while investigations are under way,” Walker said. Lt Col Timothy Antigha, a military spokesman, said no one had claimed responsibility for the attack. He said soldiers began working their way along the pipeline system yesterday to find damage, though he stressed he had no independent confirmation of an attack. “We are doing our checks along with the oil company,” Antigha said. Militants in the Niger Delta attacked the same

area in June during a wave of violence before some began laying down their arms as part of a government amnesty program. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the main militant group in the region, has not mentioned the Friday attack. However, the group said in December it would consider its cease-fire agreement with the government void for 30 days. The attack comes after soldiers shot two contract workers dead and injured four others at Chevron’s Escravos gas project nearby. The soldiers opened fire after buses carrying the contract workers out of the plant blocked them from entering the plant’s property. Workers responded by attacking the soldiers and setting fire to several buildings there. Chima said he did not know whether the shooting Monday had any part in the pipeline attack. Militants in the Niger Delta have attacked pipelines, kidnapped petroleum company employees and fought government troops since January 2006. They demand that the federal government send more oil-industry funds to Nigeria’s southern region, which remains poor despite five decades of oil production. That violence has cut Nigeria’s oil production by about 1 million barrels a day, allowing Angola to surge ahead as Africa’s top oil producer. — AP

Three arrested after Heathrow bomb threat LONDON: Three British men were arrested on suspicion of making a bomb threat aboard an Emirates airline plane about to take off for Dubai, police said yesterday. The men, whose ages range from 36 to 58, were pulled off the flight by police late Friday. One passenger said police led at least one man away in handcuffs before bringing sniffer dogs aboard. “Police just swarmed the guy and rushed him

out,” Cameron McLean told Sky News television. “I think he was a white male. There was another one but I didn’t see him.” Police said a search of the plane found nothing suspicious aboard and it has since been released to Emirates. The flight, which had 331 passengers on board, has been rescheduled for 3 p.m. (1500 GMT, 10 am EST) yesterday. The arrests came amid height-

ened concern over airline security following an alleged Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines plane. Security scares have multiplied and included another incident Friday in which fighter jets were launched to catch up with an AirTran Airways to San Francisco after a report that an intoxicated passenger had locked himself in a bathroom.—AP



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Conservationists file piracy claim against whalers

ANTARCTICA: This photo provided by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society shows the sheared off bow of the Ady Gil, a high-tech speed boat that resembles a stealth bomber after a collision with a Japanese whaling ship in the frigid waters of Antarctica on Wednesday Jan 6, 2010. —AP

SYDNEY: A conservationist group that lost one of its ships in a clash with Japanese whalers off Antarctica has filed a piracy complaint in the Netherlands against the captain and crew of the whaling vessel, one of the group’s leaders said yesterday. The filing comes after the bow of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Ady Gil was sheared off in a collision Wednesday with the far larger Japanese ship , the most serious clash in what has become an annual confrontation off the frozen continent. A Sea Shepherd volunteer suffered cracked ribs. The whaler, Shonan Maru No. 2, suffered no apparent damage. Both sides blame the other for the crash, which occurred as the Ady Gil harassed the Japanese fleet. On Friday, Sea Shepherd lodged a piracy complaint with the Dutch prosecuting authority, Sea Shepherd Deputy CEO Chuck Swift told The Associated Press by satellite phone from his ship, the Bob Barker. The ship is named for the former TV game show host, who donated $5 million to buy it. A copy of the complaint translated from Dutch to English by Sea Shepherd offi-

cials was provided to the AP. It argues the whalers are guilty of piracy because they served on a vessel that was used to commit an act of violence. The complaint urges Dutch authorities to take action within two weeks. “They have certainly proven that some of them have as much disregard for the law and human life as they do for the law and whale life,” Swift said. “We could have had six dead.” The group chose to file the complaint in the Netherlands because one of the Ady Gil crew members is Dutch and the Sea Shepherd’s main ship, the Steve Irwin, is registered there, according to the complaint. Sea Shepherd is also considering filing charges of attempted murder in New Zealand, where the Ady Gil was registered, Swift said. Glenn Inwood, the New Zealandbased spokesman for Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research, which oversees the whaling fleet, dismissed the filing as a publicity stunt. “They have no real basis here for filing any claims at all, especially of piracy,” Inwood told the AP. “The chances of them winning anything, the odds are well against it , noting that they

were in the wrong for the incidents to start with.” Given the circumstances, a piracy charge would be difficult to prosecute, said Don Rothwell, a professor of international law at the Australian National University who wrote a recent report for the government on Antarctic whaling. An act of piracy usually requires that a vessel be boarded or seized, that goods be taken from the vessel or that a person is held on the vessel, he said. While Sea Shepherd could claim that an act of violence justifies a charge of piracy, such a charge requires that the act of violence occurred for private means, Rothwell said. The whaling fleet would likely be considered public vessels under government control, he said. Japan kills about 1,200 whales a year in Antarctica under what it says is a scientific program allowed by the International Whaling Commission, despite a moratorium on commercial whaling. Critics say the program is a front for illegal whaling, and Sea Shepherd sends ships to Antarctica each season to try to stop the hunt , an effort portrayed on the Animal Planet TV series “Whale Wars.” After

Wednesday’s clash, the Bob Barker began towing the Ady Gil toward French research base Dumont d’Urville, 185 miles (300 kilometers) to the south. But the tow rope snapped en route, so the Ady Gil was left to sink and the Bob Barker resumed its pursuit of the Japanese whalers, said the Bob Barker’s first officer, Peter Hammarsedt. Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett on Friday ramped up pressure on Japan to end whaling by threatening legal action if diplomatic efforts do not show results before the next International Whaling Commission summit in June. Australia says it could argue that Japan’s whaling is illegal before the International Court of Justice or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The whaling is conducted in international waters, but usually within the huge patch of ocean that is designated Australia’s maritime rescue zone and that Canberra considers a whale sanctuary. The whalers have changed tactics this season, sending boats to tail the Sea Shepherd vessels and reporting their positions so the main fleet can keep its distance. — AP

Dispute over ruling allowing Catholic newspaper to use the word Allah

Fourth Malaysia church attacked as row deepens KUALA LUMPUR: Arsonists in Malaysia struck a fourth church yesterday as the government tried to soothe tensions arising from a row over the use of the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God. The unprecedented attacks risk dividing the mainly Muslim nation of 28 million people, which has significant religious minorities, and complicating Prime Minister Najib Razak’s plan to

win back support from the non-Muslims before the next elections by 2013. The row, over a court ruling that allowed a Catholic newspaper to use Allah in its Malay-language editions, prompted Muslims to protest at mosques on Friday and sparked arson attacks on three churches that saw one Pentecostalist church gutted.

PETALING JAYA: People gather as an investigator inspects the damage to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church are seen in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia yesterday. — AP

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist arrested HONG KONG: Hong Kong police arrested a pro-democracy activist yesterday on suspicion of attacking police after she tried to storm Chinese government offices during a New Year’s Day protest. Fellow activists questioned the arrest of 22-year-old Christina Chan, saying it may have been the result of pressure from Beijing as it tries curtail the Western-style civil liberties promised to the island’s residents when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Chan’s lawyer, Alan Wong, said Chan wasn’t immediately charged and was released on bail. In Hong Kong, assaulting a police officer carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine of HK$5,000. Thousands of demonstrators marched to Chinese government offices on the island on

New Year’s Day to demand an elected leader and legislature. Hong Kong’s leader is currently selected by a committee stacked with Beijing loyalists and its 60-member Legislative Council is half elected, half chosen by interest groups. Dozens of the protesters tried but failed to breach a police cordon guarding the Chinese liaison office. A human rights activist who was monitoring the protest and a fellow demonstrator said they didn’t see Chan attack any police officers, questioning if police acted under political pressure. Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor Law Yuk-kai said 10 of his staff were at the protest and none saw Chan acting violently. “The recent performance of the police gives the public reasonable grounds to question if they are politically neutral,” Law said.

“How can a young girl attack police officers?” fellow protester and pro-democracy legislator Raymond Wong asked. “This is really out of line. They are seeking payback for a peaceful protest.” Law said the New Year’s Day’s protests were justified in trying to break the police cordon because police kept them at an unreasonable distance from the Chinese government offices _ across the street from its back entrance. “They feel their right to protest has been infringed, so they help themselves,” he said. Chan rose to fame in Hong Kong for being one of the few pro-Tibet protesters when the Olympic torch for the Beijing Games passed through the city in May 2008. The Hong Kong government didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press seeking comment. — AP

China port faces worst ice threat in 30 years BEIJING: A northern China port that is one of the world’s largest was facing the worst ice conditions in 30 years yesterday, and icebreaking ships were working to keep the path to it open. Some ships were having trouble reaching the port at Tianjin, the port for China’s capital, Beijing, and the third largest in the country, China Central Television said. Footage showed ships on the

Bohai Gulf working to keep shipping lanes open. About 40 people had already been saved from ships in danger from the ice, the state-run Xinhua News Agency cited maritime officials as saying. The region has been hit by its worst winter weather in decades over the past week, including Beijing’s coldest morning in almost 40 years and its biggest snowfall since 1951. Temperatures over the next

week in Beijing are forecast to remain below freezing. The sea ice along the coast of the Bohai Gulf was the most serious in 30 years, China National Radio reported yesterday afternoon. China’s transport minister, Li Shenglin, urged authorities to work to prevent accidents, Xinhua reported. In 2008, the Tianjin port was among the top 15 in the world in container handling, according to the Web

site of its operator, Tianjin Port Development Holdings Ltd. The port 60 miles southeast of Beijing has a sprawling export zone designed to spur the region’s growth. The past week of bitter cold already has hit China’s power companies, with officials ordering rotating shutdowns of hundreds of factories in central provinces to ensure sufficient power to heat homes. — AP

While Najib visited the badly damaged Pentecostalist church and offered a government grant of half a million ringgit ($148,100) to maintain “a harmonious society”, church leaders said they wanted more concrete assurances of safety. “We ask the government to make a strong statement to these wrongdoers so we can worship in peace on Sunday,” Reverend Hermen Shastri, secretary-general to the Council of Churches Malaysia, told Reuters. Malaysia is mainly Muslim and Malay but there are substantial ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities who mainly practice Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism. These minorities handed the government its biggest losses in 2008 state and national elections in part due to feelings of religious marginalization and growing disillusionment with corruption. In the latest attack on early yesterday, unidentified attackers flung a home-made petrol bomb at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in a suburb in Selangor state. The two-storey bungalow sustained minor damage, church officials said. Police said they have stepped up security at all places of worship but faced a manpower shortage. Inspector General of Police Musa Hasan told churches across the country to hire more security guards. Christians account for nine percent of the 28 million population, with a sizable number of non-English speaking Christians in Malaysia’s Borneo island states of Sabah and Sarawak who have used the word “Allah” for decades. Najib’s handling of the issue will determine whether he can keep the support of the Malays and win back ethnic Chinese and Indian voters to solidify his grip on power after taking control of the government last year. “Till today we are protecting the interests of other races besides championing those of the Malays,” Najib was earlier quoted as saying by state news agency Bernama. “Don’t point fingers and say UMNO is racist...when churches are burned,” he said referring to his party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) that is the linchpin of the National Front that has ruled the country for 52 years. But Malay-Muslims, including those in UMNO, fear the word could be used by Christians to proselytise to Muslims, which is already illegal in the Southeast Asian country. More than 169,000 Malaysians have joined a group page on social networking site Facebook called “Protesting the use of the name Allah by non-Muslims”, a fourfold increase from the start of this week that signals growing Islamic anger.— Reuters

TOKYO: Shinto believers pour cold water to purify their bodies and souls as part of an endurance show at the Kanda Shrine, known as “Kanda Myojin” in Tokyo yesterday. — AFP

Taiwan’s ruling party defeated in by-elections TAIPEI: Taiwan’s ruling party suffered its second major electoral setback in a month yesterday, losing three by-elections as the president’s popular support sags following a slew of administrative blunders. The opposition Democratic Progressive Party won the three legislative seats in Taoyuan, Taitung and Taichung counties, the Central Election Commission said. Despite the setback, the ruling Nationalist Party still dominates the 106seat legislature, controlling 73 seats against the DPP’s 30. The DPP’s strong showing at the polls could give it a boost in morale though and allow it to hit harder at President Ma Ying-jeou, especially his signature policy to engage China

economically. “Voters widely feel this is an incapable government,” said political commentator Shen Fuhsiung. Ma’s popularity in opinion polls has plunged to a low of 20-30 percent since August, when Typhoon Morakot took an estimated 700 lives amid complaints about the government’s botched rescue and relief effort. When he took office in May 2008, his support was more than 60 percent. Ma has since relaxed control on two-way trade and investment with China, and launched direct air and shipping links. The pro-independence DPP is particularly critical of Ma’s push for a free trade pact with China, which it believes will undermine Taiwan’s sovereign-

ty and cost its workers thousands of jobs amid a flood of cheap Chinese imports. Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949, and China continues to claim the island as its own. In recent weeks, Ma has come under renewed fire for a decision to remove a partial ban on imports of US beef, and the parliament’s subsequent vote to reinstate the ban further undermined Ma’s credibility. Nationalist Party Secretary General Chin Pochung said his party “will face the setback” of yesterday’s polls and “move ahead with reforms.” In December’s mayoral and county vote, the DPP held onto its three magistracy positions and won one back from the Nationalists. — AP

in the news 6 arrested in HK over $3m Tokyo jewelry heist HONG KONG: Six people have been arrested in Hong Kong in connection with a $3 million jewelry store heist in Japan, police said yesterday. Three men and three women were taken into custody Thursday and Friday at two different Hong Kong apartments where investigators found hundreds of watches, pieces of jewelry and cash worth about $3.2 million, police spokeswoman Baisy Wong said. The watches and jewelry are believed to be the same items stolen last week from a jewelry shop in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza district, where burglars bored a 16 to 20 inch (40 to 50 centimeter) hole through one of the store’s concrete walls. Five of the suspects were charged with handling stolen goods and the sixth was held on allegations of handling stolen goods and money laundering, Wong said. Hong Kong organized crime investigators made the arrests after contacting Japanese authorities, she said. All but one of the suspects is from Hong Kong; the sixth is from mainland China. Police suspect many of the watches were mailed from Japan to Hong Kong, with some then sent to mainland China. Strong earthquake strikes near Solomon Islands SYDNEY: A strong earthquake shook the South Pacific near the Solomon Islands yesterday, just days after a large earthquake and tsunami hit the country. No tsunami watch was issued after Saturday’s quake. The 6.3 magnitude quake struck 90 miles (146 kilometers) southeast of the provincial capital Gizo at a depth of 22 miles (35 kilometers), the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued no tsunami warning. On Monday, a magnitude7.2 quake sent a tsunami up to 10 feet (3 meters)

high crashing into the shores of Rendova Island and nearby Tetepare Island. No serious injuries were reported. 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. Meat soup for all still a pipe dream in N Korea SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has admitted failing to deliver an acceptable standard of living for the communist nation’s people, state media reported yesterday. Rodong Sinmun, the official daily newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, quoted Kim as saying much remains to be desired in people’s quality of life although the country has become “politically and militarily powerful”. Kim’s father, Kim Il-Sung, who died in 1994, has been named as president for eternity of North Korea. “The president has said that people should be allowed to eat white rice and meat soup, wear silk clothes and live under tiled roofs,” Kim Jong-Il was quoted as saying by Rodong. “But we’ve so far failed to carry out this goal,” he said. “I will certainly resolve the issue of people’s livelihood within the shortest possible period and achieve the president’s last wish,” he said. It was because Kim Jong-Il wanted to help improve people’s living standards that he made a raft of visits to inspect industrial facilities in provincial cities last year, Rodong said. The paper urged North Koreans to step up efforts to increase production of food and other necessities. North Korea has been suffering chronic food shortages. Last month, it carried out a drastic currency revaluation aimed at weakening the role of free markets and strengthening the socialist system.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Unruly passengers cause 2 flights to change course DENVER: Military jets scrambled to intercept a San Francisco-bound jetliner reporting a problem aboard , one of two commercial airplanes diverted because of disruptive passengers. In addition, police at London’s Heathrow Airport arrested three passengers after removing them from a jetliner bound for Dubai. Police said the three men allegedly made a bomb threat on an Emirates airline passenger jet Friday night as it was about to take off. A search of the plane found nothing suspicious. The other passengers were taken off the plane and put up in a hotel overnight. Friday’s passenger plane disruptions came amid heightened concern over airline security following an alleged Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines plane. Two F-16s were launched at 11:44 am to catch up with AirTran Airways Flight 39 from Atlanta to San Francisco after a report that an intoxicated passenger had locked himself in a bathroom, the Colorado-based North American Aerospace Defense Command said. The jets arrived over Colorado Springs Airport as the captain, who AirTran

said had decided to divert the plane - landed there around noon, NORAD spokeswoman Stacey Knott said. Colorado Springs police detained the passenger, who allegedly refused to follow flight crew instructions to take his seat before locking himself in a lavatory. Canine teams searched the airplane, and the flight was cleared to continue to San Francisco. Muhammad Abu Tahir, 46, of Virginia, was being held at the El Paso County jail, the FBI said. Federal charges for interference with a flight crew were expected to be filed Monday. His hometown was not immediately available. Also Friday, a Hawaii-bound flight had to change course and land in Los Angeles after a man was accused of harassing a woman. The man was removed from the jet that departed Las Vegas early Friday. The man was interviewed and released after the woman declined to press charges, Los Angeles airport police Sgt. Jim Holcomb said. The exact nature of the disruption or whether the passengers knew each other wasn’t known, Holcomb said. The

ALBERTA: In this Aug 1, 2007 picture, Alberta rancher and environmentalist Wiebo Ludwig talks to reporters as he makes his way to court in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. —AP

Police make arrest in pipeline bomb probe VANCOUVER: An anti-energy industry activist convicted of bombing oil and gas wells a decade ago was arrested in connection with the investigation into a series of pipeline bombings in northeastern British Columbia, his lawyer said. Wiebo Ludwig is being investigated on charges of extortion against EnCana Corp., one of Canada’s largest oil and gas companies, Ludwig’s lawyer Paul Moreau said Friday. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Inspector Tim Shields would not identify the man arrested Friday as he has yet to be charged. Shields said prosecutors have not made a decision yet. About 100 officers initially searched the farm in the western Alberta town of Hythe in connection with the case, Shields said. The farm belongs to Ludwig, Moreau said. There have been six bombings of EnCana pipelines in British Columbia since October 2008. No one was injured in the attacks which caused only minor disruptions to pipeline operations. Moreau said he’s not sure what’s behind the extortion allegation and has not yet seen the evidence against Ludwig. Moreau said his client was called to a meeting with police Friday morning at a motel in nearby Grande Prairie, Alberta, where he was immediately placed under arrest. Ludwig is well known in Alberta for his opposition to the oil and gas industry. He was sent to prison in 2001 and served twothirds of a 28-month sentence for his role in earlier gas well bombings in Alberta. Two EnCana gas wells and one owned by Suncor Inc. were hit in 1998, and another blast cratered a road leading to a Norcen Energy well site. Police

previously had said they did not consider Ludwig a suspect in the latest pipeline bombings. Ludwig wrote an open letter to the bomber last fall appealing for a halt to the attacks. Moreau said Ludwig believed he had been summoned to Friday’s meeting to offer assistance to police in their investigation. Police called the arrest and search of the farm a “significant development” in their investigation into the pipeline bombings. Wiebo’s friend Richard Boonstra, who served three weeks in jail for his part in the attacks a decade ago, said the raid included SWAT teams. He said the 51 people living on the compound took the raid in stride. The blasts put a spotlight on local concerns over the rapid growth of the oil and gas industry in the region, particularly projects involving sour gas, which contains the potentially deadly chemical hydrogen sulfide. Ludwig moved to Alberta’s Peace River region in 1985 to insulate his alternative Christian community from what he called the madness of modern life. Five years later, the oil and gas companies arrived. He spent years trying to raise awareness of property rights around exploration, the environment and the toxic nature of sour gas. There were two sour gas leaks to which Ludwig attributed animal deaths and miscarriages by two women on his commune. The first explosion was preceded by a letter to a newspaper that called oil and gas companies, and EnCana in particular, “terrorists” and demanded an immediate halt to their operations. — AP

Hawaiian Airlines flight resumed to Honolulu and arrived three hours late. It was the second time this week a flight to Hawaii had to change course because of an onboard disruption. On Wednesday, a Mauibound Hawaiian Airlines flight from Portland, Oregon, was turned around and escorted by two F-15 military fighters because of an uncooperative passenger. The U.S. attorney’s office on Friday filed a charge of interfering with a crew member against the passenger, Joseph Hedlund Johnson of Salem, Oregon. An FBI affidavit said Johnson, traveling with his girlfriend, held his carry-on bag closely and was unhappy he couldn’t stow it under his seat. He was in the bulkhead row, so there was no seat ahead to provide storage beneath, the affidavit said. Attendants told him the space beneath his seat was reserved for the feet of the passenger behind. Then the 56-year-old filled out a comment card with phrases about death and crashing, and he gave it to an attendant who passed it along to the pilot, the affidavit said.—AP


Security breached as he said bye to girlfriend

Man arrested in Newark airport security breach NEW JERSEY: A Chinese man believed to have breached security to bid his girlfriend goodbye, triggering the shutdown of a busy Newark Airport terminal that led to snarled flights worldwide, was arrested in New Jersey and faces a trespassing charge and a fine of up to $500, punishment a senator says

should be much harsher. Haisong Jiang, 28, of Piscataway was taken into custody at Friday night at his home, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said. He was questioned at the airport by Port Authority police, who arrested him, and released shortly after midnight.

The Port Authority said in a statement that Jiang will be charged with defiant trespass, and that the charge was determined in coordination with the Essex County prosecutor and federal officials, though it’s not a federal charge. A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration referred all questions to the Port Authority. Jiang is due to appear in Newark municipal court next week, according to Paul Loriquet of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. It was not immediately clear whether Jiang has retained a lawyer. Jiang, who is Chinese, is a doctoral student in a joint molecular biosciences program at Rutgers University, one of his roommates said early yesterday. He said Jiang was born in Jiangxi, China, and has been in the U.S. since 2004. Jiang’s roommate, who would only identify himself as Hui, said Jiang took his girlfriend to the airport Sunday. He said Jiang’s girlfriend was a recent Rutgers graduate who lives in Los Angeles and was visiting for the holidays. He said Jiang hadn’t mentioned anything to his roommates about what happened at the airport and they were surprised by the arrest. He said he felt Jiang didn’t think what he had done was a serious matter. Hui said the roommates were aware of the video of the security breach but didn’t pay much attention. Jiang lives in two-story home on a residential street of tidy, single-

Gene Wells, who lives next door to Jiang. “I’ve never had a problem with them.” Hui said he arrived home Friday night and two officers were waiting outside. He called Jiang, who he said was at the gym, and told him the officers were waiting. Jiang returned home, spoke to the officers and was arrested. New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who was briefed on the arrest, said authorities found Jiang with “sheer, hard police work” of sifting through records and following leads. But he expressed anger that Jiang faces a charge he described as a “slap on the wrist” and will only be given a fine of about $500. “This was a terrible deed in its outcome , it wasn’t some prank that didn’t do any harm, it did a lot of harm because it sent out an alert that people can get away with something like this,” Lautenberg said. The senator called Jiang’s actions “premeditated” and said even though the his actions were relatively benign, “what he did was a terrible injustice” to the thousands of people who were inconvenienced. Lautenberg, a Democrat, had pressed for surveillance video of the security breach to be publicly released. He said he believes Newark airport is safe but will pursue airport security issues in upcoming Congressional hearings. The breach led the TSA to shut down one of Newark Liberty International’s three terminals for

NEW JERSEY: Haisong Jiang, 28, is shown being escorted out of the Port Authority Police building at Newark Airport in Newark, NJ, early yesterday. —AP family homes near the Rutgers campus in Piscataway. His roommate said Chinese graduate students from Rutgers lived in the house. “From every indication I’ve seen, everybody in there is good people,” said

six hours Sunday, stranding thousands of passengers and contributing to long delays. A person with direct knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press on Friday that the Transportation Security Administration worker who allegedly left his post is Ruben Hernandez of Newark. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is in progress. TSA employees are not unionized, but the American Federation of Government Employees is representing him, said union spokesman Derrick Thomas. The union declined to publicly identify him. The TSA has said the guard has been on administrative leave since Tuesday. The officer, who has been with the agency for 21/2 years, previously received a commendation for job performance, Thomas said. “He’s been rated a model employee,” he said. “We intend to fully represent him to make sure this whole investigation is handled correctly and that he’s not made a scapegoat for all that’s been going wrong with security at the airports.” The union is reviewing reports that the officer was called from his post to investigate a disturbance in the seconds before the security breach, Thomas said. On a surveillance video released Thursday by the TSA and the Port Authority, the guard is seen sitting at a security podium in an exit lane as passengers stream past on their way out of the terminal.—AP



Sunday, January 10, 2010



Sunday, January 10, 2010

My journey to Gaza A city under siege but determined to be freed By Badr ya Dar wish GAZA: Last June we were very lucky to make a historical trip to the West Bank. I was fortunate to be part of a group of journalists from the Kuwait Journalists Association who spent five days in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron and managed to sneak into Jerusalem, where we felt the real suffering of the people living under occupation. To talk about occupation and the day-to-day routine of people there is one thing and to go and experience it yourself is another story. I never lacked the support of the people in the West Bank but after this trip and feeling their courage and perseverance, this

to many checkpoints on the way, it took us more than six hours to reach our first stop; but nobody was bothered. We were ready to persevere. At last we landed in Arish and continued all the way tired, exhausted but determined to continue. Everybody refused to rest. Writer Sami Al-Nisf, Dr Essam Al-Fleej and Mona Shishter from KUNA were all excited and did not care for food or rest. Gaza was our goal. We reached Rafah from Arish after another three hours because of the checkpoint-infested roads. At last we saw the majestic Rafah Gate. We thought the agony was over and we were there. We thought we were about to go through the gates, stamp our passports and walk into Gaza.

after winning the elections). These were democratic elections monitored by the West. But yet, Hamas was doomed and shunned by the whole world. Gaza was besieged. There was no money, finance, paltry food and no way to come in or leave. The West branded Hamas a terrorist organization and forced some Arab countries to boycott Gaza. Medical treatment and food supplies were scanty and coming in trickle by trickle. Basic human rights, such as electricity, water, food are extinct. Zahar looked like a tough and bitter man. Bitterness could be read on his face. Behind this strength there was a father full of sympathy and sadness. He lost two of his sons during the clashes

asked the two kids to walk out from the house carrying two white flags the Israelis shot them on the spot more than one time. The father who followed them lost his life in the same manner. The house was then bombarded and levelled. The grandfather was left with the memories of this day and the ruins.

Non-stop devastation The whole world witnessed the devastation and loss of life in Gaza as it was televised and broadcasted thanks to modern technology. Maybe the Israelis were hoping to drop a nuclear bomb on Gaza and finish it, but technically speaking they could not do it because it would harm them. The destruction was not enforced

A young child is helping his family collect ruins from a destroyed house in Gaza. The blocks are then used for clay that would lay the foundation of a new house.

A signboard that shows a Palestinian martyr who died during an Israeli raid.

Al-Rashid stands in front of ruins in Gaza.

A bullet-riddled mosque in Gaza that also lost part of its minaret during the Israeli strikes on Gaza.

Mona Shishter from KUNA (left) and Badrya Darwish near some ruins in Gaza.

gave me and our group a more challenging determination to go to the other side of the occupied land - Gaza. For several reasons, amongst them security, we could not continue on that trip to Gaza but Adnan Rashid, the treasurer of KJA, is a very determined man. He kept pursuing the issue with all the authorities - whether Jordanian, Palestinian or Egyptian - in order to obtain permission for us to enter Gaza. All either failed or were put on hold. Honestly speaking, after a couple of months I gave up but Adnan (known as Abu Yousef) did not give up. I was enjoying a diving holiday in Aqaba when he called me to tell me that the permission to enter Rafah was at last granted for us by the Egyptian authorities who are in charge of this outpost. I rushed back home to join the group to Rafah.

Cannot wait to arrive Everyday life in Gaza. As there is a dearth of fuel, people opt for donkeys and mules.

(From left) Sami Al-Nisf, Shishter and Adnan Rashid seen at the solitary and empty seafront in Gaza.

I reached Cairo sometime in the early evening right after sunset where the sun was shining over the pyramids in a blazing red color. It looked all tranquil. I prayed to God that the rest of the journey will be as tranquil as the view over the Pyramids. We took a bus to Arish, which is around 450 km from Cairo and from there we were to continue another 50 km to our destination. Due

Another surprise followed at Rafah. Waiting, waiting and more waiting. We were peppered with hundreds of questions. The most annoying of all was: ‘What is the reason for your trip?” I did not dare tell the immigration officer: “Tourism.” Is it Hawaii, after all? Then, the group was advising each other to have more patience. They said it is the ideal situation to have patience in such occasions. We followed the policy of never questioning the customs authority and to just keep saying “Yes, Sir.” After seven hours sitting at Rafah Gate, there came a light, as Columbus said, and we were given our passports and shown the way to the other side.

The last frontier Gaza at last. We were greeted and met like heroes by the Gaza people. I felt so proud and sad at the same time. There were so many mixed feelings that I couldn’t do much for these people to relieve their agony other than to write about it. We couldn’t wait for dawn to break to start our tour in Gaza accompanied by Hamas people who are in control of Gaza. Our trip started in a traditional way by meeting the leaders and officials. We met Mahmoud AlZahar, Foreign Minister of the dismissed government (Hamas was dismissed by the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas

A poster of Al-Zahar’s son, Hussam Al-Zahar, who A grandfather who lost his family during the Israeli was killed by Israelis during the Gaza assault in Janassault in January 2009. uary 2009.

with the Israelis. Khaled Mahmoud Al-Zahar (24) and Hussam AlZahar (20) are martyrs who died during military actions against the Israelis.

Martyrdom as a way of life During my tour on the streets of Gaza I realized it is not only Mahmoud Al-Zahar that sacrificed his family. There was not a single house in Gaza that did not have a name of a son, a brother or a father written on the walls saying they are martyrs. Destruction in every corner was beyond belief. The prolonged war has left its sinister mark on the streets, on the corners and all over, especially since the savage Israeli raids in January 2009 which killed whole families. I could read that families lost more than a member. Sometimes two or three. They were mainly kids and children who died during the one-month showers of cluster bombs and white phosphorous at the start of 2009. I met an old man during my tour of Gaza who was sitting in front of a pile of ruins. The minute he realized we were journalists, he eagerly approached me to tell his story. He lost his son and his two grandchildren in 2009. The story of their execution touched my heart. The Israelis surrounded the family and when the father

One of the Palestinian guides shows the Kuwaiti delegation the magnitude of devastation.

only on people and buildings. It did not spare fields, plants and animals. Gaza - a well-known land for growing vegetables and vineyards is now a dry area where people are not allowed to grow vegetation. Trees were cut from many fields with the excuse that commanders are hiding behind them. The people in Gaza are besieged in all ways. They have a magnificent sea and seashore that they can’t enjoy or reach. Fishermen are not allowed to fish because Israeli boats are just a mile away from the shore and are ready to bomb and sink any boat that dares to sail. Israeli Apaches keep hovering over the area. While we were touring, the local radio warned people to be careful with their movement as 10 Apaches were literally hovering over our heads.

An old Palestinian man contemplates on his life.

Living with pride Under dire circumstances, the only thing left for the people is their pride. You could feel it from their faces. They were not afraid. They were determined and fearless with a lot of dignity and pride. They were all praying and hoping that the conscience of the world will one day wake up and help them out of their misery. Here are few images that I managed to capture of the destruction.

A Palestinian man seen in front of devastation in Gaza.

Two children are sitting in the ruins of their house. The writing on the wall says that this was a martyr’s house.



Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Karzai cabinet snubs warlords, doubt remains

SRINAGAR: An unidentified relative comforts the aunt of Inayatullah Khan, 16, during a protest outside the office of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, in Srinagar, India yesterday. — AP

Tear gas used to disperse protesters

Clashes break out in Kashmir over killing SRINAGAR: Police used tear gas and batons yesterday to disperse hundreds of angry people protesting the death of a teenage boy they claim was killed by paramilitary forces in the Indian portion of Kashmir, officials said. Inayatullah Khan, 16, died yesterday, a day after he was critically wounded when the Central Reserve Police Force opened fire during an anti-India protest in Srinagar, said Irshad Bhat, Khan’s neighbor. Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have fought two wars over control of Kashmir which they both claim in entire-

ty. Anti-India sentiments run deep in the region. Bhat told The Associated Press that Khan did not take part the protest but “was walking down the street and was fired upon by soldiers.” Hemant Lohia, a top police officer, said Khan was most likely hit by a tear gas shell, and authorities were investigating. As the news of his death spread, hundreds of people chanting pro-independence slogans took to the streets and clashed with government forces in the Dalgate area of Srinagar. There were no reports of any new casualties. Later,

hundreds of angry locals marched to a United Nations office in Srinagar chanting “We want freedom” and “Book the Killers.” The UN has been monitoring a cease-fire between India and Pakistan since 1948. Shops and businesses remained closed for a third day yesterday in parts of Srinagar’s main commercial hub of Lalchowk, where troops fought a 20-hour gunbattle Wednesday and Thursday with two suspected insurgents who took refuge in a hotel after attacking government forces with hand grenades.

KABUL: President Hamid Karzai proposed new names yesterday to replace an Afghan cabinet lineup rejected by parliament, omitting controversial ex-guerrilla commanders and their allies but still disappointing diplomats and lawmakers. The absence of powerful figures such as former guerrilla chief Ismail Khan and the allies of Uzbek militia boss Abdul Rashid Dostum was described as a positive sign by those who want to curb the influence of ex-warlords. Western governments see improving the cabinet as a vital step to bolstering Afghanistan so they can eventually begin withdrawing troops. US President Barack Obama has pledged to send an extra 30,000 Americans to join an international force of nearly 110,000 troops fighting the Taliban. Washington in particular has said it will not give aid money to individual ministries unless it trusts the minister. But the overall reaction to the new list, mainly composed of little-known figures with some former ministers long out of favor, was guarded at best. “It looks like Karzai has picked them up from the street,” parliament member Sayed Dawood Hashimi told Reuters, predicting that only four or five would be approved. “One could hardly describe the new list as an improvement over the last list,” said an international diplomat who asked not to be named while giving a frank assessment of the line-up. “Many of them are completely unknown. Some of them are known politicians who were removed in the past for corruption.” Appointing his new cabinet is the first major test for Karzai, Afghanistan’s leader since 2001, whose reputation in the West has been hurt since he won re-election last year in a vote marred by allegations of fraud. Parliament rejected 17 of his 24 cabinet nominees last week in an unprecedented snub, with lawmakers saying many lacked qualifications or were beholden to the powerful armed factions that ran the country for decades. No vetoed candidate was offered a new post, although the palace earlier had said some might be. Two spots still vacant also were likely to go to new faces, Karzai’s spokesman said. Yesterday‘s new list was notable for the exclusion of Khan and the allies of Dostum, both of whom campaigned for Karzai at the last minute, winning him votes among their followers but alarming those who want the influence of former warlords reduced. “Karzai deceived us,” said Alem Sahi, a member of parliament from Dostum’s Junbesh party which saw three of its

members bumped from Karzai’s previous list. “We collected 700,000 votes for him and in return he promised us several cabinet posts.” Parliament’s veto last week of Khan, a powerful regional boss who served as the outgoing water minister, was seen as the clearest sign lawmakers aimed to curb the former commanders of armed factions that dominated the country for decades. The international diplomat called the snubs to Junbesh and Khan “an encouraging sign”, but added: “We’re less interested in the political background of each of the nominees and more interested in their professional competence.” He questioned in particular the appointment of a former interior minister, Zarar Ahmad Muqbel, as counter-narcotics minister, saying Britain and the United States had lobbied hard to exclude Muqbel from the cabinet in the past. The new list included a record three women, up from just one in both the outgoing cabinet and Karzai’s earlier list. Dawood Sultanzoy, one of the parliamentarians who led the revolt against the previous list, told Reuters the new list was “a mix of qualified and not very qualified people”. “I think the result of the vote will also be a mix of some who will get the vote of confidence and some will not,” he said. Karzai’s spokesman, Waheed Omer, said parliamentarians would warm to the candidates when they look into their expertise. “The parliament has not had the chance to check their background, see their achievements-these are new faces,” he said. “Many have PhDs and most of them have masters degrees. The new list contained 16 names, including Karzai’s security adviser, Zalmay Rasul, nominated to the previously unfilled post of foreign minister. The two posts left unfilled are the communications ministry and the water and energy portfolio. Seven ministers already confirmed from the original list included the defense, interior and finance ministers, held over from Karzai’s outgoing cabinet and liked by Western governments. Karzai hopes to have the new cabinet confirmed in time for a Jan. 21 conference in London that will be his debut in the West after blows to his reputation the re-election, in which a UN-backed probe found nearly a third of his votes were fake. The past year has been by far the deadliest of the eight-year-old war. The international force said yesterday that three of its troops had died in the last 24 hours, two from roadside bombs and another from a vehicle accident. — Reuters

The shootout left four people dead and paralyzed life in the region’s main city. The attack was the first prolonged gunfight in Srinagar since 2006 and raised prospects of a spike in rebel attacks after years of declining violence. More than a dozen rebel groups have been fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India, or its merger with neighboring Pakistan since 1989. More than 68,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the militant uprising and subsequent Indian military crackdown in the region.— AP

Pakistan renews call for end to US drone strikes

BODH GAYA: Indian Buddhist monks run to distribute hot milk to devotees gathered attending Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama’s prayer session at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya, about 130 kilometers (81 miles) south of Patna, India yesterday. — AP

India accuses Pakistan of cross-border firing AMRITSAR: Indian frontier troops yesterday accused their Pakistani counterparts of firing at least four rockets across the border into northern Punjab but said there were no casualties. The incident is the second since September when two rockets allegedly fired by Pakistani troops landed near the popular tourist attraction of Wagah in Indian Punjab. Border Security Force (BSF) officials said two of the crossborder rockets exploded in farms on the Indian side while the remaining two did not detonate. “No casualty has been reported,” a BSF official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Frontier commanders from both sides met to discuss the alleged shelling, he said in the Sikh pilgrimage city of Amritsar. There was no

immediate comment available from Islamabad but the BSF official said Pakistani commanders at the meeting denied firing the rockets. The Indian army meanwhile claimed cross-border firing at Kashmir’s disputed borders early yesterday and said it occurred during an unsuccessful attempt by alleged Pakistani militants to sneak into Indian territory. “There was firing by the Pakistanis before the militants tried to breach fencing along our borders,” army major general Surendra Nath said in Jammu, Indian Kashmir’s winter capital. Nath said Indian soldiers foiled the infiltration bid. The BSF in Kashmir claimed a rocket was also fired from Pakistan into the Indian zone of the divided Himalayan region.

There were no casualties, officials said, adding that a high security alert was sounded following the failed infiltration attempt. Tension between the two neighbors flared in the wake of the Mumbai attacks in November 2008, which India blamed on Pakistan-based militants and “official agencies” of Pakistan, a charge Islamabad has denied. Exchanges of fire were routine along the disputed border in Kashmir until a 2003 ceasefire agreement between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan. Since the Mumbai attacks there have been sporadic small arms exchanges. India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Kashmir, which is claimed by both.— AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has renewed calls for an end to US drone aircraft strikes, an issue that could strain ties as the CIA hunts down Muslim militants after one of the deadliest attacks in its history in neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistan officially objects to the operations against suspected AlQaedaand Taleban militants along its border with Afghanistan, saying they violate its sovereignty. And Islamabad has pushed Washington to provide it with the drones to allow it to carry out its own attacks on Taleban insurgents, a move that could ease widespread anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani reiterated Pakistan’s concerns over the drone strikes in talks with a delegation of visiting US senators headed by John McCain. “He reiterated his government’s disappointment over the continuing drone attacks and persisting reluctance of the USto share drone technology with Pakistan to enable it to take on the terror centres in its border areas itself,” said Pakistan’s official APP news agency. The senators met Gilani on Friday and also held talks with President Asif Ali Zardari and army chief Ashfaq Kiyani after visiting Afghanistan, where US and other Western troops face a raging Afghan Taleban insurgency. Speaking to reporters on Friday, McCain defended the drone strikes, saying they are “one of many tools that we must use to try to defeat a very determined and terrible enemy”. The United States has stepped up its attacks with the pilotless drone aircraft attacks in Pakistan since a double agent blew himself up at a US base in Afghanistan on Dec. 30, killing seven CIA agents. US officials say the strikes are carried out under an agreement with Islamabad that allows Pakistani leaders to criticise them in public. Pakistan denies any such agreement. Pakistan has captured hun-

dreds of Al-Qaedamilitants and handed many of them over to the United States, including some of the most wanted men in the US war on terror. Pakistan is likely to come under more intense American pressure to help fight militant groups after the suicide bombing that killed the CIA agents. Pakistan is struggling against homegrown Taleban insurgents and is reluctant to go after some groups in border enclaves it sees as assets in Afghanistan that Washington wants eliminated. Al-Qaeda‘s Afghan wing claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, saying it was revenge for the deaths of militant leaders, including Pakistan Taleban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a drone attack.. Pakistan and the United States are long-time allies. But the the drone attacks and other issues have caused friction. Gilani told the senators tighter security measures against Pakistanis in US airports following a botched bombing attempt on an American airliner could hurt relations. Travellers from Nigeria, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and nine other countries face full-body pat downs before boarding airliners under new security screening procedures targeting foreign passengers in the United States. In his talks with the senators, Gilani expressed his reservations about the move, said a statement from his office cited by APP. “Gilani said such policies cause consternation and anxiety among the people of Pakistan and said their continuity could negatively impact the bilateral ties,” said APP, adding that Gilani said Pakistan should be removed from the list. The US embassy has accused Pakistan of taking provocative action and making false allegations against US personnel. US officials say Pakistan is also stalling their visa applications.— Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Visiting British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, right, shares a point with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi, prior their meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan yesterday. — AP

Pakistan’s support vital to Afghan solution: Miliband ISLAMABAD: British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said yesterday that stability and security in war-torn Afghanistan depended on Pakistan and its own battle with Taleban militants. Miliband made the comments during a visit to the Pakistani capital Islamabad for talks with the government about security and cooperation on Afghanistan, ahead of a January 28 summit in London on Afghanistan’s peace and security. “Pakistan is a vital partner in finding solutions and progress in Afghanistan,” Miliband told a joint press conference after holding talks with Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi. “Stability, security, prosperity in Afghanistan depend in some part on stability, security and prosperity in Pakistan,” he said. “The London conference on Afghanistan will look at Afghanistan’s security needs, it will look at its development and government’s needs and it will look at the regional contribution.” Miliband said

that the international community should give Islamabad more effective support in tackling the Taliban insurgency in the country’s northwestern tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. “In terms of commitment of the international community, I think we can always do better and we should always be seeking to do better in respecting Pakistan’s independence and vitality but also recognizing its growing needs,” he said. “The people and the government and security forces of Pakistan I think recognize the shared threat that exists internally and need to unite behind it and that has given significant comfort to the international community,” he added. More than 2,900 people have been killed in Pakistan since July 2007 in attacks by insurgents fighting to impose Islamic Sharia and who also oppose Islamabad’s alliance with the United States in the eight-year war against the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.— AFP

Lanka frees over 700 ex-militants COLOMBO: Sri Lanka yesterday released more than 700 former Tamil Tiger fighters from military custody following a rehabilitation program, an official said. President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is touring the northern town of Vavuniya, handed over the ex-combatants to their immediate relatives, an army officer involved in the rehabilitation, Major General Daya Ratnayake, said. “Out of some 12,000 Tiger combatants who are undergoing vocational training we have

identified about 800 who had very minimal involvement with the Tiger movement,” he added. He said 713 out of the 800 identified for release were given over to their parents yesterday while the others too would be freed soon. Some of the Tiger rebels surrendered to security forces while others were arrested from among nearly 300,000 war-displaced civilians who moved into staterun internment camps during the final stages of fighting last year.

About a third of ex-rebels are being trained in plumbing, masonry, carpentry and electrical work as part of their rehabilitation. A few ex-combatants have been released in the past to travel overseas for migration or work, but their exact number is unknown. The Tamil Tigers, who fought for a separate homeland from 1972, were defeated by Sri Lankan troops in mid-May when the military killed the top guerrilla leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.— AFP


Sunday, January 10, 2010



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Al-Qaeda-inspired groups target West By Robert Burns and Lolita C Baldor


rom Detroit to Afghanistan, scattered terrorists inspired and equipped by Al-Qaeda have attacked recently with surprising speed and worldwide reach, challenging the US strategy of slowly and deliberately targeting the terror group’s top leaders. Counterterror officials and other experts say the botched Christmas Day airliner bombing and the Dec 30 assault at a CIA base in Afghanistan demonstrate that Al-Qaeda and its supporters can react quickly when opportunities arise. The new attacks, plotted by local militants as opposed to AlQaeda’s core group, also warn of the possibility of new minifronts in the struggle against terrorism that could stretch American resources even more thinly across the globe. They come as US forces are focusing on the Taleban in Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda in Pakistan. AlQaeda’s adaptability contrasts with the comparatively plodding pace of the US military buildup in Afghanistan, which will take almost a full year. As the US moves in, the terror group moves on. The recent attacks, “are not necessarily evidence of a resurgent or more sophisticated AlQaeda, but of them taking advantage of targets of opportunity as they present themselves,” said Matthew Levitt, a counterterrorism and intelligence expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies. The airliner attack in Detroit appears to have been fermenting only since October, and the suicide bombing at the CIA base also appears to have been put together relatively quickly over a matter of months in contrast to the yearslong Al-Qaeda planning that went into the Sept 11 attacks. While the Pakistan-based hard core of Al-Qaeda has been degraded by missile strikes and other covert action since the 2001 attacks, the group is still adept at spreading propaganda and attracting new recruits. Over the past year, Al-Qaedalinked groups in Yemen, Somalia and North Africa, spurred on by similar extremist views, have expanded beyond their regional turf wars to threaten regional governments. Now they threaten broader assaults against the West. “Though Al-Qaeda as an organization remains on the ropes, with leadership, finances, and legitimacy diminished and under constant pressure, the focus and attempt by one of its regional affiliates to attack the United States directly is a dangerous development,” said Juan Zarate, a senior counterterrorism official in the Bush administration who is now senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He said the new attacks put “a premium on containing if not destroying (AlQaeda) outposts in Yemen, Somalia, and North Africa.” Zarate added that the incidents also show Al-Qaeda’s intent to strengthen its global reach, and that the direction from core AlQaeda leaders remains targeting the United States. John Brennan, President Barack

Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, said much the same thing Thursday, describing a mounting drumbeat among Yemen militants to get individuals to carry out attacks on the US The airliner attack, he added, showed a new ability to move from aspiration to action. The US caught a break in this attack, which fizzled when Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly started a fire but failed to ignite explosives hidden in his clothing as the plane from Amsterdam neared Detroit. “Al-Qaeda is diminished as evidenced by the fact they are sending inexperienced individuals without long association with Al-Qaeda, but susceptible to jihadist ideology,” said the US director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, in an open letter to his work force this week. “Unfortunately, even unsophisticated terrorists can kill many Americans.” The Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the bungled Dec 25 attack. Terrorists had better luck in Afghanistan, where a Jordanian double agent blew himself up, killing seven CIA personnel and wounding six. An Al-Qaeda leader claimed on a jihadi Internet forum that the CIA attack was retaliation for earlier deaths of the head of a Pakistani Taleban group and two AlQaeda figures. A Pakistani Taleban group linked to AlQaeda also claimed responsibility. US and British intelligence officials have warned that AlQaeda has been turning to affiliate groups outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan including militants in unstable countries such as Yemen and Somalia. And the involvement of a Nigerian and a Jordanian in the recent plots also warn of the growing diversity of those willing to carry out terror plots. In recent years, terror franchises such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), concentrating on Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), aimed at Algeria and Northern Africa, have been embraced by core Al-Qaeda leaders. Some weaker affiliates, such as those in Somalia and Gaza have not, and so they do not yet bear the terror group’s brand name. James Dobbins, the Bush administration’s first special representative for Afghanistan after the October 2001 US-led invasion, said Al-Qaeda is demonstrating that it is as much an idea as an organization. “The organization can be defeated, or at least successfully contained,” he said in an interview. “But this will be of only limited effect if the idea remains influential.” Richard Barrett, head of a UN group that monitors the threat posed by Al-Qaeda and the Taleban, said the Christmas Day scare should not be interpreted as a sign that Al-Qaeda is gaining in strength. “That sort of attack we can expect to happen episodically over the years, but I don’t think that goes against the general trend, which is that Al-Qaeda is becoming weaker. And certainly they havek become pinned down in their main areas of operation,” Barrett said in a telephone interview. — AP

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Mind-reading systems could change air security By Michael Tarm


would-be terrorist tries to board a plane, bent on mass murder. As he walks through a security checkpoint, fidgeting and glancing around, a network of high-tech machines analyzes his body language and reads his mind. Screeners pull him aside. Tragedy is averted. As far-fetched as that sounds, systems that aim to get inside an evildoer’s head are among the proposals floated by security experts thinking beyond the X-ray machines and metal detectors used on millions of passengers and bags each year. On Thursday, in the wake of the Christmas Day bombing attempt on an airliner over Detroit, President Barack Obama called on Homeland Security and the Energy Department to develop better screening technology, warning: “In the never-ending race to protect our country, we have to stay one step ahead of a nimble adversary.” The ideas that have been offered by security experts for staying one step ahead include highly sophisticated sensors, more intensive interrogations of travelers by screeners trained in human behavior, and a lifting of the U.S. prohibitions against profiling. Some of the more unusual ideas are already being tested. Some aren’t being given any serious consideration. Many raise troubling questions about civil liberties. All are costly. “Regulators need to accept that the current approach is outdated,” said Philip Baum, editor of the London-based magazine Aviation Security International. “It may have responded to the threats of the 1960s, but it doesn’t respond to the threats of the 21st century.” Here’s a look at some of the ideas that could shape the future of airline security: MIND READERS The aim of one company that blends high technology and behavioral psychology is hinted at in its name, WeCU - as in “We See You”. The system that Israeli-based WeCU Technologies has devised and is testing in Israel projects images onto airport screens, such

as symbols associated with a certain terrorist group or some other image only a would-be terrorist would recognize, company CEO Ehud Givon said. The logic is that people can’t help reacting, even if only subtly, to familiar images that suddenly appear in unfamiliar places. If you strolled through an airport and saw a picture of your mother, Givon explained, you couldn’t help but respond. The reaction could be a darting of the eyes, an increased heartbeat, a nervous twitch or faster breathing, he said. The WeCU system would use humans to do some of the observing but would rely mostly on hidden cameras or sensors that can detect a slight rise in body temperature and heart rate. Far more sensitive devices under development that can take such measurements from a distance would be incorporated later. If the sensors picked up a suspicious reaction, the traveler could be pulled out of line for further screening. “One by one, you can screen

out from the flow of people those with specific malicious intent,” Givon said. Some critics have expressed horror at the approach, calling it Orwellian and akin to “brain fingerprinting.” For civil libertarians, attempting to read a person’s thoughts comes uncomfortably close to the future world depicted in the movie “Minority Report,” where a policeman played by Tom Cruise targets people for “pre-crimes,” or merely thinking about breaking the law. LIE DETECTORS One system being studied by Homeland Security is called the Future Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST, and works like a souped-up polygraph. It would subject people pulled aside for additional screening to a battery of tests, including scans of facial movements and pupil dilation, for signs of deception. Small platforms similar to the balancing boards used in the Nintendo Wii would help detect fidgeting. At a public demonstration of the system in Boston last

year, project manager Robert Burns explained that people who harbor ill will display involuntary physiological reactions that others - such as those who are stressed out for ordinary reasons, such as being late for a plane - don’t. The system could be made to work passively, scanning people as they walk through a security line, according to Burns. Field testing of the system, which will cost around $20 million to develop, could begin in 2011, The Boston Globe said in a story about the demonstration. Addressing one concern of civil libertarians, Burns said the technology would delete data after each screening. THE ISRAELI MODEL Some say the US should take a page from Israel’s book on security. At Israeli airports, widely considered the most secure in the world, travelers are subjected to probing personal questions as screeners look them straight in the eye for signs of deception. Searches are meticulous, with screeners often

scrutinizing every item in a bag, unfolding socks, squeezing toothpaste and flipping through books. “All must look to Israel and learn from them. This is not a post-911 thing for them. They’ve been doing this since 1956,” said Michael Goldberg, president of New Yorkbased IDO Security Inc, which developed a device that can scan shoes for hidden weapons while they are still on people’s feet. Israel also employs profiling: At Ben-Gurion Airport, Jewish Israelis typically pass through smoothly, while others may be taken aside for closer interrogation or even strip searches. Another distinquishing feature of Israeli airports is that they rely on concentric security rings that start miles from terminal buildings. Rafi Ron, the former security director at Israel’s famously tight Ben Gurion International Airport who now is a consultant for Boston’s Logan International Airport, says US airports also need to be careful not to overcommit to securing passenger entry points at airports, forgetting about the rest of the field. “Don’t invest all your efforts on the front door and leave the back door open,” Ron said. While many experts agree the United States could adopt some Israeli methods, few believe the overall model would work here, in part because of the sheer number of large US airports around 400, versus half a dozen in Israel. Also, the painstaking searches and interrogations would create delays that could bring US air traffic to a standstill. And many Americans would find the often intrusive and intimidating Israeli approach repugnant. PROFILING Some argue that policies against profiling undermine security. Baum, who is also managing director of Green Light Limited, a London-based aviation security company, agrees profiling based on race and religion is counterproductive and should be avoided. But he argues that a reluctance to distinguish travelers on other grounds such as their general appearance or their mannerisms - is not only foolhardy but dangerous. “When you

see a typical family - dressed like a family, acts like a family, interacts with each other like a family ... when their passport details match then let’s get them through,” he said. “Stop wasting time that would be much better spent screening the people that we’ve got more concerns about.” US authorities prohibit profiling of passengers based on ethnicity, religion or national origin. Current procedures call for travelers to be randomly pulled out of line for further screening. Scrutinizing 80-year-old grandmothers or students because they might be carrying school scissors can defy common sense, Baum said. “We need to use the human brain which is the best technology of them all,” he said. But any move to relax prohibitions against profiling in the US would surely trigger fierce resistance, including legal challenges by privacy advocates. PRIVATIZATION What if security were left to somebody other than the federal government? Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the Washington-based Cato Institute, a free-market-oriented think tank, says airlines should be allowed take charge of security at airports. Especially since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, the trend has been toward standardizing security procedures to ensure all airports follow the best practices. But Harper argues that decentralizing the responsibility would result in a mix of approaches - thereby making it harder for terrorists to use a single template in planning attacks. “Passengers, too, prefer a uniform experience,” he said. “But that’s not necessarily the best security. It’s better if sometimes we take your laptop out, sometimes we’ll pat you down. Those are things that will really drive a terrorist batty - as if they’re not batty already.” Harper concedes that privatizing airport security is probably wishful thinking, and the idea has not gotten any traction. He acknowledges it would be difficult to allay fears of gaping security holes if it were left to each airline or airport owner to decide its own approach. — AP

World watch lists are flawed terror tool By Jill Lawless


round the world, watch lists are a key tool against terrorism - but highly imperfect. Experts say simple issues like fickle spelling and incomplete data, as well as deliberate deception and uncooperative countries, all make it possible for a determined terrorist like bomb suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to slip across borders. British officials are proud of their list, which contains more than 1 million names, including that of Abdulmutallab. That didn’t stop the young Nigerian boarding a flight from Amsterdam to the United States with explosives in his underwear - a stark reminder of the perils of flawed information-sharing and the limits of watch lists. “Lists are valuable in making sure governments around the world are able to track individuals,” said John Harrison, an aviation security specialist at Singapore’s S Rajaratnam School of International Studies. “But you don’t want to put too much emphasis on these lists. It’s an overstatement to say: ‘OK, now we are safe’.” Analysts say human intelligence, information-sharing and data analysis are also vital to stopping terrorists, and Britain has announced an urgent review of its watch list system in the wake of the Christmas Day attack over Detroit. The British list holds the names of

everyone from suspected terrorists and radical clerics to wanted criminals and rejected visa applicants - like Abdulmutallab, who was added after being denied a student visa in May 2009 for listing the name of a bogus college on the application. The list is the centerpiece of a program called E-borders, which will eventually check all passengers traveling to or through Britain against the master list. Information comes from police, intelligence services and other sources and is held by the UK Border Agency. Home Secretary Alan Johnson said this week that the list had led to almost 5,000 arrests since 2005 - mostly for crimes such as murder, rape and assault rather than terrorism - and prevented 65,000 people entering Britain in 2009. “In some countries, there are separate watch lists for security, for policing and crime, for people who have lost their passports and for immigration issues, but an integrated watch list serves us well,” Johnson told lawmakers in the House of Commons. Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defense College, said the British system was an effective deterrent. In the UK, he said, every passenger coming into the country is scrutinized. “Even if you are in transit, and never meet a border guard, it’s a hostile environment if you’re flying through the UK,” he said.

The list has its limits, though. Names on it are not automatically shared with other countries, although those on a smaller terrorism-related watch list are. US authorities have said Abdulmutallab was in a database of 500,000 people suspected of terrorist ties, but not on a no-fly watch list. Britain has said it had no indication the Nigerian was planning an attack, and did not flag him to US officials as a particular threat. On Thursday, Obama announced about a dozen changes designed to fix the system that let Abdulmutallab slip through, including an overhaul of the nation’s terrorist watch lists. Alain Chouet, former chief of the security intelligence service at France’s counterintelligence agency, estimated that lists he saw when working in intelligence were only about “10 percent viable”. “The identity of people outside the European tradition is vague. People can change their names, and there is the problem of transcription into European alphabets,” he said. He used the example of the name Mohamed, which can have different spellings in English, French or Polish. Even passport numbers are only partially viable since passports can be tampered with, or people can get passports from other countries. And some countries are more cooperative than others. European Union nations and close allies like the US routinely share

information. “It is outside Europe that we have the problem,” Britain’s Johnson noted this week. The Home Office declined to name any uncooperative nations, but said biometric data such as fingerprints, which are being introduced on passports and required from all visa holders, would help tighten up the system. Experts agree that biometrics, which includes physical traits like face recognition, are key to ensuring names on a watch list can be matched to a real individual. “It’s very difficult to fake, and the governments have begun collecting that information massively,” said Ranstorp. Around the world there are multiple and often overlapping - watch lists. In addition to national lists, Interpol established a Terrorism Watch List in April 2002 in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The list can be viewed by personnel of the international police agency and by authorized police forces in about 180 countries. It scored a success in November when authorities in Indonesia were tipped off about Abdul Basir Latip, a suspected Al-Qaedalinked militant from the Philippines. Acting on a tip from Interpol, which was sharing information from a US watch list, officials nabbed him Nov 21 at Jakarta’s international airport. He had arrived from Syria using a fake passport. This kind of effective coordi-

nation is more critical to successful security, analysts said, than the watch lists themselves. Rolf Tophoven, director of the Germany-based Institute for Terrorism Research and Security Policy, said the bloated US bureaucracy was to blame for intelligence failures in the Christmas Day bombing attempt. Leaner intelligence services have proven much more effective because there is better communication, and information is less likely to fall through the cracks, he said. “Look at the Israeli intelligence services and their effectiveness countering terrorism and I think you can take one lesson - small but effective,” he said. Harrison, the aviation security specialist, said Abdulmutallab’s behavior should have set off alarm bells, even if his name on a list did not. Abdulmutallab apparently bought his ticket in cash, was flying the same day, had no check-in luggage and purchased a one way fare. Any of those details - and certainly the sum - should have tripped a standard international security procedure, Computer Assisted Passenger Screening or CAPS, Harrison said. “This case seems more to have been failure, not of lists, but a failure on the human side of intelligence, accurately assessing the threat and tracking the information to see if there were any links,” he said. “It was an analytical failure.” — AP



Indian set on fire in latest Australia attack SYDNEY: A man of Indian descent was recovering in hospital yesterday after a group of men set him on fire in the Australian city of Melbourne, police said, the latest in a string of similar attacks. Police stressed there was no evidence of a racial motive after four men poured an unidentified fluid on the 29-year-old and set him alight in a suburb of the city, leaving him with 15 percent burns. It follows the stabbing murder of another Indian in the city last weekend, which prompted a Delhi newspaper to run a cartoon likening Australian police to the Ku Klux Klan, and in turn an angry reaction by Australian officials. In the latest incident, the victim was parking his car in a side street after dinner with friends when he was attacked in the early hours of Saturday. His condition was described as stable. “I believe there’s no reason at this stage to consider this in any way racially motivated,” detective sergeant Neil Smyth told reporters. “The circumstances of parking a car randomly

on a side street and just some people approaching him are a bit strange and it’s highly unlikely, therefore, to be a targeted attack on any individual.” Police have only a vague description of the attackers “which is really just unspecific, just four males”, Smyth said. “It is an unusual event.” Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the government “condemns all acts of violence in the strongest possible way.... This matter remains under investigation by the Victorian police.” In New Delhi, the government said it was in touch with Australian authorities but urged the media to report on the incident responsibly. “The Indian high commissioner in Canberra and consul general in Melbourne are following up this matter vigorously with the Australian authorities,” foreign ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said. “Under the circumstances, the media is advised to exercise utmost restraint in reporting on these sensitive issues, as it could aggravate the situation

and could have a bearing on our bilateral relations with Australia.” But India’s Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi, who is responsible for Indians working or studying abroad, reacted sharply and rebuked Australia for failing to prevent such attacks. “I want to make it loudly clear that the (Australian) government should take preventive action,” he said on the sidelines of a conference in Delhi. “Why cannot they arrest them and put them behind bars and prosecute them? Surely, the Australian police must be efficient enough to mark these people. Our government expresses serious concerns and is waiting for results,” the minister added. The murder on Jan 2 of Nitin Garg brought sharp condemnation from the Indian government and allegations of Australian racism in the Indian media. A series of attacks on Indian nationals and students in Australia sparked street protests and a diplomatic row in the middle of last year. — AFP

Analysts: Yemen alone cannot tackle Al-Qaeda DUBAI: Yemen insists it can win the war against Al-Qaeda militants without US military intervention, but analysts fear Osama bin Laden’s ancestral homeland cannot tackle the jihadists on its own. US-led assistance much be accompanied by reform to appease tribes who hold sway in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country, which is already fighting Shiite rebels in the north and worried by secessionists in the south, they say. “Any assistance for Yemen must be linked to political and structural reform,” said military analyst Riad Kahwaji, who heads the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. The Yemeni army “does not have the capacity or the necessary training to make good use of the military assistance it gets from Western nations in its war against Al-Qaeda,” he said. “Smart weapons are used in targeted attacks on Al-Qaeda positions but the

equipment of the Yemeni army, which includes Soviet-era jet fighters, are not adapted to such weapons,” he said. Dhia Rashwan, an expert on radical Islamist groups, also believes that “a direct foreign military intervention in Yemen will have a negative impact on public opinion, which already does not trust the government”. “Al-Qaeda is present in Yemen, but a regional coalition would be enough to confront it,” he said, dismissing the need for an international military force to tackle the jihadists. Kahwaji agreed that intervention in Yemen by a foreign force could backfire because “the armed forces are largely influenced by the tribal structure inherent to Yemen” and that is why reform is needed. London has called an international conference on Yemen for later this month, and that forum “must adopt a strategy for development and involve tribes in political reform” as a tool to fight the jihadists, he

said. Long-standing concerns that Yemen has become a haven for Islamic extremism were thrown into sharp focus when a Nigerian man allegedly trained in Yemen was charged with trying to blow up a USbound jet on Christmas Day. The botched attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which also urged attacks on Western interests in Yemen. On Thursday a top Yemeni official warned that US military intervention to help fight Al-Qaeda militants could backfire and strengthen the jihadists. “Any intervention or direct (military) action by the United States could strengthen the Al-Qaeda network and not weaken it,” deputy prime minister for defence and security affairs Rashed Al-Aleemi said. “Our position is clear: we will fight and chase the Al-Qaeda group depending on Yemeni forces and security agencies,” he told a Sanaa press conference. —AFP

Nigerian betrays no emotion in US court Continued from Page 1 Metal barricades blocked off the street along the austere building, where news crews and a small group of demonstrators stood shivering in the slush as a bitter wind tossed a light dusting of snow down from blue skies. Inside, two bomb-sniffing golden retrievers and their handlers cautiously combed every corner of the Depression-era courthouse. Armed federal marshals and local police patrolled the halls and the streets. Abdulmutallab hobbled into the courtroom in leg irons, his arms swinging at his side, his head shaved and his slight body nearly lost in a loose white T-shirt and beige trousers. He fidgeted in his chair and whispered to his lawyers, then clutched his left hip as he walked up to the dock to answer a brief series of questions from judge Bernard Friedman. He spoke quietly as he spelled his name for the record and said “yes I did” and “yes I do” when Friedman asked if he had received the indictment and understood the six charges, which include attempted murder of the 290 people aboard the plane. When asked whether he had taken any medication in the past 24 hours, Abdulmutallab - who was badly burned and briefly hospitalized after the explosives caught fire - said “24 hours? Yes. Painkillers.” Then his court-appointed lawyer, Miriam Siefer, stepped up to the

microphone. “At this time, our client would like to enter a plea of not guilty,” she told the judge. “With respect to bond, we have - with our client’s consent - consented to detention.” After a few more questions from the judge, Abdulmutallab was escorted from the room which had no view of the circus outside. A crush of cameras mobbed a woman wearing a black and white headscarf as she left the courthouse. The woman told reporters inside the building her name was Maryam Uwais and she was an attorney from Nigeria hired by Abdulmutallab’s parents. The crowd outside was not privy to that exchange. One man, believing she was Abdulmutallab’s mother, shouted “shame on you for how you raised your kids”. Hebba Aref, 27, who is from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, but lives in Kuwait, where she is a corporate attorney, was on Northwest Flight 253 on Dec 25 - seated six rows behind Abdulmutallab. And she was seated behind him again in the federal courthouse Friday. “It was strange, not frightening, to see Abdulmutallab in court today,” she said. “I felt something in my stomach and in my heart. At the time of the incident, he was completely blank. This time, he was talking.” Describing the failed bombing attempt, she said someone yelled, “Fire!” and that she “saw a flash”. Aref, who attended the hearing with her parents,

was escorted to one of the front rows in the courtroom. She said she was satisfied with the charges against Abdulmutallab. “This person has changed my life and the way things are done in the United States,” she said. “I just wanted to see who this person was again.” Aref, who is Muslim, said she was glad to see Abdulmutallab prosecuted and called his actions “misuse of a beautiful religion”. A small group of demonstrators outside waved bright American flags and signs declaring “Not in the name of Islam” and “Islam is against terrorism”. Moad Taleb, a marketing representative who moved to the Detroit area in 1990 from Yemen, shivered as he spoke of how he was frightened by talk of potential US military strikes against his homeland. “If there are terrorists, we need to get rid of them, but I have family back home... civilians just trying to live their lives,” said Taleb, 28. Majed Moughni, who moved to Michigan from Lebanon, said he was worried there would be a backlash against Muslims. “We are here to let the world know we’re going to stand in the cold against terrorism and we hope Americans don’t leave us out in the cold,” Moughni told AFP. “We’re trying to unite as Muslims and we’re going to eradicate all terrorism from our homes and our mosques and we’re going to send terrorists back to the caves of Afghanistan.” — AFP

Christians livid after Egypt arson attacks Continued from Page 1 Yesterday, men in traditional flowing robes and with crosses tattooed on their arms surveyed the damage in Bahgura, where shop fronts that were once blue and green were now charred black after overnight arson attacks. They charged that Muslim “thugs” who live in the town went on the rampage on Friday night, lobbing fireballs into Christian-owned shops and some houses. Muslim residents said the action was in retaliation for the shooting death of a member of their community, while Christian villagers said a woman from their community had died in fire attacks on their property. Security sources denied there had been any deaths. Past sugarcane fields lining the Nile, riot police and plain-clothed officers guarded the entrances to villages and towns near Nagaa Hammadi in impoverished Qena province, which relies entirely on sugar production. In Bahgura, a crowd of villagers vented their anger to a plain-clothes policeman, and at least one person lunged forward in an attempt to hit him before being restrained by other residents. “You don’t want the truth to come out, you don’t want them to see what’s happened,” one man shouted as police asked reporters to leave town. Christian homes and shops were

burned by Muslims, the villagers charged. “They are Muslims and they live in this village,” one man said. “What can we do? They are protected and we are not!” shouted another. Christians in Bahgura, and in Nagaa Hammadi where the Christmas Eve killings took place, are convinced that the authorities are turning a blind eye to the sectarian violence. Some even accuse the authorities of actively protecting Muslims they say are behind the simmering tensions. However, yesterday a judicial source said the prosecutor in north Qena has charged three suspects with “premeditated murder, putting the life of citizens in danger and damage to public and private property”. The interior ministry on Friday announced the capture of three suspects from Wednesday’s shooting, including Nagaa Hammadi resident Mohammed Al-Kamuni, known locally by his nickname Hamam. But the ministry announcement merely lef t Copts demanding more answers. “We all know Hamam,” one Christian resident of Nagaa Hammadi told AFP. “He’s a hired thug. We want to know who is really behind the shooting.” The Nagaa Hammadi attack was the deadliest since 20 Copts were killed in sectarian clashes in 2000, also in southern Egypt. Copts, who account for nearly 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 80

million, are the Middle East’s largest Christian community but complain of routine harassment and systematic discrimination and marginalisation. In the aftermath of the Nagaa Hammadi killings, many Copts fear a new outbreak of violence and are unwilling to tone down their anger at what they say is a government attempt to hush up Egypt’s sectarian problem. “The only reason things remain quiet is because of the heavy hand of security. Remove that hand and things will blow up,” Malaak, 22, told AFP, declining to give her surname. Another Christian, who also asked not to be identified, said: “The problem between Muslims and Christians is huge. And the police, security and politicians are all involved.” Since the Christmas Eve attack there has been further sporadic unrest in Nagaa Hammadi, Bahgura and in the nearby mixed hamlet of Ezbet Tarka. In Cairo yesterday around 600 people staged a demonstration against the sectarian clashes in the south, with placards denouncing “the shocking silence of the authorities” and demanding “security for all Egyptians”. A judicial source said a group of Copts, Muslims and opposition Kefaya members had also filed an official complaint against the security services, accusing them of failing to protect religious buildings. — AFP

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Togo quits tourney after deadly attack Continued from Page 1 team, told AP Television News as the squad passed through Johannesburg en route to Angola yesterday. In South Africa, the local organizing committee of the World Cup said the attack had no relevance to the upcoming global sports event that starts in June. Spokesman Rich Mkhondo said organizers view Friday’s attack as an isolated incident which could have happened anywhere in the world. FIFA expressed “utmost sympathy” in a statement. “We wish to state that there is no link between what happened in Angola and South Africa’s preparations to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” Mkhondo said. “We also cannot compare organization and security in Angola with South Africa just because the two countries happen to be in the same region in the world.” The attack in Angola, a former Portuguese colony, killed an assistant coach, a team spokesperson and the bus driver, according to the team and the Togolese government. “Despite this, the championship will go on,” Angola’s Sports Minister Goncalves Muandumba said. Togo forward Thomas Dossevi told AP in a phone interview that the team plans to withdraw from the continent-wide tournament and fly out of the country early today. Unrest associated with Cabinda, a northern enclave cut off from the rest of Angola by a strip of Congo, has been at low levels. The main separatist group is the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda, or FLEC. The Angolan information minister blamed the group for the attack. Portugal’s state-run Lusa news agency said FLEC claimed responsibility in a message Friday.

In a statement emailed to AP yesterday, the civilian arm of the separatist group did not claim responsibility for what it called an “unfortunate incident”, but said it was irresponsible of organizers to have ignored warnings from separatists that matches should not be held in Cabinda. Emmanuel Adebayor who is captain of the Togo team and a top player for Manchester City, described a vicious attack on a defenseless team. Adebayor said that minutes after entering Cabinda “from nowhere gunmen began to open fire on our bus”. He said the team endured the gunfire for 30 minutes before Angolan soldiers repulsed the assailants. Goalie Kossi Agassa - who plays for French club Istres and for the Togo team in the tournament told France-Info radio that a Togo assistant coach and a spokesperson died and that a second team goalkeeper was badly wounded. Kodjovi “Dodji” Obilale, an injured goalkeeper who also plays for the French club Pontivy, was flown to South Africa where he underwent surgery for injuries to his back, said club president Philippe Le Mestre by telephone from western France. Richard Friedland, CEO of Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, told reporters that Obilale suffered two gunshot wounds to the lower back and will undergo surgery tonight. “He is fully receptive. He understands where he is,” Friedland said. In Togo, the government said the Angolan driver was killed. Angola’s Information Minister Manuel Rabelais said Friday that eight team members and one Angolan were injured. Togo’s bus in a convoy from the Republic of Congo was six miles across the border in Angola when it came under fire. The African

Football Confederation (CAF) condemned the attack. A delegation of Angolan officials and a CAF delegation headed to Cabinda, while the Angolan Prime Minister was to meet CAF president Issa Hayatou “to take decisions to guarantee the smooth running of the competition.” Ivory Coast general manager Kaba Kone told AP yesterday that his team was “shocked and are living through very hard times” but never considered pulling out of the tournament. He said the Ivorian players visited their Togolese counterparts late Friday to express their sympathy. Kone said CAF and tournament organizers are stepping up security measures to guarantee the team’s safety in Cabinda. “This event can still be a big party,” he said. Angola has been struggling to climb back from decades of violence, and its government was banking on the tournament as a chance to show the world it was on the way to recovery. A building boom fueled by oil wealth has included new stadiums in Cabinda and three other cities for the tournament. An anti-colonial war had begun in the 1960s, and a civil war broke out after independence. The fighting ended in 2002 when the army killed Jonas Savimbi, leader of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, known as UNITA, now the main opposition party. President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos had beaten Savimbi in the first round of 1992 presidential election, but Savimbi refused to accept defeat and returned to war before the second round could be held. Dos Santos remains president. Cabinda’s unrest was unrelated to - and often overshadowed by - the broader civil war. — AP

Palestinians snub US call, want full settlement freeze Continued from Page 1 borders resolves settlements. Resolving Jerusalem resolves settlements,” the chief US diplomat told reporters after meeting Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Washington. “We are working with the Israelis, the (Palestinian Authority), and the Arab states to take the steps needed to relaunch the negotiations as soon as possible and without preconditions,” Clinton said. The parties can reach a solution that

“reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognised borders,” she said. President Barack Obama administration’s efforts to revive the peace talks have so far been frustrated despite heavy pressure on Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states to make positive gestures. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in November a partial suspen-

sion of settlement activity in the West Bank but not in occupied east Jerusalem as a gesture ahead of the resumption of talks. The Palestinians have nevertheless repeatedly insisted on a full suspension of settlement construction in all land occupied in 1967. Obama’s special Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who said earlier this week that peace talks should not last more than two years, is expected to return to the region later this month to push the latest US initiative. — AFP

CIA bomber calls for attacks on US Continued from Page 1 “shared all secrets of Jordanian and American intelligence with his companions”. The 32-year-old Balawi was apparently a double agent - perhaps even a triple-agent - with links to Al-Qaeda, the CIA and Jordanian intelligence. He was invited inside the CIA facility in Afghanistan’s eastern Khost province bearing a promise of information about Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda’s secondin-command. Instead, he blew himself up in a Dec 30 meeting, killing seven including the CIA’s base chief. In the Arabic clip, Balawi appeared to mock assertions that US or Jordanian intelligence had employed him. In the English version, he said he had given up millions of dollars offered by the agencies to join the militants. “The emigrant for the sake of God will not put his religion on the bargaining table and will not sell his religion even if they put the sun in his right hand and the moon in his left,” he said in Arabic. “We will never forget that he (Mehsud) said Sheikh Osama bin Laden was not on our soil (Pakistan) but that if he should come we would protect him,” the man said. “He kept his promise and paid for it with his life,” he added about Mehsud. Balawi ended by saying the Pakistani Taleban under the leadership of the new chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, would fight till victory. In Jordan, Balawi’s father confirmed the man on the clip was his son. “He was very opposed to what was happening in Iraq, the occupation of Palestine and the killings of Muslims in Afghanistan,” a downbeat Khalil Abu Mulal Al-Balawi said. “We knew he was very zealous for God and his religion.” The father said his son had been “manipulated” by several intelligence services which he did not identify. “My son killed some of those who manipulated him. He was sucked into the whirlpool of the intelligence services. My son was a doctor who saved lives, but he was lured by the intelligence apparatus who changed him enormously,” he said of Balawi. “May God take revenge on those responsible for turning this humane doctor to an agent. But I am proud of him and may his soul rest in peace as a true martyr,” his father said after noon prayers from his Nuzha district in Amman. Responding to accusations of a CIA security blunder in Afghanistan, CIA Director Leon Panetta said in a column posted on the Washington Post website yesterday that Balawi was about to be searched when he detonated his explosives. Balawi arrived directly from Pakistan in a red station wagon that sped through checkpoints at the CIA base to an improvised interrogation center, the newspaper reported, citing US officials briefed on the incident. The Jordanian doctor exited the car with one hand in his pocket. An American security guard approached him to conduct a pat-down search and asked Balawi to remove his hand. Instead, he triggered a switch, the Post reported. Balawi was treated as a “superstar asset” because he had impressed his CIA handlers with “irrefutable proof” including “photograph-type evidence” that he had been in the presence of Al-Qaeda’s top leaders, the Post said. “This statement (from Balawi) further

enhances current concerns involving regional and affiliate arms of Al-Qaeda extending their operations outside of their localised areas of operation and reaching into the continental US,” said Ben Venzke, head of IntelCenter, which monitors jihadist propaganda. IntelCenter said the video was released by the Pakistani Taleban. Behind Hakimullah Mehsud and Balawi was a banner bearing the Muslim creed, “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is His messenger.” The CIA attack would be the most prolific strike on a US target by the Pakistani Taleban under the 20-something Hakimullah Mehsud’s watch. It is also unusual because the Pakistani Taleban rarely claim responsibility for strikes in Afghanistan. But statements by Afghan Taleban and Al-Qaeda leaders since the attack have confused the issue of who backed the plan, and it appears increasingly likely it was a joint operation. A Pakistani Taleban militant told AP that Al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network, a highly independent Afghan Taleban faction, also were involved in the suicide attack. Balawi received training from Qari Hussain, a leading commander of the Pakistani Taleban believed to have run suicide bombing camps, said the militant, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security reasons. In an earlier interview with AP, Hussain claimed responsibility on behalf of the Pakistani Taleban for the attack. Mahmood Shah, a former security chief for Pakistan’s tribal regions, said the Pakistani Taleban likely provided logistics to the bomber, but Al-Qaeda probably provided the recruit himself. That’s because the terror network is more able to tap into a reservoir of educated Arab militants, said Shah, who added Al-Qaeda may have formulated the overall plot as well. The Haqqani network likely gave consent because it controls much of Khost, he said. A major Pakistani army offensive in South Waziristan tribal region is believed to have forced many Pakistani Taleban leaders to go on the run to other parts of the lawless tribal belt along the Afghan border. Hakimullah Mehsud, for instance, is believed to be evading the Pakistani military offensive by hiding somewhere along the border dividing South and North Waziristan tribal regions. Though the group initially appeared to be in disarray after the August missile strike and the offensive, it and linked militant groups are suspected in a rising tide of violence in Pakistan. More than 600 people have died in a range of suicide and other bombings across the nuclear-armed country since October. The release of the Balawi footage gives the US proof that Pakistani elements are involved in attacks on its security apparatus in Afghanistan, observers said. Already since the CIA attack, the US has accelerated its use of drone-fired missiles to take out militant targets in Pakistan’s tribal regions. At least five such strikes have hit North Waziristan, where the Haqqanis have strongholds. “I believe that (the missile strikes) will accelerate more, and they will put pressure on Pakistan’s government to not only take action in South Waziristan, but also take army action in North

Waziristan,” said Rahimullah Yousafzai, a Pakistani journalist. The secretive eastern Afghan CIA base that was attacked was reportedly used as a key outpost in the effort to identify and target terrorist leaders taken out by the missile strikes. In a call to The AP yesterday, a senior Pakistani intelligence official warned the Americans not to read too much into the video, saying it should not lead to expanded missile strikes. He said the US should view the attack as an intelligence failure on its part, and stressed Balawi may have simply made the video to prove his credentials to the militants. Pakistan publicly condemns the missile strikes as violations of its sovereignty, though analysts believe it secretly aids them. In Amman Balawi’s relatives said he spent long hours on his laptop spreading the word of jihad, but was growing impatient with not acting on what he had preached. Balawi, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, blogged about jihad (holy struggle) from his middle class flat in Amman, they said. He worked at a clinic in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Zarqa, where thousands of Palestinians live in poverty, east of the Jordanian capital. The city has been a breeding ground for many radicals, including Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian Al-Qaeda leader killed in Iraq by US forces. Acquaintances said Balawi, known by his online name of Abu Dajana AlKhorasani, had flirted with radical Islam after returning home with a medicine degree from Turkey in 2002, when he began poetic and passionate writings on jihadi websites. His recent writings before he headed to Afghanistan last year showed a growing impatience with not acting on his beliefs. “When will my words drink from my blood..I feel my words have expired, and to those who preach jihad, I advise you not to fall into my dilemma and the nightmare I have that I may die one day in my bed... ,” he said in a recent web posting. Former intelligence officials have said Balawi was recruited by Jordanian intelligence to try to infiltrate Al-Qaeda and the Taleban. Balawi had associated with Islamists in the past, but US and Jordanian spy agencies believed he had been successfully “de-radicalised”. Friends and relatives said Balawi’s radicalisation was moulded by outrage over the image of Islam under attack and what he saw as Israeli brutality against the Palestinians. “I never wanted to be in Gaza more than now or to become a suicide bomber who would drive a taxi that would take as many Jews to hell as I can,” Balawi said in a recent web message. He began to idolise Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. “Humam was deeply influenced by bin Laden, whom he revered as a man who symbolised the true jihadist in his quest to fight infidels and Western injustice,” said Khaleq Salem, who had known Balawi since early childhood. Relatives blame the Jordanians for coercing him to become a mole during frequent interrogations, saying they were attracted to his sharp intellect and well rounded personality. Balawi appears to have been at the centre of a complex espionage operation that points to huge intelligence failures for the US and its key Middle East ally that backfired, security analysts said. — Agencies


Sunday, January 10, 2010


Pacquiao camp says fight with Clottey set for March

TORONTO: WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao will put his title on the line against Ghanaian Joshua Clottey in March after talks for a bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr fizzled out this week, the Filipino’s promoter said on Friday. The planned fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather Jr broke down when negotiations between the two sides hit a snag over the American’s demand for a rigorous dope testing

procedure. Pacquiao’s new opponent beat Zab Judah of the United States for the IBF Welterweight title in Aug 2008 and lost a split decision to Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto last June. “This is a better fight,” Bob Arum of Top Rank, Pacquiao’s promoter, told Reuters in a telephone interview. “(Clottey’s) a real strong, aggressive and hard punching African from Ghana and he poses a real test for Manny.”

Arum said a location for the fight would be decided tomorrow. News of the Pacquiao-Clottey bout pours cold water over talk that a match with Mayweather, which was expected to be one of boxing’s biggest revenue-producing fights, could be salvaged in time for March. Mayweather Jr had issued a statement on Thursday that said he still wanted to fight

Pacquiao, but Arum said any possible fight between the two sides would have to wait.

Boxing “There’s always later in the year and there’s next year, it’s up to Mayweather. But if he starts this nonsense again with testing or any-

thing then let him take a walk,” said Arum. “We are not going to get into a debate with him ever again on stuff that we know nothing about and that only regulators really can understand.” Mayweather’s camp had called for random blood and urine sampling prior to and after the proposed fight with Pacquiao in March. Pacquiao agreed to have blood taken for testing before the initial media conference

China on the rise in aerials YUXI: When Peter Judge agreed to help China with its fledgling aerials program seven years ago, he expected to walk into a training operation that looked like a scene straight out of “Rocky IV.” The part with Drago, not the part with Rocky. “I had this perception they were this sophisticated sports machine,” Judge said. Hardly. There was no weight training facility. The rehabilitation program was nonexistent. Athletes spent six days a week jumping, then going for a run on their “off” day. “They were unbelievable classic overtrainers,” Judge said. “I found it astounding ... and they were wondering why all their athletes were getting injured and blown up.” Seven years later, things are different, very different. Judge eventually handed the program over to fellow Canadian Dustin Wilson, and their influence has helped mold the Chinese into a burgeoning Winter Olympics power. “We have obviously unleashed a Pandora’s box,” Wilson said. Now, the country that didn’t even collect its first Winter Olympics medal until 1992 is inching closer to traditional winter powers such as Norway and Germany. China, which won 11 medals in Turin, Italy, four years ago, easily could surpass that total next month in Vancouver. A significant number could come in aerials - think of it as gymnastics on skis - thanks to a revamped training program Wilson calls one of the best on the planet. With about a month to go, the top four women in the World Cup standings are Chinese. So are five of the top seven men. That’s partly because two key, early season events were held on a home mountain in China. But a bigger part of it is the talent and the training. China’s roster includes the defending Olympic men’s champion Han Xiaopeng - and 19-yearold female Xu Mengtao, a former gymnast Wilson says “will change the sport.” The genesis of China’s rise started early in the last decade, part of an effort by the Chinese Olympic Committee to replicate the success of its Summer Olympic program, which was beefed up in advance of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They went out and hired western coaches, studied the way other countries trained and traveled to events across the globe hoping to glean some insight on how to work their way onto the medal stand with regularity. Once hired, Wilson and Judge found no lack of talent or volunteers. What they did lack were athletes who could stay healthy. A skier would suffer a devastating injury and that was it. “If someone had a knee injury, they retired, there was no coming back,” Wilson said. Not anymore. The increased focus on proper training techniques and rehabilitation programs are extending the careers of China’s top talent. Consider what’s happened to Han. He became an instant celebrity in his home country with his Turin victory four years ago. A knee injury has slowed him down, but the 26year-old still has a legitimate chance to defend his gold medal at Cypress Mountain. That wouldn’t have happened a few years ago, when Han likely would have been replaced before his skis were even off. “They’ve got an endless supply of money and endless supply of bodies, and that’s a pretty good thing to have in any sport,” said US aerials coach Matt Christensen. Now, China has the training

techniques to match its ambition. The Chinese team arrived in Alberta, Canada, for a World Cup event in Calgary this weekend with an entourage of 29 people, including 12 skiers, four coaches and a training staff. Although many countries are just now reaching the peak of their Olympic buildup, China has been going at it for two months. Wilson sent the team to Mongolia in early November to start working out on the snow, a two-week head start over everyone else. While other teams worked out together, sharing facilities, China had the ramp all to itself. “That’s what we’re competing against,” Christensen said. “We can’t get over there to train.” The snow might be the least of the rest of the world’s problem. Wilson said there are 50-60 athletes in the developmental program who are jumping year-round. A handful of athletes on the national team, including Xu, are products of the developmental program. She was “retired” from the gymnastics program at 11 before making the natural move to aerials. “In China, there are 100,000 gymnasts like her,” Wilson said. “She was top 50 but wasn’t good enough. Now she’s with us, and her talent is unbelievable. Her work ethic is unbelievable.” Xu became the first woman to land a “lay double-full full” - three flips and three spins - in competition, completing the trick at a World Cup in China last month. Yet she’s just one potential gold medalist on the Chinese roster. Wilson doesn’t even consider her the favorite, giving that honor to Li Nina. “We’re much stronger than we were four years ago,” he said. “We’ve got three girls that can win it. If we have the best day, it’s going to be close.” And it could just be the start of China’s dominance. It will be difficult for other countries to keep pace if the Chinese aerial program really takes off. “If we had more money and resources and recruited like they do out of gymnastics, we could be competitive down the road,” Christensen said. “It’s a big buck to ask. Nobody really wants to do it. Nobody puts forth money to do it.” Wilson agrees. “These kids have an advantage over every other nation,” he said. “They’re young. They’re hungry, and now at the top end they have the expertise to manage them.” And the expectations to match. Four years ago, Wilson admitted Han was “lucky” to win China’s first freestyle skiing gold medal. Now, one gold medal might not be enough. China earned 11 medals in Turin, its best-ever Winter Olympics performance. A solid performance in aerials should help increase that number in Vancouver. “The Chinese Olympic Committee, they want to repeat,” Wilson said. “It’s always easier the first time because there isn’t the pressure and it’ll be great if you do and it’ll be a big party. Now, if you don’t win it, the repercussions will be a little bit different.” Asked if they feel a bit conflicted for helping the Chinese team find its way, especially as their native country hopes to make a huge splash on its home turf, Judge and Wilson just shrug. “The German and Middle European stranglehold on traditional sports is going to have a dike effect, and they’re going to be able to hold the water back for awhile,” Judge said. “It’s only a matter of time before that starts to change.” — AP

and immediately after the fight but would not agree to have blood drawn within 30 days of the bout. The commission that would have overseen the fight in Las Vegas only requires urine testing. “We have commissions who regulate this sport, if (Mayweather Jr) wants any special testing he should address it to the commission that will have jurisdiction over the fight,” said Arum. —Reuters

Perpignan back to winning ways PARIS: French Top 14 reigning champions Perpignan returned to winning ways after a poor run on Friday with a 31-12 win over Racing Metro. The Catalan side bounced back from their recent European Cup exit as they handed Racing-Metro a second straight loss, the club having last weekend seen a nine-match winning streak ended by Bourgoin. Down 5-9 at the interval Perpignan rallied strongly with a strong wind at their backs to roar to the finish line and move back into the top three, bagging

Rugby an attacking bonus point into the bargain, leaving their European woes against Munster and league losses to Toulouse and Brive behind them. “Given the tough conditions we didn’t expect to land five tries we just wanted the win,” said Perpignan coach Jacques Brunel. Jonathan Wisnieski sent over an early penalty for the visitors but scrum half Nicolas Durand went over with a 15th minute try before a penalty and a drop goal from Wisnieski forced Perpignan to chase the game once more. Gavin Hume and Benoit Bourrust then went over in quick succession as Perpignan gradually began to take control and although Wisnieski landed a third penalty on 56 minutes further tries from second rower Olivier Olibeau and Farid Sid at the death sealed

the win with something to spare. Jerome Porical kicked three conversions for good measure as Perpignan survived the absence owing to angina of skipper Nicolas Mas, who was replaced by Bourrust. “We showed our spirit out there tonight. We put them under pressure and it paid off. Tonight we wanted to go for it and we did just that,” Olibeau said. Stade’s fortunes have barely improved since Australian coach Ewen McKenzie was sacked by owner Max Guazzini and replaced by former Biarritz handler Jacques Delmas in September last year while Biarritz sit two places above them in sixth but having already lost eight of their 17 matches. Delmas, who guided Biarritz to two domestic titles and a European Cup final loss to Munster before being sacked in 2008, has had to cope with a massive injury crisis with such experienced campaigners as South African-born French international centre Brian Liebenberg and Italian captain Sergio Parisse on the sidelines. Biarritz’s French international flanker Imanol Harinordoquy will make his return to competitive action after almost two months out with a knee injury. Today sees the mouthwatering clash between Toulouse and Clermont, who ran rampant against title pretenders Toulon last Sunday and who are determined finally to land a first ever title this season. —AFP

ICC ‘satisfied’ with WCup arrangements

MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO: In this file photo, Olympic champion Han Xiaopeng, of China, performs during the men’s aerials event at the Freestyle Skiing World Championships. — AP

England duo rubbishes ball-tampering claims

DHAKA: World cricket chiefs yesterday expressed satisfaction over the preparations for next year’s World Cup to be jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat said here the event would be a huge success as he expected “close to a billion people” to watch the opening ceremony in Dhaka on February 17, 2011. “We are progressing very well in terms of preparations for the World Cup. I am very satisfied. We are doing pretty well,” Lorgat said. World Cup organizing committee chairman Sharad Pawar of India said he was confident the event would be a success. “I am absolutely confident this will be a great successful event,” he said. India will host 29 matches of the 14-nation tournament at eight venues, Sri Lanka 12 at three venues and Bangladesh eight at two places. Lorgat also said it would be “premature to speculate” on the fate of India’s Ferozeshah Kotla

ground as a Cup venue after a one-dayer against Sri Lanka was called off due to a “dangerous” pitch last month. He said the Indian cricket authorities had responded to the ICC’s query on the ground as all Cup venues have to “pass minimum standards” in order to qualify for hosting the premier event. “ICC chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle and head of cricket operations David Richardson would determine what is the appropriate way forward to deal with that,” said Lorgat. The teams have been divided into two groups of seven each for the preliminary league, with the top four from each group advancing to the quarter-finals. Defending champions Australia head group A, which includes Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and two qualifiers, Canada and Kenya. The other group comprises India, South Africa, England, West Indies, Bangladesh and qualifiers Ireland, Netherlands. —AFP

Television pictures show Broad stopping the ball LONDON: England pacemen James Anderson and Stuart Broad both insisted yesterday they had nothing to be ashamed of after being caught up in suggestions of ball-tampering during the third Test against South Africa. The Proteas raised concerns over the state of the ball after television pictures showed Broad stopping the ball with the underside of his boot and Anderson working on it with his fingers moments later. However, South Africa did not follow through with a formal complaint and the International Cricket Council declared the matter closed, meaning neither fast bowler would face disciplinary action. However, former England captain Michael Vaughan said the duo had been “lucky”, with Anderson especially fortunate to have avoided a ban which would have ruled him out of next week’s series finale. But Anderson told yesterday’s edition of Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper his actions at Cape Town’s Newlands ground

were entirely innocent. “To be caught up in suggestions of ball-tampering was a huge disappointment,” said the Lancashire quick. “It led to a lot of comment and cast a shadow over me and Stuart Broad when we’d done nothing wrong except be a bit absent-minded and lazy. “I know my old England captain Michael Vaughan is entitled to his opinion but I was a little bit hurt by some of the comments he made about me, because I’d like to think he knew me well enough to know I wouldn’t do something like that,” Anderson insisted. He added: “I definitely was not altering the ball to try and help us, I was just looking at it and playing with it. There was a tuft of leather that had come up and I wasn’t digging in any nails or anything like that into the ball.” Broad meanwhile conceded he’d been lazy in stopping the ball with his boot but said it was ridiculous to believe that could help induce reverse-swing or somehow

alter the ball’s condition in another way that would aid the bowlers. “My actions in stopping the ball with my boot have been questioned but I am not the first bowler to stop a ball with his size 12s and I will not be the last,” Broad told Saturday’s edition of Britain’s Daily Mail. “It was close to 40 degrees Celsius out there in Newlands at the time and, if I was guilty of anything, it was just laziness in not bending down to pick up the ball. “Ball-tampering? That’s astonishing. For one thing, if I was skilled enough to be able to step on the scuffed up side of the ball and know exactly what I was doing to create an unfair advantage with my feet, I would be playing football in the Premier League rather than cricket for England.” England, in a repeat of the series opener, drew the third Test with just one wicket standing on Thursday. That left with them an unbeatable 1-0 series lead ahead of the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg which starts next Thursday. — AFP

DHAKA: International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2011 trophy is seen displayed at the launch of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 yesterday. — AP



Sunday, January 10, 2010

NBA results/standings

Wizards ‘sick of’ talk about Arenas gun saga

WASHINGTON: Results and standings after Friday’s National Basketball Association games: Toronto 108, Philadelphia 106; Washington 104, Orlando 97; Atlanta 93, Boston 85; Memphis 91, Utah 89; Minnesota 116, Indiana 109; New Orleans 103, New Jersey 99; Milwaukee 96, Chicago 93; Dallas 112, San Antonio 103; Miami 109, Phoenix 105; Portland 107, LA Lakers 98; Denver 99, Cleveland 97; Golden State 108, Sacramento 101.

WASHINGTON: It’s been no fun being a member of the Washington Wizards. They are in last place in their NBA division, despite high expectations. They mourned the death of longtime owner Abe Pollin in November. The coach has banned gambling on the team plane, and one of the captains, Gilbert Arenas, has been banned indefinitely by the NBA for having guns at work. The team is doing its best to remove all traces of Arenas from the Verizon Center. “It’s been going on too long long enough,” forward Antawn Jamison said on Friday. “We’re definitely sick of it, too much negative publicity, and I think guys are just to the point where we just want to get some positive publicity and turn things around and start winning some games, start having fun. We haven’t had fun in a while, so my New Year’s resolution is just to have fun, go out there and play hard and do everything possible to start winning.” It was another day of distractions for the Wizards, who face the weighty task of setting aside their troubles and trying to move forward without their leading scorer. Arenas is under investigation by federal and local authorities for possible violations of the strict gun laws in the US capital. He has acknowledged keeping guns in his locker and taking them out in a “misguided effort to play a joke” on a teammate. “There’s no question it’s a distraction, from the standpoint of having to deal with talking to people, the media,” coach Flip Saunders said. “It’s almost a surreal situation - you’re almost are more in a foggy-type situation.” Saunders said that he met with the grand jury investigating Arenas on Thursday and that some of his players “had to deal with that” on Friday between practice and the evening game against the Orlando Magic. He did not say how many players met with which authorities or give any other details. Saunders also confirmed that he banned gambling on the team plane on Dec 21, the date of the locker room confrontation

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Boston 25 9 .735 Toronto 19 18 .514 7.5 New York 15 20 .429 10.5 Philadelphia 10 25 .286 15.5 New Jersey 3 33 .083 23 Central Division 28 10 15 18 14 20 11 23 11 24

Cleveland Milwaukee Chicago Detroit Indiana

Orlando Atlanta Miami Charlotte Washington

.737 .455 10.5 .412 12 .324 15 .314 15.5

Southeast Division 24 12 .667 23 12 .657 18 16 .529 15 19 .441 12 22 .353

.5 5 8 11

Western Conference Northwest Division Denver 23 13 .639 Portland 23 15 .605 1 Oklahoma City 19 16 .543 3.5 Utah 19 17 .528 4 Minnesota 8 29 .216 15.5

LA Lakers Phoenix La Clippers Sacramento Golden State

Pacific Division 28 8 23 14 16 18 14 21 11 24

.778 .622 5.5 .471 11 .400 13.5 .314 16.5

Southwest Division Dallas 25 11 .694 San Antonio 21 13 .618 Houston 20 16 .556 New Orleans 18 16 .529 Memphis 18 17 .514

3 5 6 6.5

PORTLAND: Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (24) pulls down a rebound in front of Portland Trail Blazers’ Dante Cunningham (33) in the second quarter of their NBA basketball game Friday, Jan 8, 2010. — AP

between Arenas and Javaris Crittenton in which Arenas pulled out guns he was keeping in his locker. Various reports have given conflicting details of what happened between the two players, but their dispute began during a card game on a trip home from the West Coast two days earlier. Saunders said he instituted the ban because gambling “led to a confrontation” and he wanted “to avoid those situations” from happening again. “You can only give people what they can handle, and obviously we didn’t handle it very well,” guard Mike Miller said. “It’s on each organization. They made a stance here - and it’s probably a good stance.” Before the first home game since Arenas’ suspension, Jamison walked to the center of the court with a microphone and told the fans “it’s been a trying week” and spoke of the need to be positive role models. He specifically mentioned a photo taken of the team laughing at Arenas’ antics before Tuesday’s game at Philadelphia, where Arenas pointed his index fingers at his teammates as if he were firing a pair of guns. The Wizards are planning to fine some of the players for displaying such levity over a serious matter, an NBA official with direct knowledge of the team’s plans has told The Associated Press. “We never meant to make light of the situation,” said Jamison, who added that the whole situation was “very embarrassing for my teammates and the coaching staff.” The fines could be contingent in part on whether the incident was planned ahead of time by Arenas and teammates. Jamison, one of the players smiling in the photograph, told reporters the photo doesn’t tell the whole story. “A lot of guys didn’t know what was going to take place,” Jamison said. “A lot of guys didn’t see that happening. I know you see the photo and you see a certain image, but that photo doesn’t justify the way guys viewed the whole situation. Once again, it’s just another use of poor judgment.” — AP

Trail Blazers beat Lakers yet again Carter sprains shoulder in Magic’s third straight loss PORTLAND: The Portland Trail Blazers extended their extraordinary home winning run against Boston by beating the Celtics there for the ninth straight time, winning 107-98 in Friday’s NBA action. Brandon Roy scored 32 points for the Blazers, who have the longest home winning streak against the defending champions. Kobe Bryant had 32 points and eight rebounds for the Lakers, who trailed by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter but cut the margin to single digits in the final minutes. The victory is the latest display of Portland’s resilience despite a rash of injuries. The team has lost both of its big men - Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla - to knee injuries for the rest of the season.

Nuggets 99, Cavaliers 97 In Denver, the hosts overcame the absence of leading scorer

Carmelo Anthony to pip Cleveland and remain a game clear atop the Northwest Division. Kenyon Martin scored 19 points and grabbed 12 boards, playing tough defense on LeBron James in the closing stages. Chauncey Billups added 23 for Denver. James, who sank a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to pull Cleveland to 98-97, finished with 35 points.

Hawks 95, Celtics 85 In Atlanta, the home team moved within half a game of the NBA Southeast Division lead by notching its second win this season against Boston this season. Jamal Crawford scored 18 points, including two crucial 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. He converted a four-point play after being knocked into the seats on a 3-point shot. Then he swished an even longer shot from

behind the arc that sealed it with 52 seconds left. Paul Pierce scored 21 to lead the Celtics.

Mavericks 112, Spurs 103 In San Antonio, Dallas came from 10 points down at the last break to defeat San Antonio. Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, while Jason Terry had 21 points for the Mavericks. Tim Duncan had 31 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs.

Grizzlies 91, Jazz 89 In Memphis, Tennessee, OJ Mayo hit a 21-foot jump shot with 5.2 seconds left to lift Memphis over Utah. Utah’s last shot was then blocked, snapping the Jazz’s 11-game winning streak over the Grizzlies. Zach Randolph had 29 points and 15 rebounds to lead Memphis, while Rudy Gay finished with 22 points. Mehmet Okur scored 16 points for the Jazz.

Wizards 104, Magic 97 Heat 109, Suns 105 In Phoenix, Jermaine O’Neal scored four points in the final 30 seconds, two on a pair of clutch free throws, to help Miami stave off Phoenix. Dwyane Wade had 33 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for Miami. Amare Stoudemire had 18 points and 18 rebounds for the Suns.

In Washington, the last-placed and distracted Washington Wizards overcame a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat Orlando. The Wizards, playing their first game since the suspension of Gilbert Arenas for gun offences, earned ovations during the final period for their perseverance after a difficult week. Antawn Jamison, who apologized to fans

before the game, had 28 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Wizards. Dwight Howard had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the struggling Magic, who have lost four straight and seen their Southeast Division lead over Atlanta sliced to the minimum.

Bucks 96, Bulls 93

8.4 seconds left, as Toronto edged Philadelphia. Bosh had 29 points and nine rebounds to lead Toronto, while Andrea Bargnani scored 23 points to help the Raptors rally from a 13-point hole and win their third straight. Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala fell just shy of a triple-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

In Milwaukee, Andrew Bogut had 27 points and 13 rebounds to rally Milwaukee to its third straight win. Michael Redd, who finished with 24 points, scored 14 and Bogut added eight all in the final 7:09 as Milwaukee improved to 11-1 when Bogut scores at least 17 points. Derrick Rose led Chicago with 25 points but the Bulls dropped their third straight.

In Oakland, California, Golden State came back from an 18-point deficit in the second half to overrun Sacramento. Monta Ellis had 39 points and six assists and Anthony Morrow made a critical 3-pointer in the final minute for the Warriors. Tyreke Evans had 25 points and six assists for Sacramento.

Raptors 108, 76ers 106

Hornets 103, Nets 99

In Philadelphia, Chris Bosh made the go-ahead three-point play with

In New Orleans, Chris Paul hit a driving scoop as he was fouled with 7

Sabres 3, Maple Leafs 2

New Jersey Pittsburgh NY Rangers Philadelphia NY Islanders

Blue Jackets 3, Flames 2 In Calgary, Alberta, Antoine Vermette had a goal and two assists as Columbus pipped Calgary. Raffi Torres added a goal and an assist and Jan Hejda also scored for Columbus. The Flames got goals from Mark Giordano and Rene Bourque.

Buffalo Boston Ottawa Montreal Toronto

Stars 4, Islanders 3 In Dallas, Brad Richards scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period as Dallas hung on to beat New York and win its first game in four. The defeat spoiled New York goalie Rick DiPietro’s return from a knee injury that sidelined him more than a year. Toby Petersen, Loui Eriksson and Brenden Morrow also scored for the Stars. The Islanders’ goals came from Josh Bailey, Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen.

Washington Atlanta Tampa Bay Florida Carolina

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OT GF 30 10 1 122 27 17 1 142 21 17 6 117 21 19 3 130 18 19 8 113 Northeast Division 28 11 4 120 22 14 7 113 22 18 4 125 22 21 3 118 15 21 9 122 Southeast Division 26 11 6 154 19 18 6 136 16 16 10 106 17 20 7 125 12 24 7 106

GA 89 125 121 124 140

Pts 61 55 48 45 44

98 104 134 124 156

60 51 48 47 39

120 141 126 140 151

58 44 42 41 31

Western Conference Central Division Chicago 31 10 3 146 93 65 Nashville 26 15 3 126 124 55 Detroit 22 15 6 111 109 50 Columbus 17 20 9 122 154 43 St Louis 17 19 7 111 127 41 Northwest Division Vancouver 27 16 1 143 106 55 Calgary 25 14 5 120 106 55 Colorado 24 15 6 131 129 54 Minnesota 21 20 3 116 129 45 Edmonton 16 23 5 121 147 37 Pacific Division San Jose 28 9 7 146 113 63 Phoenix 26 15 4 116 107 56 Los Angeles 25 16 3 131 124 53 Dallas 19 14 11 128 139 49 Anaheim 18 19 7 123 140 43 Note - Overtime losses (OT) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (l).

Mariners agree 4-year extension with Gutierrez

Hurricanes 2, Avalanche 1 In Raleigh, North Carolina, Ray Whitney scored both Carolina goals in a fight-strewn win over Colorado. Cam Ward made 29 saves, conceding with only 15 seconds left, beaten by Brandon Yip. The teams combined for 58 penalty minutes, with the violence starting early when Colorado’s Darcy Tucker and Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu traded punches. In the teams’ previous meeting, Ruutu sent Tucker into the boards, leaving behind a pool of blood on the ice. — AP

In Minneapolis, the hosts spoiled Danny Granger’s surprise return to the Indiana lineup. Al Jefferson had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Kevin Love had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who won their first game in six Granger scored 19 points in his return from a 16-game absence because of a heel injury. —AP

WASHINGTON: National Hockey League results and standings after Friday’s games: Tampa Bay, New Jersey; Carolina 2, Colorado 1; Buffalo 3, Toronto 2; Dallas 4, NY Islanders 3; Columbus 3, Calgary 2.

Blue Jackets smother Flames to climb off bottom

In Buffalo, New York, rookie defenseman Tyler Myers scored two of Buffalo’s three power-play goals and assisted on the other, helping defeat Toronto. Tim Kennedy also scored in Buffalo’s sixth straight victory and 10th in a row against the Maple Leafs. Matt Stajan and John Mitchell scored third-period goals for Toronto. The 19-year-old Myers, second among NHL rookies with 26 points, became the first Sabres defenseman with a multigoal game this season.

Timberwolves 116, Pacers 109

NHL results/standings

Light failure delays Devils-Lightning game NEWARK: The New Jersey Devils’ game against the Tampa Bay Lightning was suspended Friday when a lighting failure during the second period could not be fixed. The teams waited more than an hour and 40 minutes before the Devils announced the game would be rescheduled. The Lightning led 3-0 with 9:12 left in the period when the lights dimmed at the Devils end and could not be relit. The game will resume at the point it was stopped, putting Tampa Bay in a strong position to end its run of 10 straight losses to the Devils. Steve Downie, Brandon Bochenski and Steven Stamkos scored for the Lightning. It was the first time in four years that an NHL game had to be stopped. On that occasion, Detroit’s Jiri Fischer had a seizure on the bench against Nashville.

Warriors 108, Kings 101

seconds left, and New Orleans narrowly averted a stunning home loss to lowly New Jersey. The Hornets had blown a 15-point lead and trailed 99-98 before Paul capped an 11-point, 18-assist performance by putting New Orleans back up for good. David West added 32 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets, whose winning streak reached five. Courtney Lee scored 28 points for New Jersey.

NEWARK: Zach Parise No 9 of the New Jersey Devils is checked by Matt Smaby No 32 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during their game on January 8, 2010 at The Prudential Center. — AFP

SEATTLE: The Seattle Mariners have agreed terms with Venezuelan outfielder Franklin Gutierrez on a four-year contract extension with a potential fifth season in 2014, the club said on Friday in a statement. “Franklin had a breakthrough season last year but the exciting thing for us is that we believe he will only continue to get better,” said Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik. “We feel he was the best defensive center field-

er in the American League last year, and he was a huge part of the success of our pitching staff. Offensively, his combination of speed and power is a perfect fit for our club and he is an outstanding person,” he added. The 26-year-old Gutierrez hit .283 (160x565) with 85 runs scored, 24 doubles, one triple, 18 home runs and 70 RBI in 153 games with Seattle in 2009. He set career-highs in nearly every offensive category, including games, at-bats, runs scored, hits, home runs and RBI. — Reuters

Sunday, January 10, 2010




Vonn triumphs in third straight WCup downhill

HAUS IM ENNSTAL: Winner Lindsey Vonn, of the United States (center) is flanked on podium by runnerup Switzerland’s Nadja Kamer (left) and France’s Ingrid Jacquemod, third placed, after an alpine ski, women’s World Cup downhill race yesterday. — AP

Havard Bokko crashes out of European C’ship HAMAR: Martina Sablikova won the 3,000 meters ahead of Dutch rival Ireen Wust to take the halfway lead in the European all-round speed skating championship yesterday. In the men’s championship, home skater Havard Bokko crashed in the opening 500 meters, putting Dutchman Sven Kramer in a prime position to win a record fourth straight title. After Sablikova limited the damage in the opening 500 by finishing seventh, the long-distance specialist skated a great 3,000 in 4 minutes 3.09 seconds, creating a gap of 5.31 seconds over Wust to move into the lead. Reigning world champion Sablikova totaled 80.965 points, with Wust just outside her with 81.170. Russian Yekaterina Lobysheva was already far back with 82.268. Sablikova is a favorite to take double gold at the Vancouver Olympics in the 3,000 and 5,000 next month. Another Czech, Karolina Erbanova, won the opening 500 in 39.54, with Wust clocking 39.77 and Sablikova 40.45. Kramer was in fourth place after the 500, with his three favored races still upcoming in the two-day championship. With a time of 36.60, he even kept an edge of .04 seconds over main rival Enrico Fabris of Italy. Bokko had a light-

ning start in the 500 at the Viking Ship stadium, but slid into the protective covers during the final bend. He held his arm to steady his left shoulder when he got up. He was undergoing further tests to see how serious the injury was. He has already had two operations on that shoulder. “I just slipped in the corner,” he said, insisting the injury would not keep him out of the Olympics. “I’ll be there - to skate.” Kramer, a long-distance expert and triple world champion, used his giant strides to finish close behind Konrad Niedzwiedzki of Poland, who clocked 36.07, and Italy’s Matteo Anesi and Sweden’s Daniel Friberg. He holds the world record in the event and is unbeaten over the past two years. The tournament ends with today’s 1,500 and 10,000 meters. In the women’s championship, Czech favorite Martina Sablikova was in seventh place after the opening 500, three places below challenger Ireen Wust of the Netherlands. Kramer is using the European championships as a last warmup for next month’s Vancouver Olympics, where he is favored to win gold in the 5,000, 10,000 and team pursuit. On top of that, the 23-year-old Dutchman could become the first skater to win the European championships four times in a row. — AP

HAMAR: The Czech Republic’s Martina Sablicova competes during the women’s 500 metres race at the European All-Round Speed Skating Championships at the Viking Ship ice skating arena yesterday. — AP

HAUS IM ENNSTAL: Lindsey Vonn of the United States won a women’s World Cup downhill race Friday to regain the lead in the overall standings. The reigning downhill and overall champion raced down the 2,639-meter Krummholz course in 1 minute, 38.84 seconds for her third straight downhill victory this season. Anja Paerson of Sweden was 0.35 seconds back in second. Maria Riesch of Germany, who led Vonn by five points in the overall standings before the race, took third, 0.39 behind the American. “I really attacked today,” said Vonn, who is skiing with a bruised left arm after a crash in Lienz, Austria, last month. “It’s a great feeling, everything is so smooth. I can’t be more happy with my downhill season so far.” Her injured arm hampered Vonn while pushing off at the start, but she still posted the fastest first intermediate time. Vonn has been unbeaten in downhill since February last year and hasn’t missed the podium in the discipline since February 2008. The American said she got extra motivation after reading reports in several Austrian media this week, claiming that Vonn was overweight and therefore would have an advantage in speed races. “Anytime people say stupid things in the media, it always makes me more motivated to try to ski faster,” Vonn said. “It’s obvious that I am an athlete and not an overweight person so I thought it was pretty ridiculous. It just added fuel to the fire.” Vonn said she would study a video recording of her run to avoid some minor mistakes and “hopefully have an even cleaner run”. “It’s not a really difficult downhill here, only if visibility is poor,” she said. “In the lower part, the course gets more technically demanding.” Vonn now leads with 694 points and Riesch has 659. They are well ahead of the rest of the field, with Kathrin Zettel in third place with 569 points. The Austrian, however, doesn’t compete in downhills. Riesch wasn’t too disappointed by losing her lead. “I think you should be happy with any podium finish,” said Riesch, who clinched her first ever World Cup win here six years ago. “I had no perfect run, though my skis were really fast.” It was Paerson’s first podium finish since last February, but the Swede said she’d been nervous at the start. “I was aware that we would go a lot faster than in training,” Paerson said. “I had to fight and I am happy that I managed to do so well.” Dominque Gisin of Switzerland was among the fastest starters and looked set for a top-five finish before losing control and crashing in a right turn. She stood up immediately with no apparent injuries. Maria Holaus of Austria fell and broke her right ankle during pre-race warmups. She was ruled out for the rest of the season. Friday’s race was a replacement for the downhill that was canceled in Val d’Isere, France, in December. Another women’s downhill race in Haus im Ennstal was scheduled for yesterday, followed by a super-G today. — AP

KAPALUA: Paul Casey of England plays a shot on the 1st hole during the first round of the SBS Championship at the Plantation course. — AFP


Kapalua eagle gives Casey reason to smile KAPALUA: Almost back to full fitness after an injuryplagued 2009, Britain’s Paul Casey had a broad grin on his face after eagling the par-five last in Friday’s second round at the SBS Championship. The English world number eight struck a three-iron from 267 yards to four feet and coolly knocked in the putt to put welcome gloss on a four-underpar 69 at the Kapalua Resort. “With the downhill (lie), it was only playing about 230 (yards) to the front edge,” Casey told Reuters after posting a seven-under total of 139 at the midway point of the PGA Tour’s season opener. “The goal was to try and land a three-iron on the front half of the green and I pulled it perfectly, straight at the flag,” he added with a smile. “It was a great way to finish and I wanted to shoot in the sixties today. I was playing with (Geoff) Ogilvy today and I felt like I was getting left behind. He was playing great golf so to shoot in the sixties was not bad.” Ogilvy, the defending champion at Kapalua, fired a sparkling 66 but the tournament pace was set by American Lucas Glover with a sizzling 65 as the US Open champion forged three strokes ahead of the field. “I wanted to shoot in the sixties today but that only puts me at seven under now,” said Casey. “I felt I needed to get as close to double digits (under par) as possible because I knew somebody was going to surpass that, and they already have. “I think this golf course could yield a pretty low number and it’s a case of not getting too far behind in my position,” the Arizona-based Briton added.

Good position “If I can keep myself only three or four back tomorrow, that puts me in a really good position for today.” After a 2009 campaign that began with major promise and red-hot form before being derailed by a rib injury in July, Casey has a sharpened appetite for this season. “I feel great,” he said. “I feel 95 percent fit. I don’t really feel anything in the ribs right now, the intercostal and the obliques. “The reason it’s not 100 percent is because my range of motion isn’t where I want it to be. The club’s not getting back to parallel and occasionally I’ll come out of shots, not maintain my spine angle and lose the ball left or right. “And that’s just through the body being a little bit bound up. It’s almost like scar tissue that I’ve got to break loose and get that range of motion back. “Once I do that, and hopefully that will be just a matter of time through playing golf another month or so, we’ll be back to 100 percent.” Casey won his first PGA Tour title at the Houston Open last April and clinched the European Tour’s flagship PGA Championship in May before pulling a rib muscle the week before the British Open. Two attempts to return to the PGA Tour over the next couple of months then had to be aborted as his 2009 season fell apart. “As much as I’ve tried, the only way of really getting back to very, very sharp, world-class golf-which is what you’ve got to play against the rest of these guys out here — is by actually being out here,” Casey said. — Reuters

Europe spring to the fore in Royal Trophy

GEORGE, South Africa: In this file photo, United States golf team captain Jack Nicklaus (right) puts his arm around player Tiger Woods before teeing off on the 11th hole during a four-ball match on the second day of the Presidents Cup Golf Tournament at the Fancourt Golf Estate. — AP

2010 big year in majors for Woods, says Nicklaus KAPALUA: Tiger Woods is four majors behind the record set by Jack Nicklaus going into a year in which three majors will be held on Woods’ favorite courses - Augusta National, Pebble Beach and St Andrews. “If Tiger is going to pass my record, this is a big year for him in that regard,” Nicklaus said on Friday. But it starts with Woods playing, and not even Nicklaus knows when the world’s No. 1 player will return from an “indefinite break” while he tries to salvage his marriage from the blockbuster publicity of extramarital affairs. Woods has never missed a Masters or a US Open since 1995. “I don’t know the answer what he’s going to do and what he’s going to play. He’s the only one who can answer that,” Nicklaus, who won 18 majors in his career, said during a conference call ahead of his 70th birthday on Jan 21. “Certainly, this year with where the majors are ... he basically owns all three places. “If he doesn’t play this year, the chore will be a little tougher.” Woods has won 14 majors, with half of them coming at those three courses. He has won the Masters four times (the most recent in 2005), the British Open twice at St Andrews by a combined 13 shots, and the US Open at Pebble Beach by a record 15 shots. Oddly enough, half of Nicklaus’ major victories also came on those three courses. Woods last won a major at Torrey Pines in the 2008 US Open, ending his season a week later with reconstructive knee surgery. Despite win-

ning six times last year, he had only one good chance at adding to his major total until he lost a two-shot lead in the final round of the US PGA Championship and finished second to YE Yang. He has not played since winning the Australian Masters on Nov 15. Two weeks later, Woods ran his SUV into a tree outside of his Florida home in the middle of the night, and allegations of rampant affairs soon followed. Woods confessed to “infidelity” and said on Dec 11 he would take a break from golf to focus on becoming a better husband, father and person. Woods has not been seen in public in nearly two months. Along with speculation on when he will return is how he will play with more scrutiny of his personal life than he has ever faced. Without alluding to Woods, Nicklaus offered some insight into the emotional state required to win majors. The Golden Bear won majors over 25 seasons, a record in golf. It started with the 1962 US Open in a playoff over Arnold Palmer and ended with the 1986 Masters, when a 46-year-old Nicklaus shot 30 on the back nine to win his sixth Masters. Yes, he was getting older. His skills were starting to erode. Nicklaus said desire and motivation played a role, too. Nicklaus broke the previous record for majors - Bobby Jones with 13 - at the 1973 US PGA Championship, when the US Amateur and British Amateur counted toward the total. —AP

BANGKOK: Player-captain Colin Montgomerie led from the front as Europe fought back against holders Asia in the Royal Trophy with three morale-boosting wins yesterday. Europe, trailing 2 1/2 -1 1/2 after the opening foursomes, go into the final day singles leading 4 1/2 - 3 1/2 and needing four points to regain the silverware at Amata Spring Country Club. “It was very important to win three matches-it was a great day,” said Montgomerie. “We go into the singles a point ahead which gives us a great advantage. But the job is only half done-there are eight points still to play for. It will be a big day.” Asian captain Naomichi ‘Joe’ Ozaki, who led the team to a stunning 10-6 victory last year, remained upbeat despite yesterday’s reversals. “Everyone on the team wants to win tomorrow,” he said. “We are here to defend our title-hopefully we can get some early momentum in the singles.” The 46-year-old Montgomerie, wounded by an opening loss to Japanese young gun Ryo Ishikawa, teamed up with Simon Dyson to beat the Indian pair of Jeev Milkha Singh and Gaganjeet Bhullar by 4 and 3 in their fourball encounter. There was a bit of needling in the match with Montgomerie, showing the intensity he will require when he captains Europe in the Ryder Cup in October, questioning why Bhullar was putting when out of the hole. England’s Dyson, currently lying fourth on the European Tour’s Ryder Cup rankings, took the opportunity to impress the captain with a couple of chip-ins from off the green. “We enjoyed it and Simon played especially well throughout the day,” said Montgomerie, one of the greatest Ryder Cup players of all time with eight appearances in the biennial clash against the United States. “We kept both balls in play, and that was key. We hardly missed a fairway between us, and that’s why we came out victorious.” The red-hot combination of Robert Karlsson and Alexander Noren, the only European winners in the opening day foursomes, kept the momentum going with a thumping 6 and 4 victory over Ishikawa and Koumei Oda. World number 30 Ishikawa and Oda took the scalps of Montgomerie and Pablo Martin in the foursomes but failed to shine against the Swedes who were a staggering 10-under-par after 14 holes. “Someone said our combined score was 10under but I did not know it was that low,” said Karlsson, Europe’s number one in 2008. “After winning our first match we felt it was important to get off to a good start again and not give them anything.” Charlie Wi and Liang Wen-chong bounced back from their opening loss with a comprehensive 5 and 4 win over the struggling duo of Peter Hanson and Soren Kjeldsen to give Asia a much-needed point. Wi, a US PGA Tour regular, and former Asian number one Liang won the first hole and never looked back in a one-sided tussle. Kjeldsen was ruled out of the opening hole after his caddy broke the rules by repairing a pitch mark on his player’s line. “I got off to a great start and made a couple of birdies and Liang really put us on top after that,” said Wi. “He made a couple of clutch putts and we made seven birdies on the front nine-that’s really tough to beat.” World number seven Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Martin rounded off a good day’s work for Europe with a hard-fought 3 and 1 win over the Thai pairing of Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng, who had 100 per cent records last year and won their foursomes match on Friday. —AFP


18 Tennis

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Henin let down by serve with victory in sight

Clijsters beats Henin in classic Brisbane final

BRISBANE: A picture combo shows Jada (right), Belgian Kim Clijsters’s daughter, watching her mother play in the women’s final against compatriot Justine Henin at the Brisbane International tennis tournament, and Kim Clijsters (left) celebrating her victory at the end of the match yesterday. — AFP

Tight-lipped Williams eyes Australian Open conquest SYDNEY: Serena Williams was on her best behavior when she arrived in Sydney yesterday to put the finishing touches to her preparations for the Australian Open. The American was all smiles as she turned on the charm offensive for the media scrum that greeted her in the arrivals hall at Sydney airport. The world number one excitedly talked up her chances of successfully defending her title in Melbourne but politely declined to discuss her foul-

mouthed attack on a lineswoman at last year’s US Open. “I feel it’s over. It was what it was,” she told reporters. “I think I’ve spoken enough about it.” Williams escaped a suspension after the Grand Slam Committee opted to slap her with a fine and twoyear probation, allowing her to compete in the Australian Open, starting in Melbourne on Jan 18. She has already won the title four times, in 2003,

2005, 2007 and 2009, and is looking forward to chasing a fifth title later this month. “It’s all about doing the best that I can,” she said. “Obviously I love playing well in all the grand slams and I hate to lose, regardless of where it is. “Whenever I play, I give 200 per cent and whether that’s becoming number one as a result or becoming number 50, it doesn’t matter as long as you enjoy what you do.” — Reuters

PERTH: Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (left) and Tommy Robredo (right) pose with Lucy Hopman, widow of Australian tennis legend Harry Hopman after winning the Hopman Cup tennis tournament yesterday. — AP

Robredo inspires Spain to Hopman Cup victory PERTH: Tommy Robredo was the driving force as Spain came from behind to beat Britain 2-1 yesterday to win the Hopman Cup for a third time. Fifteenyear-old Laura Robson stunned world number 26 Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-1 7-6 to give Britain a surprise lead but Robedo upset world number four Andy Murray 1-6 6-4 6-3 to leave the tie all square heading into the mixed doubles. The Spaniards then saved three set points in the opening set of a dramatic match before going on to clinch the title with a 7-6 7-5 victory. Martinez Sanchez described Robredo as “the hero” but the modest world number 16 said it was a team effort. “It was a great final,” he said. “Maria Jose said today I did a great job but here no one wins alone.” For Robredo, it was his second Hopman Cup victory after partnering Arantxa Sanchez Vicario to the title in 2002, and the pair each took home a special diamond-encrusted tennis ball as a trophy.

Former junior Wimbledon champion Robson was not given much chance against Martinez Sanchez, ranked 377 places above her, but she produced an outstanding display to make a mockery of the huge rankings gulf. A brilliant drive volley gave her the first break in the fourth game and she then broke again two games later on the way to winning the first set. Best win Martinez Sanchez slowly worked her way into the match and broke to lead 5-3 but Robson broke back and then saved a set point at 4-5 as the pair headed to a tiebreak. Robson won six straight points to lead 6-2 but the Spaniard hit back to 6-6 only for Robson to smash two groundstroke winners to seal the best win of her young career. “From 6-3 she started going for her shots but then at 6-6 I was like, ‘OK, just go for your shots’,” Robson said. “I am real-

ly happy.” Murray looked on course for an easy win when he blitzed world number 16 Robredo in the first set with more of the huge hitting he had displayed all week. But Robredo refused to buckle and as Murray’s form dipped, the Spaniard broke serve in the 10th game to take the second set. One break, in the second game, put Robredo ahead in the decider and he held his nerve to clinch a moraleboosting win. Murray lifted himself again for another effort in the mixed doubles but Britain missed their chance in the first set as they let slip a 6-3 lead in the tiebreak to lose it 8-6. Robson played superbly to keep Britain in the second set and the Britons saved two Championship points at 5-4 but Robredo slammed a backhand down the line two games later to seal victory. The teenager’s productive week was given a further boost yesterday when she was awarded a wild card for the Australian Open qualifiers. — Reuters

BRISBANE: Kim Clijsters hung on to win a momentum-swinging all-Belgian final at the Brisbane International in a vintage finish yesterday to Justine Henin’s comeback tournament. Clijsters, only five tournaments into her own comeback which has already netted the US Open title, saved two match points and then wasted three before clinching 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (6) over the seventime Grand Slam titlist. Henin immediately withdrew from next week’s Sydney International, saying she had strained her upper left leg and didn’t want to risk further trouble ahead of her Grand Slam return at the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 18 in Melbourne. Clijsters started strongly and led by a set and 4-1 before Henin, who struggled early and had two double-faults to open her first service game, staged a dramatic rally. Henin, playing in the top tier for the first time since she quit while holding the No 1 ranking in May 2008, won the next eight games to take a 3-0 lead in the third. Clijsters rallied to 3-3, then gave up a break and faced two match points in the 10th game. Clijsters held her nerve and, 15 minutes later, held her arms in the air, celebrating what she thought was a championship-winning backhand down the line in the tiebreaker - but the umpire overruled. Henin got back to 6-6 in the tiebreaker but then double-faulted to give Clijsters a fourth match point. She made no mistake this time, with a forehand that Henin couldn’t get. “Huh, what a match!” Clijsters told the crowd at Pat Rafter Arena. “I think we set the bar pretty high for ourselves for the rest of the year. “It’s a great tournament to start the year with. I couldn’t be happier with myself.” The top-seeded Clijsters closed Henin’s lead in career head-to-heads to 1211, ending the three-match winning streak that Henin was on in 2006 - maintaining a sequence in which no player won more than three straight. Clijsters took more than two years off the tour, in which time she married American Brian Lynch and later had a daughter, Jada, in February 2008. She was only three tournaments into a comeback when she won the US Open in September and became the first mother to win a major since Evonne Goolagong Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980. Clijsters’ daughter and husband were in the crowd yesterday, when she donated her tournament winnings to Brisbane’s Royal Childrens Hospital, which she had visited earlier in the week. Henin, who beat second-seeded Nadia Petrova in her opening match and third-seeded Ana Ivanovic in her semifinal, joked that she didn’t know what to do after a match. “I forgot how to make a speech!” she said, laughing. “It’s just great to be back. I want to congratulate Kim. It was a great fight. I really enjoyed my time out here tonight.” Henin said Clijsters had more recent experience in playing the big points, which was the difference yesterday. “I’m so proud of what we did on the court today,” she said. “I didn’t play a tournament in 18 months and I’ve been able to compete with really one of the best players in the world. I can be happy. “It was a drama from the beginning to the end. It had to finish this kind of way.” Henin said it was the most intense match of their rivalry, which dates back to juniors. “I have nothing to regret. We were both on the court wanting to win. It was just a good fight,” she said. “I have to be positive of course. It’s disappointing to lose. I would have preferred to win ... But at the end I remember that it’s my first tournament back and I’m able to compete at a very high level.” Henin had wild card entries to Australian Open lead up events in Brisbane and Sydney, where she had a potential second-round meeting with top-ranked Serena Williams. Instead, she’ll stay in Brisbane to recover and is confident of being fit for her first major since the 2008 Australian Open. Clijsters will go straight to Melbourne to fine tune. Men’s top seed Andy Roddick has a final to play today against defending champion Radek Stepanek before he heads to Melbourne. Roddick rallied for a 1-6, 6-3, 64 win over fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in the semifinals earlier yesterday. Stepanek easily beat Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-2, 6-1 in an hour in the first semifinal. Roddick dropped serve twice in the opening set against Berdych, when he didn’t convert any of his four breakpoint chances. It was the first time in the tournament that his serve had been broken, ending a run of 30 straight winning service games. But he rebounded in the second set, building a 3-0 lead with an early break. The third set was on serve until Roddick broke for a 5-4 advantage. “I like to confuse and conquer sometimes,” Roddick joked of his first-set lapse. “I didn’t feel like I was hitting the ball that badly, but he played really well. “The biggest part of the match was the first couple of games of the second set, where I didn’t want to let him keep rolling ... to stop the momentum early in the second.” Soon after his singles win yesterday, he joined James Blake for a doubles semifinal, but the American pair lost 6-4, 3-6, 13-11 to Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Marc Gicquel. The French duo will meet topseeded Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes in today’s doubles final. — AP

HONG KONG: Maria Sharapova of Russia serves during the match against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the Hong Kong Tennis Classic 2010 yesterday. — AP

Sharapova prevails over Wozniacki in Hong Kong HONG KONG: Russian Maria Sharapova continued her march to the Australian Open yesterday, sweeping rising Danish teenager Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 6-3 in a Hong Kong exhibition match. Wozniacki, ranked fourth in the world, initially had Sharapova on the back foot with several blistering cross court winners. But Sharapova’s powerful serve and groundstrokes helped her get the better of the 19-year-old Dane, who lost to American Venus Williams earlier in the week. Sharapova, 22, who has been recovering from a shoulder injury that sidelined her for part of last year, also beat China’s Zheng Jie this week in a come-frombehind victory at the Hong Kong Tennis Classic. “It’s a great field... a good test for the Australian Open,” Sharapova said

of the exhibition tournament. But she remained circumspect about her chances at the first Grand Slam of the season, which starts January 18. “Whether I have a good feeling or not, you never know the future,” she told reporters after her match. Still, the two wins are good news for the former world number one, who is now ranked 14, after she crashed out of Beijing in October in a third-round loss to China’s Peng Shuai. The Russian three-time Grand Slam winner had arthroscopic surgery on her right shoulder, and was out of action until May last year. The Hong Kong tournament features four teams with three players each-representing Russia, Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific — in singles and mixed doubles play. — AFP

Roddick to skip 2010 Davis Cup BRISBANE: Andy Roddick won’t play Davis Cup in 2010, hoping to avoid more knee problems by cutting down on the number of times he changes court surfaces. “I’m not playing Davis Cup this year,” Roddick said after beating Richard Gasquet of France in the quarterfinals of the Brisbane International. “I’m not retiring from Davis Cup.” The 27-year-old Roddick injured his left knee last October, and the Australian Open warmup in Brisbane is his first tournament back. Trainers have told him that his knee would be in better shape if he didn’t shuttle between different types of courts. “At this point, we felt it was smartest in terms of long-term health,” Roddick said. “It certainly wasn’t an easy decision.” The United States is scheduled to play Serbia on March 5-7 on indoor clay in Belgrade. The Web site said James Blake had also withdrawn from the match in Serbia in a report quoting United States captain Patrick McEnroe. Blake declined an interview request from The Associated Press. Roddick, after partnering Blake in a doubles semifinal loss at Brisbane yesterday, said they’d independently made up their minds. “It’s not a group decision,” he said. Roddick has played 22 Davis Cup matches, including the 2007 final win over Russia, and is 31-11 in singles. He is ranked No 7 but has been as high as No 1, and has been the leading singles player for the United States for most of his Davis Cup career. Blake was also a member of the 2007 winning team. He has an 18-11 record in singles and 3-1 in doubles in 17 Davis Cup matches dating back to 2001. Roddick said he made himself unavailable for the Davis Cup season because he couldn’t commit to the best-of-five series in Serbia. “I’m not going to be one of the guys who plays when it’s convenient, when it’s close to home and when it’s good for him health-wise,” he said. “My view has always been you decide at the beginning of the year if you’re going to go through everything or not.” Roddick said McEnroe had accepted his decision. “We’ll re-evaluate for next year,” Roddick said. “We’re open and honest and the lines of communications were never hazy. He’s been great through the whole process.” Roddick went 6-0 in singles during the winning 2007 campaign the United States’ first since 1995 - and lists that along with his 2003 US Open title among his career highlights. But he’s also eager to add to his one Grand Slam title. Since 2003, he has reached the finals of four other majors, including last year’s epic defeat by Roger Federer at Wimbledon when he lost 16-14 in the fifth set. His absence will create a void for the United States, which finished

BRISBANE: Andy Roddick of the United States throws his racket in his semi final match against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic at the Brisbane International tennis tournament yesterday. — AP last year with only eight others in the top 100: Sam Querrey (25), John Isner (34), Blake (44), Mardy Fish (55), Taylor Dent (76), Rajeev Ram (79), Michael Russell (83) and Robby Ginepri (100). Roddick said the US team would cope with the absence of its two senior players. “It used to be like that all the time. Luckily it hasn’t been that way in a decade,” he said. “I’m confident that Sam can fill in. He’s top 25. John’s top 35 and Mardy is another option - he’s played a lot of Davis Cup. They’re certainly capable of stepping in.” Citing a right hip flexor injury, Roddick pulled out of the quarterfinals in Croatia last July and the Americans lost 3-2 with Blake and Fish playing the opening singles matches. Blake injured his toe in one of his two singles losses, sidelining him from the tour for a while. Roddick said when he hurt his knee in Shanghai in October, he knew he’d have to cut the workload and would be doubtful in Davis Cup this season. “When my knee was bad, I pretty much knew. But I was trying to hold on,” Roddick said. “Sometimes you have to listen to your body and do what’s smart even if it’s not an easy decision to make in the short term.” — AP


Sunday, January 10, 2010


Aberdeen shatter Hearts’ Cup hopes GLASGOW: Aberdeen moved into the Scottish Cup fifth round with a clinical 2-0 win over Hearts yesterday. Goals from Darren Mackie and Lee Miller in the second half at Pittodrie were enough to seal the victory for Mark McGhee’s side and end Hearts’ five-match unbeaten run. It was Aberdeen’s first home win since November and they were rarely troubled by a lackluster Hearts team. Mackie broke the deadlock in the 60th minute with his first goal for the Dons since February 2009. Peter Pawlett released Lee Miller with an intelligent pass and the striker clipped the ball past the onrushing Marian Kello for Mackie to shoot home. Chris Maguire, who had come on as a replacement for Paul Marshall just minutes earlier, created Aberdeen’s second when his deep cross to the far post was slotted home by Miller in the 76th minute. Although McGhee was delighted to see Mackie end his goal-drought, the Dons boss admitted he had been hoping for the match to be called off because so many of his defenders were injured and suspended. McGhee said: “I spent Friday night waking up every two hours almost wishing for snow because I thought that I was going to be without Maurice Ross and Charlie Mulgrew as well as Andrew Considine. “But last week Darren led

the line on his own brilliantly at Dundee United and he carried on his work-rate here. “He is a player who comes under pressure from the home fans but I got the feeling that everyone was pleased for him. I certainly hope he gets another one before next year.” Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo added: “We weren’t very lucky in the draw to get Aberdeen away from home and we also had the problem of missing several key players. “I

Scottish League am not angry at my young players as they tried their best but this is not enough. “They must also show the will and the fighting spirit but this is a good learning process for them. This was a very painful defeat. “There is a film with Tom Cruise called Mission Impossible - I try to make it possible. “As long as I feel I have the power I stay positive and I keep fighting.” The Pittodrie clash was one of only five Cup fixtures to survive the snowy conditions in Scotland. Celtic’s clash at Morton was postponed as were nine other matches including Kilmarnock v Falkirk and Inverness v Motherwell. Rangers’ trip to Hamilton today is still scheduled to go ahead. In

the other matches that beat the freeze, Hibernian avoided a shock as they cruised past Irvine Meadow 3-0 at Easter Road. Irvine, who beat Arbroath in November to set up the first ever cup clash between an SPL and Junior level side, hadn’t played a competitive match for more than a month. It showed as Derek Riordan put Hibs ahead in the 32nd minute when his shot deflected in off Alexander Ryan. Merouane Zemmama increased Hibernian’s lead in the 42nd minute before Paul Hanlon added the third goal in the 59th minute. Irvine Chief Chris Strain saluted his side’s effort and said: “The boys will now look at that and say, ‘We could maybe take a step up’.” Hibs boss John Hughes added: “Junior sides are always well-organized, resolute. They were flying the flag for the juniors, they were competing very well, their supporters were fantastic, and they made a right good game of it. “Let’s give them all the credit; we were on a hiding to nothing.” Elsewhere, Dundee United won 2-0 at Partick thanks to goals from Damian Casalinuovo and David Goodwillie, Dunfermline thrashed Stenhousemuir 7-1 and St Mirren beat Alloa 3-1. —AFP

Boyd seeks to make Cup win academical GLASGOW: Rangers striker Kris Boyd is looking forward to adding to his impressive goal tally against Hamilton in the Scottish Cup today- if their fourth round clash can beat the big freeze. The wintry weather conditions gripping Scotland have already claimed eight of this weekend’s ties, including Rangers Old Firm rivals Celtic’s away trip to Morton. Five games remain but pitch inspections are scheduled for all these games although public safety fears involving surrounding roads and stadium infrastructure could bring a halt to any proceedings. One of those games still on is the tie at New Douglas Park between Hamilton and Rangers. Rangers have won the previous two Scottish Cup finals and prolific striker Boyd has played a major part in these successes, including two goals in the 2008 final against Queen of the South. Hamilton was the scene of one of Rangers biggest Scottish Cup shocks in January 1987 when the then First Division club knocked them out of the competition. But Boyd, who has scored eight times in six appearances against Billy Reid’s side, aims to shoot Rangers to victory today as they aim to make it three Scottish Cup wins in a row. “It’s always nice to do well in the cups and in the past two or three years we have managed to do that,” Boyd said. “Losing to Celtic in the League Cup in March last year has been our only disappointment really. “It’s good to finish any season with a win in the Scottish Cup at Hampden. “But to reach any final you have to beat a lot of good teams along the way and this weekend we will give Hamilton the

respect they deserve. “It will probably be their cup final coming up against Rangers and they will make it difficult for us. “But if we go to New Douglas Park and perform the way we can I am confident we can progress to the next round.” The tie of the day is the all SPL tie between Aberdeen and Hearts. Just three points and one place separate the two teams in the league although Hearts have played two games more than their hosts. Hearts are in fine form and are unbeaten in seven games but Aberdeen are on a high after a win over Dundee United last week. Dundee United face the trip to Firhill to take on Partick Thistle but are unlikely to have Pat Fenlon at the helm for the match unless they agree compensation with Irish outfit Bohemians. Junior side Irvine Meadow are desperate for their match against SPL highfliers Hibernian at Easter Road to go ahead in what will be one of the biggest games ever for them. Also today First Division side Dunfermline Athletic take on Stenhousemuir and St Mirren face Alloa Athletic. A frozen pitch put paid to Celtic’s trip to Morton. The game has been rearranged for Tuesday but with freezing conditions expected to continue into next week there is another pitch inspection scheduled for tomorrow. Wintry weather conditions also claimed Albion Rovers’ tie against Stirling Albion, Ayr United v Brechin City, Edinburgh City v Montrose, Forfar Athletic v St Johnstone, Inverness CT v Motherwell, Livingston v Dundee, Raith Rovers v Airdrie United, Ross County v Inverurie Locos and the all SPL clash between Kilmarnock and Falkirk. — AFP

Qadsiya beat Salmiya in Kuwait football league KUWAIT: Qadsiya continued winning streak in Kuwait’s Football League yesterday after beating Salmiya at home with two clean goals in the fifth round of the league, which also saw a 1-1 draw between Al-Arabi and Al-Kuwait. Qadsiya scored a goal in the 61st minute by its Syrian international Feras Al-Khatib, and striker Ahmad Ajab second the second goal in the 91st minute. The game started with Qadsiya and national team striker Bader Al-Mutawa wasting a valuable scoring opportunity. In the other match, Al-Kuwait lead the game by one goal secured by Brazilian Karika, but AlArabia equalized by Khaled Khalaf who has just

returned from injury. Al-Kuwait’s Jarrah AlAteeqi and Fahad Awadh received red cards and were ejected from the match. Qadsiya is leading the table with 15 points out of five wins. Each of Kazma, Al-Naser and Al-Kuwait teams has seven points. Al-Salmiya comes in fifth place with five points, and Al-Arabi follows with four points. AlTathamun has only one point, which leaves Sulaibikhat at the bottom of the table with no points. Fifth round continues with two games will be played today between Al-Naser and Kazma, and between Al-Tathamun and Sulaibikhat. — KUNA

Todayʼs matches on TV (local timings) English Premier League West Ham United v Wanderers.......16:30 Premiere Analog ShowSports 1 ShowSports 2 Italian League Napoli v Sampdoria.........................17:00 Aljazeera Sport +1 Bologna v Cagliari.........................17:00 Aljazeera Sport +4 Livorno v Parma.............................17:00 Aljazeera Sport +5 Fiorentina v AS Bari.......................17:00 Aljazeera Sport +7 Genoa v Catania..............................17:00 Aljazeera Sport +10 Juventus v AC Milan.......................22:45 Aljazeera Sport +1

Spanish League Deportivo La Coruna v Osasuna......19:00 Aljazeera Sport +6 Xerez CD v Valencia.......................19:00 Aljazeera Sport +5 Sporting Gijon v Getafe...................19:00 Aljazeera Sport +2 Real Madrid CF v Real Mallorca.......21:00 Aljazeera Sport +2 CD Tenerife v FC Barcelona..........23:00 Aljazeera Sport +2 French Cup Paris Saint v Evian ........................22:45 Aljazeera Sport +4 African Nations Cup Angola v Mali ................................19:00 Aljazeera Sport +9

SEVILLE: Sevilla’s forward Enrique Carreno (left) vies with Racing Santander’s Brazilian defender Henrique (right) during their Spanish league football match at Sanchez Pizjuan yesterday. — AFP

Atletico Madrid thump Valladolid 4-0 Sergio Canales leads Racing Santander to 2-1 win over Sevilla MADRID: Jose Antonio Reyes scored a goal and set up another as Atletico Madrid bounced back from an embarrassing midweek defeat with a 4-0 victory at Valladolid yesterday. Reyes found Jose Manuel Jurado for the 16th minute opener before the former Arsenal winger sent a low shot through a crowd for the third in the 58th. Diego Forlan scored from a break in the 32nd and late substitute Sergio Aguero completed the rout in the 90th as Atletico rallied from Wednesday’s 3-0 Copa del Rey loss to second-division Recreativo Huelva. “I’m very happy my players reacted,” coach Quique Sanchez Flores said. “We played with intelligence.” Sanchez Flores, who publicly lambasted his play-

ers following the midweek loss, said his team needed to build on its most complete performance of the season. “We couldn’t continue playing as badly as we have been playing,” he said. “We’ve got

Spanish League good players who will grow in confidence after this win and who will take advantage going forward.” Meanwhile, teenage midfielder Sergio Canales showed why he is being coveted by clubs across Europe after scoring both goals to lead Racing Santander to a 2-1 win over Sevilla, which was without several regulars due to injury and Africa Cup of

Nations duty. Impressive buildup play put Canales clear through on goal in the 26th and the 18-year-old forward calmly strode into the area before lobbing goalkeeper Andres Palop. Canales then showed excellent control in the 38th, using a stepover to go past Palop before cutting back to score again, his fourth goal of the season. Real Madrid, Sevilla and several English clubs are reportedly interested in the Spain Under-19 international. Ndri Romaric scored in the 63rd as Sevilla rallied but Racing goalkeeper Fabio Coltorti ensured Racing’s victory by diving to keep Adriano’s swerving shot out in injury time as the Andalucian club’s title hopes continued to flounder

following a third straight defeat. Barcelona tops the table with 40 points, Real Madrid has 38, Valencia 32 and Mallorca and Sevilla have 30. Atletico moved away from the drop zone with a second straight win and is now on 20 points, Racing has 19 and Valladolid 16 three above the relegation zone - after a second straight loss. Today, Spanish leader Barcelona plays at Tenerife after Madrid, which welcomes playmaker Kaka back from injury, welcomes Mallorca to the Santiago Bernabeu. In today’s other games, it’s: Xerez v Valencia; Sporting Gijon v Getafe; Espanyol v Zaragoza; Deportivo v Osasuna; and Malaga v Athletic Bilbao. — AP

Ten-man Roma endure Chievo to go fourth ROME: AS Roma survived the 11th-minute sending off of goalkeeper Doni to beat a woeful Chievo 1-0 and move up to fourth in Serie A yesterday. Daniele De Rossi scored the only goal of the game in the opening minute as former Italy striker Luca Toni made his debut following his loan move from Bayern Munich. Coach Claudio Ranieri paid tribute to his new striker, who was only replaced late on due to tiredness. “I hoped that Toni would be as ready as this for the commitment of a match, he played well and was a great help to us,” he said. “With 11 against 11 he would have run less but even so he managed to keep us high up the pitch, he created the chance for a penalty, he fought hard and won many battles.” But that

Italian League Roma managed to dominate a match in which they played almost 80 minutes with a numerical disadvantage said more about Chievo’s ineptitude than their own ability. However, Ranieri was relieved not to see the same late collapse that saw them lose a 2-0 lead in injury time away to Cagliari in midweek. “We got very tense but it’s useless to remember that. Today, given what happened in Sardinia, we reacted well and stayed concentrated right until the final whistle.” They were off to a flying start as De Rossi headed home David Pizarro’s corner in the first minute. Four minutes later Toni should have opened his Roma account but he flicked Rodrigo Taddei’s inch-perfect cross wide of the near post when it seemed easier to hit the target. Roma seemed to have shot themselves in the foot on 11 minutes when centre-backs Juan and Nicolas Burdisso left a gaping hole for Elvis Abbruscato to steam through onto Luca Rigoni’s through ball. Doni, who was only in the side after Julio Sergio was ruled out just before kick-off, came charging out of his box and blocked Abbruscato’s chip with his arm, earning a straight red card. Even so, the visitors created little and De Rossi curled a free-kick inches past the post on 25 minutes while three minutes later Toni failed to get a touch on John Arne Riise’s fizzing volleyed cross from just a few yards out. — AFP

ROME: AS Roma forward Luca Toni (left) fights for the ball with a Chievo Verona’s Colombian Mario Alberto Yepes during their Serie A football match at Olympic Stadium. — AFP

Kuwait shooters persist dominating Arab championship

From hosting to winning: Africa targets World Cup

KUWAIT: Kuwait shooters continued dominance of the 9th Arab Shooting Championship yesterday, adding two gold medals, one day before the tournament came to a close. Kuwait female junior team-Ghezlan Ali, Mai Rizouqi and Hawra’ Jassem- won the gold in the 10M air-pistol competitions. Ghezlan Ali clinched the gold medal, her second, after winning the 10M air-pistol individual competitions beating her teammate Mai Rizouqi. Qatari Nasra Mahmoud came third. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) junior team won the gold in the 10M air-rifle event-both at teams and individual categories-beating Qatar who came second. Libya was third. The Iraqi juniors won teams and individual competitions in the 10M air-pistol shoot-outs. Kuwait has 15 gold medals and is leading the table. It is followed by Qatar and then the UAE.— KUNA

JOHANNESBURG: Now that an African country has won the right to host the World Cup, the next step is for one of the continent’s best teams to win the trophy. Whether or not that day will come on July 11 in South Africa is uncertain, but some certainly think the opportunity is there for the taking. “When I say this people laugh, but I believe it,” former Ghana great Abedi Pele said. “But here in Africa we will definitely have one team that will go far and when I say go far, I mean as far as getting the trophy.” Including host South Africa, the continent will have six teams competing at the World Cup this year against traditional powers like Brazil, Italy and Germany. But not all Africans think Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Algeria can win this time around. Former African Footballer of the Year Patrick Mboma of Cameroon is skeptical because of the nature of African football management. “You are forgetting that these players hail from African soccer federations, hence there is a lot of disorganization,” Mboma said. “That’s why Africa will always fall short of

glory.” Former England coach Steve McClaren, however, believes it’s just a matter of time before it finally happens. “In the future, an African team can win the World Cup,” McClaren said. “Whether that will be World Cup 2010, it is hard to predict.” Five of the six World Cup qualifiers will get a chance to showcase their ability at this month’s African Cup of Nations in Angola. Players including Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba and midfielder Michael Essien, and Cameroon forward Samuel Eto’o will be representing their countries at the 16-team tournament. South Africa failed to qualify. African teams have never before reached the semifinals at a World Cup, but Cameroon made the quarterfinals in 1990 and Senegal matched that in 2002. “The Africans should be taken seriously when they talk about winning the World Cup,” Eto’o said in an interview with France Football magazine. “When I see our team, I don’t understand why we cannot aspire on winning in South Africa. “Our players are not less than the players of Brazil, Argentina, Spain or France. We should not feel inferior.” — AP

United scrape Birmingham draw Dann’s own goal makes Fergie happy Man Utd


Birmingham 1 BIRMINGHAM: Alex McLeish came desperately close to inflicting a defeat upon former manager Sir Alex Ferguson as Birmingham City drew 1-1 at home to English champions Manchester United here yesterday. Victory would have seen United go top of the Premier League, with leaders Chelsea not in action this weekend after their match against Hull was one of several fixtures to fall victim to the freezing conditions affecting Britain. The result was made worse for United by the sight of Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher being sent-off late on at St Andrews. Cameron Jerome put Birmingham, now a club record 12 top-flight games unbeaten, ahead in the 39th minute before Scott Dann’s second-half owngoal prevented the Blues from beating United for the first time in 31 years. McLeish, who played in the trophy-winning Aberdeen side of the early 1980s managed by Ferguson, claimed before kick-off his former boss had mellowed with age and no longer threw too many tea-cups. But it would have been no surprise if the floor of the visitors’ dressing room had been covered in shards of pottery at half-time after what must have been the worst 45 minutes produced by a United side in several years. If Ferguson was less than impressed with the performance of his team in the shock FA Cup defeat by third-tier Leeds seven days earlier, this was worse when you consider the Scot had ripped up the start-

BIRMINGHAM: Birmingham City’s Scottish forward James McFadden (right) challenges Manchester United’s Ecuador midfielder Antonio Valencia during their English Premier League football match at St Andrews yesterday. — AFP ing XI from Old Trafford and made no fewer than seven changes in an attempt to correct what he hoped a mere blip.

United were fortunate to only be a solitary goal behind at the break, after an insipid 45 minutes which highlighted how

ineffective the champions can be without Cristiano Ronaldo. The visitors created just one clear chance when Joe Hart saved

uncertainly, Nadal imposed a flatterhitting, earlier-taken, more enterprising attack which he had been employing previously this week, and had romped through seven games without reply. When Davydenko began to play more as he had against Roger Federer in the semi-finals, taking the initiative wherever possible, hitting stridently and if necessary finishing the rally in the forecourt, Nadal fought back aggressively from 3-5 down, and looked odds on to close the match out in the tie-break. On one of his match points, at 6-5, Davydenko played just too well, but on the second, at 8-7, Nadal earned himself a relatively pressure-free hit on the forehand from inside the baseline and unaccountably put it into the net. Once he had also let slip an early break of serve in the final set, Nadal’s lack of confidence, born from injury, a long sequence without a title, and doubts about his future, began to reveal itself. He retreated more often into what he knew best - the style in which he contains his opponent’s attacks from several feet behind the baseline, relying on mobility, tenacity, and changeof-paced winners from counter-hitting positions. —AFP

DOHA: Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko (right) receives the winner’s trophy from Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad AlThani, the Qatari Emir’s son (left), while the head of Qatar’s Tennis Federation Nasser Al-Khulaifa (center) applauds following the Russian champion’s victory over Spanish world number two Rafael Nadal in the ATP Qatar Open final yesterday. — AFP

African Nations Cup teams worried, but show goes on LUANDA: Teams at the African Nations Cup expressed deep unease over Friday’s deadly attack on Togo but backed the decision to continue with the competition despite the tragic build-up to today’s opening game. Paul Le Guen, coach of Cameroon, one of the favorites for the title, said yesterday: “I am a little concerned. It’s not worth losing your life for football.” Cameroon are playing all their first round games in Lubango in the south of the country, away from the troubled northern enclave of Cabinda where hooded gunmen from the separatist Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) attacked the Togo team buses killing a driver and injuring nine others. “We aren’t playing in the same region. It happened in the north and we’ll be based in the south. We’ll be far

away from the Cabinda province,” Le Guen told France’s Infosport. Despite the machinegun ambush, Nations Cup teams like Malawi were ploughing on with their preparations. Malawi are due to open their Cup campaign against Algeria tomorrow, and they held an early morning training session in Luanda, where they are based for the first round, as scheduled. Afterwards Eduardo Gama, the team’s media officer, told AFP: “We are of course concerned with what has happened to the Togo team, and we have held talks with our federation’s president about security. “We have asked for our security to be increased to ensure the players’ safety during the tournament. “It’s fair to say our players are worried but I can assure our fans that we are convinced nothing will happen to us while we are in Angola. “There is no

Birmingham’s relentless endeavor and determination to frustrate United deserved some kind of tangible reward just 24

hours after McLeish collected the poisoned chalice of the manager of the month award for December and it came six min-

Big freeze truncates English Premiership

‘Mr Invisible’ Davydenko stuns Nadal in Qatar Open DOHA: Rafael Nadal, who not so long ago was dominating the men’s tour, is still without a title for more than eight months after an astonishing defeat in the final of the Qatar Open here yesterday. Nadal failed to convert two second set match points in a 0-6, 7-6 (10/8), 64 loss to Nikolay Davydenko - known as ‘Mr Invisible’ - which will once again raise the question whether he has the confidence to fight his way back to the pinnacle. Little more than a week before he begins the defence of his Australian Open title, Nadal also let slip a 3-1 final set lead, and retreated into more defensive and containing patterns which contributed significantly to the courageous Davydenko revival. “Maybe I needed to be a bit more calm,” Nadal said about the second match point which got away. “But probably that’s because I have not won a tournament for so many months.” “In this tournament I came back to play my best tennis for a long time,” claimed Nadal, making the best of his disappointment. “Anyway I lost. He played unbelievable tennis - he was just better.” For three-quarters of an hour this had looked impossible. During that phase the Russian began

superbly at the feet of Wayne Rooney, following Antonio Valencia’s 30-yard diagonal pass.

utes before the interval. Lee Bowyer’s sheer will to beat Rafael to James McFadden’s corner underlined United’s tentative defensive work and that was compounded when Johnny Evans instinctively stuck out a leg and diverted the ball directly into the path of Jerome, five yards out and the striker accepted the gift for his fifth goal of the campaign. But for the poor awareness and execution of Ecuador striker Christian Benitez, Jerome could have doubled the lead moments later after his partner was unable to find the correct pass in a two-on-one situation. Whatever Ferguson said during the interval appeared to go unheeded and only a fine save from Tomas Kuszczak prevented Benitez from putting Birmingham 2-0 in front. It was a key turning point and United, without finding any fluency, somehow managed to fashion an equalizer. Even then they needed the assistance of the unfortunate Dann, who did not deserve to be the victim, after a sterling performance alongside Roger Johnson at the heart of the Blues’ defense. Patrice Evra fizzed a centre back across the goal, after Johnson and Bowyer had thrown themselves into blocks on the edge of their own area. Dann instinctively stuck out a leg to prevent the cross reaching Rooney at the far post but succeeded only in turning the ball beyond Hart and into his own net. It was one of the few things that went right for Ferguson in a worrying performance so soon after the Leeds debacle and United’s display was summed up when Fletcher - already booked for a crude challenge on Bowyer - was dismissed by referee Mark Clatternburg for a second yellow card after a foul on Jerome three minutes from time. —AFP

question of us leaving, we feel welcome in this country.” Togo, featuring Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor, are holding crisis talks yesterday which may well result in their pulling out of the 2010 Nations Cup. “I think a lot of players want to leave,” Adebayor told BBC Radio Five Live in Britain early yesterday. “If the security is not sure then we will be leaving today... I don’t think they will be ready to give their life.” A Togo pull-out will leave only Ghana, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso in Cabinda. Cup organizers the Confederation of African Football (CAF) were due to make a statement later yesterday on the worrying security situation after emergency talks between Angola’s Prime Minister Paulo Kassoma and CAF president Issa Haytou.— AFP

LONDON: The freezing conditions sweeping Britain have forced the postponement of seven matches in the English Premiership this weekend with today’s game between West Ham and Wolves the latest to go. Earlier yesterday’s match between Wigan and Aston Villa was also called off after under-soil heating at Wigan’s DW Stadium failed Friday and engineers were unable to fix the problem by the time referee Stuart Atwell made an early morning pitch inspection yesterday at the north-west ground. Atwell deemed the surface unplayable, following overnight frost. Friday saw several postponements, with yesterday’s scheduled Premier League matches between Burnley and Stoke, Fulham and Portsmouth, Hull and Chelsea and Sunderland and Bolton, as well as today’s fixture between Liverpool and Tottenham, called off. In all five cases the pitches were playable but concerns over issues such as iced-up streets surrounding grounds which pose a safety risk for supporters led clubs, who generally follow advice from local police in making a decision, to call off the games. Tomorrow’s encounter between Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers was still unaffected by last afternoon. Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said: “We are devastated because the club has worked so hard in these freak weather conditions to make the area surrounding the stadium safe. “The pitch has never been the problem, until now.” With much of Britain blanketed in thick snow, almost half this weekend’s fixtures in England’s lower divisions have been called off and only a handful of matches have survived in Scotland. All English Premier League clubs are required to have under-soil heating. But some question what is the point of installing the expensive systems, which make grounds playable in conditions that would once have been deemed unsafe, if matches are still going to be postponed for reasons beyond the clubs’ control, as has happened with most of this weekend’s fixtures. Clubs are increasingly keen to make early decisions on call-offs for fear some supporters may have already embarked on long journeys, as happened to Bolton fans who had travelled to London for a midweek match at Arsenal, only for the game to be postponed in late afternoon. Nevertheless, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels matches are being called off too easily. “Personally I know only the inside of the stadiums - I don’t know the surroundings well enough, but I must say it is the price we pay for living in a society where everybody wants 100 percent security,” Wenger said Friday. “Nobody accepts any risk anymore and everybody is always guided by fear,” the Frenchman added. “If one of 60,000 people has an accident, you feel very guilty and nobody accepts anymore that the slightest insecurity could exist in our society and that is why the games are postponed when there is no real need for it.” —AFP

LONDON: Arsenal’s William Gallas (second left) tries to get the ball past Everton’s keeper Tim Howard during their English Premier League soccer match at the Emirates stadium yesterday. — AP

Arsenal draw with Everton as snow decimates round Rosicky strikes in stoppage time to earn 2-2 draw Arsenal 2

Everton 2 LONDON: Arsenal scored from two deflected shots to draw 2-2 with Everton yesterday in one of two Premier League matches to survive the deep freeze gripping England. Everton had led twice at Emirates Stadium, but goalkeeper Tim Howard was wrong-footed by Leon Osman inadvertently diverting Denilson’s shot in the first half and Lucas Neill changing the course of Tomas Rosicky’s strike in the 90th minute. “It was close at times to being 3-1 but we managed to bring it back to 2-2,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. “That was down to our tremendous spirit that we were able to claim a

point.” While Everton remained in the bottom half of the standings, third-place Arsenal squandered a chance to rise above Chelsea and Manchester United, which was at Birmingham in the late match. Five of yesterday’s seven scheduled topflight matches including Chelsea’s trip to Hull were postponed, while the two matches set for today also fell victim to the coldest temperatures for more than 30 years in Britain. Everton gave Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan a chance to make his debut after arriving to start his 10-week loan spell. The American provided the corner that was headed home in the 12th minute by Osman, who gifted Arsenal an equalizer in the 28th. Denilson charged down a clearance, and the ball fell to Andrei Arshavin on the edge of the penalty area. Arshavin fed Eduardo da Silva, who touched a pass back to Denilson and his low strike deflected off Osman past

Howard. As snow continued to blow around the stadium, Donovan came close to restoring Everton’s lead at the start of the second half. Donovan weaved into the penalty area, but his curling shot drifted wide. Everton striker Louis Saha also had a long-range attempt deflected wide. Everton, which replaced Donovan with Diniyar Bilyaletdinov in the 68th, went ahead again in the 81st when Steven Pienaar raced on to a pass from Tim Cahill and chipped goalkeeper Manuel Almunia. James Vaughan could have given Everton a two-goal cushion when clean through but Almunia saved his shot - and Rosicky later grabbed the fortunate leveler for Arsenal. “We played really well and deserved a victory,” Everton manager David Moyes said. “We had better chances than Arsenal and a lot of possession - we deserved more than a point.” — AP

Employment and salary trends in Gulf

Costa Coffee to open 50 stores in Kuwait


After positive start, Wall St eyes retail data, earnings



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Arabtec says Aabar to acquire 70% stake DUBAI: Dubai-based Arabtec confirmed yesterday that Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments is looking to finalize a deal on Jan 13 to acquire a 70 percent stake in the company for $1.7 billion. Aabar said on Friday it intended to buy the stake through convertible bonds, which would provide both cash and potential new contracts for the Dubai construction giant. “Aabar Investments PJSC and Dubai’s Arabtec Holdings PJSC have agreed for Aabar to acquire 70 percent of the shares in Arabtec by way of a convertible mandatory bond...,” Arabtec said in an emailed statement. Formal discussions between the firms began Jan. 4, the company said. Finalizing the deal depends on completing legal diligence by January 13, the approval of Arabtec’s shareholders and obtaining regulatory approvals, it added. Arabtec said the acquisition will “further consolidate” its position in the market. Credit Suisse, which has a target price of 3.33 dirhams for shares of Arabtec, said in a note that Aabar would give a welcome cash injection to Arabtec through the deal, and could help provide new contracts for it in Abu Dhabi. Aabar, the non-energy investment arm of Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund IPIC, is German carmaker Daimler’s largest shareholder. There had been market rumors since late December regarding a possible investment by Aabar in Arabtec but both firms had denied there had been any deal. Arabtec-which has ventured into new markets such as Russia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia as the global downturn hit business at home in Dubai-has said it will turn its main focus to other locations including Abu Dhabi where it won contracts last year. The real estate and construction focus in the United Arab Emirates has been shifting to Abu Dhabi from Dubai and the latter emirate’s debt crisis may intensify the move. The crisis, sparked by Dubai’s Nov. 25 request to delay repayment on $26 billion in debt for six months, is expected to delay the recovery for the UAE’s real estate sector. In mid-December Abu Dhabi lent Dubai $10 billion to meet debt obligations and stave off a bond default by state-linked developer Nakheel. — Reuters

$1.7bn deal may be sealed by Jan 13

OSAKA: An Tanaka Kikinzoku Jewelry employee looks at a pure gold made statue of ‘Ebisu’, 40cm tall and weighing 15kg, one of seven popular gods looked upon for good fortune, at the company’s showroom in Osaka, western Japan. The statue was produced for the Toka-Ebisu festival with a price of 80 million yen ($870,000). —AFP

Saudi Herfy to raise $110.2m from Jan IPO RIYADH: Herfy Food Services Co, the Saudi replica of fast-food chains McDonald’s and Burger King, plans to raise 413.1 million riyals ($110.2 million) from an initial public offering starting next week, the firm said yesterday. The company will sell 8.1 million shares, or 30 percent of its capital, at 51 riyals each, over the January 11-17 period, it said in its listing prospectus. Proceeds of the sale will go to Herfy’s sharehold-

Foreign firms revise bids for Saudi Kayan’s plant KHOBAR: Four international firms, including the US’ Fluor Corp, submitted yesterday revised bids to build a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia, sources said. South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering and Construction, Daelim Industrial Co and Taiwan’s CTCI also bid for the 210,000 ton per year (tpy) amines plant, being developed by Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Co. The contract is expected to be awarded by the end of February, an industry source told Reuters. The amines plant was one of two projects Kayan retendered. The other project was for a low density polyethylene plant. Kayan, a unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), signed in December a preliminary agreement with Daelim to build the low density polyethylene plant. The main units of the mega complex located in Jubail, on the Gulf coast are expected to start operations in the second half of 2010. The complex will have an annual production capacity of 6 million tons of petrochemicals including ethylene, propylene and ethylene glycol from 16 plants. — Reuters

ers, it said, adding: “Herfy will not get any part of the IPO’s proceeds.” The firm was set up in 1981 by USeducated businessman Ahmed Al-Said who was inspired by “the fast-food craze then sweeping the world”, according to its website. In 1998, Savola Group — the Middle East’s biggest edible oil manufacturer and sugar refiner-became among Herfy’s shareholders. Savola’s stake in Herfy will decrease to 47.6 percent after the IPO from the current 68 per-

cent or by about 5.51 million shares while that of its founder Ahmad al-Said will decline to 20.3 percent from 29 percent or by about 2.35 million shares, the prospectus showed. Proceeds from the IPO are expected to boost Savola’s earnings during the first quarter. By mid-June last year, Herfy had 184 restaurants in Saudi Arabia and 12 others in Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. It also owns 16 bakery

production units as well as one meat-processing plant. Its net profit in 2008 rose to 91.3 million riyals from 61.6 million riyals a year earlier, while turnover increased to 466.5 million riyals from 375 million riyals in 2007. During the first half of 2009, Herfy made a net profit of 55.1 million riyals on sales of 254.6 million riyals, up from respectively 43.9 million riyals and 226.7 million riyals during the year-earlier period. — Reuters

Worst of economic downturn may be over: S Africa’s Zuma JOHANNESBURG: There are signs South Africa is recovering from the worst effects of the global economic crisis, but the revival will likely be slow and job-creation will lag, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday. Zuma was addressing tens of thousands of supporters gathered in Kimberly, about 380 km (236 miles) south west of Johannesburg for the 98th anniversary of the ANC party’s creation. “There are some indications that we may be recovering from the worst of the (global) crisis but this recovery may be slow and perhaps even temporary,” he said in a speech broadcast on SABC. Zuma sought, however, to lessen the expectations of his supporters that new jobs will created soon. “It should also be expected that the creation of new jobs on a massive scale will lag behind the economic recovery,” he said. A survey conducted by Ipsos Markinor between October and November 2009 showed the ANC had consolidated its support after narrowly failing to achieve a two-third majority in last year’s election, with support of 71 percent of eligible voters. The party drew most of its support from the ranks of the unemployed with more than two-thirds (67 percent) of their supporters jobless. The poll, published yesterday, found Zuma’s approval rating has increased since he took office to a mean of 7.6 from 6.1 on the scale of 10, the most notable increases in minority racial groups such as Indians and whites. Zuma assured his supporters that the ANC was still committed to its target of creating 4 million jobs by 2014, providing quality healthcare and ending corruption and crime. Zuma is under pressure to deliver on election promises made last year, including drastically reducing unemployment which stands at about 25 percent after last year’s recession slashed nearly one million jobs. Due to the economic downturn, Zuma was unable to meet his pledge of creating 500,000 new jobs last year. The ANC government also faces pressure to improve basic services. Riots erupted in several poor townships across the country last year as residents protested over the lack of running water and electricity. Zuma said relations with the ANC’s alliance partners, labor federation COSATU and the South African Communist Party, had improved. “We consult each other and work together on key issues and programs that affect our people. However, much more needs to be done to improve the alliance relations at national and sub-national levels,” he said. The alliance has been suffering from growing infighting, mainly over policy, which threatens to change the make-up of the alliance that helped end apartheid. The communists and unions, who helped bring Zuma into power last May, want economic policies to shift to the left and Africa’s biggest economy to abandon a pro-business stance which has endeared it to investors. — Reuters

High prices wipe shine off old Dhaka’s gold bazaar DHAKA: Every morning, before Dhaka’s goldsmiths open their shops in the city’s historic Tanti bazaar, Shahabuddin climbs into the sewers under the alleyways to pan for scraps of discarded gold. When bullion began its record-breaking rally in 2008, the tiny specks of gold that Shahabuddin fished from the sludge earned him up to 1000 taka ($14) a day-a fortune in Bangladesh, where the average wage is $25 a month. “Initially everyone was happy with gold prices rising as it brought better returns,” he said. But when gold hit a record above $1,226 an ounce early last month, Shahabuddin, 45, and the 20,000 goldsmiths at the Tanti Bazaar saw the other side of the commodities boom. “Because of sky-high prices most people have stopped buying gold ornaments even for weddings. Marriage season has begun, but most goldsmiths are sitting idle,” Shahabuddin said. There are around 400 gold shops and factories at the bazaar, most of which have been run by Hindu goldsmiths since the market was founded in the 18th century. Usually, the bazaar’s narrow alleys swarm with customers as the artisans work night and day during the winter wedding season and at major Muslim festivals such as Eid Al-Fitr. But this year the market is quieter. “If the goldsmiths don’t have any work, we don’t have anything to collect,” Shahabuddin said, adding that he now finds only 100 to 200 taka of gold scraps a day and thinks searching through human excrement “too foul” for such meager rewards. Gold prices have dropped slightly from their peak in December but at around $1,100 an ounce this week-around $250 higher than a year agothey are still too high for many of Bangladesh’s normal buyers. “The middle class has simply stopped buying gold ornaments for weddings. Even the rich no longer buys gold for gifts,” said Ganga Charan Malakar, owner of the country’s

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi man searches for gold in a sewer at the city’s historic Tanti Bazaar in Dhaka. There are around 400 gold shops and small artisan factories at Dhaka’s Tanti Bazaar, most of which have been run by Hindu goldsmiths since the market was founded in the 18th century. — AFP biggest chain of gold shops, Venus Jewelers. Bangladeshi traditions require a groom gives a full set of gold ornaments to his bride as a wedding present. The ornaments normally weigh between 40 and 200 grams (1.5 to seven ounces), depending on how wealthy the groom and his family are. Malakar, who started his career as a goldsmith in Tanti Bazaar in the 1960s, said jewellery sales have fallen over 50 percent in the

last year, forcing hundreds of artisans to close their shops or run their business at a loss. “When bullion prices began to increase, we were happy because we could sell our stock with better returns. But now there is no sign that prices are coming down to an affordable level,” he said. “Look at my shop: it is empty. During this season in the past, we used to hire extra salesmen to handle clients. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” he said.

Malakar, who is the president of the 25,000member Bangladesh Goldmiths Association, said that over the last year, the small jewellery factories at Tanti Bazaar had slashed many jobs. “My factories used to employ over 2,500 workers during the winter. But this year we have only about 1,000 workers. Many of the factories which would do contract work for other jewellers have folded due to lack of orders,” he said.

Paran Chandra Sarker, 28, started his career as a apprentice goldsmith 12 years ago when “it was one the best career choices for a poor, uneducated Bangladeshi Hindu man.” At Tanti Bazaar, thousands of goldsmiths like Paran work in tiny, dingy workshops. They mould gold into necklaces, earrings, tiaras, bracelets, rings and chains using only sulfuric acid, blowpipes and practiced skill. At night, they sleep in their workshops-Paran and 16 others live in one room, in which they can only lie down when they have carefully stacked their small work benches and bottles of acid into one corner. When business was booming, Paran, now a top goldsmith at Preeti Jewellery workshop at Tanti Bazar, would earn up to 40,000 taka a month. “All the Hindu parents used to want to marry their daughter to me,” he said wistfully, explaining that he now fears it will be much harder for him to find a wife. In the past six months, he struggled to make half that amount as demand for jewellery-and his craftwork-has dried up. “Now I toil until 3:00 am for just 15,000 taka a month. A lot of my friends have left the trade or gone to India,” he said. At the Tanti Bazaar today, the only businesses that are thriving are the pawn shops, as people hard hit by the impact of the global recession come to mortgage their beloved jewels for some much needed cash. “Business is not bad at the moment,” said Kartick Roy Poddar, 63, the owner of the country’s largest pawn shop, with a wry smile. When he started the Adi Kartick Roy Poddar Pawnshop four decades ago there were only a few pawnshops in Tanti Bazaar, but now they are everywhere. According to the bazaar’s Gold Merchants Association, the number has nearly doubled over the past five years. “Tanti Bazaar will soon be known for only the pawn business, not for gold jewellery anymore,” he said. — AFP



Sunday, January 10, 2010

KSE regains ground on global market optimism GLOBAL WEEKLY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) started the New Year on a sluggish note, though, the market gained ground soon to move forward for three consecutive sessions. The market managed to end the first trading week of the year with gains in line with investors’ optimism on the world economy. As measured by Global’s weighted General Index, the index was up by 0.17 percent for the week and closed at 186.56 points. Also, Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) price index was marginally up by 6.30 points (0.09 percent) this week and closed at 7,011.6 points. The market capitalization reached KD30.29bn. Market breadth slightly skewed towards decliners as out of 148 shares traded, 64 shares retreated, against 62 advancing. The year 2009 saw only six new companies getting listed - the lowest number since the year 2001- out of which three are under the Parallel market, compared with 22 new companies (12 under the Parallel market) listed a year earlier. Total listed companies under the Regular market are currently 204 while the listed ones under the Parallel market are 17. Trading activity ended on a mixed note compared with the previous week as investors favored smaller sized companies. Total traded volume this week reached 1.72bn shares changing hands, a 16.46 percent increase. However, total traded value reached KD210.67mn, decreasing by 12.92 percent. High volume was seen in the Investment sector, accounting for 41.90 percent of the total traded volume this week with 722.62mn shares traded. International Financial Advisors (IFA) was the most traded stock in the market, with 262.32mn shares changing hands, accounting for 15.21 percent of the total market traded volume. Also it topped the value list with KD24.18mn traded. The scrip ended the week up by 6.59 percent. In terms of value traded by sector, the Services Sector took the lead, with a total traded value of KD69.18mn, accounting for 32.84 percent of the total market traded value. Agility was the biggest value traded in the sector with KD19.34mn traded. The scrip added 7.02 percent to its share value this week. Market sectoral indices varied with only two sectors managing to record higher levels. Global Food Index was the biggest gainer this week, adding 2.44 percent to its value pushed up by 2.74 percent increase in the share price of the biggest food company, Kuwait Foodstuff Company (Americana). Also Danah Al-Safat Foodstuff Company managed to add 12.07 percent to its share price and helped lifting up the index. The Banking Sector Index was the main mover of the market with 1.36 percent increase for the week. Only one bank ended with negative performance. Gulf Bank was down by 1.67 percent while Kuwait Finance House (KFH) topped the gainers in the sector, adding 3.64 percent to its share value. On the other hand, the Services Sector Index was the biggest loser, down by 0.84 percent despite of two of the services companies making it to the top gainers list for the week. The sector was mainly dragged down by a 2.94 percent

that spread throughout GCC stock markets, following the announcement of Abu Dhabi governmental bailout of $10bn to solve Dubai World financial dilemma. This news brought back investors’ confidence to resume buying activities. Consequently, GCC stock markets managed to make up some of their losses at the beginning of the month. However, towards the end of the month and before the end of the year 2009, investors started a selling frenzy that led to the decline of several stock markets’ indices.

decline in the share price of Zain, the biggest listed company in the market. However, an increase of 16.36 percent in the share price of Arabi Group Holding Company and 15.69 percent in the share price of Haj & Umrah Services Consortium (Mashaer) limited the sectors’ loss. The Industrial Sector Index was the second biggest loser, shedding 0.64 percent of its value. National Company for Consumer Industries a major decliner and topped the losers list for the week after losing 18.75 percent of its share price. Global special indices also ended with mixed performances. Global Large Cap (Top 10) index was up by 0.45 percent, while the Islamic sharia, Global Islamic Index, added 2.66 percent to its value. On the other side, Global Small Cap (Low 10) Index, was down by 2.37 percent. Macroeconomic news Kuwaiti money supply growth decelerated to 11.4 percent at the end of November, from 15.7 percent in the previous month, the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) data showed. M3, the broadest measure of money circulating in the economy, rose to KD25.02bn ($87.15bn) in November, compared with KD22.45bn a year earlier. Narrow money, or M1, rose 6.81 percent to KD5.02bn. Quasi money, which includes savings and time deposits in dinars, as well as foreign currency deposits, rose 12.8 percent to KD19.97bn, the data showed. Banks’ total claims on the private sector, which also include their local investments, advanced 7.03 percent in the year to November to KD27.11bn, the data showed.

Total credit facilities concluded with residents rose 8.64 percent in the year to November to KD894.1mn, up from KD736.2mn in October. Kuwait’s parliament approved on Wednesday a bailout bill worth up to KD6.7bn ($23bn) for its indebted citizens, despite the government’s opposition. The bill threatens the stability of the Gulf Arab state’s banking sector and includes legal violations, Kuwait’s Finance Minister Mustapha Al-Shamli told parliament, before the vote. “The government does not agree about what is included in the draft law, it is an inapplicable law in reality, with unconstitutional doubts in some of its articles,” Shamali said. The bill has to be approved by the country’s cabinet and ruler to take effect. The passed bill calls on the government to buy up and reschedule citizens’ consumer loans, as well as write off any interest owed to lenders in return for state deposits held at local banks. Kuwait’s government wrote off all consumer loans after the 1991 Gulf War that ended Iraq’s occupation of the small Gulf state but has since sought to reduce welfare spending. Last month, Shamali had said that the government would have to use up 33.5 percent of total deposits, or KD2.9bn to fund the plan. In 2008, it bowed to parliament pressure and increased a state fund aimed at helping citizens to repay consumer loans to $1.9bn. If the bill is rejected, it would be sent back to the assembly which will have to vote on it again with a two-thirds majority, for the bill to be passed. A single Gulf Arab currency could be launched in 2015 if countries from

the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) speed up the process, Mohamed AlMazrooei, GCC Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs said. Rulers from the world’s top oil exporting region endorsed the muchdelayed monetary union last month despite the pullout of the United Arab Emirates, the bloc’s second-largest economy, and Oman. Policymakers from the other four states; Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, are currently expected to set a timetable for the creation of a joint central bank, but launching the single currency is still a distant prospect. Mazrooei’s comment is the first from the GCC secretariat that sets a potential new timetable for the single currency’s launch after the bloc abandoned an initial 2010 deadline. Oil related news The price of Kuwait crude recorded an increase of $3.03 for the weekly, reaching $78.82 per barrel on Tuesday, January 6, compared to previous Tuesday, said Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC). The crude prices saw a buoyant year with an increase of 133 percent for the year 2009 as it ends at $76.71 per barrel on December 31. Global oil prices were stable recently due to several factors including the decline of the US dollar in international markets and the stability of demand, offer, and stockpiles. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said major issues including instability in the international oil market and the fluctuations of prices were the main characteristics of the summer.

Other local news Director of the Public Authority for Real Estate Development in Syria Yasser Al-Sabaei said that his authority received applications from some Arab and foreign investment corporations, including Kuwaiti ones, to get licenses to work in real estate development in Syria. Al-Sabaei pointed out that all applications reach up to 74 included six from the UAE and Kuwait. Syrian government has recently decided to allow Arab and foreign investors to establish investment firms for developing the real estate sector in the country provided that Syrians own 49 percent of the shares and that they will be confined only to real estate sector. Further, Syrian law stipulates that natural person’s share must not exceed five percent and judicial person’s share 40 percent. In light of the repeated assurances of Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Minister of State for Development Affairs and Minister of State for Housing Affairs, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said that the coming phase will witness the application of new mechanisms to activate the partnership of the private sector in implementing development projects and extending the investment opportunities of BOT (BuildOperate-Transfer) projects to 40 year, instead of previously 20 years, with flexibility in designing, planning and implanting housing projects. Board Chairman of Kuwait Commercial Markets Complex Company Tawfiz Al-Jarrah said that such a mechanism will revive econo-

my and private sector through presenting projects by the government. The cabinet intends to focus its efforts on launching major economic projects during the New year. 2010 could be classified as ‘the Year of the Economy,’ said one cabinet insider, revealing that five tenders for key projects are set to be opened for bids, as the first step towards the implementation of the government’s fiveyear plan. The cabinet is set to study a range of strategies for improving some of these projects, some of which have been delayed for around 10 years. The total cost of the projects is estimated to reach around KD49bn, with Kuwait’s private sector reportedly set to play a major role in their implementation, a task that will also help these firms to recover from the losses they suffered during the worst of the recent global economic downturn over the past two years. The secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council is due to float a public tender for the strategic $25bn GCC joint railway network in the first quarter of the current year. The secretariat general would assess the bidding companies and downgrade the number of potential winners to three of five. He also indicated that either a single company would be chosen for the execution of the project or a partnership of companies. The GCC states will be linked up with a 2,117-kilometer long network, starting in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia before construction of the lines linking up Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE. The month of December 2009 started off with a wave of optimism

Kuwait Stock Exchange Global Investment House said that it was still in initial talks with Cairobased Arab African International Bank (AAIB), to sell a stake in an investment in Egypt, but not as part of its debt settlement plan as stated in one of the local newspapers. Global, reached a deal with creditors in December to reschedule $1.7bn in debt, and entered into new three-year facilities with each of its 53 lending banks. The Kuwait Banking Association published this week a statement saying that the draft law to pay off citizens’ loan interests is “unfair.” The group reviewed the possible impacts of the draft law by the National Assembly that stipulates re-scheduling consumer loans, pointing out the impacts of the global economic downturn on the banking sector. “Impacts of the global financial crisis reflected on the Kuwaiti banking sector, especially cash flow, in light of the Central Bank’s monetary policy,” the association’s Masaref magazine said. Global Investment House, announced that it will vote on a restructuring deal to transfer its main investments and real estate assets to two new units. The vote will take place on January 12. Global reached a deal with creditors this month to reschedule $1.7bn in debt, and entered into new threeyear facilities with each of its 53 lending banks. The investment firm said shareholders will vote on the transfer of its principal investments and real estate assets into two subsidiaries, wholly owned by Global. The investment assets will be transferred to Global Macro Fund in Bahrain, and the real estate assets to Mushaa Islamic Real Estate Company. Last week, Agility said it was in talks with the US government regarding a settlement in the fraud case, but no deal has been reached yet. Kuwaiti ministry of foreign affairs is exerting efforts to help the logistics firm resolve the US court case since the outbreak of these dangerous accusations crisis. Qatar’s Gulf Warehousing Company said it will sign a merger agreement with the Qatari unit of Kuwaiti logistics firm Agility on January 5. “The actual merger with Agility is expected to be finalized by mid-March 2010,” Gulf Warehousing said in a statement on the Qatari bourse website. Sale talks for a 46 percent stake in Kuwaiti telecom Zain are still ongoing but may take longer time that previously planned, a firm owned by Kharafi Group said. “The procedures to complete the selling process could take more time than set before, but it is still ongoing,” National Investments Company said.

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

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

US Dollar Sterling pounds Swiss Francs Saudi Riyals

TRANSFER CHEQUES RATES .2881500 .4633850 .2798470 .0768060

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

284.600 196.920 283.800 265.610 285.000 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

3.147 6.279 3.383 2.510 3.934 207.000 37.084 4.159 6.276 8.675 0.301 0.292 ARAB COUNTRIES

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

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

55.000 52.730 1.390 219.430 406.120 194.220 6.328 37.234 GCC COUNTRIES

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

76.694 79.013 747.110 763.800 78.324 GOLD

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

225.000 115.000 60.500

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

287.450 418.000 464.400

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

SELL CASH 269.600 764.270 4.480 282.800 693.400 15.800 56.300 54.960 418.000 37.760

SELL DRAFT 268.100 764.270 4.162 281.300

52.735 416.500 37.610

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

6.520 0.034 0.290 0.260 3.180 407.690 0.194 86.990 38.700 4.240 215.800 2.183 51.500 746.540 3.490 6.450 79.490 76.730 207.720 41.630 2.761 464.500 41.400 284.600 6.400 9.030 222.000 78.420 287.800 1.430


406.520 0.193 86.990 3.940 214.300 746.360 3.400 6.270 79.060 76.730 207.720 41.630 2.510 462.500 283.100 8.860 78.420 287.400

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 462.500 287.400

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 287.400 3.395 6.285 2.520 4.165 6.305 78.295 76.770 763.700 52.725 465.900 0.0000306 1.550 408.100 5.750 419.500 286.200

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 287.000 415.800 462.250 3.140 6.285 52.705 2.509 4.150 6.270 3.395 763.750 78.200 76.650


Sunday, January 10, 2010

23 survey

Employment and salary trends in Gulf 2009 - 2010: Overview of the job market following the crisis covering Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE, including Dubai KUWAIT: After years of seemingly unstoppable growth, few could have foreseen the tsunami that was to hit the Gulf in 2009. As oil prices collapsed and banks stopped lending, companies across the region found themselves scrambling to adjust their business plans and replace growth programs with cost-cutting initiatives. The slowdown has completely altered the dynamics of the labor market. With unemployment on the rise across the world and regional demand for talent shrinking, the balance of power has shifted from candidates to employers. Recruitment activity has slowed down significantly across the Gulf, most notably in Dubai, given its higher exposure to credit financing and global markets. Many companies cut staff during 2009, with an estimated 10%, or one in ten professionals, losing their jobs. This was highest in the UAE at 16% and, on a sector basis, in real estate at 15%. Across the region, redundancies appear to have disproportionately hit senior executives and Western nationals. Moves by some GCC governments to restrict termination of nationals have helped secure their jobs in the short run. However, with termination not an option, some employers have become more cautious in hiring nationals. The diverging fortunes of different countries have led to significant mobility across the region. In particular, a sizeable number of expatriate professionals have relocated from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, Doha and Saudi Arabia to take up employment opportunities there. Nonetheless, Dubai still remains the region’s most popular destination for expatriates and is likely to attract back much of the talent as soon as an upturn emerges. Salary growth has slowed down significantly across the region, with base salaries rising at an average rate of 6.2% over the 12-month period to August 2009, compared with 11.4% for the same period last year. Oman saw the biggest average pay rise at 8.4%, followed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain at around 7%. The UAE and Kuwait stood at the bottom with 5.5% and 4.8% respectively. In terms of industries, the audit sector had the highest average rise, as demand for audit services surged following the high-profile collapse of major global institutions. Despite much lower pay rises, for the first time in years the average rises have exceeded the increase in cost of living. As a result, many residents have seen an improvement in their quality of life and saving potential, particularly in Dubai and Doha where rents have fallen by over 30 percent. The region continues to witness a gradual move towards greater legal rights and protections for employees. In particular, more countries are making it easier for employees to switch jobs, and new labour laws have been passed into law or are under review, with much more pro-employee stances. Looking ahead, further job cuts are likely, but at a slower pace than has been witnessed over the past 12 months. At the same time, half of the companies are expected to create new jobs, more than compensating for jobs being lost. Based on’s survey of employers, the GCC average pay rise in 2010 is expected to stand at 6.3%. State of the economy When the investment bank, Lehman Brothers, was allowed to file for bankruptcy in September 2008, few could have foreseen the carnage that it would unleash on the world economy. As governments scrambled to save the global financial system, many observers in emerging markets, including the Middle East, wondered whether this would remain a purely Western crisis, leaving their region to ride out the storm unscathed - the so-called ‘de-coupling’ effect. It did not take long for the crisis to reach the shores of the Gulf. By November 2008, credit and bank financing had come to a virtual freeze, large-scale construction projects were being cancelled one after another and the price of crude oil had dropped from almost $150 per barrel to below $40, the largest such fall in history. Investment companies were among the first to be hit, as the value of assets globally collapsed. Construction and real estate sectors followed, due to their heavy dependence on bank financing. Falling property prices triggered a stampede by speculators to pull out their money, forcing down prices further and wiping off billions of dollars from the wealth of the residents. Retail and hospitality were next to fall as worried consumers cut their spending and tourists stayed at home. The crisis has hit GCC countries to varying degrees, based on their level of dependence on debt financing as well as degree of exposure to international trends. The UAE, and Dubai in particular, have been at the epicenter of the regional crisis, seeing economic growth plummet from 7.4% last year to -3.5%. As elsewhere in the world, the GCC governments responded by providing banking guarantees as well as pumping billions of dollars into the economy, largely through investment in major infrastructure projects. After several years of high oil prices, most state treasuries and sovereign wealth funds had accumulated massive reserves which could easily be deployed to boost the economy. With only a few exceptions, the region’s banking system has been largely stable, thanks to strong capital bases and limited exposure to Western sub-prime assets which have brought misery to banks elsewhere in the world.

Based on’s survey results, the percentage of professionals working in Dubai who live in Sharjah declined this year from 20% to 18%, with many relocating to Dubai. Other factors contributing to lower inflation have been the fall in global commodity prices, as well as a strengthening of the US dollar in the early part of the year, which brought down the cost of imports to the GCC.

The combination of government support and low exposure to international trends have helped cushion the region against the full impact of the global downturn. As a result, the Gulf economies have performed better than most this year. Job cuts With the Gulf business community accustomed to years of frantic growth, the severity and suddenness of the downturn took many by surprise. For most companies, the marathon struggle to attract and retain talent in a tight market was replaced almost overnight by a sprint to cut costs. Taking advantage of the region’s employer-friendly labour laws and a largely expatriate workforce, many companies cut staff numbers, some on a massive scale. Based on’s survey of professionals, a total of 10%, or one in ten professionals in the Gulf, were made redundant over the 12-month period to August 2009. This was highest in the real estate sector at 15%. Among countries, the UAE ranked highest, with 16% being made redundant. The job cuts have been inordinately disruptive to the lives of many expatriates. Not only lacking social security or unemployment benefits, most are also required by local immigration laws to leave the country within 30 days of termination. With new vacancies few and extremely competitive, the loss of employment has meant an immediate relocation of themselves and their families back to their home countries. Senior executives were hit hardest by the job cuts, with an estimated 13% being made redundant. Hired not long ago on lucrative packages, many were seen as ‘quick win’ opportunities for cost saving. Some were replaced immediately with new hires, often at lower pay. This was not always a purely financial decision, however. The skill sets of some managers, hired during the boom to deal with the challenges of growth, were sometimes deemed ill-suited to navigating the rough waters of a major downturn. On a nationality basis, Western nationals were most affected by job cuts, with 13% being made redundant, mainly due to their higher representation among senior management of companies. This was highest in the UAE, where 18% or almost one in every five Western nationals lost their jobs. Although high-profile job cuts at large firms often made headlines, the data suggest that smaller firms had a much higher proportion of redundancies, at 14% compared to 8% in larger firms. This reflects their higher vulnerability in the downturn

and more limited financial means, but also the faster process of decision-making that exists in small to medium-sized firms. While many redundancies were aimed at reducing costs, some were used as a cover by companies to prune their employees and get rid of under-performing staff, particularly after years of break-neck growth which had inevitably resulted in compromises on the quality and caliber of new hires. Companies also resorted to other measures to cut costs - including compulsory leaves for their staff, unpaid or at half-pay, as well as reducing working hours and hence salaries, as the volume of business shrank. While staff retention has improved during the downturn, the atmosphere of gloom and uncertainty, job insecurity and salary stagnation have had a negative impact on general employee motivation and engagement. Some companies reported becoming alarmed at the prospect of losing their highperforming employees, even as they were making some staff redundant. Nationalisation and govt policy Unlike the US and Europe, the Gulf’s liberal labour laws have given companies almost full flexibility to hire and fire as they please. While nationals enjoyed some level of job security, this was not a major concern for companies, as large-scale layoffs of nationals were never required. At the same time, faced with tough nationalization targets and high attrition rates among nationals, retention was a far greater concern. This changed somewhat in the first quarter of 2009, when the news of several UAE nationals being made redundant as part of a downsizing effort caused a storm of protests. This was followed by an announcement that companies were not permitted to terminate the employment of UAE nationals, except for gross misconduct. The news sent shockwaves across the UAE business community. At the same time, similar signals were given by other GCC governments, including in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, though not always explicitly stated.

In the short term, such policies seem to have secured the jobs of nationals in the current period of downturn. Several firms reported retaining their national staff, even when they had no duties for them to perform, while they made a significant number of their expatriate staff redundant. As a result of the restriction, some employers appear to have become more cautious and selective in hiring nationals, conscious of the fact that attempts to fire them will be challenging. Going forward, the issue of increasing employment opportunities for nationals is set to rise in significance across the region. With less jobs being created in a slower economy while large numbers of young nationals continue to enter the workforce every year, government pressure is likely to intensify on companies to absorb more nationals by replacing their expatriate staff. Bahrain labour market reforms This year saw the implementation of the

first phase of Bahrain’s labour market reforms. One of the most radical approaches to the nationalization issue in the Gulf, the reforms had been debated between the government and business leaders for four years, with the final arrangement being significantly watered down. The original reform blueprint developed in 2004 proposed abolishing all nationalization quotas as well as all restrictions on employment of expatriates. Instead, firms would be charged a levy of around US$3,000 per year for every expatriate they employed, in an effort to make the recruitment of Bahraini nationals economically more attractive for the private sector. The fees thus collected would go into a fund and be subsequently invested in the training of Bahraini nationals. During the consultation period that followed, strong opposition from businesses to a high levy forced the government to reduce it drastically and hence to keep the quotas in place. The fee now stands at just US$ 300 per year, insufficient to make any meaningful difference in companies’ hiring decisions between nationals versus expatriates. As a result, while the system has proven effective in generating funds for the training of young nationals, it has not achieved its initial goal of increasing employment of nationals through market forces rather than regulatory pressure. Recruitment and mobility trends With most businesses no longer expanding and staff attrition rates much lower, recruitment has slowed down significantly across the region, with many firms putting formal hiring freezes in place. Recruitment has by no means come to a halt, however, as replacement hiring has continued, while specialist skills continue to be in demand. Some employers have sought to use the opportunity to replace low-performing staff with higher caliber professionals who were either unavailable or unaffordable during the boom. Recruitment this year has also become much more rigorous, with employers

demanding a much higher standard of candidates and subjecting them to a tougher selection process. Partly as a result of this, the recruitment cycles have become considerably longer than before. With fewer jobs on offer and greater competition, the opportunistic job-hopping practices of the boom days seem a distant memory. Some candidates have inevitably been forced on to the job market, as a result of staff cuts or a sense of job insecurity, having seen their colleagues lose their jobs. Many others have become averse to a job change, preferring to hold on to their secure positions until the storm has subsided, rather than risk becoming potential victims of ‘last-in first-out’ redundancy policies in a new company. Regional mobility One of the biggest developments of 2009 has been a change in the fortunes of Dubai, from the fastest-growing hub of the region sucking in much of the expatriate talent, to the city experiencing the region’s most severe downturn. This massive and sudden change has released a large pool of human capital for use by other parts of the region. Based on data from, Dubai’s share of advertised vacancies in the GCC fell from 48% during the first 9 months of 2008, to just 31% during the same period in 2009. By contrast, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia saw their shares increase significantly. An analysis of commuting patterns reveals that, among expatriates living in Dubai, the percentage who work in Abu Dhabi has tripled over the last year from 1% to 3%, a trend also observed in the increased traffic on the 120km highway connecting the two cities. This excludes a much larger group who have relocated their residence to Abu Dhabi, as well as those who serve Abu Dhabi-based clients from their offices in Dubai. In addition, companies with a regional portfolio have been able to mandate internal staff relocations, some of which would have been impossible during the boom days due to employee preferences. This newly gained power of employers to re-deploy staff, coupled with the greater supply of skilled professionals in the market, has enabled them to grow their business in parts of the region where they were previously struggling due to severe staff shortages, thus minimizing the fall-out from the downturn. The Saudi economy, with its massive size and continued growth momentum in many sectors, has been a particular blessing this year, becoming the largest source of income for many firms across the region. The Kingdom itself has also been a beneficiary of this trend, with several infrastructure projects coming to life with the arrival of this fresh blood. A similar uplift has been observed in Abu Dhabi and Qatar. Despite the forced circumstances, employee preferences have not changed. The UAE, and Dubai in particular, remain the destinations of choice for most expatriates. Over half of expatriates surveyed by indicated the UAE as their preferred location. This implies that the mobility out of the UAE will be short-lived and is likely to reverse direction, as soon as full-scale recovery returns to the country and firms start to hire in earnest. Salary trends Average salary increases in the Gulf dropped sharply to 6.2% from an average of 11.4% last year. More strikingly, almost 60% of employees received no pay increase at all, compared to just 33% over the same period last year. With the balance of power shifting to employers this year, the increases observed had much to do with the momentum of the previous year and previous inflationary trends that had yet to be reflected into pay packages. Most increments this year either took effect or had already been promised prior to January 2009, when the full extent of the slowdown gripping the region started to become apparent. Data from candidates confirms that, after January, the pace of

salary increases slowed down significantly relative to the same period last year.

Global employment With expatriates comprising over half of the workforce in the Gulf, the region is directly impacted by developments in the labour market globally. Over the past 12 months, virtually all markets worldwide have seen a rise in unemployment. Emerging markets, particularly India and the Philippines which supply the bulk of expatriates to the Gulf, have also been affected, though far less than developed countries. Salaries in India are estimated to have risen by an average of 6.3% in 2009, sharply down from last year’s figure of 13.3%. This is helping moderate pay rises in the Gulf and improve retention. Some Gulf companies have reported that recruitment from India has become slightly easier, particularly in sectors such as construction which have been hit hardest. Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, which supply the bulk of the Arabic-speaking expatriates to the Gulf, have also been affected by the downturn, with previous pay pressures cooling down substantially.

Breakdown of salary increases On a regional basis, Oman secured the largest average increase at 8.4%, though still much lower than last year. Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia had similar increases of around 7%. Kuwait had the smallest rise at just 4.8% while professionals in the UAE saw a pay increase of 5.5%, down sharply from 13.6% in the previous year. On a sector basis, accounting and audit companies saw the biggest average rise at 7.9%, as concern about the financial health of firms boosted demand for audit services. Next was construction at 6.8%, down sharply from last year’s figure of 15.1%. This reflects partly the huge momentum in the sector’s pay rises carried over from last year, as well as growth in infrastructure projects. Investment firms offered the smallest pay rises this year.

Currency movements With the exception of the Kuwaiti dinar, the GCC currencies remain pegged to the US dollar and therefore subject to fluctuations in the value of the US currency. This has a direct impact on the value of salaries in foreign currency terms. Between 2002 to 2007, the US dollar fell by 20-45% against a range of currencies, dragging with it the value of Gulf salaries for expatriates. In 2008 the dollar staged a dramatic come-back, appreciating 20-50% against the same currencies. Since the beginning of 2009, however, the picture has reversed yet again, with the dollar sinking 5-15%. If the current weakening of the dollar persists, it will once again make it difficult for Gulf employers to attract professionals from other countries, thus putting upward pressure on salaries. The perpetual swings in currency values are having a destabilizing impact on the

In terms of job categories, audit professionals saw the biggest increase at 7.5%, given increased demand following the crisis. On the other hand, with the region’s huge recruitment drive slowing down, human resource professionals found their skills no longer in demand, seeing their pay increase plummet from 12.1% last year to just 4.8%, the lowest increase this year among all professionals.

job market, particularly as expatriates constitute a majority of the workforce. The fact that expatriates in the Gulf, unlike their counterparts in Western countries, cannot obtain citizenship, is further exacerbating their sense of being transitory residents and increasing their propensity to focus on their saving potential in their home currency terms.

Changes in compensation structure The smaller increases in base salaries, while significant, do not capture the full spectrum of measures instituted by companies on the compensation front. Bonuses saw a drastic cut in 2009. This was most visible in investment banking and top management positions across all sectors, where the bonus often represents over half of the total package. Companies have also sought to pass on more of the business risk to their employees, for example by withdrawing base salary from sales staff and requiring them to work on commission-only contracts. With the alternative being redundancy in a difficult market, many employees opted to take up the offer. Taking advantage of their improved bargaining position, almost one-third of companies surveyed by reported hiring new recruits at lower pay than their existing staff. Some companies went as far as instituting firm-wide pay cuts for all existing staff. Cost of living For the first time in years, inflation has been quite low this year and, in parts of the region, even negative. The spiraling rise in accommodation costs has finally come to a halt. Dubai and Doha, which had seen the most ferocious rent increases previously, saw rents fall by 30 to 50 percent as demand shrank while new developments continued to come on stream. Residents naturally benefitted from the fall, some cutting their expenditure on housing, while many used the opportunity to relocate to more popular neighborhoods.

Employee rights For several years, the GCC governments have been on a slow but steady path of gradually increasing safeguards and protections for employees, driven in part by pressure from Western partners, human rights groups and international labour organizations. This trend has continued this year, with several important developments. Labour law Earlier this year, the Kuwaiti government released the draft of a new labour law, stipulating far more rights and much stronger protections for employees. The draft law is being discussed in the parliament. This follows the UAE’s proposed new labour law which, in a pioneering move, was published online in 2007 for public consultation and comment. However, the UAE initial draft still remains under review and it is not clear when it may be finalized and signed into law. No-Objection Certificate A common feature of most Gulf countries has been the requirement for expatriates to obtain the consent of their employers before switching jobs (the so-called ‘NoObjection Certificate’ or NOC). The policy has historically helped employers protect their investment in employees, achieve higher retention and lower salary inflation. At the same time, it has wrought inefficiencies into the labour market, as roles could not always be filled with the candidates best suited to them. It has also contributed to a brain drain, as some professionals seeking better prospects had no choice but to look for opportunities elsewhere in the Gulf. More governments now appear to be

doing away with this policy. Bahrain formally lifted the restriction this year as part of its broader labour market reforms, while Kuwait has removed the NOC requirement from large segments of the expatriate workforce. Oman had already done so previously. The policy in the UAE is less formally articulated, but it appears that the range of sectors and circumstances under which free movement of employees can take place is growing. Saudi Arabia and Qatar still largely retain the restriction. Wage Protection System An interesting new development has been the introduction of the Wage Protection System (WPS) in the UAE. This essentially obliges employers to pay the salaries of all their employees to the government, who will in turn process and settle each employee’s salary to him or her. The system has been designed to protect against the common problem of employees receiving their wages late, sometimes by as much as several months. Meanwhile, it may also help provide the government with more transparency on the labour market. For instance, it could help it clamp down on the common practice of companies reporting higher than actual salaries, in order to help employees qualify for visas for their families. Minimum wage The governments of India and the Philippines, two major sources of expatriates to the Gulf, had in the previous years announced a minimum wage policy for all overseas employers planning to hire their nationals. Despite challenges in enforcement, there is some evidence that the policy is working, with some companies interviewed by reporting an increase in their salary for labourers as a direct consequence of the minimum wage policy. While this does not immediately impact salaries for professionals, it may contribute to more upward pressure on their pay. Companies will inevitably need to maintain reasonable pay differentials between grades and therefore an increase at the bottom of the pay scale can ripple through to the higher levels, particularly once the market improves and employees re-gain some bargaining power. Future outlook employment Although the pace of job losses has stabilized, they have by no means come to an end. Based on’s survey of companies, 15% of firms in the region are still executing further cuts during the fourth quarter of 2009, with the highest percentage being in the UAE at 20%. While the first wave of redundancies was sometimes panicked reactions, the current wave is much more thought-through, often following from re-organisation studies conducted in large firms. The ongoing merger and consolidation activity is also resulting in rationalization of workforces and additional job losses. As a result, the current round of job cuts is likely to be longer-lasting in nature, with some jobs potentially lost forever. At the same time, 51% of companies surveyed reported plans to expand their staff, albeit in modest numbers, thus more than making up for jobs being cut. The pace of recruitment is expected to pick up further from the first quarter of 2010, as confidence returns, but is unlikely to reach the boom levels for quite some time. Companies remain cautious and will only start large-scale recruitment after a sustained period of growth. Moreover, the rationalization exercises of 2009 have made companies leaner and more efficient in their use of human resources. As such, the need to increase headcount to support their business expansion will be less than before. Economic growth Optimism about the fate of the Gulf economies has been slowly on the rise in recent months, though as of yet there are few hard facts pointing to a sustained recovery. The oil price, the biggest driver of longterm growth in the region, has risen significantly in recent months, but remains far from the all-time peak it reached in 2008. More importantly, the freeze in credit markets and bank financing has shown some signs of easing, allowing private sector investment to potentially start again. On the negative side, cash flow continues to pose a challenge, with many firms still struggling with the collection of their receivables, and banks suffering from a growing mountain of bad debt. The impact of the recent announcement of debt restructuring by Dubai World remains to be seen. In particular, any dent in regional business confidence could further delay recovery. At present, most Gulf economies are expected to have respectable growth rates of 3-4% in 2010, with the exception of Qatar which is forecast to grow at a staggering 24%, as major gas projects come on stream. Salaries There are no significant factors putting upward pressure on salaries. Regional and international competition for talent is moderate, and inflation remains under control. As such, pay increases are likely to be modest over the coming year. Based on’s survey of human resources managers, salaries across the Gulf are forecast to rise at an average rate of 6.3% next year. This is expected to be highest in Oman at 9.7% and lowest in Kuwait at 4.2%.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Million shares


Investors remain cautious amid select buying BAYAN INVESTMENT WEEKLY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange’s (KSE) activity during the first week of 2010 was characterized by cautiousness and anticipation, which explains the selective purchase transactions that were witnessed in some of the week’s sessions on one hand, and the quick profit taking on the other. The market witnessed a huge drop on the first day of the week, following the registered gains of the week before that were mainly attributed to last minutes’ trades. But KSE was able on the following day to compensate a large portion of Monday’s losses amid active trades, and then began to fluctuate in the following two days, displaying, however, an overall stable performance despite of the apparent effect of profit reaping transactions.

By the end of the week, the price index closed at 7,011.6 points, up by 0.09% from the week before closing, whereas the weighted index registered a 0.14% weekly gain after closing at 386.30 points. Furthermore, KSE witnessed growth in trading activity, as average of daily turnover grew by 8.85% to reach KD 52.67 million, whereas trading volume average amounted to 431.12 million shares, at an increase of 45.57% compared to previous week’s levels. Sectors’ indices Four of KSE’s sectors ended last week in the red zone, three recorded increases, whereas the Insurance sector’s index closed with no change from the week before. Last

week’s highest gainer was the Food sector, achieving 1.93% growth rate as its index closed at 4,267.6 points. Whereas, in the second place, the Banks sector’s index closed at 8,453.3 points recording 1.28% increase. The Services sector came in third as its index achieved 0.66% growth, ending the week at 14,784.9 points. On the other hand, the Investment sector headed the losers list as its index declined by 0.95% to end the week’s activity at 5,553.5 points. The Non- Kuwaiti companies sector was second on the losers’ list, which index declined by 0.47%, closing at 7,285.3 points, followed by the Industry sector, as its index closed at 5,424.0 points at a loss of 0.27%. The Real Estate sector was the least declin-

ing as its index closed at 2,790.7 points with a 0.05% decrease. Sectors’ activity The Investment sector dominated total trade volume during last week with 722.62 million shares changing hands, representing 41.90% of the total market trading volume. The Services sector was second in terms trading volume as the sector’s traded shares were 25.44% of last week’s total trading volume, with a total of 438.67 million shares. On the other hand, the Services sector’s stocks where the highest traded in terms of value; with a turnover of KD 69.18 million or 32.84% of last week’s total market trading value. The Investment sector took the

second place as the sector’s last week turnover of K.D. 67.82 million represented 32.19% of the total market trading value. Market capitalization KSE total market capitalization grew by 0.21% during last week to reach KD 29.28 billion, as two of KSE’s sectors recorded an increase in their respective market capitalization, five recorded declines, whereas the Insurance sector’s market capitalization remained the same from the week before. The Food sector headed the growing sectors as its total market capitalization reached KD 735.66 million, increasing by 2.43%. The Banks sector was the second in terms of recorded growth with 1.38%

increase after the total value of its listed companies reached KD 9.94 billion. On the other hand, the Services sector headed the declines list as its total market capitalization reached KD 7.77 billion, decreasing by 0.76%. The Industry sector was the second in terms of recorded decline with 0.64% decrease after the total value of its listed companies reached KD 2.53 billion. The third place was for the Real Estate sector, which total market capitalization reached KD 1.93 billion by the end of the week, recording a decline of 0.42%. The Non-Kuwaiti companies sector was the least declining with 0.09% recorded decrease after its market capitalization amounted to KD 2.88 billion.


Sunday, January 10, 2010


UBS whistleblower in prison, court rules on files ZURICH/NEW YORK: The chief whistleblower in the UBS AG tax secrecy probe entered prison to serve a sentence he considered unfair, hours after a Swiss court ruled the bank should not have been forced to turn over client files to government investigators. Bradley Birkenfeld, a former UBS banker, entered a Schuylkill County federal prison in Pennsylvania to serve a 40-month prison term, after attacking the government for the punishment in light of what he called his coopera-

tion in helping expose thousands of US tax cheats. “The American taxpayer should be outraged,” the 44-year-old told reporters in a snowstorm as he prepared to surrender to prison authorities. He said he was “proud” to have come forward and “expose the largest tax fraud in the world.” Last February, UBS accepted a $780 million penalty and admitted to criminal wrongdoing for helping U.S. taxpayers hide accounts from the Internal Revenue Service. The Swiss bank later agreed to give the

names of 4,450 American clients to investigators. Several in the United States have already pleaded guilty to various tax crimes. On Friday, a federal judge sentenced retired Boeing Co sales manager Roberto Cittadini to one year probation and a $10,000 fine after the defendant admitted to hiding $1.86 million in UBS accounts. Birkenfeld himself had sought probation in light of his cooperation with the government, which itself had requested a prison term of 30 months.

On Monday, US District Judge William Zloch in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who imposed the 40-month sentence, rejected Birkenfeld’s efforts to reduce and postpone the term. Stephen Kohn, a lawyer for Birkenfeld, said the imprisonment would have a “chilling” effect on other bankers who might consider exposing tax fraud. Earlier Friday, Switzerland’s Federal Administrative Court ruled that the country’s financial regulator, FINMA, broke bank secrecy laws last February in ordering UBS

to give data on nearly 300 clients to US authorities. The court said FINMA’s unilateral action weakened Switzerland’s strict bank secrecy rules in an effort to end investigations into that nation’s biggest bank, which had prompted clients to withdraw huge sums from their accounts. FINMA, the court said, should not have acted “outside of a proper process of a request for official assistance.” UBS declined to comment and FINMA said it might appeal. The Swiss court said on

Friday it was up to clients to decide what further action they take. PROBATION Cittadini, a 68-year-old resident of Bellevue, Washington resident pleaded guilty in October to one count of filing a false tax return, and admitted to failing to report income from his accounts, according to the Justice Department. According to court documents, he set up a Hong Kong corporation in 2000 at the suggestion of a Swiss banker and with counsel of a Swiss

lawyer, both of whom have also been indicted. At his hearing, Cittadini told US District Judge Ricardo Martinez that, while “tax evasion was never a consideration” in his thinking, he made a “grievous mistake of judgment” in opening his UBS accounts. On Wednesday, Juergen Homann, a UBS client in New Jersey, was sentenced to five years probation and a $60,000 fine for failing to report $6.1 million he held in Swiss bank accounts. —Reuters

State bailout chances brighten

JAL lenders to cave in to bankruptcy plan: Report

Costa Coffee partners with Hussein Morad Behbehani Group to open 50 stores in Kuwait KUWAIT: The Hussein Morad Behbehani Group announced plans to open 50 Costa Coffee stores in Kuwait by 2014 in prime locations such as high traffic shopping malls, residential and commercial areas. The Group also intends to update the 12 existing Costa Coffee stores it has recently acquired to the latest store design providing levels of customer comfort and service. During his recent visit to

Kuwait Andy Marshall, Chief Operating Officer at Costa Coffee International said: “We are delighted to partner with the Hussein Morad Behbehani Group, an ideal associate with whom to further develop the Costa brand in Kuwait.” Hussein Morad Behbehani added: “Kuwait has experienced an increase in the frequency of visits to coffee shops in the recent years. Coffee shops have become popular across all seg-

ments of the population and a growing percentage of consumers are discerning about the quality of the coffee, the food and the service being provided. We are delighted about this timely partnership with Costa Coffee and I am sure that together we will set new standards of quality for Kuwaiti consumers.” Costa Coffee has recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary in the Middle East.

TOKYO: The main lenders to Japan Airlines plan to accept a restructuring around fund plans to establish a credit line of more than 600 billion yen ($6.5 package that would require the carrier to file for bankruptcy, sources said, billion) along with a state-owned bank to ensure JAL can keep flying once a increasing the likelihood of a state bailout this month. A state-backed turn- bankruptcy is announced, a source with the knowledge of the matter said. Reflecting growing concerns over the potential fallout from a bankruptcy, the Yomiuri newspaper said the government plans to tap diplomatic channels to reassure the 35 or so countries to which JAL flies that it would support the carrier. JAL, weighed down by $16 billion in debt and mired in losses, applied in late October to the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp of Japan, a body of restructuring specialists that can tap state-backed funding to bail out ailing companies. The ETIC has proposed putting about 300 billion yen in fresh capital into JAL, provided it file for bankruptcy and creditors agree to waive around 350 billion yen in debts, sources told Reuters earlier this week. JAL’s main creditors, which include Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, countered with a proposal that would avoid bankruptcy, eager to limit their own losses. But with the ETIC holding firm that bankruptcy is the most transparent way to deal with TOKYO: A Japan Airlines (JAL) aircraft taxis at Tokyo International Airport. JAL’s shares skyrocketed after JAL’s problems, the banks will the government agreed to expand a financial lifeline to the troubled carrier, easing fears that it might file for almost certainly agree to the bankruptcy. —AFP ETIC’s plan, three people with knowledge of talks between the banks, government and ETIC said. “JAL needs 300 billion yen and the ETIC is the only one that can provide it. If the ETIC is pushing for a court-led restrucKUWAIT: National Bank of turing, then we have to accept it. Kuwait (NBK), the leading Otherwise JAL will collapse,” bank in Kuwait and the highest said one of the sources, adding rated in the Middle East in that banks had been given a partnership with Etihad deadline of Jan. 15 to agree to the Airways, the National Airline of plan. the United Arab Emirates, A bankruptcy could compliannounced yesterday exclusive cate talks with Delta Air Lines preferential fares to NBK preand American Airlines, which mium credit cardholders. NBK are courting JAL with rival offers premium credit cardholders are of financial aid, eyeing a stronger entitled to a minimum of a 10% foothold in Japan and close ties discount on the Diamond First on overseas routes. Both Class, Pearl Business Class, American, which partners with and Coral Economy Class to JAL in the Oneworld alliance, selected popular destinations. and Delta, which is trying to get Magdi Labib Abdullah Al Najran This promotion has been it to defect to the SkyTeam exclusively designed for cuswith NBK is a natural extenholders wishing to take advanDeputy General Manager of group, have said they would tomers paying online until May Consumer Banking Group said: tage of this offer are encour- sion of that effort. NBK cusinvest in JAL whether it goes 2010 with their NBK premium “Many of our premium credit aged to book and buy their tick- tomers traveling with Etihad through bankruptcy proceedings credit cards which include Visa cardholders will enjoy the ets online via www.etihadair- Airways will have the opportuor not. Infinite, World MasterCard, upcoming holidays in 2010 by, a website that nity to enjoy the ultimate travJAL spokeswoman Sze Hunn Visa and MasterCard Platinum, traveling abroad. The Etihad has been specifically created by el experience, and we look forYap and the ETIC declined to Laki Titanium MasterCard, as Airways worldwide network of Etihad Airways for this offer”, ward to welcoming them on comment. No one at the statewell as Visa and MasterCard routes that includes major added Al-Najran. board.” owned Development Bank of Gold cards. The special offer For more information, Magdi Labib, Etihad cities in the Europe, the Far Japan or the three private covers 22 destinations across East, Australia and the USA Airways’ Kuwait Country NBK’s premium credit cardlenders could be reached for Europe, The Far East, will provide our customers Manager said: “We always holders are encouraged to visit comment. Australia, The United States, with the ideal way to travel and focus on providing greater con- the exclusive Etihad Airways The ETIC is eyeing someand Africa. venience and value to our cus- special landing webpage on enjoy their holidays”. time between Jan. 19 and 22 for Abdulla Al-Najran, NBK’s “NBK premium credit card- tomers, and our partnership JAL to file for bankruptcy and for the ETIC to officially announce its plan to support the carrier, sources have said. The ETIC is keen to have its restructuring plan in place at that time so as to minimize potential disruptions to air travel during the college entrance exam season, which runs from the second half of January through March. streams and well-versed in real-estate Ireo is the largest global investment fund in further investments in projects. The timing also coincides The company currently has 13 projects investment strategies. The management India dedicated to the country’s real-estate with the start of the next parliasector. Since it burst on the real-estate sce- in various stages of development and imple- team has the depth and breadth of knowlment session on Jan 18. Dealing nario in 2003, as India’s premier global real- mentation across prime locations in NCR, edge and expertise to power our initiatives with JAL is one of a long list of estate investment fund, the company has Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and and to deliver best in class products and problems facing the Democratic steadily built a portfolio of high quality pro- Maharashtra. The company has already services to our customers. Party of Japan, which took power Our strength lies in our globally intejects in prime locations, spanning 3000 commenced construction and leasing of a 5 in September after beating the million square feet IT SEZ and is poised to grated operations and investment teams, acres of owned land across the country. long-ruling conservative rival on With the backing of capital strength from launch a number of projects that will entail our disciplined and established investment a platform that promised to focus an investor base that includes globally development of more than 10 million square policies and the knowledge and experience on the interests of consumers of our diverse group of employees. We renowned blue-chip financial institutions, feet of housing in the coming 12 months. and workers. Launched in September 2009, Ireo’s leverage our global network of specialized like JP Morgan, TPG - Axon, Citadel Prime Minister Yukio Investment Group, Sovereign Wealth maiden project “The Grand Arch”, was workforce to enhance value creation in Hatoyama declined to comment Funds (SWF) and endowments like The very well received by investors, home buy- real-estate investments and deliver innovaon Friday about when the govStandard University and University of ers and channel partner community. The tive solutions to our customers that allow ernment would make a decision Minnesota, Ireo has already invested over $ Grand Arch launch was followed by Ireo’s them to address the challenges and opporon JAL, but stressed that it 1.5 billion. And, with the patronage of major second project Ireo Uptown in November tunities presented by the current realwould work to prevent disrupestate market. We share with our cusAmerican real estate investors like Stepen 2009. tion to flights. JAL accounts for Ireo’s team consists of internationally tomers similar goals and common desires Ross and the Reichmann Family and other the bulk of air traffic in Japan. very high net worth individuals, Ireo has experienced and accomplished expatriate with the aim of building long-term relation“We need to think about cusover $0.5 billion more readily available for and Indian professionals from various ships. tomers,” Hatoyama told reporters. —Reuters

Preferential fares for NBK premium credit cardholders traveling with Etihad Airways

Unitech Limited: India’s premier real-estate and infrastructure development company First real-estate developer with ISO 9001: 2008 certification Unitech Limited is India’s second-largest listed realestate company, with over Rupees 27,000 crores in market capitalization and land reserves in excess of 7,500 acres spread across the country. Since establishing in India in 1972, after having earned its stripes in the real-estate business in North Africa and the Middle East, Unitech Limited has grown to become the leading realestate and infrastructure development company in the country. Leveraging its large and geographically diversified land bank, which currently stands in excess of 10,000 acres, Unitech has been able to provide a realestate product mix that includes residential, commercial, SEZS and major infrastructure development works across centers of economic activity in India. The company has earned a reputation for their construction quality, a fact further cemented when it became the first real estate developer to attain the ISO 9001:2008 certification in North India. Unitech has provided investors with best returns and was ranked Number 1 in a survey by Boston Consulting Group for total shareholder returns among

the large cap companies in India. Working closely and partnering with internationally acclaimed architects like Callison Inc. (USA), RMJM (UK), FORREC (Canada), SWA and HOK (USA), Unitech’s team of architects and engineers have adopted best practices that help them achieve both aesthetic and efficient designs, which exude superior quality of construction and are on par with international standards. Unitech’s international collaborations, its ethical business practices and reputation for quality construction has left behind a fine track record that covers over 100 residential projects, 50 commercial projects and major infrastructure developments like airports, highways, flyover bridges, schools, hotels, powertransmission lines as well as retail and entertainment projects. Unitech has over 60 ongoing projects, including 30 major residential projects across 10 cities with 32million square feet to be delivered in the next 3 years. On the residential side, the company has completed and delivered over 7 million square feet all across India and sold more than 3,700 property units.

Unitech’s range of properties stretch from the highend Unitech Karma Lakelands - an innovative world-class concept of villas adjoining a golf course - to Unihomes an affordable housing scheme for the hundreds of thousands of Indians who dream of owning their own homes. Also, in close design collaboration with Forrec (USA), the largest architectural firm specializing in such projects, Unitech has come up with two world-class amusements parks in the country. In addition to developing and delivering worldclass malls for their clients across the country, on the commercial front, the company has sold over 3.4 million square feet of commercial and retail space, including a newly launched project in Mumbai. Iconic landmarks of commercial space developed by Unitech include Signature Towers, Millennium Plaza, Unitech Business Park and Unitech Cyber Park, to name a few. In fact, Unitech Cyber Park is regarded by many as India’s most modern architectural marvel and is envisaged to become a hub for IT and IT-enabled organizations from across the globe.

Ireo: A global investment fund dedicated to Indian real estate



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Desperately seeking momentum as rates rise LONDON: Fresh from a 10-month rally in risky assets triggered by stimuli from policymakers, investors are hungry for evidence the world economy will keep going after the momentum fades and interest rates rise. The coming week should provide plenty of grist for them. It includes US retail sales, industrial production and inflation data, the start of Wall Street’s earnings season, and meetings of policymakers meeting at the European Central Bank and Bank for International Settlements. Hovering in the background, meanwhile, is a series of threats to market equilibrium-Ukraine’s IMF impasse, Greece’s credit battle, Iceland’s row with the Netherlands and Britain over its banking collapse, Argentina’s central bank squabbles with government and even UK pre-election political jitters. This worry about fiscal issues and strained government finances could well unsettle markets, which have otherwise entered the year in much the same mood that they left the previous one, driven by cautious optimism. “This looks to be a very political year for investors,” said Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Standard Life Investments in Edinburgh. The economy, always key, has been giving mixed signals. Friday’s December US jobs data disappointed


some, coming somewhat below expectations. But the numbers nonetheless indicated some improvement in trend, for example, a revision in November showing jobs were actually added in that month. “The data shows that while the US economy is improving, the road to recovery is still going to be bumpy, and this has wider implications for the global economy and presents challenges for the consumer,” said Henk Potts, analyst at Barclays Wealth. Up to this point, Investors have been giving the benefit of the doubt to a recovering economy, still being pushed forward by ultra-low interest rates and government stimulus packages. They have entered the year in a relatively bullish mood. MSCI’s all-country world stock index looked set to gain 2 percent or more for the week. “We think that with the economy having momentum it makes sense for risky asset classes to reflect that,” said Klaus Wiener, head of research at Generali Investments in Cologne. The question is how long a risk rally is likely to go on. It is a dilemma, in fact, that a growing economy would mean an end to the stimulus that has created the momentum in the first place. “We have structural weaknesses ... but this is being masked by the (policy) impulses,” Wiener said. “The time to expect the dominance of policy

over structural weakness to end is later, perhaps June to July.” HSBC reckons history suggests it could come earlier. After looking at US bull markets since 1930, it found that the first bull market correction typically comes 300-450 days after a bull market beginswhich would be H1 of this year if the past turns out to be any guide to the future. There are also the sovereign debt worries from Ukraine, Greece and possibly others to add some spice to the soup. Market sensitivity on the subject was on display this week when the euro fell on a report that at least one ECB member, Juergen Stark, did not think Greece would be bailed out by fellow EU members if needed. The United States kicks off its latest earnings season in the coming week with Alcoa on Monday, Intel on Thursday and JPMorgan, the first bank to report, on Friday. In purely numerical terms, the quarter’s reports should be stunning, given that they are being compared with a year ago when companies were in the depth of the economic and financial crisis. Thomson Reuters proprietary research, for example, sees analysts expecting S&P 500 Q4 earnings to average a 184.2 percent increase. As with the economy, investors will doubtlessly be looking for signs of sustainability. — Reuters

Budget before election likely

Britain faces its toughest cuts for 20 years: Darling

Britain’s Finance minister Alistair Darling

LONDON: Finance minister Alistair Darling warned yesterday that Britain faces its toughest spending cuts in two decades if the ruling Labor party wins this year’s general election. Darling also confirmed to The Times newspaper that there would be a budget before the election, which must take place by June. That will quash speculation that Prime Minister Gordon Brown is preparing to call an early election. Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in an interview that severe spending restraints were “non-negotiable” if he is to bring down the 178 billion pound (198 billion euro, $285 billion) budget deficit. “My priority is to get borrowing down. Once recovery is established, we have to act,”

he said. “The next spending review will be the toughest we have had for 20 years... to me, cutting the borrowing was never negotiable. Gordon accepts that, he knows that.” Darling told the newspaper that voters supported his effort to balance the books. “Most people know that public spending has doubled over the last 10 to 12 years, so we are coming off a much higher base,” he said. “We are not talking about a situation where we have already cut to the bone.” Darling was speaking after two former ministers, Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt, launched a failed attempt to unseat Brown. Opinion polls suggest the opposition Conservatives will win the general election. — AFP

US faces sluggish recovery WASHINGTON: Hopes for a quick US economic rebound were dashed Friday as data showed US employers cut 85,000 jobs in December while the unemployment rate held at 10.0 percent. Analysts said the report highlighted a slow and painful recovery from recession, while President Barack Obama said it shows “that the road to recovery is never straight.” The Labor Department report on nonfarm payrolls was far worse than the consensus expectation for no change in overall employment levels. The unemployment rate meanwhile was in line with expectations, remaining near its highest level since the 1980s, but also reflected a large number of people dropping out of the workforce. In revising data for prior months, the data showed a net gain of 4,000 jobs in November instead of a loss of 11,000 previously reported, the first positive month after 22 months of losses. Obama said the report highlights the need for more efforts to create jobs. The figures “are a reminder that the road to recovery is never straight and that we have to continue to work every single day to get our economy moving again,” Obama said as he unveiled plans for tax credits for “green jobs.” Still, he said the employment picture is better than when he began as president, when the economy was shedding some 700,000 jobs per month. “The overall trend of job loss is still pointing in the right direction,” he added. Economists said the news was disappointing but consistent with a gradually healing economy. “We’re getting a steady but very slow improvement in the job market,” said Robert MacIntosh, economist at Eaton Vance. “We are going to have to get used to a frustratingly high unemployment rate.” Cary Leahey, senior economist at the research firm Decision Economics, called the data consistent with a still-sluggish economy. “The labor mar-

ket is struggling and is stuck in the water,” he said. “You are seeing gains in output and manufacturing because of liquidation of inventories... but we haven’t seen a decisive turn in the labor market.” The world’s biggest economy expanded at a 2.2 percent pace in the third quarter after four quarters of decline in the worst recession in decades. Most analysts expect continued growth for the fourth quarter and 2010 but say recovery could be held back by unemployment, which hurts consumer spending and confidence. “It is starting to look like those in the U-shaped recovery camp are in better shape than those in the V-shaped recovery camp,” said Ian Pollick, economics strategist at TD Securities. “While the worst of the recession is likely over, the fact that the duration of unemployment remains rigid is a concern, though a silver lining is that we are likely to see net job creation assisted by census hiring in the first quarter of 2010.” The December report showed the goods-producing sector shed 81,000 jobs including 27,000 in manufacturing and 53,000 in construction. The services sector lost a modest 4,000 jobs, with a loss of 10,000 in retail offset by gains in education, health care and professional services. Government sector employment fell by 21,000. Average hours worked, sometimes seen as a proxy for economic activity, was unchanged in December. Average hourly earnings meanwhile rose 0.2 percent. The civilian labor force fell by 661,000 in the month, suggesting that more people are stopping their search for employment. “The unchanged unemployment rate of 10 percent understates labor market slack, since labor force participation fell sharply,” said Sophia Koropeckyj at Moody’s “Accordingly, the broader measure (of unemployment) increased to 17.3 percent,” she said. — AFP

Interest rates trade in tight range NEW YORK: Interest rates notched small changes in the bond market Friday as a mixed report on unemployment left investors with a modest appetite for the safety of government debt. Treasury prices were mixed Friday after the Labor Department said employers cut 85,000 jobs in December and that the unemployment rate remained flat at 10 percent. The government also said more people lost jobs in October than it had initially reported, but that in November employers added jobs for the first time in two years. Analysts said the December numbers were disappointing but didn’t indicate that a gradual improvement in the labor market was ending.

The report generated uneven demand for safe-haven investments like Treasurys. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which is tied to interest rates on consumer loans, rose to 3.84 percent in late trading from 3.83 percent late Thursday. Its price slipped 2/32 to 96 7/32. Meanwhile, the yield on the two-year Treasury fell to 0.99 percent from 1.03 percent as its price rose 3/32 to 100 1/32. The yield on the 30-year bond rose to 4.72 percent from 4.69 percent and its price fell 15/32 to 94 15/32. The yield on the three-month T-bill was unchanged at 0.04 percent, while its discount rate was 0.05 percent. — AP

BUENOS AIRES: Central Bank chief Martin Redrado gesturing during a meeting in Buenos Aires. An Argentine judge Friday thwarted government efforts to use central bank reserves to pay down the national debt, deepening a major political and institutional crisis. — AFP

Steel producers surge DENVER: Shares of steel manufacturers surged after a JPMorgan analyst forecast a continued rebound in steel prices fueled by higher materials costs and some improvement in demand. “Given the increased demand, cost pressures and still tight supply situation, we think announced price increases will stick and expect to see more before the spring,” JPMorgan analyst Michael Gambardella wrote in a client note. He raised price targets and earnings estimates for AK Steel Holding Corp., United States Steel Corp. and ArcelorMittal. Steel producers, who were hit hard with the decline in construction and auto manufacturing among other industries, have announced price hikes for this year that are expected to boost hot-rolled sheet prices to a range of $550 to $580 a ton by February, Gambardella said. In November and December, hotrolled sheet prices hovered around $500 a ton, he said. Furthermore, prices for raw materials used in the manufacture of steel — such as iron ore, metallurgical coal and scrap — all have had “strong gains,” he said. Scrap prices, for example, have

increased 25 percent since midNovember lows and may increase an additional 15 percent due to seasonal supply constraints, stronger exports and low inventory levels at the mills. Gambardella’s comments mirrored those from other analysts. Earlier this week, Longbow Research analyst Luke Folta said he expects raw materials costs to continue to increase this year. For AK Steel, Gambardella raised his December 2010 share price target to $34 from $29. He raised his share price target on United States Steel Corp. to $75 from $55 and his price target on ArcelorMittal to $55 from $45. Shares of AK Steel advanced $2.20, or 9.3 percent, to close at $25.77. They earlier set a new year high of $25.92, eclipsing a previous peak of $24.40. Shares of United States Steel also hit a new year high, at $66.08. They finished Friday’s trading session up $4.43, or 7.3 percent, at $65.34. They have ranged from $16.66 to $61 over the past year. ArcelorMittal shares rose 91 cents to close at $48.96. They earlier traded at $49.41, topping a previous year high of $48.28. — AP

NEW YORK: An historic marker is shown on Wall Street, in New York. Stocks traded in a tight range on Friday as the market took a relatively weak December jobs report in stride. — AP

After positive start, Wall St eyes retail data, earnings NEW YORK: Wall Street opened 2010 riding momentum from last year’s strong rally even as doubts emerge about the market in view of an uncertain pace of recovery from the brutal recession. In the coming week, the focus turns to the health of the American consumer with data on retail sales for December, offering clues on spending which accounts for two-thirds of economic activity. Also affecting trade will be the start of corporate earnings season with Alcoa the first of the major bluechip firms to release financial results from the fourth quarter. In the week to Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average of blue chips gained 1.82 percent to 10,618.19, its best level in 15 months as the market was able to shake off a disappointing report showing ongoing US job losses. The tech-dominated Nasdaq composite advanced 2.12 percent for the week to 2,317.17 and the broad Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 2.68 percent to 1,144.98. The positive start for 2010 came after a dramatic rebound last year that lifted the Dow by 18.82 percent, with the Nasdaq up 43.9 percent and the S&P 500 index rising 23.5 percent. Some analysts say the rally still has legs even after the sizzling gains since lows of last March. David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors, said he sees the uptrend in place even if there is a “corrective selloff” sometime this year. “Stocks still have room to go higher before this bull market is over,” he said. “Productivity and profits will be unusually high coming out of this post-crisis recession. We expect the US stock market to close the ‘Lehman gap.’ That could bring stocks to the pre-Lehman (Brothers) failure (of 2008) level of over 1,250 on the S&P 500 index.”

But some of the optimism about a recovery for the economy and the market were dampened by Friday’s report showing a further loss of 85,000 jobs with the unemployment rate holding at 10 percent. The data “shows that the labor market recovery is anemic,” said Aaron Smith at Moody’s “Until confidence is restored, the labor market recovery will be gradual and uneven. Although layoffs are slowing, the poor hiring environment should remind policymakers that they need to continue to support the job market.” The US economy is growing but mainly due to gains in manufacturing as companies ramp up to replace inventories after a big drawdown. Dean Maki at Barclays Capital said a key to the recovery “is how households respond to the additional labor income generated by the production rebound.” “If consumers respond by raising their spending, the recovery will likely become self-sustaining, as production rises further in response to sales gains, generating additional income, and so on.” With this in mind, the key report for the coming week will likely be Thursday’s data on US retail sales for December, which includes the crucial holiday season. “All eyes will be on December’s retail sales figures,” said Meny Grauman at CIBC World Markets. “Despite the fact that unemployment is close to a 27year high, consumer spending has been surprisingly resilient in the early stages of this recovery. We agree that sales likely closed the year by posting another monthly gain, but expect household spending to lose steam later in 2010.” On the corporate front, Alcoa’s earnings Monday will be followed by one from banking giant JPMorgan Chase on Friday, ahead of a flood of results in the following weeks. — AFP

US apartment vacancy rate hits 30-year high Rents fall 0.7% in the fourth quarter NEW YORK: The US apartment vacancy rate rose to an almost 30-year high of 8 percent late last year and rents dropped in the biggest oneyear slump in 2009, according to real estate data. In a report research company Reis Inc. said even landlords with many properties have reduced rents and offered perks to retain and attract tenants. Yet, the apartment market may still turn around this year if people out of work become confident enough about a job market recovery to move into a rental, Victor Calanog, Reis’ director of research, said. In addition, the supply of newly built apartments is winding down as the last projects funded before credit dried up start to open for business. “If we wanted to be hopeful about the situation, we might see a recovery by the middle of this year,” Calanog said. “If we don’t see any movement like that by the middle of the year, then it’s going to be a bad year again.” In the fourth quarter, the US apartment vacancy rate rose 0.10 percentage points from the prior quarter, and 1.3 percentage points for the year. At 8 percent, it was the highest national vacancy rate Reis has recorded in its 30 years of tracking the sector. Of the 79 US markets that Reis follows, Tucson, Arizona experienced the biggest vacan-

cy rise, up 3.1 percentage points in 2009 to 10.5 percent. Meanwhile, vacancies in the small market of Chattanooga, Tennessee fell 2.2 percentage to 6.4 percent. Jacksonville, Florida ended the year with the highest vacancy rate at 14.4 percent. In New York City, the largest US apartment market, vacancies fell 0.10 percentage points to 2.9 percent. But factoring in months of free rent and other perks, effective rent fell 0.7 percent to $2,646 per month. Higher priced rental properties in Manhattan drove the vacancy decline, while apartment buildings in more middle-class boroughs such as the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens haven’t been able to dodge the bullet. On average, close to 60 percent of all rental buildings across the New York metropolitan area lowered their rents from the third quarter. Year-over-year, effective rents in New York fell by 5.6 percent, making 2009 the worst year for landlords by this measure. This was even worse than the 3.8 decline in 2002, when New York reeled from the after-effects of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Nationally, 28,000 newly constructed apartments came onto the market in the fourth quarter, mostly by developers who had obtained financing before the credit crisis worsened. —Reuters


Sunday, January 10, 2010


People with eye problems may be prone to 3D headaches CHICAGO: Movie buffs and sports fans looking to 3D televisions for the ultimate home theater experience may want to get their eyes checked first-or risk a 3D headache, US eye experts said yesterday. The growing popularity of threedimensional movies such as James Cameron’s “Avatar”-now a $1 billion box office hit- has inspired a crop of 3D TV sets, unveiled this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. And while new digital 3D technology has made the experience more comfortable for many, for some people with eye problems, a prolonged 3D session may result in an aching head, they said. “There are a lot of people walking around with very minor eye problems, for example a minor muscle imbalance, which under normal circumstances, the brain deals with naturally,” said Dr Michael Rosenberg, an ophthalmology professor at Northwestern University

Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. He said in a 3D movie, these people are confronted with an entirely new sensory experience. “That translates into greater mental effort, making it easier to get a headache,” Rosenberg said in a telephone interview. In normal vision, each eye sees things at a slightly different angle. “When that gets processed in the brain, that creates the perception of depth,” Dr Deborah Friedman, a professor of ophthalmology and neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. “The illusions that you see in three dimensions in the movies is not exactly calibrated the same way that your eyes and your brain are. If your eyes are a little off to begin with, then it’s really throwing a whole degree of effort that your brain now needs to exert. “This disparity for some people will give them a headache,” she said.

Dr John Hagan, ophthalmologist in Kansas City, Missouri, and a fellow with the American Academy of Ophthalmology, said some people who do not have normal depth perception cannot see in 3D at all. He said people with eye muscle problems, in which the eyes are not pointed at the same object, have trouble processing 3D images. Experts say there are no studies tracking how common it is to get a headache after watching a 3D movie, but Rick Heineman, a spokesman for RealD, a provider of 3D equipment to theaters, said headaches and nausea were the chief reasons 3D technology never took off. The company, which provides 3D equipment to 90 percent of US movie theaters with 3D capability and has cut deals with Sony Corp, Panasonic, JVC, Toshiba Corp and with Direct TV, said its newer digital technology addresses many of the problems that typically caused 3D moviegoers discomfort.

Heineman said older 3D technology involved the use of two film projectors, one that projected a left eye image and one that projected a right eye image. Three-D glasses would allow viewers to see a different image in each eye. “People often complained of headaches and it was really because the projectors weren’t lined up,” Heineman said. Heineman’s company uses a single digital projector, which switches between the left and the right eye image 144 times a second, to help overcome some of the old problems. “By going to a single digital projector, those issues were solved,” he said. Friedman said she thinks most people will do fine with 3D movies and with 3D TVs, but Rosenberg said people may quickly tire of the novelty. “I think it will be a gimmick. I suspect there will be a lot of people who say it’s sort of neat, but it’s not really comfortable,” he said. — Reuters

LAS VEGAS: An attendee looks at an ultra high definition display at the LG booth at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show, yesterday in Las Vegas, Nevada. — AFP

PC business is back in a big way

Tablets and slates take center stage at trade show LAS VEGAS: Laptops, notebooks, netbooks, smartbooks and now... tablets and slates? Just when you thought you were familiar with all of the various portable computers on the market new ones appear. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been a coming out party this year for what are being described as tablet and slate computers, successors to the low-cost netbooks which have been a major hit over the past couple of years. Experts dif-

LAS VEGAS: Parrot A.R. Drone, a four-propeller flying drone that connects to an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch via Wi-Fi with a video-streaming camera, hovers at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. — AP

iPhone helicopter LAS VEGAS: A company that makes accessories for cell phones wants to add something else to the endless list of things you can do with an iPhone: flying a toy helicopter. At the International Consumer Electronics Show this week, Parisbased Parrot unveiled its AR.Drone — a plastic and foam helicopter that is about a foot long and can be remotely controlled from the screen of an iPhone or iPod Touch. The copter connects to the iPhone over Wi-Fi and is equipped with two cameras: one on its belly to calculate its speed and another on its nose that streams its field of vision

back to the phone’s screen. Parrot also plans to release games that meld the real world seen by the AR.Drone with “augmented reality.” That means the helicopter could appear to be fighting virtual objects such as robots on the iPhone’s screen. Parrot’s founder and CEO, Henri Seydoux, thinks the toy will appeal to people because they can play with it outside — something you don’t usually get with a video game. Parrot expects to release the AR.Drone later in the year. It has not announced a price.— AP

LAS VEGAS: A worker for Iwave uses their Custom Crystal Clear Collection headphone selling for $2,000 and a case for the Apple iPhone selling for $250 that is made with crystallized Swarovski elements and is being shown at their exhibit at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. — AP

TrueCompanion takes wraps off robot girlfriend LAS VEGAS: Roxxxy the sex robot is having a coming out party yesterday in Sin City. In what is billed as a world first, a life-size robotic girlfriend complete with artificial intelligence and flesh-like synthetic skin will be introduced to adoring fans at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas. “She can’t vacuum, she can’t cook but she can do almost anything else if you know what I mean,” TrueCompanion’s Douglas Hines said while giving AFP an early peak at Roxxxy. “She’s a companion. She has a personality. She hears you. She listens to you. She speaks. She feels your touch. She goes to sleep. We are trying to replicate a personality of a person.” Roxxxy stands five-feet, seven inches tall; weighs 120 pounds, “has a full C cup and is ready for action,” according to Hines, who was an artificial intelligence engineer at Bell Labs before starting TrueCompanion. The anatomically-correct robot has an articulated skeleton that can move like a person but can’t walk or independently move its limbs. Robotic movement is built into “the three inputs” and a mechanical heart that powers a liquid cooling system. Roxxxie comes with five personalities. Wild

Wendy is outgoing and adventurous while Frigid Farrah is reserved and shy. There is a young naive personality along with a Mature Martha that Hines described as having a “matriarchal kind of caring.” S & M Susan is geared for more adventurous types. People ordering the robots online at detail their tastes and interests in a way similar to that at online dating sites but the information is used to get the mechanical girlfriend in synch with her mate. “She knows exactly what you like,” said Hines. “If you like Porsches, she likes Porsches. If you like soccer, she likes soccer.” Roxxxy is wirelessly linked to the Internet for software updates as well as technical support and sending her man email messages. People can customize robotic girlfriends’ personalities and then share the programs with others online at, according to Hines. “Just think about wife or girlfriend swapping without actually giving the person to someone else,” Hines said. “You can share the personality online.” Inspiration for the sex robot sprang from the September 11, 2001 attack that destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City. – AFP

Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and its director of research, said the new devices are filling a “void” between smartphones and devices with a larger screen. “We now see a battle for this five- to 15-inch (12.7- to 38.1centimeter) screen category,” he said. “The real sizzle is the host of devices that transcend the now common standard,” said Kevin Dede, an analyst at brokerage Jesup and Lamont. “I’m blown away. It went way beyond my wildest imagination.” “Samsung doesn’t have just one tablet but four!” he said. Among the more interesting models is the hybrid IdeaPad U1 from China’s Lenovo, which looks like a classic lightweight netbook when opened up. But the 12-inch (30-centimeter) screen detaches from the keyboard and becomes an independent slate computer for watching video, reading or even writing with a virtual keyboard. Microsoft’s Brad Brooks said the arrival of new models, many of which run on the software giant’s Windows 7 operating system, shows “the PC business is back in a big way. “This is all stuff that is exploding again,” he said. “We are showing the diversity of the devices that are starting to come out.” Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer unveiled a prototype of a slate computer from Hewlett-Packard in his opening keynote speech at CES along with two others from other manufacturers. “It’s a beautiful little product,” Ballmer said, adding that it was “perfect for reading, for surfing the Web and for taking entertainment on the go.” Ballmer said the HP device, which is not being displayed in Las Vegas, and others in what he called an “emerging category” of personal computers would be available later this year. One of the other models on stage was from China’s Pegatron, a slate which allows users to surf the Internet but also features classic Windows programs such as Office. The other device was the Archos 9, which won praise from Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder, who said Microsoft was unveiling the products even ahead of their availability to get the jump on Apple. “They need to showcase a lot of new ways that people can use it,” he said. While the slates have captured a lot of attention, many here are ready to be surprised by whatever Apple has up its sleeve. “Every time they break into a new category it’s usually with the help of content,” said Dede, citing the success of the iPod music player and its groundbreaking iTunes online music store. “We suspect that content relationships will be critical,” agreed Gownder. — AFP

fer on the precise definition of a tablet and a slate and a netbook and a smartbook, for that matter-but a tablet, while touchscreen, tends to have some buttons. A slate is entirely touch-controlled. Much of the buzz at CES has surrounded a device that is not even on the showroom floor in Las Vegas-a tablet computer Apple is expected to unveil at the end of the month believed to resemble a large-screen iPod Touch.

LAS VEGAS: Elvis Presley impersonator James Rompel (L) and model Robyn Van Dyke film each other using Tiffen Steadicam Smoothees at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center yesterday in Las Vegas, Nevada. — AFP

New Samsung remote control features TV screen LAS VEGAS: You’re watching a movie on television but really want to step away to fix a sandwich. Or nature calls when the game is tied and there are just a few seconds left. Samsung does not want you to miss any of the action, so the South Korean electronics giant is coming out with a remote control with a built-in TV screen. The “All-in-Premium Remote” resembles an elon-

gated iPhone with a screen for viewing about the same size as the screen on the popular Apple smartphone. “You can actually use it to put the image that you’re watching on to the remote and take it into another room,” said a Samsung spokeswoman, Kimberly Unland. The touchscreen device can come in useful in ways other than satisfying hunger pangs or calls of nature. “Like say you’re

watching something and someone else doesn’t want to watch it, or say there’s two games you’re following on at the same time,” the Samsung spokeswoman said. “Or if you’re watching say Blu-ray on the TV you can watch something different on the remote,” Unland said. “It’s also a standard TV remote with all the functions you would normally get,” she

said, although you can “also use it to get files, pictures, audio and video from your PC to your TV.” Unland said she didn’t know the range of the device but you could probably not watch “at your neighbor’s house.” The “All-in-One Premium Remote” is scheduled to come out later this year with Samsung’s new 9000 series high-definition TVs. — AFP

Twitter hiring workers to turn Tweets into money SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter, the popular but money-losing microblogging service, is hiring engineers and specialists who can help turn it into a money-maker. The 2-1/2-year-old Internet start-up, whose short text messages or “tweets” have become a global social phenomenon, is building up a team focused on generating revenue with a new range of yet-to-be launched products, judging by job postings on the company’s website. Among the 26 job openings listed on Twitter’s site, four are specifically identified as being devoted to “monetization.” Striking licensing deals are key responsibilities for two other jobs. “Twitter is looking for new members of our technical staff to work on cutting edge monetization projects,” several of the postings said. The move to invest in such projects signals that making money is becoming a bigger priority at Twitter, as it seeks to evolve from being one of the Web’s fastest-growing social

media firms into a self-sustaining online business. “The company has crossed into the phase where monetization matters. They’re ramping it up,” said a source close to Twitter who did not wish to speak on the record about its finances. A Twitter spokesperson said co-founder Biz Stone was not immediately available for comment. The company has about 120 employees, she said. Tweets, which are limited to 140 characters, have grown into an established communications medium that has played a key role in world events such as the post-election protests in Iran last summer. “They know they’re here for the long term now, so they need to turn on these monetization engines,” said Altimeter Group analyst Jeremiah Owyang. Twitter, a privately held company, does not report earnings, but its website says: “While our business model is in a research phase, we spend more money than

we make.” The company spokesperson did not confirm if that is still accurate. Twitter struck deals in October-widely reported to total $25 million-to license its data feed to Google Inc and Microsoft Corp, allowing allowing tweets to appear within search results on the companies’ Internet search engines. The job postings make it clear that generating revenue beyond the licensing deals is one of the 2010 priorities for Twitter, said Altimeter’s Owyang. Twitter, which recently moved into a larger office space in San Francisco, had 19.4 million unique visitors to its US website in November, according to comScore, up sharply from the 1.5 million visitors a year earlier. Many industry watchers believe the actual number of worldwide Twitter users is much higher, since many people access the service through third-party applications instead of the website. — Reuters



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Beware restaurant, frozen meal calorie counts: US study WASHINGTON: Weight-watchers who swear by the calorie counts that many restaurants in the United States display on their menus, take heed: the numbers don’t always tell the truth. Researchers at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy found that around half the dishes served in popular US restaurants delivered more calories than stated on the menu, with some packing double the stated energy value. And the researchers found discrepancies in the portion sizes the restaurants said they were serving and the actual size of the meal that showed up on the diner’s

plate, said the study published in the January edition of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The researchers analyzed the calorie content of 18 side dishes and main courses from five popular sit-down restaurant chains-Applebee’s, Denny’s, Olive Garden, P F Chang’s and Ruby Tuesday-and 11 sides and main courses from fast food restaurants Domino’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s. Ten frozen meals bought at supermarkets were also analyzed. On average, restaurant foods were found to contain 18 percent more calories than what was stated on the menu, and

frozen meals averaged eight percent more calories than stated on their packaging. “Those don’t sound like huge numbers but that really adds up over time,” said Susan Roberts, the study’s lead author. “It’s the difference between maintaining your weight and gaining 10 pounds,” she told AFP. Some of the restaurant items contained more than twice the calories listed on the menu, including P F Chang’s Sichuan-style asparagus. It delivered 558 calories for a 348-gram serving rather than the 260 calories listed on the menu, according to the testing done by the Tufts researchers.

Frozen dinners fared somewhat better, but even there, three meals-including from Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine-delivered around a quarter more calories than stated on the packet. Restaurant side orders were among the biggest villains, often bringing more calories to the plate, and eventually the waist, than the main food item of a meal. To illustrate the gravity of the problem, imagine ordering a veggie-cheese omelet at Denny’s with a side of dry toast. The omelet is listed as being a 340-gram serving with 394 calories, but the dish analyzed in the lab by the Tufts team weighed in at 270 grams and 419 calories.

The seemingly innocuous side dish of dry toast was listed as weighing 28 grams and containing 97 calories. But the dry toast analyzed by the Tufts team was two-and-a-half times heavier, at 72 grams, and packed 283 calories. “If you’re getting 200 calories more, that’s the difference between weight loss and no weight loss,” Roberts said. Roberts was inspired to do the study after writing a book called “The ‘I’ Diet,” which took the results of volumes of research she had done during decades as a nutrition scientist and crafted them into a weight-loss program. “In the process of doing the book I

decided to test the scientific menus on myself. I have two menu tracks: one, you cook everything yourself at home, and I did great on that. Lost lots of weight, it was easy. “Then I switched over to the supermarket track-no cooking, just pick up the stuff in the supermarket or, if you go out, eat certain meals. Weight loss completely stopped. “I came into the lab one day and said, ‘Something’s not right. I don’t believe the numbers in these foods.’” A second study is being set up to delve more deeply into the truth behind the calorie-counts. — AFP

Two versions of the plan will now have to be reconciled

Obama promises changes in US health care this year WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama promised yesterday that Americans will see the effects of health reform this year, saying Congress is “on the verge” of approving the overhaul the nation’s

health care system. “Now, it’ll take a few years to fully implement these reforms in a responsible way,” Obama said in his weekly radio address.

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama makes a statement to reporters about green jobs and manufacturing, Friday, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. President Barack Obama, eager to sign a health care overhaul bill into law, is highlighting some of the changes that would come in the first year and would forever ban “the worst practices of the insurance industry.” — AP

Air Canada ordered to offer nut-free seats OTTAWA: Canada’s transportation regulator has ordered Air Canada to accommodate passengers with severe nut allergies by seating them in new nut-free zones on aircraft. “The agency has determined that a buffer zone, including an announcement within that zone, is the appropriate accommodation for persons with disabilities due to their allergy to peanuts or nuts,” the Canadian Transportation Agency said in its ruling. The agency had received two complaints from passengers with nut allergies since 2006. One of the complainants had hidden in the airplane washroom for 40 minutes while nutty snacks were served to other passengers on a flight from Frankfurt to Toronto. In another case, a traveler was removed and was rebooked on another flight two and a half hours later in which “all nuts were removed.” Other passengers

on the second flight were also asked not to bring nuts onboard. In its ruling, the federal regulator noted that the nut allergies in these cases were so extreme that nuts did not have to be ingested. Rather, the mere presence of nuts in the immediate environment was “enough to cause concern.” The three-member panel deemed these allergies to be tantamount to an impairment or disability, which airlines must accommodate. Air Canada argued it should be up to the passengers to take precautions against exposure to nuts. It does not serve peanuts on flights, but does serve smokehouse almonds, cashews and other snacks which may contain nuts. “If a passenger is allergic or sensitive to products that may be found in the aircraft cabin, it is the passenger’s responsibility to bring the proper medication and to have the proper protection,”

Air Canada said in its submission. But allergy specialists said peanut proteins have been found in commercial airline air filters, demonstrating they may become aerosolized in flight and

remain suspended in aircraft cabins. The regulator said that creating a nut-free buffer zone is the best solution, and gave Air Canada 30 days to come up with a recommended size of the buffer. — AFP

“But what every American should know is that once I sign health insurance reform into law, there are dozens of protections and benefits that will take effect this year.” The US House of Representatives and Senate both passed sweeping health reform proposals last year, but their bills differ significantly. Both measures aim to extend health care coverage to more than 30 million out of the 36 million Americans that lack it, end abusive health insurance company practices, and curb soaring costs that take giant bites out of family and government budgets. But the Senate stripped out a government-backed “public option” plan to compete with private insurers in order to win over the backing of a handful of centrist Democrats without whom the bill would not have secured the 60 votes needed to pass in the 100-seat body. The two versions of the plan will now have to be reconciled before final approval. There are still disputes over how to pay for the plan, and whether the overhaul should create a national “exchange” where Americans could buy coverage, or set up exchanges on a state-by-state basis. But Obama expressed confidence that lawmakers were “on the verge of passing health insurance reform that will finally offer Americans the security of knowing they’ll have quality, affordable health care whether they lose their job, change jobs, move, or get sick.” He said that after he signed the proposal into law, uninsured Americans with a pre-existing illness or condition will be able to purchase coverage they can afford. Children with pre-existing conditions, the president added, will no longer be refused coverage, and small business owners who can’t afford to cover their employees will be immediately offered tax credits to purchase coverage. According to Obama, insurance companies will be required to offer free preventive care to their customers. “All told, these changes represent the most sweeping reforms and toughest restrictions on insurance companies that this country has ever known,” the president concluded. “That’s how we’ll make 2010 a healthier and more secure year for every American - for those who have health insurance, and those who don’t.” — AFP

ARLINGTON: A student receives an H1N1 vaccination at Carlin Springs Elementary School Friday in Arlington, Virginia. US Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius attended the event marking the second round of H1N1 vaccinations for children 9 years of age and younger. — AFP

New genetic mutations linked to kidney cancer LONDON: The more scientists look, the more complex cancer seems to become. British scientists said they had found a batch of new gene mutations linked to kidney cancer, suggesting even this apparently “straightforward” cancer type can be divided into subtypes requiring tailored treatment. Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), the most common type of kidney cancer, stands out from other cancers because it is remarkably consistent and the majority of cases are known to be driven by mutations in a single gene, called VHL. Yet when researchers conducted a large DNA sequencing study of more than 3,500 genes from around 100 tumour samples, they found evidence that additional mutations in other genes were also driving cells to become cancerous. Three of the genes were involved in modifying proteins called histones, which help package DNA into chromosomes and are critical to the functioning of cells, they reported in the journal Nature. “Even in this clearest of cases, we see evidence for substantial genetic heterogeneity,” said Andy Futreal, co-leader of the Cancer

Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge. While none of the new mutations accounted for more than 5 percent of cancer cases, the discovery should ultimately help in diagnosis and better selection of treatments for patients. The latest findings underline the case for personalised medicine, or tailoring drugs to the genetic make-up of individual patients. Scientists at the Sanger Institute last month also produced genetic “maps” identifying thousands of genetic mutations behind melanoma skin cancer and lung cancer. Several personalised drugs are already used in cancer, including Roche’s Herceptin for breast cancer and AstraZeneca’s Iressa for lung cancer. For drugmakers, tailored medicine is both an opportunity and a challenge as sub-dividing tumours by their molecular type shrinks the market for individual therapies. Kidney cancer kills more than 100,000 people worldwide each year. Recent new drugs against the disease include Pfizer’s Sutent and Bayer’s Nexavar, which block cell proliferation and starve tumours of blood supply. — Reuters

US court rules in favor of octuplets mom Suleman SANTA ANA: A California appeals court ruled in favor of octuplets mother Nadya Suleman Friday, denying a call for an independent guardian to monitor her children’s finances. The 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana called the petition an “unprecedented, meritless effort by a stranger” and directed an Orange County probate court to vacate its order for an investigation into the family’s finances. Paul Petersen, an advocate for children in the entertainment industry, argued that Suleman’s children were vulnerable and that an independent guardian should be appointed to look after their financial inter-

ests. The appeals court said the probate judge erred because Petersen failed to show that Suleman was engaging in financial misconduct. Suleman gave birth to octuplets on Jan. 26, 2009. The medical curiosity of their delivery turned to public outrage when it was learned that the single, unemployed mother had been caring for her six other children with the help of food stamps and Social Security disability payments for three of the youngsters. Suleman said previously that some of the disability money was spent on in vitro fertilizations, which was used for all 14 of her children. — AP

BOCA RATON: Christie Gonzalez carries a Green sea turtle wrapped in a towel as it is treated for “cold stun” at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center yesterday in Boca Raton, Florida. With a South Florida forecast of cold weather in the next few days the nature center is bracing for more turtles to be victims of the cold spell. If the green turtle bodies fall below 60 degree temperature they become immobilized and tend to float to the waters surface where they could end up with pneumonia or be unable to defend themselves against predators. — AFP



Sunday, January 10, 2010

AIP and Kuwait Times honour top dignitaries, meritorious students A

ssociation of Indian Professionals (AIP), in collaboration with Kuwait Times organized a grand function to award the meritorious Indian students of CBSE examinations. This year, the students and the entire Indian community were proud and elated by the presence of a distinguished guest, Prof. Dr Hilal Al-Sayer, Honorable Minster of Health for the State of Kuwait, the Ambassador of India, Ajai Malhotra was the guest of honor. Prof. Dr. Abdullatif Al-Bader, Secretary General of KIMS, Dr Hussain Dashti, former Vice Dean and Professor of Medicine, Dr Farida Al-Awadi, Professor at Faculty of Medicine and Senior Advisor to KISR and Dr Ziad Alyan, Deputy Editor in Chief of Kuwait Times were the other dignitaries who attended and graced the occasion. The Ambassador of India felicitated Prof. Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer, Dr. Ziad Alyan of Kuwait Times, Prof. Dr. Abdullatif Al-Bader, Prof. Dr. Hussain Dashti, and Prof. Dr. Farida Al-Awadi with AIP mementos. Dr CG Suresh, Chairman of AIP felicitated the Ambassador H.E. Ajai Malhotra for his honorable presence. The Minister of Health lauded the Indian education system and appreciated the Indian professionals for their sincere contribution towards the service sectors of Kuwait. The Ambassador of India, Ajai Malhotra thanked Prof. Dr. Hilal AlSayer for his distinguished presence and the support to the Indian community. He appreciated the AIP for their concerted effort in organizing such a mega event. Dr Ziad Alyan in his speech, gracefully remembered his father Yusuf S Alyan, the founder of ‘Kuwait Times’ and proudly acknowledged his contributions to journalism and the people of Kuwait. Prof. Dr. Hussain Dashti in his emotional speech enthralled the audience with his lovely Indian experiences. Umesh Sharma, general secretary of AIP highlighted that the AIP Awards have now become the symbol of excellence. The chairman of AIP, Dr C.G. Suresh thanked Prof. Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer and Guests of Honor for their valuable presence and thanked all the sponsors and all the EC members for their whole hearted support in organizing such an event. The ‘Meet your Seniors’ program was conducted by Dr. TS Srikumar and was attended by Rahul Jitendra Thakkar, Reshmi Rashekar, Ria Hancy Pereira, Ridhima Dutta, Sam Blessy Sheba, Somashree Podder and Vinitha Marry Mammen. This program provided an informal interaction for the students and their parents with the senior students who are currently pursuing university education abroad. The main sponsors were represented by Adnan Saad of Kuwait Times, Kuldeep Singh Lamba of M/s. Abdulhadi Al-Mailem Trading Co. and Anil Parasher of Ms. Oriental Insurance Co.

January 15 Kalanjali Pongal Vizha 2010: Kalanjali Kuwait is planning to organize ‘Pongal Vizha’ on January 15, 2010 in American International School. Special program, similar to Paattukku Paatu (in Tamil), by World famous Bh Abdul Hameed will be conducted. Interested participants can send an email with their details to for selection process in Dec 2009 or contact 99816937 / 66457286. Mega event: Seva Darshan Kuwait will present a mega stage show ‘Bharath Darshan’ on Friday, January 15, 2010 from 9 am onwards at the Marina Hall, Jleeb Al-Shouyoukh. The mega event will showcase riveting dance and music programs featuring celebrated artists of the Idea Star Singer-fame Somadas, Jins, Prashobh and Superstar Global winner Roopa. They will be supported by the famous comedy duo Kottayam Nazir and Kalabhavan Prajod. The proceeds from the event will go to building a school project for the tribal children in the backward region of Kerala’s Marayoor area. All are welcome to the mega event. KKMA children’s drawing contest: The grand final contest of KKMATiffany drawing contest for children in Indian schools in Kuwait will be held on Friday, 15th January 2010. A press release from KKMA stated that a total number of 3000 entries were received during the first phase of the contest held in June-October 2009. Children’s from 17 Indian schools in Kuwait participated in this contest. Of which 1000 finalists were selected and invited for an on-the-spot final contest held on January 15th 2010 at Kuwait Indian school in Jleeb (next to 6th ring road). A list of all finalists who are eligible for participating in the final contest is being sent to their respective schools and the participants are contacted by their given contact telephone or emails. The list is also published at KKMA website The Association thanked all class teachers and the art/drawing teachers of your school for their kind support without which we could not have received such an immense response. Contest titled as ‘World Peace’ KKMA-Tiffany Drawing Contest is conducted to promote a culture of nonviolence and peace by raising awareness among young children about these concepts. The competition was open to all students of Indian Schools in Kuwait and divided in to four categories - Primary School (Class 1 to IV), Upper Primary School (Class V to VII), Secondary School (Class VIII to Class X), and Senior Secondary School (Class XI and Class XII). The Phase 1 of the contest was held early this year in which each of the entrants was requested to submit one piece of drawing which responds to the theme, “World Peace”. All entries were then reviewed by a judging panel and 1000 semi-finalists were selected to advance to phase 2 final competitions which will be now held on 15th January 2009. Total of 60 winners, 15 students from each category will be then chosen and awarded with medals and gifts.

January at the AWARE Center (All programs are conducted in English. We welcome all Western Expatriates to attend.) Tue. 12th Diwaniya: “9 Helpful Habits in Kuwait plus 1 More” by Dr. Linda Fouke, 7pm Thurs.14th Documentary Film: “The Message”at 5:00pm Starring Anthony Quinn & Irene Pappas, English Language, Color, 3 hours Mon. 18 th January Guided Tour: Arab Organizations Head Quarters Building, 5:30pm For details, Tue. 19th Diwaniya: “Polygyny: A


Woman’s Viewpoint” by Dr. Teresa Lesher, 7pm Sun. 24th AWARE Arabic Language Courses begin for all levels from Introductory to Level 4 Tue. 26th Diwaniya: “Kuwait Between the Past and Present” by Dr. Khalid Al-Jenfawi, 7pm On behalf of all the AWARE Center staff, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you a prosperous 2010. AWARE CENTER Villa 84, Surra Street, Surra, Kuwait Telephone 2-533-5280 January 2010.

Seminar on pediatrics health


he Institution of Engineers (India) Kuwait Chapter’s has arranged a seminar on “Pediatric Scientific Explanation of Common Disorders and Treatments” Jointly presented by a panel of eminent Child Specialists consisting of 1. Dr. V. Satya Narayan, 2.Dr. Bhaskar Gupta, 3. Dr. N. Ram, 4. Dr. Gaurav Jadon. The Topics of the Seminar as follows: 1. Childhood Asthma by Dr. V. Satya Narayan. 2. Adolescent Problems by Dr. Bhaskar Gupta. 3. Convulsions in Children by Dr. N. Ram. 4. Prevention of Childhood Accidents by Dr. Gaurav Jadon. Seminar Date & Time: 22.01.2010, Friday, 10:30

A.M to 1:00 P.M. Seminar Venue: Holiday Inn, Downtown (at Daheya Ballroom, 4th Floor) This seminar is for the Family (Children of age 6 and above are only allowed).Lunch will be served at the end of the Program. Those who are interested to attend the seminar are requested to register their names by 16.01.2010 through email with the Details of Name of the IEI Member, Name of the Spouse, Name of the Children, Contact Nos. For further clarification kindly contact Engr. V.P.Tewari (Mob.: 99560784).

Adopt a pet RENEE DUDU JR Renee is a little siamese princess that is almost one year old. She loves her cat charmer and the speed of her little paw is quite impressive! Renee would do best in a home with children over 8 years of age. If you are interested in adopting from Animal Friends please call 67001622 or visit our website:

Dudu Jr. came in with a very unique name and it’s a name that has stuck. He loves to camp out in “cave like” enclosures, while playing hide and seek. Dudu Jr. would do best in a household with children over 12 years of age. If you are interested in adopting from Animal Friends please call 6700-1622 or visit our website:

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



Sunday, January 10, 2010

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

“Wishing a very very happy birthday to our dear Sanjana who celebrates her 2nd birthday today. May the Almighty bless you and keep you in good health. Best wishes from dad, mom, grandparents, cousins, relatives - friends.


rime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi after the First meeting of the members of PM’s Global Advisory Council of Overseas Indians held at New Delhi yesterday. Also seen in the photo are Industrialist Laxmi Mittal, Sam Pitroda, Karan Bilimoria, PNC Menon, Yusuffali MA and Ms Ela Gandhi

Jatiya Kabita Parisad executives meet Bangladesh ambassador


xecutives of Jatiya Kabita Parisad, Kuwait recently presented a copy of “Kabikantha” — literary mouthpiece of the Parisad to Bangladesh Ambassador to Kuwait Syed Shahed Reza. Current issues of the Kabikantha Edited by Jahangir Hossain bablu and Sanjeeb Bhdra Chandan respectively the President and General Secretary of Jatiya Kabita Parisad-Kuwait highlighted the life sketch and music compositions of renowned ‘Baul’ musician late Shah Abdul Karim. Along with the editor-inchief Jahangir Hossain bablu, executive editors Sheikh Zahir Raihan and Al Amin Rana also met the ambassador. The delegation pointed out ongoing cultural activities as well as other concerns of expatriate Bengali community in Kuwait. In appreciation of the Parisad’s proven literary commitment, the ambassador wished the delegation all the best and affirmed his support in future.

Happy birthday dear Yusef Al Adwani. Best wishes come from staff of BITCOM Air Cargo.

Konkani tiatr istory creator of Konkani stage the script writer-director Tony Dias to recreate his magical spell on Kuwait audience on 15th January 2010. Kala Mogui Kuwait presents the most awaited show of the year 2009, now touring Gulf & the UK to entertain one & all with an award winning performance by each and every artiste in ‘Conny Enterprises’ tiatr Mahanand Monis Vo Soitan? A true story of a serial killer that rocked Goa! Was Mahanand a hard working Goan? Was he just a lover? A simpleton, a Romantic? Or was it just his fondness for worldly things that enticed him to murders? Or is Mahanand simply an Innocent man after all ? Seeing is believing On 15th January 2010 at 4.30 pm at Da’iya Fencing Club Hall. For passes contact 22412970 or organizers: 99391452, 97439165, 24726524, 66512602, 99458159 or email:


Education exhibition


epresentatives from 45 universities, colleges and English language schools from all 4 countries of the UK will be present. Crowne Plaza Hotel, Farwaniya on Wednesday 20 January 2010 from 17:00 - 21:00 and Thursday 21 January 2010: 09:00 - 12:30 & 17:00-21:00 .They will answer enquiries and provide information on suitable courses, entry requirements and details about studying and living in the UK, including information on course content, living conditions, costs, welfare arrangements and much more. It will also be possible to find out more about the visa application process.

EMBASSY OF INDIA The Embassy of India has further revamped and improved its Legal Advice Clinic at the Indian Workers Welfare Center, and made the free service available to Indian nationals on all five working days, i.e. from Sunday to Thursday every week. Kuwaiti lawyers would be available at the Legal Advice Clinic daily from Monday to Thursday, while Indian lawyers would be available on Sundays. Following are the free welfare services provided at the Indian Workers Welfare Center located at the Embassy of India: [i] 24x7 Helpline for Domestic Workers: Accessible by toll free telephone no. 25674163 from anywhere in Kuwait, it provides information and advice exclusively to Indian domestic sector workers (Visa No. 20) as regards their grievances, immigration and other matters. [ii] Help Desk: It offers guidance to Indian nationals on routine immigration, employment, legal, and other issues (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iii) Labour Complaints Desk: It registers labor complaints and provides grievance redressal service to Indian workers (Embassy premises; 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4.30 PM, Sunday to Thursday); (iv) Shelters: For female and male domestic workers in distress; (v) Legal Advice Clinic: Provides free legal advice to Indian nationals (Embassy premises; Kuwaiti lawyers 3 PM to 5 PM, Monday to Thursday; Indian lawyers 2 PM to 4 PM on Sunday); and (vi) Attestation of Work Contracts: Private sector worker (Visa No. 18) contracts are accepted at the Embassy; 9 AM to 1 PM; Sunday to Thursday; Domestic sector worker (Visa No. 20) contracts are accepted at Kuwait Union of Domestic Labor Offices (KUDLO), Hawally, Al-Othman Street, Kurd Roundabout, Al-Abraj Complex, Office No 9, Mezzanine Floor; 9 AM to 9 PM, Saturday to Thursday; 5 PM to 9 PM on Friday. EMBASSY OF PHILIPPINES The Embassy of the Philippines wishes to inform the Filipino community in the State of Kuwait, that the recent supreme court decision to extend the registration of 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. EMBASSY OF SOUTH AFRICA The Embassy of the Republic of South Africa’s working hours till Thursday, 31st December 2009 will be from 8 am to 10 am. Please note that the Embassy will be closed on Sunday, 3rd January 2010 on the occasion of the New Year. The Embassy will resume its normal working hours on Monday, 4th January 2010, from Sunday to Thursday. Please note that the working hours will be from 8 am to 16h00 & the Consular section operation hours will be from 8h30 to 12h30.

KGTS-Kuwait continues their support towards senior most Tiatrists in India


uwait-Goa Tiatristanchi Sonvstha (KGTS) has overcome many a hurdles during and after our KGTS Mega Event held on 18th September 2009. The Almighty Lord was very generous to make KGTS battle all odds and stand united and keep carrying forward the cherished work for the Konkani stage. With the support of like minded Goans and Mangaloreans, KGTS was able to honour yesteryears senior-most stage artistes - the likes of Tita Pretto, Platilda, Anthony (Trio Kings) and Drummer Jel - with cash remunerations as well as mementos at a grand ceremony held on 13th December 2009 during the staging of Comedian Agostinho’s drama in Margao in the presence of KGTS committee members and a capacity audience. We thank the press and internet media who has highlighted the special event. On behalf of KGTS Managing Committee and members, I would like to thank every Goan and Mangalorean who supported our cause to bring back smiles on the faces of our yesteryears tiatrists and we look forward to your continued encouragement to keep our mothertongue alive as well as the Art for the Konkani Stage. At the same time I wish to thank each and every artiste who has contributed towards the huge success of KGTS Mega Event “Tiatristponn Devachem Dennem” as well as previous annual events since the year of its inception in 2002. God willing, we will strive even harder to keep KGTS’ flag flying high and once again exclaim in chorus and unison - Tiatristponn Devachem Dennem - The unique tiatr art is indeed God’s gift.



Sunday, January 10, 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

Ministry of Interior website:

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


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital

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

24874330/9 CLINICS













Abdullah Salim




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Ghar






Ayoun Al-Kibla










Maidan Hawally












New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb














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


PHARMACY Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

PHONE 23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638


Tariq Hana Ikhlas Hawally & Rawdha Ghadeer Kindy

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554


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

25622444 25752222 25321171 25739999 25757700 25732223 25732223

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

22434064 22435865 22544200 22547133 22515277 22616662 25714406 22530801

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari Dr. Abdel Quttainah

22617700 25625030/60

Family Doctor: Dr Divya Damodar 23729596/23729581

Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr.

Zahra Qabazard Sohail Qamar Snaa Maaroof Pradip Gujare Zacharias Mathew

25710444 22621099 25713514 23713100 24334282

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

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

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

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

25655535 Dentists:

Dr Anil Thomas


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

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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)

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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

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Saunday, January 10, 2010

33 ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya for Keralite couple with couple. Contact: 66615462 after 3 pm. (C 20151) Sharing accommodation available C-A/C flat in Abbassiya near Balansia bakery for a Keralite decent bachelor. Contact: 99652616. (C 20150) Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya decent Keralite couple only, Jan 21st or Feb 1st, double bedroom flat rent 80 KD. Contact: 97142939, 99263083. (C 20152) Sharing accommodation available for a couple/ small family or two non-smoking bachelors in a two bedroom flat in Abbassiya from 1st Feb 10. Contact: 24315927/ 97669236. (C 20153) Fully furnished sharing accommodation available for Keralite family or single non smoking bachelor, Abbassiya near Highway center from 10 January. Call: 67052936. (C 20157) 10-1-2010 Sharing accommodation

available for a Keralite couple, decent bachelors or working ladies with Keralite family, Apsara Bazar building. Contact: 97214297. (C 20144) Sharing accommodation available for family/ bachelor with central A/C attached bathroom, near Garden store, Abbassiya. Contact 65662085. (C 20143) Room available from 25th January in Tunis Street, Hawally, behind Alghanim W/TFC, A/C and internet. Contact: 97823204. (C 20145) Sharing accommodation available with a Keralite X始ian family in a C-AC flat in Abbassiya, opp German clinic with separate bathroom for family/ working ladies from Feb 01st. Contact: 99461537. (C 20146) Sharing accommodation available for Mangalorean family or 2 decent bachelors in Maidan Hawally. Phone: 66801120, 66285615. (C 20148) Sharing accommodation available for a non-smoking, non-cooking bachelor with Keralite family at Abbassiya, near Thattukada, from February. Call 99372823.

(C 20149) 9-1-2010 Fully furnished sharing accommodation available for a Keralite Christian family at Abbassiya for 3-5 months. Contact: 99962214 & 66957146. (C 20140) Furnished accommodation from 1st February 2010 in Salmiya near garden for decent Muslim executive bachelors preferably Muslim Indian or Pakistani, in a very clean and peaceful environment. Rent KD 100. Contact: 66639581. (C 20141) 07-1-2010 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

FOR SALE Toyota Corolla model 2002 white, good condition. KD 1,500 cash. Contact: 67744071. (C 20147) Toyota Corolla model 2007, XLi (low fuel communication) golden color, very excellent original condition, price cash KD 2,800 (installment possible). Contact: 99105286. (C 20158) 10-1-2010 Nissan Urvan model 2009, 10 seater, done 17,000 km, excellent condition, price cash KD 4,500. Contact: 97213518. (C 20142) 9-1-2010 Mitsubishi Gallant, 6 cylinder, silver color, 72,000 km, excellent condition, price KD 3,150. Contact: 66026259/ 55273700. (C 20138) Honda Accord 2007 model, honey gold, well maintained, (2.4 litres capacity, 25,000 km mileage). Single owner driven, owner leaving Kuwait. Price KD 4,000. Contact: 99300296. (C 20136) Laptop Siemens Core 2 Due, HD 120 GB, Ram 1

GB, DVD writer, Wifi, Bluetooth, Web cam + IBM Lenovo Desktop PC, Due Core with LCD monitor, for detail call: 99322585. (C 20139) Internet Card - Fast Telco for sale, original price is KD 55, required price is KD 25. Contact: 66451465. (C 20137) 7-1-2010


Wanted part/ full time maid for Indian family in Riggae, preferably Goan. Contact: 99694619. (C 20156) 10-1-2010 Required live in maid for Keralite family. Please call 99509436. (C 20129) 5-1-2010

No: 14605



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


562 0457 0134 284 800 0173 0693 857 215 0303 510 0239 0217 0125 0367 2101 703 227 982 2003 473 1025 542 0177 674 166 786 614 744 102 458 552 618 572 1201 0647 0459 217 402 0136 859 172 502 981 0429 081 0117 0185 389 636 043 1029 205 1129





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


611 0692 673 0216 551 0176 0458 503 501 613 801 0135 617 743 216 0304 858 0126 0262 511 0184 0116 2200 0448 704 0428 2102 228 1028 361 351 1128 571 0648 457 218 171 675 403 0188 102 0137 301 860 205 0636 0526 343 415 0502 411


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



Sunday, January 10, 2010

Calvin Aries (March 21-April 19) You may find yourself

reflecting on your own youth or some event from the past. Perhaps a friend from your past is visiting this weekend. You put the young people to work around your place with some fun activities. You may have some ideas about ways in which they could make some extra spending money. This could mean they will be painting houses or helping to clean up the neighborhood and neighbors may be willing to pay for this service. Young people may come up with some constructive ideas themselves. Of course, if you are in a cold part of the country a bit of shoveling would probably be the best attraction. This evening is a good time for surrounding yourself with friends and young people and for having a good time. Taurus (April 20-May 20) This morning is an excellent

time to sit down alone and get many things accomplished. A friend may join you in your exercise program. The ways in which you involve yourself with community concerns may depend upon how much power you have. You may be held back from some of the things you want to see accomplished. Remember to continue to express your desire to help others; trust and getting to know you will be the turning point. You truly desire some fun times and should not hesitate to get to know new people and form new acquaintances. Also, love is in full bloom and it is a good time to fully demonstrate the depth of affections to a loved one. Today marks a time in which you greatly enjoy social and romantic activities.

Pooch Cafe

ACROSS 1. A health resort near a spring or at the seaside. 4. Informal or slang terms for mentally irregular. 8. A guided missile fired from shipboard against an airborne target. 11. The sense organ for hearing and equilibrium. 12. A detailed description of design criteria for a piece of work. 13. A doctor's degree in theology. 14. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 16. A period marked by distinctive character or reckoned from a fixed point or event. 17. Edible tuber of any of several yams. 18. An narrative telling the adventures of a hero or a family. 19. Naked freshwater or marine or parasitic protozoa that form temporary pseudopods for feeding and locomotion. 21. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 24. A decree that prohibits something. 26. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 28. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 32. A bachelor's degree in religion. 34. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 36. Artists or writers whose ideas are ahead of their time. 38. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 39. A building where prostitutes are available. 44. A state in northwestern North America. 45. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 46. Jordan's port. 47. A flexible container with a single opening. 48. An informal conversation. 52. A logarithmic unit of sound intensity equal to 10 decibels. 53. Stable gear consisting of either of two curved supports that are attached to the collar of a draft horse and that hold the traces. 54. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 55. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. DOWN 1. A strong-smelling plant from whose dried leaves a number of euphoriant and hallucinogenic drugs are prepared. 2. Large burrowing rodent of South and Central America. 3. French writer who generalized surrealism to literature (1897-1982). 4. A bachelor's degree in science. 5. Any of various primates with short tails or no tail at all. 6. A three-tone Chadic language. 7. A fraudulent business scheme. 8. An infection of the sebaceous gland of the eyelid. 9. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 10. Designer drug designed to have the effects of amphetamines (it floods the brain with serotonin) but to avoid the drug laws. 15. (Scotland) A small loaf or roll of soft bread. 20. South American wood sorrel cultivated for its edible tubers. 22. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 23. Tropical American tree producing cacao beans. 25. A public promotion of some product or service. 27. A small piece of cloth. 29. Being six more than fifty. 30. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 31. An associate degree in nursing. 33. Growing in two parts or in pairs. 35. A member of an agricultural people of southern India. 37. A soft white precious univalent metallic element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. 40. A Loloish language. 41. Being nine more than forty. 42. In bed. 43. With no effort to conceal. 47. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 48. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 49. Before noon. 50. 1/10 gram. 51. A radioactive element of the actinide series.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) A few emotional questions come to the front of your mind this morning, but you may do well to keep them to yourself. With a few hours behind you, you will have the answers you need. You are appreciated for your compassion, intelligence, sharp business mind and willingness to create a positive change. This afternoon finds you responding to the needs of many. This could include neighbors; it could be that someone would like to go with you to the grocery store, church or whatever errands you may need to run. Your frame of mind is positive and you encourage others. The power of attraction and desire for love is great, but you should exercise caution before entering a new relationship, which may come about during this time.

Non Sequitur

Cancer (June 21-July 22) A love for the unusual may have you thinking about your normal routine this morning. Unconventional romantic and social connections are likely now. You could be thinking about reaching beyond your normal routine. You may enjoy doing some different activities for a change . . . camping, exploring, fishing, etc. Whatever you decide to do, it will be a refreshing change from your usual Saturday adventures. Any activity out-of-doors is tempting, depending on the weather—fresh air and country roads bring opportunities to stretch and enjoy nature. This afternoon neighbors or friends may be having a get-together and you are invited. This is a wonderful time to be with the people that you enjoy; and they with you. Leo (July 23-August 22) You may decide to make some changes in your appearance today. Perhaps you have decided to grow a mustache or get a tattoo—real or not. Whatever you decide to do, you will have fun with these new beginnings. Eccentricities and a different manner of presenting yourself may be fun through using tools such as a wig or new hair color or glue on mustache. A friend may decide this all looks like fun and join you in this little escapade. By the time the day is over, you will have a firm idea of the changes you want to put into effect. Someone you encounter today may behave in a frustrated way. This person may see you as a sounding board. Listening and encouraging calmness is a good thing; this frustration will pass. Listening is good therapy.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) Teamwork is the active word today. You may find yourself involved in some sort of group work. This could be anything from clearing away snow from elderly neighbor’s door, preparing the ground for a spring garden with the neighbors or attending a planning committee of some sort. Today you encourage others to expand their education, read a book or take a class. You are productive but at times you can overdo when it comes to helping people. Take some time later this afternoon to put your feet up and relax to some good music. You enjoy making others feel at ease but this evening a loved one may treat you as special as you treat them. Stay flexible and you will give yourself time to enjoy the evening. Libra (September 23-October 22) There is a new person in your life today and you may become a bit analytical, perhaps psychoanalyzing a particular situation. You could be very helpful, but be wise and stop while you are ahead. What you perceive in others, you are strengthening in yourself. You may even attract people that are head strong and confident. Celebrate fun things with friends today. Marriage and partnerships should be lucky this year. Problems seem to have a short burn time. With forethought, money problems can also be handled. Even when exercising, look forward, not backward—this attitude will bring you many accomplishments. You will be getting some helpful information this afternoon that will help you with health matters.

Mother Goose and Grimm

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) This morning is a

good time to write and communicate—you have real originality. If you are writing to earn an income, the writing will be most productive now. You might whistle while you carry out your chores today. There is a feeling that your load has been lightened; basically because your outlook is happy. A request or additional chore may be added to your day, but listen to your own inner guide—have faith in what you can accomplish. A community activity tonight has your interest and you may find it beneficial to attend this function. Friends or loved ones are happy to tag along wherever you wish to go. Quick answers, great wit and a surplus of insights and solutions are at the ready this evening as you and others enjoy a new entertainment. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) The way things have been done in the past may not be working now. This may mean a budget is not working or the training of an animal or some other technique is not appropriate at this time. Take some time off this Saturday from trying to make sense out of anything meaningful—tomorrow is another day. Cleaning chores, errands and other busy work should go well. You are inventive, original and high tech. You may have some great ideas for improving or updating the home front. Perhaps it would be good to write these ideas down for discussion soon. You could be entertaining a few friends this evening. Relax and forget technicalities for a while. Enjoy this opportunity to relax and be with friends. It is a time to talk about fun interests.

Yesterday’s Solution

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Your


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

psychic awareness is particularly strong. If you keep a logbook or note book of your visions you may be surprised at the insight you will gain from them. New energies surrounding a love relationship may bring much happiness and will take on more emotional depth. Feeling cared for and needed is comfortable; the lack of these things can cause an unconscious feeling of uneasiness. Young children enjoy learning under your patient tutelage—you give them much encouragement. Through teaching others, you may become more creative yourself. You are able to enjoy and value your own life situation at this time. A friend whom you have not seen in some time may come to visit you in your home this evening. There are compliments all around. Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You have insight into your emotions and drive and you can talk about your feelings with great insight. You may be pleased at the new people entering your life this year. This could be a new work group, religious group or hobby group. You will soon find yourself inviting people into your home and receiving invitations to other people’s home. You are most creative and will have an opportunity to express that creativeness in many ways. Becoming board easily, you will probably have several crafts or projects developing this year. You may have an important announcement to make this evening. Perhaps you or someone close to you is looking forward to a wedding or the birth of a child or you have scheduled a cruise—a good time to travel. Pisces (February 19-March 20) Everything points to your taking the initiative today. You may feel that your opinion is not what someone needs to hear and you could decide to take a listening attitude for now. This may mean that young people need a bit of guidance through example. You could feel great support from those around you. You will find this time is favorable for you to take the initiative in social matters. There is a desire to break with outmoded patterns from the past. A trip to the country or an opportunity to use your new sports equipment is just what you have been looking forward to this weekend. You may even want to change or update your personal appearance for an evening away from home; dancing perhaps. You draw a sense of security from social involvement now.


Sunday, January 10, 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 The Closer 05:00 Lost 06:00 GMA Recorded 07:00 Inside the Actors Studio 08:00 Law & Order 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 Inside the Actors Studio 16:00 GMA Live 17:00 Law & Order 18:00 The Closer 19:00 The Ex-List 20:00 Law & Order 21:00 Private Practice 22:00 Grey’s Anatomy 23:00 Nip/Tuck ANIMAL PLANET 00:50 Night 01:15 Night 01:45 Animal Cops Houston 02:40 Untamed & Uncut 04:30 Animal Cops South Africa 05:25 I Was Bitten 06:20 Animal Cops Houston 07:10 Aussie Animal Rescue 07:35 Vet on the Loose 08:00 Wildlife SOS 08:25 Pet Rescue 08:50 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 09:45 Animal Precinct 10:40 Aussie Animal Rescue 11:05 Miami Animal Police 11:55 Animal Cops South Africa 12:50 Wildlife SOS 13:15 Pet Rescue 13:45 The Snake Buster 14:40 Planet Earth 15:35 RSPCA: On the Frontline 16:30 Pet Rescue 17:25 Crime Scene Wild 18:20 Into the Pride 19:15 K9 Cops 20:10 Escape to Chimp Eden 21:10 Planet Earth 22:05 Untamed & Uncut 23:00 Into the Pride 23:55 Austin Stevens Adventures BBC ENTERTAINMENT 00:05 Carrie & Barry 00:35 Jack Dee: Live At The Apollo 01:20 Nighty Night 02:20 Little Britain 02:50 Green Green Grass 03:20 Massive 03:50 Carrie & Barry 04:20 Jack Dee: Live At The Apollo 05:05 Nighty Night 06:05 Canterbury Tales 06:55 Cash In The Attic 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 Tommy Zoom 10:40 Balamory 11:00 Cash In The Attic 12:00 Doctors 14:30 A Year At Kew 15:30 Life In The Undergrowth 16:20 Jane Eyre 17:15 Popcorn 18:10 The Weakest Link 18:55 Casualty 19:45 Casualty 20:35 A Year At Kew 21:35 Life In The Undergrowth 22:25 The Whistleblowers 23:15 Goldplated BBC LIFESTYLE 00:30 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 01:20 Come Dine With Me 03:25 The Restaurant Uk 05:55 Come Dine With Me 08:00 Antiques Roadshow 09:40 The Home Show 13:00 Saturday Kitchen 14:00 Living In The Sun 14:45 Coleen’s Real Women 15:30 10 Years Younger 16:20 The Clothes Show 17:05 It’s Not Easy Being Green 17:30 Sweet Baby James 19:10 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 20:50 Come Dine With Me 22:55 The Restaurant Uk BBC WORLD 00:00 Bbc World News - U 00:30 Spirit Of Yachting - U 01:00 Bbc World News - U 01:30 Newsnight - U 02:00 Bbc World News - U 02:30 Iran: Guarding The Revolution - U 03:00 Bbc World News - U 03:30 This Week - U 04:00 Bbc World News - U 04:10 The Doha Debates - U 05:00 Bbc World News - U 05:10 The Conspiracy Files - U 06:00 Bbc World News - U 06:10 My Country - U 07:00 Bbc World News - U 07:30 Hardtalk - U 08:00 Bbc World News - U 08:30 India Business Report - U 09:00 Bbc World News - U 09:30 Fast Track - U 10:00 Bbc World News - U 10:10 The Doha Debates - U 11:00 Bbc World News - U 11:10 My Country - U 12:00 Bbc World News - U 12:30 Dateline London - U 13:00 Bbc World News - U 13:30 Spirit Of Yachting - U 14:00 Bbc World News - U 14:30 India Business Report - U 15:00 Bbc World News - U 15:30 Newsnight - U 16:00 Bbc World News - U 16:15 Sport Today - U 16:30 Iran: Guarding The Revolution

17:00 Bbc World News - U 17:10 The Conspiracy Files - U 18:00 Bbc World News - U 18:10 The Doha Debates - U 19:00 Bbc World News - U 19:30 Reporters - U 20:00 Bbc World News - U 20:30 Spirit Of Yachting - U 21:00 Bbc World News - U 21:10 My Country - U 22:00 Bbc World News - U 22:15 Sport Today - U 22:30Middle East Business Report - U 23:00 Bbc World News - U 23:10 The Doha Debates - U CARTOON NETWORK 00:15 Out of Jimmy’s Head 00:40 Chop Socky Chooks 01:05 Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends 01:30 Cramp Twins 01:55 George of the Jungle 02:20 Adrenalini Brothers 02:45 Gadget Boy 03:10 Ed, Edd n Eddy 03:35 Class of 3000 04:00 The Powerpuff Girls 04:15 Robotboy 04:40 The Secret Saturdays 05:05 Chowder 05:30 Ben 10 05:55 Best Ed 06:20 Samurai Jack 06:45 Cramp Twins 07:10 Eliot Kid 07:35 The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack 08:00 Skunk Fu! 08:25 Chop Socky Chooks 08:50 Chowder 09:15 Ben 10: Alien Force 09:40 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 10:00 The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack 10:30 Chop Socky 60 11:30 The Secret Saturdays 11:55 Best Ed 12:20 Eliot Kid 12:45 Fantastic Four: World’s

04:00 World Business Today 04:30 World Sport 05:00 World Report 05:30 Worldview 06:00 News Special 06:30 My City_my Life 06:45 The Screening Room Xtra 07:00 Inside The Middle East 07:30 World Sport 08:00 World Report 08:30 Best Of Backstory 09:00 World Report 09:30 Inside The Middle East 10:00 World Report 10:30 World Sport 11:00 World Report 11:15 Cnn Marketplace Middle East 11:30 Living Golf 12:00 Political Mann 12:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart: Global Edi 13:00 Larry King 14:00 World Report 14:30 World Sport 15:00 News Special 15:30 Inside Africa 16:00 Fareed Zakaria Gps 17:00 State Of The Union With John King 18:00 World Report 18:30 My City_my Life 18:45 The Screening Room Xtra 19:00 Living Golf 19:30 World Sport 20:00 Prism 20:45 Cnn Marketplace Middle East 21:00 African Voices 21:30 Inside The Middle East 22:00 World Report 22:30 News Special 23:00 Amanpour. DISCOVERY CHANNEL 00:00 Time Warp 01:00 Mythbusters 02:00 Dirty Jobs 02:55 Brainiac 03:50 Smash Lab 04:45 How It’s Made 05:10 Ultimate Survival

Sydney White on Show Movies 1 Greatest Heroes 13:10 Megas XLR 13:35 Samurai Jack 14:00 Ben 10 14:25 Codename 14:50 The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack 15:15 The Life & Times of Juniper Lee 15:40 George of the Jungle 16:05 Skunk Fu! 16:35 Chop Socky Chooks 17:00 Robotboy 17:25 Squirrel Boy 17:50 Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends 18:15 The Secret Saturdays 18:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 19:05 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 19:30 Cartoon Network Dance Club 19:45 Ed, Edd n Eddy 20:00 Megas XLR 20:25 Samurai Jack 20:50 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 21:05 Ed, Edd n Eddy 21:30 Skunk Fu! 21:45 The Secret Saturdays 22:10 Ben 10: Alien Force 22:35 The Life & Times of Juniper Lee 23:00 Camp Lazlo 23:25 Samurai Jack 23:50 Megas XLR CINEMA CITY 01:00 Easy - 18 03:00 Joy Ride - PG15 05:00 The Caller - PG15 07:00 Heartbreakers - PG15 09:00 All Roads Lead Home - PG 11:00 My Cousin Vinny - PG 13:00 Napoleon Pt.*4* - PG 15:00 Noble Things - PG 17:00 Hardball - PG 19:00 Mars Attacks! - PG15 21:00 Lost - PG15 23:00 Poker Run - 18 CNN INTERNATIONAL 00:00 Living Golf 00:30 Talkasia 01:00 Backstory 01:30 World Sport 02:00 World Report 03:30 Talkasia

06:05 07:00 07:30 07:55 08:50 09:45 10:10 10:40 11:05 12:00 17:30 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Mythbusters Fifth Gear Fifth Gear Street Customs Berlin Biker Build-Off How It’s Made Eyewitness Eyewitness Ultimate Survival Mega Engineering How It’s Made Brainiac Smash Lab Dirty Jobs Mythbusters Black Gold Ross Kemp in Search of Pirates

DISCOVERY SCIENCE 00:40 Sci-Trek 01:30 Mighty Ships 02:20 Race to Mars 03:10 Primal Connections 04:00 Sci-Trek 04:50 Mighty Ships 05:45 Weird Connections 06:10 Weird Connections 06:40 Patent Bending 07:10 iPod Revolution 08:00 Thunder Races 09:00 Nextworld 10:00 Robocar 10:55 Ten Ways 13:40 Sci-Fi Saved My Life 16:25 Cool Stuff & How it Works 16:55 Primal Connections 17:50 Discovery Project Earth 18:45 What’s That About? 19:40 How It’s Made 20:05 How It’s Made 20:30 Engineered 21:20 Sci-Trek 22:10 Mighty Ships 23:00 Future Weapons 23:50 Future Weapons DISNEY CHANNEL 00:00 Jonas 00:20 Wizards Of Waverly Place 00:45 Suite Life On Deck 01:10 Fairly Odd Parents 01:35 Replacements 02:00 Phineas & Ferb 02:25 Little Einsteins 02:45 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

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

Handy Manny Lazytown Jonas Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana Sonny With A Chance Little Einsteins Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Handy Manny Lazytown Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Fairly Odd Parents Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Jonas Hannah Montana Sonny With A Chance Hatching Pete Phineas & Ferb Replacements Kim Possible Sonny With A Chance Hannah Montana Jonas Wizards Of Waverly Place Suite Life On Deck Fairly Odd Parents Replacements Phineas & Ferb Famous Five Fairly Odd Parents Jonas Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana Sonny With A Chance Minute Men Hannah Montana The Suite Life of Zack & Cody The Suite Life of Zack & Cody The Replacements Phineas & Ferb Replacements Kim Possible Sonny With A Chance Hannah Montana

E! ENTERTAINMENT 00:40 50 Most Shocking Celebrity Scandals 01:30 Ths 02:20 Sexiest 03:15 15 Most Shocking Acts Of Violence 05:05 Dr 90210 06:00 Ths 07:45 25 Most Stylish 08:35 E! News 09:25 25 Most Sensational Hollywood Meltdowns 11:05 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 17:10 Behind The Scenes 18:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 22:10 E! News 23:00 Perfect Catch 23:50 Reality Hell EXTREME SPORTS 00:00 Strikeforce 02:00 Railmasters 1 02:30 Asian X Games 2009 Bmx Street/ Park 03:00 FIM World Motorcross MX3 Championships 2009 03:30 FIM World Motorcross MX3 Championships 2009 04:00 FIM World Supermoto 2008 05:00 I-Ex Season 2 07:00 FIM World Supermoto 2008 08:00 I-Ex Season 2 10:00 FIM World Motorcross MX3 Championships 2009 11:00 FIM World Supermoto 2008 12:00 Fim World Motocross Championships 2009 13:00 Summer Dew Tour 2009 9 14:00 Uci Bmx Supercross World Cup 2008 16:30 Roxy Jam 17:00 Fim World Motocross Championships 2009 18:00 FIM World Motorcross MX3 Championships 2009 18:30 FIM World Motorcross MX3 Championships 2009 19:00 Summer Dew Tour 2009 9 20:00 UCI BMX World Championships 2008 20:30 UCI BMX World Championships 2008 21:00 UCI Nissan Mountain Bike World Cup 2008 21:30 UCI Nissan Mountain Bike World Cup 2008 22:00 X Games 15 2009 23:00 Fim World Motocross Championships 2009 FOX SPORTS 00:00 World Team Tennis from Washington 02:00 PGA Tour: SBS Championship, Rd. 3 Kapaula, HI 06:30 Golf Central International 07:00 Golf Channel - TBA 09:30 PGA Tour: SBS Championship, Rd. 3 from Kapaula, HI 13:30 European Tour Africa Open Final Rd. 17:30 Pac-10 Men’s Basketball USC at Cal 19:30 NFL GameDay 20:00 FOX NFL Sunday, time tentative, check local listings 21:00 NFL: Playoffs TBA, Time Tentative, Check local listings FRANCE 24 00:00 News And Magazines - U MGM 01:10 The Innocent 03:05 Until September 04:40 Dublin Murders 06:05 The War At Home 08:05 The Lost Brigade 09:25 Little Dorrit Part 2 12:25 Heart Of Dixie 14:00 Defiance 15:40 Cherry 2000 17:15 Clifford 18:45 Crossplot 20:20 The Mechanic 22:00 Sometimes They Come Back (1991) 23:35 Speechless NAT GEO ADVENTURE 00:30 Word Travels 03:30 Destination Extreme 04:00 Word Travels:the


Behind 04:30 David Rocco’s Dolce Vita 05:00 Pressure Cook 05:30 Lonely Planet 06:30 Word Travels 09:30 Destination Extreme 10:00 Cycling Home With Rob Lilwall 10:30 Lonely Planet 11:30 Bondi Rescue 12:00 Bondi Rescue 12:30 Surfer’s Journal 13:00 Surfer’s Journal 13:30 Jailed Abroad 14:30 Jailed Abroad 15:30 Photo To Go 16:00 Cycling Home With Rob Lilwall 16:30 Lonely Planet 17:30 Bondi Rescue 18:00 Bondi Rescue 18:30 Surfer’s Journal 19:00 Surfer’s Journal 19:30 Jailed Abroad 20:30 Jailed Abroad 21:30 Photo To Go 22:00 Cycling Home With Rob Lilwall 22:30 Lonely Planet 23:30 Bondi Rescue NAT GEO WILD 00:00 Mother Warthog 01:00 Wild Russia 02:00 Animals At The Edge 03:00 Animal Extractors 04:00 Animal Autopsy 05:00 Divine Delinquents 06:00 Mother Warthog 07:00 Wild Russia 08:00 Animals At The Edge 09:00 Animal Extractors 10:00 Animal Autopsy 11:00 Grizzly Caldron 12:00 Kalahari Supercats 13:00 Chimp Diaries 13:30 Savannah 14:00 Secret Shark Pits 15:00 Return To The Python Cave 16:00 Rescue Ink 17:00 Grizzly Caldron 18:00 Kalahari Supercats 19:00 Chimp Diaries 19:30 Savannah 20:00 Secret Shark Pits 21:00 Return To The Python Cave 22:00 Rescue Ink 23:00 Grizzly Caldron ORBIT NEWS 1 00:00 MSNBC Countdown w/K. Olbermann 01:00 MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show 02:00 ABC World News Live 02:30 NBC Nightly News Live 03:00 ABC World News (Sat) 03:30 NBC Nightly News (Sat) 04:00 NBC Saturday Today Show 06:00 ABC 20/20 (Sat) 07:00 ABC World News (Sat) 07:30 NBC Nightly News (Sat) 08:00 ABC World News (Sat) 08:30 NBC Nightly News (Sat) 09:00 NBC Dateline 10:00 ABC World News (Sat) 10:30 NBC Nightly News (Sat) 11:00 MSNBC Hardball 12:00 MSNBC News The Ed Show 13:00 MSNBC (Fri) Dr. Nancy 14:00 ABC 20/20 (library) 15:00 NBC Dateline (library) 16:00 NBC Sunday Today Show Live 17:00 NBC Meet The Press Live 18:00 ABC This Week 19:00 MSNBC Hardball weekend 19:30 MSNBC Your Business 20:00 NBC Meet The Press (Sun) 21:00 ABC This week (Sun) 22:00 MSNBC News The Ed Show 23:00 MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show ORBIT NEWS 2 00:00 MSNBC (As Live) Investigates 04:00 Newshour with Jim Lehrer (Sat) 05:00 ABC Now Good Money (Fri) 05:30 ABC Now Job Club (Wed) 06:00 ABC Now Ahead of the Curve (Mon) 06:30 ABC Now Nature’s Edge (Mon) 07:00 Newshour with Jim Lehrer (Sat) 08:00 ABC Now Good Money (Fri) 08:30 ABC Now Job Club (Wed) 09:00 ABC Now Ahead of the Curve (Wed) 09:30 ABC Now Nature’s Edge (Mon) 10:00 ABC NOW Nightline Twitter (Mon) 10:30 ABC Now Good Money (Fri) 11:00 ABC Now Job Club (Wed) 11:30 ABC Now Ahead of the Curve (Fri) 12:00 ABC Now Nature’s Edge (Mon) 12:30 ABC NOW Nightline Twitter (Mon) 13:00 MSNBC (As Live) Investigates 14:00 MSNBC (As Live) Investigates 15:00 MSNBC Hardball Weekend (as live) 15:30 MSNBC Your Business (as Live) 16:00 MSNBC Live 20:00 MSNBC (rec. 13:00G) 21:00 MSNBC (rec. 14:00G) 22:00 MSNBC (rec. 15:00G) 23:00 MSNBC (rec. 16:00G) PLAYHOUSE DISNEY 08:00 Special Agent Oso 08:25 Handy Manny 08:50 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:15 Imagination Movers 09:40 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 10:05 Special Agent Oso 10:20 Chuggington 10:55 Handy Manny 11:20 Imagination Movers 11:40 Happy Monster Band 11:55 Lazytown 12:20 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 12:45 Lazytown 13:10 Special Agent Oso 13:35 Imagination Movers 13:55 Little Einsteins 14:20 Bunnytown 14:45 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 15:15 Special Agent Oso 15:30 Chuggington 15:50 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 16:15 Little Einsteins

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

he legendary US rock band don’t adhere to the commonly used phrase because it glorifies drug use one of the problems which tore their original line-up apart in 2000. Bass player Gene Simmons said: “Even the phrase ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ what a losers phrase that is! Why isn’t it just sex and rock ‘n’ roll? How did drugs become cool? “You can’t win a marathon high, you just can’t. Don’t get me started.” Gene - who claims to have slept with nearly 5,000 women - and singer/guitarist Paul Stanley are the only original members left in the band, who had their heyday in the 70s. Drummer Peter Criss and guitarist Ace Frehley joined the group for a 1996 reunion but Gene and Paul realized they still had the problems which originally caused the breakdown of Kiss in the 80s. Paul said: “There’s magic in people seeing the original line-up, but from there it was really downhill.” Gene, 60, added to The Sun newspaper: “If you listened to it objectively, it grew old pretty quickly. All of the bull-s**t we had to go through with the drugs and booze and lack of self esteem that Ace and Peter had just sucked the life out of us. It’s been a thorn in my side for a long time.”


n S o ton r a e

Kiss say no to sex, drugs and rock ʻnʼ roll




he ‘Road’ actress feels fulfilled with her career achievements and is now looking forward to settling down and raising a family with her boyfriend of nine years, actor Stuart Townsend. She said: “I feel very blessed to have had a certain amount of success and now I’m reaching the point where I would love to be a mom. I know I want to raise a big family and it’s just a question of time. “I know I’m ready for that phase of my life and I know that Stuart is the man I want to take that step with.” The 34-year-old South African star says she and Stuart, 37, are as much in love as they have always been and credits their “great friendship” as helping to keep their relationship together, even when work commitments force them to be apart for months at a time. She added in an interview with the Daily Mirror newspaper: “Stuart is a remarkable, warm, caring man. We’ve been able to make a great life for ourselves and that can be pretty hard in this business when you’re travelling and sometimes separated.


to duet with Bo a g yG a G eo he ‘Poker Face’ y d r singer will perform with the a ‘Karma Chameleon’ singer -


Spears dumps boyfriend


he ‘Basic Instinct’ actress says she struggles to put on weight and has to fight hard to maintain her size six/eight frame. She said: “I have to watch not getting too skinny. I’m a mover. I’m not one of those people who can survive on salad. I love a big steak dinner and I’m obsessed with finding the perfect hamburger. “They do one at the Tower Bar here in Los Angeles which come son an English muffin with arugula and brie, and they serve it with French fries and truffle oil. That really sends me.” As well as eating a lot so as not to get too thin, the 51-year-old star - who has adopted children Roan, nine, Laird, four, and Quinn, three makes sure she exercises regularly to stay in shape. She added to Tatler magazine: “I do Pilates. I bike, I canoe, I walk. I try to take the stairs more than the elevator and I chase my children.” Sharon is not the only star to confess to a love of the calorific food. ‘Nine’ actress Penelope Cruz recently reveals she eats fast food every week and even stopped off for a snack before winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ last year. She said: “I ate an In-N-Out burger and then I went to the red carpet. What’s so surprising about that? I do it, like, once a week or once every two weeks. It’s my little treat for myself. I love the Double-Double with fries.” During her second pregnancy, Nicole Richie - who has 23-month-old daughter Harlow and son Sparrow, three months, with Good Charlotte star Joel Madden - regularly made the rocker make late night trips to buy burgers for her.




ritney Spears has reportedly split from her boyfriend. The ‘Toxic’ singer is said to be “distraught” after learning Jason Trawick had been flirting with two women at Los Angeles’ bar Roger Room and is now refusing to take his calls. Ella Davis, a reveler at the bar, told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “Jason left the bar with two bottles of water - and a stunning blonde who looked like Britney. “He had his arms around her and they looked very much like they were together for the night.” Friends of Jason - who has proposed to Britney a number of times - have defended him, insisting his behavior is out of character. A source added: “Jason’s a great guy and super loyal. This behavior is really out of character. But Los Angeles is a small town and word soon got back to Britney he’d had a wild one. “When she heard he’d been caught cozying up two girls in The Roger Room, it was the last straw. Jason’s really not like this and quickly tried to calm Britney down and rectify the situation. He explained the girls were just friends and there was nothing in it but they still had a massive row. “Everyone is assuming it’s over - for the time being anyway.” After the argument Britney called her mother who has flown in from Louisiana to comfort her. Britney - who has two sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline and agent Jason started dating last March. They split briefly in August, but soon reconciled.

is ʻobsessedʼ with hamburgers

who is her teenage idol - on stage at London’s O2 Arena in February. A source said: “Gaga has always been a fan and now he’s got his life back on track it’s the perfect opportunity to do something with him.” The ‘Bad Romance’ singer previously revealed she was bullied at school for dressing like George - who shot to fame in the 80s with his flamboyant and androgynous appearance. She said: “I didn’t fit in at high school, I wanted to be like Boy George and I felt like a freak. So now I like to create this atmosphere for my fans where they feel like they have a freak in me to hang out with, and they don’t feel alone.” George - real name George O’Dowd - was released from prison in May 2009 after serving four months of a 15-month sentence for assault and false imprisonment of a male escort in his London home. He has since been attempting to turn his life around, and has been fighting his drug addiction with visits to Narcotics Anonymous. He said: “I was like. I don’t need it. I’m fine. I’d been to one in the 80s and I just thought they were all weirdos, which is a common get out clause for anyone in denial but I went to one.”

Charlize Theron is ready to have children

Bullock is ready to relax andra Bullock is taking time off to relax. ‘The Blind Side’ star - who had a winning night at the People’s Choice Awards on Wednesday where she was named Favorite Movie Actress and her film ‘The Proposal’ was named Favorite Comedy - insists he is happy to just do nothing at the moment, despite the accolades. Sandra - who is married to motorcycle builder Jesse James - said: “I don’t want to open anything and read anything right now. I’m enjoying too many other things in my life. Once you get a project, it’s a lot of time out of your life. I don’t want to leave home right now.” The 45-year-old star doesn’t have the “slightest idea” what her next project will be and for the immediate future she just plans to focus on simpler pleasures, like enjoying “a nice cup of coffee in the morning at 6.30, watching the sun come up. I have a really blessed life.” —Bang Showbiz



Music & Movies

Iranian singer Nazeri detained overnight, released I

ranian classical singer Shahram Nazeri, dubbed “Iran’s Pavarotti,” was released early Friday after being held overnight for questioning by authorities in Tehran. Nazeri turned himself in Thursday, a source close to the family told The Associated Press, requesting anonymity out of safety concerns. Nazeri’s detention and Friday release were confirmed by Hadi Ghaemi, director of the New Yorkbased International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The singer had been briefly detained at Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran when he returned to the country on Jan 4 from a New Year’s vacation in Dubai. His passport and identification documents were seized at the time, the source said. Witnesses at the airport told the source that a crowd of onlookers who had initially sought Nazeri’s autograph grew angry that he was being detained and began shouting “Death to the Dictator.” Nazeri was allowed to leave the airport, but asked to report to security officials on Thursday. A hugely popular classical musician in Iran for more than 30 years, Nazeri told The AP in October that he has never faced censorship in Iran-a rarity for any artist. His songs are typically centuries-old Iranian poems set to traditional music. — AP

In this photo made Oct 1, 2009, Iranian musician Shahram Nazeri rehearses for a Los Angeles concert in Beverly Hills, Calif. —AP

Probation for ‘Hills’ Official says no charge yet Stephanie Pratt ourt records show Stephanie Pratt, an actress on MTV’s “The Hills,” will serve three years of informal probation after pleading no contest to a lesser charge in a drunken driving case. Pratt pleaded no contest to a charge of exhibition of speed in a Los Angeles court Thursday. She was arrested in October in Hollywood and charged with drunken driving. Pratt’s attorney, Jon Artz, says the plea deal was reached because there was no evidence Pratt was driving impaired. Artz says he thinks it’s a fair resolution to the case and Pratt has learned a “valuable lesson” about the dangers of drinking and driving. The records show Pratt has agreed to attend Alcoholics Anonymous classes as part of the plea agreement. The sentence was first reported by — AP

Stephanie Pratt


against Jackson doctor

he Los Angeles prosecutor’s office on Friday said it has not yet decided whether to charge Michael Jackson’s doctor with a crime in the pop singer’s sudden death by cardiac arrest last June. “We have nothing pending. No decision has been made and nothing has been filed,” said a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. She declined further comment. Earlier on Friday, celebrity website cited unnamed law enforcement sources as saying Los Angeles police concluded their final investigation in late December and would send their findings to the Los Angeles district attorney within weeks to determine whether to file criminal charges. TMZ and other publications, also citing unnamed sources, said prosecutors may charge Dr Conrad Murray with involuntary manslaughter due to gross negligence in his treatment of the “Thriller” singer, to whom the doctor administered the powerful anesthetic propofol before his death. Jackson, 50, died on June 25 in Los Angeles, and the county coroner’s office has ruled the death a homicide by drug overdose, determining that propofol and the sedative Lorazepam were the main drugs that caused his death. Speculation about a possible charge against Murray has been brewing for months. Murray, a cardiologist with offices in Houston and Las Vegas, was hired to care for Jackson while the singer prepared for a series of comeback con-


In this Monday, Nov 23, 2009 picture, Dr Conrad Murray arrives at his clinic in Houston. — AP certs. Murray has told investigators he was not the first doctor to give Jackson propofol, according to court records. — Reuters

Dee Dee Bridgewater shines new light on jazz icon Bridgewater tunefully connects with her self-described “dream band” on the sassy “Lover Man” and the haunting “You’ve Changed.”

Bollywood stars shine bright


Dee Dee Bridgewater music. So when I came back to doing standards, I came back with this whole new feeling. And his arrangements allowed a lot of freedom inside.” Right from the swinging start of opener “Lady Sings the Blues,” Bridgewater zeroes in on the modern, joyful approach she wanted to bring to Holiday’s songs. Melding blues with African polyrhythms, “Blues” segues into a soulful, nuanced “Good Morning Heartache.” Reminiscent of the way Holiday improvised with her band,

Indian Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor performs during an awards ceremony in Mumbai late January 8, 2010. — AFP photos

‘A lot of love’ Recorded in three days, the Bridgewater-produced album also features the artistry of reeds player James Carter, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash. Behind the set’s crystal sound is legendary producer/engineer Al Schmitt. “It was magical,” Bridgewater recalls. “The grooves were so in the pocket. Everybody took their part and made it their own; my intensity came out of what I was hearing from them. There was a lot of love being poured into each song.” Bridgewater’s love affair with Holiday dates back to 1970, when she first heard one of the late singer’s albums. But it wasn’t until Bridgewater read the singer’s ghostwritten autobiography (“Lady Sings the Blues”) that “I also saw a lot of her in me; that similar unsettling things had happened in my life.” Fast-forward to 1986: After a gig in Paris, Bridgewater was offered the chance to star in a one-woman musical, “Lady Day,” based on the book. Written and directed by Stephen Stahl, the play ran in

Indian Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan.

o one can accuse Dee Dee Bridgewater of playing it safe. The Grammy Award-winning vocalist fused jazz with the colorful rhythms of West Africa’s Republic of Mali on the 2007 multicultural outing “Red Earth: A Malian Journey.” The carryover from that creatively enriching experience fuels Bridgewater’s latest project: “Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee.” Eleanora Fagan is the birth name of Billie Holiday, the pioneering-and troubled-jazz singer-songwriter whose life was cut short at the age of 44. Holiday forged an indelible mark by way of such classics as “God Bless the Child,” “Don’t Explain,” “Lover Man” and “Lady Sings the Blues.” Those songs plus eight more, including the racism-themed “Strange Fruit,” round out Bridgewater’s Feb. 2 release from DDB Records/Emarcy (Universal). But while “Eleanora Fagan” celebrates Holiday’s legacy, the set is more than the average tribute album. New arrangements were written for all 12 songs by Bridgewater’s longtime bandmate, pianist Edsel Gomez. “I was just so changed after ‘Red Earth,”“ Bridgewater says. “What I learned from that experience is that jazz and blues are extensions of Malian

Paris (1986) and London (1987), where it earned Bridgewater a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for best actress. After recording subsequent albums re-envisioning such music icons as Horace Silver (1995’s “Love and Peace: A Tribute to Horace Silver”), Ella Fitzgerald (1997’s Grammy-winning “Dear Ella”) and Kurt Weill (2002’s “This Is New”), Bridgewater mounted an effort to bring “Lady Day” to Broadway. That venture failed, but the planned accompanying album moved forward. Prepping now for a concert run that kicks off Jan. 14 at the Panama Jazz Festival, Bridgewater is set to perform in the United States (including shows in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC) and overseas (including Switzerland, France, Belgium and Denmark). Along the way, she hopes to leave audiences with a renewed sense of Holiday’s legacy while engaging a new generation of fans. “I want people to come away feeling so good that it piques their curiosity to learn more about the real Billie Holiday ... the joy, the love, her courage and power as a songwriter; not just the dark, tragic parts of her life. Billie deserves to have her music heard in another light.”— Reuters


Music stars to drum for peace in Sudan

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Activists bang oil drums during a protest by human rights advocates Amnesty International, to call attention to the allegedly worsening situation in Sudan, in Berlin January 7, 2010. —AFP


rummers from Pink Floyd, Radiohead and The Police are joining other musicians to drum for peace in Sudan as part of an international campaign to press world leaders to prevent more bloodshed in Africa’s largest nation. The Sudan 365 campaign, launched yesterday, calls “on global leaders to take urgent diplomatic action over the next 365 days to prevent all-out conflict returning to Sudan,” a statement by the organizers said. It comes as Sudan marks the fifth anniversary of the NorthSouth Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended a devastating 22-year war between majority Muslim north Sudan and the mainly Christian and animist south. The CPA also paves the way for Sudan to hold its first general election in 24 years in April ahead of a key referendum on southern independence in 2011. Celebrity drummers are taking part in a “beat for peace” film that features a drumroll starting in the warwracked nation “and being picked up and passed like a baton between drummers in over 15 countries”-including Brazil, Egypt, France, Japan, South Africa and the United States. Drummers will include Radiohead’s Phil Selway, Stewart Copeland of The Police, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, as well as Egyptian musicians Yehia Khalil and Mohammed Munir and Ghana’s Mustapha Tettey Addy. Nine organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the US group Save Darfur have joined efforts to organize the campaign along with the drummers. Gatherings are due to take place in a dozen cities across the world on Saturday when the film will be launched on and the front page of YouTube, organizers said in a statement. “I wanted to be involved in this project because I think music is such a powerful way of bringing people together,” Selway was quoted as saying. “Hopefully this film will show that together people can make a huge noise and through this film I hope people’s

focus will be brought back to what is happening in the Sudan over this very important next year,” Selway said. Five years after the end of the north-south civil war, the political situation remains tense between the two sides while south Sudan continues to be rocked by bloodshed and deadly tribal clashes. At least 140 people were killed in the remote Wunchuei region of southern Warrap state over the past week, the United Nations reported on Thursday. The dead were from the

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason. — AFP Dinka people, and local sources suggested they were killed by a rival Nuer group, but this could not be confirmed. Since 2003 the volatile region of Darfur in western Sudan has also been the scene of a devastating civil war in which 300,000 people have been killed, according to the United Nations. Khartoum puts the death toll at 10,000. “The next 365 days will be critical for the people of Sudan,” said drummer Jamie Catto, founding member of 1 Giant Leap and Faithless, and the brainchild of the film. “This global drumbeat is a cry for positive action from world leaders to prevent conflict from returning.” Egypt’s Mohammed Munir added: “Sudan has experienced too much pain and suffering in the last three decades. Now is the time to make sure that the future is one of peace and prosperity for all those in Darfur and the rest of Sudan.”— AFP

Maguire on ‘Spider-Man’ production delay obey Maguire doesn’t think “Spider-Man 4” has become a tangled mess. The 34-year-old star of the web-slinging superhero franchise said preproduction snags aren’t dampening his mood about the fourth installment. The next “Spider-Man” film had been scheduled to swing into theaters May 6, 2011, but that seems unlikely now that “Thor,” another big-screen Marvel superhero adaptation, has hammered out the same release date. “Like anything, it’s a process,” Maguire said Thursday. “We’re just in the midst of the process. We have a lot of great stuff in terms of story and script. We’re just trying to dial it in and get it ready as quickly as possible. Of course, these movies are a very big undertaking and take a lot more time than a drama or something more straightforward.” Marvel Studios spokesman Paul Pflug declined to comment on reports that production had stalled amid script revisions. Maguire, who has played Peter Parker in all three films, said the plan is to still release the movie in 2011, but wasn’t more specific about the date. Whatever happens, he’s enthusiastic about Spidey’s future. “Not only do I have specific ideas, but the ideas are evolving on the page,” he said. “It’s all happening right now. It’s all sort of coming together. It’s very exciting to me. I think the evolution of the character is really exciting, to be rooted in the history of what we’ve done already and to have a continuity, yet have a progression or evolution.” After glowing reaction to the first two chapters, critical response to 2007’s “Spider-Man 3” was so-so. Director Sam Raimi was undecided


Indian Bollywood actors Abhishek Bachchan (L) and Shah Rukh Khan pose with actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

In this Feb 28, 2008 file photo, actor Toby Maguire watches the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat basketball game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.— AP about returning to the franchise after the third movie, but said at the Cannes International Film Festival last year that he didn’t like “thinking about a world where somebody else was making the Peter Parker story.”— AP

Indian Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan



Sunday, January 10, 2010


Models wear designs from the Giulia Borges collection at Fashion Rio Fall Winter 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Friday, Jan 8, 2010. —AP Photos

Fashion show with Olympic themes opens in Rio fashion show designed to showcase the richness of Brazilian culture ahead of the 2016 Olympic games opened here Friday under the slogan “Rio Olympic and Marvelous.” Event organizer Paulo Borges said the show will reflect the mood in Brazilian cities after Rio had been chosen over Madrid and Chicago to host the major international sporting event. “Fashion is reflection of people’s behavior, customs and modern life,” Borges told reporters at the opening of the show. “That is why Fashion Rio will be an Olympic and marvelous show.” Designers will demonstrate their creations in three remodeled warehouses that can accommodate between 600 and 1,000 spectators each. The show has already attracted 6.5 million dollars in new investment, up from 5.5 million last year. —AFP


Models present creations by designer Auslander during the Rio Fashion Week Autumn-Winter 2010 collection, at the Pier Maua on January 8, 2010, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. —AFP photos

Fashion, cosmetics industries meet in Geneva Jan 20-21 t the initiative of the UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), more than 500 representatives of governments, international organizations, and the fashion and cosmetics industries will meet here on January 2021 to call for action against the rapid loss of the world’s biodiversity. Spokesperson for UNCTAD, Catherine Sibut-Pinote, said that this event, organized in connection with the UN 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, will begin with a high-profile business seminar and conclude with an “EcoChic” fashion show and exhibition launch celebrating sustainable fashion and accessories. Over 50 looks have been donated by designers from around the world, including the renowned figures Diane Von Furstenberg, Manish Arora, Bora Aksu, and Thakoon. In addition, established “sustainable” fashion labels such as Edun, Noir, Ciel, and Kumvana Gomani will contribute garments and accessories from their latest collections. Sustainability is the message of the UNCTAD BioTrade program, which helps local communities preserve local flora and fauna through the marketing of products which give them not only a moral but an economic interest in nurturing and preserving biodiversity. For example, local communities in Bolivia have successfully implemented sustainable management plans resulting in exports of skins and products derived from the Caiman yacare, a species of crocodile, to Italy, generating over USD 1.4 million in sales (a 282 percent increase over 2003). Exports of these products to the US now total USD 500,000 (up 364 percent over 2003). Ecological fashion firms adopt approaches which take into account the preservation of the environment. For example, organically grown cotton does not involve the use of pesticides and other chemicals that can cause species damage. Worldwide, cotton now accounts for 11 percent of pesticides and 25 percent of all insecticides used each year. UNCTAD says that some 60 percent of coral reefs could be gone by 2030. Longer-term damage is still more extensive: in the last 300 years, the global forest area has shrunk by approximately 40 percent-forests have completely disappeared in 25 countries-and since 1900 the world has lost about 50 percent of its wetlands. The January 20-21 event will emphasize the contribution of businesses and consumers to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the 2010 Biodiversity Target, an overall conservation target aiming to stem biodiversity loss by the end of the year 2010. —KUNA




Sunday, January 10, 2010


New for 2010: B

Angelina Jolie ‘overshadowed’ St John fashion brand

ras that pump up or down with body temperature and smooth out ageing cleavages are among hot new undies to be unveiled at this month’s Paris lingerie show, organizers said Thursday. A Dutch-designed antiwrinkle bra that can iron out crinkly cleavages as a woman sleeps, and a smar t Slovenian

brassiere whose foam cups expand with body heat when the wearer works out or flirts, are amid innovations at the January 23-25 Paris trade fair. “High-tech’s playing a growing role in underwear,” said the fair’s fashion manager Sophie Morin. “Take ultra-sounds for example, now used as well as laser technology to cut and construct

ctress Angelina Jolie, the former face of US luxury knitwear maker St John, “overshadowed the brand”, the label’s chief told an industry publication on Friday as the company unveiled its new look. St John this week launched a new spring 2010 print advertising campaign starring British model Karen Elson, 30, a redhead who is married to White Stripes singer Jack White.


Anti-wrinkle bras, protein undies gar ments without seaming or stitching.” Also touted is a range of French lingerie called Milkshake in a fabric made of milk proteins that contains 10 amino acids to hydrate the skin. “The knit is as soft as satin,” said Morin. The cupless anti-wrinkle bra designed by Decollete is supposed to be thrown on at bedtime keeping

Absent from the promotion, was Hollywood superstar Jolie, 34, who was hired by St John as its public face in 2005. Jolie’s departure had been announced in June 2008. St John chief executive Glenn McMahon told Women’s Wear Daily she “overshadowed the brand. We wanted to make a clean break from actresses and steer away from blondes and cleanse the palette.” Separately, McMahon said

breasts apart to prevent the formation of feared crinkles that appear in the night. “I dread to think of my husband’s likely reaction if I was to come to bed wearing it,” said one blogger on, a site that has already consigned the bra to its “department of daft.” The smart bra from Slovenia’s Lisca boasts cups made of memory

foam that ebbs and flows with body-heat-a NASA patented technology from the 1960s. Some 20,000 lingerie types from more than 100 nations are due to attend the end-month Paris fair, bringing together more than 500 brands, including Brazil’s LZ, flying in with an ultra-light bra that weighs in at 67 grams (two ounces). —AFP

in a statement that “we needed to show a modern point of view of St John. We are evolving the brand.” During the years that Jolie promoted the company’s fashions, she became one of the most recognizable and sought-after celebrities in the world through her romance with actor Brad Pitt, their six children, and her charity work in Africa and other countries.—Reuters

Models wear designs from the Melk ZDa collection during Fashion Rio Fall Winter 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Friday, Jan 8, 2010. —AP photos

Models wear design from the Victor Dzenk collection at Fashion Rio Fall Winter 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Friday, Jan 8, 2010. —AP photos

Rajasthani musicians from the Indian group The Manganiyar Seduction perform during the opening night of the 34th Sydney Festival yesterday. Over one million Sydneysiders are expected to watch 1,300 artists from across the country and around the world perform in 81 different events scattered across 27 venues until January 30.— AFP

Finding hope and a way off drugs for India’s street kids ohan was 13 when he ran away from his village because he didn’t want to sit an exam. He ended up in Mumbai, fearing beatings or worse every time he slept on the streets, in shop doorways or bus stops. Like many of his young friends he turned to drugs, finding the highly addictive chewing tobacco “gutka”, glue sniffing and hashish helped him to cope. “You feel free. You don’t feel the stress of street life. You need to forget, block it all out. It’s an escape,” Mohan, now 25, told AFP. He found sanctuary six years ago at a charity for street children, beating his drug habit through its detoxification program and putting himself on the path to recovery. Now he earns 4,800 rupees (100 dollars) a month as an assistant chef at a restaurant in the southern city of Chennai and is back in contact with his family. “I want to become a cook, not an assistant cook. Then I’ll probably settle down and marry,” he said on a return visit to the charity to talk to children about his experiences. Mohan, who asked for his real name not to be used, is one of the success stories at the Society Undertaking Poor People’s Onus for Rehabilitation-or SUPPORT for short. Fif ty young boys and 26 girls aged five to 18 are currently living at the charity’s Mumbai centers. Thirty youths aged 18 and above are also being given vocational training. These reallife equivalents of the children in the hit film “Slumdog Millionaire” have all been referred to SUPPORT after being found living on the streets. Charities working with street children say the scale and the complexity of the problem is huge and becoming more acute as India’s population expands and migration to cities increases. Accurate figures are difficult to come by but India is estimated to have between 18 million and 20 million street children, according to charities and a number of research studies. The UN has said that up to 250,000 are thought to be living in Mumbai, although Hoshang Irani, a SUPPORT trustee, and others believe that is a gross underestimation. “We just can’t help everyone,” Irani admitted. Yet non-governmental organizations do what they can with modest resources and funding from business, other charities, individuals and local authority subsidies. Irani, a former banker, described the causes of drug-addicted street kids as “the usual Oliver Twist story”children fleeing physical or


In a picture taken on January 5, 2010 Indian children eat their meals at the Society Undertaking Poor People’s Onus for Rehabilitation (SUPPORT) NGO in Mumbai. —AFP

OʼBrien may find door open at Fox if he bolts NBC f “Tonight Show” host Conan O’Brien decides to leave NBC over its proposed late-night lineup revamp, he might find a warm welcome waiting for him at Fox. Fox respects O’Brien’s talent and sees him as a good fit, a person at the network said Friday. The person, who lacked authority to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Fox was watching to see how the situation played out but that O’Brien remained under contract with NBC. Faced with poor ratings for both “The Jay Leno Show” and


O’Brien’s show, the network is said to be considering returning Leno to his 11:35 pm EST slot and moving “Tonight” to midnight. Representatives for O’Brien did not immediately respond to requests for com-

In this March 19, 2009 file photo, host Jay Leno is shown on ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’ in Burbank, Calif. —AP In this July 22, 2006 file photo, Conan O’Brien listens to a question as he talks about the show at the Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif. —AP

ment about his plans. ABC, for its part, indicated a lack of interest if O’Brien becomes a free agent. “With all due respect to Conan, we like the late night hand that we are currently playing,” the network, home of “Nightline” in the latenight slot, said in a statement Friday. Many NBC affiliates have complained that viewership for their 11 p.m. newscasts have plummeted because

Leno’s 10 pm show is such a weak lead-in. “I think Jay Leno’s a great performer. He’s just at the wrong place at the wrong time. There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes. There is something wrong with not correcting them,” said Bob Prather, president and chief operating officer at Atlanta-based Gray Television Inc., whose station group includes 10 NBC affiliates. Lisa Howfield, general manager of NBC affiliate KVBC in Las Vegas, said Friday: “I’m excited to have Jay land back in late night. It sounds like a great lineup.” O’Brien, who left jokes about the situation to Leno on Thursday, didn’t hold back Friday on “Tonight.” “We’ve got a great show for you tonight. I have no idea what time it will air-but it’s going to be a great show,” O’Brien said in his monologue. O’Brien added later that he wanted to address rumors swirling about his show and Leno’s, including one that “NBC is going to throw me and Jay in a pit with sharpened sticks. The one who crawls out gets to leave NBC.” Leno also focused on the proposal Friday. “To be fair, NBC is working on a solution, they say, in which all parties” will be treated unfairly, he quipped in the monologue. “That certain NBC touch.” NBC’s contract with O’Brien reportedly allows the network to move “Tonight” to 12:05 am EST but no later, at the risk of substantial financial penalties. —AP

sexual abuse, extreme poverty or abandonment. In Mumbai, some are attracted to the bright lights of Bollywood. But when reality bites, they can fall in to begging and petty theft to survive. Loose changefive rupees (11 US cents) — buys a single cigarette from roadside stalls while addictive solvents such as glue or “solution” can be bought for about 50 rupees. Vulnerable young girls can turn to or are more usually forced into sex work, risking violence and disease.”At that age, they quickly get into drugs and by aged eight to 10, if they’re on the streets for a year or two, they’re on a cocktail of drugs,” said Irani. One study quoted in the Indian government’s latest child protection plan says nearly two-thirds of people who sought treatment for drug use first used narcotics before aged 15. But only a tiny number of children are being helped. At SUPPORT, many children have to undergo detox and rehabilitation for addiction to cigarettes or solvent abuse. Others have lockjaw from chewing up to 20 packets of gutka a day or used hashish and heroin. “When the boys come here, they’re very obsessive about drugs,” said Vrinda Bhere, who works in the charity’s tiny medical centre and co-ordinates the 21-day detox program. “They want to run away or go back on the streets.” Some of the young addicts, especially those taking heroin, are put on sedativessubstitutes like methadone are not used-while others are given “diversion” therapy like exercise or television to keep them occupied. “It’s very difficult. Some of the bigger boys are very difficult to handle,” said Bhere, who has worked at the charity for 11 years. Most interventions are successful, although sometimes boys do have to be referred to specialist clinics, she added. Many of the young boys and girls wear spectacles, their poor eyesight the result of malnutrition or drug use. Others are having psychological counseling or treatment for tuberculosis and even leprosy. One young boy in a neat school uniform sits crosslegged with others in a circle during a group discussion workshop. “His mother died of HIV and TB, his father was a drunk. The child doesn’t have anybody. He’ll remain with us for about 10 to 15 years until he’s ready to meet the world outside. It’s a very long time,” said Irani. “We create an identity for a child. We sometimes even give a second name to the child because he or she has forgotten.”—AFP

Gumby animator Art Clokey dies at 88 in California nimator Art Clokey, whose bendable creation Gumby became a pop culture phenomenon through decades of toys, revivals and satires, died Friday. He was 88. Clokey, who suffered from repeated bladder infections, died in his sleep at his home in Los Osos on California’s Central Coast, son Joseph told the Los Angeles Times. Gumby grew out of a student project Clokey produced at the University of Southern California in the early 1950s called “Gumbasia.” That led to his making shorts featuring Gumby and his horse friend Pokey for the “Howdy Doody Show” and several series through the years. He said he based Gumby’s swooping head on the cowlick hairdo of his father, who died in a car accident when Clokey was 9. And Clokey’s wife suggested he give Gumby the body of a gingerbread man. Clokey said that though Gumby eventually became one of the most familiar toys of all time, he was at first resistant to roll out the bendable doll. “I didn’t allow merchandising for seven years after it was on the air,” Clokey told San Luis Obispo Tribune in 2002, “because I was very idealistic, and I didn’t want parents to think we were trying to exploit their children.” Clokey also created the moralizing and often satirized claymation duo “Davey and Goliath.” The Lutheran Church hired Clokey to make the “Davey and Goliath” shorts, and Clokey used the money to help bring a Gumby series back to television in the 1960s. Eddie Murphy brought a surge in Gumby’s popularity in the 1980s with his send-up of the character on “Saturday Night Live” as a cigar-smoking show business primadonna. Clokey said he enjoyed Murphy’s profane Gumby. “Gumby can laugh


Art Clokey, the creator of ‘Gumby,’ poses with a stuffed version of his creation to mark its 50th anniversary at an exhibit of Gumby artwork and paraphernalia at the Lynn House Gallery in Antioch, Calif, in this file photo. —AP at himself,” Clokey told the Tribune. Murphy’s Gumby brought new toy sales and eventually led to a new syndicated series starting in 1988. It was only then that Clokey started seeing serious financial returns on his creation. “It took 40 years,” he said. —AP

Picasso’s ‘Absinthe Drinker’ to stay with British foundation he heirs of a late German-Jewish banker have relinquished all rights to a painting by Pablo Picasso, allowing a foundation set up by British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber to keep the work, a US lawyer said Friday. The descendants of Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy reached an out-ofcourt settlement allowing the Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation, based in Berkshire, England to retain ownership of the Picasso painting “The Absinthe Drinker”, John Byrne, a lawyer for the heirs of the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy family said. Under the terms of the settlement, Byrne was not at liberty to discuss the terms of the deal. Last year, von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s heirs reached settlements with the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, both in New York, allowing them to keep two other Picassos that had belonged to their wealthy predecessor. The family had argued in those lawsuits that von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy had sold the Spanish artist’s paintings “Boy Leading a Horse” and “Le Moulin de la Galette” under duress as Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party came to power in Germany. According to reports, von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy sent his three Picassos to Switzerland for safekeeping shortly after the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933. —AFP


10 Jan 2010  

Kuwait times

10 Jan 2010  

Kuwait times