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Netanyahu: Israel to keep parts of West Bank forever PAGE 14

‘Basterds’, Bullock, Bridges big SAG winners

By Ahmad Saeid


150 FILS

Nadal takes on Murray in dream quarter-final PAGE 18

MPs target expats who don’t pay rent By B Izzak

Priyanka Motaparthy temic abuses continued against marginalized populations, despite improvements in human rights record of Kuwait in the past year.” Continued on Page 14

Bin Laden claims US airliner attack DUBAI: Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for the Dec 25 failed bombing of a US-bound plane in an audio tape aired yesterday, and vowed to continue attacks on the United States. Bin Laden, speaking days ahead of major international meetings on how to deal with militancy in Afghanistan and Yemen, said on Al Jazeera

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Saudi central bank head sees long road to global recovery

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HRW slams treatment of domestics, bedoons KUWAIT: The rights of domestic workers, stateless people (bedoons) and women’s rights, in addition to freedom of expression, represent the main issues of concern for human rights in Kuwait, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). Also, resolutions of democratically elected bodies are not necessarily human rights friendly, said an HRW official yesterday. The statement came during a press conference held to release the annual World Report 2010 issued by the international rights organization. The report claims “sys-

SAFAR 10, 1431 AH

television the attempt to blow up the plane as it neared Detroit was a continuation of Al-Qaeda policy since Sept 11, 2001 attacks. “The message sent to you with the attempt by the hero Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is a confirmation of our previous message conveyed by the heroes of Sept Continued on Page 14

KUWAIT: Three Islamist MPs yesterday called on the government to apply stricter actions on expatriates who fail to pay rent, particularly after courts have issue a final verdict against them. In an official proposal submitted to the Assembly yesterday, MPs Ali Al-Omair, Mohammad AlMutair and Khaled Al-Sultan urged the interior ministry and other concerned ministries to suspend all transactions for such expatriates like renewal of residence, driving licence or vehicle registration until they have paid their rent in full. The MPs said that in certain cases, expatriate tenants refuse to pay the rent for any specific reason and landlords normally resort to courts for justice. They added that due to lengthy court procedures, such cases sometimes take a very long time for landlords to win a final court ruling ordering tenants to pay the due rent in full. Continued on Page 14

in the news Plea for maid’s life MANILA: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is pleading with Kuwait to spare the life of a Filipino housemaid, who was sentenced to death after a murder conviction. The Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday that Arroyo has asked Vice President Noli de Castro to travel to Kuwait to intercede on behalf of Jakatia Pawa, who was convicted of stabbing to death her employer’s daughter in 2007. The department says De Castro will deliver a letter of appeal from Arroyo to HH the Amir.

Boubyan starts rights issue KUWAIT: Kuwaiti Islamic lender Boubyan Bank yesterday started a major rights issue aimed at raising its capital by 50 percent, the bank said. In a statement on the Kuwait Stock Exchange website, the bank said the share price in the rights issue will be at a nominal value of 100 fils in addition to a premium of 155 fils. The bank’s current capital of KD 116.6 million ($406.2 million), will rise to KD 174.9 million ($609.4 million) after the increase. The rights issue of 583 million new shares to raise KD 148.6 million ($518 million), will continue until Feb 7, the statement said. It will be open to current shareholders only.

Saudi girl to be lashed MASHHAD, Iran: Iranian firefighters work on a burned Russian-made Iranian passenger plane after its crash landing at Mashhad airport in northeastern Iran yesterday. — AP

Iran plane crash lands TEHRAN: An Iranian passenger plane crash-landed yesterday in thick fog in the northeastern city of Mashhad and caught fire, injuring at least 46 people, state television and other news networks said. Iranian

officials told local news networks that the rear end of the Russian-built Tupolev 154 plane owned by Taban Airline and piloted by a Russian caught fire as the aircraft landed in the fog.

“Forty-six people have been injured, but most of them are not serious,” state television quoted Javad Erfanian, head of disaster management of Khorasan Continued on Page 14

RIYADH: A teenage girl has been sentenced to a 90-lash flogging and two months in prison as punishment for assaulting a teacher, a Saudi judge said in an interview published yesterday. Human rights group Amnesty International said the assault happened after the girl was caught with a camera phone at school. She could be spared with a pardon from King Abdullah, said Judge Riyadh AlMeihdib. “The verdict was read out to her at the court and she did not object,” Meihdib told Al-Watan, a national Saudi daily newspaper. He said the teacher refused to forgive the girl, who will not appeal the case.



Monday, January 25, 2010

‘Extremely significant in budget terms’

Grants-for-all proposal to cost country KD 1.4bn: Al-Shamali KUWAIT: During the cabinet’s weekly meeting yesterday, ministers discussed a report prepared by finance minister Mustafa Al-Shamali detailing the new proposal to extend the availability of insolvency fund funding to a wider range of people. This would mean that fund applicants whose applications were previously rejected would be eligible for assistance. The proposals form part of the government’s efforts to make the fund a viable alternative to Al-Shamali said that such a sum was “extremely significant in budget terms,” although he expressed a willingness on behalf of the finance ministry to discuss any proposals on the subject. Another subject discussed at the meeting was the report compiled by a team led by Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and State Minister for Housing and Development Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, which details the strategy to be used in implementing the government’s development plan and utilizing the country’s human resources in all state bodies.

in the news

Meanwhile, the parliamentary legislative committee is studying a proposal to dissolve the municipal council in its current centralized form, instead turning it into six regional bodies across the country’s governorates. MP Dr. Walid Al-Tabtabae objected to the proposal, although he supported the establishment of municipal council offices in each governorate, with each having its own board of directors. Dr. Al-Tabtabae also addressed the subject of Islamic political blocs coming together to form a single bloc, stating that this idea had been proposed previously and that

the legislation to write off citizens’ loans recently proposed by the parliament and rejected by the government. The finance minister also explained that the proposal put forward by one MP to provide each Kuwaiti family with a KD 10,000 grant as a way of resolving citizens’ debts problem would cost the country around KD 1.4 billion, given the fact that there are around 140,000 families who would be eligible.

the primary objective of such a move is to deal effectively with Islamic issues and projects through coordination between all the Islamist MPs. On a separate issue, the parliamentary economics and finance committee discussed the legislation on the monitoring of commodity prices, with MP Dulaihi Al-Hajri warning the Minister Of Commerce against failing to take action over the reported sudden steep price increases recently introduced at local co-ops. On another subject, the secretary of the parliamentary education committee MP Ali Al-Omair announced that

the committee is set to discuss the government’s proposed amendments to the multimedia laws at its next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday. The subject will be at the top of the meeting agenda, should the cabinet be able to provide information on the amendments in a timely manner, said Al-Omair. Meanwhile, a number of MPs reportedly met with the State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Minister of Communications Dr. Mohammad Al-Busairi to inform him of the importance of achieving pay parity amongst ministry employees of the same rank, with the

National Guard chief back to homeland

E-portal services

KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah visiting the Kuwait Concours d’Elegance Exhibition on Saturday.

Concours d’Elegance shows fair-organizing potential KUWAIT: Kuwait Concours d’Elegance Exhibition has shown Kuwait’s ability to host and organize major international festivals and exhibitions, the organizing committee’s chairman said yesterday. The event, which wound up here late Saturday, has put the name of Kuwait on the world map of the classic car scene, Abdelaziz Ishaq said. The successful and fruitful exhibition will encourage and spur the holding and organizing of such events in the future thanks to appreciation from participating visitors and guests, he added.

Only 54 out of 1,000 cars were selected to join the competition, he noted. He thanked His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah for his unlimited support for the exhibition, something which he considered as having contributed to the success of the event. The event included four categories involving cars made in 1910-30, 1931-45, 1946-60, and 1961-75. Delahaye 135, make 1937, owned by John Claude, was the winner of all categories, the organizing committee said. —- KUNA

KFSD response time among world’s fastest KUWAIT: The response time rate of Kuwait’s fire brigades is among the fastest in the world, at 5-8 minutes between the first report of incidents being received and the fire brigades’ arrival at the scene, said a brigades’ official yesterday. Brigadier Yousef Al-Ansari, the Deputy Director of the Kuwait Fire Services Directorate’s (KFSD) Human Resources Development Department, said that such rapid response times were the fruit of the directorate’s strategy over

the past three years, which has also considerably reduced the rate of material and human losses. He pointed out the support units system recently introduced by the KFSD was behind the fast response time, explaining that the previous system relied on sometimes unreliable witness reports for whether or not support was required, resulting in precious time being lost if it was subsequently discovered the reports were inaccurate. —KUNA

KBS, Harvard organize program KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Banking Studies Institute yesterday launched its training program for the development of national executive leadership in Kuwaiti banks in cooperation with the Harvard School of Business Administration and a number of executive staff from the Central Bank of Kuwait. In his opening speech, Dr. Redha Al-Khayatt, the director of the Banking Studies Institute, emphasized the importance of such programs’ cooperation with prestigious international educational institutions like Harvard. Al-Khayatt revealed that this program is the

first such specialist program to be offered in a GCC country, as Harvard is very selective in implementing its programs outside its headquarters in Boston. The program, he explained, covers two main topics; management strategies and leadership. The selection of these two subjects was based on lengthy discussions between local banks and Harvard Business School’s management, he explained. The participants in the program will receive a Harvard certificate at the end of the program. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The State of Kuwait’s new e-portal is now providing payment services, bringing the number of services offered by the state to 402, said the Director General of the Center for Information Technology Apparatus Ali AlShirida yesterday. Speaking to reporters, Al-Shirida said that the new payment services system would allow people to pay bills and violation tickets online, affirming that the most used online service was the traffic violation tickets inquiry system, with around 142,000 people using it last December. Around 59,000 people have used the online service to inquire about legal issues, while 52,000 users inquired about travel bans, Al-Shirida revealed. The e-portal’s pages were visited by 687,000 users from 157 states during December, an increase of 27 percent on October’s figures, the official said, adding that the number of new visitors to the site had increased by 50 percent.

Al-Qaeda threat KUWAIT: The YouTube video sharing network is reportedly carrying a recording of a phone call between a Kuwaiti Islamist and the ambassador of another Arab country, in which the Islamist allegedly warns that Al-Qaeda operatives will escalate their operations against the ambassador’s state. In the recording, the Kuwaiti Islamist also reportedly suggests that it is easy to penetrate the border of the ambassador’s nation by paying bribes to customs officials. The ambassador then goes on to reject the Islamist’s threats, telling him that his nation will continue to fight terror, reported Al-Anba. A Kuwaiti security official said that the contents of the phone conversation will be investigated by detectives there, who will decide whether or not the threats constitute a threat to national security. If so, the case will be referred to the relevant bodies for further action to be taken.

Success stories KUWAIT: The Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) has announced that its women’s committee is to hold a symposium entitled ‘Kuwaiti female success stories,’ with a number of eminent female Kuwaiti academics, political figures and others, as well as senior female oil sector staff and the US Ambassador to Kuwait Deborah Jones, set to attend the event. Hosniyah Hashem, KOC’s Deputy Managing Director and the committee’s chairperson, explained that the symposium would include two lectures, the first of which will be delivered by the chairperson of the Petrochemical Industries Company’s management board and the firm’s Managing Director Maha Mull Hussein.

minister promising to look into the matter. On a separate issue, the head of the parliamentary disability issues committee MP Musallam Al-Barrak accused the cabinet of damaging the relationship between him and his National Assembly colleagues with a press statement which suggested “AlBarrak alone makes the [committee’s] decisions,” reported Al-Watan. Al-Barrak insisted that all committee members are fully involved in the committee’s work and drafting the recent disability rights bill, strongly criticizing the cabinet for failing to enforce it.

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi received yesterday Dr Nasser Nazal Al-Saho. Dr. Nasser presented Al-Kharafi his doctoral thesis entitled, “Impact of Emotional Intelligence on the level of attention and solving social problems of high school students in Kuwait.” —KUNA

BERLIN: His Highness the National Guards Chief Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah said yesterday he is now in good health after his treatment abroad and revealed he is due to return to the homeland on Wednesday.. Sheikh Salem stressed that his homeland had been on his mind and in his heart throughout his journey, and he is thankful to the Almighty for a return in better health. Sheikh Salem pointed out his longing to return to Kuwait and its people had contributed to his recovery and wished the nation even more progress under the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Sheikh Salem urged all Kuwaitis to adhere to national solidarity and to beware of all that could stir divide and rift, on whatever grounds. — KUNA

Qur’an centers landmark of Arabic culture KUWAIT: Deputy Prime Minister for Legal Affairs, Minister of Justice and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Rashed Al-Hammad said yesterday that centers of Qur’an have become a landmark of the Arabic culture in the country. The minister added in an address delivered on the occasion of the Islamic studies management ceremony dedicated to distributing the sixth distinction award for the centers of Qur’an that these centers play a key illuminating role in the society and aim at developing the religious awareness and spreading the religious disciplines of knowledge.

He noted that the care and interest paid by the Ministry of Awqaf for such centers give an incentive for youth to memorize the Qur’an, asserting that the ministry will spare no effort in supporting all activities carried out by such centers. Al-Hammad also stressed the removal of all obstacles hindering the activity of the centers and supporting them to enable them to develop their services and perform their duties at best, “in order to follow up with the journey of success at the service of the holy Qur’an and push us toward a bright future for a country that develops and thrives.”

Meanwhile, Director of Islamic Studies at the Ministry of Awqaf Mohammad Al-Omran said the distinction award project among the Qur’an centers came out of the administration’s keenness on providing all elements of success and excellence for such centers. The offucial also pointed out that these centers aim at spreading the religious disciplines of knowledge, educating Qur’an and developing the religious awareness in the society. The ceremony included distributing awards to the centers that got the distinction prizes and those ranked first among participating Qur’an centers. —KUNA

kuwait digest

Time for cool heads to prevail e prove to ourselves before others, day after day, that we are a sectarian, tribal and racist society, writes Mohammed Rashid in Al-Jarida. This is evident from the accusationexchanging fiascos that we are experiencing these days, which indicate that the evil spark is awaiting just one finger on the trigger, which will set off events whose results we cannot predict, whose end we cannot foretell. When will everyone realize the truth behind what’s going on, or are some still obstinately continuing to insist that everything’s completely under control? The truth is that I and many others truly don’t know the reason behind all the animosity. Although each side is playing the right notes in symphony of “national unity,” I don’t know who this sister ‘national unity’ is. Where does she live? I wish I could find out where she works so I could go and ask her


who she has given power of attorney to speak on her behalf at every seminar or press conference. Is this competition being waged in order to get more influence and control on the ground? Or is it over who deserve paradise more?! If this glut of power struggles is being waged over some purely earthly matters, then religion and its men should not be injected into issues they have nothing to do with. But if the main reason for this chaotic custard pieflinging party is which paradise we believe in, then it’s essential that this be stopped before it reaches the stage of trading accusations of ‘infidel’ especially since moving in this direction makes the road to paradise rough and full of obstacles. We must realize that Almighty Allah alone decides who goes to Heaven and who to Hell. How will those who sow hatred meet their Lord on the Day of Judgement while they continue to tear a society apart every day, one which

was once based on coexistence and the acceptance of others? This is a society that spread good deeds across all Arab and Muslim nations. The question remains: who gave the right to this or that individual or group to decide which person goes to heaven and which to hell? Our country is small but it has room for all, and our society is extreme in its opinion but has good intentions. Our mistakes are many, but our love of good deeds is more. There are those who enjoy the chaos we’re living through, but for sure there are those who wants to spoil their ‘joy,’ so I call on everyone to change their language to that of dialogue and to turn to calming, not inflaming, matters. We must accept the right of the other to hold his or her opinion, even if we do not like it, because intensifying the strife and pouring oil on the fire every time has brought us bad results and regret that will remain with us for many years.

Arab information ministers meet at League HQ CAIRO: An extraordinary meeting of Arab Ministers of Information, headed by the Moroccan Minister of Communications Dr. Khalid AlNasser, the current chairman of the board, opened at the Arab League headquarters yesterday. The meeting’s agenda includes a number of crucial topics related to

Arab media work. The Kuwaiti delegation at the meeting is led by Oil Minister and Information Minister Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah Al-Sabah, with the delegation also including Ministry of Information Undersecretary Sheikh Faisal Al-Malik Al-Sabah, Assistant Undersecretary for News and

Political Programs Saad Jaafar, and the State of Kuwait’s Representative at the Arab League Ambassador Abdullah Al-Mansour. The meeting is also being attended by information ministers from Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon, Yemen, Morocco, and representa-

tives from other Arab countries. During the meeting, delegates will discuss three principal issues, namely the Arab League SecretaryGeneral’s proposal to establish an Office of Public Information, Yemen’s proposal to launch an Arab media campaign to confront Israeli plans to blur the identity of

Jerusalem, and damage and sacrilege at Islamic and Christian holy sites. Arab ministers of information held a pre-session extraordinary meeting with the Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, with the talks touching on issues on the Ministerial Council’s agenda. — KUNA


Monday, January 25, 2010


Facebook draws flak in Arab world By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Facebook, one of the most popular international social networking websites, has been drawing flak in the Arab world. Several lawsuits have been filed against it and some people have been misusing it to violate the privacy of young women who hail from conservative backgrounds. The Dean of the College of Commercial Studies, Dr Abulwahed Khalfan warned people, especially women against uploading their photographs onto the website. “I don’t advise students to stop using Facebook completely because I know

it’s useful in many ways. I advise girls to be careful while posting their personal photographs and while chatting about personal issues with their friends,” said Dr. Khalfan to a local Arabic daily. The article also detailed how information and chat history of Facebook users are sold to any party willing to pay for it. The newspaper article also stated that the website’s founder Mark Zuckerberg turned into one of the richest people in the world by selling confidential information. It was also reported that over 70 million people in the Arab world exchange their photographs and chat

freely on the social networking website. So, is the data and information uploaded onto the website and the practice of chatting safe? “I was, in a way, forced to join it because a number of my friends use it. I can only stay in touch with them through it. I used to think that Facebook uses friendship for profiteering. But if it is true, that will mean that it uses everything to make profits, including our personal information,” stated Khalid, a 30-year- old Facebook user. “If this is true, then it should not go unpunished, especially in the United States. Now they claim to be

the defenders of the internet particularly when it comes to Google’s dispute with China. It’ll be hypocritical to not act against Facebook,” he added. Nuha, a 22-year-old young woman feels differently. “I have an account on Facebook and actually am addicted to it. From the beginning I knew that there is a privacy setting (on Facebook) and you can set controls on who views your picture. You can customize which friend in your list sees your picture, it’s commonly called limited profile. From my point of view, if somebody feels threatened it’s better not to upload pictures onto

Facebook. Moreover Facebook is a social network and there’s nothing to be afraid of.” Some users feel that users should pay close attention to the privacy policy. “It is clear to see why assumptions can have a huge impact on us, and as a result each person who agrees at the privacy policy without reading it should be considered an accomplice to the crime that was committed. “This is because some websites state that they have the right to use whatever information provided and share it with others on their website. I use Facebook and I think that it is a

very useful site,” noted Jasim, a 21year-old student. Crimes committed online are very difficult to prove. Lawyers and judges enter into a legal entanglement about the type of court that should try this crime. “We have to first classify if the particular act is a crime or not, and the person responsible for it. We also have to gather evidences. This may be related to many countries and may enter the sphere of international laws. Speaking from the Kuwaiti law point, some articles from criminal law may be applied on some acts,” attorney Mohammed Al-Khaldi told the Kuwait Times.

According to Al-Khaldi, many illegal acts committed on the internet especially when photographs are tampered with, may be considered as crimes against dignity and reputation. “It could be classified as defamation in case that the offender uses somebody’s picture with the intention of causing disrepute. In case the photograph is used pornographically, it may then be classified as instigating debauchery and immorality,” he added. “The Ministry of Interior should set up a separate department to deal with the crimes committed online,” concluded Al-Khaldi.

China and India to lead economic recovery in 2010, says academic By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: While the US and Europe are slowly getting back on track in terms of economic recovery, emerging nations like China and India will lead the world in recovery efforts in 2010, according to a senior US academic. Speaking at a lecture held yesterday at the Salwa Al-Sabah Hall in Salmiya, organized by the Al-Ritaj Investment Company, Krishna Palepu, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard University, emphasized that China and India’s growth rates, even during the recent global financial crisis and both buoyed by tremendous domestic demand, had been “laudable and impressive.” Professor Palepu also lauded Kuwait for

the quick and immediate action taken by the government during the early stages of the economic crisis, which he said had helped to rescue some local companies which were seriously negatively affected. The distinguished economist argued that the situation in Kuwait is very different to that in the United States where the government places far greater importance on the private sector. “The difference lies in the economic structure of each country,” Professor Palepu explained. He also recalled the beginning of the economic crisis which he said was blown out of proportion because of excessive fear of a second economic depression, especially in the United States. “The good news, as we all know, is that

depression has been averted and Wall Street has come back to life and reclaimed its former glory; we avoided a major catastrophic economic downturn,” he said. The economist also mentioned the great challenges faced by business schools at present in creating new generations of businesspeople and economists capable of handling such economic crises. He recommended the establishment of a research center in each and every business school to better help business students. “Business schools should have the global mindset. We need to see globalization as a learning outlet.” The lecture, entitled ‘The World After the Financial Crisis,’ was attended by several prominent local entrepreneurs, as well as members of the Harvard Club Kuwait.

‘Kuwait takes pride in human rights record’

KUWAIT: Some of diplomats who attended ‘Egypt in the Eye of Diplomats’ exhibition.

‘Egypt in the eyes of Diplomats’ By Rawan Khalid

KUWAIT: The Egyptian Ambassador to Kuwait Taher Farahat delivering his speech. —Photos by Joseph Shagra

Al-Baghdadi a voice for liberalism KUWAIT: Mubarak Ali Al-Baghdadi earned a reputation as a committed supporter of liberalism and a strong opponent to Islamists. Due to his current health condition he has been forced to seek medical treatment in London. He returned to Kuwait in order to attend Hamed Abu Zaid’s lecture before Abu Zaid was banned from entering the country. Throughout his writing career AlBaghdadi faced legal action from many of the individuals whose mistakes he exposed. He has also been vocal about his belief that the Islamic and Salaf parties in Kuwait are influenced by tribal support. He is known for being in direct conflict with Islamists and was once jailed for 14 days on charges of disrespecting the Islamic tradition after he wrote a column expressing that he would prefer his children to learn music rather than be educated about Islam and the Holy Quran.

KUWAIT: The Egyptian Embassy in Kuwait organized an exhibition of photographs titled ‘Egypt in the Eye of Diplomats’ at 360 Mall. The exhibition was inaugurated on Thursday night and will continue until Jan 29. “Tonight we are celebrating the opening of the exhibition by the cultural division of the Egyptian Embassy,” said Taher Farahat, Egyptian Ambassador to Kuwait. “We came up with the idea during a conversation between several colleagues and diplomats who had visited or served Egypt before. We all had good memories and interesting photographs from our time in Egypt. We thought it would be a good idea to share our photos and introduce Egypt to Kuwait through the eyes of other nationalities. This exhibition is about presenting the different sides of Egypt,” he added. The event was held under the auspices and participation of Abdulahad Mbacke, Ambassador of Senegal and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.

CAIRO: Kuwait has a long record of achievements in the field of protection of human rights, said Dr. Saud Helal AlHarbi, Chief of the Arab governmental expert group (AGEG) on execution of the Arab plan for human rights education. Speaking here on Saturday on the sidelines of the fourth meeting of the group, AlHarbi Director of the Curriculum Development

Division of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Education, said the protection of human rights is enshrined in the Constitution of Kuwait. “The Constitution has clear provisions that ensure decent living, healthcare and education for all citizens on equal footing,” he affirmed. “Kuwait started introducing human rights education to the curriculums of the secondary and the middle stages

of education in mid 1990s,” AlHarbi pointed out. Dealing with the two-day meeting of the AGEG, he said the experts have probed a draft guideline reference on human rights education for the Arab countries.. “The conferees have discussed the first phase of the Arab plan on human rights education through 2014 which envisages bringing up a generation to respect human rights

and the religious, cultural and social values,” he revealed. “Kuwait as well as the other Arab states deeply believe in human rights out of their profound religious and cultural convictions, not external dictations,” Al-Harbi affirmed. History tells that the Arabs even before Islam had had respect for human rights which were enshrined later on in Islam, he recalled. —KUNA



Monday, January 25, 2010

Press freedom in peril

Proposed government amendments criticized

Cabinet to decide fate of amendments today KUWAIT: The public will be anxiously waiting for the results of the Cabinet’s meeting scheduled to be held today during which amendments to the audio-visual law will be discussed. HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah will preside over the meeting. Meanwhile, the Cabinet may hold a National Assembly session to discuss the issue of national unity, viewing it as an opportunity to place several issues into perspective. A closed-door session may be held so that MPs will not use it to garner public support. In a separate issue, the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Dr. Mohammad Al-Afasi is expected to present a report on amendments to the disabled citizens’ law by overruling the Parliament’s specialized committee. In addition, the Minister of Health Dr. Hilal Al-Sayer will present a report which unveils future plans to develop health services. The Cabinet also plans to amend the currency market authority draft law, reported Al-Watan. Meanwhile, reports indicate that a new system will be established to take follow up action on the projects included in the development plan. It will be supervised by the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister for Development Affairs and Housing, Sheikh Ahmad AlFahad Al-Sabah.

Political activists oppose freedom for personal gains KUWAIT: Political activists and officials from non-profit organizations stated at a recent seminar that influential individuals are seeking to impose the proposed restrictions to the audio-visual law in order to protect their own personal benefits. At the seminar held by the Kuwaiti Observatory for Instilling

Democracy to discuss the controversial proposed amendments, the participants agreed on the seriousness of any move that could damage the democratic gains made in the country. Faisal Al-Azmi, the head of the Observatory group, emphasized the importance of protecting the

constitutional gains of recent decades, primarily the rights to freedom of speech and opinion, reported Al-Qabas. Another speaker at the event, Zayed Al-Zaid, the editor of local daily Al-Aan, said that the recent alarming developments and attacks on Kuwait’s social fabric have been

perpetrated in order to cover up the hidden agenda of influential individuals who wish to disregard the constitution and drain the country’s financial reserves. Nasser Al-Abdali, the head of the Democracy Development Society, warned that imposing restrictions on local bloggers

would pave the way for the introduction of further restrictions on freedoms. Al-Abdali asserted that the true aim of such restrictions is to silence protest about the violations taking place in the country, stressing that protecting freedoms is the responsibility of all the country’s people.

kuwait digest

Press law changes vs. military rule

Information minister faces dilemma over laws n his column yesterday in AlQabas, Adel Al-Qassar criticized the Minister of Information for his handling of the audio-visual and press laws. ‘The term ‘corrupt information’ should be synonymous with the name of Minister Sheikh Ahmad AlAbdullah,’ he wrote. He pointed out that there are TV channels and newspapers specialized in spreading sectarianism and that there is a ‘mysterious lack’ of the Ministry’s commitment to enforce the law. Al-


Qassar criticized the Minister of Information because he ‘is clearly unable to deal with the affairs of the Information Ministry. He doesn’t have the time to do so while also acting as the Minister of Oil.’ He added that the Ministers pre-existing feud with several MPs only further demonstrate his inability to lead the ministries appropriately. ‘The Minister’s is perceived by his enemies to be a person who can not apply the regulations of the law against

people who insult the National Assembly,’ he wrote. ‘It is this lack of commitment to the law that caused such outrage and led to threats of interpellation. At the same time though, the proposed amendments are much to the objection of most media personalities.’ He argued that the Minister should be politically questioned for his hesitant decision making. ‘Most political parties are urging the minister to resign before he is forced to quit,’ he concluded.

KUWAIT: History has taught people that only military rule imposes restrictions on press freedom, especially authoritarian regimes that have ruled several Arab and Muslim countries following successive coups. They always silence people using draconian measures, wrote Mohammad Al-Shaibani in Al-Qabas. ‘This took place two years ago in Mauritania following the imposition of military rule, a stricter 1-4 year jail term against writers and journalists was introduced,’ he wrote. The author writes that Kuwait has achieved a prestigious place with respect to being able to exercise freedom of the press; this has helped it gain worldwide recognition. Therefore, it is unacceptable that this freedom is curbed. However, the Ministry of Information has disregarded this issue and has proceeded by implementing amendments on the audio-visual law, thereby strangulating the law. These amendments include stricter penalties for damaging the country’s social and political system, in addition to violating the controls exercised by commercial advertisements. Constitutional expert Dr Mohammad AlFeeli described these amendments as a reaction to an action that has already taken place. Stricter penalties will be imposed on a law that hasn’t been even enforced! It should be noted that this is manner in which laws in the country are implemented , he wrote. This, ultimately, causes several damages in the long run. Thanks to these amendments, people will be forced to keep their mouths shut, and writers will stop writing. Editors will refrain from taking new steps as any ‘mistake’ they commit may be penalized- in the form of thousands of dinars or with a jail term. The whole profession of journalism itself will become risky. The proposed amendments will fill up the Central Jail’s cells with journalists and editors, Al-Sahaibani concluded.

kuwait digest

Abused freedoms still stress that our endless problems are only getting worse because we don’t understand each other, for many reasons, wrote columnist Dr. Mubarak Al-Therwah in Al-Rai. This lack of understanding can be attributed to the lack of clear and precise definitions of various concepts. Our space is open to everybody, with numerous newspapers licensed and given a margin of freedom aspired in many other countries.....but have we appreciated these privileges and taken good care of them? And why is it that some parties are insistent on taking the audio-visual law back to square one? Have the proposed amendments got anything to do with freedom and human dignity? Personally, I believe that the whole problem is because of freedom and the concept of freedom. What does freedom mean according to our democratic, cultural or religious dictionaries? We’ve always warned that the broadcasting of insults is impolite and has nothing to do with the media business and values, but the answer came back: That’s Freedom and democracy and we should all admit and recognize it. Those on both sides of this debate have misunderstood the concept of freedom, its limitations and regulations. Do we want to regulate everything except corrupt media? It’s curious why so many people have only got angry whenever the constitution has been verbally abused and, at the same time, turned blind eyes and deaf ears to televised insults and the questioning of citizens’ loyalty and


patriotism. We made the rules and laws, why, then, do we get angry if in the middle of the way we find out that we were mistaken and decide to set things rights? Despite its small geographic area, after all, Kuwait has usually had a louder voice than some major countries. National unity is the top priority and should be taken as the basis for all laws, even if this reduces the amount of freedom as some parties claim. I curse the variety of freedom that allows the insulting of lawmakers. Laws which have no soul should be damned, along with freedoms that weaken national unity and solidarity to turn the whole nation into a heap of sand that could easily be blown away by the slightest breeze. What kind of freedom is it which differentiates between subjects of the same nation, after all? Have things now gone way beyond repair and are Kuwaitis unaware of this and unable to see what they have reaped? Have our laws turned into a beautiful woman who dresses up and puts on makes for a blind man who does not appreciate her beauty? Isn’t this what we are going through? You only have to reach out to your remote control and surf our local TV channels to see for yourself. When development wears out and freedom is exposed, no laws are sufficient as a remedy, no clothes are enough to cover our modesty, while simple debates and dialogue turn into fatal offensives that won’t be stopped by calls for fake freedom. Kuwait is free; it has been and will always be for everyone and its free citizens should not intimidate writers, TV channels, blogs or newspapers.



Monday, January 25, 2010


AUK hosts graphic design exhibition By Abdullah Al-Qattan

KUWAIT: Director of the British Council Stephan Forbes (left), Charge d’Affaires of the British Embassy Tim Stew (Middle), and Khalid Al-Saad Undersecretary of Higher Education at the Ministry of Edcuation cutting the ribbon to open the EDUXEX 2010.—Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Graduate students of the Graphic Design Department at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) had their graduation projects exhibited on campus grounds. The goal of the exhibit was to broaden the reach of the effects and beauty of this misunderstood art and express what they learned from their experiences. The vivid and inspiring projects prove that Kuwaiti competencies are indeed worth investing in rather than outsourcing help from other countries. Professor Marcella Kulchitsky, instructor of the senior design portfolio class, said that students were required to create completely new projects for themselves. She said that they had to produce a project about something they are passionate about and research new topics instead of using old subjects. She said that the project had to present a clear meaning to the public as a form of visual communication, not just a type of advertising language. Graphic Design is a broad field and can be invested in greatly with great benefit by any company that wants to rebrand or introduce a new product or idea, she added. Senior student Rasha AlNajar, said that the project’s theme was the number seven,

KUWAIT: Some of the graduate students of the Graphic Design department in the American University of Kuwait. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat but that it was also an independent study. Students had to work on their own project and the instructor was available for supervision and guidance. AlNajar expressed her thoughts on the number seven by using the seven colors of the rainbow in a walk through display. Her exhibit captured every color and

its relationship with each consecutive color. She added that the art of graphic design is getting more acceptance now than ever before and that job openings seem promising. Amina Al-Azabi said that she is looking forward to graduating from the Graphic Design program in a couple of days. She

said that what she learned in her classes will stick with her for a long time. Her project took three months and features a simple and elegant interactive method of accumulating visual communication. Her project presents a sarcastic, yet effective solution to some to the seven most important pollution

problems we are facing today. At the end of the expo, both the students and their professors agreed that visual communication and graphic design are strong tools of communication that effects us daily. Kuwait has yet to grasp the true abilities of this field but is well on its way there they said.

kuwait digest

Of blasphemy and insults KUWAIT: Students visiting the exhibition

Hundreds visit Education UK Exhibition in Kuwait By Rawan Khalid KUWAIT: Over 40 UK educational institutions participated in the Education UK Exhibition (EDUKEX) 2010, that took place in Kuwait’s Crowne Plaza Hotel on Jan 20 and 21. The exhibition saw hundreds of prospective students and their families coming along to find out about courses and register at some of the universities involved. The EDUKEX 2010 exhibition was inaugurated by the Ministry of Education’s Undersecretary of Higher Education Khalid Al-Saad, the director of the British Council Stephan Forbes and the Charge d’Affaires at the British Embassy in Kuwait Tim Stew. The exhibition is an annual event organized by the British Council to enable high school pupils, along with university graduates and post-graduate students in Kuwait to learn and find out more about the universities and other educational institutions in the UK. Speaking during the event, Forbes explained,

“We hold this exhibition every year, and have been holding it for the last eleven years, because there are a lot of Institutions and Universities interested in learning more about what’s going on in Kuwait. The number of exhibitors participating in the event is increasing year by year; this year we have 45 exhibitors, while last year we had only 42.” On what the exhibition aims to achieve, the British Council director said, “What we want is to make sure that there is benefit in everything we do, both to Kuwait and the UK. The Kuwaiti students are very interested in business engineering and Law schools.” Stew, meanwhile, revealed, “There are around 2,000 Kuwaiti students studying in UK at any given time. The embassy is trying to make the processing of students’ visas easier and faster.” The senior embassy official added, “Studying in the UK doesn’t only provide academic benefits but also teaches students to live responsibly and provides an opportunity to be introduced to new people and new cultures.”


he entire thing started as a joke which turned into reality,’ writer Jaafar Rajab wrote in his Al-Rai column. He pointed out that, in Kuwait, a joke can easily attain dramatic overtones and that law enforcement was just another joke. ‘Last week I wrote a sarcastic article on the regulations of entry to Kuwait. I found that our MPs had an incredible sense of humor for appreciating the article and turning it into a proposal that was filed with the support of twenty two of them in Parliament,’ he added. The MPs’ proposal included six categories of people who are unwelcome to Kuwait: 1. Those who blaspheme the Prophet (PBUH), his descendants and his spouses. 2. Those who blaspheme the Prophet’s (PBUH) companions. 3. Those who blaspheme Kuwait and its people. 4. Those who insult HH the Amir. 5. Those who insult national icons.

6. Those who blaspheme Almighty Allah. He, however, remarked that the MPs’ proposal failed to differentiate between blasphemy and insult. ‘Unfortunately, I don’t know it myself and believe that most people don’t either,’ he remarked. He went on to write that insult amounted to a bigger crime. Rajab also expressed surprise at how the MPs’ regulations failed to mention anything about those that facilitated and promoted terrorism, those that called for restricting freedoms or those that contributed toward tearing national unity apart, ‘Which should be on top of MPs’ agendas nowadays,’ he underscored. He pointed out that protecting clerics was the responsibility of clerics themselves, and not the responsibility of ‘secular MPs,’ as he described them. Furthermore, Rajab questioned how these regulations would be implemented and whether a special committee would be formed to examine the involve-

ment of each visa applicant in any of the aforementioned crimes. “What if a Christian was asked about God and he said that he believed in ‘The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’? Will he be charged with blasphemy as well?’ he wondered. In addition, Rajab requested in what way Kuwaiti icons should be addressed. ‘Will this include the Kuwait Towers? Will those who do not admire its architectural beauty be banned? Accordingly, can we consider Musallam Al-Barrak as a symbol of commotion; Khaled Al-Tahous as a symbol of by-elections, Tabtabae, a symbol of the Taleban, Hayef as a symbol of Ummah Principles and Abdul Rahman Al-Anjeri as a symbol of national Alliance,’ he mocked. He noted that for all Muslims, the only place that imposed entry restrictions was the holy city of Makkah. ‘But apparently, we have more virtuous and chaste people’, he concluded.

Body of Kuwaiti youth found in Salem area By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A murder investigation has been launched after the body of a 25-year-old Kuwaiti man was found in the Salem area. The body was removed for autopsy. Mangaf suicide The body of a 54-year-old Indian man was discovered in his residence in the Mangaf area after he killed himself. His body was removed for autopsy. Camel attack A 45-year-old Bangladeshi man was taken to Adan Hospital after sustaining wounds to his face and hands when he was bitten by a camel. Bumpy landing A 20-year-old Kuwaiti man suffered various

injuries when his parachute failed to open properly during a training session. He was rushed to Adan Hospital. ATV crash A 24-year-old Kuwaiti man was taken to Adan Hospital after suffering broken bones in one hand and cuts to his nose when his all-terrain vehicle (ATV) overturned in the Jlaiah area. Sports injury A 29-year-old Iranian man was taken to Mubarak Hospital after suffering a dislocated kneecap while playing soccer in Mishref. Fight club A 20-year-old Kuwaiti suffered deep gashes to his head during a fight in the Julaia area. He was rushed to Adan Hospital.

KUWAIT: The Municipality recently raided several food joints in Fintas and Abu Halifa. Thirty citations were issued and six outlets that served food unfit for human consumption were closed down.

Egyptian youth killed in Abdali road accident KUWAIT: A 25-years-old Egyptian man was killed, and five compatriots were severely injured, after a bus overturned on Abdali road. Police and paramedics responded to the emergency and brought the injured to Jahra Hospital. One of the injured was admitted to the ICU in critical condition. Tragic incident A 5-year-old Kuwaiti child drowned in a swimming pool at a chalet in Al-Julaia after being left to play by herself. Family members responded to the child’s screams but arrived too late to save the child. Homosexuals busted A bedoon man informed police that his 23-year-old son had been kidnapped and taken to a camp in Kabd by a group of men with the intention of sexually assaulting him. However, investigations revealed that the case did not involve a kidnapping and that the young man went to the camp willingly to be with his homosexual friends.

Police discovered the camp site and arrested six of the men inside. Four of the arrested were bedoons and one was a citizen. The sixth individual carried no identification papers with him. They were all taken to Ahmadi police station. Fugitive caught Farwaniya police arrested a 33-year-old citizen driving in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh after inspection of his ID revealed he was wanted for a court ordered six month sentence. The man had been sentenced to a psychiatric hospital to be treated for drug addiction. Police apprehended the man and brought him to the hospital. Drug overdose A female citizen in her 40’s was treated at Amiri Hospital after consuming 30 pills of medication. Investigators are waiting for her condition to stabilize in order to investigate the matter further. Bootleggers held Police arrested three Asians selling alcohol

in Bneid Al-Gar. They were found in possession of 55 large bottles of homemade liquor. The criminals were taken to the Al-Daiya police station before being transferred to the General Department for Drugs Control. Athlete injured A former footballer who used to play for Salmiya Sports Club sustained severe injuries after falling from a glider at a height of four meters. He was taken to Adan Hospital where he was treated for his injuries, including multiple fractures to his right foot, and his condition was stabilized. Fahaheel fight An Arab suffered stab wounds during a fight in Fahaheel between a group of Arab expatriates where knives and other sharp objects were used in the brawl. Police and paramedics responded to the emergency and brought the injured man to a nearby hospital. As the police arrived the brawlers ended their fight and escaped before getting caught.

Juvenile assaulted Jahra police arrested four people after they kidnapped and raped a juvenile boy in Naeem. The kidnappers took the teenager from in front of his home and assaulted him inside their car before returning him. After receiving a call from the boy’s father police investigated the situation and eventually arrested the attackers. The individuals were placed under arrest and taken to the police station. After the juvenile identified them as his assailants the criminals were prepared for Public Prosecution. Man killed in fire A Bangladeshi man was killed, and his fellow citizen and roommate sustained first degree burns, after a fire occurred in a room they were renting at a citizen’s house in AlNahda. Firefighters and rescue teams responded to the emergency and evacuated the Kuwaiti family and the injured man from the fire. After putting out the fire investigators determined that the fire was caused by a lack of safety and security measures.



Monday, January 25, 2010

Call for strict punishment

‘Healthy’ robbing ‘disabled’ of allotted parking space KUWAIT: The parking space and the public utilities provided for the disabled people are unfortunately being carelessly violated and used by healthy individuals, which pushed the authorities in Kuwait to maximize fines to compel people to respect the assignment. The dis-

KUWAIT: Wheels of a car which was parked in a space reserved for the handicapped is seen locked by police. —Photos by KUNA

Such harsh language aims to revive responsibility and sympathy in people towards the less fortunate. However, the campaigns are still to change widespread nonchalance. Bassam Al-Kaaki said those who violate the “humane rights” of others should be punished with strict penalties. This is the same as crossing a red light and violating others’ right to safety, he insisted. Jumana Taqi criticized those who smoke near a pregnant woman, or a parent who cares little about the safety of his or her children. She pointed out that it is unfortunate that disregard for the rights of this group reached the level where supermarkets thought it was necessary to chain these parking spaces to ensure the disabled could use them. Hanan Al-Wuqaian meanwhile said it is disappointing to see such careless abuse of the limited number of parking spaces and public utilities allocated and adjusted specifically for the disabled. The disabled rights activist Fawaz Al-Hasban noted society is still unaware of the severity of this form of abuse and ignorant of the rights of the disabled in general, with many still believing a disabled person had better stay home. Most people who exploit the public utilities and parking spaces allotted for the disabled give the excuse they “will not take long, only a few minutes.” He urged strict punishment against violators such as hefty fines, because too often, “humane compassion” does not seem to be enough and “fear of punishment” might do the trick. —KUNA

abled people in Kuwait are around 33,000, a large number, and campaigns were staged in their favor and logos were posted on the parking spaces of the disabled, with statements such as “Want my parking space? Take my disability.”

KUWAIT: Activists say that those who violate the “humane rights” of others should be punished with strict penalties.

Health minister meets with Canadian cancer specialists Transparency Society urges PM to adopt anti-corruption bill TORANTO: The Kuwaiti Minister of Health Hilal Al-Sayer met here yesterday senior specialists in cancers and oncology, Assistant Undersecretary for Allied Medical Services Dr Qais AlDuwairi said. The undersecretary said that the officials discussed strategy of cancer and tumors care and applications in Kuwait, following a visit by the Minister and the accompanying delegation to University Health Network UHN in Canada. He said that the ministry was also

seeking a boost in investment in health services and facilities and more exchange of expertise and visits with physicians from Canada, inviting them to Kuwait to benefit from their expertise in radiation therapy, palliative treatment, chemotherapy, and cancer-related surgery. The ministry is working to utilize the internet in sending X-ray and medical reports and data to Canada, and seeks to discuss best means of treatment with specialists.

The ministry was also seeking a boost in investment in health services and facilities and more exchange of expertise and visits by physicians between Kuwait and the US, he noted. The University Health Network (UHN) is ranked sixth in the world under the best medical centers category, and has a various array of specialties. It comprises three teaching hospitals; Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, and Princess Margaret Hospital.

Al-Sayer is to sign a number of memoranda of understanding with a number of Canadian health institutions and universities to manage visits of professors and experts to Kuwait, to work in improving management as well as medical performance. Al-Sayer and Al-Duwairi are accompanied on the tour by Director of Hussein Makki Jumaa Specialized Surgeries Center Ahmad Al-Awadhi, as well as heads of the departments of anesthesiology and public relations. —KUNA

Net closing on corrupt, abusive policemen

KUWAIT: Minister of Commerce and Industry Ahmad Al-Haroun said here yesterday his country was reviewing its local trade policy in order to meet World Trade Organization requirements. Speaking following a national committee meeting on following up on the WTO’s affairs, the minister said the meeting focused on a fresh mechanism for revising local trade policies and taking necessary steps to reach full harmony with WTO requirements. A committee-stemmed team is to be formed to carry out more studies for revising and changing local laws in harmony with relevant WTO conditions, the minister said. —KUNA

in the news Co-ops confirm price rise reports KUWAIT: Board members from several coop societies admitted to receiving several applications from merchants to hike prices, including threats to withhold supplies in case the appeal is rejected. The Salwa co-operative society has registered several price appeals from merchant on a regular basis, said CEO Abdullah Al-Musaileet. He indicated that merchants have resorted to such measures due to the Ministries of Commerce and Social Affairs’ lack of concern. The Deputy CEO of Sabahiya Co-op Society, Hadi Al-Kharfashi, said that co-operative societies have been reduced to the position of the ‘weakest link’. This is due to the abrupt steps that merchants carried out to control prices. Board member of the Dasma and Bneid Al-Gar Co-op Society, Mohammad Aashour expressed disappointment at the suggested increase unless the government steps in and solves the problem, reported Al-Watan. Another board member of the Ardiya Co-op Society, Faihan AlMandeel blamed the phenomenon on customers, accusing them of forcing co-operative societies to accept raises and boycott merchants who advocate price rise.

‘Negligence affects schools’ KUWAIT: Creating a learning-oriented, appealing environment at schools has become increasingly difficult, admitted the Supervisor of maintenance at the Hawally Educational Directorate, Elaf AlFadhalah. He was speaking during a meeting that was held at the Kuwait Teachers Society. Furthermore, Al-Fadhalah added that some school administrations has been so lackadaisical in their attitude that the prevalent atmosphere is often comparable to prisons, reported Al-Qabas. He also warned against serious safety violations that workers had committed at schools.

High school results promising KUWAIT: The results of the recent high school exams in both scientific and arts-related subjects are promising, said a senior Ministry of Education (MoE) official, adding that the pupils and teachers had worked hard to ensure high success levels. The exam results are expected to be released by the end of this week, according to the Deputy Assistant of the MoE’s Public

Education Department Muna Al-Lughani, after which they will be distributed to all the schools. Thirty thousand pupils participated in the exams across Kuwait, with 16,500 sitting exams in Arts-related subjects, while 13,000 sat science-related exams, reported Al-Watan. A total of 15,000 education ministry staff were involved in the organization and monitoring of the examination process.

Al-Mutawaa trial extended KUWAIT: Kuwaiti football player Bader AlMutawaa’s trial period with Spanish team Malaga FC has been extended for an additional week after the team’s manager Juan Ramon Muniz decided to give the forward player extra time to prove himself worthy of retaining his place in the team. Muniz further indicated that Al-Mutawa’a could eventually be signed by the team and given the chance to play full-time for the club which plays in Spain’s La Liga. Twenty-five-year-old Mutawaa has already won support from the Malaga FC fans, as well as winning the club’s manager’s backing, reported Al-Watan. Should he make it to the first team squad, he will become the first ever Gulf player to play in the Spanish League.

KUWAIT: State Security Department is working to eliminate the phenomenon of police violence against expatriate detainees, especially Asians, and is currently involved in drawing up a strategy to eradicate the practice. Several cases have been uncovered in which police and security officials have taken female expatriates arrested for prostitution-related offences to apartments and raped them before taking them to the proper authorities. In a related case, the Public Prosecution Department is continuing its investigation into a police officer who was arrested on charges of raping women being detained at Zahra police station over residency-related accusations, reported Al-Watan. Four of the women raped by the officer, who has pled guilty to the charges against him, came forward to complain of his abuse. Several other suspected victims have either left the country or are fearful of the possible repercussions if they take legal action. In another case, State Security Department officers are looking into accusations that a number of police officers have been working closely with taxi drivers to retrieve supposedly confiscated bottles of alcohol seized from bootleggers, arranging to meet the cabbies and retrieve the booze at prearranged meeting points.

Iranian delegation KUWAIT: Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry Khaled Suleiman Al-Jarallah received yesterday an Iranian economic delegation led by Dr. Aqa Muhammedi Muwwan, assistant first deputy of the president of the Islamic republic of Iran, who is on an official visit to Kuwait. Muwwan leads a delegation including Dr. Al-Sayed Asghar Abu Al-Hassan Muwwan, assistant of the minister of economy for banking affairs. The meeting reviewed the bilateral relations between the two countries, especially the economic aspects and the ways of developing them in light of a visit which His Highness Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah paid to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Transparency Society (KTS) recently urged HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser AlMohammad Al-Sabah to make his Cabinet aware of the importance of passing regulations that support transparency, especially in the five-year development plan. The development plan is scheduled to be passed at an estimated KD 40 billion budget. This is in order to ensure that all forms of corruption be eliminated from the plan’s execution processes. The society further explained it in a letter that was addressed to HH the Premier

and made available to the press. It highlighted the significance that HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah had accorded to issues pertinent to adopting transparency and fighting corruption. His sponsorship of the Kuwait Transparency organized by the society annually serves as an example of this. The statement further acknowledged the contributions made by the government, among which were the steps taken by the Cabinet in August 2008 to establish an anti-corruption committee. Furthermore, the letter included an appeal to HH the Prime Minister on the impor-

tance of addressing certain issues ahead of a critical period to fight corruption. It mainly concerned the importance of adopting five draft laws that are included in the five-year plan which are: the draft law on anticorruption, the draft law on financial clearance, the draft law on conflicts of interests, the draft law on prosecutor’s protection, and the right to examine information draft law. The society further asserted in their letter that these five draft laws, which were made through the Parliament need to be adopted as the Cabinet has failed to present similar draft laws.

KUWAIT: One of the popular online shopping sites.

Kuwaitis shop online to save time, effort and cash KUWAIT: Shopping online is now arguably the best way of buying clothes and other personal items for those who haven’t got the time or energy to traipse around Kuwait’s many malls. A large and increasing number of Kuwaiti designers now use the internet to display their goods, a trend that has overtaken international catalog shopping, which was popular among Kuwaitis for decades. Kuwaiti products offered online meet the local market’s particular needs, with the most popular markets including the clothing industry with special hard-to-get sizes, high quality fabrics, and match-

ing handbags, shoes and accessories, as well as more sizable goods like cars and spare parts and even real estate. Some sites offer free advertising, whether for retail or wholesale products, with popular current sites including ‘Dkani,’ ‘Souq Alkuwait,’ ‘Souq Plus’ and many others. Ahmad Abdulrahim, the owner of one such portal, explained that he offers a personal website and advertising service for local sellers, as well as providing the public with access to their goods free of charge. He said that this way of doing business saves time, money, and effort for buy-

ers, and also for sellers who might otherwise spend more than KD 500 each just to rent a shop and recruit some employees. One online shopper, working mother Shaima’ Ismael, said that she buys most of her needs online, especially fashion goods produced by Kuwaiti designers whose designs are mindful of Arab and Islamic traditions. She added that her experience had shown that products bought online are reasonably priced, available even during special seasons, and easier to obtain than goods bought and sold in the conventional way. —KUNA

Monday, January 25, 2010



Iran crackdown on oppn a ‘human rights disaster’ Rights group slams Tehran’s show trials

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi police man holds an ADE651 bomb detector device as he walks along side a stopped vehicle at a checkpoint in central Baghdad. —AFP

‘Magic wand’ bomb detector still rules Iraqi checkpoints BAGHDAD: A bomb detection device newly banned from export in Britain and labeled useless by US forces was still being used at checkpoints in Baghdad yesterday, to a mixture of confidence and disbelief. “We know it doesn’t work and that it has been banned but we are continuing to use it,” an Iraqi army lieutenant, shaking his head amid busy traffic, told an AFP correspondent in the capital. “It is bullshit,” the officer, who was not authorized to speak to the press, said of the ADE651, which consists of a swiveling antenna mounted to a hinge on a pistolshaped plastic hand-grip. “But still we are lying about it.” The device, known as “the magic wand,” uses a series of interchangeable credit card size paper cards said to be able to detect explosives such as C4 and TNT, as well as weapons. It is manufactured by British-based company ATSC, was reputedly sold for between 16,500 and 60,000 dollars per unit, and has become ubiquitous in Iraq, having been bought in large numbers by local security forces. However, British police last week arrested ATSC director Jim McCormick, 53, on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation. He was bailed pending further investigation. Britain banned export of the device after tests showed it was not suitable for bomb detection. Substances as diverse as perfume and metal tooth coatings have previously been shown to falsely alert its antenna. AFP reporters yesterday saw the ADE651 being used in Baghdad, the restive northern city of Mosul and the sprawling southern city of Basra. At checkpoints in the capital, several army officers refused to talk about the device’s capabilities and referred enquiries to their commanders. An Iraqi policeman, however, defended its use. “It works very well,” said Rayad Mehdi, who works at a busy checkpoint in Salhiyah, a central Baghdad district, only a few hundred meters from the justice ministry and the headquarters of Baghdad’s provincial council that were ripped apart by twin suicide vehicle bombs on

October 25 last year. The attacks left 153 people dead and more than 500 wounded and were the deadliest in more than two years. Mehdi, however, who has been using the ADE651 for more than a year, remained adamant. “It works when I search the cars. It detects everything, even hydraulic oil and CDs.” Faisal Ghazi, 25, a security guard who uses the ADE651 at the entrance of the nearby Al-Mansour Hotel, had not heard about the British export ban but insisted it was good equipment. “It works very well if you have received proper training,” Ghazi said of the device which does not need batteries but instead relies on the user’s static electricity, according to ATSC’s promotional material. Major General Jihad Al-Jabiri, chief of Iraq’s interior ministry directorate for combating explosives, was forced to defend the ADE651 last November after his US counterpart said he had “no confidence that these work.” “Whether it’s magic or scientific, what I care about is it detects bombs,” Jabiri said at the time. The British ban is limited to Iraq and Afghanistan, because the ADE651 is not classed as military technology. The new restrictions were based on the risk that sale of such goods “could cause harm to UK and other friendly forces.” The British embassy in Baghdad has also raised London’s concerns about the ADE651 with Iraqi authorities. The government in Baghdad has made no official statement. The head of the Iraqi parliament’s defense and security committee, however, said he would push for an investigation. “We will start to gather evidence to find out how this piece of equipment was sold to Iraq,” Hadi Al-Ameri, chair of the committee said. “If the (British) company was responsible we will seek compensation via the ministry of foreign affairs.” Ammar Touma, a member of the committee, earlier said he wanted “to know if corruption was involved.” —AFP

Iran to make 20% nuke fuel TEHRAN: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hinted yesterday that Tehran would itself pursue uranium enrichment to higher levels if the West spurns its offer of a phased fuel swap, promising Iranians “sweet” news in the days ahead. Ahmadinejad said Iran will make an announcement regarding the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity when the nation marks next month the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution which toppled the US-backed shah. “Iran has given a chance to Western countries,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by Fars news agency when asked by reporters about Iran’s deadline to world powers over the controversial nuclear fuel deal. “Therefore, during the 10 days of dawn (February 1 to 11) we will announce good news regarding the production of 20 percent enriched fuel in our country,” he said referring to the period marking the 1979 Islamic revolution. “This news is so sweet that it will make any Iranian and any freedom loving person in the world happy. This news is about Iran’s scientific advancement,” Fars quoted the president as saying. The UN atomic watchdog has offered a proposal which sees the bulk of Iran’s low-enriched uranium of 3.5 percent purity being sent to Russia and France in one

shot for further enrichment to 20 percent level and then returned as fuel for a Tehran research reactor. Enriched uranium of 20 percent purity is used as fuel to power nuclear reactors and Iran needs it to run its internationally-monitored Tehran facility. Iranian officials, however, have offered a counterproposal of a phased fuel swap and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki gave the West an end-January deadline to accept the Iranian plan. World powers led by Washington are against Iran enriching uranium as it can be used to fuel in nuclear reactors and also to make the fissile core of atom bomb. The West suspect Iran wants enriched uraniumdespite three sets of UN sanctions-so that it can make atomic weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is aimed solely at generating electricity. Western powers have indicated that Iran has effectively rejected the UN-brokered proposal put forward in talks in Vienna hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog. But Mottaki insists Iran has not rejected “the principle” of the nuclear fuel deal. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, amid increasing international frustration with Tehran, has vowed Washington “will not be waited out” and “not back down” in the face of Iran’s defiance.— AFP

DUBAI: Iran’s crackdown on opposition protests following June’s disputed presidential election was a “human rights disaster”, US-based Human Rights Watch said yesterday. The rights group also said in a report that Iran has staged hundreds of show trials of detained opposition protesters. Iran has dismissed previous criticisms of its human rights record. It has said that the opposition protests were illegal and have been orchestrated by foreign powers including the United States and Britain to undermine the Islamic Republic. Iran witnessed its worst internal strife since the Islamic revolution in 1979 when supporters of opposition candidates who lost to hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took to the streets, leading to violent clashes with security forces. Thousands were detained. Most have been freed but more than 80 were jailed for up to 15 years and five were sentenced to death. The Human Rights Watch report said the post-election crackdown had turned into “a human rights disaster”. “The Iranian judiciary’s show trials of hundreds of demonstrators and dissidents ranks among the most absurd displays of prosecutorial abuse I have witnessed in recent memory,” HRW’s Middle East Director Joe Stork said at a news conference in Dubai to announce its annual report. The Human Rights Watch report said many of the detainees had been coerced to confess to vaguelyworded crimes during the trials. Researcher Faraq Sanei said Human Rights Watch had documented 26 such cases of torture or coerced confessions. Human Rights Watch is shunned by the government and Stork said repeated visa requests had been unsuccessful. The report said the Iranian government had also targeted the media since the election as well as workers demanding rights. “Since 2006, authorities have responded harshly to workers, teachers, and women’s rights groups who advocate for better working conditions, better wages, benefits, and demands for changes in discriminatory laws,” it said. “In 2009 the authorities arrested union leaders, women activists, and suppressed gatherings of teachers and workers.” Iran has banned Iranians from contacting 60 organizations including the BBC, Human Rights Watch and US-funded broadcasters that Tehran says are suspected of being involved in Western efforts to topple the clerical establishment. The authorities have signaled they will tolerate no more protests after eight people, including a nephew of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, were killed in fiery demonstrations in December during the Shiite ritual of Ashura.— Reuters

With peace talks frozen, Palestinians back protests NABI SALEH: In the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, Palestinians frustrated by the failure of peace talks to protect their land from Jewish settlement growth are on the march, and ready to face the teargas. It is the latest example of Palestinians, their faith in the 17-year-old peace process sinking ever lower, turning to what they call popular resistance; code for protests that activists say are drawing an increasingly tough Israeli response. Some observers are concerned that such unrest risks flaring up into new conflict, even if few see a “Third Intifada” mimicking the street-fighting uprising of the 1980s or the suicide bombings of the second Intifada a decade ago. “The Israelis are worried because if it is played well it has all the ingredients to shape international opinion,” one Western diplomat said. “It’s an option to let off steam but it has a great risk of escalation and becoming violent.” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, his negotiation strategy adrift, has embraced the idea of popular protest and urged more, even as the United States tries to restart peace talks that have been stalled for more than a year. In Nabi Saleh, “popular resistance” has manifested itself in weekly attempts by dozens of villagers to march to the fences which surround the settlement. The villagers say the wire barriers have crept ever further onto their land. “Even as the negotiations

were going on, the settlers were putting up a fence on our land,” said Imam Tamimi, a 34-year-old mother of four who has taken part in protests staged by local Palestinian residents over the last month. “People went to harvest their olives. The settlers said ‘This is our land’”, said Tamimi, whose living-room window is filled by the view of the redroofed settlement homes across the valley and of a nearby Israeli military watchtower. The protests have spilled into

fist fights with settlers and confrontation with the Israeli army which has occupied the West Bank since 1967. Israeli soldiers have fired dozens of teargas canisters at protesters who have in turn pelted them with rocks. Six villagers were arrested during the most recent Nabi Saleh protest, activists said. Abbas has urged leaders of his Fatah party to take part. Hussein Tirawi, a senior Fatah figure and former Palestinian intelligence chief, was among the protesters briefly

detained by Israeli troops at one recent demonstration. NO SIGN OF MASS MOVEMENT, FOR NOW For Abbas, backing “popular resistance” is a way to show his support for some form of activism, even if not of the military sort employed by the Hamas Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip and routinely accuses him of being a sell-out. So far, Abbas’s commitment has seemed largely tactical, partly aimed at deflecting such criticism, analysts say.— Reuters



Monday, January 25, 2010

Children of Auschwitz recall liberation 65 years on WARSAW: Kazimiera Wasiak is a 76year-old Polish pensioner who will forever remain a child of Auschwitz. When she was only 11, Wasiak spent six months in Nazi Germany’s largest and most infamous World War II death camp, barely surviving on “a slop of water and rye flour”. Severely malnourished, she became gravely ill but believes this may have saved her life. Today, as treasurer of an Auschwitz-Birkenau survivors’ association in Warsaw, she meets regularly with a dwindling number of members, many of whom shared her fate like 78-year-old Stanislaw Przeradski. “After living five years in Warsaw under the Nazis we were no longer children when we came to Auschwitz,” said Przeradksi, who was

only 13 at the time. “We’d seen it allfiring squads shooting innocents in the street, brutality, air raids,” he said. All told, around 232,000 children were held prisoner in Auschwitz, including 216,000 Jews, 11,000 Roma, 3,000 Poles and the rest from Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere, according to Auschwitz-Birkenau museum historians. Part of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s plan of genocide against European Jews, dubbed the “Final Solution”, Auschwitz-Birkenau operated in the occupied southern Polish town of Oswiecim between June 1940 and January 1945. Of the more than 1.3 million people imprisoned there, some 1.1 million-mainly European Jews-perished, either asphyxiated in

the gas chambers or claimed by starvation, exhaustion and disease. In all, the Nazis killed six million of pre-war Europe’s 11 million Jews. Both Wasiak and Przeradski were shipped to Auschwitz in August 1944, among thousands of non-Jewish Polish civilians the Nazis drove out of Warsaw after Polish partisans launched the Warsaw Uprising, a bloody and doomed assault on the city’s Nazis occupiers. Between 194045, half of the death camp’s estimated 140,000 to 150,000 non-Jewish Polish prisoners died behind its barbed-wire. Thousands sent to other Nazi camps also perished, according to the museum’s records. On January 17, 1945, 10 days before the Soviet Red Army liberated

the camp, the Nazis forced some 60,000 prisoners into the notorious “Death March” to the dozens of Auschwitz sub-camps. “I was too weak to go,” said Wasiak. She was one of some 7,000 people left to die. She remembers a Soviet reconnaissance unit entering the camp a day or two before January 27, when the arrival of the Red Army front marked the camp’s liberation. “They were very ragged, very hungry,” she told AFP at one of the regular meetings of Auschwitz survivors in a drab communist-era community centre in Warsaw’s workingclass Wola district. “The troops set up a field kitchen in front of our children’s barrack. They were eating horse meat and we, like dogs, begged

them to give us a little and they ‘played’ with us, throwing the bones into the snow. We fetched them and chewed them,” Wasiak said, choking back tears. Freezing and starving, she searched for discarded clothes near the infamous crematoria and rummaged for food. She was among 30 children led out of the camp by a Polish woman survivor. “It was bitterly cold, corpses were jutting out of the snow on the ground. People who fell behind on the ‘Death March’ were shot-we tripped over their corpses,” she said, staring blankly. Tall and thin, with penetrating blue eyes, Jan Kazimierz Bokus, at 90, is the association’s oldest surviving founding member. “At the beginning, in 1946, there were over

2,000 of us and we are just 200 - we have terribly high mortality,” he said. “There are few survivors my most member are the children of Auschwitz, babies who were still in their mother’s womb or born at the camp.” Sipping tea, Leokadia Rowinska, recalls how she spent her first wedding anniversary at Auschwitz. “I was three months pregnant,” said the 86year-old, also sent from Warsaw in August 1944. Five months later on January 17, heavily pregnant, she was among other expectant mothers forced into the “Death March”. Her contractions came as the first rumblings of the advancing Soviet front could be heard from the east. She was ordered to stay on a German-owned

farm in Poreba, a town 56 kilometers north of Auschwitz. As she cried out in the pain of childbirth, Nazi guards told her to shut up or be shot. Rowinska gave birth to a boy on January 21. She named him Ireneusz. But starving, the 20-year-old had no milk to suckle her infant and he lived only eight days. “It was so long ago, but it’s painful,” she said, overcome by emotion. By February 1, a Soviet reconnaissance unit arrived in Poreba. “They told us we were free,” Rowinska says dismissively. Upon her return, she found Warsaw destroyed, but her husband and mother alive. “Last August, I found my son’s resting place. I’ll visit it soon, he would have been 65 this month.” —AFP

Hirsi Ali slams world’s liberal democracies

West ‘appeasing’ radical Muslims JAIPUR: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born former Dutch lawmaker threat- 2004 has lived under constant guard against death threats from Islamic ened with death for her outspoken criticism of Islam yesterday accused the extremists, made her accusation during an unannounced appearance at the world’s liberal democracies of appeasing radical Muslims. Hirsi Ali, who since Jaipur Literary Festival in India. Speaking to a packed Netherlands in 1992. In the that the “reticence” of audience, Hirsi Ali said fear Netherlands, Hirsi Ali mainstream politicians in of offending Muslims and wrote a screenplay for a Europe to confront the the wider Islamic world short film by Theo van Gogh threats that elements of meant Islam had been large- about women’s treatment Islam pose was partly ly exempted in Europe and under Islam. Just over two responsible for the rise of the United States from the months after it aired in racist right-wing parties. critical scrutiny applied to 2004, Van Gogh was assas“It’s extraordinary to see other religions. “In the sinated. A letter pinned to the energy we spend on proWest, people are frigidly his body with a knife contecting individual Muslims stuck in an attitude of self- tained a death threat to from questioning their moral doubt,” fearful of Muslim Hirsi Ali and marked her framework,” she said. “We radicals but also worried of entry into a life under conshould make Islam go being seen as anti-Muslim stant protection. through the same enlightenand thus betraying their Genuine debate about ment process other reliown liberal traditions, Hirsi Islam, Ali argued, was all too gions have gone through by Ali said. “This appeasement often “shut down by those using that questioning has made the public space in who have a stake in keeping process.” In 2003 Hirsi Ali these countries a lot less any criticism of Islam away. was elected a member of the safe,” she added. Theo’s murder just made JAIPUR: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Dutch Dutch parliament but Born into a Somali me realize how incredibly writer and fierce critic of Islam, poses for reporters resigned her seat over a Muslim family, Hirsi Ali, dangerous this theology is.” political crisis surrounding during an unannounced appearance at the Jaipur the potential stripping of her now 40, sought and obtained Hirsi Ali, who now lives in Literary yesterday. —AFP political asylum in the the United States, warned Dutch citizenship. —AFP

Frightened residents flee violence-hit Nigerian city JOS: Frightened residents flooded a military checkpoint to flee the Nigerian city of Jos yesterday after Muslim-Christian clashes that killed some 450 people and left scores of buildings burnt. While the fighting has subsided in the central city and troops have been deployed to end the unrest, fleeing residents said they remained too frightened to stay. At a military checkpoint on the outskirts of Jos, where long queues of cars and buses carrying fleeing residents formed, soldiers searched all vehicles, an AFP reporter saw. Several vehicles were laden with baggage. “The last few days have been very traumatizing for me and my two children,” Samira Yaya, 32, told AFP as she was leaving Jos. “My husband is out of the country on a business trip. We were indoors without food or water with killings and burnings all around us. I am going to Kano to stay with my family until my husband returns. I feel uneasy here.” Danladi Kabir, a 28-yearold trader said as he crammed luggage into a taxi that he was leaving Jos for his Jigawa home state in Northern Nigeria. “My family in Jigawa has been agitated over the fighting in Jos and my safety,” he said. “The best way to assure them I am alive is to visit home.” At least 150 bodies were recovered from wells after the clashes, a village head said Saturday, taking

JERUSALEM: A journalist is seen during a presentation to the media before the opening of an exhibition, showing the blueprints of the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem yesterday. —AP

Foiled attempt shows ‘new phase’ in Qaeda operations LONDON: A recent bid to blow up a US plane marks a “new phase” in Al-Qaeda’s campaign against the West, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said yesterday, before this week’s London talks on Afghanistan and Yemen. Miliband also said there remained a “very real” danger from violent extremists who will “stop at nothing” after Britain raised its terrorism threat assessment level from substantial to severe Friday. His comments came ahead of a meeting Wednesday on Yemen featuring ministers and officials from 21 countries, called after a 23-year-old Nigerian allegedly tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day. The suspect was allegedly trained in Yemen and in a new audio statement yesterday, AlQaeda chief Osama bin Laden claimed the foiled attempt, threatening further strikes on US targets. The Yemen meeting will be followed on Thursday by a bigger, higherlevel conference to which 68 countries have been invited and which will be attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The talks will focus on how to tackle extremism in Yemen and how to stabilize Afghanistan through political as well as military means. The scale of the problems facing Afghanistan was highlighted yesterday when the Afghan government postponed parliamentary elections for four months, from May to September. Miliband spoke of the threat posed by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operating in Yemen in an inter-

David Miliband view with the BBC, saying the country had been “rising on our radar for the last 18 months to two years”. “The heart of the Al-Qaeda senior leadership remains on the Afghan/Pakistan border,” Miliband said. “But there is a real issue in Yemen-the fact that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula should have tried to strike in Detroit marks a new phase in the campaign and that’s why there’s an important meeting on Yemen on Wednesday”. Miliband said the Detroit incident was the first time the group had attempted to strike in the West rather than within the Middle East. Karzai last week unveiled plans to offer money and jobs to tempt Taleban fighters to lay down arms and return to civilian life and Miliband appeared to back

this when asked about it. “I think it’s very important that we say very, very clearly that dividing the enemy is a very important part of our strategy, it’s the counterpart of a military strategy, it’s vital,” he said. “When people say to me should the Afghan government be talking to the Taleban, I have a very simple answer-yes, they should”. He refused to comment on why Britain had raised its terrorism threat level following a media report that Al-Qaeda is training female suicide bombers and India’s decision to warn airlines about a possible hijack attempt. The change means that “a terrorist attack is highly likely, but... there is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is imminent,” Home Secretary Alan Johnson said. —AFP

President’s absence stalls Nigeria oil sector reforms JOS: Leg of a boy killed and dumped in a well float following a violent clash at Kuru Karama, 30 kilometers from Jos Township, Plateau State. —AFP the unofficial death toll compiled from various sources to 464. State officials have given no official death toll for the violence, which broke out on January 17 in Jos, capital of Plateau State, and spread to nearby towns and villages. Dozens of cars, houses, churches and mosques were also burnt during the four days of unrest. A curfew remained in effect between 5:00 pm and 10:00 am. The head of Kuru Karama village, Umar Baza said that 150 bodies were dug out from the wells and that 60

more people were still missing. Kuru Karama is a Muslim enclave in a Christian region 30 kilometers south of Jos. Global rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Saturday that, according to figures provided by Muslim leaders, at least 364 Muslims died in the clashes. “As of yesterday (Friday), at least 364 Muslims have died in Jos, including those found in wells in Kuru Karama. This information was provided by Muslim officials in Jos,” HRW’s spokesman Eric

Guttschuss said by telephone from Washington. Although the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has not provided a comprehensive death toll of its members in the fighting, one of its officials, Chung Dabo, had earlier said that 55 Christians had died. At the Saint Michael’s Catholic Cathedral in Jos, located at the heart of the fighting, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, during his Sunday sermon, appealed for calm. Before about 3,000 faithful, he castigated both Christians and Muslims

involved and those who instigated the deadly fighting. Christian and Muslim leaders in Plateau State have both said the unrest owed more to the failure of political leaders to address ethnic differences than inter-faith rivalries. Jos has been a hotbed of religious violence in Nigeria, whose 150 million people are divided almost equally between followers of the two faiths. An estimated 200 people were killed in religious clashes in the city in late 2008. —AFP

LAGOS: Long-awaited reforms to regulate Nigeria’s oil sector are among a raft of ambitious government projects which have been stalled by the protracted absence of ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua. For over a year multinational oil giants and Nigerian officials have been locked in a standoff over the reforms contained in the petroleum industry bill (PIB), which will dictate where billions of investment dollars will be spent. Objections by the oil companies, some of which have been operating in Nigeria for five decades, have forced changes to the bill. But these require Yar’Adua’s approval before they can be incorporated into the proposed law. “My concern at this time is over the completion of that (legislative) process,” junior oil minister Odein Ajumogobia said. “I imagine that this would be (the oil firms’) primary concern too.” Executive power in Nigeria is centered on the presidency. But the president has been receiving treatment for a heart condition in a Saudi Arabian hospital for over two months and the government has been unable to say when he will be well enough to return. His protracted absence has left potential investments hanging, experts say.

“IOCs (international oil companies) can take technical risks but hate commercial risks,” one expert said on condition of anonymity. “Nobody will invest, there will be no investment, not only Shell, but Total, Exxon, Chevron. The industry is totally aligned on this particular issue.” The bill plans to transform existing joint ventures between international oil giants and the corruption-ridden state oil firm into autonomous entities in a bid to promote transparency and raise tax revenue from foreign oil majors. The bill is currently in the second reading stage in the Senate and House of Representatives in two different forms. Once it goes through the third stages, the texts from the two chambers of parliament will have to be reconciled. The government acknowledges there are differences still to be ironed out with the oil majors and one industry source said the new law could be adopted “at the best” in February, and has to be approved before year end. Delays in reforms to the crucial oil sector can only stall the economic growth prospects for the world’s eight biggest crude exporter, which relies on oil for more than 95 percent of its foreign exchange earnings. —AFP


Monday, January 25, 2010


Amid daily battle to survive, Haitians eye the future PORT-AU-PRINCE: Hundreds of thousands of Haitians will be living off foreign aid and in temporary housing for years to come, as experts warn rebuilding the quake-ravaged nation may take at least a decade. Almost two weeks after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake shattered the lives of the nine million people in one of the world’s poorest countries, a massive aid operation has cranked into place to provide food, water and shelter. With the government on Saturday officially calling off the search and rescue efforts for any more survivors beneath the rubble, the focus for international aid organizations has switched to helping hundreds of thousands left destitute. The Haitian government estimates more than 112,000 people were killed in the January 12 quake-making it the deadliest ever recorded in the Americas. Most of the bodies which lay rotting for days on the streets in the chaotic aftermath of the quake have now been collected in a grim operation, and buried in mass graves outside the Caribbean nation’s capital. Almost 200,000 people were injured, when for almost a minute the plates along the EnriquilloPlantain Garden fault shook with such force that buildings in the capital Port-au-Prince, and other towns like Leogane and Jacmel,

toppled like decks of cards. US naval vessels and floating hospitals have backed up an army of field and tents hospitals set up by aid organizations, amid accusations that scores may have died in the first few days because medical aid was too slow to arrive. Isabel Lopez, of the World Health Organization, said 150 health facilities were now up and running in the city, but she added: “There is still a strong need for post operative care.” Around a million people were left homeless, the interior ministry estimates, and the government has embarked on a massive relocation program to move 500,000 people to camps hastily erected in the countryside. Chief UN spokesman Nicholas Reader said the Haitian government had identified 500 sites where tented encampments might be set up for those now living in squalid, makeshift camps. “Haiti’s recovery must begin with its people, strong, resilient and impatient to get to work rebuilding their lives and their country,” UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said. According to UN data, more than 1.2 billion dollars has been pledged in funding to help Haiti. Some 62 foreign search and rescue teams are still in Port-au-Prince, and helped pull a young man out of the rubble

PORT-AU-PRINCE: Earthquake survivors pray during an evangelic religious ceremony close to their makeshift camp in a park of Port-au-Prince. — AP Saturday 11 days after the quake. But with hopes almost extinguished of finding more survivors, the aid operation led

by the United States and the United Nations is now concentrated on distributing tons of food and water to the needy. And the needs

are enormous. Even before the quake, 70 percent of Haitians were living on less than two dollars a day. But fears of an eruption of violence in a nation which has known decades of bloodshed and political upheaval have failed to materialize, with many praising the Haitians’ dignified response among their despair. There have been tales of neighbors sharing out their meager supplies, and organizing watches to keep looters and pillagers at bay. “I think the people have been heroic,” said former US president Bill Clinton, now UN special envoy to Haiti, as he toured one hospital last week. Despite damage to the main airport in Port-au-Prince, it has been kept open under US military control, and aid flights are also now unloading on three other airstrips-including two in neighboring Dominican Republic. US forces, due to reach 20,000 troops, have also worked to reopen the damaged port to unblock logjams of aid, which has poured into the country from overseas. “Haitians are grieving, but they are also buoyed by the generous outpouring of support from around the world,” said Mark Fried of Oxfam. “Despite the losses they have suffered, they are working hard to turn the empty lots, golf courses

and churchyards where they have taken refuge into places where they can live in dignity.” But many organizations warn the coming weeks will be crucial in a race to provide more permanent shelter before the rainy season comes. Michael Delaney, director of humanitarian response at Oxfam America, said there were serious fears of disease. “There’s concern over sewage, human waste. Very few of the hundreds of sites where people have set up camp have latrines set up,” he said, warning that if waste was washed into other areas “it will create a public health mess.” International donors meet Monday in Montreal to prepare a summit on rebuilding Haiti, amid hopes the quake may prove a turning point in the nation’s history. The UN, which suffered its worst ever disaster in the quake with the deaths of more than 40 UN staffers, has launched a program to create 220,000 jobs in rubble removal and reconstruction, paying each person some five dollars a day. “There is going to be a long and challenging recovery and we need sustained support,” said Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer of the organization, Habitat for Humanity. “People need to think in terms of a 10-year time frame.” — AFP

Obama’s debut State of the Union ‘a moment of truth’ Democrats view Nov elections with a sense of doom

CARACAS: Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez (top center) gestures to supporters during a rally marking the 52nd anniversary of democracy in Caracas on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010. Venezuelans commemorated the 52nd anniversary of an uprising that toppled the country’s last dictator arguing whether their democracy is slipping away or growing stronger under Chavez. —AP

6 TV stations forced off air in Venezuela Chavez demands ‘absolute loyalty’ CARACAS: An opposition TV station in Venezuela along with five others were taken off the air yesterday for violating rules issued by President Hugo Chavez’s government, a station spokeswoman said. The new rules require stations to air Chavez’s speeches, among other mandates. A spokeswoman for opposition channel RCTV, Gladys Zapiain, said all Venezuelan cable television providers dropped the station and the other channels from their line-ups. “We have just been taken off the air,” said Zapiain. “There was no prior notification.” Mario Seijas, president of the Venezuelan Chamber of Cable Television said that in addition to RCTV, the dropped channels include Ritmo Son, Momentum, America TV, American Network and TV Chile. The providers argued that they had failed to comply with a government regulation issued in December, Zapiain said. Under the measure, every television or radio station whose programming is at least 30 percent Venezuelan-made is considered a “national” media outlet. As such, they are obligated to carry speeches by the president and other officials, as well as official government announcements. Chavez critics view many of those speeches, which can last for hours, as government propaganda. On Saturday, RCTV failed to comply with the regulation for a second time. That day, Chavez addressed thousands of followers in western Caracas, demanding “absolute loyalty” and telling them he embodied the heart and soul of the Venezuelan people. “I am

not an individual, I am the people,” Chavez told a crowd of supporters. “It’s my duty to demand respect for the people. The president asked for voters to renew the ruling party’s control of both National Assembly houses in upcoming elections in order to be able to “continue building our new socialist state.” Venezuela will hold crucial legislative elections in September, in which Chavez hopes to secure at least two thirds of seats to maintain his current legislative majority. According to opinion polls, the president’s popularity, which approached 60 percent approval at the beginning of 2009, stands now at less than 50 percent. Chavez, a vocal critic of US influence in the region, has been in power since 1999. The largest oil producer in South America, Venezuela slipped into a recession in 2009 for the first time in six years due to a drop in oil prices and production. Amid the economic downturn, Venezuela recently devalued its currency. The bolivar devaluation was the first since 2005, and was designed in part to bolster public finances that have withered amid dwindling oil revenues and a rapidly contracting economy. Critics said the move would allow Chavez to boost public spending ahead of elections in September but would severely damage the health of the economy. Chavez has shuttered more than 600 retail stores in a campaign to keep a lid on prices in the wake of the bolivar’s devaluation, which will make it more costly to import goods. — AFP

Mexican presidential race could look like soap opera MEXICO CITY: They appear on the covers of society magazines flanked by their partners, soap-opera bombshells. They use street parties, cheerleaders and slick televised productions to tout their statelevel accomplishments to a national audience. Neither the mayor of Mexico’s biggest city nor the governor of its most populous state have confirmed their 2012 presidential ambitions, but already they are seen as the ones to beat. And while there are stylistic similarities between Marcelo Ebrard and Enrique Pena Nieto, the very different directions they propose could set Mexico’s path for years to come. While similar in age, the 50-year-old Ebrard and 43-year-old Pena Nieto bear little resemblance to the stiff, bespectacled President Felipe Calderon, 47, a no-nonsense technocrat whose term has been dominated by a brutal drug war that has killed more than 15,000 people since he took office in 2006. So far, no one from Calderon’s conservative National Action Party has emerged as a top candidate to succeed him. “Definitely, this is a new generation,” said Lorena Carreno, president of the Mexican Association of Public Relations Agencies. “They are closing the cir-

cle to create an integrated marketing strategy, a prefabricated brand.” Pena Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party that ruled Mexico for most of the 20th century, is known as “Gel Boy” for the seemingly immovable wave in his hair and his sexy good looks. He appears regularly on the national Televisa network with celebrities who fawn over public works in his impoverished state that rings Mexico City. Ebrard, of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, is a charismatic politician recognized internationally for greening one of the world’s smoggiest cities, and has created so many subsidies for single mothers, students, retirees and others that some working-class parents jokingly refer to their kids as “the children of Marcelo.” Both are flamboyant in their pursuit of attention. Pena Nieto’s speeches and ribbon-cutting events are routinely broadcast as infomercials at the end of Televisa’s newscasts. He runs advertisements showing actress and singer Lucero Hogaza (whom Televisa touts as “Lucerito, girlfriend of the Americas”) nodding and smiling as he rattles off highway projects he has carried out.—AP

WASHINGTON: Barack Obama will seek to corral panicked Democrats and win back disaffected voters this week in the debut State of the Union address of a presidency dragged down by crushing economic gloom. Suddenly, Obama is at a turning point, after Republicans snatched away the Democratic super majority in the Senate and with his own party now viewing November’s mid-term congressional elections with a sense of doom. The State of the Union address, beamed simultaneously on US television networks and cable news stations, offers a president his best annual chance to bypass the media and speak directly to Americans. With a quarter of his term expired, Obama will step up in the House of Representatives on Wednesday night saddled by diminished approval ratings, averaging around 50 percent, and with his health reform plan on life support. With unemployment at 10 percent, Obama’s bond with the American public is frayed, and he is losing his hold on crucial independent voters. “The speech for him is going to have to be a reset, a second chance to make a first impression,” said Kareem Crayton, a political science expert at the University of Southern California. Washington is reverberating from the shock Republican victory in late liberal lion Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat last week, which trau-

matized Democrats and is testing ties between Obama and his own party in Congress. The defeat took Democrats below the magic 60-seat barrier needed to thwart Republican Senate blocking tactics in the Senate-leaving Obama’s chances of passing his ambitious agenda in deep doubt. Republicans have no incentive to cooperate, seeing their win in Massachusetts as vindication of their total opposition to Obama’s health care plan and broader agenda. Obama’ speech will be watched for signs he is trimming his ambitions or tacking to the political center to chase independent voters dismayed by the slow pace of the change he promised. He has already said Americans are angry and frustrated that though banks and finance firms are again piling up huge profits, the impact of the recovery has yet to trickle down to the middle class. On Friday, in a possible preview of next week’s address, he posed as a champion of the working man, vowing an all-out fight to create jobs-though his policy options for doing so seem limited. “So long as I have the privilege of serving as your president, I’ll never stop fighting for you,” he told an Ohio town-hall meeting. Obama’s feted 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe meanwhile warned Democrats against “bedwetting” in a Washington Post article Sunday. “This will be a tough election for our party and for many

Battered Haitian media remains vital lifeline PORT-AU-PRINCE: Haitian journalists have never missed a step since the devastating quake, working hard to keep their countrymen informed of the latest frontline news in their daily battle to survive. “It’s our duty as citizens, we must continue to serve our people,” said Kepler Hyacinthe, head of production at Haiti National Radio and Television. The station’s gardens have become a makeshift camp for some 2,000 people since the January 12 quake struck. “We are acting as a point of reference for disorientated people, as a refuge for those who have nothing and even as a hospital,” he said, explaining that a woman had given birth in the gardens early Saturday. Reporters Without Borders, which has set up a free Internet access for Haitian journalists, says about a dozen reporters, cameramen and technicians were among the more than 112,000 people killed in the quake. One of the heaviest blows was dealt to Radio Magik 9, among the 40 radios which usually flourish in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and whose headquarters were flattened in the quake. “It’s tough. We lost all our material, but we hope to get back on our feet,” said the station director Frantz Duval. Another popular radio station, Signal FM, had more luck, as their studios survived intact. “We never went off the air,” said Michel Soukar, head of educational programming. “We have seen lots of solidarity from the gas stations which have been giving us fuel for our generator, as well as from the local restaurants which have been bringing us hot meals,” Soukar said. Other stations are now only

able to broadcast for a few hours from temporary studios set up under tents, many sending out messages from people looking for their loved ones or appeals for help. At Radio Metropole, the offices are still standing but “most of the reporters no long have homes and are sleeping at the station,” said reporter Gaby Saget, a former prize winner with Reporters Without Borders. One cameraman from the national television channel was killed, and journalists remain “very frightened,” said Hyacinthe. “We’ve set up a small studio closer to the exit,” he added, showing off the presenter’s table adorned with the red and blue colors of the Haitian flag. The station mainly broadcasts its own news, but also takes feeds from French broadcasters such as TV5 and Euro-News. But the quake could mark a turning point for the written press in this impoverished Caribbean nation, said Max Chauvet, editor of the main Haitian newspaper Nouvelliste. Before the quake it had 15,000 subscribers and a readership of 90,000. He hopes the paper will be back on the streets in the next two months, but in the meantime his dedicated small team has taken to the Internet. “Before we only used to post the contents of the paper on the site in the evening. Now we are putting out the news only on the site,” said Chauvet, although he acknowledged it was mainly Haitians overseas who could read it. “Where our subscribers? Where can we distribute the paper? We will have to go back to selling our papers by hand on the street,” he said of the paper, which relied on advertising for 75 percent of its budget. — AFP

OHIO: President Barack Obama takes questions during a town hall style meeting at Lorain County Community College in this file photo. Obama is emerging from a year in Washington that, he now says, has left the public with a sense of “remoteness and detachment.”—AP

Republican incumbents as well. Instead of fearing what may happen, let’s prove that we have more than just the brains to govern-that we have the guts to govern.” All of the House of Representatives is up for grabs in November, along with a third of the Senate. Reports Saturday said Obama had asked Plouffe to return to his side and plot strategy for the polls. Mid-term elections usually wound first term presidents, but the key to this cycle may lie in which party best exploits the ugly public mood. So Obama is repeatedly slamming Wall Street, and seeking to insulate himself from popular rage over government bailouts of the finance sector as it wallows in bloated bonus payments. Brookings Institution scholar Thomas Mann said Obama must Wednesday offer a spirited defense of his health reform plan, blame Republicans for the economic blight he inherited and say how he will ease the pain. “He needs to be aggressive with the financial community and his unified, ideological Republican opposition, and indicate clearly what he is prepared to fight for and lose reelection for.” The president also faces pressure to sketch a viable way forward for his health plan, with some Democrats thinking of splitting the measure up in incremental chunks, a world away from the historic triumph Obama has in mind. —AFP



Monday, January 25, 2010

Philippines accuses rebels of massive extortion MANILA: Communist guerrillas in the Philippines have collected more than 1 billion pesos ($22 million) through extortion in the past 13 years and plan to squeeze more money from candidates ahead of general elections this spring, the military said yesterday. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ordered the 120,000-strong Philippine military to

defeat the 40-year-old Maoist insurgency by the end of her term in June. About 48 million Filipinos will vote for a new president, senators, congressmen and thousands of officials down to the village level on May 10. Past elections in the Southeast Asian democracy have been marred by bloodshed and fraud. Documents seized from captured

guerrillas show they plan to extort money and firearms from candidates in exchange for protection from rebel attacks, as well as help in gaining support in the countryside, military civil relations service commander Brig. Gen. Francisco Cruz said in a statement. He said such demands are preposterous because the rebels do not control any territory or vot-

ers. Candidates should immediately report any extortion demands from the 5,000-strong New People’s Army rebels because giving them funds or guns would bolster their waning movement, Cruz said. “This is their moneymaking season,” he said. “Extortion is what’s keeping them alive, not their ideology.” Maoist guerrillas have also

attempted to extort money from a company contracted by the elections commission to supply automated voting machines nationwide, Cruz said. Efforts to reach the rebels for comment were unsuccessful. Since 1996, the rebels have extorted more than 1 billion pesos from construction, mining, telecommunications, transportation and logging compa-

nies, as well as from farmers, Cruz said, citing revelations by captured guerrillas. Refusing to pay up can expose companies to rebel attacks, Cruz said. Earlier this month, communist guerrillas destroyed banana saplings and a backhoe on a foreign-owned plantation in southern Surigao del Sur province after the company

refused to yield to rebel extortion, he said. Peace talks between the rebels and the government brokered by Norway collapsed in 2004 after the guerrillas blamed the government for their inclusion on US and European lists of terrorist groups. Both sides have taken steps to resume the talks, but the efforts have been unsuccessful. —AP

US online warfare stirred up Iran dissent: Chinese paper Washington slammed for cyber role in Iran unrest BEIJING: China’s Communist Party mouthpiece yesterday accused the United States of mounting a cyber army and a “hacker brigade”, and of exploiting social media like Twitter or Youtube to foment unrest in Iran. The

People’s Daily accused the United States of controlling the Internet in the name of Internet freedom after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for more Internet freedoms in China and elsewhere in a speech on Thursday. China on Friday warned that Washington’s push against Internet censorship could harm ties. “Behind what America calls free speech is naked political scheming. How did the unrest after the Iranian elections come about?” said the editorial, signed by Wang Xiaoyang. “It was because online warfare launched by America, via Youtube video and Twitter microblogging, spread rumors, created splits, stirred up, and sowed discord between the followers of conservative reformist factions.” China has blocked Youtube since March, the anniversary of uprisings in Tibet, and Twitter since June, just before the 20th anniversary of a crackdown on protestors in and near Tiananmen Square. Facebook has been down since early July. The People’s Daily editorial asked rhetorically if obscene information or activities promoting terrorism would be allowed on the Internet in the US. “We’re afraid that in the eyes of American politicians, BEIJING: Elderly Chinese relax along a wall of Forbidden City in Beijing yesterday. —AP only information controlled by America is free information, only news acknowledged by America is free news, only speech approved by America is free speech, and only information flow that suits American interests is free information flow,” it said. Clinton’s speech came shortly after Google revealed a sophisticated hacking attack, and said it might close its Chinese search Cambodian Foreign our territory,” patrolling for illegal loggers by PREAH VIHEAR: Cambodian entered engine if it could not find a way and Thai troops exchanged fire Cambodian deputy military near the border. “The Thai Minister Hor Namhong, in to offer a legal, unfiltered understood the which he urged troops to be near a disputed border temple commander Chea Dara said, army search service in China. yesterday-the latest in a string claiming that the Thai side Cambodians were smugglers, brave defending their territory. “Everyone with technical “The government position is Cambodian troops of gun battles between the were the first to open fire. “It while knowledge of computers knows countries since last year, mili- was Cambodian self-defence. opened fire. However, it was that we want to solve the probthat just because a hacker used tary officials said. Both sides We don’t allow anyone to only a warning fire. It came lem bilaterally and peacefully,” an IP address in China, the denied responsibility for start- invade our territory,” he from a misunderstanding. he said. But he added: “We are attack was not necessarily Everything is now clear,” he ready to solve the problem ing the morning skirmish, in added. launched by a Chinese hacker,” A Thai army official, asking said. The battle took place 15 through negotiations and with which nobody was wounded Zhou Yonglin, deputy operabut rifles and rockets were not to be named, said the clash kilometers southeast of the any other means, even through fired for around 10 minutes. stemmed from confusion when 11th century Preah Vihear the military. We have enough tions director of the National “There was a small clash. They Thailand’s soldiers were temple during a speech there weapons, we are not afraid.” Computer Network Cambodia and Thailand have Emergency Response been at loggerheads over the Technical Team, said in an land around Preah Vihear for interview carried in a number decades, but nationalist tenof Chinese newspapers yestersions spilled over into violence day. in July 2008 when the temple Zhou mentioned an outage was granted UNESCO World suffered by Chinese search Heritage status. engine Baidu on Jan 12 but did A gun battle near the temple not mention that it was area last April left three people attacked by the Iranian Cyber dead. The World Court ruled in Army, which had previously 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia. But the border attacked Twitter, nor that between the two nations has Chinese hackers launched never been fully demarcated, retaliatory attacks on Iranian partly because it is littered with sites the next day. The landmines left over from People’s Daily also denounced decades of war in Cambodia. a May ban on Microsoft’s Relations between the two instant messaging services to countries plunged further in nations covered by US sancNovember after Cambodian PM tions, including Cuba, Iran, Hun Sen appointed ousted forSyria, Sudan and North Korea, mer Thai premier Thaksin CAMBODIAN-THAI BORDER: A Cambodian soldier looks at the Thai border Shinawatra, who lives abroad to as violating the US stated through binoculars from an entrance of Cambodia’s Preah Vihear temple about escape a jail term for corruption, desire for free information 245 kilometers north of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. —AP as an economic adviser. —AFP flow. —Reuters

Thai and Cambodian troops clash near disputed border ‘They entered our territory’

Okinawa voters elect anti-US base mayor TOKYO: Japanese voters in a city on Okinawa island elected a mayor yesterday who opposes plans for a controversial new US air base, reports said, complicating a row with Washington over relocating troops. Two candidates in Nago city were squaring off over whether or not to give local support to a plan-currently under review by the centre-left national government-to build a major new Marine Corps air base there. Susumu Inamine, 64, who is against a replacement base in Nago, saw off incumbent Yoshikazu Shimabukuro, 63, who supports it, local newspapers and a broadcaster reported. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said he may scrap an agreement with Washington to relocate the base from its current site in a crowded urban area of Okinawa to a quieter coastal site in the Nago area by 2014. The issue has strained ties

between Tokyo and Washington, which marked the 50th anniversary of their security pact last Tuesday, since Japan’s new leaders took power four months ago ending a half-century of conservative rule. The southern island of Okinawa, which saw some of the bloodiest battles of World War II, hosts more than half of the 47,000 US troops in Japan. While some local businesses benefit from the heavy American military presence, many residents have long opposed it, citing crimes committed by servicemen as well as noise, pollution and the threat of accidents. Hatoyama, whose coalition government includes pacifist groups and stern opponents of the US military presence, has said he will make a decision by May on where to move the controversial Futenma air base. Some analysts speculated that Hatoyama would ultimately settle with the current plan as

there is no other realistic option for the replacement base in Japan, with no other communities willing to host it. But the new mayor Inamine is expected to refuse the plan. Even though the central government can technically overrule a local government decision to refuse the base, such a move could provoke sharp criticism as Hatoyama has vowed to consider “pains inflicted on Okinawans” and to respect local governments’ decisions. Some observers have voiced frustration with the premier for making at times contradictory statements on the issue, leaving both Okinawans and Washington officials confused about his intentions. “What Mr Hatoyama has said so far is inconsistent, and I don’t know how he wants to settle the base row,” said Yoshinobu Yamamoto, professor of international politics at Aoyama Gakuin University.

Yamamoto pointed out that, as an opposition politician years ago, Hatoyama advocated the withdrawal of all permanent US forces from Japan. Hatoyama last month said that his views had changed but added that “there is an argument about whether it is appropriate to have foreign troops stationed in Japan if you think about the future, 50 or 100 years from now.” Yamamoto said: “If he truly believes in an ‘alliance without the permanent presence of US troops’ in Japan, there may be fundamental differences in the perception of the alliance between him and the United States. “It could be a disaster for the future of the alliance.” A group of liberal academics last week supported Hatoyama’s review of the base agreement, called for a review of the Japan-US alliance and said: “We should also make efforts to remove other (US) bases in the future.” —AFP

PYONGYANG: In this undated photo released by Korean Central News Agency yesterday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (left) visits Ryongsong Foodstuff Factory in Pyongyang. —AFP

North Korea threatens war after South’s strike warning Latest salvo in a battle of rhetoric SEOUL: North Korea threatened South Korea with war yesterday after Seoul warned it would launch a pre-emptive strike if the North was preparing a nuclear attack - the latest salvo in a battle of rhetoric despite signs of improved cooperation across the militarized frontier. The North’s military said it would take prompt and decisive military action against any South Korean attempt to violate North Korea’s dignity and sovereignty and would blow up major targets in the South, including its command center. “Our revolutionary armed forces will regard the scenario for ‘pre-emptive strike,’ which the South Korean puppet authorities adopted as a ‘state policy,’ as an open declaration of war,” the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army said in a statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency. The North’s warning came in response to the South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young’s remarks last week that the South should launch a pre-emptive strike on North Korea if there was a clear indication the country was preparing a nuclear attack. A South Korean Defense

Ministry spokesman Won Taejae dismissed the North’s statement yesterday as a predictable reaction. Kim made similar remarks in 2008 when he was chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, prompting North Korea to threaten South Korea with destruction. Analysts in South Korea said the North’s latest statement reflected its intolerance of any challenge to its own security and the authoritarian regime leader Kim Jong Il but that the war of words was unlikely to derail attempts to improve relations. “The North has sent a clear message that it was ready for cooperation with South Korea, but it won’t tolerate it if South Korea touches on the prestige of its leader or its system,” said analyst Paik Hak-soon of the private Sejong Institute think tank near Seoul. The North’s isolated communist regime has reached out to the US and South Korea in recent months in what could be an attempt to ease some of the pressure of UN sanctions imposed on the North after it conducted a nuclear test last year, its second to date. North Korea quit international talks on ending its nuclear programs in April last year, but

has indicated its willingness to return to international disarmament negotiations if the sanctions are lifted. In a sign of the conflicting signals from Pyongyang, the North’s military renewed in yesterday’s statement the country’s commitment to improve inter-Korean relations. Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Dongguk University, said the South - led by a conservative government which has been more cautious in engaging Pyongyang than preceding more liberal administrations - was also giving mixed signals. “South Korea appears to have not decided whether to grab the hand of North Korea’s conciliatory gestures,” Koh said. Last week, the two Koreas held talks on developing their joint industrial complex in the North’s border city of Kaesong, the most prominent symbol of inter-Korean cooperation. On Friday, the North unexpectedly offered to hold discussions between military officers in Kaesong tomorrow to discuss border crossings, customs, and the use of mobile phones and the Internet for South Korean companies in the complex. —AP

in the news Shooting near Freeport mine JAKARTA: Gunmen attacked a convoy near the world’s largest gold mine in Papua yesterday, wounding at least seven people including a foreigner, Indonesian police said, the latest in a string of attacks on the US-owned mine. The convoy of two buses and four other vehicles of the mine operator Freeport were ambushed yesterday morning as they traveled from the Grasberg mine to Kuala Kencana neighborhood in Timika town, said Papua police spokesman Col Agus Rianto. He said those wounded included an American, four policemen and two civilians - a worker and a girl. Freeport said in an e-mail statement from its Jakarta office that nine people were hurt in the ambush and three required hospitalization but did not suffer life-threatening injuries. The other six were discharged after treatment of minor injuries. It said the incident did not affect operations at the mine. The company declined to comment on whether an American was among those wounded. Rianto said the American, whose left eye was hit by shrapnel, and two policemen were flown to the capital Jakarta for treatment.

Beijing wants bicycles to reclaim its streets BEIJING: Beijing’s city government wants to reverse the declining trend of people using bicycles to help ease notoriously bad pollution and growing traffic chaos, state media said yesterday. Twenty years ago, more than 80 percent of residents in China’s capital cycled but that proportion has shrunk to little under a fifth, state news agency Xinhua said, as an economic boom increased the popularity of cars. The government wants to

ensure that around a quarter of the population uses bicycles by 2015. They hope to achieve this by restoring bike lanes which had been taken over for vehicle use and by building more parking places, said Liu Xiaoming, head of the Municipal Communications Commission. “The government will build more parking lots for bikes alongside bus and subway stations so that cyclists could easily transfer to other transport vehicles,” the report said. “Meanwhile, the city is making bikes more available for hire. By 2015, about 1,000 outlets will be offering 50,000 bikes for rent,” it said. Beijing is home to around four million cars, out of a total human population of 17 million, Xinhua said.

7 illegal miners freeze to death BEIJING: Six men and a woman who had been illegally prospecting in remote mountains near the Mongolian border froze to death in a blizzard, China’s Xinhua news agency said yesterday. Fourteen others were rescued earlier this week after two out of the group of 23 managed to walk out and seek help. The group had been trapped by about 2 meters of snow in the Halahate mountains on Jan 13. Rough bands of Chinese gold prospectors roam Xinjiang, Tibet and other remote mountain areas, hoping to strike it rich. Their prospecting and mining can pollute mountain streams, but the remoteness of the areas means they are seldom policed. Xinjiang, which borders Central Asia, is suffering from an unusually cold and snowy winter this year. Temperatures in some areas of northern Xinjiang have fallen to about minus 45 degrees Celsius.


Monday, January 25, 2010


Gates faces hard questions in Indo-Pak push WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ charm offensive in India and Pakistan ran into tough questions ranging from border tensions and drones to nuclear weapons and Islamic insurgents. Here are some questions and answers relating to key challenges he faced during his Jan 19-22 trip and what these challenges mean for regional US policy going forward. CAN US REBUILD TRUST IN PAKISTAN? Gates acknowledged a “trust deficit” with Pakistan and that resolving it won’t be easy or quick. But he attempted to address conspiracy theories undermining perceptions about the United States, including suspicions that Washington is secretly planning to grab Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. He told a gathering of officers at the prestigious National Defense University that this was part of an “organized propaganda campaign” by insurgents to discredit the United States. He also took questions from the officers on a range issues, including the war in

Afghanistan. “That kind of interaction is quite critical,” said Shuja Nawaz, a Pakistan expert who directs the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington, saying it would impact subsequent conversations within the Pakistani military. Gates, on his first trip to Islamabad since 2007, also addressed suspicions with Pakistan’s media, telling one interviewer: “We have no intention or desire to take over any of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. We have no desire to occupy any part of Pakistan or split up any part of Pakistan. We have no intent to split the Islamic world.” WHAT ABOUT DRONES? Gates explicitly sought to have a candid dialogue with Pakistanis, but ran into trouble when reporters asked him about secret CIA drone strikes against insurgents, which critics say fuel anti-American sentiment. Gates was forced to repeat the standard line: “I am not going to talk about operations.” At one point, a frustrated Pakistani reporter asked him: if you won’t talk, who will? Gates joked:

“I hope you don’t find anybody.” He said the United States would supply surveillance drones to Pakistan. But a US military official played down any immediate impact the new drones will have on operations, saying it could take years for Pakistan’s military to learn how to use them and process the surveillance data. DO INDIA, PAKISTAN SEE INSURGENTS AS COMMON ENEMY? In both New Delhi and Islamabad, Gates appeared to focus on the common threat of Islamic extremism that both countries share, but reporters repeatedly returned to questions about India-Pakistan tensions. A US military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, described Pakistanis as divided over whether India or insurgents were the real threat and added he did not know “how this debate is going to end up.” In New Delhi, Gates acknowledged that India might lose its diplomatic patience if it suffered another attack like the 2008 strike in Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants. He

said militants would like to provoke a war between India and Pakistan. Gates was repeatedly asked in public about whether Washington might take up a mediating role. But US officials said neither Pakistani nor Indian leaders requested such assistance during closed-door meetings with Gates. The defense secretary said both nations seemed to want to deal with each other bilaterally. HOW DO ARMS SALES FACTOR INTO THE DEBATE? Gates encouraged India to consider buying US military equipment that would bring both militaries closer together, but then had the difficult task in Pakistan of soothing concerns that such an arrangement would undermine Pakistani security. Gates said in Islamabad: “I think we have to make these decisions (on defense sales) judiciously. But we also don’t want simply to turn over these military relationships to other countries that don’t have as many scruples as we do in terms of making those decisions.”

A US military official, briefing reporters in Pakistan, noted that the United States had provided F-16 fighter jets to Islamabad, but added that would hardly alter the strategic balance in the region. “Another squadron of F-16s will just mean they would lose the next war with India a little slower. They’re not going to defeat India because we gave them a squadron of F-16s. The military overmatch that India enjoys is just too large.” IS THE US PUSHING FOR MORE FROM PAKISTAN? Gates stressed the need to go after all militant groups, not just the Al-Qaeda-linked Pakistani Taleban attacking the state. But instead of renewing previous US calls for Islamabad to “do more,” Gates was full of praise for Pakistan’s efforts against insurgents over the past year and did not press on the pace of future operations. He said Pakistan would decide “when they are ready to do something or whether they are going to do it at all.” “The way I like to express it

is: We’re in this car together, but the Pakistanis are in the driver’s seat and have their foot on the accelerator. And that’s just fine with me.” A Pakistani military spokesman told reporters traveling with Gates that there would not be any offensives in the next six months to a year because the armed forces risked being overstretched. WHAT DID GATES SAY ABOUT AFGHANISTAN? In Pakistan, Gates repeatedly stressed in talks with the government, the military and the media that US President Barack Obama’s objective to begin drawing down forces in Afghanistan in 2011 did not mean there would be a broad pullout at that point. He also acknowledged concerns in both India and Pakistan about the other country’s activities in Afghanistan. “If there are back channel discussions (between India and Pakistan), one useful subject would be to have a transparent exchange of information on what each country is doing in Afghanistan,” he said. —Reuters

Lankan war allies, turn political foes After Sri Lanka’s war, victors vie for presidency COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s first post-war presidential election due tomorrow has turned into a violent contest between two former allies who led the nation to victory over the Tamil Tigers but who are now bitter political foes. President

KASHMIR: An Indian police officer displays captured ammunitions at Kreeri police station, some 36 kilometers north of Srinagar yesterday. — AP

Anti-India protest erupts in Kashmir New Delhi toughens security ahead of Republic Day SRINAGAR: Hundreds of people protested in the streets of the Indian portion of Kashmir yesterday, accusing the army of killing a civilian during a search operation against suspected Muslim rebels. AntiIndia sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, where most people favor independence from Hindu-majority India or merger with mostly Muslim Pakistan. A local resident, Shabir Ahmed, said army soldiers fatally shot Mushtaq Ahmed Mir, a local businessman, during Saturday’s search operation. Col Vineet Sood, an army officer, denied the protesters’ accusation and said Mir was hit by bullets when suspected rebels fired at Indian soldiers. Chanting “Down with India” and “We want freedom” yesterday, the protesters blocked a highway passing through Kalampora, a village 20 miles south of Srinagar, as they waited for authorities to hand over Mir’s body, said police officer Farooq Ahmed. Srinagar is the main city in the Indian portion of Kashmir. Since 1989, more than a dozen rebel groups have fought Indian rule in the Himalayan region, split between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety. More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the conflict. Virtual security lockdown New Delhi faces a virtual security lockdown for a grand annual parade yesterday as India celebrates Republic Day amid warnings that Islamic militants could be plotting an attack. South Korean President

Lee Myung-Bak will be the guest of honor at the celebrations in the Indian capital, where officials are vowing a show of strength in the face of threats. “We are making elaborate arrangements to provide comprehensive ground-to-air security,” city police department spokesman Rajan Bhagat said. “We promise a safe Republic Day,” he said, adding his 71,000-member police force will be on the streets in the city alongside the heavily-armed paramilitary troopers who have already taken up positions at intersections, malls and on the underground rail network. The preparations took on new urgency after US Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned last week that Islamist South Asian militant groups could try to trigger a war between Pakistan and India through a “provocative act”. India on Friday also stepped up airport security and alerted its embassies in neighbouring countries of possible passenger plane hijacking attempts by Islamic militants, following Western intelligence tipoffs. The Indian military said it aimed to thwart possible airborne attacks at the parade where President Lee will be accompanied by his Indian counterpart Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and scores of Western diplomats. “Anti-aircraft guns, snipers and mobile hit squads will be deployed while a squadron of fighter jets and helicopters will be on standby,” a military officer involved in the preparations said.—Agencies

Growing India-Pakistan rivalry in Afghanistan Representatives from more than 50 countries are meeting in London this week to consider ways to stabilize Afghanistan ahead of Washington’s 2011 deadline to begin drawing down troops. India and Pakistan are seen as key players in any regional approach but their six-decade rivalry is a major obstacle because it spills over into Afghanistan. New Delhi’s growing role in the war-torn nation has stoked fears of encirclement in Pakistan, which considers Afghanistan part of its sphere of influence. Following are details of their competition in Afghanistan: INDIA’S ASSISTANCE TO AFGHANISTAN India’s $1.2 billion of aid to Afghanistan makes it the sixth-largest donor, four times higher than an estimated $300 million by Pakistan. Indian agencies are involved in construction of highways, buildings and urban infrastructure, seeking to win goodwill through a series of simple but targeted forms of help. It offered to rebuild the Afghan national airline Ariana, donating Airbus aircraft despite a shortage in its own fleet. It also trained Afghan commercial pilots. New Delhi has donated 600 buses, provided experts who have restored telecommunication networks in at least 11 provinces, and built power transmission lines in northern Afghanistan. It is also building the new premises for the Afghan parliament, again a symbolic move to underline close ties between the two countries. Its most significant development activity, however, is the construction of a road that connects Delaram in western Afghanistan with Zaranj on Afghanistan’s border with Iran and another that links Kandahar with Spin Boldak, a town near the AfghanistanPakistan border. The construction of these roads provides access to strategic ports for India and landlocked Afghanistan, lessening the latter’s depen-

dence on Pakistan. INDIAN CONSULATES IN AFGHANISTAN Since the fall of the Taleban in 2001, India has raised its diplomatic footprint in Afghanistan, opening new consulates in Herat in the west and Mazari-Sharif in the north. It also reopened two others in the southern city of Kandahar and Jalalabad in the east which had been shut since 1979. India says the consulates are necessary because of various development projects it has underway in Afghanistan. Pakistan says the consulates are largely staffed by intelligence agents involved in stirring up unrest inside Pakistan, especially in southwest Baluchistan province on the Afghan border where a low-key insurgency that has raged for decades is showing signs of escalation. India denies any involvement in the Baluch insurgency. In July last year it agreed to include a reference to Baluchistan in a joint statement signed by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani at the end of a meeting in Egypt to improve ties. INDIA’S MILITARY INVOLVEMENT India does not have any troops on the ground in Afghanistan. But there are more than 500 men from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Border Roads Organization involved in construction of roads, according to reports in the Indian media. These forces are not part of NATO and their objective is to provide security to consulates, Indian laborers and businesses. India also trains a small number of officers from the Afghan National Army at defense institutions in India. In April 2008, Afghanistan’s then defense minister Abdul Rahim Wardak visited New Delhi and met his Indian counterpart AK Antony. He also travelled to Srinagar, capital of Indian Kashmir and visited the headquarters of the Indian army’s 15 Corps involved in fighting the revolt in the Himalayan territory. —Reuters

Tomorrow, polls open for an election in which nearly 14.1 million people are registered to vote. More than 68,000 police will be deployed to protect polling stations and there are fears voting day could be bloody. There is little difference between the Rajapaksa and Fonseka campaign platforms, both of which are heavy on populist subsidies, pledges of pay raises to Sri Lanka’s bloated public sector and promises of rural development. Fonseka has said he would abolish the executive presidency to restore some kind of balance of power, but few including the political parties behind him expect that to happen. Both men have accused the other of corruption, and Fonseka says essential food prices have risen sharply under Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa in turn points to record low inflation, and improving economic growth since the end of the war. ACTS OF VIOLENCE Campaigning so far has been beset by more than 800 reported acts of violence and there have been at least four deaths. There are only a handful of independent international election monitors. Fonseka has said he is confident of victory, but accused the government of scheming to steal it from him. “There is a rigging campaign going on but I appeal to you not to allow that. Protect your future. Don’t allow them to decide the future of your country,” he told supporters. Rajapaksa’s campaign denies planning any voter fraud, and says it will not need to do so to secure a win. “We are confident and according to polls we can win with over 65 percent,” said Susil Premajayantha, general secretary of Rajapaksa’s United Peoples Freedom Alliance. “We have pledged our support and cooperation to conduct free and fair elections.” Both men stood together at the historic declaration of victory over the LTTE in May, winners of one of Asia’s longest-running wars. But in the months since, Fonseka split with Rajapaksa over what he said was a promotion meant to sideline him and false allegations of a coup plot. Both men can legitimately lay claim to the victory, which led Rajapaksa to call an election two years before his first six-year term expired in the hope his massive post-war popularity would secure him a second one. But the entry of Fonseka, a political novice with the backing of a coalition of political parties whose sole unifying factor is a desire to see Rajapaksa lose, rapidly changed the equation. Although there are no credible opinion polls on the island, the consensus is that both men are neck-in-neck with equal support among the Sinhalese ethnic majority which makes up 75 percent of the Indian Ocean island nation’s 21 million people. That makes Sri Lanka’s minorities, who make up the remaining quarter of voters, the crucial swing vote. The largest group is the Tamils, with about 12 percent. Neither candidate has sizeable Tamil support because of the war, but the LTTE’s political proxy, the Tamil National Alliance, has backed Fonseka. It is unclear how many Tamils will vote. —Reuters

Mahinda Rajapaksa is facing an unexpectedly strong challenge from General Sarath Fonseka, who as army commander led a relentless campaign to crush the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s (LTTE) three-decade separatist insurgency.

COLOMBO: In this file picture Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa (left) shakes hands with then army chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka in Colombo. President Mahinda Rajapakse will face his former army chief Sarath Fonseka in an intriguing contest between two men who were victorious allies on the battlefield last year but are now sworn enemies at the ballot box.—AFP

Taleban kill 7 ‘spies’ MIRANSHAH: Taleban militants shot dead seven men in Pakistan’s restive northwest tribal belt after accusing them of spying for the United States, officials said yesterday. The bullet-ridden bodies of five men were found yesterday dumped by the side of a road in Kamsarobi village, 30 kilometers south of Miranshah, the main town in the semi-autonomous North Waziristan tribal region. “Taleban killed five men overnight, accusing them of spying for Americans to help them launch drone attacks,” local police official Mehboob Shah said. “A note found on the body said that the victims were spying on Taleban and anyone doing the same would be killed in this manner,” he added. The body of a sixth man was found in Qutabkhel village, five kilometers south of Miranshah, with a similar note from the Taleban, Shah said, adding that he too appeared to have been shot dead overnight. Another body of a man with a warning note from the Taleban was found near the town of Mir Ali, some 30 kilometers east of Miranshah, local police official Qayyum Khan said. An intelligence official and local tribesmen confirmed the incidents. Militants frequently kidnap and kill tribesmen, accusing them of spying for the Pakistani government or US forces operating across the border in Afghanistan, where Taleban fighters are leading an insurgency. A volley of drone strikes has hit the northwest this month, all in North Waziristan, a bastion of Al-Qaeda fighters, the Taleban and the Haqqani network, known for staging attacks on US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. More than 740 people have been killed in about 80 US drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2008. Separately, a paramilitary soldier was killed Sunday when Taleban militants fired a rocket at a convoy near Malik Deenkhel village in Khyber, another tribal district bordering Afghanistan. “One security forces member was martyred and four others were injured after a rocket fired by militants struck their convoy,” district chief Shafirullah Khan said. A paramilitary statement late yesterday said that three militants including their local commander were killed in the retaliatory strike. “In retaliation, security forces cordoned off the area immediately and during the search operation three militants including an important local commander, Gul Hakim, were killed,” it said. Pakistan’s rugged tribal regions have been beset by violence since hundreds of Taleban and Al-Qaeda rebels fled across the border to escape the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001. Washington says the tribal regions, where security forces are battling Islamist militants, have become a safe haven for extremists. — AFP

KARACHI: Seized weapons and ammunition are displayed during a press conference by Pakistani police yesterday. Pakistani police have arrested four members of a militant group accused of bombing a Shiite religious procession last month in Karachi, the nation’s economic hub, a senior police official said. —AFP



Monday, January 25, 2010


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Google puts focus on China cyberwar fears By Jim Wolf


oogle Inc’s threat to quit China over cyber attacks and censorship highlights US fears that a more powerful Beijing is tapping government and corporate computer networks to steal secrets and to prepare for potential conflicts. Ties between the United States, the world’s largest economy, and China, a rising rival, are already strained by jockeying for resources, regional influence, currency exchange rate advantages, trade protectionism charges and arms sales to Taiwan, among other things. US intelligence agencies for years have warned government officials and corporations that Chinese hackers have been piercing sensitive networks and preparing for any clash as bilateral ties wax and wane. Outsourcing, a cost-cutting strategy adopted by many US companies, contributes to the cyber threat, according to Larry Wortzel, a member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, an advisory panel to Congress. “Companies that locate their research and development in China and employ Chinese citizens to work on their software have probably made Chinese intelligence and security services better at computer hacking,” said Wortzel, a former US Army attache in Beijing. “They learn the holes in the system and the codes to access programs to do software updates -trapdoors that leave the US vulnerable to attack,” he said in an email interview. Moving hardware, chip and server production to China “gives Chinese employees or security organizations opportunities to embed their own code and trapdoors into the hardware as they put the code in,” Wortzel said. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled to deliver on Thursday what was being billed as a major speech on Internet freedom. “The ability to operate with confidence in cyberspace is critical in a modern society and economy,” said Kurt Campbell, the department’s top official for East Asia. Google owns the world’s most popular Internet search engine. It jolted US-China ties with its Jan. 12 announcement that it had faced a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack” in mid-December allegedly from inside China. Targeted at the same time, Google said, were more than 20 other companies in finance, technology, media and chemicals. At issue, it said, was more than a simple security breach, though Google said a primary target was dissidents’ email accounts. The US State Department is pressing China for an explanation of the incidents described by Google. US military and government networks “continue to be the target of intrusions that appear to have originated from within” China, Navy Admiral Robert Willard, head of the US Pacific Command, said on Jan. 13, one day after Google aired its complaint. While most penetra-

tions are fishing expeditions, Willard told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee “the skills being demonstrated would also apply to wartime computer network attacks.” US national security officials and independent security experts increasingly are voicing alarm about alleged Chinese cyber espionage. For its part, Washington also has a vast espionage corps to steal secrets for its security interests. China’s embassy dismissed any suggestion that Beijing was behind cyber attacks against US interests. “As China is more than ever integrated with the rest of the world through, and reliant on, the Internet, it has no reason to do anything that will harm or backfire on its own interests,” Wang Baodong, an embassy spokesman, said by email. Last February, Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, said state and non-state foes were targeting US telecommunications networks, Internet and critical industries’ technological underpinning. Cyber attacks were growing more sophisticated and more serious, he said, singling out Russian and Chinese capabilities. Chinese hackers’ tracks have been detected inside some US electricity grids and they “don’t seem to care about getting caught,” said Joel Brenner, former director of the Office of the National CounterIntelligence Executive. “Do I worry about those grids, and about air traffic control systems, water supply systems, and so on? You bet I do. Our networks are being mapped,” Brenner told an April 3 forum at the University of Texas at Austin. China is also preparing for any clash over Taiwan. James Mulvenon of the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis, a consultant to US intelligence agencies, said hackers controlled by Beijing might target US logistics and other support systems in a crisis over the self-ruled island. “The Chinese military appears to believe that they can use hacking to exploit our perceived dependencies on cyber systems, and thereby disrupt our deployment to a regional contingency,” Mulvenon said in an email interview. China deems Taiwan a rogue province subject to unification with the mainland, if necessary by force. The United States is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and is mandated by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to aid its self-defense. The USChina Economic and Security Review Commission told Congress two months ago that Chinese authorities seem to be recruiting skilled cyber operators from information technology firms and computer science programs into the ranks of “Information Warfare Militia units.” The Daily Beast last week cited what it called a classified FBI report that estimated China’s army has more than 30,000 cyberspies plus more than 150,000 private-sector computer experts assigned to steal US military and technology secrets. — Reuters

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Not so bad for non-Muslims in Morocco By Mohsine El Ahmadi


any people wonder what relevance sharia – Islamic principles – has in the modern world. In Morocco it has influenced national laws, especially the civil code and family law, primarily in a positive sense. Coupled with the country’s tradition of tolerance and openness, this has provided the Moroccan government with a foundation for protecting the rights of religious minorities within its borders. King Mohammed VI, who ascended to the throne in 1999, made a strategic decision to introduce democratic reforms and restructure the legal system so that Morocco can move toward becoming an inclusive, multi-religious society, one which better adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is partly dedicated to progress on religious freedom. This decision resulted in the adoption of an official agenda known as the “Reformation of [the] Religious Field” in 2004 by the King, who then delegated carrying out this reform to the Minister

of Endowment and Islamic Affairs, Ahmed Tawfik. The goal of this new policy was expressed in the King’s address to the nation on July 31, 2009 in which he distinguished between Islam and politics. An exception is made, however, for his own role as both the head of state and Commander of Faithful, a religious title inherited from the earlier days of Islam and which makes the Moroccan king the eminent representative for both Muslims and religious minorities living in Morocco. Accordingly, Articles 6 and 19 of the Constitution state that the King’s role is to protect the Muslim identity of the Moroccan people, while respecting the rights of religious minorities. Morocco has a long tradition of religious freedom, evident by its longstanding Jewish community. Today, this community exists alongside a nascent Christian one. Continuing his efforts to affirm the value of a pluralistic society, King Mohammed VI encouraged those of all faiths in Morocco to draw on this tradition at a September 2009 conference called “Seeking Enlightened Islam: the

Golden Age of Monotheism”. Precise information on the religious makeup of Morocco is difficult to find, but according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Muslims represent nearly 99 per cent of the population. Estimates put Christians at under one per cent and Jews at about 0.2 per cent. Most of the Christians are Europeans or Sub-Saharan African students working and living in big cities like Casablanca, Rabat and Marrakesh. Analysts estimate that about 5,000 Moroccans have converted to Christianity in the past five years, due to evangelical Christians’ increased proselytising and their outreach to the young and the poor. However, there is no official Moroccan data on this issue since the government does not gather data on religious affiliation in its census. In accordance with Article 18 of the UDHR, which states that everyone has the right to publicly practice his or her religion, Morocco has 10 functional synagogues and 16 churches in which Jews and Christians can publicly practice their faith without any interference. Hindus and Buddhists also

have holy shrines in Rabat and Casablanca. The law protects these religious spaces from violence. Most importantly, laws allowing freedom of expression and assembly, as well as the ability to worship both privately and publicly, are clearly stated in the Constitution and the Penal Code, both of which were written shortly after Morocco’s independence in 1956. Morocco’s approximately 3,000 Shi’ites generally assemble freely, and have established organisations like the Organisation of Moroccan Shi’ites, Attawassoul Association in the city of al Housseima, Al Inbiaat Association in Tangier, and Al Ghadir Association in Meknes. Nor have they experienced any problems with holding their rituals publicly. And for many years, Jews have been practicing their faith safely in synagogues and during regular pilgrimages to local Jewish saints’ shrines all over Morocco. The Christian community has established churches, schools, hospitals and orphanages without interference

from the government. The Catholic Archbishop of Rabat, Vincent Landel, says: “Muslims and Christians coexist and live in peace and fraternity.” Although active proselytising to Muslims is illegal–a law based on Islamic principles–Archbishop Landel notes that Christians in the country can practice their faith freely. Furthermore, interfaith marriage is allowed, though only for Muslim men: Muslim women’s future spouses are expected to convert to Islam before marriage. The government tries to maintain and promote positive attitudes regarding religious freedom. It is this peaceful coexistence between religious communities that Morocco hopes to perpetuate in order to be a positive example to the rest of the Muslim world. NOTE: Dr Mohsine El Ahmadi is Professor of Sociology at the Cadi Ayyad University of Marrakech and currently a Visiting Scholar at Prince AlWaleed Bin Talal for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University — CGNews

US military deployment stirs tension in Haitian tragedy By Veronica Sardon


he growing US military deployment in Haiti is provoking mixed feelings in the Caribbean country and beyond. There is relief that someone might actively combat lawlessness on the streets of Port-au-Prince in the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake. But there are serious concerns that the quake-related aid operation could become an open-ended military intervention. Help is still desperately needed with an estimated 200,000 dead and 1 million homeless, but even aid is subject to political and ideological interpretation. “We fully support military involvement in logistics and security, but it needs to be under the umbrella of the UN,” Penny Lawrence, aid and development charity OXFAM’s director for Britain, told dpa. “The rhetoric on coordination is right, but in practice it is proving challenging.” Benoit Leduc of Doctors Without Borders more bluntly said that his organization was concerned about the “militarization of aid” and “the extreme confusion of distributing food with a gun.” On the ground, many Haitians are happy about the arrival of US Marines. “The Americans are our only hope. I think they will deactivate the gangs,” said Wawa, a 38-yearold former gang member who commands respect in Port-auPrince’s dangerous shantytowns. Yet even Haitians themselves are afraid that once American troops are in place their own needs might be relegated. By Thursday, there were rumours of a plan to oust refugees from Haiti’s national stadium in Port-au-Prince to make space for US troops to land helicopters, for example. Critics have denounced US forces in control of the city’s airport for prioritizing military

In this Jan 19, 2010 photo, a US Navy helicopter takes off in front of the destroyed National Palace after members of the US Army 82nd Airborne landed in Port-au-Prince. – AP flights over civilian flights. Commander Buck Elton, air operations chief for the US military in Haiti, insisted that the landing plan is evenly divided between demands. He told reporters that on Wednesday, for example, there were 43 international aid aircraft, 55 US civilian aid aircraft and 51 military aircraft. Aid organizations around the world have politely criticized what analyst Seumas Milne defined as the US military’s “shockingly perverse priorities” in the British daily The Guardian. Loris de Filippi, emergency coordinator for Doctors Without Borders’ Choscal Hospital in the Cite Soleil neighbourhood of Port- au-Prince, complained about a Hait-bound aid plane

being diverted to the Dominican Republic. “We have had five patients in Martissant health centre die for lack of the medical supplies that this plane was carrying,” De Filippi said. “We were forced to buy a saw in the market to continue amputations. We are running against time here.” Elton said that a Doctors Without Borders plane on Sunday had a scheduled 3 pm landing but had to be diverted to the nearby Dominican, before returning to touch down at 8 pm in Port-au-Prince. He emphasized that long delays at Port-au-Prince airport are often beyond control of US forces: waiting for evacuees to board planes and fuel shortages, among other factors, also

caused some planes to be diverted. Taiwanese media called US rescue teams “bullies” for pushing a Taiwanese search group out of various sites including a UN building, even as the Asian team had located survivors and was working to get them out of the rubble. Others have claimed that US forces gave preference to the evacuation of US citizens and that they generally favoured security “rather than humanitarian aid,” as Paris-based Le Monde put it. Traditional critics of US policy, such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, went further still. “The United States government is using a humanitarian tragedy to militarily occupy Haiti,” Chavez complained.

“Cuba has more doctors in Haiti than the United States.” Analysts around the globe were guessing at the intentions of US President Barack Obama in his deployment of US troops in Haiti. Is Obama trying to clean up Washington’s image after messy military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan? Is he trying to underline the benefits of US involvement to give “American interventionism” a good name? “Obama has issued (at a speed that contrasts with the indolence of his predecessor in the case of Katrina in New Orleans) extraordinary assistance measures,” Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes said in a column in the Spanish daily El Pais. The Austrian daily Die

Presse highlighted the contrast of US aid efforts in Haiti with Washington’s history of supporting dictatorships in Central American regimes. “If President Obama now commits to stand by poor Haiti as a partner also after the Caribbean republic disappears from the headlines, he has learned a lesson from US history,” Die Presse wrote. Le Monde stressed less altruistic aspects and noted that, for the United States, “Haiti is a national security imperative as much as it is a humanitarian imperative.” Washington fears, the daily said, “an exodus that could push hundreds of thousands of boat people to Florida, just 1,200 kilometres away.” There may be no right answer for Washington’s foreign critics. Obama made the point himself last year, following the coup in Honduras. “Critics who say that the United States has not intervened enough in Honduras are the same people who say that we’re always intervening and the Yankees need to get out of Latin America,” Obama complained in August. “You can’t have it both ways.” Washington would have at least as much a target for criticism if the US military response in Haiti had been far more restrained. Its own history of intervention in Haiti makes the US ripe for suspicion now, but specifically France, as the onetime master of the former African slave colony, and the rest of the developed world also bear responsibility for a disaster that has been severely exacerbated by a legacy poverty. Cuban leader Fidel Castro wrote that “Haiti is a net product of colonialism and imperialism.” The challenge for the troubled country lies far beyond quake relief: even before its latest disaster, Haiti was the poorest country in the Americas, with more than 80 per cent of its people living in poverty.— dpa


Monday, January 25, 2010


Gilani may be best hope for stability By Michael Georgy and Sue Pleming


espected by both Pakistan’s powerful military and Washington, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani may be the best chance of bringing political stability to crucial US ally Pakistan. A Supreme Court ruling last month throwing out an amnesty for unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari, several top aides and thousands of activists and government figures, triggered a political storm and expectation that Zardari was on his way out. Political turmoil in the nuclear-armed South Asian country worries the United States. Washington is pressing Islamabad to focus on eliminating Al-Qaeda and Taleban militants along the border to help stabilise neighbouring Afghanistan. Gilani, who has tiptoed through Pakistan’s political minefield without making too many enemies, may be the steady hand the country needs to deal with a raging Taleban insurgency and deep economic troubles, say several

analysts. “The prime minister has a reputation for moderation, always looking for consensus. The army trusts him,” said a Western diplomat who asked not to be identified. The United States, which has pledged $7.5 billion in non-military aid to Pakistan over the next five years, sees Gilani as someone it can do business with, analysts say. When senior Obama administration officials like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates visit Pakistan, they make a point of meeting Gilani, who tends to steer away from controversy. Analysts say a new political landscape would please Pakistan’s military - a more powerful prime minister on their side and Zardari as more of a figurehead than a decision-maker - as it runs

the show from behind the scenes. “He is more amenable to persuasion and there are no real problems with him,” another diplomat said of Gilani. But Gilani would face an array of challenges if he takes on more responsibility, and he would take the heat, not the military, if policies fail. Frustrations are growing over the price of sugar and other kitchen staples such as cooking oil and flour. Bombings have killed hundreds of people since a security offensive was launched in October in the Taleban’s South Waziristan stronghold. The economy is in virtual recession. The military campaign against the Taleban is draining an already battered economy

and Pakistanis want better security. Trouble had been piling up for Zardari, who may have edged back from the precipice but is still far from safe. The opposition wants him to give up sweeping powers inherited from his predecessor, General Pervez Musharraf, whose cooperation with the United States in the fight against terrorism and tussle with Pakistan’s judiciary ultimately led to his demise. In order to retain the presidency, Zardari may be forced to surrender those powers to Gilani, a career politician who is vice chairman of Zardari’s ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). “He (Zardari) will survive but with his wings clipped,” said Mushahid Hussain, a senior member of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League. Zardari has already handed over control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons to Gilani, although in practical terms the army oversees the arsenal. But the move had symbolic value. The widower of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Zardari made the mistake of crossing the military several times since he came to power

in 2008 - making overtures to rival India and trying to put the powerful intelligence service under civilian control. Unlike Zardari, Gilani has not antagonised the military and it is highly doubtful he would challenge them in future. “There is a general consensus that the powers of the president should be decreased,” said Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political and defence consultant in Lahore. “He has few options open to him,” he said of Zardari. While Zardari is under fire from all sides, few Pakistanis want the military to be in full control as it has been for more than half of Pakistan’s 63-year history. No civilian government in Pakistan has ever served out its term. Gilani, who like many Pakistani politicians spent time in prison on charges of misuse of authority, may be the best compromise. “We are heading in that direction. Gilani will have more power and Zardari would just be an ornament in the drawing room. Not hurting anybody,” said the Muslim League’s Hussain. — Reuters

Afghan solution may be too little, too late By Myra MacDonald


renewed push for a regional solution to Afghanistan bringing on board bitter rivals India and Pakistan may be too little, too late to achieve results in time for Washington’s 2011 deadline for drawing down troops. The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan will have their first chance to meet since September at a conference in London this week at which Britain wants to convince regional players to cooperate rather than compete over Afghanistan. “Afghanistan has for far too long ... been the ground on which regional powers have essentially exercised or fought out some of their tensions by backing different groups against each other ...” British ambassador to Kabul Mark Sedwill said. “That has to stop. The Great Game is over and Afghanistan has to be become a point of stability within the region,” he said, while briefing reporters on the Jan. 28 conference bringing together representatives from more than 50 countries. But any easing of India-Pakistan rivalry - an essential part of any broader regional approach - is likely to happen too slowly for the timetable set by President Barack Obama. Washington’s need to achieve results in Afghanistan by 2011 is at odds with the longer-term clock followed by India and Pakistan, said Steve Coll at the New America Foundation. The tense relationship between the two has kept the Pakistan Army focused on its eastern border with India rather than fighting militants on the western border with Afghanistan. Pakistan is also seen as unwilling to tackle the Afghan Taleban, believing it might need them to counter India’s growing influence in Afghanistan in the event of a US withdrawal. “My sense is that the administration feels stymied by India’s continued insistence that it does not want any outside help and the frustratingly slow pace by which India and Pakistan are trying (to find a way back to negotiations),” said Coll. “The US doesn’t seem to be able to construct a breakthrough.” During Obama’s election campaign, analysts spoke of the need for a “grand bargain” which included India and Pakistan making enough progress on their dispute over Kashmir to build the trust needed to allay their suspicions in the Afghan front. Without that, the risk

is that both countries would end up backing opposite sides in a renewed civil war following any US withdrawal with India supporting a weak government in Kabul against Taleban militants active in parts of the countryside. In the short-term, they would also be at odds over reconciliation with Afghan insurgents -another theme of the London conference - with India opposed to bringing in hardline Islamists it fears would be backed by Pakistan. Those hopes for a grand bargain were dashed after the Nov. 2008 attack on Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants - prompting India to break off talks and leaving both countries assuming the worst about each other’s intentions from Kashmir to Afghanistan. After a brief thaw in mid-2009, relations have turned so frosty that some fear another big militant attack on India could propel the nuclear-armed countries towards war. Ahead of the London conference British officials have revived talk of a regional dÈtente although they have played down media reports of a planned “regional council”. “Only the countries of the region can decide whether they want to build on the multitude of existing regional bodies, or create something new and Afghanistan-specific,” British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said last week. Officials have also suggested any regional solution would involve not just India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, but other countries as well, including neighbouring Iran and Russia. But with Pakistan expected to resist Indian involvement - arguing that India is not an immediate neighbor - no regional detente is likely without an easing of tensions between the two. Both Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart S M Krishna are expected in London, providing an opportunity for a meeting on the sidelines - though diplomats say none has been arranged so far. “There is no agenda fixed for that but when you have such conferences they do shake hands on the sidelines,” said Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain. “Since India-Pakistan issues are very close to the heart of the British government, they would like them to have a chance to talk to each other.” But such talks would be useful, he said, only if they led to a resumption of the formal peace process, or compos-

ite dialogue. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is believed to be keen to find a way back into talks with Pakistan and only last week replaced his National Security Adviser with a seasoned diplomat seen as more attuned to his approach. “His instincts are to do something with Pakistan,” said Indian analyst Kanti Bajpai who teaches at Oxford University. He said there was a case to be made for steps towards a regional solution. Pakistan should cede some space to India in Afghanistan while both countries would need to agree on the limits of their roles.

The problem, however, is that even as India has become more open to talks, the political space in Pakistan to engage in a successful dialogue has been narrowing as it tackles Islamist militants and a spate of bombings and gun attacks at home. Neither the government nor the army can afford to make the kind of concessions offered by former President Pervez Musharraf on Kashmir for fear of alienating public opinion already ambivalent about the approach to militants. “In the end, Musharraf’s willingness was a function of the space that he thought he had and his desire to have

his own legacy project (on Kashmir),” said Coll. “Today the equation on the Pakistan side is very different. That space has been narrowing and narrowing since the Obama administration came in.” At best, India and Pakistan might eventually get back into talks which could prevent tensions between them escalating into a conflict which would torpedo US plans for Afghanistan. But the regional diplomatic strategy to ease their rivalries in Afghanistan and stabilise Pakistan by allowing it to redefine its relationship with India may have been stillborn months ago. — Reuters

Woes raise wider govt concern By Emma Graham-Harrison


he first time parliament threw out most of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s cabinet nominees it was hailed as a triumph for democracy. The second time it looked more like a victory for chaos, conservatism and graft. Afghanistan desperately needs a functioning government to start improving services and staunch a growing disillusionment with Kabul that boosts support for insurgents. Violence is at its highest since the ouster of the Taliban in late 2001. But instead there has been months of political limbo as the country waited first for a delayed presidential election, then for the result of that fraud-marred poll to be settled, and finally for Karzai, the eventual winner, to chose a government. Seventeen of the 24 candidates on his first slate were vetoed in a surprise show of lawmakers political muscle. Another seven were approved from a second list - leaving him with 11 ministerial posts still open, including major portfolios such as public health. The cabinet disarray has raised questions about whether the institutions put in place by Afghanistan’s constitution are a strong enough underpinning for a modern state. Parliament is influenced by an unpredictable mix of principles, greed and politics, while Karzai is apparently unable to harness his own political skills or reserves of cash and patronage opportunities, to seal the deals that are key to governance of a country he is trying to wrest back from insurgents. “The mixed result of the Wolesi Jirga (lower house) vote of 16 January reflects a basic weakness of Afghanistan’s postTaleban state institutions: their lack of structure,” Thomas Ruttig wrote in an article on the Afghanistan Analysts Network ( “The parliamentarians oscillate between democratic self-assertion and the temptations of bakhshishs offered - either gifts in cash or the promise of the ministers-to-be to give posts to relatives and allies.” Fractured along ethnic, religious, ideological and patronage lines, the lower house has no formal party groupings so even powerful warlords struggled, or failed, to gather the votes needed to push their candidates through parliament. For years this has suited Karzai, allowing him to rule with little real check on his powers from lawmakers, or need to

court parliament. But now the limited links between the executive and legislative branches have left both sides stranded. Neither seems entirely clear about what they want or how to go about getting it, and the president looks particularly weak. After the election he promised a fresh start. The London conference, held in just over a week, was meant to provide a launching pad for his new, cleaner government. “It’s certainly going to reflect poorly on the ability of Karzai to pull together a team,” said Minna Jarvenpaa, former head of Analysis and Planning in the UN’s Afghanistan mission. “It has taken a few months now and even the London conference deadline hasn’t been able to catalyse the completion of the cabinet,” she added. One thing that did bring conservative lawmakers together was suspicion of the female ministerial candidates. Karzai put forward a record three names, but only one was approved. “There is a bad feeling in the parliament against those women who are well educated and have served in nongovernmental organisations,” said Shinkai Karookhel, a lawmaker and a sister of the candidate for Women’s Affairs Minister, Palwasha Hassan. Questions asked in nomination hearings for Hassan - a well known activist vetoed even by some female parliamentarians and who received the lowest tally of positive votes of all the candidates - give a sense of some lawmakers’ agendas. “How will you ensure there is balance between ... not too much freedom for women but still (giving them) rights under law,” one MP asked, according to a translation made by a women’s network. Corruption added to the confusion. In the days running up to the second vote there were gatherings at houses of Kabul dignitaries where fleets of cars with blacked-out windows disgorged members of parliament and cabinet candidates. Inside they enjoyed elaborate dinners and individual meetings with nominees, government sources said. Lack of budget and workspace, the need to reclaim expensive campaign costs, and the demands of friends and relatives for jobs and favours can make graft hard to resist. “Unfortunately, some delegates are paying more attention to their pockets than to Afghanistan’s future,” said lawmaker Sardar Ahmad Ughli. — Reuters

Obama retools presidency amid turmoil By Richard Cowan


ust a year into his presidency and already in need of a political comeback, Barack Obama is trying to regain momentum by focusing on two hot-button problems: joblessness and reining in the Wall Street bankers many blame for the lackluster economy. This retooling, so early in his term, already has people saying the 44th US president has taken a populist turn, or that he might have to out-Republican the Republicans by focusing the next three years of his four-year term on deficit reduction and business growth. But labels are not so important. What is important is that if he is to salvage his presidency, Obama must demonstrate that he is in charge, not the two top Democrats in Congress: liberal House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to analysts. “People have been saying we need to hear from Obama. What does he want? And instead, Pelosi and Reid have been providing the answers,” said Paul Light of New York University’s Center for the Study of Congress. Last

week, after Obama’s Democrats suffered a stunning loss of a Senate seat in Massachusetts the late liberal icon Edward Kennedy’s seat no less - the country heard directly from Obama. For example, Obama on Thursday confronted Wall Street banks, unveiling a populist-tinged proposal to limit their financial risk-taking that he blamed for helping to cause the financial crisis. On Friday, Obama was in blue-collar Elyria, Ohio, a poster child for the bad economy, proclaiming: “I want to march forward with you. I hope you’re going to stand by me.” “He’s clearly recalibrating,” Light said, adding, “I don’t know whether it’s going to work or not.” When in political hot water, which Obama clearly is, it is not so much the legislative details that must be touted, but the broad themes that successful leaders use to connect with a country during hard times. Ronald Reagan did it with his “It’s morning in America” campaign ad in 1984. Bill Clinton did it in 1992 with a presidential campaign based on “It’s the economy, stupid.” Obama did it in 2008 with his message of hope and change. But he quickly lost it after letting Congress take the lead

US President Barack Obama jokingly looks at his watch while answering a question during a town hall meeting on jobs and the economy at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio, Jan 22, 2010. – AFP last year on a difficult healthcare bill that is now in shambles and approving a massive catch-all spending bill in February 2009 that many thought was larded with waste. Obama will have a prime-time opportunity to regain his footing. A message of economic renewal and job creation in a time of double-digit US unemployment is expected to dominate his State of the

Union address to Congress on Wednesday. Hoping to show he can deliver on a key promise of his 2008 presidential campaign - healthcare reform - Obama no doubt will underscore how fixing a healthcare system that devours a sixth of the US economy will generate jobs while bringing coverage to the uninsured. Climate-change legislation,

another high priority for the president, may be cast as a jobs creator by encouraging the growth of alternative energy industries in the United States while also staving off the worst effects of global warming. Obama has not been able to make progress in the Senate with that argument. The House has passed a climate-change bill, but it is bogged down in the

Senate. “They wrapped themselves around the axles with details of a climate-change initiative, rather than trying to sell it as something that in the long run might create jobs and help the economy,” said Ron Bonjean, who was an aide to former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Republican. “Just like healthcare, they got bogged down in the details.” In order to salvage his agenda, Bonjean said Obama must “allow Republican ideas into the mix and publicly allow it to happen,” allowing Republicans to claim some credit for any legislative accomplishments. He added, “I don’t think they’re (the White House) there yet mentally.” Also unknown is whether Republicans actually are willing to sit down with Obama to break Washington’s logjam. At a news conference, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked to detail where he was prepared to work with Democrats. The only things McConnell mentioned were Obama’s already announced deployment of more troops to Afghanistan and his “focusing on Pakistan as well.” Neither of those actions will soothe Americans’ worries about the economy. — Reuters


Interrogation of ‘undie bomber’ By Devlin Barrett


adly burned and bleeding, the suspect in the Christmas Day flight to Detroit tried one last gambit as he was led away: He claimed there was another bomb hidden on the plane he’d just tried to destroy, officials said. There was no second bomb, federal agents learned after a tense search. But the Nigerian suspect’s threat began hours of conversations that are now the subject of a fierce political debate over the right way to handle terrorism suspects. In interviews with AP, US officials described for the first time the details of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s arrest Dec. 25 at Detroit Metro Airport. Captured after a bomb hidden in his underwear ignited but failed to explode, Abdulmutallab spoke freely and provided valuable intelligence, officials said. Federal agents repeatedly interviewed him or heard him speak to others. But when they read him his legal rights nearly 10 hours after the incident, he went silent. Since the attempted bombing, several prominent lawmakers have argued he should have been placed immediately in military custody, and the nation’s top intelligence official said he should have been questioned by a special group of terror investigators, rather than the FBI agents who responded to the scene. The officials who spoke to The AP said on-scene investigators never discussed turning the suspect over to military authorities. And their accounts show that as the hours passed, the FBI turned to its own expert counterterror interrogators and made no effort to involve the special unit, which was not yet up and running. The officials provided an account of the law enforcement response to the holiday bombing on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose details of the investigation. Here is what officials say happened: Shortly after noon on Christmas, federal agents were notified that Northwest Airlines flight 253 had arrived at the Detroit airport from Amsterdam, with a passenger who had lit an explosive device on the aircraft. After being restrained and stripped bare by fellow passengers and crew, Abdulmutallab was handed over to Customs and Border Protection officers and local police. The officers decided the suspect needed immediate medical attention, and an ambulance crew took him to the burn unit at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Along the way, Abdulmutallab repeatedly made incriminating statements to the CBP officers guarding him. He told them he had acted alone on the plane and had been trying to take down the aircraft. Abdulmutallab arrived at the hospital just before 2 pm. Still under guard, Abdulmutallab told a doctor treating him that he had tried to trigger the explosive. The Nigerian said it didn’t cause a blast, but instead began popping and ignited a fire on his groin and legs. FBI agents from the Detroit bureau arrived at the hospital around 2:15 pm, and were briefed by the Customs agents and officers as Abdulmutallab received medical treatment. Shortly after 3:30 pm, FBI agents began interviewing the suspect in his hospital room, joined by a CBP officer and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. The suspect spoke openly, said one official, talking in detail about what he’d done and the planning that went into the attack. Other counterterrorism officials speaking on condition of anonymity said it was during this questioning that he admitted he had been trained and instructed in the plot by Al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen. The interview lasted about 50

minutes. Before they began questioning Abdulmutallab, the FBI agents decided not to give him his Miranda warnings providing his right to remain silent. While the Miranda warning - based on a 1966 Supreme Court ruling - is a bedrock principle of the US justice system and a staple of television cop shows, there is a major exception which could apply in Abdulmutallab’s case. Investigators are allowed to question a suspect without providing a Miranda warning if they are trying to end a threat to public safety. In a future trial in a federal court, prosecutors would likely justify Abdulmutallab’s questioning without a Miranda warning by arguing that the FBI agents needed to know quickly if there were other planes with other bombs headed for the United States. The 9/11 attacks and other past plots have shown Al-Qaeda’s penchant for synchronized attacks in multiple locations. Since the incident, Republican lawmakers have argued that the Obama administration mishandled the case by not considering putting Abdulmutallab in military custody - part of a larger political argument about whether terror suspects should face military or civilian justice. “Those who now argue that a different action should have been taken in this case were notably silent when dozens of terrorists were successfully prosecuted in federal court by the previous administration,” Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said earlier this week. Abdulmutallab’s interview ended when the suspect was given medication and the investigators decided it would be better to let the effects of the drugs wear off before pressing him further. He would not be questioned again for more than five hours. By that point, officials said, FBI bosses in Washington had decided a new interrogation team was needed. They made that move in case the lack of a Miranda warning or the suspect’s medical condition at the time of the earlier conversations posed legal problems later on for prosecutors. There was no effort to call in the elite federal High-Value Interrogation Group, a special unit of terror specialists that the Obama administration said early last year it would create to deal with terror suspects captured abroad. Last week, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said the unit should have been called in after Abdulmatullab’s arrest. But even if federal officials wanted to expand its use to domestic cases, the special team was not ready for action, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress last week. Based on the instructions from Washington, the second interview was conducted by different FBI agents and others with the local joint terrorism task force. Such a move is not unusual in cases where investigators or prosecutors want to protect themselves from challenges to evidence or statements. By bringing in a so-called “clean team” of investigators to talk to the suspect, federal officials aimed to ensure that Abdulmutallab’s statements would still be admissible if the failure to give him his Miranda warning led a judge to rule out the use of his first admissions. Even if Abdulmutallab’s statements are ruled out as evidence, they still provided valuable intelligence for U.S counterterrorism officials to pursue, officials said. In the end, though, the “clean team” of interrogators did not prod more revelations from the suspect. Having rested and received more extensive medical treatment, Abdulmutallab was told of his right to remain silent and right to have an attorney. He remained silent. — AP



Monday, January 25, 2010

Israel to keep chunks of West Bank forever: PM JERUSALEM: Israel’s prime minister declared yesterday that his country would retain parts of the West Bank forever - a statement that infuriated Palestinians and could complicate the year-old peace mission of a visiting US envoy. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid claim to disputed territory just hours after meeting with George Mitchell, the Obama administration’s Middle East envoy. Mitchell has been shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian leaders since late last week in hopes of breaking a deadlock over construction in Israeli settlements. “Our message is clear: We are planting

here, we will stay here, we will build here, this place will be an inseparable part of the state of Israel for eternity,” Netanyahu proclaimed at a tree-planting ceremony celebrating the Jewish arbor day at a settlement just south of Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s participation yesterday in tree-planting ceremonies in two West Bank settlements near Jerusalem were an apparent attempt to soothe Jewish settlers who vehemently oppose his decision - taken under intense US pressure - to slow West Bank construction. Both settlements lie within areas Israel wants to keep in any final agreement with the Palestinians. “We are here and we will

stay here and build here as part of sovereign Jerusalem,” he said. On the eve of Mitchell’s arrival last week, Netanyahu said Israel would want to retain a presence in the West Bank even if a peace deal is reached with the Palestinians in order to protect Israel’s heartland from missile attacks by militants. The Palestinians claim all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, for a future independent state and say settlements undermine this goal. They have refused to resume peacemaking until all settlement construction stops, something Netanyahu has refused to do.

Following his meeting with Mitchell, Netanyahu told his Cabinet he had heard “a few interesting ideas” on renewing peace talks. The US official later left Jerusalem for another meeting later in the day with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in neighboring Jordan. Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh said Netanyahu’s tree-planting yesterday undermined peace prospects. “This is an unacceptable act that destroys all the efforts being exerted by senator Mitchell in order to bring the parties back to the negotiating table,” he said. Contacts with the Americans would continue, he said, but a return to negotiations with Israel appeared

unlikely anytime soon. In a meeting with Mitchell Friday, Abbas stood firm by his demand for a total settlement freeze. Netanyahu has imposed some restrictions on construction in the West Bank, but has not ended it. And he hasn’t put any limits on building in east Jerusalem, home to sacred Jewish, Muslim and Christian sites and claimed by the Palestinians as their future capital. Israel annexed east Jerusalem shortly after capturing it along with the West Bank from Jordan in 1967. Today, nearly 200,000 Israelis live in Jewish neighborhoods built in east Jerusalem. The international community

does not recognize the annexation and views the neighborhoods to be settlements. Mitchell later arrived in Jordan where he met Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. Last year, President Barack Obama took office with the ambitious aim of putting Mideast peacemaking on a fast track. Instead, the peace mission has stalled over Israel’s settlements on occupied lands and the refusal by the Palestinians to return to peace talks. Obama acknowledged last week that he underestimated the domestic political forces at play in the region and overreached in expecting a quick breakthrough. — AP

Haitian man pulled out after 11 days in rubble

DHAKA: Bangladeshi Muslim devotees return home in an over-crowded train and boat after the Biswa Ijtema on the outskirts of Dhaka yesterday. — AP

Millions gather for prayer in Bangladesh TONGI, Bangladesh: Some 4 million Muslims took part in a mass prayer in Bangladesh yesterday, the final day of an annual three-day event that is among the world’s largest religious gatherings. Tens of thousands walked overnight to reach the site of the World Congregation of Muslims, or Biswa Ijtema, with authorities closing access to the grounds to traffic until the final prayer was concluded Sunday afternoon. The gathering, held each year since 1966, aims to revive the tenets of Islam and promote peace through prayer. Biswa Ijtema, which shuns politics, has no history of violence, but security was tight, with watchtowers and security cameras installed around the 77-hectare grounds in the

industrial town of Tongi. With nearly 20,000 security personnel keeping guard, President Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia attended the final prayer on the sandy banks of the River Turag, just north of the capital, Dhaka. Many devotees were overwhelmed by the gathering. “It’s a sea of people,” Mohammad Ramzan, a college student, told AP by phone from the scene. “This is huge. This is difficult to explain.” A police official, Mizanur Rahman, estimated the final day’s crowd at 4 million. About 87 percent of Bangladesh’s 150 million people are Muslim. In addition to Bangladeshis, the gathering also attracted several thousands of foreigners from countries including the United States,

Canada, India, Indonesia and Britain. During the three days, participants listened to sermons by Islamic scholars from around the world. Women are not allowed at the main venue, so instead gathered at nearby villages and stood on rooftops during the concluding prayer. Dhaka was deserted yesterday as many residents left their jobs - Sunday is a working day in Bangladesh - and headed to the venue. The government arranged special trains and ferries, while army engineers set up dozens of makeshift bridges and water tanks. Bangladesh is the world’s third-largest Muslim-majority nation, with Muslims making up nearly 90 percent of its 144 million population.— Agencies

Bin Laden claims US airliner attack Continued from Page 1 11,” bin Laden said on the tape in a message addressed “from Osama to (US President Barack) Obama”. “If it was possible to carry our messages to you by words, we wouldn’t have carried them to you by planes,” bin Laden said. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian, has been charged with trying to blow up Northwest Flight 253. The botched attack by the Yemen-based regional wing of Al-Qaeda on Christmas Day, and subsequent threats in Yemen, sparked global pressure for a crackdown, helping prompt Sanaa to declare an open war on the militant group within its territory. Defence and counterterrorism officials say Washington quietly has been supplying military equipment, intelligence and training to Yemen to destroy suspected Al-Qaeda hideouts. Since the attempted bombing, Yemen has launched a series of air strikes targeting AlQaeda leaders and has declared that some top regional leaders, including Qasim Al-Raymi and Ayed Al-Shabwani, have been killed. But reports of the deaths may have been premature. Al-Qaeda denies the claims. Yemen subsequently launched further attacks on the rural home of Shabwani but gave no hint as to the result. On yesterday’s tape, bin Laden cited Washington’s support for Israel as a motivator for more attacks on the United States, and vowed to keep on as long as Palestinians cannot live in peace. “Our attacks against you will continue as long as US support for Israel continues,” bin Laden said. “It is not fair that Americans should live in peace as long as our brothers in Gaza live in the worst conditions.”

A White House adviser said yesterday he could not confirm the authenticity of the audiotape. “I can’t confirm that (Al-Qaeda’s responsibility for the attack) nor can we confirm the authenticity of the tape, but assuming that it is him, his message contains the same hollow justifications for the mass slaughter of innocents that we’ve heard before,” David Axelrod said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. Libyan analyst and former Bin Laden associate Noman Benotman said the tape was intended to send a message to the Arab world. “It’s a very smart ‘back to basics’ message, reminding his audience it is all about Israel and America. His main audience is the Arab World, where Al-Qaeda has lost substantial moral support,” Benotman said. “The reference to Sept 11 gives Al-Qaeda’s actions a continuity and a definable shape.” Britain, ahead of the meetings on Afghanistan and Yemen Wednesday and Thursday in London, raised its terrorism threat level to “severe” - the second highest level - on Friday. The decision to raise the level from “substantial” means security services now consider an attack in Britain, a key US ally, to be highly likely. But the government said it had no information to suggest an attack was imminent. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Andy David dismissed the latest al-Qaeda message and its attempt to link Israel with attacks on the US. “This is nothing new. He has said this before,” he said. “Terrorists always look for absurd excuses for their despicable deeds.” The last public message from bin Laden appears to have been on Sept 26, when he demanded that European countries pull their troops out of Afghanistan. The order came in an audiotape that also warned of “retaliation”

against nations that are allied with the United States in fighting the war. Yemen gained a reputation as an Al-Qaeda haven after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, and came under a renewed spotlight after crackdowns on the group in Pakistan and Afghanistan raised fears Yemen was becoming a training and recruiting centre for militants. The high profile meetings on Afghanistan and Yemen are aimed at galvanising efforts to stabilise both nations and stop AlQaeda from using either country as a base. The Afghanistan meeting on Thursday is meant to chart a path for the country to take greater responsibility for its security. Britain says the meeting also will look at how Afghanistan’s neighbours could work together to help stabilise it. On Wednesday, foreign ministers of Yemen’s main Western and Gulf partners will also meet to try to mobilise support for the country and identify what needs to be done by the government and its allies to tackle its challenges. In addition to fighting a resurgent AlQaeda, Yemen also is fighting a separate northern Shi’ite rebellion and trying to contain southern separatists. Three Yemeni soldiers were killed in an attack at a Yemeni checkpoint by suspected southern separatists, a Yemeni official said yesterday, in a province where the state also is hunting Al-Qaeda. Southern secessionists represent a potent threat for President Ali Abdullah Saleh. North and south Yemen united in 1990 under Saleh. The bumpy merger led to a brief 1994 civil war won by the north. Southerners say jobs and resources have gone to the north. Saleh has said he is open for dialogue with separatists if they renounce violence, but diplomats see no movement toward this. — Agencies

PORT-AU-PRINCE: Rescuers have pulled a man alive from the rubble 11 days after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, raising hopes more survivors could be found even search efforts have been officially called off. Wismond Exantus, 25, said after his rescue on Saturday that he survived his ordeal in the ruins of the grocer’s shop where he worked by drinking Coca-Cola and eating snacks, a rare tale of hope from a disaster that has claimed more than 112,000 lives. “I feel good,” Exantus told AFP in Creole from his hospital bed after French, American and Greek search and rescue teams removed him from the debris on a stretcher. “I survived by drinking Coca-Cola. I drank CocaCola every day, and I ate some little tiny things.” Exantus’ brother said he had been unable to approach the shop, in a dangerous area plagued by looters, because of the police. His family eventually alerted a Greek rescue team to his cries deep under the remains of the shop. “We can say it’s really a miracle and we can hope that it’s not the last,” said French rescue team commander Lieutenant Colonel Christophe Renou. The United Nations announced just hours earlier that Haiti’s government had on Friday declared an end to search-and-rescue efforts so aid workers could focus on getting supplies to the estimated 600,000 people left homeless by the quake. But more than 60 international rescue teams continued to search for signs of life, having already saved 132 people across the razed city since the Jan 12 disaster. But there was a tragic false alarm after a college head received a text message from a friend who was trapped and rescuers checked the area with dogs and radar four times but found no signs of life. “There was nothing. It could be explained by the fact that the SMS arrived late, like on New Year’s Day, because there were so many calls,” French firefighter Christian Morel said.

Continued from Page 1 But the problem is that applying the verdict also takes a long time because of bureaucracy and as a result, the lengthy delays hurt the interests of landlords, said the lawmakers, adding that authorities should apply stricter measures to force such tenants to pay up. This can be achieved through barring such expatriates from renewing residence permits for them and their dependents, and renewing driving licence and vehicle registration, pointing out that without such measures, tenants can ignore payment for a very long time.

In another development, five MPs submitted a draft law calling on the government to establish an Islamic bank with the duty to offer interest-free loans to needy Kuwaiti citizens and unemployed women. MPs Jamaan Al-Harbash, Faisal AlMislem, Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and Falah AlSawwagh, all members of the Development and Reform Bloc, said the bank’s main purpose would be to grant loans not exceeding KD 2,000 to citizens with limited income, housewives and citizens who have small projects. The proposal states that the loans should be granted towards a productive project without any guarantees and at easy terms.

In a related matter, MPs Sultan, Mutair and Shuaib Al-Muwaizri proposed setting up a public shareholding company to establish and manage communications towers for telecom and Internet companies in the country. They proposed that 30 percent of the shares be given to the three telecom firms, 20 percent to Internet companies, 20 percent to be held by the state and 30 percent to be offered to the public. The financial and economic affairs committee meanwhile approved a draft law for pricing commodities and the protection of consumers. The head of the committee said the bill will be of a great help to consumers.

hurts.” During the mass, immediately behind the cathedral, at least two rotting corpses could be seen still trapped in the rubble of its collapsed wall. Yesterday, a French navy amphibious assault ship equipped with two landing craft, four helicopters and onboard operating theatres arrived in Haitian waters to offload 2,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid. The crew of Siroco, a 12,000-tonne Foudre-class warship, will spend four days offloading aid and equipment for rescue teams, including mechanical diggers to clear the rubble left by thousands of ruined homes. The United States military has spearheaded aid efforts in Haiti, with 20,000 troops due to reach here by Sunday. France initially hit out after US forces took over control of the main airport but tensions soon eased. Vital aid was also slowly reaching devastated areas outside Port-au-Prince for the first time, including Leogane, the town at the epicentre of the earthquake, where around 90 percent of all buildings were destroyed. The International Organisation for Migration, which is leading efforts to provide shelter for victims, said yesterday it had 10,000 familysized tents ready but that it needed a total of 100,000. Conditions remain grim for survivors in the capital, although most of the bodies which lay rotting for days on the streets in the chaotic aftermath of the quake have now been collected and buried in mass graves. Experts warn that hundreds of thousands of Haitians will be living off foreign aid and in temporary housing for years to come as rebuilding the nation may take at least a decade. Thousands have been left disabled. The United States, Canada, France, Brazil and other donors meeting in Montreal will attempt to craft long-term strategies to lift the crippled country, the poorest in the western hemisphere, onto a path to recovery. — AFP

HRW slams treatment of domestics, bedoons Continued from Page 1 The press conference was held at the premises of the Kuwaiti Society for Human Rights. “We do not claim to have covered all the areas of human rights violations in Kuwait,” said Priyanka Motaparthy from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) division at HRW, while reading a press statement issued by HRW. “The 600,000 migrant domestic workers in Kuwait are particularly vulnerable to abuse because no law and no government agency protects them,” she said. The report explains that the isolated nature of domestic work increases the workers’ risk of physical and sexual abuse, and makes prosecutions of abusers more difficult. “Kuwaiti lawmakers have taken important steps to address gaps in the rights of its migrant workforce,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Omitting domestic workers, who need the most protection, signals to employers that the door remains open for abuse and exploitation.” Amer AlTamimi, the secretary of Kuwaiti Society for Human Rights said the government has revealed its plan to build a KD 2-million permanent shelter for domestic workers. “There is now also a tendency to issue a separate law for domestic workers,” he added. Stateless people, or “bedoons” are another vulnerable group in Kuwait, according to the report. They amount to 12,000 longtime residents that the government does not recognize as Kuwaiti nationals. “They continue to suffer discriminatory access to healthcare, education, and violations of their right to marry and have a family,” said Motaparthy. She added that freedom of expression in Kuwait is an area of ‘particular concern’ for the organization. She said that the arrest of prominent Kuwaiti journalist and govern-

ment critic Muhammad Abdul Qadir AlJassem revealed the limits of freedom of expression in Kuwait. “The public prosecutor based these charges on a personal complaint the prime minister made against AlJassem for allegedly criticizing him at a private gathering,” the press statement read. While recognizing progress in women’s rights in Kuwait during the past year, the report claims “broad discrimination against women continues in the areas of the right to Kuwaiti nationality, property rights, and family law.” The report also tackled a law criminalizing imitating the appearance of the opposite sex, claiming “it impinges on freedom of expression and the right to privacy”. It goes on to say that the implementation of this law “threatens subjecting personal freedoms to ‘morality’ laws”. HRW recommended that Kuwaiti authorities “continue to protect freedom of expression” in addition to taking a number of steps in the year 2010. “Extend labor protections to domestic workers and remove legal and practical obstacles to freely changing employers. Take urgent steps to end discrimination against the bedoons - in particular, amend provisions in the Nationality Law that deny their civil, economic, and social rights, including the right to citizenship. End discrimination against women in rights to Kuwaiti nationality, residency, family law and in their property rights,” the statement said. Some 700,000 foreign maids working in the state remained without proper legal protection as they were not covered by the labour law, said the New York-based watchdog. In addition, another one million foreign workers remained hostage to the so-called sponsor or “kafeel” system which was a “major barrier to the redress of labour abuses,” the report said. “Sponsorship traps (foreign) workers in abusive situations, including in situations of forced labour, and blocks their access to

means of redress,” it said. Normally described as a form of slavery, the system is applied in all the energy-rich Arab states in the Gulf, but was recently relaxed in Bahrain. Kuwait also said it is considering a similar step. Answering a question from Kuwait Times, about whether it is acceptable if an elected authority issues laws that suppress freedoms, HRW officials said that Kuwait is part of a number of international agreements that protects human rights. “The international declaration of human rights states that there are rights to every human that no one is entitled to take or omit,” said Motaparthy. Christoph Wilcke, a senior HRW researcher in the MENA division said, “Human rights and democracy are completely different things. There are times when democratic countries pass legislations that completely contradict human rights, and the recently passed law in Switzerland banning minarets is a good example of that.” Ali Al-Baghli, the head of Kuwaiti Society for Human Rights said that National Assembly has passed many laws that restrict freedoms and violate human rights. “We always criticize if there is an attempt to limit freedoms, whether it comes from the parliament or from the government,” he said. The 600-page report looks into human rights situation in 90 countries, including 15 in the MENA region. The most prominent international violations of human rights in the year 2009 according to the report, were the Israeli war on Gaza and the Iranian regime’s oppression of postelection riots. It also criticizes western countries for violating human rights. The United States’ failure to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and the French ban on the hijab are among the cases in the report. The full copy of the report can be found on

Iran plane crash lands Continued from Page 1

MPs target expats who don’t pay rent

Thousands of Haitian voices rose in prayer from ruined churches yesterday, as recovery teams began to bulldoze the capital’s devastated centre and a French ship carrying supplies arrived. Twelve days after a catastrophic earthquake razed much of the city, hundreds of thousands of Haitians remained in desperate need of food, water and shelter, despite a large-scale US military intervention and UN-run aid program. In Port-au-Prince, morning prayers and song gave way to apocalyptic scenes as earthmovers cleared downtown rubble, spewing rotting corpses into the streets and opening new routes for looters to swarm through the ruins. Haitian police shouted out from time to time to deter the gangs, but with little conviction and less success. “We won’t do anything, there’s nothing we can do,” one of them said on Rue du Miracle. The police did shoot one young man, however, witnesses said. He was treated at the scene by the US troops now also patrolling the city looking for sites to hand out humanitarian aid, then taken away by ambulance. International donors meanwhile prepared to meet today in Montreal to discuss rebuilding Haiti after the quake, which killed at least 112,000 people in the worst recorded disaster ever to hit the Americas. In the skeletal shadow of Port-au-Prince’s shattered Roman Catholic cathedral where the city’s archbishop was buried on Saturday, Father Glanda Toussaint held mass at an altar improvised on a wooden table. Before the Jan 12 quake around 2,500 people would fill the pews at the cathedral. When Toussaint asked today’s congregation of around 300 if they understood why the disaster happened, the crowd murmured their incomprehension. “All is not the will of God but all is providential,” he said. “What we are going through is not finished, we must reconstruct the country and reconstruct our faith. As a Haitian, it

Razavi province of which Mashhad is the capital, as saying. He said that emergency services evacuated the passengers after which the rear end of the aircraft broke up. Pictures released by Iranian news networks showed both wings of the plane torn off and the rear end burning. The English language state-owned Press TV said the plane, travelling from Abadan in southwest Iran to Mashhad, had 157 passengers on board. Erfanian said the plane also had 13 crew members on board. An unnamed informed source told Fars news agency that the accident occurred as the Russian pilot landed the plane in the fog and its tail hit the ground and broke up. The plane caught fire after passengers were evacuated, the report said as Press TV footage showed smoke bil-

lowing from the rear end. Mohsen Esmaili, manager of Mashhad airport, told Mehr news agency that the pilot landed the plane in fog “despite repeated warnings from the control tower, saying he had a sick patient on board”. Reza Jafarzadeh, spokesman for Iranian civil aviation, said the plane had left Abadan on Saturday but bad weather in Mashhad led to the aircraft landing in the central city of Isfahan for the night before it took off again for Mashhad early yesterday. “The captain had a critical patient on board and so had to do an emergency landing (in Mashhad) which is why the aircraft met with an accident,” he was quoted as saying on the website of state television. Iran, which has been under years of international sanctions, has suffered a number of aviation disasters over the past decade, sev-

eral of them involving small companies using Russian crew or crews from former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Iran’s civil and military fleet is made up of ancient aircraft in very poor condition due to their age and lack of maintenance. In its worst air accident, a plane carrying members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards crashed in Feb 2003, killing 302 people on board. In July last year, a Soviet-designed Tupolev caught fire mid-air and plunged flaming into farmland northeast of Tehran, killing all 168 people on board. In Dec 2005, a total of 108 people were killed when a Lockheed transport plane crashed into a high-rise housing block outside Tehran. In Nov 2006, a military plane crashed on takeoff at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport, killing all 39 people on board, including 30 members of the Revolutionary Guards. — AFP


Monday, January 25, 2010


NHL results/standings NHL results and standings on Saturday. Ottawa 2, Boston 1; Philadelphia 4, Carolina 2; Montreal 6, NY Rangers 0; New Jersey 4, NY Islanders 2; Washington 4, Phoenix 2; Florida 2, Toronto 0; Los Angeles 3, Detroit 2; Tampa Bay 2, Atlanta 1 (SO); Anaheim 4, St. Louis 3 (SO); Minnesota 4, Columbus 2; Vancouver 5, Chicago 1; San Jose 5, Buffalo 2.(So Denotes Shootout Victory) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL GF GA PTS New Jersey 34 15 1 138 110 69 Pittsburgh 31 20 1 166 149 63 Philadelphia 26 21 3 154 142 55 NY Rangers 24 21 7 135 141 55 NY Islanders 23 21 8 139 157 54

Buffalo Ottawa Montreal Boston Toronto

Northeast Division 30 13 7 143 122 28 21 4 147 154 25 23 5 140 144 23 19 8 126 126 17 26 10 139 182

67 60 55 54 44

Washington Florida Atlanta Tampa Bay Carolina

Southeast Division 33 12 6 195 143 22 21 9 144 153 22 21 8 156 166 21 20 10 132 157 15 28 7 127 171

72 53 52 52 37

Western Conference Central Division Chicago 35 13 4 170 120 Nashville 29 19 3 143 142 Detroit 25 18 8 131 133 St. Louis 22 21 8 135 146 Columbus 20 25 9 142 180

74 61 58 52 49

Colorado Vancouver Calgary Minnesota Edmonton

Northwest 29 15 31 18 26 19 25 23 16 28

Division 6 149 136 2 167 125 6 132 132 4 145 156 6 133 172

64 64 58 54 38

Pacific Division San Jose 35 10 8 179 128 78 Phoenix 29 18 5 139 135 63 Los Angeles 29 19 3 151 143 61 Dallas 22 18 11 148 164 55 Anaheim 24 21 7 148 164 55 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

VANCOUVER: Goalie Roberto Luongo No.1 of the Vancouver Canucks watches the airborne puck while John Madden N.o11 and Dustin Byfuglien No.33 of the Chicago Blackhawks wait for it to fall during the third period of NHL action.—AFP

Senators edge Bruins, Flyers soar over Hurricanes BOSTON: Jason Spezza returned after missing 20 games with a knee injury to score the winner for the Ottawa Senators, who beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 for their sixth straight victory in the NHL on Saturday. The loss was the fourth in a row and seventh in the last eight games for Boston, which has lost four straight for the first time since December 2007. The Bruins also have lost five in a row at home for the first time since 2000. Captain Daniel Alfredsson’s fifth goal in five games started the Senators, and Daniel Paille equalized.

Flyers 4, Hurricanes 2

Canadiens 6, Rangers 0 At Montreal, Mike Cammalleri had four points, including two of Montreal’s four second-period goals against New York, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 32 shots in his third shutout. Cammalleri leads Montreal with 26 goals, and Maxim Lapierre, Benoit Pouliot, former Rangers forward Scott Gomez, and Tomas Plekanec also scored. The Rangers were shut out for the second straight game and for the fourth time in seven contests. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 11 of 15 shots before being replaced.

Devils 4, Islanders 2

At Philadelphia, Jeff Carter had two goals and an assist to lead Philadelphia to its sixth straight home win. Dan Carcillo and Chris Pronger also scored for the Flyers, and Ray Emery stopped 33 shots. Eric Staal and Rod Brind’Amour scored for Carolina. Despite outshooting the Flyers, Carolina remained winless against them in their past 14 meetings.

At Uniondale, New York, Bryce Salvador’s third goal of the season with 6:49 remaining lifted New Jersey over New York. Zach Parise scored twice and Jamie Langenbrunner tallied his first goal in three weeks to help New Jersey end a three-game road losing streak. Kyle Okposo and Jack Hillen added power play goals for the Islanders, whose six-game home winning

streak was snapped.

Capitals 4, Coyotes 2 At Washington, Alexander Semin had a goal and three assists to help Washington earn its sixth consecutive win. Lauri Korpikoski scored twice for Phoenix, which played its first game on the road since Jan. 7. Alex Ovechkin had an empty-net goal with 5 seconds left for his 33rd of the season. Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr added Capitals goals.

Panthers 2, Maple Leafs 0 At Sunrise, Florida, Tomas Vokoun stopped 39 shots for his second shutout in four games as Florida topped Toronto. Vokoun has six shutouts this season and 37 in his career. Kenndal McArdle netted his first NHL goal, and Cory Stillman also scored for the Panthers against Toronto.

Kings 3, Red Wings 2 At Detroit, Brad Richardson scored with 7:57 left to break a tie, capping Los Angeles’

rally from a two-goal deficit against Detroit. Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists for the Kings and Peter Harrold also scored. Wayne Simmonds had two assists and Jonathan Quick made 31 saves. Valtterri Filppula and Todd Bertuzzi scored for Detroit. Jimmy Howard stopped 30 shots.

Bobby Ryan scored two third-period goals, and Scott Niedermayer added a goal to power the comeback. The Blues built a 30 lead on goals by Andy McDonald, B.J. Crombeen and T.J. Oshie before Anaheim charged back with three in the last 14:47. Chris Mason made 34 saves.

Lightning 2, Thrashers 1

Wild 4, Blue Jackets 2

At Tampa, Florida, Jeff Halpern scored in the fifth round of the shootout and Antero Niittymaki topped Atlanta again in Tampa Bay’s victory. Niittymaki made 37 saves, including three strong stops during overtime. Steven Stamkos netted Tampa Bay’s only goal. Nik Antropov scored for the Thrashers. Johan Hedberg stopped 24 shots.

At St. Paul, Minnesota, Mikko Koivu scored twice and Niklas Backstrom stopped 21 shots as Minnesota beat Columbus to snap a four-game losing streak. Koivu netted an early goal in each of the first two periods. Eric Belanger and Robbie Earl added goals for Minnesota, which built a 4-0 lead. Rick Nash and Antoine Vermette both scored in the final minute to bring the Blue Jackets closer and wreck Backstrom’s shutout bid.

Ducks 4, Blues 3 At St. Louis, Anaheim defenseman James Wisniewski scored in the seventh round of the shootout as the Ducks rallied from three goals down to beat St. Louis. The shootout attempt was the first for Wisniewski in his five-year NHL career.

Canucks 5, Blackhawks 1 At Vancouver, British Columbia, Mikael Samuelsson, Henrik Sedin and Steve Bernier scored in the first period and

Plushenko eyes Olympics TALLINN: Yevgeny Plushenko’s European gold is small fry compared to the big prize of retaining his Olympic title next month and he knows he needs to improve his jumps if his comeback is to be a success. The Russian scored record points for his short program at this week’s continental figure skating championships but then missed a triple lutz in his free skate to give himself a dose of reality before the Vancouver Games. Standing in the way of his bid to become the first man in more than half a century to defend the Olympic title are the likes of Canadian Patrick Chan, Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi and American Jeremy Abbott, as well as some familiar European faces. Plushenko has been keeping tabs on his rivals during his three-and-ahalf years away and was amazed that the last two world championships had been won without a quadruple jump. His return has woken up the rest of the field and it is inconceivable that Olympic gold will be won without a quad. “It was not yet an Olympic performance,” Plushenko told a news conference after his free skate which featured a solid quadtriple toeloop combination. “At the Olympics I need to do two quads and I need to skate much better. The most important competition is still to come.” Another man who will need to skate much better in Vancouver is French bronze medallist Brian Joubert, whose messy free skate was the result of lack of preparation because of a foot injury. Swiss Stephane Lambiel, back from retirement, struggled with his

jumps but his artistry and super-fast spins hinted that if he could skate clean in Vancouver he could beat the best. Ice dancers Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, who added European gold to their world title, must be bracing themselves for more controversy at the Olympics when they do the original dance that has offended Australian Aboriginal elders. Accused of cultural theft, the Russians said their unusual dance was an “aboriginal dance” rather than specifically an “Australian Aboriginal dance”. Having been beaten in two dances by silver medallists Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali of Italy, the Russians have some polishing to do especially as they do not know what to expect from France’s Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder. The French 2008 world champions skipped the European championships to keep their Olympic program secret, their skating federation said. Pairs double world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany must swallow the disappointment of European silver after Russians Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov won a surprise gold to boost their confidence ahead of the Olympics. An error-ridden women’s event made it hard to see Europeans on the Olympic podium but if Italy’s champion Carolina Kostner avoids falling on her bottom as she did in the free skate she could challenge the Asian and north American favorites.—Reuters

Roberto Luongo made 43 saves in Vancouver’s win over Chicago. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored 3:30 into the third period, but Henrik Sedin added his second goal 32 seconds later. Vancouver won its fourth straight to move into a tie with Colorado atop the Northwest Division. Daniel Sedin, who also had two assists, rounded out the scoring on a 2-on-1 pass from twin brother Henrik.

Sharks 5, Sabres 2 At San Jose, California, Joe Pavelski’s second goal of the game broke a tie midway through the third period and Evgeni Nabokov made 38 saves to lead San Jose to its fifth straight victory. Jed Ortmeyer scored twice and Dany Heatley also had a goal for the Sharks. Nabokov allowed a first-period goal to Tim Connolly and then a power-play goal to Jason Pominville 18 seconds into the third that tied it at 2. —AP

Flatt books Olympic ticket as Cohen fails

TALLINN: Russia’s Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov (first pairs) perform during the exhibition gala at the 2010 European Figure Skating Championships.—AP

SPOKANE: Rachael Flatt secured a ticket to next month’s Vancouver Games when she captured the US women’s title on Saturday, while Sasha Cohen’s Olympic dream came to a shuddering halt. Cohen won silver at the Turin Olympics and had not skated competitively since finishing third at the 2006 world championships but her eagerly awaited comeback ended in disappointment. The charismatic 25-yearold’s error-strewn free skate left her down in fourth place and all but out of contention for one of the two spots on the American squad. After a polished short program put Cohen in second place on Thursday, her dream of competing in a third Olympics seemed a reality but her three years on the sidelines were all too evident on Saturday. Cohen double-footed several jumps and took a tumble as the short trip north of the border was suddenly barred. “It was just really special for me to take this challenge this year, and train rally hard and get back into great shape, to be here, with so many people I’ve know my whole life,” Cohen told reporters immediately following her skate. “It was so special to come back and skate again. There wasn’t sadness and wasn’t regrets. I’m just really proud to

be here, really proud to skate again.” Instead it will be Flatt carrying US medal hopes in the women’s event in Vancouver, the 17-year-old turning in a dazzling free skate to jump from third after the short program to the top of the podium with a mark of 200.11. “It is stressful I have to admit it,” Flatt said. “But I handled it very well, it was great feeling, I had so much fun. “I’m still shaking.” A nine-member selection committee will decide who accompanies Flatt to Vancouver. Sixteen-year-old Mirai Nagasu, who had led after the short, has a grip on the coveted spot after taking second behind Flatt but the committee could opt for third place finisher Ashley Wagner. Earlier, Meryl Davis and Charlie White successfully defended their dance title, upsetting Olympic and world silver medallists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto to claim their first ever victory over their former-training partners and a ticket to Vancouver. Injuries have kept America’s top dance pairs apart for much of the last two seasons, but the U.S. nationals provided the perfect stage as their intense rivalry brought out the best in two couples expected to contend for the gold medal in Canada.—Reuters



Monday, January 25, 2010

Kaymer wins in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI: Martin Kaymer of Germany receives the trophy from Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnun Al-Nahyan, the chairman of Abu Dhabi’s culture department, after winning the 1.5 million euro Abu Dhabi Golf Championship for the second time in three years. —AFP

Neureuther wins slalom for first WCup victory KITZBUEHEL: Felix Neureuther of Germany won a men’s World Cup slalom race yesterday for his first career victory. The 25-year-old Neureuther finished in a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 37.35 seconds on the icy Ganslern course. It was the first World Cup victory by a German man since Alois Vogl won a slalom five years ago in Wengen, Switzerland. “I have been fighting for this for such a long time. I desperately wanted my first win,” Neureuther said. “It has not been an easy season for me, I was down mentally but kept fighting. I got a new pair of skies and they are really great.” Last year’s winner, Julien Lizeroux of France, was 0.39 seconds back in second. Giuliano Razzoli in Italy was third, 0.99

behind. Austria’s Reinfried Herbst, who led after the opening run, came to a standstill after almost missing a gate and finished 7.83 back. “It feels the same like last year,” said Herbst, who also squandered a commanding lead in the 2009 Kitzbuehel slalom in his second run. “It’s bitter, but I am happy that the next slalom in Schladming is only two days away.” Herbst needed treatment for a sore back before the race but said his physical problems did not affect his second run. “No, I felt OK before the start,” Herbst said. I don’t know what exactly went wrong.” Ivica Kostelic of Croatia came seventh to win the classic combined title after

Saturday’s downhill. Slalom world champion Manfred Pranger was one of the few rivals who could keep up with Herbst’s pace in the opening leg, but he straddled a gate halfway down his second run. Miller skipped the race to rest a sore ankle that hurt too much after pre-race warmups. The US ski team said the American was expected to start at a night slalom in nearby Schladming on Tuesday. Miller hurt the same ankle during a game of volleyball in December at Val d’Isere, France. “Bode wanted to ski fast in Wengen, in Kitzbuehel and at the Olympics,” U.S. team spokesman Doug Haney said. “So now he is obviously building up towards Vancouver.”—AP

AUSTRIA: Germany’s Felix Neureuther speeds down the course on his way to win an alpine ski, Men’s World Cup Slalom race. —AP

Tanja grabs Cortina giant slalom ITALY: Finland’s Tanja Poutiainen took her second World Cup giant slalom win of the season yesterday after favorite Kathrin Zettel skied out on the second run. Poutiainen, who now has five World Cup giant slalom wins to her name as she bids for glory at next month’s Vancouver Olympics, had been second behind Zettel following the first leg. Early mistakes on her second attempt down Cortina’s Olympia delle Tofane piste looked to have ended the Finn’s hopes of victory but she produced a storming bottom section of the course. A combined time of two minutes 26.51 put her 1.05 seconds ahead of second-placed German Viktoria Rebensburg, who won her first podium

spot, as she waited for last year’s Cortina winner Zettel to come down last. Zettel made a conservative start on the second run to lie slightly behind the Finn at the first intermediate but when the Austrian began to push harder she ended up missing a gate. “It was important to myself to know I’m back,” Poutiainen, who has struggled with a back problem, told reporters. “After the first run I knew exactly how much I needed to fight to win. I had to attack from the start.” Her other win of the season came in Soelden in October. “It’s so long ago it’s like it never happened,” she added. “Cortina snow is so different to other places and normally I

don’t like it.” Germany’s Kathrin Hoelzl took third to climb above Zettel to the top of the World Cup giant slalom standings. American Lindsey Vonn, who has won all five downhills this season including Saturday’s race here, stayed in command of the overall standings despite finishing 19th in one of her least favourite events. Her main overall rival Maria Riesch of Germany ended up eighth after losing speed when she hit a gate too hard. Switzerland’s Fraenzi Aufdenblatten crashed and was taken to hospital with a suspected cruciate ligament injury in her knee which is set to rule her out of the Feb 12-28 Vancouver Games. The women’s circuit now moves on from Cortina, a bidder for the 2015 world championships, and heads to St. Moritz. —Reuters

ABU DHABI: Germany’s Martin Kaymer won the 1.5 million euro Abu Dhabi Golf Championship for the second time in three years yesterday when he prevailed over Ian Poulter by one shot. Kaymer, who started the day one ahead of Poulter and Rory McIlroy, shot a sixunder par 66 to finish with a four-day tally of 21-under-par 267. Poulter matched him with a 66 of his own, but Kaymer edged ahead with a birdie on the final hole. McIlroy, who had a slow start and was only one-under at the turn, made four birdies on the back nine of the Abu Dhabi Golf Club to finish at 19-under par 269 for sole third place. It was Kaymer’s fifth win on the European Tour and he is expected to go up to sixth place when the new world rankings are released tomorrow. Such has been his dominance in Abu Dhabi since 2008 that his worst finish was a second place last year. In all, he has won 603,162 euros in his last three appearances here, and is a combined 56under par for his last 12 rounds. In 2008, his winning total was 15-under par. It was an exhilarating performance from the leading trio, who made 18 birdies between them, for a solitary bogey by McIlroy. “It was one of the nicest rounds I have ever played on the European Tour. In fact, they were four fantastic days. I hit the ball great and my putting was very good too. And as a group, all three of us played so good. It was very solid, and all about birdies. There was no letting up,” said Kaymer. “It was a lot different from the last time I won here. It was my first win and even though I had a six-shot lead going into yesterday, I played very defensive golf. But today was certainly different. I hope this win helps me in the Ryder Cup rankings, which is my main goal this year.” Poulter got off to a fast start with three straight birdies, while Kaymer could only put red numbers on the first two holes. But they made the turn at four-under for the round, which meant the German had managed to protect his slim lead. On the back nine, Poulter edged ahead with birdies on the 11th and 12th holes, but the birdies dried up for him thereafter. He had a 25-footer birdie chance on the final hole to enforce a play-off, but could not make it. Kaymer restored parity with a birdie on the 14th, and then made a crucial 15-feet par putt on the par-4 17th. It was all over on the final hole when Poulter had to lay-up after hitting his tee shot into the left rough, while Kaymer smoked it down the middle, and reached the par-5 green in two with an equally sizzling three-wood from 276 yards. Poulter, who is expected to move into the top-10, said: “It’s a nice start to the season I guess. Of course, Im pretty frustrated that I’ve walked away shooting that score and I haven’t won. “But I am feeling very confident right now. If you are going to hit the ball the way I have hit for these four days, it makes me excited to go out there and play golf.” McIlroy said: “You play in the last group and you shoot five-under, most times you are going to come out on top. But Martin and Ian played very well. “I am a bit disappointed, but I have got nothing but positives to take out of this. Good start to the season, last group and going down the last just one shot behind and getting the juices flowing again. Hopefully, this sets the tone for the rest of the season.” Shane Lowry, the Irish Open champion, posted his best finish on the tour since turning professional, securing fourth place at 17-under. South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen, who finished tied second with Kaymer last year, shot a 66 for sole fifth place at 16-under. —AFP

LA QUINTA: Tim Clark watches his shot on the 17th tee during the third round of the Bob Hope Classic PGA golf tournament. —AP

Prugh leads Bob Hope Classic LA QUINTA: Rookie Alex Prugh, who is playing in just his third Tour event, fired a seven-under 65 Saturday to take a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the rain-hit Bob Hope Classic. Prugh moved to a 21under 195 total for a slim lead in the five-million dollar event over fellow Americans Bubba Watson - who shot 68 on Saturday - and Martin Flores - who carded a 65. Prugh is in his first season on the USPGA Tour after finishing 16th on the Nationwide Tour money list last year. His Nationwide season included a win in New Zealand where he shot a closing-round 64. “I was almost bored with myself a little bit,” Prugh said. “It’s not a bad thing. I was hitting the driver very well, and I kept on hitting fairway after fairway. ... Boring rounds are actually fine with me.” The five-round event has been hampered by rain all

week as storms washed out play on Thursday. The start of the second round on Friday was also delayed so golfers went out in twosomes off split tees on all four courses that are being used this week. Conditions were much better Saturday as the players teed off under sunshine but organizers are still looking at a Monday finish to the Tour’s only 90-hole championship. Prugh, who became the first rookie since Aussie John Senden in 2002 to lead a round at the Bob Hope, said the pro-am format is a benefit because his amateur playing partners keep him loose. “I’m just trying to entertain my amateur partners as well as I can, and hopefully they get their money’s worth when they’re out here,” Prugh said. The outcome is still very much in the air with seven players within five shots of the 54-hole leader, including

second-round leader Watson and rookie Flores. Watson, the crowd-pleasing long-hitter who had held the overnight lead after playing the two toughest layouts in the first two rounds, couldn’t build on that momentum. After a slow start he nabbed four birdies on his back nine to stay in contention, but he had been hoping for more. “I just played bad,” Watson said. “The 68 was getting a lot out of my round today, so I’m not mad at a 68. It’s just I wanted to play better. My caddie kept yelling at me, trying to get me to pay attention and stay focused. I just hung in there.” Joe Ogilvie (68) was four shots back of Prugh while South Africa’s Tim Clark (67), Chad Collins (69) and Bill Haas (66) comprise a group of three on 200. Prugh moved ahead of Watson and Flores with a birdie on the 17th hole. He then parred the 18th. —AFP

Jiu-Jitsu martial arts academy opens at Al-Arabi Sports Club Classes available for kids of both genders By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Abdul Mohsen Al-Babtain, along with his students, started the journey to compete at the highest levels in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). He established a name for himself as a certified black belt instructor in the United States and followed in the footsteps of his instructors Rickson Gracie, Royce Gracie and John Chung. Al-Babtain’s goal is to eventually host an international Jiu Jitsu championship in Kuwait. For now, he offers training courses and open classes for different ages and levels. “We now have a professional sports hall which is the best in the Middle East,” said AlBabtain during a press conference held on Wednesday at the Al-Arabi Sports Club. “We will have classes available for kids of both genders soon. We also want to organize a huge championship and lead the region in MMA training within the next year and a half,” he added. The academy prides itself on the quality of the individuals that make up their membership. A diversified mix of youth, experience and dedication drive their efforts to attain the goal of reaching a global audience with quality martial arts training. The training program at the academy is divided into three main pillars: Gracie Jiu Jitsu, modern Tae Kwon Do/Kickboxing, and general sports conditioning. Jiu Jitsu is a defensive game where you beat the opponent without causing serious injury.

“You should know how to fight and you must know the technique,” said Royce Gracie. “The best thing about Gracie Jiu Jitsu is that it gives a small person the ability to beat a larger opponent without needing to injure them.” A careful mix of these training methods lays a foundation needed to produce athletically able individuals. Students are split according to rank and athletic ability. Students reap the rewards of their efforts and earn the ability to compete at the highest levels. The workouts are meant to maximize the student’s athletic conditioning, and increase stamina and endurance while building a solid stand-up and grappling foundation. Mixing both Tae Kwon Do and Jiu Jitsu together gives a student a full MMA experience. This method has produced some of the world’s top martial artists. However, the academy’s goal is to build athletes that will excel in any environment. A staff of well-trained, professional instructors offer an extensive background in many different forms of martial arts. Not only are they extremely proficient but they also have the unique ability to pass knowledge on to others. Our instructors encourage students to achieve their goals and push them to heights they never dreamed possible. The goal of the academy is to produce athletes, martial artists and leaders. “At Sidekick Academy, we believe that amateurs train to get it right and that professionals train to never get it wrong. That’s what separates us from the rest,” concluded Al-Babtain.

Monday, January 25, 2010



Pacemen put India on top despite Mahmudullah’s 96 ADELAIDE: German Andre Greipel (center) of HTC Columbia celebrates after winning the Tour Down Under cycling event.— AP

Greipel wins Tour Down Under ADELAIDE: Germany’s Andre Greipel won the Tour Down Under for the second time in three years yesterday, finishing fifth in the final stage behind Chris Sutton, who claimed a first-ever stage win for Britain’s Team Sky. Australia’s Sutton won yesterday’s 91-kilometer (52-mile) stage from New Zealand teammate Greg Henderson to give Team Sky, newly formed on a reported $50 million budget, a one-two finish in the last leg of the six-day tour. Greipel finished fifth, credited with Sutton’s stage-winning time of 1 hour, 52 minutes, 20 seconds, and protected his 11-second lead on general classification over Luis Leon Sanchez of Spain. Henderson was third on overall standings, 15 seconds behind Greipel, to cap an impressive ProTour debut for the British team. American Lance Armstrong finished 77th of 129 riders who contested Sunday’s stage and placed 25th on general classification, 1 minute, 3 seconds down on Greipel’s accumulated time of 18 hours, 47 minutes, 5 seconds. He improved on his 29th placing in last year’s Tour which was his first race back from a 3-1/2 year retirement. Armstrong said he felt both lighter and stronger in 2010 than last year when he went on to finish third in the Tour de France. The seven-time Tour de France winner hoped the Australian race would be his first step toward an eighth Tour victory in July. “It won’t be easy as a guy who’s 39 years old by then but I’ll give it my best,” he said. Armstrong’s longtime team manager Johan Bruyneel also saw the American rider’s form and physical condition as being ahead of last season. “Lance is good. He’s a lot different (to) last year,” Bruyneel said. “Physically his form is a lot better. He feels good in the bunch and he feels good in the team so that’s three things that are a lot better than last

year.” Sutton drove to the front of a bunched sprint to win yesterday’s stage which looped parkland near the city’s business hub and was watched by 124,000 people. Henderson held second from Australians Graeme Brown and Robbie McEwen and Greipel. The first 61 riders were credited with the same time as the stage-winner. “I can’t believe it. It’s all about teamwork,” Sutton said. “We took control with about 2 k’s to go. I just kicked and went for it.” Armstrong rode near the middle of the peleton for most of the race and finished in that position, the fourth rider home for his US-based Team Radioshack. Cadel Evans of Australia, two-time Tour de France runner-up, finished 18th in yesterday’s stage and sixth on general classification, 21 seconds behind Greipel. United States road champion George Hincapie, who was a teammate of Armstrong’s in all seven of his Tour de France win, was 17th in the stage and 12th overall. The strong field also included Spaniards Alejandro Valverde, who finished 19th overall, and 2006 Tour de France-winner Oscar Pereiro who was 72nd. Greipel won the 2008 Tour Down Under but crashed out of last year’s event after colliding with a parked police motorbike on the third of six stages. He suffered a broken collarbone and was out of action for four months. The German sprinter won the first, second and fourth stages of this year’s tour to bring his tally of Tour Down Under stage wins to eight, second only to Australia’s Robbie McEwen who has won 12. Greipel also became the second rider after Australian Stuart O’Grady (1999 and 2001) to win the tour twice. “I’m really happy and for the team as well,” said Greipel, who rides for the U.S.-based Team Columbia. “The team did a really good job the last week.” — AP

NEW YORK: Juan Manuel Lopez (right) connects against Steven Luevano during a WBO featherweight title fight on Saturday in New York. Lopez won via TKO in the seventh round.— AP

Lopez knocks out Luevano NEW YORK: Juan Manuel Lopez knocked out Steven Luevano in the seventh round using a brutal left hook to claim the WBO title in the main event of a featherweight doubleheader on Saturday. Earlier, rising star Yuriorkis Gamboa defended his WBA belt with a sensational second-round knockout of rugged challenger Rogers Mtagwa. “We saw the video and we knew the right was there for me all night,” said Lopez, who fought a more disciplined fight than his last time out, when he was taken to the brink by Mtagwa in October. “I could feel I was landing it, and I was very surprised he took so many punches. He took a lot of punishment.” Lopez, the junior featherweight champion, moved up to challenge Luevano and was simply overwhelming at 126 pounds (57 kilograms). He staggered the champion early in the seventh before finally trapping Luevano against the ropes, unleashing a combination capped by a flush left near the corner. Luevano staggered to his feet by the count of 10, but referee Benji Esteves wisely waved it off. “He’s a great fighter and a great hitter,” said Luevano, his left eye swelling shut. “I was blocking that right punch during the entire fight, and he got one in.” It was the first fight for Luevano since a disqualification victory against Bernabe Concepcion in August. Luevano was leading on the scorecards when the bell ended the seventh round and Concepcion didn’t hear it, unintentionally blasting him with a left-right combination that sent him down and out. Luevano (37-2-1), who defended his title five times, struggled to keep his distance against the hard-charging Lopez. He’s a counter-puncher by nature and never had a chance to throw a counter, wilting under Lopez’s intense pressure. “He fought a really intelligent fight,” said promoter Bob Arum, who would eventually like to put Lopez and Gamboa against each other. “Let’s see if there’s any featherweights left standing, I

want to wipe them all out, so there’s nobody left but those two guys.” The outcome certainly delighted a reunion of great Puerto Rican fighters. Former five-time champion Felix Trinidad drew the first big roar from a crowd of more than 5,000 that packed the smaller theater at Madison Square Garden, followed by another roar for former welterweight titleholder Miguel Cotto. Cotto, who is coming off a loss to Manny Pacquiao, was in town to work on an agreement to challenge 154-pound (70-kilogram) titleholder Yuri Foreman on June 12. Gamboa (17-0, 15 KOs) ran roughshod through Mtagwa in an electrifying display. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist from Cuba did damage with his first blow, a counter-punching left that stunned Mtagwa in the middle of the ring. Gamboa then knocked the granite-chinned Mtagwa down with 15 seconds left in the round, and the Tanzanian-born challenger never looked the same. Gamboa dumped him again midway through the second round with devastating combinations, finishing the fight moments later when Mtagwa (26-14-2) was unable to get himself into a clinch to buy time. “We knew he was fast but we felt we could handle his speed,” Mtagwa’s trainer Joe Parella said. “The game plan was to go three rounds, battle through it, but Mtagwa got caught early.” It’s no secret that Top Rank has been trying to build toward a fight between Lopez and Gamboa, putting them on the same card for the second straight time. It would be an exciting matchup between two of the sport’s rising stars, and one Gamboa said he’s ready to take. “I hope that with this performance nobody compares me to JuanMa. We’re different fighters,” Gamboa said through a translator. “I’d love for whoever the public or maybe the press considers the No. 1 featherweight, to have him in the ring for my next fight. That way I can show who is the best.”—AP

DHAKA: Mohammad Mahmudullah cracked an unbeaten 96 under pressure but failed to stop India from gaining an upper hand in the second and final Test against Bangladesh here yesterday. Bangladesh were wobbling at 51-5 before posting 233 in their first innings, thanks to lowerorder batsman Mahmudullah who kept the Indian attack at bay with a gutsy 156-ball knock. India raced to 69 for no loss in reply at stumps on the opening day, with Virender Sehwag (41 not out) and Gautam Gambhir (26 not out) at the crease. The visitors were indebted to pacemen Ishant Sharma (4-66) and Zaheer Khan (3-62) for restricting Bangladesh to a modest total. Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha was the other main wicket-taker with 2-49. India’s bowlers were superbly supported by wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who took three catches and two stumpings after missing the previous Test due to an injury. “Our plan was to create pressure. The wicket was a bit damp and we bowled in the right areas,” said Sharma. “The first hour was helpul for the bowlers and I think it was really a good toss to lose. We bowled very well against them. We needed to take those early wickets and that’s what we did.” Bangladesh were 106-6 when Mahmudullah walked in to bat, but India had to struggle for the remaining wickets as he put on 58 useful runs for the ninth wicket with Shafiul Islam, who contributed only nine. Mahmudullah was on 80 when last-man Rubel Hossain joined him but could manage only 16, including 11 in an over from offspinner Harbhajan Singh. He hit 13 fours. Harbhajan finished the innings when he bowled Rubel for his lone victim, leaving Mahmudullah just four short of his maiden Test hundred. “I am not disappointed (at missing the century). In the end we got a good total and I always like to contribute to the team’s cause,” said Mahmudullah. “I tried to bat as long as possible. That was my plan. They have very good bowlers and we played some bad shots. If we take three or four early wickets tomorrow, they will be under pressure.” Most of the Bangladeshi batsmen failed to apply themselves, with Mohammad Ashraful (39), skipper Shakib al Hasan (34) and Mushfiqur Rahim (30) all getting out when looking well-set.

DHAKA: Indian bowler Harbhajan Singh (center) and teammates unsuccessfully appeal for the wicket of Bangladesh’s Mohammad Mahmudullah (unseen) on the first day of the second cricket Test match.— AP Ashraful and Shakib both fell to rash strokes. Ashraful stepped out to attempt a big shot off Ojha, missed the line and was stumped, while Shakib was caught behind chasing an away-going delivery from Zaheer. Rahim, who added 55 for the sixth wicket with his captain, was trapped leg-before by Sharma after hitting six fours in his 61ball knock. India gained an early advantage when they left the hosts reeling at 84-5 in the morning session, with Zaheer and Sharma taking two wickets apiece and Ojha one. Ashraful hit six fours in his 31-ball knock, while Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique and Raqibul Hasan all failed to reach double figures. Bangladesh’s batting problems began immediately after winning the toss when Sharma had Kayes caught by Dhoni with his first delivery of the match. Zaheer bowled opener Iqbal with a delivery that came in sharply and then had Siddique caught behind to reduce the hosts to 13-3. Sharma’s second victim was Raqibul Hasan, caught by Rahul Dravid at second slip after making only four. India lead 1-0 in the short series following their 113run victory in the opening Test in Chittagong on Thursday.— AFP

Scoreboard DHAKA: Scoreboard at stumps on the opening day of the second and final Test between Bangladesh and India here yesterday: (Siddique), 4-44 (Raqibul), 5-51 (Ashraful), 6-106 Bangladesh 1st innings: (Rahim), 7-127 (Shakib), 8-155 (Shahadat), 9-213 Tamim Iqbal b Zaheer 0 (Shafiul), 10-233 (Rubel). Imrul Kayes c Dhoni b Sharma 0 Bowling: Zaheer 19-3-62-3, Sharma 18-3-66-4, Junaid Siddique c Dhoni b Zaheer 7 Ojha 16-1-49-2, Harbhajan 18.5-3-48-1, Yuvraj 2Mohammad Ashraful st Dhoni b Ojha 39 0-6-0. Raqibul Hasan c Dravid b Sharma 4 Shakib Al Hasan c Dhoni b Zaheer 34 India 1st innings: Mushfiqur Rahim lbw b Sharma 30 G. Gambhir not out 26 Mohammad Mahmudullah not out 96 V. Sehwag not out 41 Shahadat Hossain st Dhoni b Ojha 8 Extras (b1, nb1) 2 Shafiul Islam c Dravid b Sharma 9 Total (for no loss; 13 overs) 69 Rubel Hossain b Harbhajan 4 Bowling: Shafiul 2-0-13-0, Shahadat 3-0-10-0, Extras (lb2) 2 Rubel 4-0-20-0 (nb1), Shakib 3-0-15-0, Ashraful Total (for all out; 73.5 overs) 233 Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Kayes), 2-4 (Iqbal), 3-13 1-0-10-0.

Miandad denies salary claims ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Cricket Board director general Javed Miandad claimed yesterday he earns little more than half what PCB chairman Ijaz Butt reportedly says the former test captain is paid. Last week, Butt was reported in the local media as saying Miandad is paid rupees 1 million ($11,750) a month. “It’s totally untrue,” Miandad told The Associated Press. “Let me make it very clear, I am being paid rupees 570,000 ($6,700), which is nowhere near to what Butt is claiming. I respect Butt a lot, but in this case I feel humiliated.” He quit as director general a year ago due to differences

with Butt, but was reappointed two months later by PCB president Asif Ali Zardari. Miandad said he has written to Zardari to complain about Butt commenting on his salary, and that he earned more money by appearing on television talk shows before he joined the PCB. “Money was never my priority,” Miandad said. “If the PCB chairman had some problems with me he should have talked to me directly instead of going in public.” Miandad scored a Pakistan record 8,832 runs with 23 centuries in 124 tests. He then coached the country on three occasions.— AP

Gulf Bank tops KBC League KUWAIT: The Gulf Bank claimed the top position following the second week of the Banks Football League 2010, following a one-sided match with the team of the Kuwait International Bank that ended with a 9-1 score. The team came in first place with 6 points ahead of the National Bank of Kuwait’s team, with goal difference advantage, as the NBK was also victorious in the second week by defeating the Kuwait Finance House’s team with a 1-0 score. In other results, the Industrial Bank defeated AlAhli bank 3-1, to take the third spot on the standings with 4 points, while the Bank Burgan defeated the Commercial bank 1-0, finishing with the same amount of points. Also, the Boubyan Bank team defeated the Kuwait and Middle East Bank, 3-1, to finish the 2nd week with four points. Meanwhile, the sports committee of the Kuwait Banks Club has allocated rewards for teams that finish two straight matches without receiving yellow cards, as per announced by the committee’s head, Mohammad Al-Meel, who added that three teams managed to receive this reward following the end of the second week, which are the Gulf Bank, KFH, and International Bank teams.

NBK’s team

Members of the Gulf Bank’s team in a photo with the Bank’s CEO, Hesham AlBu’aijan.

The Boubyan Bank team



Monday, January 25, 2010

Zheng: Two Chinese in semis a possibility

Nadal takes on Murray in dream quarter-final MELBOURNE: Defending champion Rafael Nadal faces an eagerly awaited showdown with Andy Murray at the Australian Open while US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro was knocked out of contention yesterday. The Spanish second seed blunted the serving power of giant Croatian Ivo Karlovic to set up an compelling quarter-final against the fifth seeded Scot on Tuesday. Murray became the first Briton in 25 years to reach the Australian Open quarters after he defused towering 33rd seeded American John Isner 7-6 (7/4), 6-3, 6-2. Elsewhere, Del Potro was dumped out in a titanic five-setter to Croatian 14th seed Marin Cilic, who will play American seventh seed Andy Roddick. Roddick staged a magnificent comeback to overhaul Chile’s former finalist and 11th seed Fernando Gonzalez in five sets, 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 75, 6-2. Nadal tamed the 6ft 10ins (2.08m) Karlovic despite the Croat thumping down 28 aces, eventually winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Nadal, a six-time Grand Slam winner, now faces Murray and has won seven of their nine previous matches. “He is one of the more difficult players to play against,” Nadal said. “He can play aggressively and he can play

defensively, he can do a lot of different things during a match. “I have to play better next match if I really want to have chances to win.” Murray is shouldering mounting expectations as he bids to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam singles title since 1936. The Scot, who became the only Briton into the last eight here since John Lloyd in 1985, has yet to drop a set in his four victories at the year’s opening Grand Slam. Murray believes he has the game plan to overcome Nadal. “I played him some really good matches against him on hard courts,” he said. “I think I’ve got some tactics that work well against him.” Murray, who lost to Nadal in five sets in the fourth round of the 2007 Australian Open, said he was now benefiting from experience. Shattered fourth seeded Del Potro battled for four hours 38 minutes before going down 57, 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 to Cilic on Hisense Arena. It was sweet revenge for the Croat, who lost to Del Potro at the same stage in last year’s tournament and in the quarter-finals at the 2009 US Open. “I think since the US Open I’ve started to play much better and win against better guys more often,” Cilic said. “I’ve had some tough matches here in the first few

MELBOURNE: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates a point won against Ivo Karlovic of Croatia during their Men’s singles fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championship. — AP

rounds, but today I felt really good physically, and that in the end was the main difference.” It ended a draining week for the Argentine. Del Potro spent almost 15 hours on court and played a total of 18 sets in his four matches at the year’s opening Grand Slam. He was troubled during the tournament by a wrist injury which forced him out of the Kooyong Classic lead-up exhibition tournament in Melbourne. “I will go home and I will see the doctors there. I need a little rest to recover and be in good shape for my next tournaments,” he said. Roddick looked in trouble when he fell behind two sets to one but clawed back to beat Gonzalez in three hours 25 minutes. “I was lucky to get out of that one,” Roddick said. “I was behind for much of the four sets and I was trying to stick at it to give myself a shot.” —AFP

Justine rolls into q-finals, Svetlana, Safina bow out MELBOURNE: Justine Henin was all class as she reached the Australian Open quarter-finals on a day when Dinara Safina withdrew injured and Svetlana Kuznetsova crashed out to Nadia Petrova. Henin continued her amazing comeback when she outplayed fellow Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 7-6 (7/3), 1-6, 6-3 yesterday, but it was a very different story for the two Russians. Second seed Safina pulled out of her match with compatriot Maria Kirilenko when an old back injury flared up with the score at 4-5 in the first set. Earlier in the day, the third seeded Kuznetsova succumbed to the power of fellow Russian Petrova, who won 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to continue the great form she displayed when destroying Kim Clijsters in the third round. And Zheng Jie made it a memorable day for China when she outlast-

ed Ukraine’s Alona Bondarenko 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 to become the first Chinese player ever to make the Australian Open last eight. The saddest departure was Safina, whose immediate career is in limbo after a recurrence of the back problems that hindered her late last year. She was in agony after the match and struggled to hold back tears as she faced the media, describing the latest setback as “really, really terrible”. Safina, runner-up here last year, said she felt her back go after a marathon sixth game that had eight deuces, which she won to lead 4-2. “It suddenly hit me, it was getting worse and worse,” she said. “I played a long game and I won the game. I turned to my coach and I said ‘I cannot move anymore’.” Henin’s joy at beating Wickmayer was in stark contrast to the downcast Safina.

The 27-year-old Belgian said she belonged on a tennis court after reaching the quarter-finals of her first Grand Slam since making a comeback from retirement. “It’s, yeah, magical out there the way I feel,” Henin said. “I feel so happy on the court-I feel it’s my place.” She won a tough battle against her 20-year-old rival in yet another long contest-the 27-yearold’s third marathon in a row, and admitted the matches were beginning to take their toll. “My left leg (which has been strapped for the past two matches) is quite sore,” she said. “I sprained my ankle today also when I fell down. I hope it’s going to be okay tomorrow.” Henin and Wickmayer played some superb tennis over two-and-aquarter hours on the Rod Laver Arena but it was the old stager Henin who had the composure when it was

needed. She will now play Petrova, who is in great form after beating US Open champion Clijsters and French Open champion Kuznetsova in successive rounds. Kuznetsova appeared distracted in the first set, losing her first service game and struggling to make an impression after that. She fought back in the second set and looked far more composed, but despite breaking to lead 1-0 in the third, that was as good as it got as Petrova stormed through the set without dropping another game. An overjoyed Zheng predicted she and compatriot Li Na could both make the semi-finals after her win over Bondarenko. While Li plays her fourth round match on Monday, Zheng could well be on track for the final four following Safina’s withdrawal, with the unseeded Kirilenko her next opponent. — AFP

MELBOURNE: Justine Henin of Belgium returns a shot to her compatriot Yanina Wickmayer on her way to winning their Women’s singles fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championship. — AP

MELBOURNE: History-making Zheng Jie says it is not unreasonable for two Chinese players to make the semi-finals of the Australian Open, further boosting the sport’s image in the world’s most populous nation. The 26-year-old world number 35 made the bold claim after beating 31st seeded Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 yesterday to become the first Chinese player ever to make the quarter-finals in Melbourne. Her reward is a last eight showdown against either Dinara Safina or Maria Kirilenko. Zheng and Li Na have already created history by becoming the first two Chinese players into the fourth round of a Grand Slam. Li plays her fourth round match today against fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki, with the presence of the two players in the second week sparking keen interest in China. Zheng said her success, along with Li’s, was giving the sport in China a massive boost. “I feel tennis is very quickly going up (in popularity) in China,” she said. “You can see a lot of the newspapers coming from China,” she said, pointing to the large number of Chinese reporters in the interview room. “I think it (started to become popular) from 2004, Li Ting and Tian Tian won the gold medal from the Olympic Games.” Zheng won the first of her two Grand Slam titles at the 2006 Australian Open when she took out the women’s doubles with Yan Zi. Yan, who lost in the first round of the mixed doubles yesterday, said the game was growing quickly in China, with parents now encouraging their children to play tennis rather than other sports. “Table tennis and badminton are still the most popular but more mums and dads are taking their children to tennis clubs now,” Yan said. That popularity will be sure to be grow even more if Li can join Zheng in the quarter-finals. “I think we can go further because you can see Li Na in the fourth round-I hope both Chinese players can be in the semi-finals,” Zheng said. Zheng, Li, Yan and Peng Shuai were all part of the Chinese national program but have now been granted the freedom to plan their own careers and to keep the majority of their prizemoney. For Zheng, Li and Peng that freedom has proved a blessing, with a series of good results throughout 2009 bringing further exposure back home. “Finally I can have my own schedule,” Zheng told the China Daily last year. “I can control my time now.” Only Yan has struggled since going out on her own, but she told the newspaper she had no desire to return to the state system. But despite the presence of the Chinese women on the world tour the Chinese men have still not made any impact. “Maybe men need to work harder,” Zheng said with a laugh. — AFP

Cavaliers silence Thunder as Heat scorch Kings CLEVELAND: Daniel Gibson’s 3-pointer with 8.7 seconds remaining gave the Cleveland Cavaliers a 100-99 victory over Oklahoma City on Saturday, the Thunder’s second NBA loss in two nights in the final seconds. LeBron James had 37 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds, and Shaquille O’Neal added a season-high 22 points to help the Cavaliers win their fourth straight. Kevin Durant had 34 points, and Russell Westbrook added 23 for Oklahoma City, which lost to Memphis on Friday when Rudy Gay hit a 20-foot jumper with 1.3 seconds remaining. Gibson’s 3 gave Cleveland a 98-96 lead. Durant had a chance to tie, but his shot with 0.9 seconds left was blocked by James as Durant fell to the ground. James made a two free throws to seal it, and Durant hit a meaningless 25-footer at the buzzer.

NBA results/standings

Heat 115, Kings 84 At Miami, Dwyane Wade had 27 points and eight assists before sitting out the fourth quarter, Michael Beasley added 21 points and 13 rebounds and a bizarre week of blowouts continued for Miami. The Heat beat Indiana by 30 on Tuesday, lost to Charlotte by 39 on Wednesday and won in Washington by 24 on Friday. Only one of Miami’s last nine games has been decided by less than 10 points. Tyreke Evans scored 15 points for the Kings, who finished a winless six-game trip.

Magic 106, Bobcats 95 At Charlotte, North Carolina, Jameer Nelson scored six of his 21 points in overtime and Orlando recovered after blowing a big lead. Vince Carter also had 21 points to help the Magic end Charlotte’s home winning streak at nine. Orlando scored the first 11 points in overtime. D.J. Augustin had 22 points for Charlotte.

CLEVELAND: Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers’ Anthony Parker and Lebron James in the fourth quarter in an NBA basketball game. — AP

76ers 107, Pacers 97 At Indianapolis, Elton Brand scored 23 points, and Thaddeus Young had 22 points and 10 rebounds in Philadelphia’s second straight victory. Allen Iverson, recently voted a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team, added 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. Danny Granger had 22 points for Indiana.

T’ Blazers 97, Pistons 93 At Auburn Hills, Michigan, Martell Webster scored a career-high 28 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 for shorthanded Portland. Richard Hamilton led Detroit with 25 points.

Bulls 104, Rockets 97 At Houston, Brad Miller scored 25 points in place of the injured Joakim Noah, and Taj Gibson had 16 points and 14 rebounds for Chicago.Derrick Rose added 20 points for the Bulls. Noah was a lastminute scratch because of a left foot injury. Carl Landry scored 22 points for Houston.

Bucks 127, T’wolves 94 At Milwaukee, Carlos Delfino scored 24 points, and rookie Brandon Jennings had 18 points and a career-high 13 assists for Milwaukee. Rookie Jonny Flynn led

Minnesota with 20 points. The Timberwolves have lost seven of eight.

Jazz 116, Nets 83 At Salt Lake City, Mehmet Okur had 20 points and 11 rebounds as Utah kept New Jersey winless from 18 games against the Western Conference and 3-40 overall. Carlos Boozer had 22 points and nine rebounds, and Ronnie Brewer added 15 points for Utah. The Jazz have won five of six and are seven games above .500 for the first time this season at 25-18. Yi Jianlian scored 16 points for New Jersey.

Nuggets 116, Hornets 110 At Denver, Carmelo Anthony scored four of his 30 points in overtime and added 11 rebounds as Denver beat New Orleans for its season-high sixth straight victory. Kenyon Martin added 20 points and 14 rebounds, and Chauncey Billups had 20 points and nine assists, and Arron Afflalo had 19 points, hitting two 3pointers in overtime. Chris Paul had 26 points, seven in overtime, and 10 assists for the Hornets. Darius Songaila added a season-high 20 starting in place of the

injured David West.

Suns 112, Warriors 103 At Phoenix, Goran Dragic scored 18 of his career-high 20 points in the fourth quarter and Steve Nash scored 23 points for Phoenix in the Suns’ 10th consecutive victory over Golden State in Phoenix. Corey Maggette led Golden State with 27 points. Anthony Tolliver had career bests of 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors, playing without Monta Ellis (sprained right ankle). — AP

NBA results and standings on Saturday: Orlando 106, Charlotte 95 (OT); Philadelphia 107, Indiana 97; Cleveland 100, Oklahoma City 99; Portland 97, Detroit 93; Miami 115, Sacramento 84; Chicago 104, Houston 97; Milwaukee 127, Minnesota 94; Denver 116, New Orleans 110 (OT); Phoenix 112, Golden State 103; Utah 116, New Jersey 83. (OT denotes overtime win) Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT GB Boston 28 13 .683 Toronto 22 22 .500 7.5 NY Knicks 17 25 .405 11.5 Philadelphia 15 28 .349 14 New Jersey 3 40 .070 26 Central Division Cleveland 34 11 .756 Chicago 20 22 .476 12.5 Milwaukee 18 24 .429 14.5 Detroit 15 28 .349 18 Indiana 15 29 .341 18.5 Southeast Division Atlanta 28 14 .667 Orlando 29 15 .659 Miami 23 20 .535 5.5 Charlotte 21 21 .500 7 Washington 14 28 .333 14 Western Conference Northw est Division Denver 29 14 .674 Portland 27 18 .600 3 Utah 25 18 .581 4 Oklahoma City 24 20 .545 5.5 Minnesota 9 36 .200 21 Pacific Division LA Lakers 33 10 .767 Phoenix 26 19 .578 8 LA Clippers 19 23 .452 13.5 Sacramento 15 28 .349 18 Golden State 13 29 .310 19.5 Southw est Division Dallas 28 15 .651 San Antonio 25 17 .595 2.5 Houston 24 19 .558 4 Memphis 23 19 .548 4.5 New Orleans 23 20 .535 5

Monday, January 25, 2010



Leverkusen back to the top ANGOLA: Cameroon players jog as they warm up for their training in Benguela. Cameroon will play their African Nations Cup quarter finals soccer match against Egypt today. — AP

Zambia set sights on semis LUBANGO: Star-less Zambia are the gate crashers at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals party in Angola which finishes late today when they face former champions Nigeria at Tundavala Stadium. Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria had to be present having qualified for the World Cup in South Africa this year while hosts Angola and defending champions Egypt were natural guest-list choices. Locked in a four-way struggle for two places with former winners Cameroon and Tunisia and muchimproved Gabon, Zambia were given little hope at home or abroad of surviving the first-round cull. But a draw with Tunisia, a narrow loss to Cameroon and a victory over Gabon saw Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) qualify as group winners on goals scored after a bizarre mini-league within a mini-league that caused great confusion. So it was no surprise when 40-year-old French coach Herve Renard dashed down the touchline to give leading Zambian football official Kalusha Bwalya the mother of all bear hugs after qualification was confirmed. Bwalya, skipper of the team beaten 2-1 by Nigeria in the 1994 final when the countries last met, displayed courage in choosing then unknown Renard two years ago after being tipped off by senior French coach Claude Le Roy.

Preview Renard was an assistant when Le Roy guided hosts Ghana to third place at the 2008 Nations Cup and holding Egypt in Cairo and finishing third at the African Nations Championship last year have been highlights of his Zambia tenure. With his pre-tournament promise of a last-eight place fulfilled, Renard sees no reason why his team cannot bridge a 28-year gap and clip the wings of the Super Eagles. Zambia triumphed 3-0 in Libya during 1982 before Nigeria won a semi-final 2-0 eight years later and then the final in which Zambia fielded a virtual new team after a plane crash off Gabon a year before killed most of their stars. “Nigeria have strong and famous footballers but the pressure is on them, not on us. We have nothing to lose and I believe there is a good chance we can beat them,” boasted often media-shy Renard to reporters. “My team has always been very talented, technically gifted and know how to play the game only to be let down by poor discipline and concentration at vital moments. That is where I had a problem, but it is changing slowly.” Renard also praised the input of former African Footballer of the Year Bwalya, who has played for, captained and coached the national team and now heads the national football association FAZ. “We do exchange ideas and I listen to his advice before making decisions. Kalusha does not interfere because he knows you cannot be a coach unless you make decisions yourself.” Nigeria, among six pre-tournament title frontrunners, were outclassed by Egypt and scraped past tiny neigbours Benin before finally clicking to overwhelm Mozambique and finish Group C runners-up. Russia-based wide midfielder-cum-striker Osaze Odemwingie scored twice to send the Mozambican Mambas (Snakes) packing and believes the 1980 and 1994 champions can go all the way in Angola and win the January 31 climax.

Matches on TV (local timings) Egypt v Cameroon ----------------- 19:00 AL Jazeera Sport 2 Zambia v Nigeria----------------- 22:30 Al Jazeera Sport +9

“My goals have brought out our confidence. Now the belief is that we can go on and lift the cup. Nigeria is a great football nation and those who wear the green and white must carry the responsibility that goes with it. “Nigeria fear no team. We respect them all and expect them to respect us. If you study this tournament big teams have been upset, but character and pedigree brought them back into contention.” While Renard sleeps peacefully knowing his primary mission has been achieved, opposite number Shaibu Amodu faces another critical examination of his credentials. Despite only one competitive loss since taking over two years ago, critics demand his immediate dismissal and supporters within the Nigerian football hierarchy say a semi-finals place is the minimum requirement for survival. — AFP

Cameroon seek revenge in Egypt showdown BENGUELA: Revenge will be in the air today when Cameroon battle champions Egypt for a place in the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations here. In what is arguably the pick of the four quarter-final matches of Angola 2010, the Indomitable Lions will first wish to avenge for the defeat they suffered at the hands of the Pharaohs in the final of the 2008 Nations Cup in Ghana. Mohamed Aboutrika squeezed the ball home to give Egypt their record sixth Nations Cup trophy and extend their superiority over Cameroon. Three weeks earlier they had beaten the same team 4-2 in a group game in Kumasi. Egypt also ensured that Cameroon lost out on the 2006 World Cup when they held them to a 1-1 draw in Yaounde to pave the way for the Ivory Coast to make their World Cup debut in Germany. “In two years, Egypt have beaten us, including in the Nations Cup final in Ghana. It is time we beat them,” said Cameroon skipper Samuel Eto’o. “Egypt are a great football nation, but we must be well prepared and take risks because we’re looking far beyond the quarter-finals.” There are 10 Nations Cup titles between these two African giants - Egypt have clinched six championships and Cameroon four. The Pharaohs have also been the team on form in Angola. They achieved a perfect record to advance from a first round group that included Nigeria, Mozambique and Benin and in the process they shattered Cameroon’s unbeaten run of 14 games in the tournament. Cameroon, on the other hand, have looked far less impressive after they fell 1-0 to Gabon and had to come back from the brink of defeat against both Tunisia and Zambia. Such a record may not inspire much confidence, but it has shown that despite lining up a shaky defence that has so far let in five goals and a midfield of fighters, this is a team with character. French coach Paul Le Guen, who was behind the Indomitable Lions’ qualification for the 2010 World Cup after a rather poor start, has praised his team’s mental strength with a warning that the defending champions have to be wary of them. “We’re going to be dangerous against Egypt,” warned Le Guen. “The conditions were difficult for us to play good football (against Tunisia), but in the end, our strong character saw us fight back twice to come through because our ambition in Angola is to go very far.” Young Arsenal midfielder Alexandre Song said he expects another tough duel on Monday against Egypt. “I know that Cameroonians especially expect a lot from us, but we should learn to accept that in sports you cannot win all the time,” said the nephew of veteran central defender Rigobert Song. “Whenever teams play against us, they come prepared and determined. I believe this was the case in Lubango, where all the teams that played against us, came prepared.” —AFP

PSG down Evian PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain saw off the challenge of third division Evian yesterday to qualify for the last 16 of the French Cup with a workmanlike 3-1 victory. Turkish international striker Mevlut Erding headed the hosts into a 16th-minute lead at the Parc des Princes and doubled PSG’s advantage with another header on the hour mark. Kevin Berigaud hauled the underdogs back into contention seven minutes later when he converted a half-volley but Guillaume Hoarau, starting his first game since October after a period on the sidelines, put the game beyond the visitors when he scored in the fourth minute of injury time. Lyon, currently fifth in the French championship standings, will look to make it five wins from five games in 2010 when they visit Monaco in the tie of the round later yesterday. Earlier, reigning cup holders Guingamp of the Second Division - who came from behind to stun Rennes 2-1 in last season’s final - won 1-0 at fourth-division Mulhouse to take their place in the last 16. Elsewhere yesterday, top-tier SaintEtienne and Nancy both secured places in the

round of 32 by winning their delayed last-64 ties. Les Verts are involved in a relegation scrap but they blew away eighth-placed Lorient with Emmanuel Riviere, Dimitri Payet, twice, and Bakary Sako all on target in a 4-1 victory. “I’m pleased with our qualification, with having scored some goals, with the spirit in the team and with the match,” said SaintEtienne coach Christophe Galtier. “Lorient are a quality side. We prepared for this match like a league game, by lining up our best available team.” Nancy were given a far sterner examination at fifth-division Thiers, however, and eventually prevailed 3-2 on penalties after the game finished 1-1. French champions and current league leaders Bordeaux booked their place in the last 16 with a 5-1 thrashing of Second Division Ajaccio on Saturday, when lower league Beauvais, Quevilly and Vesoul also made it through to the round of 16. Lille, currently third in the French top flight, crashed to a 10-9 defeat on penalties against fourth-tier Colmar, who will now meet Boulogne-sur-Mer in the round of 32. — AFP

BERLIN: Rising star Toni Kroos was both chief playmaker and goalscorer yesterday in Leverkusen’s 3-0 win over Hoffenheim that knocked his parent club Bayern Munich off the top of the table. Kroos is on loan at Leverkusen from Bayern and the midfielder demonstrated what his employers are missing by creating two goals and then scoring one of his own in the second-half - his fifth in the last four league games. The Germany Under-21 star, who only turned 20 earlier this month, showcased the class that has led Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to insist he will be returning to Munich at the end of the season. But Leverkusen boss Jupp Heynckes was unimpressed with his side’s first-half performance which saw Hoffenheim go close on several occasions. “We were careless and negligent after we went 1-0 up,” said Heynckes with his side still unbeaten this season. “I said at the break that we must take the initiative and in the second-half we showed our class and showed why we are top of the league.” After Bayern beat Werder Bremen 3-2 on Saturday to temporarily take over at the top of the table, Leverkusen’s win puts them back on top of the Bundesliga with a two-point advantage, while Bayern drop to second. Leverkusen took the lead when Kroos curled in a free-kick from the flanks and defender Sami Hyypia slotted home from three-metres out past Hoffenheim goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand after 11 minutes. Kroos then turned in a cross from Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok on 51 minutes before providing the final pass for Tranquillo Barnetta to slot home on 71 minutes and seal a win that leaves Hoffenheim ninth in the table. Earlier, Bundesliga strugglers Cologne earned their second win in three games after inflicting a shock

3-2 defeat on defending champions Wolfsburg, who have now gone seven league games without a win. With striker Lukas Podolski missing with a back injury, Cologne showed they can do without their Germany star and managed to defend for all they were worth to hold on at the Volkswagen Arena and claim the three points. The defeat leaves Wolfsburg coach Armin Veh under immense pressure and it remains to be seen whether he will be in charge for their next game at Hamburg on Friday. Cologne took the lead when midfielder Kevin Pezzoni slipped his marker after seven minutes to head home, but Wolfsburg fought back when Christian Gentner levelled after only 21 minutes. Cologne striker Sebastian Freis then managed to hold off the challenge of two defenders and the goalkeeper to slot his shot into the back of the net on 57 minutes. The home side responded immediately through Portugal defender Ricardo Costa, but Cologne were not to be denied only their fifth win of the season and on 74 minutes Fries played Adil Chihi into space and he drilled his shot past Wolfsburg goalkeeper Andre Lenz. The result leaves Wolfsburg 10th and Cologne 13th, but shouts of “Veh out!” will not have been ignored by the Wolves coach, who is now looking in danger of losing his job. An injury-time goal from Slovakia striker Stanislav Sestak robbed Schalke of the chance to go top as the Royal Blues were held 22 by Bochum. The result left Felix Magathcoached Schalke third in the table and Borussia Dortmund are up to fourth after a 1-0 win at home to Hamburg on Saturday evening. Having picked up only their second win of the season last weekend, bottom side Hertha Berlin were held 0-0 at home by Borussia Moenchengladbach. —AFP

GERMANY: Luiz Gustavo from Hoffenheim (right) and Stefan Kiessling from Leverkusen (left) challenge for the ball during the German First Division Bundesliga soccer match. — AP

Celtic run riot to close gap on leaders Rangers GLASGOW: Celtic closed the gap on Scottish Premier League leaders Rangers with a 4-1 win over 10-man St Johnstone yesterday. Tony Mowbray’s side suffered an early shock at McDiarmid Park when Liam Craig’s penalty put St Johnstone ahead, but the match turned Celtic’s way when Graham Gartland was sent off early in the second half. Marc-Antoine Fortune equalised for the Glasgow club and Georgios Samaras put them in front. Fortune added his second of the match before Paddy McCourt’s late goal sealed the rout. Celtic’s victory was crucial after Rangers were held to a draw by Hearts on Saturday and the Hoops are now seven points behind Rangers with a game in hand. Mowbray had 10 players unavailable for the trip to Perth and, with Lee Naylor injured during the midweek Scottish Cup win at Morton, teenage defender Josh Thompson was handed his first start.

The lack of familiarity among Mowbray’s defence seemed to disturb Celtic in the opening stages and St Johnstone, who last beat the Hoops back in 1999, took a shock lead in the 12th minute. Celtic defender Glenn Loovens was the guilty party as he needlessly gave away a penalty by hauling down Steven Milne to prevent the striker reaching Kenny Deuchar’s pass. Referee William Collum pointed to the spot and Craig stepped up to send Artur Boruc the wrong way. Celtic responded quickly and moments later Chinese midfielder Zheng Zhi’s shot was cleared off the line by Jody Morris. Loovens’ dismal day was completed when he was forced off midway through the first half after clashing heads with Deuchar. A mistake by Gartland that gifted a chance to Niall McGinn failed to spark Celtic into life and the midfielder shot tamely at Graeme Smith from close range. — AFP

Algeria snatch victory from the jaws of defeat MADRID: Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, reacts during his Spanish League soccer match against Malaga at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.—AP

Ronaldo goes from hero to zero in Real’s victory MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo spoilt a stellar two-goal display by getting sent off for a stray elbow as Real Madrid closed to within five points of league leaders Barcelona with a 2-0 win over Malaga at the Santiago Bernabeu yesterday. It was all going swimmingly for Ronaldo who had ended a run of three games without a goal with a quick-fire brace (35th and 39th minutes) to take his season’s tally to nine but his volatile temperament surfaced again on 70 minutes. Ronaldo elbowed defender Patrick Mtiliga as he tugged the former Manchester United man’s shirt and the referee had no hesitation in reaching for the red card. It was a second dismissal of the season for Ronaldo who was sent off in a 4-2 win over Almeria on December 5 for kicking out at an opponent. While Ronaldo’s sending off put a dampener on the win, Real will be relieved to bounce back from their Athletic Bilbao defeat with a 10th successive home win to close to within five points of Barcelona. Barcelona beat Valladolid 3-0 on Saturday to go unbeaten for the first half of the season although no Spanish team has gone a whole 38-game season undefeated. Guti, 33, made his first league start for Real since September after healing his rift with coach Manuel Pellegrini and even had the captain’s armband with Raul on the bench. With eight minutes gone Malaga rattled the crossbar when Sergio Duda’s cross came off Xabi Alonso’s head and looped onto the bar. Iker Casillas had a hairy moment near the half hour mark with the goalkeeper bizarrely using his head to block a chipped shot as he was outside of the area. Ronaldo then took centre stage with two goals in four destructive minutes. Guti, Karim Benzema and Kaka all combined quickly to put the ball on a plate for Ronaldo to roll

home the 35th minute opener. Malaga then witnessed Ronaldo in full flow as he collected Guti’s pass before firing a fierce shot into the corner. Malaga had previously gone 10 games unbeaten in league, although eight of them were draws, but they knew there was no comeback this time around. In the second half Ronaldo was gunning for his first ever Real hat-trick but instead the red mist descended again and his night ended on 70 minutes when he elbowed Mtiliga in the face. Getafe came out on top in the local derby with Atletico Madrid defeating their 10-man neighbors 10 yesterday to move four points off the Champions League spots. Since winning promotion in 2004, Getafe had never beaten local rivals Atletico in the league at their Coliseum Alfonso Perez home but Manu del Moral’s 38th minute goal ended that sequence. For Atletico, who had midfielder Paulo Assuncao sent off, it brought an end to a run of three successive league victories and they are now ten points off the top six. Both Atletico and Getafe are in Kings Cup action on Thursday as they bid to reach the semi-finals of the competition. Earlier Valencia missed the chance to keep pace with the top two following a frustrating 0-0 draw at promoted Tenerife yesterday. “We weren’t at our best today,” said Valencia coach Unai Emery. “However, we are in a great position in the league and have to keep on going.” Valencia sit five points ahead of Real Mallorca, who reclaimed fourth spot with a 1-1 draw at Espanyol yesterday. In other matches, Villarreal got back to winning ways with a 4-2 victory over struggling Real Zaragoza at El Madrigal. Despite the win Villarreal are still down in ninth, seven points off the desired European places.—AFP

Nine-man Inter stun Milan MILAN: Nine man Inter Milan moved nine points clear at the top of Serie A after a 2-0 victory over arch-rivals AC Milan in a pulsating derby at the San Siro yesterday. The champions played for more than an hour with a numerical disadvantage after Wesley Sneijder was sent off but they dominated throughout to earn a richly deserved victory. Milan may still have a game in hand on their neighbours but the psychological effect of such a crushing defeat will make the gap seem all the wider. Milan may have come into the game as the form team in Serie A but Inter were clearly the more pumped up early on. Sneijder almost fired them in front with a moment of outrageous skill, flicking the ball up and thrashing a 25-yard volley that glanced off the outside of the post. The Dutch playmaker should then have given the hosts the lead as a ricochet from a Goran Pandev shot fell into his path as he broke into the box but he rammed his shot straight at goalkeeper Dida. Milan didn’t seem to heed those warnings and Inter deservedly took the lead on 10 minutes as Pandev’s ball over the top saw Diego Milito get behind Ignazio Abate in the inside left channel and shoot low across Dida and into the far corner. Inter were rampant and another break saw Pandev feed Milito on the inside right but Dida blocked his near post shot. Inter were dominant and Sneijder was running the show but the referee changed that before the half hour was even up. Inter centre-back Lucio burst forward into midfield and went down rather easily under a challenge but seeing that he still had the ball he got up and went to carry on, only for the referee to stop the game and book him for diving.

Inter were incensed and Sneijder sarcastically applauded the referee - an offence usually meriting a yellow card but he received a red card, though, it was unclear whether he had also verbally abused the referee. Sneijder was beside himself and needed to be dragged from the field by two team-mates. Inter knuckled down, though, with stalwarts Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso looking to control the midfield. Milan were disjointed and struggling to create anything, with their best chance coming from a heavily deflected Andrea Pirlo free-kick that wrong-footed Julio Cesar but looped up and landed on the roof of the net. Milan came flying out in the second half and Julio Cesar saved a close range Clarence Seedorf header from a David Beckham corner before Ronaldinho hit a swivelling volley just wide. Inter were still dangerous on the counter and Milito almost made Milan pay with one break but the visitors were gradually imposing themselves with Beckham crosses from the right causing particular bother as Marco Borriello headed one just over. But then from another brilliant break Milito slipped in Pandev who chipped Dida only to see the ball come back off the post and into the Brazilian’s grateful arms. But on 65 minutes Giuseppe Favalli brought down Maicon on the edge of the box and Pandev stepped up to curl home a free-kick Dida could do nothing about. Tellingly, it was only then that Mourinho removed one of his forwards. Milan, a disappointment for all but the beginning of the second half, could only muster wild pot shots from distance in the closing stages. —AFP

ITALY: Inter Milan Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar (left) saves on AC Milan’s David Beckham chance (right) as Inter Milan defender Davide Santon looks on during their Italian League soccer match.—AP

CABINDA: Algeria clawed back from the brink of elimination to stun title favorites Ivory Coast 32 yesterday and reach the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals. The winners fell 2-1 behind on 89 minutes to a brilliant Abdulkader Keita goal only for Madjid Bougherra to level in stoppage time and unmarked substitute Hamer Bouazza headed a 92nd-minute far-post winner. Drama continued to the end with television replays suggesting a late shot from Ivorian defender Kolo Toure that found the net was wrongly judged offside by an assistant referee. Victory for Algeria sets up the prospect of a last-four showdown with bitter rivals Egypt, who they deprived of a place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa after a play-off. Defending champons Egypt face four-time winners Cameroon on Monday in a clash of giants, but the teams will struggle to match the drama of this encounter. Ivory Coast entered the second quarter-final with a far superior record than Algeria at this stage of the biennial African football showcase, having won four of five ties while their rivals lost all three. There was one enforced change in the Ivorian ‘Elephants’ line-up with Guy Demel from German Bundesliga outfit Hamburg replacing suspended Emmanuel Eboue in the back four. Algeria introduced fit-again defender Antar Yahia in place of ill Abdelkader Laifaoui for his first appearance of the tournament and midfielder Mourad Meghni took the place of Bouazza. Tradition favoured the ‘Elephants’ with two wins and a draw from four previous clashes with the ‘Desert Foxes’ in a match between countries with one Nations Cup title each to their credit. As the match kicked off amid steamy evening conditions in this oil-rich northern Angola enclave the chief concern of Ivory Coast coach Vahid Halilhodzic was rustiness with their last match nine days ago. Algeria had a point to prove after accusations they and Angola had ‘fixed’ a goalless Group A draw in Luanda to ensure both qualified at the expense of Mali. But if the Ivorians were rusty it did not show on four minutes as they reacted quickest in a goalmouth scramble and Kalou struck the ball past goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi to give the west Africans a perfect start. Early attacking traffic was heading largely toward the goal of the white-kit Algerians and Rafik Halliche was lucky to escape unpunished when he fouled Drogba inside the area and Ivory Coast should have been awarded a penalty. Algeria were gradually showing more confidence and coming at their opponents and after coming close a few times, the north Africans deservedly equalised as half-time approached. A lofted pass toward the Ivorian penalty area missed friend and foe and fell invitingly for Matmour from Borussia Moenchengladbach, who left Boubacar Barry helpless with a shot that flew in off a post. A fascinating see-saw struggle continued to offer scoring chances at each end with Drogba narrowly failing to reach a Kalou crossed and Barry foiling Matmour when he broke through and had only the goalkeeper to beat. But the miss of the second half came five minutes from fulltime when Kouassi ‘Gervinho’ Yao burst clear when Bougherra failed to intercept a pass only to blaze over with just Chaouchi to beat. In a sensational climax to regulation time Keita scored six minutes after replacing Kalou with a candidate for goal of the tournament, unleashing an unstoppable shot from outside the area into the roof of the net. Algeria refused to surrender, however, and unmarked defender Bougherra was first to a cross on 92 minutes and headed the ball down and up over Barry to take a thriller into extra time.—AFP

CABINDA: Algeria’s Rafik Halliche (left) is challenged by Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba during their African Nations Cup quarterfinal soccer match.—AP

Ghana shatter Angola’s dream LUANDA: Ghana destroyed Angola’s Africa Cup of Nations dream with a 1-0 quarter-final win over the hosts here yesterday to keep them on course for a fifth title. Asamoah Gyan’s first half goal put the Black Stars into the semifinals where they will face the winner of Monday’s match in Lubango between Zambia and Nigeria. As a severely depleted Ghana side marched on in search of their first continental crown in 28 years Angola rued not putting away a number of clear cut chances, not least Manucho’s shot over the woodwork approaching the interval. For coach Manuel Jose the game went ahead in the aftermath of personal tragedy a few hours before kick-off after his father, who was in his nineties, died. “I have to fly back to Portugal now to attend the funeral of my father who has died,” he told a subdued post-match press conference. Before leaving the 11 November Stadium to return home Jose paid tribute to his players. “They leave this competition with their heads held high,” Jose said. “I am proud to be their coach, they did everything they could, but Ghana scored with their first chance. The only thing we were missing was a goal.” Ghana coach Milovan Rajevic said that despite the early strike it had been a hard task defending such a slim lead. “Fortunately we scored early, then tried to defend it and counter-attack. It was hard, but we did it, now we’ll digest the win and think about the semi-final tomorrow (Monday),” he said. Jose welcomed back defender Stelvio from suspension and three-goal hero Flavio from injury to join Manucho up front. Ghana, missing a raft of star players including Michael Essien, made one alteration from their last run out, Mathew Amoah making way for Qatar-based midfielder Opoku Agyemang. A minute’s silence for both Jose’s father and the victims of the Haiti earthquake preceded this first ever competitive meeting between the two west African states. On 16 minutes the 50,000 largely partisan crowd fell silent again as Udinese’s Kwadwo Asamoah conjured up a neat pass to release Gyan down the right, the Rennes striker racing by Angola skipper Kali to shoot past keeper Carlos Fernandes. Only a fine goalline save from Kingson denied Angola an equaliser on the half hour. The danger arose when Flavio zipped down the right, crossing for Manucho to head home with the Wigan stopper blocking the ball with his body. Gyan had a second goal disallowed on 33 minutes when Algerian referee Mohammed Benouza hauled him up for offside. —AFP

LUANDA: Ghana’s goalkeeper Richard Kingson (second from left) stops a shot during their African Nations Cup quarterfinal soccer match against Angola.—AP

Arsenal crash out of FA Cup LONDON: Arsenal became the latest member of the Premier League’s elite to suffer an early exit from the FA Cup as Ricardo Fuller’s double strike inspired Stoke’s 3-1 win over the Gunners in the fourth round yesterday. Manchester United, humbled by League One Leeds, and Liverpool, shocked by Reading, both perished in the third round and Arsene Wenger’s much-changed side were condemned to an equally chastening defeat at the Britannia Stadium. After claiming that Arsenal remain vulnerable to physical opponents, Fuller underlined his pre-match jibe by heading the hosts into the lead after 70 seconds. The Gunners defence, including debutant Sol Campbell, failed to deal with Rory Delap’s trademark long-throw and Fuller nipped in front of hesitant goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to head home from close-range. Wenger’s team drew level in the 42nd minute when Denilson’s shot trickled past Thomas Sorensen after deflecting off two Stoke defenders. But Fuller, who had scored twice against Arsenal last season, proved a thorn in their side yet again in the 78th minute. Mamady Sidibe crossed from the right and the Jamaican international escaped Campbell’s attentions to head past Fabianski. Dean Whitehead ensured Arsenal would suffer their first defeat in 10 matches when he turned in Matthew Etherington’s cross with four minutes to play. Wenger insisted he had no regrets about his team selection as Arsenal have so many key league games coming soon. “I wanted to win this game and I don’t regret the team I picked, I did not have much choice,” he said. “If you look at our schedule it’s simply that you cannot always play with the same eleven. “If you rotate and you don’t win it’s your fault. I can only stand up and say that’s the team that I picked.”

In the day’s other game, Manchester City eased into the last 16 with a 4-2 win over Championship strugglers Scunthorpe at Glanford Park. City’s under-strength side - which nevertheless cost tens of millions more than Scunthorpe’s starting XI - took the lead in the third minute when Bulgaria midfielder Martin Petrov smashed a blistering strike past Joe Murphy. The underdogs hit back in the 29th minute when Paul Hayes took advantage of a debatable offside decision to volley home. Nedem Onouha restored City’s lead in first half stoppage time with a low strike after Stephen Ireland’s delicate chipped pass opened up the Scunthorpe defence. Veteran Brazilian defender Sylvinho seemed to have put City in complete control when he launched a fabulous long-range effort past Murphy in the 57th minute. Scunthorpe refused to go quietly and City’s young defender Dedryck Boyata gave them hope in the 69th minute when he deflected Cliff Byrne’s shot into his own net. Any hopes of a replay were extinguished in the 84th minute when Robinho ran onto Petrov’s pass and shot into the roof of the net to mark what could be the unsettled Brazilian’s final appearance for City. Robinho has claimed over the weekend that City are prepared to let him join Brazilian club Santos, but Eastlands boss Roberto Mancini, asked if the star was staying, said: “I think so, because he’s an important player. He scored a good goal.” Sylvinho added: “It’s difficult to know what’s going on. Robinho is a good guy and it was a a good contribution from him. “I believe he wants to stay because he loves Manchester City and he enjoys playing here. He’s one of the best players in the world. If he stays here it will be good for us.”—AFP

KIA chooses Kuwait to test all-new sedan

Wataniya Airways celebrates one year of success

Nissan Senior VP Nakamura visits Kuwait




Monday, January 25, 2010

Saudi CB head sees long road to recovery Kingdom to resist pressure to boost spending

RIYADH: Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim bin Abdul Aziz Al-Assaf takes part in a panel discussion with US anchorwoman Margaret Brennan during the Fourth International Competitiveness Forum in Riyadh yesterday. Speakers at the forum include Britain’s former prime minister Tony Blair and former World Bank president James Wolfensohn.—AFP

Corporates fail to report as KSE trading faces crisis KUWAIT: Although 24 days of the new year have elapsed, companies listed with the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) have so far failed to disclose their results for 2009, negatively impacting on stock dealers. Al-Zumuruda Group Chairman Mahmoud Haidar, speaking to KUNA, voiced surprise at some listed companies’ reluctance to come up with their 2009 findings, including profits and losses. Some reports on Zain Saudi Arabia have unfavorably affected dealers and overshadowed some shares at the Kuwait Stock Exchange on the basis that it is a leading company, he said.

But, he expected the market to resume its record jumps once banks begin to reveal their profits, something which would surely reactivate most listed sectors, especially investment firms. However, Mohammed Al-Hajiri, an economist, described Kuwaiti companies’ failure to reveal their financial findings for 2009 to the fact that they are waiting for the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) to approve bank disclosures. Delayed borrowings to many companies have overshadowed the future of some listed firms, which bespeaks that the market is thirsty for liquidity, particularly regarding small shares, he said.

Therefore, he predicted leading indexes at the market to keep their up-and-down performance owing to the wait-and-see situation which has been affecting the performance of main sectors, notably faltering firms. For his part, Global Investment House (Global) Financial Portfolio Chief Maitham Al-Shakhs opined that the delay in 2009 finding disclosure is not mainly to blame for dwindling shares. He also believed that the price index would stand at its level of 7,000 points at least this week amid sharp speculations that are expected to run deeper with the launching of bank profit announcements. — KUNA

Emirates Steel to refinance $1.5bn DUBAI: Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Steel Industries (ESI) will approach banks in March to refinance $1.5 billion used for the first and second phase of its plant expansion, the company’s chief financial officer said yesterday. Last year the company had announced the completion of its first phase expansion plan which lifted output from 65,000 tons per year to 2 million tons. “The cost of the first expansion phase was $700 million and was done through a bridging loan which Emirates Steel took,” Stephen Pope told Reuters in a phone interview, A further $500 million of funds was given for phase two of the expansion from General Holding Corp, ESI’s holding company, Pope added.

in the news Jazeera wins $105m plane financing DUBAI: Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways said yesterday it secured $105 million in financing for three new Airbus A320 aircraft. Jazeera, one of two listed airlines in the Gulf Arab region, said it had received financing from the European Export Credit Agencies and French investment bank Natixis. The airline, which has a firm order for 29 new aircraft, currently operates 11 planes flying across the Middle East and North Africa. — Reuters Kuwait inflation falls to 5.7% in March KUWAIT: Kuwait’s annual consumer inflation fell to 5.7 percent in March 2009, from 5.9 percent in February, data on the central bank’s website showed. — Reuters Oman to spend $6bn on electricity expansion MUSCAT: Oman says it plans to spend over $6 billion by 2016 to boost its electricity generating capacity, including building a new plant and expanding two others. Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Mahrouki, the head of Oman’s General Authority for Electricity and Water, said Sunday that increased economic and industrial activity in the oil-rich sultanate had almost doubled electricity demand over the past decade to 3,808 megawatts. He says Oman has begun preparatory work on a new 440 megawatt plant slated to be operational by 2012, and the expansion of two other plants.

“So the objective is to consolidate assets and funding and we will be going out to the market for refinancing of $1.5 billion which we are hoping to be complete by the second quarter this year.” Pope declined to give further details. The company will approach local, regional and international banks for the refinancing, he said. Emirates Steel’s output capacity is expected to reach 3 million tons a year by 2011. The company has said it is looking to further boost its annual capacity to 6.5 million tons by 2013-2014 through expansion and acquisitions. Last year Oman’s Shadeed Iron and Steel said ESI was in talks to acquire the company. — Reuters

RIYADH: The road to recovery for the global economy will be a long one given the depth of the financial crisis, Muhammad Al-Jasser, Saudi central bank chief, said yesterday. “Given the enormity and the impact of the financial crisis on the global economy, the road to recovery will be a gradual process,” he said at a conference. “The future remains deeply uncertain.” In Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Arab world and the only Arab member of the G20 group of nations, base indicators of economic pressures have eased, he said. “Money (supply) and credit data support the view that inflationary pressures have eased,” he said. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia will resist pressures to increase spending, as the country aims to keep its fiscal reserves at a “good level,” the country’s finance minister said yesterday. Ibrahim Al-Assaf also said economic indicators gave cause for optimism for the Saudi economy but more broadly he sounded a note of caution, saying the Group of 20 richest nations should not rush into withdrawing their economic stimulus packages just yet. “It could lead to another dip in the world economy,” he said, at a conference in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Saudi Arabia, like other nations, boosted spending on infrastructure, education and healthcare last year seeking to underpin economic growth and has repeatedly warned of the need to keep stimulus packages in place and against early exits. However, Assaf said there was also a risk that price pressures could increase due to the stimulus measures. “We have been monitoringand here I mean the G20 nations the situation, in particular looking at not to withdraw the stimulus packages or to extend them longer than needed,” he said. Inflation fell sharply across the Gulf in 2009 — it hit a record of 9.9 percent in Saudi in 2008 — as oil prices fell from their record mid-2008 peaks and demand stalled in the wake of the global credit crunch. But there have been signs of inflationary pressures resurfacing with Saudi inflation bouncing back to 4 percent in November from a 28-month low in October. “The stimulus packages were put in place to counter the decline in demand, so government demand is driving macro demand. The concern at this time is that price pressures occur because of stimulus packages,” he said. The finance minister also said he expected Saudi growth would be “more than 4 percent” in 2010, speaking to Al Arabiya TV. — Reuters

RIYADH: Maha Al-Ghunaim, the chairperson and managing director of Kuwait’s Global Investment House takes part in a panel discussion during the Fourth International Competitiveness Forum in Riyadh yesterday. — AFP

Debt worries erode euro PARIS: The crippling debt and shaky financial credibility undermining Greece and some of its partners on financial markets threaten the cohesion of the euro-zone and the euro as well, analysts warn. Anxious investors surveying the dark clouds looming over Greek and Portuguese finances, as well as lackluster growth prospects for the euro-zone as a whole, have begun to shun the single currency for the safe-haven dollar. Adding to the downward pressure have been fears that China will take steps to cool its sizzling economy, curbing demand for

currencies-such as the euro-seen as a riskier bet than the US unit. “Due to the uncertain economic outlook in Europe, markets are in no mood to buy the euro,” said Hachijuni Bank strategist Masatsugu Miyata. “Although the United States has its own problems, at least it is in control of its fiscal policies relative to Europe,” he added. The euro by the end of last week was being traded at $1.41, with analysts at Capital Economics seeing the single currency plunging to $1.30 by the end of the year. The euro in early December had been

trading close to $1.51. Until recently the financial turmoil roiling Greece and the failure of its deficit reduction plans to impress markets have been seen principally raising questions about cohesion of policies in the euro-zone, where ever greater convergence is supposed to be the common target. The fear is that if Greece is ultimately abandoned by its partners, the countrydespite its protestations to the contrary — might decide to leave the euro-zone, encouraging other weaker members to consider the same step. —AFP

Pressure for bank reforms to grow at Davos meet ZURICH: Pressure for bank reforms is set to grow at a gathering of the world’s elite at Davos this week, shortly after US President Barack Obama set the stage with an offensive against Wall Street excesses. However, emboldened by a growing economic recovery, bankers-who were conspicuously missing from last year’s World Economic Forum meeting in the Swiss mountain resort-are set to fight back in vocal fashion, experts said. Excessive risk taking by the banking industry has been cited as one of the causes of the recent financial and economic crises and regulators have been tasked by top politicians to draw up new rules to rein the banks in. But as the world slowly emerges from recessionthe worst since the Great Depression-opposing voices from banks on these new rules are growing louder. “The lobbying is getting very strong and the political will can be diluted quickly,” warned Cedric Tille, professor of economics at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva. “It’s urgent to put these reforms in place,” said Tille, a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Proponents of the reform would find an ally in Obama, who announced plans on Thursday to prevent banks or financial institutions in the United States from owning, investing in or sponsoring hedge fund or private equity funds. The new rules would force firms to choose between activities such as trading in stocks and sometimes risky financial instruments for their own benefit-and traditional activities, like making loans and collecting

LUCERNE, Switzerland: Demonstrators protest in Lucerne during a rally against the January 27 to 31 annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos.—AFP deposits. The Group of 20 (G20) leading developed and emerging economies has also asked for new rules to clean up the sector, with more stringent requirements on capitalization and debt ratios due to be introduced by the end of 2012. Rainer Skierka, an analyst at Bank Sarasin, noted that the new rules were unpopular since they could generate costs and

cut the profit margins of banks. In addition, banks would be required to set aside more money as capital-reducing the funds they could use for investment to generate better returns. “Banks are doing intense lobbying as the new demands on capital reduces their profits,” said Tille. Bankers are likely to be more vocal in their lobbying against the reforms, said

Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight. “A lot of bankers can’t wait to get out of the control of governments. Some feel so stifled,” he said. “They are going to do everything they can to resist the reforms. They will be more vocal this year,” he added. Bankers and finance ministers are to sit together on Wednesday to discuss “structural deficiencies (that) persist in the regulation of systemic financial risk,” according to a program of the Davos meeting circulated by organizers. On Saturday, the focus will be on how the largest financial institutions in the world should be regulated. Central bankers like the European Central Bank’s Jean-Claude Trichet as well as Egypt’s Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali and French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde, are expected to pile on the pressure, analysts said. Regulators have cautioned that reining in banks is becoming a key issue, particularly now that governments have shown that they were willing to bail out ailing banks in a financial crisis. “Before the crisis, you didn’t know how states were going to behave in the event of a crisis,” Switzerland’s central bank chief JeanPierre Roth observed recently before he retired. “After the crisis, the head of a major bank knows that in case of a major crisis in the future he can count on state backing, and that’s the parameter that has changed fundamentally.” The pre-crisis ambiguity had broadly encouraged greater prudence, he added. Roth cautioned that its loss now posed a “fundamental problem,” hence the need for regulation to take over. — AFP

Dubai Holding pays about $100m in bond payments DUBAI: A Dubai Holding unit, which belongs to the ruler of the emirate, said yesterday it had made about $100 million worth of scheduled distribution payments on three bonds due over the next five years. The move by Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group (DHCOG), the holding firm of Dubai Holding’s property, business parks and hospitality units, could allay fears that more Dubai-linked entities face debt commitments they cannot meet. “It sends the right signal to the markets,” said an analyst at an international lender, who asked not to be identified. “I have no doubt they will struggle over the next few months. But they will get over it with the support of Abu Dhabi. “I don’t think Abu Dhabi will let them down.” Dubai rocked global markets on Nov. 25 when it unveiled plans to request a standstill on $26 billion in debt linked to its Dubai World conglomerate. Dubai World-which has yet to publicly outline its restructuring plans and present a standstill agreement to creditors-managed to stave off a $4.1 billion default on an Islamic bond linked to property unit, Nakheel. That repayment came thanks to a lastminute bailout by wealthier neighbor Abu Dhabi on Dec. 14. Dubai Holding was next in the sights of jittery investors, concerned about the group’s debt position. The company is made up of DCHOG, Dubai International Capital and Dubai Group, which own foreign assets including stakes in the London Stock Exchange Madame Tussauds and Travelodge. In a statement to Nasdaq Dubai, DHCOG said it had made the periodic distributions which come due on Feb 1, 2010. The company said the three payments consist of: a 35.63 million euro distribution on a 750 million euro note due Jan. 30, 2014; 30 million pounds on a 500 million pound note due Feb 1, 2017 and $828,650 on a $500 million note due Feb. 1, 2010. — Reuters



Monday, January 25, 2010

KD5 becomes KD10, only with VIVA

VIVA offers double credit with launch of new K5 prepaid line KUWAIT: Leading telecommunications service provider VIVA broke new ground by becoming the first operator in Kuwait to offer double credit with the purchase of a new prepaid line. This limited time promotion exemplifies everything VIVA strives to achieve: advanced, differentiated services and great value com-

bined. Under the new “5 becomes 10” promotion customers can expect to receive higher combined value with twice as much credit on their account, as well as access to VIVA’s premium services such as Best Friend and Friends and Family. Best Friend, an exclusive service by VIVA,

Adgas to commission fresh gas supply in Q2 ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company (Adgas), expects to bring online fresh production from its offshore plant at Das island in the second quarter, a top company official said yesterday. Around 85 percent of the LNG produced at Das Island is exported to Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Co . ADGAS, a subsidiary of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation, plans to commission about 211 million cubic feet per day (cfd) of gas production in the second-quarter, Hasan Al Marzooqi, deputy general manager of Adgas said in an interview with the Energy Exchange.

“Development is proceeding very well and we are on schedule to commission around the end of the second-quarter of this year when we will send for the first time offshore gas to onshore facilities,” he said. Adgas will operate and maintain the subsea pipeline after commissioning. Currently, the engineering procurement contracts (EPC) are managed by Gasco. All offshore associated gas and integrated gas development (IGD) packages are in the final stages of construction with all IGD packages awarded in July last year, he said. Adgas also ruled out any plans to increase LNG exports.

“The main focus for us is to satisfy our current contractual obligation for exports and to meet the local demand of gas,” he said. The global crisis pushed Adgas to speed up awarding major packages last year to take advantage of better prices, he said, adding that it also increased the number of competing contractors, especially from the Far East. “With cheaper base costs for both labor and technology and the effect of the crisis on their local economies, they can be more competitive, so we may see this as a continuing trend in the short term,” he said. — Reuters

X-Cite Electronics launches ‘Lucky Ball’ promotion

KUWAIT: X-Cite by Alghanim Electronics has announced the recent launch of the Lucky Ball promotion, by which qualifying customers can win great prizes and surprises throughout the month of January. The Lucky Ball promotion has already yielded more than 50 grand prize winners, each of whom has walked away with a 32” LCD television. Renowned for remarkable offers and promotions, X-Cite by Alghanim

Electronics has established this campaign in line with their mission to prioritize customer satisfaction. In this promotion, customers who purchase at Xcite have a chance to win their unique prize. Each ball indicates the prize that the customer will receive. Prizes to be won range from LCDs, mobiles, valuable vouchers and thousands of other gifts. Many customers have already participated in the Lucky Ball draw, and positive feedback has been

astounding. Vice President of Alghanim Electronics Shahid Khan stated, “The Xcite Lucky Ball Promotion is a part of a series of offers and promotions aimed at fully satisfying our esteemed customers and thanking them for their loyalty.” Advertising and Promotions manager Hilal Farhat continued this sentiment by adding, “X-Cite Electronics is dedicated to providing our customers with only the best promotions and prizes.”

allows customers to select any VIVA number and send unlimited free SMS’s to that number as well as having the best preferential call rate of only 10fils per minute. In addition, the Friends & Family feature allows customers to talk at discounted rates to one local number and one International number. VIVA’s customers can always know how much their calls to any number in Kuwait will cost, as calls are always charged at a flat rate. This new offer is another first from VIVA and further demonstrates its cutting edge innovation, leadership and promise to make all things “Possible” for its customers. For more information about this promotion customers can visit any of VIVA’s locations countrywide or

Abraaj sees first Saudi deal within six months RIYADH: Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Capital may close its first transaction in Saudi Arabia within the first half of the year with a deal most likely to be in healthcare or education, an executive said yesterday. The Middle East’s biggest private equity firm, which has raised about $7 billion since inception in 2002, is yet to announce its first deal since opening its Saudi branch in May. Tightening credit conditions in the kingdom have brought about more opportunities but “high valuations” were still a hurdle to the conclusion of deals, Sari Anabtawi, head of Abraaj’s Saudi affiliate, told Reuters. “The issue of scarce financing is definitely a boon for us,” he said on the sidelines of the Global Competitiveness Forum in Riyadh. Anabtawi said the firm was particularly interested in the fields of education, healthcare and manufacturing, especially in the food industry. But the firm’s most advanced talks are with companies operating in the education and healthcare sectors, he added. “I think we will close our first transaction within three to six months,” Anbtawi said. Any single transaction would “ideally” involve $300 million but the company could spend up to $600 million for deals in the country, Anabtawi added. — Reuters

KIA chooses Kuwait to test all-new sedan KIA Cadenza eyes one of most attractive automotive markets in ME KUWAIT: National Agencies Group, the authorized dealer of KIA Motors in Kuwait, is proud to announce that Kuwait has been chosen as the testing ground for the stylish luxury sedan set to be launched in March 2010. The “Cadenza” name is derived from an Italian musical term used to describe an elaborate, ornamental flourish for a concerto or aria. It perfectly symbolizes the dynamic sedan’s striking design philosophy and upscale image. Soon-Nam Lee, Director of the Overseas Marketing Group, KIA Motors Corporation, said, “New Cadenza will showcase the continuing evolution in KIA’s striking design language through the harmonious blend of light and lines. It will also present a new concept in luxury sedans in terms of performance and technology.” Kuwait was chosen because of its high car sales rate and has proven to have an enormous appetite for KIA cars, which guarantee high-quality, style and high-value for money through a wide range of models that suit all tastes. National Agencies Group has been maintaining a strong relationship with KIA Motors and its customers for more than 13 years with a fast growing market share and total sales, particularly in family, SUV and luxury cars. Present at the test drive earlier this month was Jun-Pyo Kwon (Assistant Manager/Navigation Team, R&D Center), Joheum Baek (Senior Development Department), David Bamber (KIA Service Manager - National Agencies Group), Hany Helmy Al-Akby (Assitant Service Operations

Manager). Sales have jumped more than 625% between 2003 and 2008, from a modest 800 cars per year in 2003 to 6,000 in 2009. The year 2010 is expected to be the best year ever for NAG and KIA Motors with projected sales of more than 7,000 cars. Proportionately, market share has grown from less than 1% to approximately 7.4%. These impressive figures reflect KIA Motors’ global position as a continuously-growing major automotive producer. KIA Motors announced 1,651,920 vehicles sold globally in 2009 with a 20.1% year-on-year sales increase. This astounding success can be attributed to fresh new exterior designs, superb driving quality, impressive interior comfort and features and affordable prices for every type of consumer. KIA Motors was established in 1944 at its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. Today it is a mega automotive producer with more than 33,000 employees working in 14 plants and facilities in eight countries. It produces an excess of 1.4 million units that are sold through certified dealers in 165 countries around the world. KIA Motors is also a major sponsor of the 2010 Australian Open Tennis Championship and the Davis Cup until 2014, in addition to being a major sponsor of FIFA & the World Cup 2010 in South Africa. National Agencies Group is an arm of AbdulAziz Al-Ali Al-Mutawa Group of Companies and has been the authorized dealer of KIA Motors vehicles in Kuwait since 1997.

KIA officials pose for a photo

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

.2830000 .4590000 .4020000 .2720000 .2780000 .2550000 .0045000 .0020000 .0776790 .7568070 .4020000 .0750000 .7419170 .0045000 .0500000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2861500 .4610100 .4043730 .2747730 .2704480 .0543150 .0395420 .2575940 .0368130 .2036880 .0031810 .0062610 .0025100 .0034060 .0041920 .0779470 .7594070 .4046970 .0763460 .7436230 .0062200 TRANSFER CHEQUES RATES .2882500 .4642670 .2767190 .0768330

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 287.000 Euro 414.600

.2920000 .4680000 .4100000 .2820000 .2790000 .2640000 .0075000 .0035000 .0784600 .7644130 .4180000 .0790000 .7493730 .0072000 .0570000 .2882500 .4642670 .4072290 .2767190 .2723640 .0547000 .0398220 .2594130 .0370740 .2051310 .0032030 .0063050 .0025280 .0034300 .0042220 .0784440 .7642510 .4075640 .0768330 .7483660 .0062640

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

473.000 285.600 198.310 281.700 265.100 285.000 ASIAN COUNTRIES 3.189 6.284 3.394 2.509 3.942 207.400 36.980 4.152 6.252 8.744 0.301 0.292 ARAB COUNTRIES 55.250 52.963 1.379 219.920 405.500 193.920 6.325 37.080 GCC COUNTRIES 76.574 78.890 745.940 762.600 78.202 GOLD 222.000 115.000 59.000

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

SELL CASH 263.100 764.270 4.550 275.500 693.400 15.800 55.500 167.800 55.390

409.300 37.610 6.225

406.230 0.193 87.630 3.920 207.000 747.390 3.410 6.225 79.170 76.840 206.310 40.300 2.513 466.800 278.600 8.900 78.530 267.800

GOLD 1,177.480 TRAVELLER’S CHEQUE 466.800 287.800

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

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

410.800 37.780 6.610 0.035 0.280 0.251 3.290 407.820 0.194 87.630 38.900 4.240 208.500 2.183 50.700 747.570 3.500 6.450 79.600 76.840 206.310 40.300 2.765 468.800 40.800 280.100 6.400 9.090 222.000 78.530 288.200 1.420

SELL DRAFT 261.600 764.270 4.162 274.000

206.000 52.896

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

Selling Rate 287.300 273.340 465.470 408.400 275.470 704.180 761.850 78.200 78.845 76.640 405.415 52.940 6.230 3.405

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

2.510 4.170 6.205 3.200 8.715 5.540 3.950

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

Rate per 1000 (Tran) 287.250 3.410 6.245 2.520 4.165 6.250 78.245 76.720 763.700 52.880 468.400 0.0000306 1.550 408.100 5.750 411.900 278.700

Al Mulla Exchange Currency Transfer Rate (Per 1000) US Dollar 287.100 Euro 409.050 Pound Sterling 465.900 Canadian Dollar 273.900 Japanese Yen 3.160 Indian Rupee 6.235 Egyptian Pound 52.880 Sri Lankan Rupee 2.512 Bangladesh Taka 4.155 Philippines Peso 6.225 Pakistan Rupee 3.409 Bahraini Dinar 764.100 UAE Dirham 78.200 Saudi Riyal 76.550 *Rates are subject to change


Monday, January 25, 2010

KUWAIT: George Cooper, the airline’s CEO, poses with staff members.


KUWAIT: Abdul Salam Al-Bahar addresses the gathering.

KUWAIT: Abdul Salam Al-Bahar and George Cooper with other officials and staff members.

Wataniya Airways celebrates one year of success A quarter of a million guests travelled aboard premium airline in its first year KUWAIT: Wataniya Airways, Kuwait’s premium service airline is marking a major milestone in its rapid growth yesterday with the celebration of its first anniversary. A special ceremony to mark this moment took place at Wataniya Airways’ headquarters at Kuwait International Airport attended by Abdul Salam Al-Bahar, Wataniya Airways’ Chairman, George Cooper, the airline’s CEO, Wataniya Airways staff members, and members of the media. The airline is celebrating its first year of operations with many surprises and offers starting today with what the airline is calling its “thank you gift” to Kuwait for the support we’ve received in our successful first year, said Wataniya Airways Chairman and Managing Director Abdulsalam AlBahar, adding “we want everyone to join us in our celebrations, and as we’ve succeeded to make flying an enjoyable experience for the past year, we are extending a special offer to allow as many people as possible to enjoy it. Wataniya Airways is giving one great offer for one day, January 25, 2009, by providing 11,000 Premium Economy seats for KD11 only return, as well as offering our First Class guests who book with us today one free first class ticket as a gift.” AlBahar noted Wataniya Airways’ achieve-

ment in its first year saying that the airline flew more than a quarter of a million guests in its first year to and from its own Sheikh Saad Terminal to its network of 8 destinations across the Middle East. “Our team managed to do remarkable things in a brief period, gaining our guests trust and satisfaction by providing an extraordinary experience, launching flights to eight different destinations with more to be announced soon, and becoming one of the few airlines in the world to launch a frequent flyer program in its first year of operation in our own Wataniya Diwan,” he said, concluding “this would have not been possible without the tremendous support we got from our guests and the community in Kuwait and we thank them for that”. Wataniya Airways now has a fleet of four custom fitted A320 aircraft and is set to receive three more aircraft in 2010, bringing its total fleet size to seven aircraft. George Cooper, the airline’s CEO added “”A year ago we set out to give our guests the kind of flying experience that we knew they wanted and deserved. From the start our goal has been to make flying with Wataniya Airways an experience that delights from terminal to terminal. We have invested in the very best of

aircraft and staff to help us achieve that goal and it is entirely due to the dedication of our team at Wataniya Airways that we mark this anniversary as the region’s full premium service airline. We want to thank all our guests for their custom and support in the past year their input and feedback has been consistently helpful in our quest to deliver excellence.” Major achievements during Wataniya Airways’ first year include: • Flying to Dubai, Bahrain, Cairo, Beirut, Amman, Damascus, Jeddah, and Sharm El Sheikh from the Sheikh Saad Terminal, becoming the first and only airline in Kuwait to operate from an exclusive terminal. • Launching “Wataniya Diwan”, the airline’s loyalty program, becoming one of the few airlines in the world to launch a frequent flyer program within its first year of operations. • Expanding the airline’s operations in Cairo by opening its second sales office. • Launching Wataniya Airways’ Cargo operations to go in line with the premium services provided. • Achieving a quarter of a million guests in record breaking time. • Building a team of over 500 highly qualified professionals across all disciplines.

Al Mulla Exchange welcomes delegates from State Bank of Pakistan KUWAIT: Al-Mulla International Exchange Co KSCC received on January 20, the Deputy Directors of State Bank of Pakistan, to Kuwait. The first ever visit by the Central Bank regulators from Pakistan to the State of Kuwait was to experience first-hand the remittance procedures and services offered by the various exchange houses here and on how to better the remittance volumes from Kuwait to Pakistan. The Deputy Directors, Nadeem Abbas and Mizra Hafeez Baig, had a detailed discussion with Hormuzda Davar, Divisional General ManagerAl Mulla Group, and Faisal Athar Hussain, General Manager - Al Mulla Exchange, on improving and introducing

new services for Pakistan remittances. They also discussed new strategies and techniques on improvement in technological abilities to be implemented in various banks in Pakistan which resultantly will improve timely delivery of remittances and also increase the number of remittances to

Pakistan by setting new standards in customer satisfaction. The State Bank of Pakistan officials promised that they will immediately be looking into new ways and means to improve the efficiency of the banks in Pakistan and enhance remittance solutions to Pakistan.

French nuclear firms told to stop bickering PARIS: Prime Minister FranÁois Fillon on Wednesday summoned the squabbling chiefs of EDF and Areva to a meeting to calm tensions in the country’s increasingly dysfunctional-looking nuclear power industry. Fillon called Anne Lauvergeon, chief executive of Areva, the nuclear power plant giant, and Henri Proglio, chief executive of EDF, the world’s biggest operator of nuclear power facilities, to his office at the Hotel de Matignon to resolve two thorny contractual disputes after days of quarreling in the press. “The prime minister reminded the parties of the state’s role in the nuclear field,” Fillon’s office said in a statement, and he underlined “the necessity of guaranteeing the competitive production of electricity on French soil.” The state owns 84 percent of EDF and 91 percent of Areva. Fillon said the parties had two weeks to resolve two contractual disputes. In one, they must fix the terms of a long-term agreement regarding treatment of spent fuel. In the other, they must work out terms for EDF to obtain fuel from Areva’s Tricastin uranium enrichment plant “under balanced conditions for the two enterprises.” Areva has said that a failure to reach agreement on the latter issue would require it to close the Plant and lay off 500 workers by the end of the year. The frictions between the two companies have been exacerbated by Proglio’s ambitions for EDF. He said last autumn that the creation of Areva had been “probably a mistake” and suggested that it should be absorbed by EDF. The meeting Wednesday was the second time in three months that Fillon had intervened between the two executives. The companies declined to comment on the meeting. France gen-

erates nearly 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, more than any other country. The government has long backed the sector as an export champion. But French technology, once seen as a world-beater, has lost some of its luster because of problems with third-generation reactor construction projects in France and Finland, and the unexpected loss to a South Korean-led consortium last month of a $20 billion contract to build plants in the United Arab Emirates. Areva is building a European pressurized reactor plant, or EPR, at Olkiluoto, Finland. Meant to be the most powerful reactor ever built, the project has fallen years behind schedule and has booked 2.3 billion euros, or $3.3 billion, of provisions against cost overruns, on a project initially billed at 3 billion euros. Because of problems, including criticism of the planned control system by regulators in France, Britain and Finland, Areva executives will no longer make public predictions of when the Finnish plant will go online. On Tuesday, Le Figaro, a newspaper considered close to the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy, cited unidentified people as saying that a second EPR plant under construction in Flamanville, France, was also running at least two years behind schedule. Julien Duperray, a spokesman for Areva, said “Flamanville is an EDF project, unlike in Finland,” and directed inquiries to EDF. Carole Trivi, a spokeswoman for EDF, noted that EDF said in November that it planned to have the Flamanville facility operating commercially in 2013. “There has been no change to schedule since that announcement,” she said.

KUWAIT: Abdul Salam Al-Bahar, Wataniya Airways’ Chairman, George Cooper, the airline’s CEO, other officials and staff during the cake-cutting ceremony.

New service helps eliminate unwanted calls, sms

Wataniya introduces another innovative service ‘Block-U’ KUWAIT: Aiming at providing the best and most innovative services to its customers, and reaching out to its ultimate expectations, Wataniya Telecom introduces its brand new service Block-U, which enables customers to have better control over their calls and sms. With this ingenious quick-witted service, both pre-paid and post-paid customers can now configure their incoming calls and sms by simply adding a number on a block-list. All block-listed will not be able to call or send sms, and subscribers can restrict calls and text messages any time they want to. The perfect way to protect their own privacy. “Giving our loyal customers the best experience along with flexibility and choice is Wataniya Telecom’s top priori-

ty,” said Abdulaziz Al Balool, PR Manager of Wataniya Telecom. “The Block U service is not just a service to block unwanted callers, but gives our loyal customers the control to use our services according to their own preferences and to get the best value for their money”. Cautious to deliver easy to use services and always caring for the customer’s right to privacy, this service not only works as a monitoring tool but also gives you peace of mind and a great relief. For all ladies receiving annoying harassment calls, to those who are eager for a deep day nap, and those sick of sleepless nights, or whoever getting bothersome calls or sms, this is the perfect way out.

With Block-U service, customers are capable to select who is calling or texting them , through two lists; the first is the “Allow-list”, which allows 10 callers only to get in contact with them, and the other called “Block-list” whereby 10 other callers can be listed and will be disallowed to either call or sms! Moreover, customers will also have the choice to set the service screening mode to three different call modes according to their preferences, to better facilitate control over their incoming calls. They can accept, block and allow calls as well. Block-U service is available for all subscribers now and can be activated through call or sms sub to 1718, log to Wmenu on * 121 #.

Abdulaziz Al Balool, PR Manager of Wataniya Telecom

The Forum discusses challenges facing world economy DAVOS: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) will participate in the 40th annual meetings and activities of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to be held in Davos Switzerland from 27 to 31 January 2010 under the theme “ Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild”. NBK’s CEO, Ibrahim Shukri Dabdoub and Deputy CEO Shaikha Al-Bahar will join more 2,500 leaders from more than 90 countries representing business, government, civil society, academia and culture who will work together to address pressing challenges and future risks. NBK’s CEO and Deputy CEO will actively participate in a number of the world prominent activities during the forum, including the 1st day inaugural session which will discuss the global financial crisis and the risks of potential collapse of the global financial system as well as the incessant weakness of the financial system and how to deal with them in 2010. In addition to Dabdoub, the session will be attended by president of Swiss Re, Stefan Lippe, president of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

NBK at Davos 2010

NBK will also participate in the CNBC International with Maria Bartiromo enti-

tled “The Forthcoming Global Crisis. When and How?” which will focus on the

ongoing debate on regulating the financial services worldwide, the prospects of another global financial crisis as well as the return to financial protectionism and the role of sovereign funds. During five days filled with hundreds of working sessions, the Forum will basically address the ongoing challenges facing the world economy and the expected future risks. Global multistakeholder cooperation lies at the heart of the Forum’s mission to improve the state of the world. Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, will deliver the opening address of the Forum which will be Co-Chaired by a host of world prominent figures including Chairman of Deutsche Bank, Josef Ackermann, GCEO Standard Chartered Bank, Peter Sands, CEO Google, Eric Schmidt and Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda French Gates. NBK, a strategic supporter and partner of the WEF’s 40th annual meetings, has always been a regular participant at the Forum’s international and regional spectrum of activities.

Oman warns brokers on insider trading MUSCAT: Oman’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) yesterday warned brokers not to leak the financial statements of listed companies before they are published. “The CMA affirms that the aim is to enhance transparency among traders (brokers) and not to reveal financial

information of trading companies before they are published,” a CMA statement said. The CMA also urged trading companies to publish results “as soon as possible to avoid speculation on companies’ financial positions”. Listed companies have up to two months to publish annual

results from the end of the last financial quarter. But some brokers in the Muscat Securities Market said that listed companies sometimes are the source of insider trading. “There are a few rumors going around about insider trading but listed

companies, apart from brokers, sometime leak information not just brokers,” Sankar Kailasam, analyst at Gulf Baader Capital Markets said. Companies accused of insider trading face a fine of up to 100,000 rials ($260,000). — Reuters



KSE stocks drop in tune with ME markets decline Global Daily Market Report KUWAIT: The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) started the week with declines witnessed in major indicators. This decline has coincided with the retreat of most GCC stock markets as well. GGI shed 2.38 points (1.28 percent) during yesterday’s session to reach 183.26 points. Furthermore, the KSE Price Index dropped by 37.40 points (0.53 percent) yesterday and closed at 7,024.50 points. Market capitalization was down KD237.57mn yesterday to reach KD29.91bn. Market breadth During the session, 124 companies were traded. Market breadth was skewed towards decliners as 70 equities retreated versus 28 that advanced. A total of 107 stocks remained unchanged during yesterday’s trading session. Trading activities ended on a negative note yesterday as volume of shares traded on the exchange decreased by 44.01 percent to reach 431.11mn shares. Furthermore, value of shares traded dropped by 27.35 percent to stand at KD55.89mn. The Investment Sector was the volume leader for the day, accounting for 34.74 percent of total shares traded. The Services sector was the value leader, accounting for 35.70 percent of total market value. Abyaar Real Estate Development Company saw 38.12mn shares changing hands, making it the volume leader. Zain the value leader, with a total traded value of KD5.07mn. In terms of top gainers, Mushrif Trading & Contracting Company was the top gainer in the market, adding 6.67 percent and closed at

KD0.160. On the other hand, Strategia Investment Company was the biggest decliner for the day, dropping by 10.78 percent and closed at KD0.046. Regarding Global’s sectoral indices, they all ended on a negative note, except for Global Insurance Index which was unchanged and Global NonKuwaiti Index which was the only gainer. The index ended the day up 0.38 percent backed by Ahli United Bank being the only gainer in the sector, despite several other companies ending in the red. The scrip ended the day up 2.67 percent

and closed at KD0.154. In terms of decliners, Global Food Index took the top spot with a 4.19 percent decline. Heavyweight Kuwait Foodstuff Company (Americana) was the only decliner in the sector, with the remaining companies being unchanged. Americana ended the day down 5.33 percent and closed at KD1.420. Global Industrial Index was the second biggest decliner with a 2.63 percent drop National Industries Group contributed to the index’s decline by posting a 2.90 percent drop and closed at KD0.335. Furthermore, Kuwait

Cement Company was also aided the index’s decline by shedding 3.39 percent and closed at KD0.570. Global’s special indices also ended on a negative note yesterday except for Global Small Cap Index being the only gainer. The index ended the day up 0.38 percent backed by Palms Agro Production ending the day up 4.90 percent. It’s worth mentioning that the scrip was the only gainer in the index. Oil news The price of OPEC basket of twelve crudes stood at $74.54 a barrel on Thursday 21/1/2010,

compared with $75.30 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. Market news Danah Al-Safat Foodstuff rebutted the news published on a local gazette regarding divesting an investment, generating more than 8 fils per share. The news is completely inaccurate, the company indicated. National Petroleum Services Company (NAPESCO) has been awarded Tender No. PRG 09.3946 to provide coiled pipe services and stimulate oil wells of Iraq-based South Oil Co. The $2.50mn deal will run for 4-6 months.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Markets tumble, track slump on Obama plan MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Most Middle East markets tumbled yesterday as global sentiment for equities turned sour following US President Barack Obama’s move to curb US banks’ proprietary trading. Dubai’s index plunged 5 percent and Egypt lost 3 percent in their largest one-day declines since early December, while Qatar slumped to an eight-week low and all other regional markets fell, except for Saudi Arabia. “Unfortunately our markets aren’t correlated with global markets on the way up but we have an exaggerated correlation on the downside,” said Matthew Wakeman, EFG-Hermes managing director for cash and equity-linked trading. Dubai fell to a fresh six-week low as Emaar Properties dropped a near-maximum 9.7 percent and Dubai Financial Market lost 9.4 percent. “Buyers before were only speculators, it wasn’t coming from institutions,” said Ayman el-Saheb, Darahem Financial Brokerage director of operations. “So with what happened internationally and the lack of local liquidity, there was no way for the market to move but down.” Obama’s move to bar US banks from owning, sponsoring or investing in hedge funds for proprietary profit sent global equities tumbling late last week, which spurred selling on regional markets including Egypt when they reopened yesterday. “(There is) fear that the hedge funds and private equity funds will have to sell their positions here, and nobody knows exactly how much is held,” said Osama Mourad, chief executive of Arab Finance Brokerage in Cairo, adding volumes did not suggest foreign investors were deserting en masse. Egyptian bluechips, which are the preferred choice for international investors, bore the brunt of the downturn, with Orascom Telecom (OT) falling 6.4 percent and Commercial International Bank losing 3 percent. Kuwait’s Zain slumped to a 10-week closing low after its affiliate Zain Saudi Arabia (ZSA) said it was in creditor talks, having missed commitments on a $2.5-billion Islamic loan, dragging Kuwait’s index > to its first decline in four sessions. Zain fell 3.1 percent, with fears over its likely fourth-quarter earnings also weighing on the stock. “Zain is expected to report bad results,

which increases negative sentiment,” said Shahid Hameed, head of asset management at Global Investment House. ZSA dropped 0.5 percent, but Saudi blue-chips were steady, helping the Kingdom’s index rise 0.1 percent. “SABIC’s Q4 results have lent support to the market after they came in well above expectations,” said a Riyadh-based analyst who asked not be identified. Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) ended flat at 88.75 riyals, not far from Wednesday’s 15-month high. The petrochemicals producer’s fourth-quarter profit rose 15fold, beating analysts’ forecasts. “Saudi Arabia is now outperforming global markets. We’ve had our Q4 earnings and investors are happy that banks wrote down significant amountsthat’s not to say sentiment is overwhelmingly positive, but we’re in a better state than the rest of the region,” added the Riyadh-based analyst. Abu Dhabi’s index fell for a fourth session running, slumping to a six-week low as property stocks plunged, tracking losses on Dubai’s benchmark. HIGHLIGHTS EGYPT The index fell 3 percent to 6,657 points. DUBAI The index fell 5 percent to 1,570 points. ABU DHABI The benchmark fell 1.4 percent to 2,600 points. SAUDI ARABIA The measure rose 0.1 percent to 6,302 points. OMAN The index dropped 0.6 percent to 6,368 points. KUWAIT The index fell 0.5 percent to 7,025 points. QATAR The measure fell 1.6 percent to 6,666 points. BAHRAIN The index dropped 0.4 percent to 1,471 points. — Reuters


Monday, January 25, 2010


KUWAIT: The design mastermind behind the luxury Japanese auto brand Infiniti, Shiro Nakamura signs on a photo of a new Nissan 370Z at a showroom in Kuwait City Friday. Japan’s Nissan Motor’s chief creative officer is on a promotion visit to the Gulf emirate. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Nissan Senior VP Nakamura visits Kuwait Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al-Babtain Co welcomes Nissan Motor Company Ltd Senior Vice President on his first visit to Kuwait KUWAIT: In an unprecedented event, Abdulmohsen Abdulaziz Al Babtain Co, the sole agent of Nissan and Infiniti in Kuwait welcomed the arrival of the design mastermind behind the luxury Japanese auto brand Infiniti, Shiro Nakamura, senior vice president and chief creative officer of design and brand management of Nissan Motors Co ltd. Infiniti Al-Babtain hosted a special welcome reception at the Infiniti showroom in Al-Rai in honor of Nakamura with the presence of Monal Zeidan, General Manager - Marketing & Corporate Communications Department at Nissan Middle East. A vast attendance of VIPs from Al-Babtain Group, including Khalid Al Babtain, chair-

man; Saleh Al-Babtain, CEO & Vice Chairman and Mohammed Shalaby, chief operation officer, was witnessed, in addition to other top officials of Al Babtain Co and the media along with Kuwaiti artists and Automotive Engineering enthusiasts, who all greeted the exceptional presence of the main mastermind behind the entire Infiniti lineup and Nissan GT-R. “His visit today is incredibly valued,” said Saleh Al Babtain. “This marks one of the very special occasions for our company. Nakamura is truly a figure to be inspired by and had a great influence on the design direction of Nissan and Infiniti lineup.” With the company of AlBabtain’s top officials, Nakamura toured the show-

room and viewed the premium lineup of Infiniti designed out of his very own creative insight, being showcased today by Infiniti worldwide. Meanwhile, CEO Saleh AlBabtain welcomed Nakamura and the attendees and expressed his great pleasure to be hosting one of the exclusive events in the courtesy of a very special guest. The key achievements of Nakamura were under the limelight and the main focus of the event, which introduced the guests to the long successful record accomplished by the Japanese cerebral. Nakamura attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, which witnessed the birth of several car design careers. Nakamura is

considered one of the focal figures of Infiniti and Nissan, developing the brand with exclusive designs to reflect the core concept “Adeyaka.” Adeyaka stands for luxury, distinction, elegance and a special way of life. It is about value and an optimistic outlook on the world. Moreover, it highlights liveliness and charm, demonstrated in seductive and powerful colors. Meanwhile, Nakamura signed on a special Nissan Murano hood that will be sold in an auction for proceeds to go to charity. The same hood was signed by Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Mega Store business empire, in addition to Nissan Motor Company CEO Carlos Ghosn in separate events.

Currency impact seen far-reaching

Greece forces Europe to confront economic ‘US’ BRUSSELS: There’s no such thing as the United States of Europe, but are the continent’s national leaders beginning to wonder if there might not have to be to avoid another Greek debt crisis? When the 27 countries that make up the European Union gather next month to shape common economic planning for

SHANGHAI: Workers pass by an information board at the under-construction terminal 2 building of Hongqiao airport in Shanghai. Chinese airlines have soared back to profit as traffic rose, fuel prices fell and government policies provided a favorable tailwind, but analysts warn slowing passenger demand could mean more turbulence in 2010.— AFP

China airlines back in black but turbulence ahead SHANGHAI: China’s airlines returned to profit in 2009 as traffic rose, fuel prices fell and government policies provided a favorable tailwind, but analysts warn they could face fresh turbulence this year. The country’s three biggest carriers-China Southern Airlines, Air China and China Eastern Airlines-all suffered heavy losses in 2008 as the global economic crisis struck, but said this month they will be in the black for 2009. The industry as a whole posted a combined profit of 7.4 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) in 2009 and passenger volume grew 19.7 percent on-year to 230 million, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China. But analysts said while the outlook remained solid for 2010, the airlines would lose steam as the explosive growth in passenger volume slowed, with some travellers opting to stay home and others looking at cheaper forms of transport. “We are generally optimistic about the aviation industry, given the positive fundamentals such as the 2010 World Expo and continued economic recovery,” said Chen Huanyu, an analyst at brokerage Guotai Junan in Hong Kong. But he warned the 2009 turnaround was largely underpinned by nonoperating profits such as gains in fuel hedging deals and near-

ly two billion dollars of government aid granted to the top three carriers since late 2008. “We are going to see some uphills and downhills in their earnings in 2010 and maybe the following year,” Chen said, noting carriers would be hit with the resumption of payments to an infrastructure fund, halted during the crisis. The Chinese airlines, who gave the profit estimates in preliminary announcements, have yet to release complete full-year financial results; those are due in late March and April. But their expected return to profitability stands in sharp contrast to a net loss of $11 billion for 2009 for global airlines, according to an estimate from the International Air Transport Association. Last week, Japan Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection with $26 billion of debt in that country’s biggest post-war corporate failure outside the financial sector-a victim in part of the global crisis. China’s carriers have benefited from the country’s resilience during the crisis-the world’s third-largest economy expanded by a red-hot 8.7 percent last year-but experts say business will slow as price fears mount. “While we think the outlook remains positive, the pace of traffic growth should moderate, as travelers are more concerned about

general inflation and rising property prices,” Credit Suisse analysts said in a research note. “As a result, the desires and budgets for travelling will inevitably be affected,” they said. The number of air travelers will also slip as high-speed trains emerge as a cost-effective alternative, with China hard at work on completing a link between Shanghai and Beijing, analysts said. Last month, China launched what it calls the world’s fastest railway service linking central Wuhan and the southern city of Guangzhou, shortening the 10.5-hour trip to just three hours. “Because of the construction of highspeed rail, part of the market will be diverted to railways,” said UBS aviation analyst Thomas Kwan. He however noted the influence of high-speed railways was not likely to affect the airlines in the short term, and sustainable growth of the air travel market in China could be sufficient to absorb any long-term negative impact. “The domestic market is enormous,” Kwan said. According to official forecasts, air passenger traffic is expected to rise by 13 percent onyear in 2010 to 260 million, while cargo volume will grow 12 percent to 4.98 million tons. — AFP

While home to half a billion people and with the world’s biggest tariff-free market-bigger than the United States or China-Europe’s economic integration remains unfinished, principally held back by an instinct for political disintegration. Yet suddenly the risk of wayward, peripheral members of the club toppling the entire house of cards appears very real to those at the heart of the Brussels enterprise, and the talk on February 11 will be of lessons to be learnt fast. “Let us be clear: in the past, some national politicians have resisted stronger mechanisms of governance” in Brussels, Jose Manuel Barroso, who heads the European Commission, the body that drafts and enforces EU laws, said last week. “I hope that... all EU (national) governments will now recognize the need for full ownership of Europe 2020 and for a truly coordinated and coherent action in economic policy,” he said, referring to a new strategic framework. With surveillance reach growing and the debate moving into the area of political sanctions being applied by over-arching Brussels bureaucrats, ‘Europe’ is making a power-grab for the pursestrings of the member states that fund it. It’s not new, but Greece eas-

the next decade, the strains Athens has placed on its core currency could yet find far-reaching ramifications. Certainly, allowing Brussels to poke its nose into national statistical reporting-as is being mooted-is unlikely to be the last direct consequence of Greek profligacy for EU-wide governance.

PROMAHONAS, Greece: Truck drivers wait to pass at the border between Greece and Bulgaria in Promahonas as Greek farmers with tractors block the road that has caused considerable disruption in the neighboring country. Greek farmers caused traffic chaos in parts of the country, blocking main highways and the country’s main border crossing to fellow EU member Bulgaria, to demand higher prices for produce.— AFP ily represents “a turning-point in the history of monetary union,” which was the 1999 creation of the shared euro currency, says Royal Bank of Scotland economist Jacques Cailloux. “This is an unprecedented situation, testing the system itself,”

Cailloux underlined in reference to sudden, sharp upward revision of deficit levels by Athens when its new government came in late last year. “Europe’s responses will shape (budgetary) coordination for decades to come,” he added.

Barroso’s commission will finally be able to implement a new five-year mandate the day before national leaders assemble in Brussels. Obtaining the right to “audit” member states is “a first step” towards “a much more central-

ized system of budgetary coordination,” explained Cailloux. Dubious markets are having none of Greece’s promises to fill its budgetary black hole itself: indeed, Athens now has to offer more than three times as much as Germany to attract international lending. The problem, as ever, is one of “the transfer of sovereignty” from national capitals to Brussels, Belgium’s Finance Minister Didier Reynders said on Friday. And yet, the need to come up with a “more efficient organization” across the bloc means he for one is pushing for “greater integration of our political economies” to reflect that of its monetary pillar, the European Central Bank. While one high-ranking diplomat expressed agreement with stated Spanish desires to strengthen economic governance, at least across the 16 countries that share the euro, fierce obstacles-not least Londonremain. “Because not everyone is on the same page, to begin with we will adopt a new economic strategy (Europe 2020) to replace our Lisbon Strategy-and that one won’t work either,” the diplomat said cynically. “Politically, we are still a very long way off,” warned analyst Sylvain Broyer of Natixis. — AFP

Davos elite to grapple with bank reforms, Haiti GENEVA: Financial reforms, climate talks and Haiti’s reconstruction are set to dominate the agenda of the world’s elites heading up to the Swiss mountain resort of Davos this week for their annual meeting. And with the global economy showing signs of a pick-up, participants expect the mood to be lighter than the gloom experienced a year ago. But the climate is far from the celebration that might be expected for a gathering that is commemorating its 40th anniversary. Klaus Schwab, the founder and chair of the World Economic Forum that organizes the yearly meetings of top officials, executives and experts, set the tone for the meeting with a warning that another crisis may be looming. “We have a tendency to look at the stock exchanges, to look at the very modest growth figures of the economy and to feel the world overall has come back,” Schwab said. “Let’s not forget the world has fundamen-

tally changed.” “We feel that this is the danger: to move from a financial crisis in 2008, an economic crisis which we experienced in 2009, into a social crisis in 2010 and the following years.” Experts note that the global recovery remains fragile, unemployment is high and government budget deficits are worryingly wide. “If there was immense optimism two years ago and immense pessimism a year ago, this year it will be much more even. People will be waiting to see what is likely to happen,” said Aron Cramer, who heads the nongovernment group Business for Social Responsibility. French President Nicolas Sarkozy-a champion of re-regulation has been invited to deliver the opening speech of the meeting, which is to be attended by 2,500 top politicians, captains of industries and civil society leaders. Central bankers ranging from the

European Central Bank’s Jean-Claude Trichet to Central Bank of Mexico’s Agustin Carstens, and finance ministers such as Egypt’s Youssef Boutros-Ghali and South Africa’s Pravin Gordhan are also scheduled to be out in force to discuss financial reform. However, Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, said the fears of an economic meltdown that dominated last year’s meet have subsided. Along with that, the pressure for swift reforms is also receding. “Is this the new world or is this business as usual? I would say it is neither. It’s certainly not business as usual because some things have changed. There is some financial regulation, but I would say, not a major change.” “It will be a modest redesign, not an ambitious redesign,” said Behravesh. Bankers, who are resisting the reforms, are also expected to be a lot more vocal this time round compared to last year, he added.

While bosses from US banks were conspicuously missing in the midst of the crisis last year, they are back this year. However, unlike corporate America, the US government is, for the second year running, sending a bare minimum of officials. Larry Summers, Barack Obama’s top economic advisor, is the lone top official from the administration scheduled to attend. Besides financial issues, climate change-an issue dealt with by Davos before-and the failure at December’s summit in Copenhagen to broach a binding deal, also features prominently on the agenda. Cramer noted that the question of business sustainability is taking on a “much bigger profile than before” in the environmental field. If there is one thing that Davos does well, it is that it gets businesses to take the lead, he said, adding that he hoped businesses “stand up to be counted” in pushing for an accord. — AFP



Monday, January 25, 2010

Fed tipped to hold its course as clock runs on stimulus WASHINGTON: The US Federal Reserve is expected to signal a steady policy course at its upcoming meeting, in an effort to keep a fragile economic recovery on track, analysts say. The central bank opens a two-day policy meeting tomorrow that could be overshadowed by the drama surrounding Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s reappointment to a second term. The Federal Open Market Committee is likely to keep the federal funds base rate at a range of zero to 0.25 percent, which has been in place for more than a year as part of a plan

to revive economic activity. Fed members “certainly are not going to send any signal that interest rates are going up,” said Sung Won Sohn, economist at California State University. “The only thing they are going to do is to point out that growth is continuing and there is some momentum. Based on that we can surmise the Fed would have to raise interest rates sooner or later.” Many economists believe the Fed will keep the ultralow rates into the second half of 2010, or possibly into 2011. But questions remain on the Fed’s plans to wind down a series of special

programs aimed at pumping more than one trillion dollars into the financial system, initiatives set to expire in the coming months. Sohn said he has concerns about what will happen to the mortgage market and the overall economy if the Fed holds to its schedule of ending purchases of mortgagebacked securities at the end of March. “Without the support of the Fed, the mortgage market would essentially fall apart,” Sohn said. “They said they would conclude their purchases by the end of March but I think there is a good chance they would have to extend it for fear the

mortgage market would falter.” But George Mokrzan, senior economist at Huntington National Bank, said he believes the Fed will be able to withdraw support from the mortgage market as the economy heals. “There has been an enormous price correction and housing prices have come back into line with longer term economic fundamentals,” he said. Once the Fed stops pumping money into the market by buying mortgage securities, Mokrzan said “this will probably lead to an initial rise in rates on mortgage-backed

securities but I think there should be a good market appetite for bonds as those rates rise.” Mokrzan said that allowing the special liquidity programs to end is the first step toward normalizing monetary policy, and may suggest the economy is on the mend. “Even without changes in interest rates, this is a big change in monetary policy,” he said. As for any movement on rates, Mokrzan said it is too soon to ponder. “I think the Fed will acknowledge the improvement in the economy but say more needs to improve

before they will tighten monetary policy.” For some analysts, more significant than the FOMC is Bernanke’s confirmation for a second term, which has been thrown into doubt with key Senate Democrats joining the opposition to the Fed chief. “I think what is going on now is that politicians feel that Fed bashing and bank bashing is the way to get back into favor with the American voters,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight. “If he is not reappointed I think the markets would have a fit...

the stock markets would take a hit, the bond market would take a hit, the dollar would take a hit.” If Bernanke is not confirmed and his term expires January 31, Behravesh said the uncertainty would weigh on markets. “This is a time when there is still a fair amount of uncertainty but one area of certainty is that there is a steady hand on the helm at the Federal Reserve,” he said. “People feel there is an exit strategy and that the Fed has a handle on risks on both sides. You would greatly increase the uncertainty.” —AFP

Volcker Rule could limit banks’ size as FIs

Volcker’s back in Obama crackdown on US banks WASHINGTON: The crackdown on US banks announced by President Barack Obama marks a comeback for Paul Volcker, the economic adviser whose ideas forged the battle plan. Though Volcker a few weeks ago murmured that his opinions were only “one voice,” Obama put him front and

center for praise as he announced the plan Thursday, flanked by the former central bank chief. “I’m proposing a simple and common sense reform, which we’re calling the ‘Volcker Rule’-after this tall guy behind me,” the president said. The “Volcker Rule” limits the size and scope of financial institutions and prohibits banks that engage in commercial activities, such as holding customer savings and deposits, from proprietary trading-making investments on their own behalf. The 82-year-old former Federal Reserve chairman (1979-1987) supported Obama during his Democratic bid for the presidency and subsequently was tapped to head the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, an independent, nonpartisan body created to tackle the worst recession in decades. But Volcker, who tamed soaring inflation in the 1980s, had pleaded in vain for months for government action to stop commercial banks from engaging in so-called “prop trading.” In an interview published Friday on a Wall Street Journal blog, Volcker said he was not surprised by the president’s choice. “We’ve discussed this proposal for a year,” Volcker said, adding that he always believed that Obama was “sympathetic” to his point of view, the online article said. WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama (center) delivers remarks on financial reform at the White House “He could have fooled us,” in Washington with Austan Goolsbee (left) of the Council of Economic Advisers, Chair of the Council of Economic the report said. In October, The Advisers Christina Romer (second left), Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (third left), head of Obama’s New York Times dedicated a lengthy article to his failure to Economic Recovery Advisory Board Paul Volcker (second right) and Vice President Joe Biden (right). —AFP capture Obama’s ear, which inclined toward the White House’s official teams of advisers and particularly listened to his top economic adviser, Larry Summers. Along with then-Treasury secretary Robert Rubin, whose deputy he was in 1995-1999 before succeeding him, Summers is one of the architects of financial deregulation under former President Barack Obama’s confident the Senate will con- ings,” added the Democrats’ WASHINGTON: Top Democratic president Bill Democratic Senators Saturday administration has been scram- firm Bernanke, a White House 2004 presidential candidate. Clinton. That deregulation was Late Friday, Senate rallied in support of embattled bling to save his nomination in spokesman has said, despite capped in 1999 with the congresFederal Reserve chief Ben the face of opposition emerging sharp criticism of his role in Democratic Majority Leader sional repeal of a Depression-era Harry Reid issued a statement Bernanke’ bid for a second from members of the presiden- the global financial meltdown. law to accommodate banking As many as 10 Democrats to throw his support behind term, amid some tense party t’s own party. giant Citigroup, born of the hinting that Two Senate Democrats, are thought to oppose Bernanke, rifts. The influential US Senate merger of the bank Citicorp and banking committee threw its Barbara Boxer and Russell Bernanke, along with several Democrats may still manage insurance titan Travelers in the Feingold, announced Friday Republicans. Senate Finance to secure the 60 votes necesweight behind Bernanke. prior year. Chairman Democrat Chris they would vote against Committee member and sary to block any Republican Rubin, who advised Obama Dodd and the top committee Bernanke’s bid to carry on Democrat John Kerry said parliamentary delaying tactics. during his White House cam“Conventional wisdom Republican, Judd Gregg, after his first term ends on Saturday that debate over paign, for many years had been a Bernanke’s nomination was rarely credits those who acknowledged media specula- January 31. Travelers special advisor and The moves underscore a “understandable” in view of averted disaster, but that’s tion in recent days over board member. Bernanke’s confirmation, but major populist shift in the the “reckless fiscal policies precisely what chairman The 1933 Glass-Steagall Act landscape since and excessive deregulatory Bernanke did,” Reid said, notsaid he had done an “excellent political prohibited commercial banks from stunning zeal” of the previous George ing his support “is not unconjob responding to one of the Republican’s underwriting corporate securities, ditional” and that he would most significant financial crises Massachusetts victory ended W Bush administration. or acting as brokerages. Volcker “Still, out of this near hold Bernanke to his pledge of our country has ever encoun- the Democratic supermajority is seeking a new version of the in the Senate. The embattled calamity, I believe Chairman “transparency and accounttered.” law but, until just recently, he had The pair said that based on chief’s fate spilled over into Bernanke provided leadership ability.” seemed to be a voice in the desert Assistant Majority Leader discussions with fellow sena- Wall Street, contributing in that was urgent, nimble, facing countervailing winds from tors, “we are very confident part to a three-day slump of strong, and vital in staving off Dick Durbin on Saturday said Summers, his former protege, that Chairman Bernanke will nearly five percent spurred by greater disaster,” Kerry said, Bernanke would get his vote, Treasury Secretary Timothy win confirmation by the Senate renewed fears over the eco- adding that he would vote to adding that in the country’s Geithner, and other Obama ecofor a second term.” They said nomic outlook, a tougher reconfirm him. “While I have most serious economic crisis nomic counselors. they support “(Bernanke’s) White House stand on banks some concerns about the since the Great Depression, The New York Times article nomination because he is the and financial market regulation Fed’s approach to banking “we need his steady hand as highlighted that Volcker’s “disChairman we build our economy and creright leader to guide the and worries over China’s over- accountability, agreement with the Obama peoBernanke should not be a ate new jobs across America.” Federal Reserve in this recov- heating economy. No vote has yet been ple on whether to restore some Obama remains, however, scapegoat for systemic failering economy.” scheduled in the Senate, but version of Glass-Steagall appears administration officials said to have contributed to published Treasury Secretary Timothy reports that his influence in the Geithner and Obama’s chief of administration is fading and that staff Rahm Emanuel were he is rarely if ever in the small working to secure enough Washington office assigned to votes for the nomination. him.” As recently as a few weeks The opposition highlighted ago, Volcker said in a deep national worries about BusinessWeek interview: “The the economy as a dominant president has heard my argutheme ahead of November ments a number of times” but he mid-term elections. added: “I am one voice in the conBernanke’s most vocal critics versation, and there are others.” charge he has coddled Wall Ultimately, he told the magaStreet and turned a deaf ear to zine, “He’s the president. He Main Street. Analysts warned decides.” meanwhile that tossing out Obama finally listened. Some Bernanke could trigger new observers, like economist Peter turmoil in financial markets. Morici, a University of Maryland Time magazine named professor, said that Obama’s Bernanke its 2009 “Person of change of heart appeared to occur the Year” in December, credWASHINGTON: Sen Judd Gregg (right), speaks during an executive session of the iting him with helping guide amid falling public approval ratCommittee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to vote on the reappointment of the United States through ings as Americans grow more critical about his handling of ecoFederal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke on Capitol Hill in Washington. —AP financial turmoil. —AFP nomic policy. —AFP

Top US senators say Fed chief will win second term

MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (right) and gas monopoly Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller (left) seen during a visit to Gazprom’s main control room in Moscow, Russia. Russia’s oil-dependent economy is getting back on track after its biggest downturn in a decade as higher crude prices and new inflows of capital have shored up the country’s banks, government finances and stock markets. —AP

Britain to exit recession, but faces bleak recovery LONDON: An end to Britain’s longest recession on record will likely be confirmed this week but recovery for the debt-ridden nationfacing an election this year-will be far from smooth, economists warned. The Office for National Statistics will tomorrow publish data expected to reveal that Britain exited recession in the fourth quarter of 2009, analysts have widely forecast. A return to growth between October and December last year after six quarters of negative output will see Britain following all other major economies out of recession. Economists predict growth of 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter. However, the future for the British and wider global economy is far from rosy, with the IMF and the United Nations recently warning of a possible renewed or “double-dip recession” this year. Those worries have been heightened in Europe, where several nations-notably Greece and Portugal-are struggling to cope with soaring public debt. “It’s definitely worth pointing out that, even if we do exit recession, the hard work will only just be beginning,” said Colin Ellis, an economist at Daiwa Capital Markets Europe. “Shrinking the massive budget deficit, getting private sector employment growing and generating genuine wage growth will be big challenges over the next few years.” Ellis also told AFP: “There is a risk of a double-dip (recession) during 2010.” British state borrowing worsened to a record deficit in December, official data revealed last Thursday, sparking speculation about public spending cuts and taxation hikes in the months ahead. Britain has borrowed 119.9 billion pounds (136.7 billion euros, $193.3 billion) in its current financial year which began in April, compared with 63.6 billion pounds recorded at the same stage of last year.

The government meanwhile predicts that it will have to borrow a record 178 billion pounds during 2009/2010. The state of Britain’s troubled economy has become the key battle ground ahead of a general election due by June and which is likely to see Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labor Party defeated by the main opposition Conservatives, according to recent polls. Whichever party wins power, Britain faces a decade of economic pain, experts warned. “The UK economy has moved out of a decade of debt and into a decade of painful readjustment,” analysts at financial group Ernst and Young warned in a key report published earlier this month. “After years of relying on domestic spending and borrowing the economy now needs to rebalance towards saving and exporting, or risk stagnating,” said the study by the group’s Independent Treasury Economic Model (ITEM) Club. Gross domestic product (GDP) will meanwhile “struggle” to reach 1.0 percent this year, they said. “The UK is facing another challenging year,” added chief economic adviser Peter Spencer. “We are no longer in a position to borrow-the massive debts that we racked up in the last decade now need to be repaid. The consumer is completely cashed out-with consumer spending likely to increase by just 0.4 percent this year.” The economy, which is also struggling with high unemployment caused by the financial crisis, has contracted for six quarters in a row-its longest recession since records began in 1955. Finance minister Alistair Darling recently admitted that Britain’s recession would be deeper than thought-with the economy predicted to have shrunk 4.75 percent in 2009 compared with a prior official estimate of 3.5 percent. The nation’s economy is expected to grow by 1.0-1.5 percent in 2010, Darling added, matching his previous forecast. —AFP

Britain skeptical on US banking reform LONDON: Britain’s finance minister expressed skepticism yesterday at proposed US banking reforms, saying they would not have prevented the financial crisis and warning they risk undermining the global consensus. President Barack Obama announced plans last week to limit the size and scope of US banks and financial firms, saying they would “never again” get so big that taxpayers have to bail them out or risk the economy. The plans aim to limit “excessive” risk taking and to “protect” taxpayers by preventing banks or financial institutions from owning, investing in or sponsoring hedge fund or private equity funds.

But Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling told the Sunday Times: “It is always difficult to say ex ante that you would never intervene to save a particular sort of bank. “In Lehman (Brothers), for example, there wasn’t a single retail deposit, but the then American administration allowed it to go down and that brought the rest of the system down on the back of it.” He said dividing up institutions to make them separate legal entities “isn’t the point. The point is the connectivity between them in relation to their financial transactions”. “Equally, the large-small thing doesn’t run. (Bailed out British bank)

Northern Rock was very small in global terms but systemically it was quite important when it got into trouble,” he added. Darling said Britain would continue to work with the United States on financial reform, but said any proposals must be “workable and deliverable”-and insisted any action had to be international. “If everyone does their own thing it will achieve absolutely nothing,” the finance minister said. “The banks are globalthey are quite capable of organizing themselves in such a way that if the regime is difficult in one country they will go to another one, and that doesn’t do anyone any good.” — AFP


Monday, January 25, 2010


US asked to drag China to WTO over Google dispute WASHINGTON: Some groups are calling on the United States to challenge China’s “firewall” before the World Trade Organization, as a bilateral row over cyberattacks on Google adds to trade tensions. As President Barack Obama awaits answers from Beijing on the cyberstrikes, Washington is being asked to contest China’s Internet censorship as a breach of global trade rules to which the Asian giant, as a WTO member, is subject. “The US can argue that China’s ‘Great Firewall’-a system of filters and bottlenecks that effectively shutters the country within its own intranet-is an illegal restraint on international trade because it bars foreign companies from competing, via the Internet, in the vast Chinese market,” argues Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition. The nonprofit US-based free speech group has

Spotlight turns to Apple’s ‘new creation’ SAN FRANCISCO: The technology rumor mill is busy grinding speculation regarding an Apple event Wednesday at which the culture-changing firm will unveil its “latest creation.” Expectation that the maker of iPhones and iPods is set to wow the world with a tablet computer is so rampant that the California company’s stock could suffer if it fails to deliver. “This proposed Apple tablet will take the App Store and iPhone operating system and deliver it in a larger form factor instead of starting from scratch,” said Canada-based independent technology analyst Carmi Levy. “Apple can take years worth of iPhone momentum and drive it right into what is essentially an iPhone on steroids,” he continued. Apple’s tablet is believed to be a notepadshaped device with a 10-inch color screen that lets people browse the Web, listen to music, watch movies or television shows and also read electronic books and newspapers. A tablet would be Apple’s first major product release since it came out with its winning iPhone three years ago. Online retail powerhouse beefed up its market-leading Kindle electronic reader devices just days ago in apparent preparation for an Apple onslaught. Amazon pumped up royalties it pays to authors or publishers who offer digitized books for sale to Kindle users and invited software savants to craft fun or functional programs for the e-readers. “Amazon may have won the e-book reader battle, but the war is about far bigger things,” Levy said. “It is about a device that can do many things as you bring your digital content with you.” While the spotlight at the Apple event may be on a tablet, the success of such a device depends more on the “ecosystem” of applications and services than it does on how “sexy” the hardware may be, according to the analyst. “The irony is that it is no longer about hardware, it is about services that connect to the hardware,” Levy said. “The iPod was just a media player but what made it special was iTunes and the online App Store.” An Apple tablet would likely synch with iTunes and the more than 100,000 applications at the App Store. Despite Apple’s wizardry with creations embraced by mainstream culture as well as technophiles, it could be tilting against windmills by releasing a tablet computer. “The real question is what will people do with an Apple tablet that they can’t do pretty well on some other device?” said NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker. “Anyone that has tried this has failed.” The success of iPhones was “a no-brainer” because the innovative devices put telephone and rich Internet capabilities in people’s pockets, according to Baker. Tablets, on the other hand, are awkwardly large to be carried as mobile devices and too small to compete with desktop computers and screens, especially for tasks such as movie viewing. “What do I do, strap it to my dog’s back?” Baker said facetiously. “I can’t sneak a peak at it when my kids are in a play or at a baseball game... I’m a hardware guy and this isn’t going to be a game changer.” A Retrevo report release last week concluded that an Apple tablet priced at more than 700 dollars (US) would stop 70 percent of potential buyers from reaching for their wallets. Apple could launch a tablet at a steep price but quickly discount it through subsidy deals with carriers or digital content sellers. “Initially it will seem like a high price, but over time Ma and Pa will be able to buy it as well as rabid Apple fans,” Levy said. Google could prove to be a formidable rival, with the Internet giant’s Android operating system built into a host of tablets shown off at a major Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this month. An Android Market featuring more than 20,000 applications tailored for devices running on the operating system is a growing competitor to Apple’s market-leading App Store. “In many ways, Apple is running away with the prize and Google is establishing itself as a strong second,” Levy said. Microsoft is also staking out territory in the tablet market, with chief executive Steve Ballmer using CES as a stage to tout a Hewlett-Packard Slate tablet built with the firm’s software. “There really isn’t another compelling device out there,” Levy said. “As it did with the iPhone, Apple is competing in a category of one at this point.” — AFP

petitioned US Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk, Obama’s top trade official, to invoke World Trade Organization treaties to curtail China’s censorship of the Internet. China’s action to halt Internet commerce at its “borders” is akin to a government regulation requiring perishable agricultural exports from the US to sit for days on China’s docks prior to transhipment to internal distribution facilities, Scheer said. Kirk’s office confirmed that it was discussing the issue with the First Amendment Coalition and other groups. “This is a very complex area that we continue to think through, in consultation with interested groups including the First Amendment Coalition and have not made any decisions one way or another,” USTR spokeswoman Debbie Mesloh told AFP.

Asked on the prospect of a WTO action if China, for example, did not respond to a US request for a thorough and transparent probe of Google’s claims, Mesloh said, “This is an issue of broad concern to the Administration-going far beyond USTR. “The Administration awaits China’s response to our concerns; we have no comment beyond that.” China has the highest number of online users at nearly 400 million, surpassing even the United States, making it among the most appealing markets for foreign technology companies. When China acceded to the WTO in 2001, it agreed to give unlimited access and equal treatment to foreign-based or foreign-owned businesses in many categories of services, including online services, according to a recent report of the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels.

“These services count as imports to which China is supposed to be opening itself, even if they are delivered over a wire instead of in a shipping crate,” it said. “The online market in China is simply too big for Europe and the US to let trade-distorting regulations pass without action. Victories at the WTO on this front would be wins both for commerce and for civil rights,” the report said. The United States and China are also locked in other trade disputes ranging from tires, steel and poultry to patents, Hollywood films and currency. The WTO has ruled against China in several cases that were brought before the Geneva-based global trade watchdog. In the latest case, the Appellate Body, the final authority of WTO dispute settlement, turned down last month an appeal by China in a dispute over its restrictions on the distribution of US

printed books, films and music. Beijing is now forced to either open that market or face retaliatory tariffs. China has also increasingly turned to the WTO, mounting challenges to an American ban on Chinese poultry imports and US anti-dumping policy. Scheer underlined the “considerable” advantages of a WTO strategy over the Internet censorship issue following the cyberattacks on Google. “China in other recent trade disputes has shown it will abide by WTO rulings it disagrees with (reserving its right to request WTO rulings, to China’s benefit, in other matters),” he said. “For the US government, playing the WTO card also demonstrates seriousness about curbing Chinese censorship, while confining the dispute to an international legal process and avoiding a direct confrontation with China.” — AFP

Going retro to get creative he news that a company called Impossible is planning to “to re-invent and restart production of analogue film for vintage Polaroid cameras” is a welcome reminder that we don’t all have to blindly follow modern technology. Their plan is likely to please a growing wave of creative artists who are eschewing digital cameras in favour of 30-year-old (and looking it) manual film cameras. Artists largely so youthful that they have never experienced photography using analogue equipment are doing so for the first time: they are technologically regressing. Berlin-based artist Celine Pirard is not surprised. She feels the results from film “offer more depth” (not depth-of-field, rather a sense of depth), and fears that using digital cameras result in “too many pictures, so that we stop to see them properly”. Likewise, globetrotting photographer Nishant Shukla values the “slow process” of film photography. Both are part of a small group of young creatives who, like myself, are bored with the ease of modern creation. They hear of the old ways, when you had to set everything yourself. They like having only 36 exposures, and don’t mind taking the film to a shop and waiting two or three days to see how your pictures turned out. They learn how crucial light is, they understand the artistic role depth of field plays. The wonder, the thrill, the reward, the mystery, the romance ... words that once again mean something. These “retro creatives” are not recognised as a significant cultural movement, but may be morphing into one thanks to the internet. And perhaps ironically, it is webbased sharing platforms that are feeding the retro movement. alone hosts a vast collection of manual photography work, and discussion. Let me explain what is so wrong with modern digital cameras, and by extension with software editors like the market leader Photoshop: I believe using such brutally efficient and capable technology in photography actually hampers a significant number of young artists. The psychology here is an obvious one, and can be observed in small children at play. Give a child a toy that does something amazing an unlimited number of times, in quick succession, then watch that child tire of it and look for something else. It’s the same with digital cameras: “snap, snap, snap. Oh here’s an interesting scene, let me take 20 pictures of it to make sure I get one good one, snap! I can always Photoshop that annoying lamppost out later, no need to look for a different angle, snap!” The artform of photography becomes diluted through the mass use of it. The small number of snappers unsatisfied with this approach imagine the effort one would put into creating an image if there were only three exposures left on a film roll. Imagine the vision one would create. The imagination fires. David Bailey, a film shooter, is known to point out that he doesn’t take pictures, he creates images. I wanted to find out if this trend could be backed up by the businesses providing it, so I asked Fujifilm Europe how their 35mm film sales were doing compared to earlier in the decade. They confirmed that since 2005, demand has again been very healthy for consumer film. And as for professional film, the demand has in fact never slipped. The cult camera gear shop in Berlin’s north Neuklln, Asa 90, also confirmed that Holgas and Lomos are enjoying a popularity renaissance, analogue photography appears to be “in vogue right now”. Once the artist has learned the craft and fed creative curiosity, then he or she may very well delve back into modern techniques and technology, marrying their own ideas of hardware and software, analogue and digital. A similar point can just as solidly be made about modern music production. The illegal but very common trend of young musicians copying their evergrowing collections of music software for each other is not helping them make great music. Not everyone can be Burial. The musicians’ craft needs to come from somewhere. A few are learning this, and spending hard-earned money on real gear. Psychologically, there are a few interesting things going on here: the budding musician who pays real money for a real or older synth will surely put more heart into using it. The hearing and sight senses are now concentrated on using the gear, and not point-and-clicking all over a bright overbearing display where every two minutes you get that lovely pop! sound when someone chats to you. A focus and thrill is missing with all the virtual versions of our art world. But the lust for something more honest is palpable, with creative results that even the mainstream may begin to yield in the coming decade. — Guardian


New technologies do not make better art

A Pentax film camera

iPhone turns mobile into sleep-tracking device NEWYORK: Sleep Cycle is a Swedishdesigned iPhone app that turns your mobile into a sleep-tracking device. It works using a sensor in the iPhone called an accelerometer - that enables it to monitor movement. Depending on what phase of sleep we’re in, our bodies behave differently: when we’re sleeping most soundly, we’re most still; during the dreaming (or REM) phase we twitch around more; and as we approach wakefulness we become even more restless. Sleep Cycle uses these fluctuations to create a nightly record of your sleep, which it presents to you each morning in the form of a graph. More remarkably still, it uses this information to decide (within a half-hour time frame) when you’ve reached the optimal point in your cycle to wake up. Then it assists you back to consciousness with soothing music. Since it was launched last summer Sleep Cycle has become the bestselling paid-for app in several countries, including Sweden, Germany and South

Korea. Does this reflect the fact that those nations take sleep more seriously than we do? There is some evidence, after all, that the British aren’t very good at sleeping. The Clinical Sleep Research Unit at Loughborough University found that nearly a third of us have “significant sleep difficulties”. There has been talk of an “insomnia epidemic”. As a nation it seems we’d be less anxious, less depression-prone, if we mastered the trick of easeful sleep. Could Sleep Cycle, which is both simple to use and cheap (it costs 59p), help? Last week I used it for three successive nights. The results were mixed. It was certainly fascinating to gain an insight into my nocturnal habits (what happens to us during sleep, after all, is the one part of our lives that is usually totally closed to us). Impressively, it really could tell when during the night I’d been awake. Yet I also found it oddly distracting. You’re required to place the phone on the corner of your mattress, and simply having it there, knowing that it was

Nighty night: We are a nation of poor sleepers. monitoring me, made me feel strangely self-conscious. For the first time in ages I started finding it difficult to fall asleep; and the knowledge that my graph the next morning would be dis-

appointing only made the problem worse. Rather than become a better sleeper, Sleep Cycle seems to have turned me (temporarily I’m sure) into an insomniac. — Guardian

SEOUL: Mahru-Z (R), a robot developed by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology picks up a sandwich in Seoul on January 15, 2010. South Korean scientists have developed a walking robot maid which can clean a home, dump clothes in a washing machine and even heat food in a microwave. The institute took two years to develop Mahru-Z, which is 1.3 metres (4.3 feet) tall and weighs 55 kilograms (121 pounds). — AFP



Monday, January 25, 2010

Emerging nations meet in India over climate change NEW DELHI: Environment ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China met in New Delhi yesterday to agree a common position for future talks after the Copenhagen climate change summit, officials said. The four emerging economies-a key bloc within troubled negotiations on how to tackle global warming-lobbied

successfully at the Copenhagen meeting in December against binding emissions caps. “The nations have come together to chalk out their post-Copenhagen strategy and organise an action plan,” an Indian environment ministry spokesman told AFP. India’s environment minister Jairam

Ramesh returned from December’s summit praising how the group-known by the acronym BASIC-had worked together in the face of fierce pressure from developed countries. The widely criticised Copenhagen Accord was a non-binding document crafted by a small group of countries on the final day of the talks as the meeting

faced collapse. As recriminations continue over the summit, the United Nations’ climate change forum is due to resume shortly with a ministerial-level meeting planned in Mexico at the end of the year. The BASIC talks in Delhi came ahead of a January 31 deadline for coun-

tries to say if they intended to be “associated” with the Copenhagen Accord or what sort of measures they envisaged taking. Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, the head of the UN’s climate science panel R.K. Pachauri expressed hope that the BASIC nations would offer some chance of a binding pact in

the near future. The Copenhagen Accord set a broad goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) but did not specify the staging points for achieving this goal or a year by which greenhouse gas emissions should peak. Instead, countries are being urged

to identify what actions they intend to take, either as binding curbs on emissions or voluntary action. Twenty-eight billion dollars in aid have been pledged by rich countries for 2010-2012. Many emerging nations say they will not allow emissions targets to be imposed at the cost of economic development. —AFP

Debate could be resolved if Legislature revised 2003 law

Confusion about marijuana sales traced to California law LOS ANGELES: Prosecutors in Los Angeles insist that collectives cannot sell medical marijuana at their stores and can provide it only to members who actively cultivate it together. Dispensary operators, on the other hand, argue that it is absurd to expect them to run Soviet-style collective farms and to

rule out cash payments for pot. When the Los Angeles City Council finishes its marijuana ordinance, which may finally happen this month, it is likely to inflame this increasingly contentious debate over how the drug can be distributed. The discord hinges on the state’s 2003 medical marijuana law and almost entirely on a single, contested sentence. “The law’s screwed up in a lot of ways. There’s big gaping holes,” said Yamileth Bolanos, who runs PureLife Alternative Wellness Center and is one of the city’s most politically involved operators. “It’s very confusing for everyone, even the prosecution and law enforcement. It’s like the Bible, everybody reads it the way they want to.” The confusion could be cleared up by the Legislature, but that body has shown no desire to revisit the law. And the attorney general, who issued guidelines on how to interpret the law, has not responded to calls to update them to account for recent court rulings that have added to the bewilderment. Instead, the issue may be left to the courts to decide, which could lead to years of costly criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits before prosecutors and dispensaries have clear rules. “What a shame that the courts have to give the clarity, LOS ANGELES: Yamileth Bolanos, of the Pure Life Alternative Wellness Center in Los Angeles, California, dis- when the Legislature could do it plays one of several varieties of medical cannabis available to patients at the center, December 24, 2009. —MCT a lot more quickly and actually think it through,” said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. She has aggressively prosecuted dispensaries for selling pot and has urged Attorney General Jerry Brown to intercede: “The A.G. could write clearer guidelines to say exactly what a collective can do and to outline the steps to PORT-AU-PRINCE: Animal welfare groups Robinson and Huerta’s groups — the starter pig or goat, veterinary care for a year comply with the law.” arrived in Haiti to help protect earthquake world’s two largest for animal welfare — and instructions on how to milk or mate the After watching the Los victims by vaccinating stray dogs and main- have joined a dozen partners to respond to animals. Angeles City Council struggle Goats account for 40 percent to 50 perprotection and public health issues related taining the health of livestock. with the state law, Councilman cent of the livestock in Haiti, Green said. He One of the biggest animal-related threats to animals in Haiti. Jose Huizar and Eagle Rock The Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti will expects they will find some who’ve been posed by the magnitude-7.0 quake, which neighborhood activist Michael killed an estimated 200,000 people and left start by vaccinating stray dogs against injured by walking through rubble. Larsen said they intend to press Many animals also suffer loss of producthousands more homeless, is an increased rabies, said one official. They also will legislators to fix it. “I just want it incidence of rabies, said Ian Robinson, of the round up dogs to feed and protect them. tivity, he added: “This is a stressful time. to be clearer so that we’re not International Fund for Animal Welfare. Stray dogs have been forming packs, some- Some of the cows and goats won’t give wasting a lot of energy on somemilk.” The coalition plans to distribute food “When you get situations with a large group times eating human remains. thing that is going to be struck “There’s nothing more difficult to watch to farmers to help sustain them until they of displaced people, and hungry dogs wandown,” Larsen said. dering around, then you’ve got the opportu- than a semi-feral animal eating a human get back on their feet. If families are fed, Once the city’s ordinance is nities for dog bites to occur, and that obvi- remain,” said Dick Green of International animals that live off their food scraps will be passed, Huizar said, he hopes ously leads to the spread of rabies,” he told Fund for Animal Welfare. “So the people fed, Green said. the council will ask lawmakers Animal relief groups are using Web sites, react in the way you would expect them to The Associated Press. to eliminate the ambiguities. It is also important to maintain veteri- react — they kill them. They either club Twitter, Facebook and every means they “It’s a moving target, so it would nary care for livestock, said Gerardo them or shoot them or do something to can find to raise money for the effort. So far, behoove the city of Los Angeles Huertas, of World Society for the Protection them because they don’t want that to hap- they have received about $140,000 in donato be active in this area.” of Animals, because families in crisis need pen. And the dog is just trying to survive.” tions, but “it will be a million-dollar project The law, intended to fill in them all the more for food, milk, sale and The coalition is reaching out to rural farm- for sure,” Green said. blanks left by the 1996 medical “It’s public health,” said Heather survival. “The concept of pets is quite for- ers whose lives depend on pigs, goats and marijuana initiative, has sown eign to Haitians,” said Karen Ashmore, chickens. A small Haitian Creole piglet will Case, of the American Veterinary considerable confusion and is executive director of the Lambi Fund agri- eat and forage in weeds, fatten quickly and Medical Association. “It’s animal welfare, one of the main reasons the cultural group in Haiti. “Most Haitians can sell for a good price, said Ashmore, whose and it’s what we need to do following a City Council has struggled for barely feed themselves, much less a pet.” Lambi Fund helps Haitians by giving them a disaster.” —AP many months to write its ordinance. The sentence in contention, section 11362.775 in the Health and Safety Code, says that patients and their caregivers, “who associate within the state of California in order collectively or cooperatively to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, shall not solely on the basis of that fact be subject to state criminal sanctions.” It lists the actions from which they are protected, including charges of illegal sales. To marijuana advocates, that means collectives can sell. To many law enforcement officials, it means that collectives cannot be charged with illegal sales when they grow it but that they are not allowed to sell it. The City Council, trying to accommodate City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and Los Angeles County Dist. Attorney Steve Cooley, who contend that sales are illegal, crafted what it called an “elegant” solution: to allow “cash and in-kind contributions ... in strict compliance with state law.” But by pegging it to state law, the council did nothing to settle the issue. Medical marijuana supporters say the City Council’s language allows collectives to sell marijuana, but Chief Deputy City Attorney PORT-AU-PRINCE: Stray dogs are seen at a road covered by debris in the aftermath of the Jan 12 earthquake William W. Carter disagrees. Saturday. Animal welfare groups arrived in Haiti Saturday to help protect earthquake victims by vaccinating “As I read the language, it would bar sales,” he said.—MCT stray dogs and maintaining the health of livestock. —AP

Group tackles animal welfare in Haiti after earthquake

CAIRNS: This March 29, 2009 file photo shows a cane toad being weighed at a collection point in Cairns, Australia during the “Toad’s Day Out” program. When cane toads crossed the border of Australia’s largest state in 2009, the Kimberley Toad Busters knew the battle against the poisonous pest was on. What they didn’t know: that government concern over animal rights might strip them of their most effective weapon against the hated environmental menace. —AP

Aussies hopping mad at govt stance on toad-busting SYDNEY: When the enemy reached Australia’s largest state last year, the Kimberley Toad Busters knew the battle was on. But they didn’t expect that officialdom might strip them of their most effective weapon. The enemy? The cane toad. The weapon? Plastic bags full of carbon dioxide — long considered the animal-friendly alternative to whacking the creatures with golf clubs or cricket bats. But Western Australia’s Department of Environment and Conservation isn’t so sure that euthanizing Bufo marinus with carbon dioxide is the kindest way to go, and says further tests are needed. Should the tests prove the toads are suffering, the carbon dioxide option could be banned across Western Australia. And that, the Toad Busters fear, would make the war against cane toads virtually unwinnable. Keep on whacking them instead, says the government. But to many, that makes no sense. “Oh my lord, what are they saying?” cried Lisa Ahrens, a veteran toad fighter. “That’s going right back to giving people a golf stick and telling them to go forth and conquer!” This all may sound like a simple matter of bureaucracy and humane pest control, but cane toads are a 75-year-old Australian nightmare, and they amount to a cautionary tale about the difficulties that can crop up when humans try to reverse their environmental blunders. The toads, native to Central and South America, were deliberately introduced to Queensland, on the other side of the continent from Western Australia, in 1935 in an unsuccessful attempt to control beetles on sugarcane

plantations. The toads bred rapidly, and their millions-strong population now threatens many species across Australia. They spread diseases, such as salmonella, and their skin exudes a venom that can kill would-be predators. They are also voracious eaters, gorging on insects, frogs, small reptiles and mammals, and birds. Cane toads are only harmful to humans if their poison is swallowed. In recent years, Australians have held festive mass killings of the creatures, complete with sausage sizzles and prizes. Ahrens, of Cairns in Queensland, organizes the state’s annual “Toad Day Out,” when people gather to collect the creatures and either freeze them or expose them to carbon dioxide. But the toads are constantly on the hop, and by early 2009 had migrated more than 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) from their original landing point in Queensland to the Western Australian border. Lee Scott-Virtue, an archaeologist in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, saw it coming. Five years before the toads reached her state, she founded the Kimberley Toad Busters to mount a pre-emptive offensive across the border into the Northern Territory. “We were confronted literally with walls of toads — tens of thousands of them. It was like watching a moving carpet,” she said. Since then, the group’s thousands of volunteers have killed more than 500,000 toads, largely with carbon dioxide, which she says is fast and painless. By the time toads finally crossed into Western Australia, their numbers had been reduced to the point “where we’re only picking

up handfuls.” But the state Department of Environment and Conservation says it ran tests in 2008 that showed the toads regained consciousness after initially passing out. That, the department says, might violate the state’s Animal Welfare Act, which requires all killing of vertebrates to be humane. Pending further tests scheduled for next month, the department advises people to go back to the freezing and clubbing options. “It’s quick, it’s effective,” said a spokeswoman who spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with department policy. That suggestion has outraged the cane-toad-killing community, which believes clubbing is a far more painful way to end a toad’s life. “For it to suddenly be dropped on us as the toad reaches Western Australia has been quite shattering,” said ScottVirtue. “If you hammer a toad, you’ve got to be very clever and very quick to be able to kill it instantly.” The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals agrees that a strike to the head is the best method provided the toads are first chilled into unconsciousness. But Shane Knuth, a Queensland state legislator who has suggested placing a 40 Australian cent ($0.37) bounty on cane toads, says freezing them takes too long. Besides, he said: “Mums and dads don’t want toads in their freezers.” “We can go on and spend the next 50 years debating on how to dispose the toads - but in reality, they’re one of the greatest environmental catastrophes Australia has ever seen,” he said. “The do-gooders need to see the painful death our native animals go through after coming in contact with a cane toad.” —AP

Anthrax in heroin kills 8 in Europe: Officials LONDON: Eight people have died of anthrax infection from using suspected contaminated heroin, European health authorities said, and one expert advised users to stop taking the narcotic immediately. Authorities said they believed a batch of heroin is circulating in Europe that is contaminated with anthrax, a fairly common bacteria whose spores can be used as a biological weapon. “I would urge all drug users to stop using heroin immediately and contact local drug services for support,” Colin Ramsay, a consultant epidemiologist in Scotland, said in a statement. A total of 15 heroin users in Scotland have been found to have anthrax infection since December. Seven of them have died. The eighth victim was a 42-year-old man in Germany who died of anthrax infection in midDecember after injecting drugs, authorities said. “It is now suspected that heroin with infectious anthrax spores (and possibly other psychoactive substances that can be injected) is in circulation in Europe,” the health ministry in Berlin said in a statement. Anthrax infection occurs most often in wild and domestic animals in Asia, Africa and parts of Europe. Humans are rarely infected but touching conta-

minated hides or hair can cause skin lesions. If the bacillus is inhaled, it can take hold quickly and by the time symptoms show up, it usually is too late for successful treatment with antibiotics. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which monitors health in the European Union, said on its website that further anthrax cases were possible. “The occurrence of 15 confirmed cases, including 8 deaths in a 5-week period is unusual and unexpected,” it said. “Considering the complex international distribution chain of heroin, and the clustering in time of cases in Scotland and Germany, the exposure to a contaminated batch of heroin distributed in several EU Member States is possible.” England’s chief medical officer Liam Donaldson issued an alert last week to doctors and hospital emergency rooms to be on the look out for anthrax poisoning. The ECDC said investigations so far “strongly” suggested that all the cases had been infected by a common source, but said the heroin was unlikely to have been deliberately contaminated. “Accidental contamination seems the most plausible explanation to these incidents,” it said. —Reuters



Monday, January 25, 2010

‘Chaine Des Rotisseurs’ at Al Noukhaza in Multaqa Al Shaab I n the presence of the Ambassadors of USA, France, India and Romania Al Noukhaza seafood restaurant in Multaqa Al Shaab, under the management of Crowne Plaza Hotel, invited the “Chaine Des Rotisseurs” for a Gala Dinner on the 16th of January 2010. Their Excellencies, Ms Deborah K. Jones, the USA ambassador, Jean Rene Gehan, the French ambassador, Ajai Malhotra, the Indian ambassador and Constantine Nistor, the Romanian Ambassador along with the members of the Chaine Des Rotisseurs entered an enchanting sea world created by amazing ice and vegetable carvings. Mermaids welcomed the invitees and served artistic menus designed especially for the dinner event with a variety of mouthwatering seafood dishes. Al Noukhaza seafood restaurant placed their signature on the gourmet sea world, by offering this extraordinary gala dinner under the oceans, earning the appreciation of all present members and guests.

BSK hosts Alumni event he British School of Kuwait organized an Alumni Reunion which turned into an evening of great merriment and camaraderie. It was a nostalgic beginning to the New Year 2010 for over 200 Britannians, members of the alumni association of BSK. The social networks had been buzzing for the past few weeks with news that a special evening would be held for those who were converging on Kuwait from colleges in the UK, US, Australia and other far flung destinations to spend the holiday season with their families in Kuwait and some who were working in Kuwait. The Alumni were excited in


meeting with their tutors and colleagues, most of whom they had lost contact with. It was a great opportunity for the current 6th form students to interact with their seniors who were now into the corporate world or in colleges around the world. Many of the teachers were proud in finding out the progress and experiences of students they had tutored. BSK Director Vera Al Mutawa and Principal Paul Shropshire along with most of the staff members were on hand to meet and greet the Alumni. The evening came to an end with all agreeing to make this an annual event and stay in touch.

Spanish Embassy donates to AUK library he American University of Kuwait held a special event where the Spanish Ambassador to Kuwait, Manuel Gomez de Valenzuela, in conjunction with the Spanish Ministry of Education, kindly donated a collection of Spanish books to the AUK library. The selection ranged from geography and history books, to masterpieces of Spanish literature. Students, faculty and staff will benefit from the books' inclusion in the growing library collection and most importantly, these texts will encourage the growing interest at AUK in the language and culture of Spain and the Spanish-speaking world. The event was attended by AUK President, Dr. Tim Sullivan, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Nizar Hamzeh, the Director of the Library, Mrs. Amna Al Omare, the Spanish instructors Florence Gillier-Pagenaud and Teresa De Quesada as well as a number of students, faculty and staff of the AUK community.


Left to Right: The Director of the Library, Amna Al Omare, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Nizar Hamzeh, the Spanish Ambassador to Kuwait, Manuel Gomez de Valenzuela, the AUK President, Dr Tim Sullivan, and the Spanish instructors at AUK Florence Gillier-Pagenaud and Teresa De Quesada.

AUK's students, faculty and staff attended the event.

Monday, January 25, 2010



Embassy information EMBASSY OF SRI LANKA The Embassy of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka will celebrate the 62nd Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s National Day at the Embassy premises at 8:30 am on 04.02.2010. The ceremony will include the hoisting of the national flag, reading of National Day messages, remembrance of national heroes, religious ceremonies followed by a reception. All Sri Lankan nationals and wellwishers are cordially invited for the event. Sri Lanka Embassy - Block-l0, Jabriya, Kuwait. (Tel. 25339140, 25339150) EMBASSY OF KENYA The Embassy of the Republic of Kenya is happy to inform the general public and visitors to Kenya of a reduction in the cost of tourist visas by 50%, continuing through all of 2010. Additionally, in recognition of the family travel segment, Kenya is giving a complete waiver of visit fees to children aged 16 years and below. Visitors are urged to take this opportunity and experience unique Kenyan beach holidays on palm fringed, sandy beaches, safaris in the country’s famous national parks, and activity based tourism. For more information contact the Kenya Embassy located at Surra, block 6, Street 9, Villa No.3. Tel. 25353314/ 25353362 or visit the Mission’s websites & Official timings are 8:00 am - 4:00 pm, Sundays through Thursdays. 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.

United Indian School — Winners girls

Inauguration of Basketball Tournament

Berchmans’ Ever-rolling Trophy t. Berchmans’ 13th Ever Rolling Trophy Interschool Basketball Tournament was conducted at Jabriya Indian School. The tournament was conducted separately for boys and girls. 6 boys teams and 4 girls teams participated in this prestigious tournament.


Winners and Runner-ups United Indian School, Abbassiya won the Berchmans’ Ever Rolling Trophy for Boys with 55 points. The Runner-up Trophy went to Jabriya Indian School with 54 points. The competition was extremely tight and the spectators watched with breathless excitement. At half-time, Jabriya Indian School was leading 25/22. Mustafa Abdin of Jabriya Indian School won the Best Player-Boys award. Renjin Thomas and Thomas K Stanley of United Indian School were the play makers for the winners. United Indian School, Abbassiya won the Berchmans’ Ever Rolling Trophy for Girls with 27

points and the Runner-up Trophy was bagged by Carmel School with 9 points. Ann Mary DanielCaptain of UIS won the Best Player-Girls award. Sophiamma P. Chacko, her team mate also supported the team equally well. Shibu Pallickal, the Secretary, welcomed the gathering, and K.P.Koshy, the President, delivered the presidential address. M. Mathews, an eminent Indian in Kuwait, and Chairman of Jabriya Indian School inaugurated the tournament. Sharma, Manager, JIS, Mohamed Usef, Duaij & Castell Management Sercices and Gulf Bank, the main sponsors, graced the tournament. Tom Kalasserry delivered the vote of thanks. Service rendered by Paulson and Jimmy in conducting the tournament was commendable. Jose C. Eresmas Jr., Fernando (bok) Umagat, Jesnor Cruz Garcia, Mickael Hulom and Jimmy Hulom Jr. were the referees. The tournament was compered by Jithu George.

United Indian School — Winners boys

EMBASSY OF INDIA On the occasion of the Republic Day of India, a Flag hoisting ceremony will be held at the Embassy of India premises on Arabian Gulf Street at 9 am tomorrow. The flag hoisting will be followed by the reading of the message of the President of India, rendition of patriotic songs by Indian school children, and an Open House Reception. All Indian nationals in Kuwait are cordially invited to attend the Flag Hoisting Ceremony. 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.

Jabriya Indian School — Runner-up-boys

Carmel School — Runner- up-girls

KALA condoles Jyoti Basu’s demise erala Arts Lovers Association (KALA-Kuwait) held a condolence meeting to mourn the sad demise of the doyen of Indian politics, Indian Communist movement and the longest served chief minister in India, Jyothi Basu who endeared people from all walks of life and became their beloved Jyothi Dada. R Naganadhan presenting the condolence resolution stated that with his death India has lost a great leader who relentlessly fought for the cause of the down-trodden and stood for the secular values in a multi-religious society for harmony and social welfare. Representing various organizations Jinu Sakaria Oommen, Jacob Mathew, Mohamed Rias, Raju Sakaria, Joseph Thankachen, Sam Painummood, Thomas Mathew Kadavil, Anwar Sadat, Salam Valanchery, C Gopakumar, Siddiq Valiyakathu, R Ramesh, Babuji Bathery, N Ajith Kumar, Hamza Payyanoor, Shijo Philip, Sheriff Thamarassery, P N Jyothidas, Joy Mundakadan, Dilip Naderi and T V Hikmath paid rich tribute to the most respected leader of Indian politics. J Albert, (Kala President) presided over the function. J Saji (General Secretary) welcomed the audience and V M John (Literature Secretary) proposed a vote thanks.


NRI Telugu Desam membership campaign uwait TDP Abhimanasangham, Kuwait won appreciations from Telugu Desam Party leader Errannaidu and Janardhan Rao. Meanwhile, Kuwait NRI TDP launched its membership campaign yesterday. On this occasion, Naidu held a teleconference from NTR Bhavan in Hyderabad with NRI TDP officials in Kuwait. He praised the role being played by NRI TDP Kuwait and sent greetings for the newly-opened Kuwait NRI TDP’s office in Kuwait. He also lauded the efforts of the leadership in launching the membership enrolment campaign. President and office-bearers Daruru Balaram Naidu, Gondi Ramakrushnam Naidu, Darla Srinivasaachari, P Partha Saradhi, A Ramesh, Sandeep, Polineni Santharam Naidu, S Mahaboob Basha, O Divakar Naidu, S Mubarak, Laxsmipati Naidu, B Subba Reddy, Subbaiah, Nanda, Daggupati Srinu, Nata Raj, A Sudhakar and Eswaraiah actively participated in the enrolment campaign.

Future Eye Theatre launch ceremony


uture Eye Theatre, Kuwait, a new theatre friendship for the Indian expatriate community in Kuwait, will be launched during a two-day cultural event. Celebrated theatre personality and filmmaker Priyanandanan will inaugurate the theatre at 7.30 pm on February 4, 2010 at a function at the Indian Central School, Abbassiya. The maiden production of the Future Eye, a 25-minute Malayalam play ‘Kallan Kayariya Veedu’ will be staged during the launch. Future Eye will honor two theatre personalities-K P Balakrishnan and K K Shemej Kumar-on the occasion. Other cultural programs will also be presented during the function. On the second day (Friday, February 5), Future Eye will conduct a day-long theatre workshop from 10 am to 4.30pm at the United Indian School auditorium, Abbassiya. For details and free registration contact, Tel: 97801524, 66726427.


Send to What’s On upcoming events, birthdays or celebrations by email: Fax: 24835619 / 20



Monday, January 25, 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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Monday, January 25, 2010


ACCOMMODATION Sharing accommodation, bachelor or family, central A/C building, bathroom attached, near Garden store. Contact: 65662085, 66274078. (C 20236) 25-1-2010 Furnished sharing accommodation available for a Keralite bachelor or family in Abbassiya. Contact: 66577233. (C 20234) 24-1-2010 Sharing accommodation available in Abbassiya for Keralite couple from January 26th or February 1st onwards. Rent KD 65. Contact: 66598187. (C 20228) Flat near Al Ommooma hospital, rent KD 160, with new furniture, for sale, 3 dishes and 6 LNPs, separate parking, available from 25th January. Contact: 97549378/ 94054916/ 66511549. (C 20232) 21-1-2010 Single room available in Bneid Al-Gar for working decent ladies, central A/C, available from this month, very near to Al-Salam hospital. Please contact: 97879611. (C 20224) Room for rent at Al Mugera St Salmiya near Fahaheel Expressway for Filipinos only, call 99057302 any time. (C 20226) One furnished room available in C-A/C 3 bed flat in Jabriya block 8, near Hadi

hospital, rent KD 80/PM for decent couple or working lady. Contact: 66706118, 99067385. (C 20225) Sharing accommodation available for a small family in a 2 bedroom, hall & kitchen central A/C flat near Emirates hotel, Abu Halifa with Keralite Christian family. Contact: 97612421. (C 20227) 20-1-2010

FOR SALE Lancer 2007, full option, Glx, km 68,000, super condition, KD 2100. Tel: 60048674. (C 20235) 25-1-2010 Mitsubishi jeep Nativa 6 cylinder engine, alloy rim, fog launch, silver color, excellent condition, cash price KD 3,100 negotiable, installment possible. Contact 66507741. (C 20229) Corolla 2002 (1.8), for sale, run km 180,000, registration on 6-4-2010, KD 1350 final. Contact: 99864113. (C 20230) 21-1-2010 ATV 50cc E-Ton run great!. Call 67039015. (C 20220) Household goods for sale. Call 67039015. (C 20221) 20-1-2010

SITUATION WANTED Indian male, (MBA Finance) with 2.5 years Accountant

experience in India, currently seeking for job, proficient in Tally 9,SAP fico, MS Office. Holding valid transferable visa no. 18. Contact: 65547019, 25620738. (C 20214) Sri Lankan maid, 15 years experience in Kuwait, 3 years experience in US, cooking, cleaning, ironing, good with children, fine with pets, excellent English, prefers American or British family. Contact: 97918699. (C 20237) 25-1-2010

CHANGE OF NAME Old name: Vinodkumar Raghavan Ezhuthassan, Passport Number F 9952256, new name: Vinod-

kumaar Raghavan Ezhuthassan. (C 20216) 25-1-2010

No: 14620

I, Eusebio Fernandes holder Indian Passport No. E 3358259, hereby change my name to Eusebio Salvador Fernandes. (C 20231) 21-1-2010

MATRIMONIAL Goan Roman Catholic parents invite proposals for their daughter BE, MBA 27/5.4 employed in Goa from professionally qualified boys. Email: (20233) 21-1-2010

TRANSPORT Transportation available anytime, anywhere in Kuwait, new Toyota Hiace van, please contact: 66731349. (C 20198) 20-1-2010

Flight Schedule Arrival Flights on Monday 25/01/2010 Airlines Flt Route Jazeera 0263 Beirut K.L.M. 0447 Amsterdam/Bahrain Wataniya Airways 2103 Beirut Gulf Air 211 Bahrain Ethiopian 620 Addis Ababa D.H.L. 370 Bahrain Turkish A/L 1172 Istanbul Emirates 853 Dubai Etihad 0305 Abu Dhabi Qatari 0138 Doha Jazeera 0637 Aleppo Jazeera 0503 Luxor Jazeera 0527 Alexandria Kuwait 416 Jakarta/Kuala Lumpur Jazeera 0529 Assiut British 0157 London Kuwait 412 Manila/Bangkok Falcon 201 Bahrain Jazeera 0181 Dubai Kuwait 302 Mumbai Kuwait 344 Chennai Kuwait 676 Dubai Kuwait 362 Colombo Kuwait 332 Trivandrum Emirates 855 Dubai Qatari 0132 Doha Arabia 0121 Sharjah Etihad 0301 Abu Dhabi Gulf Air 213 Bahrain Wataniya Airways 1121 Bahrain Jazeera 0447 Dora Jazeera 0165 Dubai Kuwait 204 Lahore Jazeera 0425 Bahrain Jazeera 0113 Abu Dhabi Wataniya Airways 1021 Dubai Middle East 404 Beirut Mahan Air 5066 Mashad Egypt Air 610 Cairo Jazeera 0171 Dubai Kuwait 672 Dubai Wataniya Airways 2301 Damascus Kuwait 786 Jeddah Egypt Air 621 Assiut Nas Air 745 Jeddah Jazeera 0257 Beirut Wataniya Airways 2001 Cairo Saudi Arabian A/L 500 Jeddah Kuwait 552 Damascus Jazeera 0457 Damascus Qatari 0134 Doha Kuwait 284 Dhaka Kuwait 774 Riyadh Royal Jordanian 800 Amman Jazeera 0173 Dubai Mihin Lanka 403 Colombo/Dubai Iran Aseman 6791 Mashad

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

Bahrain Air Global Emirates Kuwait Gulf Air Cargolux Etihad Saudi Arabian A/L Jazeera Jazeera Arabia Thai Wataniya Airways Kuwait Sri Lankan Jazeera United A/L Wataniya Airways D.H.L. Wataniya Airways Kuwait Kuwait Kuwait Global Jazeera Iran Air Syrian Arab A/L Kuwait Kuwait Singapore A/L Kuwait Jet A/W Wataniya Airways Indian Oman Air Kuwait Egypt Air Jazeera Kuwait Jazeera Jazeera Gulf Air Middle East Qatari Emirates K.L.M. Kuwait Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Egypt Air Egypt Air India Express Lufthansa Ariana Wataniya Airways Bangladesh Wataniya Airways Kuwait National A/W

344 061 857 118 215 792 0303 510 0493 0239 0125 519 2101 548 227 0427 982 2003 473 1025 542 674 174 093 0177 607 341 104 562 458 618 572 1201 993 0647 614 618 0459 788 0343 0433 217 402 0136 859 0445 502 0449 0429 0117 0165 612 606 395 636 405 2201 043 1029 1129

Bahrain Baghdad/Najaf Dubai New York Bahrain Luxembourg Abu Dhabi Riyadh Jeddah Amman Sharjah Bangkok Beirut Luxor/Sharm El Sheikh Colombo/Dubai Bahra1n Washington DC Dulles Cairo Baghdad Dubai Cairo Dubai Geneva/Frankfurt Kandahar/Muscat Dubai Mashad Damascus London Amman Singapore/Abu Dhabi Doha Mumbai Jeddah Chennai/Mumbai Muscat Bahrain Alexandria Damascus Jeddah Sanaa/Bahrain Mashad Bahrain Beirut Doha Dubai Amsterdam Beirut Doha Bahrain Abu Dhabi Dubai Cairo Luxor Kozhikode/Cochin Frankfurt Kabul/Dubai Amman Dhaka Dubai Bahrain

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

Departure Flights on Monday 25/01/2010 Airlines Flt Route Time Jazeera 0525 Assiut 00:05 Shaheen Air 442 Lahore 00:15 United A/L 981 Washington DC Dulles 00:40 Indian 576 Goa/Chennai 00:50 Pakistan 216 Karachi 03:10 Lufthansa 637 Frankfurt 01:20 K.L.M. 0447 Amsterdam 01:25 Kuwait 203 Lahore 02:20 Ethiopian 620 Bahrain/Addis Ababa 02:30 Kuwait 283 Dhaka 02:55 D.H.L. 371 Bahrain 03:15 Turkish A/L 1173 Istanbul 03:15 Emirates 854 Dubai 03:50 Etihad 0306 Abu Dhabi 04:30 Qatari 0139 Doha 05:00 Jazeera 0164 Dubai 07:00 Wataniya Airways 1020 Dubai 07:00 Wataniya Airways 2000 Cairo 07:30 Jazeera 0312 Abu Dhabi 07:35 Jazeera 0446 Doha 07:40 Gulf Air 212 Bahrain 07:45 Wataniya Airways 1120 Bahrain 07:50 Jazeera 0422 Bahrain 07:55 Global 094 Muscat/Kandahar 08:00 Wataniya Airways 2300 Damascus 08:10 Kuwait 785 Jeddah 08:20 Jazeera 0256 Beirut 08:35 British 0156 London 08:55 Kuwait 671 Dubai 09:00 Jazeera 0170 Dubai 09:00 Kuwait 551 Damascus 09:10 Jazeera 0456 Damascus 09:25 Arabia 0122 Sharjah 09:35 Kuwait 101 London/New York 09:35 Emirates 856 Dubai 09:40 Kuwait 547 Luxor/Sharm El She1kh 09:55 Qatari 0133 Doha 10:00 Etihad 0302 Abu Dhabi 10:20 Wataniya Airways 2002 Cairo 11:30 Gulf Air 214 Bahrain 11:40 Kuwait 165 Rome/Paris 11:45 Jazeera 0342 Bahrain/Sanaa 11:50 Kuwait 541 Cairo 12:00 Global 062 Baghdad 12:00 Jazeera 0172 Dubai 12:00 Kuwait 773 Riyadh 12:05 Wataniya Airways 2100 Beirut 12:05 Jazeera 0492 Jeddah 12:15 Jazeera 0238 Amman 12:25 Middle East 405 Beirut 12:55 Egypt Air 611 Cairo 13:55 Mahan Air 5065 Mashad 14:15 Wataniya Airways 1024 Dubai 14:25 Kuwait 673 Dubai 14:30 Kuwait 561 Amman 14:35 Egypt Air 622 Assiut 14:50 Nas Air 746 Jeddah 14:55


Jazeera Wataniya Airways Jazeera Jazeera Jazeera Kuwait Saudi Arabian A/L Kuwait Royal Jordanian Qatari Kuwait Kuwait Bahrain Air Mihin Lanka Iran Aseman Gulf Air Etihad Emirates Arabia Jazeera Kuwait Saudi Arabian A/L Jazeera Jazeera Wataniya Airways Cargolux Jazeera Jazeera Wataniya Airways Thai Kuwait Sri Lankan Wataniya Airways Jazeera Kuwait Iran Air Syrian Arab A/L Wataniya Airways Kuwait Jet A/W Oman Air Jazeera Egypt Air Singapore A/L Gulf Air D.H.L. Kuwait Middle East Jazeera Falcon Qatari Kuwait Emirates K.L.M. Kuwait Jazeera Egypt Air Jazeera Kuwait

0176 1200 0432 0426 0458 787 505 501 801 0135 617 613 345 404 6792 216 0304 858 0126 0262 543 511 0184 0116 2200 792 0448 0428 2102 520 285 228 1028 0512 361 604 342 1128 331 571 0648 0240 619 459 218 171 675 403 0188 102 0137 301 860 0445 205 0526 613 0502 411

Dubai Jeddah Mashad Bahrain Damascus Jeddah Jeddah Beirut Amman Doha Doha Bahrain Bahrain Dubai/Colombo Mashad Bahrain Abu Dhabi Dubai Sharjah Beirut Cairo Riyadh Dubai Abu Dhabi Amman Hong Kong Doha Bahrain Beirut Bangkok Chittagong Dubai/Colombo Dubai Sharm El Sheikh Colombo Isfahan Damascus Bahrain Trivandrum Mumbai Muscat Amman Alexandria Abu Dhabi/Singapore Bahrain Bahrain Dubai Beirut Dubai Bahrain Doha Mumbai Dubai Bahrain/Amsterdam Islamabad Alexandria Cairo Luxor Bangkok/Manila

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



Monday, January 25, 2010

Calvin Aries (March 21-April 19) As a lover of freedom

and liberty you may be creating music, poetry or some other sort of writing today. You will find that if you stick with this for a time you will be able to have some great results—possibly a profitable piece of art. You could also come up with new solutions or inventions today. Some interruptions may occur—but the sooner you learn to work with the interruptions, the faster you will see results. You may be in a rare mood of self-enjoyment and can appreciate your own better qualities. You may see value in or feel love for an older person in your family. You will find the work you have done towards better health is taking hold now and your level of energy is high. Your loved ones notice and enjoy your positive presence. Taurus (April 20-May 20) What you thought you

wanted is not as important as you once used to think. Just appreciating where you are and what you have is the thinking today. Relationships are keys to emotional satisfaction now. Sometimes, however, you get so involved in your tasks that you forget to laugh or joke or to observe the wildlife in your area. Take some time to be with nature today—perhaps while you are walking a dog or walking for exercise. Breathe in some fresh air and enjoy the moment—whether you are with someone or not. It is okay to say no when you feel you are already involved in enough responsibilities— others could follow your example. You have discipline and you are not afraid to be challenged—personal or business. Tonight is magic.

Pooch Cafe

ACROSS 1. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 4. A slick spokesperson who can turn any criticism to the advantage of their employer. 8. Inquire about. 11. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 12. A narrow way or road. 13. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 14. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 15. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 16. Grass mowed and cured for use as fodder. 17. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar. 19. The mission in San Antonio where in 1836 Mexican forces under Santa Anna besieged and massacred American rebels who were fighting to make Texas independent of Mexico. 21. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 23. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 24. Date used in reckoning dates before the supposed year Christ was born. 26. A defensive missile designed to shoot down incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles. 28. A series of steps to be carried out or goals to be accomplished. 32. An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary having one or many seeds within a fleshy wall or pericarp. 35. A state in midwestern United States. 36. Very dark black. 37. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 43. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 47. Electrical conduction through a gas in an applied electric field. 48. English monk and scholar (672-735). 49. Type genus of the family Myacidae. 50. A broad flat muscle on either side of the back. 51. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 52. The most common computer memory which can be used by programs to perform necessary tasks while the computer is on. DOWN 1. The sixth month of the civil year. 2. A small cake leavened with yeast. 3. Largest crested screamer. 4. Loose or flaccid body fat. 5. The syllable naming the sixth (submediant) note of a major or minor scale in solmization. 6. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 7. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 8. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 9. A fraudulent business scheme. 10. Knock unconscious or senseless. 18. Any of various spiny trees or shrubs of the genus Acacia. 20. A dog small and tame enough to be held in the lap. 22. Diabetes caused by a relative or absolute deficiency of insulin and characterized by polyuria. 25. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 27. The cry made by sheep. 29. A local computer network for communication between computers. 30. A state in northwestern North America. 31. A colorless odorless gaseous element that give a red glow in a vacuum tube. 33. The capital of the Mexican state of Yucatan. 34. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 38. A city in northern India. 39. Consideration in dealing with others and avoiding giving offence. 40. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 41. Common Indian weaverbird. 42. The length of a straight line passing through the center of a circle and connecting two points on the circumference. 44. The compass point that is one point south of due east. 45. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 46. The rate at which heat is produced by an individual in a resting state.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Harmony and beauty are what you strive for today—you may decide to consider a plan for home or neighborhood landscaping—perhaps you will be planting bulbs for spring. Friends may enjoy your company this afternoon, however, you will need to take the back seat and let others express their opinion. You can draw on the passion and ideas of others at this time. Enlightenment through your relationships is the key to emotional satisfaction. Harmony and beauty are deeply satisfying—and the lack of them can be emotionally disturbing. You are one of those wonderful people that feel; regardless of what you have already learned, there is always room to expand and grow. Marriage and other partnerships could be a key arena for your passion today.

Non Sequitur

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Making a good impression and putting your best foot forward takes on greater importance as a new cycle begins. Appearances and style may count more than substance. Romance, the arts and other of life’s pleasures seem to take center stage now. If you want to win someone’s attention today, you will find positive results. Reach for the gold ring—grab the merry-go-round ring. Whatever you are planning, today will be successful. You are in the mood to be expressive, insightful, creative and light-hearted. Everything seems to bring out your unique qualities. There are opportunities to join your friends this afternoon—perhaps a play or movie. Afterward, there is much talk about how the movie or play relates to each person’s personal life. Leo (July 23-August 22) There may be a new system of communication between family or roommates now. Everyone in your living area may be quite busy today. Domestic problems cannot be ignored for too long. In order for everyone’s living space to run smoothly, you may want to initiate family or roommate meetings once a month. You will have a better grasp of expectations and may even gain some insight. A keen interest in what makes things tick may find you inventing the latest short cut to wherever or whatever. Others may tease you because you have dreams and a highly creative mind. The pay for your hard work may be slow in coming but you will certainly receive acknowledgment. The poorest of all men is not the man without a dream.


Virgo (August 23-September 22) You may discover there is enough money this month to use toward the updating of furniture or painting your house. When people visit you, they rarely want to leave. You create warmth that brings people in; out of the cold. Elegance and family ties are the keys to emotional satisfaction for you. Harmony and beauty are deeply satisfying—and the lack of them can be emotionally perturbing. You demonstrate to others the feelings that our capacity to be happy and useful cannot truly be hampered by external conditions. Continue to seek happiness from the inside. Laughter is more fun with two. There is talk of adopting an animal. Romantic opportunities are pleasant this evening. Perhaps a romantic dinner out could be enjoyed. Libra (September 23-October 22) Harmony is important to you and having clean surroundings will contribute to those feelings. You may feel a push to clean clothes—do some mending—pick up around the house or work on your car. This is a busy but productive and rewarding day. You may find yourself being put to good use by your friends this afternoon. There are some wonderful opportunities to deepen a friendship. Deep and serious conversations along with funny anecdotes can be shared. A serious matter can also be tended to today. A situation with some budgeting problems can turn in to a compromise. You have a clear vision into your own inner sense of values, how you appreciate and love. This is a good time to examine and think about what is important and of lasting value.

Mother Goose and Grimm

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Caution today while

exercising is a wise move. Warm up before exercising and try walking instead of running, pushing instead of pulling, bending, instead of lifting, etc. Removing stress through exercise is important and caution is necessary in order to avoid pulling muscles. A domestic situation may call for you to intervene with your more commonsense qualities. You will be able to settle some confusion and simplify some matters today. This is a time to broaden your horizons both intellectually and spiritually. There are plenty of professional opportunities in teaching, education, publishing, broadcasting, legal and political interests and advertising; if you are looking for them. Some sort of entertainment can be enjoyed this evening—perhaps the stars. Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Your creative side is showing and you could be staining furniture, building some gizmo in the garage or designing some new thing or other. When you allow your creative self to have expression, you will probably find it easier to be involved in life and life’s decisions. You and a loved one will come up with some ideas that will have some longlasting effects on the family—think carefully! A short trip to the country—weather permitting—may be enjoyed by the whole family this afternoon. The energies of the universe are working in favor of an attitude change that affords outward thinking. Spread your wings and try new skills. Be encouraged to discard limiting ideas. Do not allow false limitations to undermine your dreams.

Yesterday’s Solution

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) This


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

morning there may be a situation that could present a test of faith. The inquisition and the purging of the superficial are the issues that take hold at the very roots of your existence. This is a kind of spiritual or philosophical time. Ultimate answers come from far away. After lunch and perhaps, out with friends, you may feel like really joining in the laughter and camaraderie. There is a lot of pleasure in the simple things. You could find ways to spend your money today but take care that you do not indulge too much for now. You could sway someone around to your way of thinking later this afternoon—perhaps that friend gone astray. Only some of us learn by other people’s mistakes; the rest of us have to be the other people. You have a grateful heart. Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Everything conspires to reveal you at your most elegant, particularly in social situations. You will have a grasp for abstract and spiritual ideas and the ability to present or communicate these to others. You could be teaching a Sunday School Class or attending a spiritual meeting today. Refinement and relationships are the keys to emotional satisfaction for you now. Harmony and beauty are deeply satisfying—the lack of them can be disconcerting. If you are female, you and a close friend will have fun trading clothes, comparing taste, giving each other facials and generally just hanging out together. If you are male, you will find much talk and game of chance quite a lot of fun. Close special ties to other people are a focal point for your feelings. Pisces (February 19-March 20) Young people surround you today and you will enjoy guiding them in their activities. Loved ones, children and other people or things dear to your heart are emphasized at this time. Being appreciated and admired for your gifts and talents are powerful needs. Taking chances can bring big rewards. Responsibilities may balance out the remainder of the day. An important friendship is growing and you will find mutual interests will bring you even closer. There are fun times for communicating back and forth with ideas and shared interests can have you talking for hours. You can be one of the most exciting companions and your respect for others along with your attention to their needs is probably all that one could ever ask.


Monday, January 25, 2010


Orbit listings / Show listings AMERICA PLUS 00:00 Without a Trace 01:00 Private Practice 02:00 Grey’s Anatomy 03:00 Cold Case 04:00 One Tree Hill 05:00 The Ex-List 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 Ally McBeal 12:00 One Tree Hill 13:00 Cold Case 14:00 Ally McBeal 15:00 GMA Live 17:00 Law & Order 18:00 One Tree Hill 19:00 In Plain Sight 21:00 Private Practice 22:00 Grey’s Anatomy 23:00 Supernatural ANIMAL PLANET 00:50 Planet Earth 01:45 Animal Cops Houston 02:40 Untamed & Uncut 04:30 Animal Cops South Africa 05:25 Night 06:20 Animal Cops Houston 07:10 Aussie Animal Rescue 07:35 Vet on the Loose 08:00 Wildlife SOS 08:25 Pet Rescue 08:50 Animal Precinct 09:45 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 10:40 Aussie Animal Rescue 11:05 Animal Cops Houston 11:55 The Jeff Corwin Experience 12:50 Wildlife SOS 13:15 Pet Rescue 13:45 The Planet’s Funniest Animals 14:40 Surviving the Drought 15:35 Lemur Street 16:00 Monkey Business 16:30 Pet Rescue 16:55 Vet on the Loose 17:25 Wildlife SOS 17:50 Aussie Animal Rescue 18:20 Animal Cops Houston 19:15 I’m Alive 20:10 Killer Jellyfish 21:10 Animal Cops Houston 22:05 Untamed & Uncut 23:00 I’m Alive 23:55 Animal Cops Houston BBC ENTERTAINMENT 00:05 Life On Mars 00:55 Popcorn 01:55 Life In The Undergrowth 02:45 Casualty 04:25 Cash In The Attic 04:50 Doctors 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 Bargain Hunt 11:25 Building Wonders 12:15 Mission Africa 13:15 The Weakest Link 14:00 Eastenders 14:30 Doctors 15:00 Bargain Hunt 15:45 Cash In The Attic 16:15 Blackadder 16:45 2 Point 4 Children 17:15 The Weakest Link 18:00 Doctors 18:30 Cash In The Attic 19:00 Rough Diamond Sd 19:50 Model Gardens 20:10 Antiques Roadshow 21:00 The Weakest Link 21:45 Doctors 22:15 Eastenders 22:45 Holby Blue 23:45 Holby City BBC LIFESTYLE 00:30 The Restaurant Uk 01:20 Saturday Kitchen 02:20 Living In The Sun 03:05 Coleen’s Real Women 03:50 10 Years Younger 04:40 The Clothes Show 05:25 Saturday Kitchen 06:25 Living In The Sun 07:10 Coleen’s Real Women 08:00 Antiques Roadshow 08:50 Cash In The Attic Usa 9:30 Hidden Potential 09:55 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 11:25 Living In The Sun 12:20 Antiques Roadshow 13:10 What Not To Wear 14:00 Gary Rhodes’ Local Food Heroes 5:35 Daily Cooks Challenge 16:30 Cash In The Attic Usa 16:50 Hidden Potential 17:15 Antiques Roadshow 18:05 What Not To Wear 18:55 Living In The Sun 19:45 Daily Cooks Challenge 20:45 Masterchef Goes Large 21:10 Saturday Kitchen 22:10 The Home Show 22:50 Coleen’s Real Women 23:35 Ainsley’s Gourmet Express BBC WORLD 00:00 Bbc World News - U 00:30 Africa Business Report - U 01:00 Bbc World News - U 01:30 Dateline London - U 02:00 Bbc World News - U 02:30 Hardtalk - U 03:00 Bbc World News - U 03:30 Reporters - U 04:00 Bbc World News - U 04:30 Dateline London - U 05:00 Bbc World News - U 05:30 Asia Business Report - U 05:45 Asia Today - U 06:00 Bbc World News - U 06:30 Asia Business Report - U 06:45 Asia Today - U 07:00 Bbc World News - U 07:30 Hardtalk - U 08:00 Bbc World News - U 08:30 World Business Report - U 09:00 Bbc World News - U 09:30 World Business Report - U

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

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

CARTOON NETWORK 00:15 Out of Jimmy’s Head 00:40 Chop Socky Chooks 01:05 Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends 01:30 Cramp Twins 01:55 George of the Jungle 02:20 Adrenalini Brothers 02:45 Gadget Boy 03:10 Ed, Edd n Eddy 03:35 Class of 3000 04:00 The Powerpuff Girls 04:15 Robotboy 04:40 The Secret Saturdays 05:05 Chowder 05:30 Ben 10 05:55 Best Ed 06:20 Samurai Jack 06:45 Cramp Twins 07:10 Eliot Kid 07:35 The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack

- PG 19:00 Class Action - PG15 21:00 Chain of Fools - PG15 23:00 Restraint - 18 CNN INTERNATIONAL 00:00 Fareed Zakaria Gps 01:00 Best Of Backstory 01:30 World Sport 02:00 The Situation Room 03:00 World Report 04:00 World Business Today 04:30 World Sport 05:00 World Report 06:00 Anderson Cooper 360 07:00 World Report 07:30 Worldview 08:00 World Report 08:30 Backstory 09:00 World Report 10:30 World Sport 11:00 World Report 11:30 World Business Today 12:00 World Report 12:30 Worldview 13:00 Larry King 14:00 World Report 14:30 World Sport 15:00 World Report 16:00 Amanpour. 16:30 News Special 17:00 World Business Today 18:00 International Desk 19:00 The Brief 19:30 World Sport 20:00 Prism 20:30 News Special 21:00 International Desk 22:00 Quest Means Business 23:00 Amanpour. 23:30 World One DISCOVERY CHANNEL 00:00 Ross Kemp in Afghanistan 01:00 Eyewitness 02:00 Street Customs 02:55 Wheeler Dealers 03:50 American Chopper 04:45 Factory Made 05:10 Eyewitness

00:00 00:20 00:45 01:10 01:35 02:00 02:25 02:45 03:10 03:35 04:00 04:25 04:50 05:15 05:40 06:00 06:10 06:35 07:00 07:20 07:45 08:10 08:35 09:00 09:25 09:45 10:10 10:35 11:00 11:25 11:45 12:10 12:35 12:55 13:20 13:40 14:05 14:30 14:55 15:15 15:40 16:00 16:25 16:45 17:10 17:35 18:00 18:25 18:45 19:00 19:25 19:50 20:15 20:40 21:05 21:50 22:00 22:25 22:50 23:15 23:35

Jonas Wizards Of Waverly Place Suite Life On Deck Fairly Odd Parents Replacements Phineas & Ferb Little Einsteins Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Handy Manny Lazytown Jonas Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana Sonny With A Chance Higglytown Heroes My Friends Tigger and Pooh Handy Manny Special Agent Oso Lazytown Lazytown Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Handy Manny Special Agent Oso Brandy & Mr Whiskers Fairly Odd Parents Hannah Montana I Got A Rocket Wizards Of Waverly Place Phineas & Ferb Suite Life On Deck Replacements American Dragon Kim Possible Famous Five Fairly Odd Parents Phineas & Ferb Replacements I Got A Rocket Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana Sonny With A Chance Fairly Odd Parents Phineas & Ferb Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana The Replacements Jonas Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Sonny With A Chance Hannah Montana The Suite Life of Zack & Cody The Replacements American Dragon Kim Possible Famous Five Fairly Odd Parents Phineas & Ferb

E! ENTERTAINMENT 00:15 Reality Hell 00:40 15 Most Shocking Acts Of Violence 02:20 Sexiest 03:15 Ths 05:05 Dr 90210 06:00 Cheating Death 07:45 Style Star 08:35 E! News 09:25 Kourtney And Khloe Take Miami 10:15 Ths 12:00 E! News 12:50 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 13:40 20 Hottest Women Of The Web 15:25 Behind The Scenes 16:15 Ths 17:10 Leave It To Lamas 18:00 E! News 18:50 Streets Of Hollywood 19:15 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties 19:40 Ths 21:20 Wildest Tv Show Moments 22:10 E! News 23:00 Dr 90210 23:50 Battle Of The Hollywood Hotties

Why Did I Get Married? on Show Movies 1 08:00 My Spy Family 08:25 Chowder 08:50 Best Ed 09:15 Chop Socky Chooks 09:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 10:05 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 10:30 Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes 10:55 Skunk Fu! 11:20 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 11:30 Squirrel Boy 11:55 Robotboy 12:20 Camp Lazlo 12:45 The Powerpuff Girls 13:10 Class of 3000 13:35 Ed, Edd n Eddy 14:00 Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends 14:25 Codename 14:50 Ben 10 15:15 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 15:40 Squirrel Boy 16:05 Eliot Kid 16:35 George of the Jungle 17:00 Skunk Fu! 17:25 Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes 17:50 Bakugan Battle Brawlers 18:15 The Secret Saturdays 18:40 Ben 10: Alien Force 19:05 Casper’s Scare School 19:30 Squirrel Boy 20:00 The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack 20:25 Chop Socky Chooks 20:50 My Gym Partner’s A Monkey 21:05 Ed, Edd n Eddy 21:30 Skunk Fu! 21:45 The Secret Saturdays 22:10 Ben 10: Alien Force 22:35 The Life & Times of Juniper Lee 23:00 Camp Lazlo 23:25 Samurai Jack 23:50 Megas XLR CINEMA CITY 01:00 Newcastle - R 03:00 The Level - PG 05:00 The Darkroom - 18 07:00 Leaving Barstow - PG15 09:00 Saving God - PG15 11:00 Memoirs of an Invisible Man PG 13:00 Iron Road Pt.*1* - PG 15:00 Dog Days of Summer - PG15 17:00 The Pleasure of Being Robbed

05:40 06:05 07:00 07:55 08:50 09:45 10:10 11:05 12:00 12:55 13:25 13:50 14:15 15:10 16:05 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 20:30 21:00 22:00 23:00

Eyewitness LA Hard Hats Extreme Engineering Chop Shop Street Customs 2008 How Do They Do It? Mythbusters Ultimate Survival Destroyed in Seconds How Do They Do It? Factory Made Fifth Gear American Chopper Miami Ink Mythbusters Ultimate Survival Destroyed in Seconds Destroyed in Seconds Street Customs 2008 How Do They Do It? Factory Made Dirty Jobs Deadliest Catch Ultimate Survival

DISCOVERY SCIENCE 00:40 Sci-Fi Science 01:05 Sci-Fi Science 01:30 The Future of... 02:20 Future Weapons 04:00 Sci-Fi Science 04:50 The Future of... 05:45 Engineered 06:40 Test Case 07:10 What’s That About? 08:00 Junkyard Mega-Wars 09:00 Race to Mars 10:00 Sci-Fi Science 10:55 Cool Stuff & How it Works 11:20 Stunt Junkies 11:50 The Sun 12:45 Green Wheels 13:10 One Step Beyond 13:40 Race to Mars 14:35 Sci-Fi Science 15:30 Robocar 16:25 Cool Stuff & How it Works 16:55 Junkyard Mega-Wars 17:50 Brainiac 18:45 The Greatest Ever 19:40 Mighty Ships 20:30 Mega Builders 21:20 How It’s Made 22:10 Mythbusters 23:00 Mighty Ships 23:50 Mega Builders DISNEY CHANNEL

EXTREME SPORTS 00:00 Strikeforce 01:00 Strikeforce 02:00 Red Bull Empire of Dirt 03:00 X Games 15 2009 04:00 FIM World Supermoto 2008 05:00 F.I.A European Drag Racing 07:00 FIM World Supermoto 2008 08:00 F.I.A European Drag Racing 09:00 I-Ex Season 2 10:00 FIM World Motocross Championships 2008 11:00 Ticket To Ride 12:00 F.I.A European Drag Racing 13:00 I-Ex Season 2 14:00 Ride Guide Snow 2008 15:00 Ticket To Ride 16:00 F.I.A European Drag Racing 17:00 I-Ex Season 2 18:00 FIM World Motocross Championships 2008 19:00 LG Action Sports World Championships 20:00 Ride Guide Snow 2008 21:00 I-Ex Season 2 22:00 Ticket To Ride 23:00 LG Action Sports World Championships FOX SPORTS 00:00 PGA Tour: Bob Hope Classic, Final Rd. Palm Springs, CA 03:00 Dream Team Season 8 03:30 Champions Tour: Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai Final Rd. Ka’upulehu-Kona, HI 06:00 World Sport 2010 06:30 The Golf Channel - TBA 09:00 Golf Central International 09:30 Ryder Cup Wales: Creating a Lasting Legacy 10:00 iShares Cup 2009 10:30 iShares Cup 2009 11:00 PGA Tour: Bob Hope Classic, Final Rd. Palm Springs, CA 14:00 Golf Central International 14:30 Champions Tour: Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai Final Rd. Ka’upulehu-Kona, HI 17:00 Torneo de Verano Salta, Argentina 19:00 Dream Team Season 8 20:00 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships Original Dance Spokane, WA 22:00 Torneo de Verano Salta, Argentina FRANCE 24 00:00 News And Magazines - U 00:30 The France 24 Interview - U

01:00 News And Magazines - U 21:00 The France 24 Debate - U 21:30 News And Magazines - U

12:00 Futbol Mundial 12:30 Ryder Cup Waiting in the Wings 13:00 Ryder Cup Lasting Legacy 13:30 European Challenge Cup 15:30 Gillette World Sport 16:00 Premier League World 16:30 Futbol Mundial 17:00 Weber Cup Bowling 18:00 World Hockey 18:30 Gillette World Sport 19:00 Premier League Classics 19:30 PGA European Tour Highlights 20:30 Goals on Monday 22:00 Scottish Premier League Highlights 22:30 PGA European Tour Highlights 23:30 Portuguese Liga

MGM 01:20 The Good Wife 02:55 The Big Man 04:50 Roadhouse 66 06:25 Under Fire 08:30 Huckleberry Finn 10:25 Beach Party 12:00 Fast Food 13:30 The Hillside Strangler (1989) 15:10 Marie: A True Story 17:00 Untamed Heart 18:40 Man in the Moon 20:20 From Noon Till Three 22:00 Clifford 23:30 The Winter People NAT GEO ADVENTURE 00:00 Bondi Rescue 00:30 Surfer’s Journal 01:30 Jailed Abroad 03:30 Finding Genghis 04:00 First Ascent 04:30 Lonely Planet 05:30 Bondi Rescue 06:30 Surfer’s Journal 07:30 Jailed Abroad 09:30 Finding Genghis 10:00 Bondi Rescue 11:30 Racing Around The Clock 12:00 Treks In A Wild World 12:30 Lonely Planet 13:30 Motorcycle Karma 14:30 Surfer’s Journal 16:00 Bondi Rescue 17:30 Racing Around The Clock 18:00 Treks In A Wild World 18:30 Lonely Planet 19:30 Motorcycle Karma 20:30 Surfer’s Journal 22:00 Bondi Rescue 23:30 Racing Around The Clock NAT GEO WILD 00:00 Alaskan Killer Shark 01:00 Chimp Diaries 01:30 Monkey Thieves 02:00 Ancient Creatures 03:00 Dragon Hunt 04:00 Rescue Ink 05:00 The Last Lioness 06:00 Alaskan Killer Shark 07:00 Chimp Diaries 07:30 Monkey Thieves 08:00 Ancient Creatures 09:00 Dragon Hunt 10:00 Rescue Ink 11:00 Snake Wranglers 11:30 Brady’s Wild Hour 12:00 Killer Leopards 13:00 Search For Ultimate Bear 14:00 Guardians Of Nature 15:00 Mystery Of The Wolf 16:00 In The Land Of The Dragons 16:30 Snake Wranglers 17:30 Brady’s Wild Hour 18:00 Killer Leopards 19:00 Search For Ultimate Bear 20:00 Guardians Of Nature 21:00 Mystery Of The Wolf 22:00 In The Land Of The Dragons 22:30 Snake Wranglers 23:00 Snake Wranglers 23:30 Brady’s Wild Hour ORBIT NEWS 1 00:00 NBC Weekend Today Show 01:00 ABC This week (Sun) 02:00 ABC World News Live 02:30 NBC Nightly News Live 03:00 ABC World News (Sun) 03:30 NBC Nightly News (Sun) 04:00 NBC Sunday Today Show 05:00 ABC This week (Sun) 06:00 NBC Meet The Press (Sun) 07:00 ABC World News (Sun) 07:30 NBC Nightly News (Sun) 08:00 ABC World News (Sun) 08:30 NBC Nightly News (Sun) 09:00 ABC This week (Sun) 10:00 ABC World News (Sun) 10:30 NBC Nightly News (Sun) 11:00 ABC World News Now Live 12:30 NBC Early Today Live 13:00 ABC America This Morning Live 14:30 NBC Early Today 15:00 NBC Today Show Live 19:00 ABC Now Money Matters / Bell 19:30 ABC NOW / Good Money 20:00 MSNBC Live Dr. NANCY 21:00 MSNBC Live Andrea Mitchell Reports 22:00 NBC Meet The Press (Sun) 23:00 ABC This week (Sun) ORBIT NEWS 2 00:00 ABC NOW Nightline Twitter (Mon) 00:30 ABC Now Ahead of the Curve (Fri) 01:00 ABC Now Nature’s Edge (Mon) 01:30 ABC Now Good Money (Fri) 02:00 ABC Now Job Club (Wed) 02:30 ABC Now Daily Download + Now you Know (Fri) 03:00 MSNBC (As Live) Investigates 10:00 NBC Meet the Press (taped) 11:00 MSNBC (As Live) Investigates 12:00 NBC Meet the Press (taped) 13:00 MSNBC First Look (Live) 13:30 MSNBC Way Too Early w/W. Geist (Live) 14:00 MSNBC (taped) Hardball 15:00 MSNBC (taped) The Ed Show 16:00 MSNBC (taped) Countdown w/K. Olbermann 17:00 MSNBC Live Morning Meeting with Dylan Ratigan 18:00 MSNBC Live Morning Meeting with Dylan Ratigan 19:00 MSNBC Live 20:00 MSNBC Hardball Weekend (Sun. 12:00G) 20:30 MSNBC Your Business (Sun. 12:30G) 21:00 NBC Meet the Press (taped) 22:00 MSNBC Live PLAYHOUSE DISNEY 08:00 Special Agent Oso 08:25 Handy Manny 08:50 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 09:15 Imagination Movers 09:40 Chuggington 10:10 Handy Manny 10:30 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 10:50 Special Agent Oso 11:15 Imagination Movers 11:40 My Friends Tigger and Pooh 12:05 Chuggington

SHOW SPORTS 3 01:00 PGA European Tour 05:30 Futbol Mundial 06:00 Goals Goals Goals 06:30 Gillette World Sport 07:00 PGA European Tour 11:30 Premier League Classics 12:00 Premier League World 12:30 World Hockey 13:00 Weber Cup Bowling 14:00 Gillette World Sport 14:30 PGA European Tour 19:00 Portuguese Liga 21:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 22:00 European Challenge Cup

I am Legend on Super Movies 12:20 12:55 13:05 13:30 13:50 14:10 14:30 14:55 15:20 15:45 16:10 17:00 17:05 17:30 17:35 18:25 18:50 19:00 19:25 19:50 20:00 20:15 20:40 20:50 21:00

Chuggington Handy Manny Mickey Mouse Clubhouse My Friends Tigger and Pooh Little Einsteins Mickey Mouse Clubhouse My Friends Tigger and Pooh Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Jo Jo’s Circus Jo Jo’s Circus Higglytown Heroes Happy Monster Band My Friends Tigger and Pooh Happy Monster Band Handy Manny Special Agent Oso Chuggington Imagination Movers Handy Manny Chuggington Special Agent Oso Little Einsteins Handy Manny My Friends Tigger and Pooh End Of Programming

SHOW COMEDY 00:00 Friends 00:30 Seinfeld 01:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:30 The Colbert Report 02:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 02:30 The Colbert Report 03:00 Home Improvement 03:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 04:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 04:30 The Colbert Report 05:00 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 05:30 Will And Grace 06:00 Two And A Half Men 06:30 Home Improvement 07:00 Fresh Prince Of Bel Air 07:30 Ellen 08:00 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 08:30 8 Simple Rules.. 09:00 Watching Ellie 09:30 Malcolm In The Middle 10:00 Will And Grace 10:30 Two And A Half Men 11:00 Til Death 11:30 8 Simple Rules.. 12:00 Ellen 12:30 Watching Ellie 13:00 Fresh Prince Of Bel Air 13:30 Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne 14:00 Home Improvement 14:30 Malcolm In The Middle 15:00 Friends 15:30 Seinfeld 16:00 Ellen 16:30 Watching Ellie 17:00 Fresh Prince Of Bel Air 17:30 8 Simple Rules.. 18:00 Will And Grace 18:30 Two And A Half Men 19:00 Til Death 19:30 Malcolm In The Middle 20:00 Friends 20:30 Seinfeld 21:00 The Daily Show - Global Edition 21:30 The Colbert Report - Global Edition 22:00 Sit Down, Shut Up 22:30 The Book Group 23:00 Nut Case 23:30 Til Death SHOW MOVIES 1 01:00 Felon - 18 03:00 Surfer Dude - PG 15 05:00 Cj7 - PG 07:00Why Did I Get Married? - PG 15 09:00 Madagascar 2 - PG 11:00 Perfect Holiday - PG 13:00 I’m Reed Fish - PG 15:00 Madagascar 2 - PG 17:00 Perfect Holiday - PG 19:00 Sunshine Cleaning - PG 15 21:00 The Hunting Party - PG 15 23:00 Elegy - R SHOW MOVIES 2 00:30 Monster’s Ball - 18 02:30 Adventures Of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert - PG 04:15 Mystic Pizza - PG 15 06:15 Everyone’s Hero - PG 08:00 The Perfect Child - PG 15 10:00 Pretty In Pink - PG 15 12:00 Never Ending Story 2: The Next Chapter - FAM 13:45 Les Miserables(1998) - PG 15 16:00 Pretty In Pink - PG 15 18:00 Never Ending Story 2: The

Next Chapter - FAM 20:00 Man On Wire - PG 15 22:00 Rrrrrrr!!! - 18 SHOW MOVIES ACTION 01:00 Solstice - 18 03:00 Solo - PG 15 05:00 Godzilla - PG 15 07:30 The Return - PG 15 09:00 Double Team - PG 15 11:00 Resident Evil: Degeneration PG 15 13:00 They Wait - PG 15 15:00 Double Team - PG 15 17:00 Resident Evil: Degeneration PG 15 19:00 The Cook - 18 21:00 City Of Ghosts - 18 23:00 Mr. Brooks - 18 SHOW MOVIES COMEDY 00:00 The Ladies Man - PG 15 02:00 Holiday In Handcuffs - PG 15 04:00 Leave It To Beaver - PG 06:00 Big Daddy - PG 15 08:00 Holiday In Handcuffs - PG 15 10:00 Mr. Baseball - PG 12:00 Stick It - PG 14:00 Down To Earth - PG 15 16:00 Mr. Baseball - PG 18:00 Stick It - PG 20:00 Tortilla Soup - 18 SHOW MOVIES KIDS 00:30 Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie - FAM 02:00 Only Yesterday - PG 04:00 Tales Of The River Bank FAM 06:00 D3: The Mighty Ducks - PG 08:00 War Of The Buttons - PG 10:00 Robin Hood: The Invincible Knight - FAM 12:00 The Mighty Ducks - FAM 14:00 The Witches - PG 15:45 Hey Arnold! The Movie - PG 17:30 Mr. Magoriums Wonder Emporium - FAM 19:15 The Witches - PG 21:00 Robin Hood: The Invincible Knight - FAM 23:00 The Mighty Ducks - FAM SHOW SERIES 00:00 House 01:00 Doctor Who: Voyage Of The Damned 02:00 C.s.i. Miami 03:00 Survivor: Samoa 04:00 Law And Order 05:00 Emmerdale 05:30 Coronation Street 06:00 House 07:00 24 08:00 Lipstick Jungle 09:00 Survivor: Samoa 10:00 Law And Order 11:00 24 12:00 Emmerdale 12:30 Coronation Street 13:00 Doctor Who: Voyage Of The Damned 14:00 C.s.i. Miami 15:00 Lipstick Jungle 16:00 House 17:00 Never Trust A Skinny Cook 18:00 Emmerdale 18:30 Coronation Street 19:00 Law And Order 20:00 Parkinson 21:00 Eat Yourself Sexy 22:00 C.s.i. New York 23:00 Lipstick Jungle SHOW SPORTS 1 00:30 Scottish Premier League 02:30 Premier League Highlights 03:30 Futbol Mundial 04:00 Premier League 06:00 Premier League Classics 07:00 Scottish Premier League 09:00 Premier League 11:00 Portuguese Liga 13:00 Scottish Premier League 17:00 Futbol Mundial 17:30 Premier League World 18:00 Premier League Classics 18:30 Premier League 20:30 Scottish Premier League SHOW SPORTS 2 00:30 Snooker Masters 04:00 Barclays Premier League Highlights 05:00 European Challenge Cup 07:00 Masters Football 10:00 Premier League Classics 10:30 Futbol Mundial 11:00 Weber Cup Bowling

SHOW SPORTS 4 02:00 WWE Vintage Collection 03:00 Bushido 04:00 UFC - The Ultimate Fighter 07:00 WWE Bottomline 08:00 UAE National Race Day 08:30 Drambuie Pursuit 09:30 NCAA Basketball 11:00 Bushido 12:00 WWE Bottomline 13:00 Red Bull Air Race 15:00 WWE SmackDown! 16:30 WWE Bottomline 17:30 WWE Vintage Collection 18:30 NFL 21:00 UFC - The Ultimate Fighter SKY NEWS 00:00 News, Sport, Weather - U 01:00 Sky News At Ten - U 01:30 Sportsline - U 02:00 Sky News Tonight - U 02:30 Press Preview - U 03:00 Sky Midnight News - U 03:30 Cbs News - U 04:00 News On The Hour - U 04:30 News, Sport, Weather - U 05:00 News On The Hour - U 05:30 News, Sport, Weather - U 06:00 News On The Hour - U 06:30 Cbs News - U 07:00 Sky World News - U 07:30 Sky World Review And Business Report - U 08:00 Sky World News - U 08:30 Sky World Review And Business Report - U 09:00 Sunrise - U 12:00 The Live Desk - U 13:00 Sky News Today - U 16:00 The Live Desk - U 16:30 The Live Desk - U 17:00 Afternoon Live - U 20:00 Live At Five - U 21:00 Sky News At Six - U 21:30 Sky News At Six - U 22:00 News - U 22:30 Sky News - U 23:00 News, Sport, Weather - U SUPER COMEDY 00:30 Two And A Half Men 01:30 Drew Carey Show 02:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 03:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 03:30 SNL 2009-2010 05:00 Curb Your Enthusiasm 05:30 Two And A Half Men 06:30 The Simpsons 07:00 Frasier 07:30 Drew Carey Show 08:00 The Tonight Show With Conan O’ Brien 09:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 10:00 Jimmy Kimmel Live 11:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 11:30 Frasier 12:00 The Simpsons 12:30 Drew Carey Show 13:00 SNL 2009-2010 14:30 Curb Your Enthusiasm 15:00 Two And A Half Men 16:00 The Ellen Degeneres Show 17:00 Everybody Loves Raymond 17:30 Frasier 18:00 The Best Of Jimmy Kimmel Live 19:00 The Simpsons 19:30 Drew Carey Show 20:00 The Best Of Jay Leno Show 21:00 The Best Of Tonight Show With Conan O’ Brien 22:00 The Best Of Late Night Show With Jimmy Fallon 23:00 Entourage 23:30 The Best Of Jimmy Kimmel Live SUPER MOVIES 01:00 Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus - R 03:00 I am Legend - PG15 05:00 Humboldt County - 18 07:00 No Reservations - PG 09:00 Where God Left His Shoes PG 11:00 Tom & Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale - FAM 13:00 Gnomes and Trolls: The Secret Chamber - FAM 15:00 West of Brooklyn - PG15 17:00 Flags of Our Fathers - PG15 19:00 The Invasion - PG15 21:00 Rush Hour *3* - PG15 23:00 Little Fish - 18 TCM 00:45 03:20 05:00 05:30 07:15 08:00 10:45 13:10 15:05 17:05

Cimarron Brother John (1971) The Screening Room Love Is All There Is (1996) The Screening Room Quo Vadis Cimarron Mogambo Little Women Anchors Aweigh

Star listings (UAE timings) Star Movies 16:00 Scrubs 16:25 Scrubs 16:50 V.I.P. 17:00 Ugly Betty 17:50 One Day At A Time 18:00 Ghost Whisperer 18:50 Starsky & Hutch 19:00 Ghost Hunters International 19:50 V.I.P. 20:00 Ugly Betty 20:50 One Day At A Time 21:00 Ghost Whisperer 21:50 Starsky & Hutch 22:00 [V] Tunes 23:00 How I Met Your Mother 23:30 Ngc Program 00:00 [V] Tunes 01:00 [V] Tunes

02:00 03:00 03:30 04:00 04:30 05:00 05:50 06:00 06:50 07:00 07:25 07:50 08:00 08:50 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:50 11:00

7th Heaven The Simpsons The King Of Queens According To Jim According To Jim Ghost Hunters International V.I.P. Bones One Day At A Time Scrubs Scrubs Starsky & Hutch Ugly Betty V.I.P. How I Met Your Mother The Bold And The Beautiful 7th Heaven One Day At A Time Bones

11:50 12:00 13:00 14:00 14:30 15:00

Starsky & Hutch [V] Tunes Ghost Hunters International The Simpsons The King Of Queens According To Jim

Granada TV 20:00 The Last Detective (Series 1) 21:30 Airline (Series 5) 22:00 Holiday Homes From Hell * 23:00 Come Dine With Me (Primetime Series 1) * 00:00 The Jeremy Kyle Show 01:00 Come Dine With Me (Primetime Series 1) * 02:00 Crime Monday: The Last Detective (Series 1) 03:30 Airline (Series 5)

04:00 Revenge TV 05:00 Emmerdale 05:30 Coronation Street 06:00 The Jeremy Kyle Show 07:00 Come Dine With Me (Primetime Series 1) * 08:00 Crime Monday: The Last Detective (Series 1) 09:30 Airline (Series 5) 10:00 Revenge TV 11:00 Emmerdale 11:30 Coronation Street 12:00 The Jeremy Kyle Show 13:00 Fight School * 14:00Crime Monday: Vincent (Series 1) 15:30 Airline (Series 5) 16:00 Emmerdale 16:30 Coronation Street 17:00 The Jeremy Kyle Show

18:00 Fight School * 19:00Crime Monday: Vincent (Series 1) Channel [V] 22:00 [V] Plug 22:30 The Playlist 23:00 Loop 00:00 Backtracks 01:00 Double Shot 02:00 [V] Plug 02:30 The Playlist 03:00 Loop 04:00 [V] Special 05:00 [V] Tunes 06:00 Double Shot 07:00 Backtracks 08:00 Loop 09:00 [V] Plug 09:30 Double Shot

10:00 11:00 12:00 12:30 13:00 14:00 15:00 15:30 16:00 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 21:00 21:30

Backtracks [V] Tunes [V] Plug The Playlist Screen Test The List The Goode Family Keys To The VIP Backtracks [V] Tunes [V] Plug The Playlist Loop The List The Goode Family Keys To The VIP

Fox News 21:00 America’s




Shannon Bream 23:00 Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace (repeat) 00:00 The O’Reilly Factor(repeat) 01:00 America’s News HQ hosts Gregg Jarrett and Julie Banderas 03:00 FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace (repeat) 04:00 FOX Report Sunday host Julie Banderas 05:00 Huckabee with Mike Huckabee 06:00 Hannity with Sean Hannity 07:00 Geraldo At Large with Geraldo Rivera 08:00 Huckabee with Mike Huckabee 09:00 FOX Report Sunday 10:00 Geraldo At Large with Geraldo Rivera 11:00 Hannity with Sean Hannity



Monday, January 25, 2010

Music & Movies

German rockers The Scorpions to call it quits he German rock band The Scorpions is breaking up after more than 40 years together courting controversy and selling more than 100 million recordings, its founder said in an interview published yesterday. Rudolf Schenker told the weekly Bild am Sonntag that the group, best known for its power ballad “Wind of Change” which became closely associated with the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago, was ready to call it a day. “Yes, we’re quitting,” the 61year-old guitarist said. “We are working on our last album right now and are getting ready for the final tour.” The final release, “Sting In The Tail”, on March 19 will be followed by a two- or three-year world tour, said singer Klaus Meine, also 61. “We’re not getting any younger,” he said. “We’d rather go out with a killer album and follow our hearts.” Schenker and drummer Wolfgang Dziony started the band in 1965, and Meine joined four years later. In 1976, the band ran into trouble when it released the album “Virgin Killer” featuring a picture of a naked prepubescent girl on its cover. The photograph was replaced after a storm of controversy in countries such as the United States and Britain. “The Scorpions” scored their first top-10 hit in 1984 with “Still Loving You” and made the charts with anthems like “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, “No One Like You” and “Send Me an Angel”. Over the years, they replaced four bassists, six drummers and two guitarists. “Wind of Change” came out in 1990, a few months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and became 1991’s biggest-selling single worldwide. It led to an invitation that year to play for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the Kremlin. “We totally lived our dream,” Meine told Bild am Sonntag. “We achieved everything you can achieve with a rock band.”— AFP


In this Feb 21, 2009 file photo, the German rock band The Scorpions arrives for the Echo 2009 music award ceremony at Berlin, Germany. — AP

Lebanese singer Ragheb Alama performs on the reality TV show ‘Million’s Poet’ in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi late on January 23, 2010. —AFP

Manhunts, alienation in latest Rwanda genocide film he latest feature film on the 1994 Rwanda genocide shows in excruciating detail what day-today life must have been like for those who survived beyond the first days of the killing. Belgian director Philippe Van Leeuw shot “Le jour ou Dieu est parti en voyage” (The Day God Stayed Away) over two months-June to August 2008 — partly in Kigali, partly in the southwestern province of Cyangugu. The title comes from the saying in Kinyarwanda that God may spend the daylight hours somewhere else, but always comes home to spend the night in Rwanda. The inference being that the genocide-in which some 800,000 people, essentially minority Tutsis, were killed-happened the time he failed to


return home to sleep. Jacqueline, played by Ruth Nirere, a hitherto unknown Rwandan actress who won several awards for the role, finds her two children slaughtered on the living room floor in the first days of the genocide. As she attempts to wash the bodies she is chased out by neighbors who want to lynch her. She watches from a distance as an old woman, intent on occupying the house, drags the children’s bodies out onto the street and then sweeps the ground matter-of-factly. Then begins a life of hiding in the forest, living like an animal, along with another survivor whose wounds she treats, and whose name we never learn. Periodically Hutu militia hear them in the undergrowth and give chase, boasting of

R&B crooner Trey Songz is ready for the world lot of male celebrities are checking out Rihanna, and so is Trey Songz — but not like that.The R&B crooner finds inspiration in Rihanna’s meteoric rise. Her 2007 smash “Umbrella” established her apart from the typical singers on the scene, and Songz thinks he’s poised for that same breakthrough moment with his latest CD, “Ready.” “Somebody else could have sang that song but it wouldn’t have been what it was (if it wasn’t) for Rihanna ... just would have been a whole different moment for herexactly where I am right now,” he said. Songz, 25, is enjoying his greatest success with his latest album. His racy song “I Invented Sex” hit the No. 1 spot on the R&B charts, while another hit, “Say Aah,” is steadily rising. And “Ready” is nominated for best contemporary R&B album at the Grammy Awards on Jan. 31 in a category that also features Beyonce and Jamie Foxx. “The record’s moreso defined me than any other album I had,” he said. “I feel as though anybody can have hit records, like a hit song could be sang by anyone, but you know when you find what it is that your niche is, like a song like ‘I Invented Sex’-I don’t feel like anyone else could have sang Trey Songz that song.” Gail


Mitchell, a senior editor at Billboard, says Songz’s rise has been a steady one. “I think now a small circle of folks knew what he was about and understood it and it’s just gotten a little bigger with each album,” she said. “Ready” was released in late August, and now the disc is some 40,000 units shy from reaching gold status, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It’s his best-selling album to date. Four of its songs have reached the top 10 on Billboard’s R&B/HipHop singles chart; three have peaked in the Top 5. “I feel as though I’ve always had great records, but somewhere on the rise to stardom it was something not interpreted to the fan,” said Songz, who will go on tour with Jay-Z and Young Jeezy in February. “I feel as though the Internet has done a lot ... helping me with that, the Twitters, Facebooks, things of that nature.” Songz, whose real name is Tremaine Neverson, debuted in 2005 with the CD “I Gotta Make It.” His sophomore effort, 2007’s “Trey Day,” had a hit with the Grammynominated groove “Can’t Help But Wait.” “Ready” can be viewed as a sign of his growing maturity. The singer has traded in his sneakers and T-shirts for tailored pants, tasteful shoes and a chic vest. He also chopped off his braids. The new look is something his producer and mentor, Troy Taylor, calls a “drastic change” — and a needed one. — Reuters

those they have already raped and killed. Jacqueline, already made with grief from the loss of her children, is pushed over the brink by the sound of the machete her new companion uses to chop bamboo and attempts to use the machete to kill him. The film ends with her running back to her village towards the end of the genocide and collapsing in the street, surrounded by her former neighbors who debate whether they should help her recover, kill her or “just let her die”. The film, Van Leeuw’s first, has minimal dialogue, partly in Kinyarwanda and partly in French, much of it composed as the actors went along. “This film shows more or less all the events of the genocide: betrayal by the neighbor, manhunts, the

anxiety in the hiding places ... and then there is also this will to survive,” Theodore Simburudali, who heads the genocide survivors’ association Ibuka, told AFP after watching the film. Outside of Rwanda the film is unlikely to make it onto mainstream screens. Many spectators at Thursday’s avant-premiere for officials and diplomats could be seen averting their eyes from the screen during the most harrowing scenes. At the premiere Friday two women walked out, unable to stand the scene where Jacqueline finds her children dead. “It reminds me of what happened. It does bring back emotions, yes, but we survivors lived through worse things than that,” a subsistence farmer who identified herself only as Mrs Uwamahoro told AFP.

Angelique Kidjo revisits childhood favorites inger-songwriter Angelique Kidjo is one of Africa’s most internationally successful performers, blending the music of her native Benin with Western jazz, soul and rock during a nearly three-decade career. Her new album “Oyo,” due in late March on Razor & Tie, is a tribute to the music that influenced her when she was growing up and includes Kidjo’s interpretations of African works as well as songs like Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up,” which features John Legend, and Aretha Franklin’s “Baby I Love You,” a duet with Dianne Reeves. The album also supports her work as an activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.


Billboard: Why did you decide to make this album a return to the music that inspired you as a child? Angelique Kidjo: People were always trying to figure out what kind of music I grew up listening to, based on what kinds of music I do now, and threw out the idea of what an African artist should be doing versus what a European artist should be doing. It was also about time for me to thank artists. When you’re writing music, you have to be careful, because people listen to it at every age. It can derail somebody’s life or it can empower somebody, and that’s what music did to me. The music that I listened to kept me away from trouble. Billboard: How did you choose the songs? Kidjo: That was the hardest thing. They came and they came, and I’m like, “You know what? Whatever comes, that’s it.” One of those was really difficult, a song that I had been looking for for so long (“Dil Main Chuppa Ke Pyar Ka” from Bollywood film “Aan”) ... the music is a memory of my father (who) passed away last year. I would be dragging him to the movie all

he bloody frontlines of America’s war in Afghanistan have been transplanted to the Sundance Film Festival thanks to a gripping documentary vying for honors here. “Restrepo,” is a visceral account of a year spent embedded alongside 15 American soldiers stationed at a remote mountain outpost in the Korengal Valley, where Taliban attacks are almost a daily occurrence. Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington’s film is an intimate portrait of soldiers at war, capturing the chaos of battle, the spartan living conditions and the boredom of moments when the bullets aren’t flying. While accounts from journalists embedding with US forces are nothing new, few reporters or film-makers have spent an entire year-long rotation with a unit as Junger and Hetherington did between 2007 and 2008. “Actually no journalist has done that, not for an entire deployment,” said Hetherington, a photographer who won the World Press Photo Competition in 2007 for his picture of an exhausted soldier following a battle in Korengal. “We just did something very obvious, and we decided to spend a very long time with them, as much as we could,” he told AFP. “There are 22 million American families with sons or broth-

Joan Jett performs with the Blackhearts at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Saturday.—AP

vide secondary education to African girls. How will downloads of album track “You Can Count on Me” benefit this work? Kidjo: Every song that is downloaded gives a vaccine to a child or pregnant woman, because we need millions of vaccines. It is amazing that we’re in the 21st century and every four minutes there’s a new child with tetanus. I can’t send those girls to school if they aren’t born, or if they die before they reach secondary school.

the time, and he understood that it was not only the movie that I wanted to see, but the songs also. Billboard: Why do you think the message of Curtis Mayfield’s song “Move On Up” still resonates, and what did you want to bring to your interpretation? Kidjo: I wanted to dedicate that song to the youth of Africa, for them to continue dreaming even if the times are hard ... And to all youth, because Curtis Mayfield wrote that song not only for the poor kids; it’s for every kid today that’s struggling to find their identity, their place in a society that is changing so fast. Billboard: The song “Agbalagba” was offered as a free download with Uwem Akpan’s book “Say You’re One of Them.” What is the story in the song? Kidjo: “Agbalagba” means “elderly” or “ancestor.” Elderly people or ancestorswhat is the legacy that they leave to us? They have cherished us and protected us. They are the reason we are here today. So how are we going to continue that legacy? Every child in the world should

Bloody frontlines of Afghanistan arrive in Sundance


She spent the three months of the genocide hiding in the mud in the swamps of Bugesera, eating only papyrus leaves. Jeanne Dusabe, a Hutu friend accompanying her to the screening, said she thought the film was “very good” and possibly powerful enough to “convince some negationists that the genocide did indeed take place”. Over the past eight years several feature films have been made about the Rwandan genocide, among them the controversial “Hotel Rwanda” by Irish director Terry George, “Shooting Dogs” (released in the US as “Beyond the Gates”) by Michael Caton-Jones, “Sometimes in April” by Haitian director Raoul Peck, and “100 Days”, a lowbudget feature directed by Nick Hughes.— AFP

ers or husbands that have served or are serving in the military and they want to know what those people go through. This film shows it.” Junger, a regular contributor to Vanity Fair magazine and best-selling author of “The Perfect Storm,” said the idea of the film “was to make a movie that was completely about the soldiers’ experience.” “They can’t ask a general, ‘Why are we in the Korengal Valley, Sir?’ So we did not interview generals. They can’t talk to politicians, they can’t see their families so we didn’t do any of that in the movie,” Junger explained. “We didn’t even want an outside narrator.” The only voices in the film are those of the soldiers, 24/7. “They let us into their lives and they accepted the fact that we would film everything and they never hid anything from us,” Hetherington said. Nothing was off-limits, not even the death early in the documentary of soldier Juan Restrepo, whom the base the troops are defending is named after. Despite the extreme danger of the conditions, Junger and Hetherington kept the cameras rolling at all times. “I only turned the camera off once, in the outpost, when a guy started crying, talking about a friend of his who had been killed,” Junger said.—AFP

Angelique Kidjo be free to go to school, not to be sold, not to be turned into prostitutes, not to face our differences of opinions. Religion shouldn’t be a matter in their lives. Billboard: You’re a UNICEF Ambassador and started the Batonga Foundation to pro-

Billboard: You’ve been a performer for a long time, across several continents and genres. What changes in the music industry have most affected your career? Kidjo: iTunes and YouTube have allowed me to exist more in people’s houses than before. It gives the people the choice of choosing what they want to listen to, versus all the politics of the single ... The only downside of it is that the sales of the actual CDs have decreased drastically ... but if they want to buy the whole CD, you know they are hardcore fans. It’s more in the hands of the consumer to choose. —Reuters

Philip Seymour Hoffman, second from left, making his feature film directorial debut with ‘Jack Goes Boating,’ poses with cast members, at the premiere of the film during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Saturday.—AP

Son of Escobar wrestling with sins of father he anguished son of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has reached out to the victims of his murderous father in a compelling documentary being screened at the Sundance Film Festival. Over the years Sebastian Marroquin-formerly Juan Pablo Escobar-has rejected dozens of offers from Hollywood to help tell the story of his notorious late father, gunned down by police in 1993. But Marroquin, who changed his name and relocated to Buenos Aires to start a new life, has finally spoken out in “Sins of My Father”, Nicolas Entel’s powerful entry to Sundance’s World Documentary Competition. “A producer friend in Colombia suggested making a documentary about Pablo Escobar,” Argentine film-maker Entel told AFP. “I was looking to do something new, from a different point of view and it was then that I had the idea of telling the story through


Escobar’s only son. “I spent six months trying to convince him to take part. He had already turned down more than 50 offers because most of them wanted to exploit the name Escobar and glamorize the life of a gangster.” Juan Pablo Escobar was 16 when he decided-shortly after the bloody death of his father-to change his name and move to Argentina with his mother. Now a 30-something architect, Marroquin appears in the film as a tormented soul, torn between feeling love for the man he once knew as his father and disgust at the horrific crimes he committed, which included ordering the murders of several thousand people according to some estimates. If Marroquin appears calm, “it’s because he has lost the right to be angry,” Entel told AFP. “If you play a dirty trick on me and I say ‘I’m going to kill you’, you know it’s a figure of speech,” Entel said. —AFP


Monday, January 25, 2010



Lanvin’s man sports camper chic anvin delivered yesterday a ravishing fallwinter 2010-2011 menswear collection for the discriminating camper that infused billowing coats and oversized rucksacks that looked ready for an Alpine trek with a stiff dose of Parisian glamour. Lucas Ossendrijver, who designs the menswear line under artistic director Alber Elbaz, layered utilitarian pieces like oversized sweaters, rainslickers and calf-high boots with slim-cut pants or flowing wide-legged trousers. Rugged military drab prints were mixed with sumptuous silks and fine wool, with a sprinkling of sequins and flashes of gold lame adding a sumptuous feminine touch. Wide leather corsets, like variations on weightlifters’ belts, were cinched tight over blazers or pillowy trenches. “For me, it’s really about protection,” Ossendrijver told The Associated Press in a postshow interview. “This season, we did a lot of coats, round coats like cocoons, that are meant to protect the wearer from the world.” Elbaz put it even more succinctly: “We make clothes for fashion lovers, not fashion victims.” Discordant soundtracks-including Dolly Parton singing “I Will Always Love You” over a thumping techno beat-dueled over the loudspeakers as the models marched down the gleaming white catwalk. At the end of the show, they lined up against wall, as if for a military review. The audience, packed into bleachers, exploded into hoots of enthusiastic approval. —AP


Models display creations by French designer Albert Elbaz for Lanvin as part of the Men ready-to-wear Autumn-Winter 2010-2011 fashion shows in Paris, yesterday. —AFP

Dior Homme’s Amish-look suits skulked catwalk ded of the first three days of Paris’ menswear displays-took place. Chanel uber-designer Karl Lagerfeld, himself a huge Dior Homme fan, took in the spectacle from his first row perch, which he shared with French Vogue editor-in-cheif Carine Roitfeld and fashion photographer Mario Testino.

ris Van Assche served up a strong and innovative fall-winter 20102011 collection of high-water pants and blazers with trompe l’oeil flaps and unexpected vents at Dior Homme, while Hermes turned out more of the timeless, beautiful pieces that have forged its reputation for excellence for going on two centuries. Jil Sanders’ designer Raf Simons fielded an edgy signature collection filled with suits with Velcro panels and ribbed sweaters with odd removable aprons. Hugo, Hugo Boss, the German suit maker’s avant-garde line, went casual, with a collection dominated by chunky sweaters and colored jeans following the departure late last year of designer Bruno Pieters. Paris’ menswear displays wrap up on Sunday, with shows by coveted French label Lanvin, British dandy Paul Smith and a host of smaller-name brands. Still, much of the global fashion glitteratti will remain in Paris for the haute couture shows-where labels showcase their savoir faire through extravagant, handmade dresses that cost as much as a (very expensive) car. The three-day long haute couture displays kick off on Monday, with shows by heavy-hitters Dior and Armani.


Kris Van Assche for Dior

DIOR HOMME Models in Amish-looking suits skulked Dior Homme’s catwalk, proving that wide-cut vests and high-water trousers can be the height of Parisian chic. Designer Van Assche sent out innovative variations on the classic suit, which he slashed and distorted, giving it new proportions and a faux Amish Country silhouette. “I (wanted) to give the skinny black suit more fluidness, more comfort, with big coats on top in heavy materials, but I didn’t want coats that weigh 100 pounds,” the Belgian designer told The AP in a backstage interview. “Luxury, creativity and comfort” were the guiding principles of the fall-winter 2010-2011 menswear collection, Van Assche said. Working in a reduced palette of black, charcoal and oatmeal, the Belgian designer served up oversized jackets with long, fluttering front panels that tapered into dangly V-shapes, pairing them with generously cut cropped pants. Some of the jackets were fitted with trompe l’oeil flaps on one side, while others had lapels that morphed into scarves. Models in bulky overcoats and bathrobe-inspired trenches traced halfmoon shapes around the set, which was spread with chunks of coal-a reminder, Van Assche said, of the kind of warm, smoldering color he had in mind while designing the collection. Sisters of Mercy’s “Temple of Love” reverberated through the dark, cavernous hall where the show-the most star-stud-

HERMES Hermes stepped back from the fashion fray, delivering a collection of timeless pieces that willfully snubbed trendiness. The storied label made nearly no concessions to the fads that have swept other Paris catwalks, including proposing slouchy longjohns as a stand-in for pants and relieving blazers of their sleeves. Instead, Hermes’ menswear designer, Veronique Nichanian, served up to-die-for suits with straight-leg pants remarkable only for their perfect cut and sweaters

Veronique Nichanian for Hermes

that retired French soccer star Lilian Thuram-a front row guest-said he was already coveting. “For me, what’s important is to have clothes that last and age gracefully,” Nichanian told The AP in a post-show interview. “Season after season, I tell the same story-of quality and effortless chic-and the wardrobe of the (Hermes) man gets richer with each season.” Nichanian’s sole nods to ever-shifting street-style were the neon orange lining on some of the blazers, a zip-front jacket in crocodile that looked like the world’s most expensive hoodie and the bad boy chains dangling from the belts (albeit sterling silver chains). The rest of the pieces-which included slim overcoats worn with leather belts, velvet jackets in slate and mauve and cashmere V-neck sweaters-were timeless in a manner befitting a house that has been forging a reputation for handmade excellence since its start as a saddlemaker in 1837. — AP



Monday, January 25, 2010

SAG Awards

‘Basterds’ shines at SAG awards hile Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock’s chances for Academy Award gold were advanced with their trophies at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the blockbuster “Avatar” may have felt a touch blue. The computer-assisted performances in James Cameron’s “Avatar” didn’t make the cut for SAG nominations. But the groundbreaking sci-fi film remains a strong best-picture contender for the Oscars in March. For Bridges of “Crazy Heart,” Bullock of “The Blind Side” and for SAG supportingacting honorees Mo’Nique of “Precious” and Christoph Walt of “Inglourious Basterds,” there’s reason to suspect the Oscar ceremony will be a happy rer un of Saturday’s SAG Awards and last Sunday’s Golden Globes. All four were recognized at the Globes, as well, while “Avatar” was named best drama and Cameron won as best director. He will face competition from director Quentin Tarantino, whose “Inglourious Basterds” won the SAG Award for best ensemble performance, which can be a precursor to the top Oscar award. Last year, SAG’s movie cast award was presented to “Slumdog Millionaire,” which went on to win the best picture Oscar. “It was an honor to be part of it, Quentin,” “Inglourious Basterds” cast member Eli Roth said in accepting the award for his fellow actors in the off-kilter World War II revenge saga. Bullock declined-strenuously-to look ahead. “Shhhhh. Shhhhh. Shhhhh,” Bullock said backstage when she was asked to speculate on her Oscar chances. She won for her portrayal of a tenacious real-life mom, Leigh Anne Tuohy, who helped a youth in need, future American football player Michael Oher. “I would be a hostess or a waitress or a house restorer before I ever considered myself an actor, because I never thought I was good enough,” she added. Although respected by his peers, Bridges has largely been bypassed for major awards. “I love being an actor-pretending to be other people and getting into the shoes of other folks,” said Bridges, who plays a hard-luck, hard-living countr y singer in “Crazy Heart.” Waltz was honored for his role as an enthusiastically ruthless Nazi. Mo’Nique’s trophy came for her searing portrayal of an abusive mother in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire.” On the TV side of the SAG Awards, the cast of AMC ’s 1960s Madison Avenue saga “Mad Men” won the trophy for best drama series ensemble for the second year in a row, while 19 cast members of Fox TV newcomer “Glee,” about misfits in a high school singing club, accepted the award for best comedy series ensemble. “Glee” claimed the best comedy series award at the Golden Globes. Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey of NBC ’s “30 Rock” won for best acting in a comedy series, allowing Fey to get in a sly joke about NBC and its bitter late-night battle with Conan O’Brien in her acceptance speech. “I just wanted to take a moment to say to everyone at NBC, we are very happy with everything, and happy to be there,” she said. Both she and Baldwin won the awards last year. Golden Globe winner Michael C. Hall of Showtime’s “Dexter,” wearing a cap because of treatment he’s receiving for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, won best actor in a drama series. The award for best actress in a drama went to Julianna Margulies of CBS’ “The Good Wife.” Kevin Bacon won as best actor in a movie or miniseries for the war-themed drama, “Taking Chance,” while Drew Barrymore received best actress honors in the category for “Grey Gardens,” about eccentric relatives of Jacqueline Onassis. Betty White, 88, accepted a lifetime achievement award from Bull+ock for an enduring


The cast of ‘Inglourious Basterds’acc epts the award for best cast of a movie at the 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday, in Los Angeles. —AP photos

career that included “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls,” and showed her sharp comedic chops. When Bullock joked that she finds White annoying, White shot back, “Isn’t it heartening to see how far a girl as plain as she is can go.” “I should be presenting an award to you for the privilege of working in this wonderful business all this time. And you still can’t get rid of me,” White told the audience. Actors in two highly critically acclaimed films went home empty-hand-

Jeff Bridges holds the trophy for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for ‘Crazy Heart’. Director Quentin Tarantino, lef t, and Lawrence Bender react after “Inglourious Basterds” won the award for best cast of a movie.

Actor Michael C Hall poses backstage with the award for actor in a drama series. Helen Mirren

Christoph Waltz accepts the award for best actor in a supporting role for ‘Inglorious Basterds’.

Mo’Nique accepts the award for best female actor in a supporting role for “Precious”.

Sandra Bullock holds her trophy for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in “The Blind Side”. ed, including “Up in the Air” star George Clooney and the film’s supporting actresses, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. The cast of “The Hurt Locker” also lost out. Clooney, however, was lauded by SAG President Ken Howard for helping organize Friday’s telethon to raise money for earthquake-devastated Haiti, a rare reference to the tragedy. Two honors not shown in the telecast went to stunt ensembles for the film “Star Trek” and the TV show “24.”—AP

Actress Drew Barrymore poses backstage with the award for actress in a telefilm or miniseries.

(Left) The cast of “Mad Men” poses backstage after winning the award for best drama ensemble. (Right) Jane Lynch, center, and the cast of “Glee” accept the award for best ensemble in a comedy series.

Alec Baldwin holds his trophy for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy in ‘30 Rock’.

Julianna Margulies accepts the award for best female actress in a drama series for ‘The Good Wife’.



Monday, January 25, 2010

SAG Awards

A view from the winners’ table at the SAG Awards nside the Shrine Exposition Center, banquet tables filled with A-listers sit side by side as stars of TV and film honor their peers at Saturday night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. But the real winners’ table is off camera, in a hallway just outside the ceremony, where the night’s winners come to claim their Actor statuettes. Here’s a running view from the trophy table at the SAG Awards: Winners Drew Barrymore and Mo’Nique ran into each other in the hallway near the trophy table. “Keep doing your thing, baby,” Mo’Nique told Barrymore. “God bless us.” A still trembling Barrymore made her way to claim her trophy. “Thank you so much. Do I grab it?” She asked after signing her name. “Whoa, it’s heavy. It’s beautiful... It takes two hands. I’m holding it like a guitar. “ The 19 singing, dancing members of the cast of “Glee” filled the backstage trophy area with ecstatic cheers for their best comedy series win. “Holy cow,” said Jayma Mays, who plays buttoned-up school counselor Emma Pillsbury. “Do we take it?” “I want this one,” Matthew Morrison, who plays teacher Will Schuester, said, fixing his eyes on one of the statuettes. “You can’t. You have to sign for it,” Mays said. “This is awesome,” Morrison said, claiming-and kissing-his Actor statuette. “I’ve never kissed a guy before, but there it is.” Then Jane Lynch, who plays cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, shouted, “we’re going to do a cast shot everybody!” And the whole cast followed her into the hallway. Tina Fey excitedly signed for her trophy for best actress in a comedy series-and was instantly shocked at its heft. “SAG is the heaviest of any award,” she said. “It weighs 100 pounds!” Fey added that she was completely surprised by her win. “I really, really expected to lose,” she confessed. Michael C Hall, who has been nominated repeatedly for his work on “Dexter,” said, “It’s nice to get all the way up on stage,” after finally winning a SAG Award. Hall ran into Juliana Margulies, who won for her role in “The Good Wife,” at the trophy table. They hugged and airkissed, congratulating each other. The cast of “Mad Men,” which won for best ensemble in a drama, filled the backstage trophy area, where Actor statuettes stood, waiting to be claimed. “It’s like an Easter egg hunt!” Christina Hendricks exclaimed as she searched for her statuette. Robert Morse complained that he couldn’t read the small type that said which award was his. “This is my 400th award,” he said. “I’ve got a mantle full of them.” After winning cast honors two years in a row, he said he hoped to be back again next year, “and I hope the trophy will be lighter!” “I keep them next to each other,” said Christoph Waltz, who picked up his third award for his work in “inglourious Basterds.”—AP


Complete list of winners at SAG Awards

Justin Timberlake, left, and Kate Hudson present the best actor in a comedy series award.

Betty White, left, accepts the Life Achievement Award from Sandra Bullock.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Adam Lambert

Gabourey Sidibe

Mariah Carey and husband Nick Cannon

George Clooney presents the award for outstanding cast in a motion picture.

Meryl Streep

•Cast: “Inglourious Basterds.” •Actor in a leading role: Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart.” •Actress in a leading role: Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side.” •Supporting actor: Christoph Waltz, “Inglorious Basterds” •Supporting actress: Mo’Nique, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” •Stunt ensemble: “Star Trek.” Television: •Drama series cast: “Mad Men.” •Actor in a drama series: Michael C Hall, “Dexter.” •Actress in a drama series: Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife.” •Comedy series cast: “Glee.” •Actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock.” •Actress in a comedy series: Tina Fey, “30 Rock.” •Actor in a movie or miniseries: Kevin Bacon, “Taking Chance.” •Actress in a movie or miniseries: Drew Barrymore, “Grey Gardens.” •Stunt ensemble: “24.” •Life Achievement: Betty White. —AP

From left, Marion Cotillard, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz are seen on stage at the 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. —AP photos

Morgan Freeman

Drew Barrymore, and Mo’Nique, greet each other.

Christina Applegate and Chris O’Donnell

Students in costume perform for the Caracol festival in the financial district of Makati in Manila yesterday. The Caracol festival expresses the environmental awareness of the city. —AFP

Yodeling in the new year, Swiss style odeling in the new year wearing a huge headdress and giant cowbells in the frozen countryside sounds more like comedy than a rite that reduces many Swiss to tears of nostalgic longing. But the age-old custom is as iconic in the northeast Appenzell region as the country’s cheese with holes, cuckoo clocks and chocolates, and is even drawing young people to join the plucky “Silvesterklaeuse”, as the practitioners are known. “It always bring tears to my eyes,” said Walter Irniger, who travels to the quiet Appenzell village of Urnaesch every year to watch the “klaeuse”. “You often see people cry when they welcome the


setting December 31 as the new year and wanted to stick to January 13, in line with the old Julian calendar. So over the years, the the region decided to celebrate both. Among the younger set, 20year-old Ueli Rechsteiner estimates that at least 100 others around his age have joined as Silvesterklaeuse-despite the hefty time commitment this requires. Each group builds its headgear around the same theme, which they change every three years. Walser said it can take months to design and fabricate. Themes are not limited to folklore-one group had regional leisure activities, clanging and yodeling from house to house with figurines of gym-

Silvesterklaeuse. It’s the feeling. It brings back memories,” he said, pointing to his tear-stained cheeks. The Silvesterklaeuse, or St Sylvester mummers, appear twice each year on December 31 and January 13, trooping through snow from village to village, doorto-door to ring in the new year. Typical was the group who stirred awake Urnaesch, seven men outfitted in colorful velvet costumes and hand-painted masks. Each wore a massive headgear made of carved wood, sequins and lights depicting a Swiss river landscape. Outside one farmhouse, they bounced into action-shaking vigorously to set off the cowbells, each a different pitch. When that dies down, they yodel-the trilling song

nasts on parallel bars, skiers whizzing down slopes and footballers battling it out on a pitch atop their heads. Others displayed daily lifefarmers herding cows, carpenters at work, even families eating dinner. Photos at the Brauchtumsmuseum even show models of the Titanic and a Zeppelin on old headgear. Though women can be Silvesterklaeuse, most are men due to the strength needed to trudge for hours with an average 30-kilo (66-pound) structure on one’s head. When asked why he joined, the young Rechsteiner said only for “tradition”. “Our lives are very modern now. People are looking for the old days,” said Irniger. — AFP

A ‘Rolli’ walking early in the morning in front of a farmstead.

Members of a ‘Schuppel’ walking in the snow.

style associated with the SwissAustrian mountains that, theory holds, was meant to carry across hill and dale. For Urnaesch farmer Christean Mittler, it is “simply joy” to wake up to all this. The roots of the ritual, whether pagan or religious, have become fuzzy with time. When asked why they cling to it, most locals-some whose thickly accented Swiss-

German dialect leaves speakers from other parts of the country struggling to understand-can’t explain. “For me, the day of the Sylvester (Saint Sylvester or New Year’s eve) is the most important in the year,” said Stefan Walser, 45, a “Silvesterklaeus” for the past 15 years. “It’s a malady, a fever. It brings emotions that are

very difficult to explain. I ask myself what would happen if I couldn’t do this anymore, and to be honest, I don’t want to know,” he said. The two dates go back to a 16th century dispute over New Year’s eve, according to Urnaesch’s Brauchtumsmuseum, or museum of traditions. Many locals opposed the new calendar proclaimed by Pope Gregory XIII

High-end hotel N boom sweeps Beirut

Members of a “Schuppel” preparing the “Silvesterchalusen”.

Lawmaker bids to make Nepal gay tourism destination

eirut, one-time pearl of the Orient, is reclaiming its lustre, wooing some of the world’s top luxury hotels to set up shop after a record year for tourism - and peace - in city once synonymous with danger. Le Gray, the newest of the ultrachic London-based Campbell Gray boutique hotels, as well as old classics like the Four Seasons and Grand Hyatt are only a few of the posh establishments on the list. “Every major company is trying to come to Beirut. It is the destination where everybody wants to be,”


said general manager Stefan Simkovics of the Four Seasons. The group opened its 146-million-dollar (102-million-euro) Beirut venture earlier this month, with 230 rooms and the highest rooftop swimming pool in the city. “Before the war, Beirut was the gateway to the Middle East,” he told AFP, referring to Lebanon’s devastating 19751990 civil conflict. “Beirut was until the mid-70s the Paris of the Middle East, the pearl of the Orient, and today the city is reclaiming its position as the

Employees work at the Bar and Cigar lounge of the Four Seasons Hotel ahead of its opening time in downtown Beirut on January 13, 2010. — AFP photos

place everyone wants to be.” Lebanon does seems to have turned the page on its turbulent past, at least for the time being. After a war with Israel in 2006, a battle between the army and an Al-Qaeda-inspired group in 2007 and sectarian killings in 2008, calm has returned to the small eastern Mediterranean state of four million people. “Construction for some hotels started in 2004 but was halted in 2005 after the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri,” said Pierre Ashkar, who heads Lebanon’s hotel owners’ syndicate. Today, a statue stands as a reminder of the seafront car bombing that killed Hariri in the hotel district. Just a stone’s throw from the landmark Holiday Inn, which remains abandoned and bullet-scarred in silent testimony to the civil war, stands the Ramada, which opened in 2008. Nearby, Beirut’s waterfront Hilton awaits its own glitzy opening and the Grand Hyatt, the Landmark and Kempinski Summerland are set to open between 2010 and 2013. The arrival of a record two million tourists in 2009 was an encouraging sign for Lebanon, which the international media now hails as a top travel destination. ‘Beirut is back’

Cars drive past the Four Seasons Hotel in the Lebanese capital Beirut. —AFP Beirut headed the New York Times list of top vacation destinations in January 2009 and was put among the top 10 cities for 2009 by the Lonely Planet travel guides for what it called its charm and dynamism. Earlier this month, The Guardian in London announced: “Beirut is back ... and it’s beautiful.” “The quality of life here, the beauty, the excitement-it is the perfect

tourist destination in the region,” Simkovics said. Most visitors are Lebanese expatriates and Arab tourists from the oil-rich Gulf, but the country is also attracting European holiday makers. Around 60 percent of clients in Lebanese hotels are Gulf tourists, according to Simkovics, with Lebanese expatriates accounting for much of the rest. “Clearly, when the country is stable, it is functional on all levels, including tourism,” said Hector de Galard, general manager of Le Gray, Campbell Gray’s fourth hotel worldwide. “This is just the beginning, and international companies are increasingly feeling encouraged to settle here,” said de Galard, whose room prices range from 495 to 5,000 dollars a night. De Galard said Le Grey was fully booked during the Christian and Muslim holiday seasons at the end of 2009. And while not everyone can afford the luxury of places like Le Gray or The Four Seasons, Beirut’s increasing capacity to accommodate wealthier visitors has been welcomed by entrepreneurs. “There are 7,000 rooms in Beirut right now,” said Ashkar. “In the next three years, we expect an increase of 3,000 rooms.” —AFP

epal will this year play host to a royal wedding with a difference when an openly gay Indian prince marries his partner at a Hindu temple in Kathmandu. The ceremony is the start of what Nepalese lawmaker Sunil Babu Pant hopes will become a lucrative business for his country, whose once thriving tourist industry is still reeling from a decade-long civil war that ended in 2006. Pant, the only openly gay member of Nepal’s parliament, has set up a travel agency catering specifically for homosexual tourists, who he says face severe discrimination in many Asian countries. He believes Nepal, which has made large strides forward on gay rights issues in recent years thanks largely to his own efforts, is well placed to cash in on an industry worth an estimated 670 million dollars worldwide. “If we brought even one percent of that market to Nepal it would be big. But I’m hoping we can attract 10 percent,” said Pant, who was selected in May 2008 to represent a small communist party in

Nepal’s parliament. “The choices (for gay tourists) in this region are very limited, and there is really no competition from China or India. Nepal is one of the few places where adventure tourism is available to people,” he told AFP. Pant said he has been overwhelmed with enquiries since setting up his travel agency, Pink Mountain. The company will offer gay-themed tours of Nepal’s major tourist sites-including Hindu temples that feature carvings of the god Shiva depicted as half man, half woman-as well as organize wedding ceremonies. Pant’s plans have won the support of the tourism ministry in Nepal, a deeply conservative, mainly Hindu country that nonetheless has some of the most progressive policies on homosexuality in Asia. Two years ago, the country’s Supreme Court ordered the government to enact laws to guarantee the rights of gays and lesbians after the Blue Diamond Society, a pressure group run by Pant, filed a petition. The country’s new constitu-

Manvendra Singh Gohil will marry in Kathmandu.

tion, currently being drafted by lawmakers, is expected to define marriage as a union between two adult individuals, regardless of gender, and to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. Laxman Bhattarai, joint secretary in Nepal’s Tourism Ministry, said the government had no specific policies on gay tourism, but would support Pant’s enterprise. “The government has declared its ambition of attracting a million tourists to Nepal in 2011 which is a big increase,” he told AFP. Around 500,000 foreign tourists travelled to Nepal in 2009. “Nepal is a safe place to come now. We want to develop new tourist destinations and get people coming back after the civil war. If he can help us in any way, we are happy.” The wedding of Indian prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, scion of the family that once ruled Rajpipla in the western state of Gujarat, looks likely to create the kind of publicity Nepal’s tourism business so desperately needs. Pant believes it will be followed by many more such ceremonies, and is already organizing a wedding for a lesbian couple from Massachusetts who want to hold their nuptials in Mustang, high in the Himalayas. He says he is motivated by a desire to help boost Nepal’s struggling economy, and hopes the initiative will create jobs for marginalized people in one of the world’s poorest countries. “Some of Nepal’s best hairstylists and beauticians are from the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community,” he said. “They have seen all kinds of struggles in the past and have had problems finding jobs. Holding gay weddings in Nepal is a win-win situation for them and for the country.” —AFP

25 Jan  

Kuwait Times

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